Grandpa and Grandma arrived Thursday night around 5:30 and as soon as we picked them up we headed to a family favorite restaurant called Saylor's Old Time Country Kitchen. They have the world's greatest steak included in the most wonderful 5 course meal. We were fairly worried how Dominik would do for the duration of the 5 course meal, but luckily he kept his composure thanks to Toy Story 3, animal crackers, and oh yes...gently caressing the waitresses rear end. We apparently need a family home evening lesson on chastity (or more specifically "petting"). The meal never ceases to disappoint, and we all left completely full and satisfied.
Friday was a great day for hiking, so we took advantage of it by hiking up to Punch Bowl Falls in the Gorge. It's a beautiful hike that is a little over 4 miles round trip and has two huge falls to admire. It was a great way to admire God's beautiful creations and carry on in some great conversation. Some of the highlights of the trip were: catching a snake and a lizard, hearing TJ's cadences from the Navy, Dominik falling asleep in the backpack carrier, and skipping rocks at Punch Bowl Falls.
Saturday was a beautiful sunny day so we packed up the car and headed to Newport. What should have been a quick 3 hour drive seemed like eternity with an unruly toddler in the back seat, and a very carsick mother in the front. Luckily TJ got us there safely and before any huge meltdowns (from either Dominik or myself). We ended up going to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and seeing and touching some pretty cool things (not a waitresses this time). Dominik loved touching the sea urchins, and crawling through one of the tunnels located in one of the exhibits. It's the little thing's in life right :) After the aquarium we headed to the lighthouse and walked along the beach near the lighthouse. Grandpa and TJ tried to hike out to the end of the jetty but the wind was so strong it would blow them off the rocks they were trying to jump to so they had to turn around (and since grandpa was wearing shorts the sand from the beach nearly took all the skin off his exposed legs). Although it was quite windy, it was a lot of fun. Dominik was pretty hungry at this point so TJ and I headed to McDonalds to pick up a cheeseburger and then met the family back at Mazatlan's, a Mexican restaurant, for dinner. Needless to say that the day's festivities did a toll on Dominik and he did not make a peep back at the hotel when we put him down for the night. TJ and I went swimming with Jana, Andy, and Grandpa. I had pretty bad allergies all day that the relentless wind did not hep, so I took a few benadryls and don't remember much after the swimming.
Sunday was more beach fun, meeting new friends at the Newport LDS Church, and roasting hot dogs on the beach. We headed for home about 5:30, and Grandma, Grandpa, Jana, and Andy stayed to go deep sea fishing the following day (it was luckily cancelled due to the Gail Force Winds and come to find out ended up capsizing a boat). As soon as we got home Dominik fell right to sleep and so did TJ and I.
Monday was a rather boring day considering the 4 days prior. TJ started back up at school, and Dominik and I layed low at home. Grandma and Grandpa got home about 7pm and we had a quick dinner and headed to Cinetopia to see "contagion." While the reviews were good, those preparing to see it should know that it's more of a documentary than a movie. There is not too much of a climax; it pretty much starts and ends with a lot of information to digest in between.
Tuesday was a fun day where we got to see TJ and Aunt Jana up at OHSU/The VA hospital for lunch. It was cool for Dominik to see daddy/TJ during the middle of the day, and Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed seeing their two children in scrubs doin the medical thang :) To finish the day we had a huge family dinner with the Papenfuss side of the family as well. We had a great family home evening lesson/activity, and then all conversed over dessert. I have to say that I feel very blessed/spoiled to have two amazing families!!!
Wednesday was another great day where the boys (Grandpa and Uncle Andy) went salmon fishing, and Grandma and I went shopping. Grandpa and Uncle Andy caught two huge fish (which after much coercion turns out was purchased for $4 a pound from some Indians up at Cascade Locks) and we grilled them up for the ultimate feast. There was some somberness in the air due to the fact that this was their last evening in Portland, as well as the incredibly sad movie I rented for our "epic movie night."
Thursday was a day of packing, finishing doors (doors at Aunt Jana's house that Uncle Andy kicked in), and visit teaching. Grandma and Grandpa headed to the airport and we said our goodbyes. It was sad to see them go, but luckily they will be back in a month for the fun to continue. I said it before, and I will say it again...we are so blessed to have such an awesome family! It's weeks like these that I'm even more grateful for eternal families.