Our family has always been good at inventing games and competitions to play. Welcome to the first annual cattle guard balance and agility races. This was a shot of the singles competition, but we also did couples races.
We took a picture of Blake and Claire with Mark's parents. Our timing for this extended stay has been great, as they have needed some extra care this winter.
We got to spend extra time with nieces and nephews that were also visiting for the holidays. We brought in the new year with some of them. We stopped eating and playing games long enough to take pictures sporting some fashionable 2018 eye-wear.
Yes, our great nephews are ridiculously tall, making their normal-height grandparents look short. It was great to see them again!
Shortly after bringing in the New Year with family, we drove through Beaver on the way back to the ranch. We are flirting with record cold temperatures, as it dipped down to -7 degrees tonight. You don't see that in Oklahoma very often!
The beginning of the new year is a great time to think back on 2017, and reflect on some of our favorite memories. Here are a few of our favorite things from 2017:
Picking (and eating) huckleberries in the mountains of Washington.
Hiking through the snow to stand at the foot of the world's tallest trees in California.
Hunting for glass floats on the coast of Oregon, and walking on a different beach every day for a month.
Hiking among wild animals in their natural environment. It was our first time to see grizzlies and big horn sheep, and we also saw moose and mountain goats while we were in the mountains of the north.
Winning the lottery so we were ten of the lucky hikers to get to enjoy The Wave in Arizona.
Witnessing the desert's super bloom in Southern California.
Paddling our inflatable kayak in the Pacific Ocean among the seals and sea otters in California.
Experiencing the marvels of Yellowstone National Park, including the neon colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming.
Hiking with flashlights through the Lava Tubes in New Mexico.
Hiking on top of twenty-foot snow drifts to see the crystal blue water of Crater Lake in Oregon.
Exploring the tide pools on the rocky beaches of the Pacific Ocean.
Watching the winter vegetable harvest near Yuma, Arizona in February.
Hiking through the snow to stand in front of Mount Rainier in Washington. Because we were alone, it was so quiet that we could hear the creaking and moaning of the glaciers as they moved on the rocky face of the mountain.
We will always look back fondly on 2017, but we are excited about the upcoming events of 2018. With our oldest son and wife expecting a baby in May, and our youngest son getting married in June, it's going to be another great year. Happy New Year!