Four days with The Fam.

I’ve said it before: I really lucked out in the family department.

I don’t mean to, but I’m sure I take them for granted. Compared to a lot of people, I see my family often. We’re all a little nutty, but my parents love each other and they love their kids. My awesome brother, Matt, was smart enough to marry his partner-in-crime, Jodi, 6 years ago. And the newcomer, John, doesn’t bat an eye when the Bianchi Family Steamroller takes over- he climbs aboard!

When my dad’s 75th birthday rolled around earlier this month, we all brainstormed gifts. An age-old question: what do you get a guy who has everything he needs? Pops doesn’t want STUFF, we thought. He’d appreciate a memorable experience more. And so the plan formed for my parents to drive in from Durango this past weekend, and- unbeknownst to my dad- Matt and Jodi would be coming in from Denver, too. When my folks arrived and got settled, John and I poured them both a happy hour drink (while Matt and Jodi hid out in the back room). We sat my dad on the couch and told him to close his eyes- his gift had arrived, but it was too big to wrap. What could it BE? When he opened his eyes, the last thing he thought he’d see was his son and daughter-in-law who live a solid 8 hours from Park City! We all hugged and laughed and got down to business: a weekend of FUN!

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We kicked things off with a fabulous grilled steak dinner, served al fresco and lit by candles and the setting sun.  Dad made a wish on a sole birthday candle, tucked into strawberry shortcake. Bliss.

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A hearty breakfast fueled what was meant to be a day of sunshine, paddle boarding, and picnicking at Mirror Lake, but a thunderstorm prodded us into a thicket of pine trees. We happily snacked and sipped in our semi-dry haven before driving the 1.5 hours back home to make tacos, bake cookies, and play (extremely competitive) card games.

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On Sunday morning, we strolled Main Street with spicy Bloody Maries at the Park Silly Market (excellent people-watching). The boys headed out on a (hot) bike ride. Then John and I brought my family our favorite restaurant, and enjoyed another scrumptious meal at Silver Star Café!

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As always, time together goes by too fast. The weekend was winding down as quickly as it had begun! Monday morning landed John back at work. I took The Fam to No Worries Cafe, and Mom baked muffins later with rhubarb from her garden. On our last evening together, we trekked down into the valley for a Triple-A baseball game. We cheered on the Salt Lake Bees, ate free hot dogs, sipped beer, and soaked in the stellar view of the Wasatch Range.

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Before we left, I asked a stranger on the street to help with my one request of the weekend: to get a great group photo of all six of us. She even took an extra shot, just to be sure…


Stranger FAIL. There’s no question where the photo was taken- but who’s in it?

As always, when The Fam packed up and drove their separate ways this morning, I simultaneously savored and was saddened by the silent house. Cholula sniffed around each room, searching for her three canine playmates from the weekend. As I get older, I cherish the times we’re all in the same place. Even when we do nothing- when we do it together, it’s better. The next time we’ll all be together will at Christmas, four months away. I’ve already got ideas swirling in my brain…

And next time, I won’t miss that group photo. 

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