WARNING: EXTREMELY LONG POST...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Well, I have been meaning to post about our trip to Colorado ever since we returned a week ago. But it has been a busy week! My mom had surgery while we were gone, and she was in the hospital for over a week. She is at home and feeling better finally! We have also been getting ready to send Seth to his first day of preschool on Monday. Buying school supplies, trying to adjust his daily schedule to go to bed earlier and get up much, much earlier than he is used to. I will post about his first day of school this next week so stay tuned....
Oh, glorious Colorado. We had such a wonderful week in the mountains. We were a little hesitant about the drive with the two boys, but they were road trip champs! We drove straight through to Vail, leaving our house on Friday at 5:30pm, and arriving to the condo on Saturday morning at around 8am. There were a few moments of claustrophobia in the car seats during the night, but my sister's portable DVD player really saved our lives. We would turn it on when they got antsy, their little eyes would glaze over, and then they would drift back to sleep when they couldn't hold their heavy eyes open anymore.
So we rolled in and had just a few hours to settle in and rest before our friends Jeff and Lesli Thompson arrived with their kids Ella (2) and Elijah (9 months). They live in Cheyenne, WY and came down to spend the weekend with us.
First....the condo! A big shout out to my cousin, "Aunt" Carol, who so graciously let us stay in her beautiful mountain getaway for an entire week! She lives in Devner, and she drove to the condo before we got there and stocked the refrigerator full of food and bought all kinds of snacks for the kids. So thoughtful! Here are a few pictures of the condo...
....yeah, I know. We were roughing it, huh?
It was so much fun to spend the weekend with Jeff and Les and their kiddos. First we just spent time hanging out at the condo..
Then we went to Big Horn Park, which has to be one of the coolest in the U.S. With the mountains as the backdrop, how can you go wrong??
Elijah was nice enough to share a snack with Caleb.
We attempted a family picture, and you can see how excited Seth was to stop playing and pose...
There is a deck that wraps around the entire condo (which is on the 3rd floor so it has a great view) and we spent the evening grilling steaks and veggies and enjoying good friends. On Sunday, we went to the Vail Farmer's Market, which is a huge street fair with tons of booths of produce, food, clothes and crafts.
We walked around quite a bit that day, and the backpacks were great. Here is Ella with Jeff and Les...
And Caleb found his comfie enough to nap in. We bought this pack a couple weeks before we left for $15 from a girl that had paid $100 for it and only used it a couple of times. What a bargain, and we used it every day of our trip! Caleb was so happy in the backpack, and it was great to use as a seat because it has a kickstand that you can pull out and set it on the ground.
That night, we ate at a Mexican restaurant that was right at the base of the mountain, and we discovered this amazing pirate ship park right behind it. It is hard to see, but Steve and Seth are up in the very top of the ship in the "Crow's Nest".
Seth was in heaven!!
We said goodbye to Jeff and Les and they headed back to Cheyenne. At this point, I have to say that the kids did wonderful sleeping every night which was really a miracle. They haven't had the best track record for sleeping in new environments, but they really adapted so well to being in a new place, especially considering the high altitude of 10,000 feet!
We really did too much in one week to list it all. Here are some highlights:
Took time to explore Vail Village, which is so picturesque and beautiful. All the architecture reminds me of Belgium or Switzerland. The flowers were gorgeous, and they were hanging in window baskets on all the shops and lodges. The village is very kid friendly, too. There were kids running around everywhere!
This picture makes me laugh because I look like I am trying to get away from the paparazzi (aka my husband)...
We went to Breckenridge, which was about 45 minutes from Vail, to ride the Alpine Slides. You ride the chairlift up to the top of mountain, and you ride a sled down a concrete bobsled-like track. I went up once with Seth, and then Steve took a turn and went up with Seth. I will admit, I was terrified when I first got on the chairlift with Seth because you are REALLY high up in the air without the luxury of powdery snow underneath to break your fall. But he was extremely still all the way up because I think he might have been a smidge scared...but he wasn't telling :~)
Steve went on a hike early one morning to Booth Creek Falls. It was a little over 4 miles and a 1,200 ft. gain in elevation. He loved it, and encouraged me to do it the next morning on my own (we had to take turns because we couldn't take the kids with us). I love that we live in a time with cell phones that work on remote mountain trails, because I called him about an hour and a half into it and told him I was going to kill him for suggesting I go by myself. I was a little scared because the trail wasn't really well marked, and I kept thinking I was lost. It is bear season, and Steve informed me that I could just shake a stick at one and they would be scared and run away....hmm. The trail also get's really steep towards the end, and I kept losing traction with my running shoes and sliding back down the trail. Oh, and did I mention that the trail was perched precariously up on the side of a mountain with a steep drop off on one side? But when you know that there is a beautiful waterfall at the end, it is hard to give up and turn back. So I pressed on and made it, and I think I only called him 3 times :~) Here are some pictures from the hike.
No..that is not the waterfall we hiked so far to see! That was just a little teaser along the way :~) Booth Creek Falls is actually made up of two waterfalls and it is 60 feet high...This is the lower portion.
We also hiked some easier trails with the boys, and Seth and Caleb loved every minute of it. They are outdoorsmen all the way! Seth's favorite part of the hikes is when we would come to a river and he could wade in and throw rocks.
This is an attempt at a family picture with a timer on the camera. This is the best we could do! The water was really cold and the rocks were really slippery!
By the end of our hikes, many times everyone looked like this....
Or maybe that was just when they had to stop and pose for one too many pictures!
Our last night, we went on a gondola ride up to the top of Vail mountain. Unfortunately, it was raining so we didn't get out and walk around on top. But it was a great ride up, sort of spooky and foggy, and you could see all the lights down in the village. It takes you about 2000 feet up, and the boys were very quiet and taking it all in.
On our way home, we made a quick stop at Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs at sunset.
Then we drove through the night and made it back to Texas at about 10am the next morning. Whew! A fantastic trip of enjoying God's beautiful creation, but it was good to be home. One of Steve's favorite phrases is "Peace Out", and I will leave you with this photo of Caleb saying "Peace Out Colorado! We'll be back soon!"