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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Colorado Vacation 2009.

The drive
When Kevin found out he could get an extra day off work on Thursday, we decided to leave for Colorado a day early and spend a night with Paul and Holly before our cabin reservations in Grand Lake for Friday. We were on the road just after 8am, and as we approached Lincoln, we called Kevin's dad to wish him a happy birthday. Turned out he was IN Lincoln (he's a trucker), so we met up with him and had a late breakfast (again). What a fun little surprise to get to see him on his birthday and a great start to our vacation!After that 45-minute stop we continued on our way to Colorado with so many exciting things to see along the way. Trust me, though, it takes a little creativity to make driving through Nebraska exciting for a 3-year old, but I think I did pretty well. I made Eli his own little (18x12in) map he could use to follow along the way. I knew of a few specific things he'd see as we went, like a bridge we always drive by when we're out for errands but rarely get to drive through, a HUGE train yard in Lincoln, and the Archway Monument in Kearney, so I added little pictures of those on his map along with all the road numbers we'd be looking for. This kept Eli engaged for a long time, and he really enjoyed having his own map. (Don't look too closely! I am NOT an artist, and things are definitely not quite in proportion though I tried very hard! Oh yeah, and I forgot the roads by our house, which I guess for safety's sake on the internet, I suppose it's better that way)I also made a BINGO game with a card full of things to look for, like stop signs, bulldozers, construction cones, motorcycles, mindmills, ponds, etc. I really didn't think Eli would especially understand finishing a row of pictures or even look for things on his own. So I mostly pointed things out to him, and he'd put a colored sticker on the picture. Turned out killing a lot of time and we enjoyed the game! Between those two "games" and a whole stack of new library books we had a peaceful first half of the journey.

We skipped the stop for lunch since we'd already made the stop for a late breakfast, and then in the afternoon the kids slept, not for a long time, but they did sleep. And soon after they woke up we were taking the final turns toward Denver. The last two hours always seem the longest, and the kids started getting a little restless, but we made it! At about 5:15 Colorado time, we made it to Paul and Holly's place where this is the view of the downtown.First night
Soon after we arrived Paul got home from work with the double kayak they had rented for the weekend. We ordered Thai food for dinner, we got the kids set up for bed, and then Holly and I headed off to the grocery store to get my food for the weekend at the cabin. Each family was assigned a day to prepare the meals, and that worked nicely. As soon as we were back from the grocery store we started making a birthday cake for my mom whose birthday was the following day. I picked a jello poke cake with whipped cream "frosting" for something super easy and yummy but not the traditional over-sweet birthday cake. I just love it and hope the others did too! It was kind of a rough first night of sleep. Since Hannah usually sleeps very well through the night we decided to try putting her in Paul and Holly's room while Eli slept in a king bed between Kevin and me. Hannah, however, for whatever reason, ended up waking up THREE times in the night and up for the day at 6am! I could hear her in the next room, cry for a little bit and then stop, and since I was timid about barging into Paul and Holly's room, I just left her, assuming she'd gone back to sleep. The third time I finally went in and brought her back to join us in the bed. By this point I had gotten little to no sleep because Eli was next to me squirming all about, totally driving me nuts, so I passed Hannah off to Kevin and finished the night with a few hours of good sleep while Hannah slept next to Daddy. Anyway, we survived, it was just fine, and we're thankful to Paul and Holly for allowing us to stay with them! It's just always that first night away from home is a little rough.

On to the cabin
We got up the next morning, finished packing our things together for the cabin and started on our way fairly early, assuming that traffic would get busy later in the day with everyone heading to the mountains. The drive was all nice and dandy until we got to the super curvy stretch around the mountain where Eli started to get car sick. He said his belly hurt and he was "starting to throw up" and he looked white as a ghost, so we made an quick cell phone call to Holly in front of us, telling them to pull off immediately whenever there was any kind of stop at all. A minute later we were pulling off the road and we took a break until Eli seemed to be feeling a little bit better. It was pretty stinkin cold out and too wet and muddy to let the kids walk around, so we jumped back in the car to carry on. Turned out we jumped the gun a little bit early because just a few short miles later Eli was throwing up in the bucket we had gotten ready just in case. So we pulled off again, got cleaned up, and finished the last stretch, VERY thankful that we were already at the end of the curvy bit.

We got to the cabin just before lunch, unloaded all our things, and then went back into town for lunch. Anyway, don't quite need to go into long detail about everything. Friday afternoon we played games while the kids napped. My parents arrived to the cabin around 4pm. Eli had a random throw-up again in the afternoon (too much excitement? or altitude adjustment? who knows). Thankfully, he was completely fine otherwise and we had a washer and dryer to get everything clean again. He was so cute though after I got him in clean clothes. He came out into the living room and in a really sweet voice says, "I'm sorry I spit out." Like he had to apologize for that! Such a sweet boy sometimes! Anyway, Kevin and I cooked kabobs, pasta salad, corn on the cob, and fruit salad for dinner. We took a short walk afterward and then came back for birthday cake!

4th of July
For a couple weeks leading up to vacation I kept checking the weather for Grand Lake, and it kept saying that it was going to be high 70s and sunny. But when it came to it, it was off and on rain the whole weekend and quite cold. But we tried to make the best of it, and we went kayaking for a lot of Saturday anyway, taking turns so everyone could get out for a little bit. We went out in the morning and then again in the afternoon, getting rained on and a little hail too along the ride. But it was still nice and so much fun to be out on the water!other side of bridge a few minutes later I think. Seriously, the weather changed SO MUCH over the weekend!Paul and Holly. Beautifully synchronized paddling.
Kevin and meMom and Paulwhile we kayaked, the kids did a little of this......and this.Then for dinner we had good ol' hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, and cole slaw for dinner. Because of the rain and cold weather and just being overall quite tired, we decided to skip the fireworks at the lake. They didn't even start 'til 10pm, not to mention the hassle of parking and saving a spot to camp out for hours on end. We ended up having a small campfire at our cabin instead and while we were cleaning up we could actually see many of the fireworks through the trees. Not good enough view to actually watch and enjoy, but that's okay. It was a good 4th of July. Oh and while we were getting ready for kayaking in the morning, a moose decided to visit our cabin, prancing about right outside our window!! Hi there!Sunday
Sunday morning was church, or rather part of church, and then I had to scoot off early to drive Kevin to the airport (3 hrs drive back down the mountain and through the city). Thank you to Paul and Holly and Mom and Dad for watching the kids all afternoon while we were gone!! It was actually a really sunny, beautiful drive and a nice little break from parenting! While I was out, I picked up some Dramamine for Eli for when we left the cabin again Monday and had to drive the same windy road again. I got back to the cabin around 4pm and the kids were up from naps already and playing happily outside on the cabin deck. Paul and Holly prepared a delicious dinner that night, and then Holly headed back to the city for work the next day.

We got up early and started getting things packed up right away and all the sheets and towels washed. Once we finally got the Dramamine pill into Eli (via a piece of watermelon, thanks Grandpa) and we waited long enough for it to kick in, then Paul and I and the kids started back to Lakewood while Mom and Dad waited on laundry to finish, stopping a park for the kids to play at before officially returning to Paul's condo. By the way, Eli's ride that time was just fine that time, thanks to medicine! The kids took a rotten nap that day (a LOT of effort getting them to sleep and then they both only slept 45 minutes!), and it had been a pretty stressful parenting weekend being away from home and everything normal, that by Monday afternoon I couldn't help but just CRY. For a long time. Eli was kind of a fussy mess all weekend, I just could not take it any more. I was still exhausted but I did finally get my tears dried up, enough to carry on with the rest of the day. We went out to a small park again until rain came again and we had to go back. Monday night we ordered pizza in, played with Holly's cats who were returned from the weekend away, and then off to bed for the kids. Again, they went down horribly since they were sharing a room, but again, we survived knowing we'd be back home in a day.

Home sweet home
Tuesday morning we packed up early and were on the road at 8am. Dad stayed in Denver longer to visit with his brothers before heading a week of pastor's conference in Nebraska, so Mom drove back with me and the kids. VERY helpful to have someone else with me, thank you!! It was a not-so-good drive. There was a point in the drive where both kids were screaming crying at the same time, and I could not handle it, so I finally pulled off the nearest exit and told them I would not drive any further until they stopped crying. And then I waited. Finally Eli stopped and Hannah sort of stopped so we kept going, hoping to not need to do that again, and we didn't. It was a looong drive. We read all the books again, played BINGO again, and followed the map again, but it all wasn't nearly as exciting as the first time. Really I just wanted to be home again, and finally about 7pm Nebraska time we pulled up our lane to greet Kevin again!

It was a good vacation, but boy is it hard with kids, especially when we were cooped up in the cabin so much because of the rain! I am sooo thankful to Paul and Holly for initiating this trip and getting everything set up for us, especially at a time in Kevin's work schedule that I didn't think a vacation was possible! We enjoyed time together as a family, playing games (my new favorite being Ticket to Ride), reading, and just relaxing in the beauty of the mountains.

So that's the story, (sorry so long!) now more pictures will be coming!


bp said...

Your map is such a great idea! I love that!

I like the picture of the moose!

BellaMama said...

I'm still garnering all your ideas for trips!

Glad you had a good time even with the trip home. Those times when more than one is crying/screaming can just about wreck your insides! We try singing praise songs and that helps us-at least! I'm glad our trip will be one way and everything will be new and interesting!

I think the bingo would be great! Stickers and fun things to see!

Enjoy being home!