We're back from Beautiful Colorado! Here are a few memories and musings from our trip
1. Friday afternoon, after a long day of travel, we mostly hung around the cabin and had dinner with our cousins at their cabin. Several of us weren't feeling that great between the altitude and the travel. I think E, in particular, was much more impacted than I had anticipated. My primary memory from Friday is the kids constant searching for the mountains. They seemed not to believe us even when they were right in front of them, but definitely loved them once they could identify what they were. Brent played pool with the kids, which is always amusing, and I tried to keep E from hurling himself down the stairs at the cabin. (Defense is a must!)
2. After a nearly sleepless night due to E feeling miserable, Brent and I took our kids + Zane to this lovely park. They had a great time and burned off some energy. Zane took a tumble on the playground, which is always scary and involved literally all the bandaids I had with me as he kept losing them in the dirt as they played. They also climbed their first rocks of the mountain vacation.
3. In the afternoon, we went to a miniature horse show. This was my first, and only, time driving in the mountains and it didn't go that well as we made one wrong turn and were quickly spiraling up the mountain. The view was lovely if you could put aside the fear of plummeting off the edge as we turned around and headed back down tot he fairgrounds. The miniature horse show was nearing its end as we arrived, but we got to watch the Liberty horse segment. It was completely bizarre, but an interesting experience. The day also included a 5th birthday party for Clara, grilling as a family, Face Timing with Grandpa Dotter, and lots of sweets!
Note: One of my favorite memories from this outing was Zane telling me repeatedly on the way back to the cabin to "be calm." Zane is one of the least calm people I know and I was, strangely, quite calm at the time this was all taking place. Mom and I couldn't help but laugh.
4. The next morning after the kids went on their nature walk with Grandma, we took the tram up the mountain and had a blast feeding the chipmunks. The chipmunks were amazingly tame and all over the place. The kids loved finding them and I think each of them managed to feed at least one from their fingertips.
6. Here are all five Blakley Grandkids after much excitement with the chipmunks and snack time on the mountain.
7. Here is lady M trying on fabulous sunglasses at the gift store. We didn't get these due to her track record with sunglasses, but we did buy a toy chipmunk (for B) at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (along with lots of chocolate, fudge, and a black bear for M). All this led up to a baby shower at the main cabin for my cousin Liz. It was great fun to celebrate motherhood together.
8. Our next adventure was a short hike in Rocky Mountain National Park after a scenic drive. B read to us from his Junior Ranger Manual the whole way. He also, sadly, got a pretty bad scrape (and is just recovering from it above). Yes, our kids randomly could not find anything but flip flops to bring on this trip, which made for very dangerous hiking. Luckily, our trip included a pediatric nurse and a PT so we were in good hands. (In fairness, there were also teachers, musicians, a test pilot, lawyer, several IT/technology types, an electrical engineer, fitness instructors, writers, a solar panel installer, a college student, a marketing pro,a spice shop merchant, and 13 kids!)
9. It was so wonderful to see my sister and go on adventures together. We spent lots of time together and with our cousins, aunts, uncles, and an array of kids we'd met and ones that had arrived since our last gathering. It was big, boisterous, and fun. It was interesting to hear what about Colorado people were enjoying. Those that live in the dessert were marveling at the rain and changing weather. Those of us from the plains were amazed at curvy roads and actual topography -- as well as the altitude. The people from the mountains were surprised to realize all they take for granted. I'm not sure what the east coast folks were most surprised by-- maybe that traveling with five kids under 13 is possible? All of us loved the cool weather and scattered showers as well as all the fun we could have by just going outside.
10. This hike in the national park was the only outing that nearly everyone went on together. It was fun to wander through the park together. B and I were focused on identifying plants and other features from his Junior Ranger Book. The older boys took a much more ambitious route up the falls. Grandma waded with Zane & M (also daring). Mostly, we had a grand old time and headed back to the cabin for dinner. People started leaving about this time, but not to fear there is a big Dotter family photo and a group breakfast for some of us the next morning.
|Dotter Rocky Mountain Reunion 2013|
It was a great trip and everything went about as well as planned. The trip back was a little rough as M vomited 30 minutes down the mountain which required clean up with very few tools and a bit closer timing of our flight (which was ultimately quite delay and we had left 30 minutes earlier than anticipated).
Overall, I loved it and hope we do it again--both the family gathering and the visiting the mountains. It had been a long time since I'd been to the mountains and they were as amazing as ever and sharing that with our family was wonderful.