We are in the process of driving back from our first family vacation, a time of 24-7 togetherness unlike we’ve ever experienced. (Always good togetherness, but some times more challenging than others.)
First we got up at 5am and drove across Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska. It all looked mostly like this. We stayed overnight in North Platte, Nebraska, and got out of there as soon as we could, because we were on our way to Longmont, Colorado, to visit…
The Janssens! Sara & I met online in 2006 when I saw a post on Mothering about their little Des Moines apartment, and I emailed her to say we should be friends. (Not the sort of thing I normally do, but I really really liked her blog and thoughtshewassocool.) We wrote letters and emailed and when she and her family went on the road in 2007, they stopped at our house and we have kept in touch ever since.
I was so happy to get to spend 48 hours with this dynamic family– talking about Twitter, our weddings, visiting book stores, eating Thai, drinking tea, and sleepin’ in the sweet RV. Matt, Chad, and I even had a little End Times chat, which was interesting (really!). Oliver fell in love with Bella and chased her around, and I fell in love with little Lucy and her little voice. We also visited the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder (smells like tea heaven), and the flagship REI in Denver.
I left inspired and full and so grateful for our time together.
We spent the rest of our time in Colorado Springs, in a little rented house that turned out to be just perfect for us. We hit the King Soopers (what a silly name for a grocery store!) for some food to make at “home” to supplement our dining out and keep ourselves within budget. Each day was full and we did all the touristy things that families do on vacation. I felt like a cliche at times, but we were together so who cares?
One of the reasons we chose Colorado for our vacation was because Chad has great memories of going there twice with his family as a child. One of the things he remembers most is going to the Flying W Ranch, eating an authentic cowboy meal, and watching the Flying W Wranglers perform. Cowboy music. Mmmmboy. So Oliver, obviously being a cowboy himself, was very excited about the cowboy dinner and probably thought it was the only thing we drove 18 hours to see. We made sure to pack his boots, jeans, button down, belt, and cowboy hat, all for this dinner. I even ironed his shirt beforehand. That’s love, folks.
And? It was a nice evening. Chad enjoyed it. Oliver loved it. I know because he was very serious through the whole thing. Here’s the funny: all the “cowgirls” (waitresses) were wearing cowgirl hats, but not all of them were wearing cowgirl boots, and this detail bothered Oliver so much that every time one of them walked by, he turned around and looked down to see what kind of shoes she was wearing, but it looked like he was checking out her backside. This mama noticed and smiled, because I knew what he was thinking.
Our last day in Colorado, we visited Pike’s Peak. I was not hip to the idea at all, having had nightmares of losing control of my vehicle on mountain roads since before I could drive, but Chad promised we didn’t have to drive all the way up, and he really wanted to go. As soon as we started I wanted to throw up, but I kept my eyes on the not-plunge-to-your-death-side, and set my jaw.
Well we made it to the halfway point. We ate our picnic lunch, took several photos, and–just to prove how down with it I was, I peed in a pit toilet at nearly 10,000 feet altitude. (No photo of that. I was terrified I was going to lose my sunglasses or something.)
Oliver and I both voted to not drive any farther up, so back down we went, at 18 miles per hour in first gear. We made it, I made it, we did it. Yay us! I have no desire to do that ever again.
And tomorrow we’ll begin our journey homeward. I’m sure I’ll come up with a more introspective post about being away from home, being together, a journey, an adventure, a friendship, etc, but that might take a while to process. Just wanted to let you know what we’ve been up to, and share some of our Colorado photo love. See the rest of our photos (you know you want to) here.