CO Day 4: July 4 Is Best Spent Under a Blanket

For two years in a row, we have managed to schedule our vacations around July 4th. Because it's hotter than hades here, we enjoy cooler air during that holiday. I would much rather bundle up than strip down. The latter might scare everyone.

We were in Salida this fourth. We heard of a good fireworks show at "S" mountain.
We went early enough to grab a good spot on the San Juan River. Actually, we had the best seat in the city.

Rick grabbed pizzas and drinks for us to enjoy while we waited four hours for the show. FOUR HOURS! I have never been that early to a fireworks show. Actually, I've never been that early to anything in all my life.

But the boys were entertained with "cheers"...
and daredevils such as this:
Apparently, kayakers from all over the world come here to throw themselves into a forward flip. That just sounds plain crazy to me, but it was good entertainment nonetheless.

And by dark, we needed our jackets and blankets. Yippee!!!
Even Winston was cold.
But he was a good sport and didn't run away during the scary fireworks. He's such a mommy's boy that he never left my feet.

I think even Winston would agree that July 4th is better under a blanket.

An Interruption

I must interrupt this play-by-play of our family vacation to show photos of what a monumental day yesterday was.

My big baby, Liam, age 7, got braces.

(The photo is blurry, because my cell phone camera is rather unpredictable. Yes, Jennifer, I forgot my real camera. Gasp!)

Let me just say that the white contraption pictured above was used to keep his lips away from his teeth. Whatever it's called, I would pay gold to bring it home with us. Because he was in that thing for at least 30 minutes and couldn't speak, he fell asleep! I love that child dearly, but the silence was golden.

The newness hasn't worn off, so he's still excited about them. Thankfully, he's not too sore, but that will be remedied next week, when he goes back for more torture in the form of having an expander put in. Ouch!

I can't believe he's growing up so quickly! Where did my little peanut go? Before I know it, he'll be a teenager!

Day3: He Promised Not to Kill Us

Rick has busyness in his blood. (Some might call it hyperactivity.) One of the best ways to wear that man out is to allow him a hike. He woke up restless on day three, and I knew what was coming. He needed to hike, and a leisurely stroll wasn't going to cut it.

Only his family rebelled. My leg was achy, and all the boys could envision was another death trap similar to day one.

I offered to let him hike by himself, the kind selfless woman that I am. Perhaps he noticed my fingers were crossed when I offered or that the children were already running circles around me at 7am, but he had mercy on my soul and cut a deal with me.

We compromised with an "easy" hike for everyone. ("Easy" will no longer be a word that I take lightly when describing hikes. A hike will no longer be categorized as "easy" without apostrophes until I've hiked it myself.)

(And let me further clarify that I am not a hiking wimp! I'm certainly not a burly mountain woman either. I fall somewhere between. There is a happy medium there.)

Rick chose the Continental Divide Trail for us.

It was downright cold up there, and Liam had forgotten his jacket at the cabin. He had a great economics lesson with buying his own sweatshirt in the gift shop.

"Mommy, this hoodie cost $30! Now, I only have $20 left!" Welcome to reality, son.

The hike was pretty, and we stayed on an "easy" trail. (It was truly easy.)
These two characters still grumbled, but at least we never had to carry them.
Photo opp in front of Rick's favorite mountain, Mt. Shavano:
Even Winston hiked with us. He's a burly mountain dog for sure.

And we found a patch of dirty snow.
Texans just can't help themselves when they see snow in July. After a snowball fight, we all made it down the mountain without any death or injury.

Later in the day, Rick asked Jack to clean up our shoes at the cabin, and this is what we found.
Thank you, little man.

CO Day 2: No Need to Send Me Home

After our near-death experience, Rick knew better than to ask us to hike on day two. Instead, we drove to Crested Butte. As soon as I got out of the car, I knew it would be a good day and there was no need to ever go home.
If you've never spent a summer day at a ski resort, you are missing out. Most ski resorts are open for hiking, biking, eating, and hosting kids' activities.

My leg was actually hurting quite a bit from falling the day before, so Rick assured me this was a day to relax in the mountains. I wore flip flops to hold him to it.

I do love my mountain man. (As a side note, today is our eleventh anniversary. Happy anniversary, Rick!)

And we love our little mountain men.
We rode the chair lift and enjoyed the views from the top.
Then, we rode back down so that the boys could try the different activities.

There was bungee jumping. Liam perfected the back flip.
Jack really, really tried.
Garrett didn't try, but he was content to simply jump.
They also tried the climbing wall. Little man made it about halfway up before he slipped and came flying back down. He might have been a little exasperated.
Liam was just inches away from the top, when he looked down and said, "I can't do it!" I tried to get him to give it one more reach, but he was sure he couldn't make it.
Garrett was certain he could make it, but he only made it a couple steps.
Maybe next year.

After lunch, the boys played mini golf, which was the best activity of the day. Rick and I sat in adirondack chairs and watched them play from a distance. They were happy with their game. We were happy with our rest in the sun.
Home? Who needs it?

CO Day 1: We Made It Out Alive

We just returned from a seventeen-day vacation in Colorado, my beloved mountain state. It was glorious.

We began the trip by staying in a cabin in Garfield, CO. Liam is a Garfield comic lover, so he was thrilled to find this sign.
He also thinks his mom rocks.
Oh, yes, she does.

I believe it was our first day when we took a hike that was supposed to be beautiful and easy.

Beautiful...yes. Easy...not so much. Let's just say that we had to carry Jack, Garrett and Winston at various times. And we had to give the boys pep talks, such as, "You can do this. Yes, you can. And our family will remain intact. Oh, yes, it will."
Yes, I was smiling at that point.

But that was before a storm started chasing us down the mountain, which led Garrett to cry. "We might die! I don't wanna die," he whaled.

I decided I better carry him on my back or else he might curl up under a boulder. Shortly after picking him up, I tripped on a rock and cut my leg open. Then, his whaling became, "My mommy's gonna die! I don't want her to die!"

I had to tell him to get a grip and start walking. And then I began yelling for Rick. "Thanks for leaving me to die! I don't need any help! I've got it under control!"

I don't know where Garrett gets his theatrics. But let it be known that I did not cry a single tear.

Rick high-tailed it back to us, and we all made it back to the car without death.

I've never been so happy to see my car in all my life.

But yes, that hike was beautiful.

Julie your heart out!

Raindrops on aspens and
whiskers on Winston.
These are a few of my favorite things.

Can you add lines to fit a 17-day Colorado vacation for a family of 5 and their dog?