Friday, August 16, 2013

The first family vacation

Brent, Audrey and I took our first family vacation several weeks ago. We went to Boulder to visit my good friend, Elizabeth. We braved a new environment, a new altitude and a 9-hour car ride.

Just based on the 2-hour car rides to visit Brent's parents, I wasn't optimistic. I was terrified and wondering if 4 days of fun was worth 2 days of, well, hell.

But Audrey shocked us both and was quite a delightful road trip companion. The most important distraction tool that I packed was snacks. Other successful things I packed included: the Kindle Fire with a movie downloaded on it, stickers, books, a V-Tech interactive book, her favorite stuffed animal, coloring book and crayons, and a few random things from the dollar section at Target.

Another thing that helped us was researching the drive and figuring out fun places to stop along the way. Because of Brent's upbringing and previous job, he is a Kansas town guru, so I was excited to find 3 attractions to visit that he hadn't heard of.

We visited the largest egg in Wilson, Kansas:

Did an off-roading adventure in Collyer, Kansas to see Castle Rock:

And stopped in Goodland, Kansas to see a very large easel and play in the park:

Once in Boulder, we toured the University of Colorado's campus and then had dinner at the local favorite, The Sink. The burgers were amazing.

The following day, we went to a park in the morning to help wear Audrey out a bit. Then we headed to Pearl Street to walk around and have lunch at Lindsay's Boulder Deli (the Ferris Brieller is so freaking good). Audrey was a huge fan of the splash fountain.

That night, Audrey was such a trooper staying up 90 minutes passed her bedtime. We ate at Tahona Tequila Bistro and then walked Pearl Street a little bit more. And Audrey was feeling like quite the big girl.

The following day, we drove to Estes Park, and took the air tram into the mountain to feed the chipmunks. Audrey was squealing with nonstop delight.

And the view was amazing too:

And you can't go to Estes without visiting the Stanley:

The next day, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park and enjoyed a walk around Sprague Lake.

And we had a moose visitor on our walk!

There was also a terrifying drive up a mountain on a one-way dirt road that happened. At least the view at the top was beautiful...and included a place for lunch.

If you are in the area and like visiting incredible churches – add St. Malo to your list. It was actually visited by the Pope in the late '90s.

On our last day, we went to Denver – and sadly, that's when Audrey and I started catching that lovely summer cold that's going around. I'm assuming this skewed Audrey's opinion of Red Rocks.

After a lunch where Audrey had the biggest meltdown ever, we just drove around Denver while this happened:

And then, of course, there was a trip to IKEA.

Even factoring in the colds (and the slightly rougher 9-hour drive home with a sick toddler), it was still a great trip. Sometimes I forget how much Audrey is actually capable of doing, and this was a nice reminder of all the fun non-baby things we can do with her.

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