Adam's dad moved there almost exactly 3 years ago. On a whim, I looked up airline tickets a couple of months ago and found they were quite affordable for us. So, we extended the boys' fall break and made a trip of it!
This was the first flight for the boys. There is something so fun about watching these guys take in new experiences. They were so enamored by everything. Navigating the airport. Pulling their luggage. The moving sidewalks. The takeoffs. The snacks on the plane. It was all very exciting for them and they did really well.
Adam's dad and wife live in Loveland, which is about an hour north of Denver.
The fun thing about Denver and the route up to Loveland is that they run parallel to the mountain range of the Rocky Mountains. As far as you can see in both directions you see the line of the mountain range. And if you look in the other direction, you see flatness. You are still at a really high altitude, but its a huge flat plain.
We enjoyed scoping out the Rocky Mountain National Park a bit on our first full day there. It is such a vast, huge area that we barely saw a drop in the bucket of it. Its crazy how much colder and windier it gets the higher you get. We mostly drove and would get out at different points to see a scenic view, but we did take a mile trail at one point. And I must say, my "worst case scenario" mind took several rampant runs at times. Why are there not more guard rails along the road?!?!?! And I'd start sweating when one of the boys would even lean up against a rail while the wind gusted around us. It even led me to later look up stats to see how many people die every year in the Rocky Mountains. Yes, I'm aware that I'm a bit morbid.
Anyways. Super majestic and beautiful scenery. Makes you feel quite small. Definitely a sight to behold. Here's some pics from that day:
On Saturday, we enjoyed a community event in the downtown Loveland area. Kids were in costume and there was lots of businesses with activities for kids. It was beautiful weather and our little guys had a lot of fun. Then Maria and I enjoyed some outlet mall shopping later in the afternoon. In the evening, I made us all try to go out and find a spot to watch the sunset.
On Sunday, we took the boys to a local church in the morning. We debated on whether or not we were going to attend church. We were completely open and willing to attend a Catholic Mass with Mark and Maria. And we were completely fine with just laying low and enjoying some rest time. But, we found a small-ish community church and showed up. We were really blessed. We love being in a ministry position in a church setting.....but its also really nice and freeing to just be able to show up somewhere and worship and take it all in. No expectations from us. No "agenda" running through my head of who I need to connect with or catch. No problem solving if a situation arises and needs attention. We were blessed by the music and message. And our boys have attended a number of churches over the years and do really well in new settings. And after lunch, we hiked a stretch of The Devil's Backbone. And then we checked out the historical Dam Store. And oh yeah, it was also Adam's 37th birthday!
On Monday, we headed to downtown Denver. Our boys are big fans of underwater creatures (especially Tate......No, Tate is not an underwater creature....he's the biggest fan of underwater creatures). There's an aquarium there and we have never taken the boys to an aquarium. And after doing some internet research, it turns out that if kids were in costume (since it was Halloween), they would get in FREE (normally $13.50/kid). There's also a restaurant inside of the aquarium where you eat beside big fish tanks. We had planned to do that also, even though I knew it was pretty pricey. Turns out that kids ate FREE on that day also (saving us another $7.50/kid). These people were speaking my language! The boys LOVED the aquarium. Since it was a Monday morning and area schools were in session, it was not busy at all. We then shed the costumes and walked to a local ice cream place and checked out a few other spots on the way. On our way out of Denver, we checked out the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Arsenal Refuge. It was free and we drove the 10 mile wildlife loop. It was hot and animals were pretty lazy, but we still saw a couple of bison, some deer, lots of prairie dogs, and a few birds of prey.
On Tuesday, we visited Maria at her workplace for a bit and said our goodbyes to her. Then we visited a local park and played for awhile. It was a great view of Lake Loveland and the moutainscape. For the rest of our day, we just worked on packing up, chilling, and gearing up for our evening flight.
|This is as close to mountain climbing as I got.|
Overall, it was a very good trip. Mix in some cooking of meals. Watching the World Series. Dealing with a 2-hour time difference. Trick or Treating. Gazing at mountains a lot. And well, that about sums it up.
Super grateful to have the chance to visit family. Having moved away from what was our "home" area for the last 13 years, we know it means a lot when people come to see you in your new digs! I'm very glad we made the point to take this trip and spend some time with Adam's dad and Maria.
Super grateful that God has given us such amazing different landscapes to have in our world. I'm sure the people that live in Colorado get used to the views, but I found myself trying to soak it all up.
And I'm also super grateful that we had this chance to take a trip in general. It was good "timing" to get away with a short lull in responsibilities lining up with a school break. I'm thankful that my budget-conscious mind was able to get past dropping the money for us to all fly. Plus, we've been busy and it was really good to get away as a family. I'm completely endeared to these 4 guys in my life and I love spending time with them.