Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Colorado Vacation

Way back in September, we took time to slow down and breathe in some cooler, fresher air in mountains of Colorado. From the moment we stepped off the plane and felt the crisp breeze through our hair, we all three felt alive. It was that burst of frisky energy that comes with the season's first cool front. That weather that perks you up and makes your cheeks pink. Beautiful. Perfect weather.
A top pick for best Robinson III family vacations. Not only because it was a cooler forecast compared to the humid 100s in Houston, but because we shared it with some of our very best friends. There are few people that I want to spend a 5 day vacation with in this world... but the Kerr family is certainly on our list. We have a very special bond starting all the way back to two Sigma Chi's at Texas aTm. They are pretty special to our little family. We are so blessed that our journeys have gone in a similar direction and that we are getting to experience some of the best times of our lives with such amazing people.
With projects ramping up at the office, daycare worries of new classroom starts, family news, and everyday life stresses... we needed to getaway and relax. I think that is why I loved this vacation so much. It was complete and total relaxation with no formal agenda (other than a 5K) and tons and tons of laughter and happiness.
At 4:45am, our vacation began with 6 large suitcases, two carseats, two Bob strollers and several carry-on backpacks full of activities meant to entertain 2 toddlers for a 3 hour flight. We were so smart and booked the 8am flight in which we had to arrive at the airport 2 hours early due to check-in. Ben and Bill transformed into pack mules carrying a carseat on their back, pushing a stroller all while balancing as many suitcases as possible. (We told people we were vacationing for a month to counteract the crazy stares!) Two $9.99 planes, breakfast bagels from Einsteins and a caffeine fix later, we arrived at our gate in one piece. Ashley and I brought a large variety of toys and movies for the boys, but it was that $9.99 plane that saved the day!
I am pretty sure that the people sitting around us were annoyed at two monkeys and loud whooshing landing gear of the toy planes... but hey, it could have been worse! (The planes mimicked take off and landing noises when their button was pushed... genius)
I have to admit I was pretty nervous about the flight, but Liam loved the "Big Ah-Pane" and continues to tell everyone about his ride with mommy... Even though daddy rode along with us!
The boys did an incredible job. The big and little boys. They loaded a fully packed suburban and latched two car seats. We only lost one bag in the process!
When we arrived at The Elk, I was blown away. It was an episode out of Extreme Home Makeover since our last visit. Corinne and Billy did an amazing job and turned their dreams for this Trail West home into a reality. Corinne's crockpot dinner sent such a wonderful aroma throughout the house as we took the grand tour. The Robinson III Family stayed in the luxurious West wing...

Then we heard the revving engine coming from the front on the house... A forewheeler! Noah could not have been more excited.
We spent the rest of the evening letting the boys run up and down the deck to wear off a three hour plane ride and 4 hour car journey. I stood outside and took it all in to the background music of tiny runny feet and giggles. The fattened blue jays, the phantom squirrels, and the chipmunks fed on the back porch while we stared in awe of them. The view of the mountains and trees were breathtaking. Liam kept pointing and saying "Cowkains" over and over again. It was a page out of a magazine. A majestic view and photographer's paradise.
 We started a real fire and got the boys ready for bed in their matching footed pajamas that Corinne bought them. Story time with Ashley is so much fun!
The next morning, we were in for a very special treat. Despite a minor car sickness episode, we made it to the chipmunk side of the mountain. I could never have imagined the joy that small chipmunks and a bag of sunflower seeds would bring. We had the entire wood pile to ourselves and all the attention of these awesome little creatures.
We covered the boys with seeds and let the chipmunks do the rest!
Noah was clearly a pro at this!
And it didn't take long for Liam to pick up on the fun!
The chipmunks were not shy of the camera and didn't mind posing in a few family shots!
There were chipmunks everywhere! A trip highlight for sure!
There was lunch at a local favorite, shirt pickups, swingset fun and naps to follow. But that evening was meant for smores! 
Billy set the firepit and we all gathered round in a marshmallow roasting competition. The perfect recipe for a swelled center and carmel toasted pillow that melted over the chocolate when pressed between two graham cracker sides.
The kind of sticky goodness to lick your fingers for!
And who wouldn't love a toddler sandwich?
Night two of the matching pajamas and some couch wrestling made for some pretty cute boys!
And it was okay that we ate a second helping of dessert because we were racing the next morning. Talk about nature and all her glory... when we stepped out of the car at the starting line, a perfectly formed rainbow greeted us and stayed long enough for a few photos! I think Liam said it best with his gasping "WOW!"
It was a special race for Corinne and we were all happy to support her.
While Billy took 2nd place and Ben and Ashley came in close to the top... Bill and I took a brisk walk approach. I thought of a million excuses for why we came in towards the back of the pack. Because we were not used to the altitude, or because I had just gotten over bronchitis, or because I was pushing the stroller. But the truth is that we were just plain out of shape. The fat, bearded guy pushing his jogger made a run for it at the end... but NO WAY was that gonna happen. So, Bill and I took off in a sprint for the last leg... Take that old man!
The after party was filled with dancing, pasta bars, oranges and awards.
 After naps, Corinne took us up to the Young Life ranch to ride a pony, Cheese. (As in Mac n' Cheese.. so cute) After attempting to ride a pony at the rodeo last year, I was cautiously optimistic. Clearly no need.
He took to the saddle like a pro!
The experience of a private family pony ride amongst a mountain backdrop is a memory to last a lifetime. This opportunity doesn't come around often and we were beyond grateful to the Popelka's and the Kerr's.
Liam and Noah did not stop smiling.
It was the perfect afternoon.
We pet sheep and met princess the pig.
We stood eye to eye with a real donkey and practiced our "hee haw."
Then we got to feed the larger horses. That poor horse. Liam kept trying to put his finger up his huge nostril to which the horse would blow and shake turning Liam into a fit of laughter. We fed him and stroked the bridge of his forehead. He was so patient with Liam and very kind to allow us to get so close.

There is something so quietly magical about gazing into a horses eyes. They are animals of such strength and yet so gentle.  These gentle giants that interact with such tiny hands.
It makes me wonder what it would be like to live in the mountains and have horses and other farm animals.
To have a wagon jungle gym in our front yard!
To experience so much more of what nature has to offer. To have seasons. To feed deer and birds and rabbits and turkeys and horses and bears for that matter all behind a painted skyline of purple mountains and rainbows!
To roast marshmallows under the stars...
And run while the sunshine dances in our hair. I am pretty fond of our home in Houston, but a yearly mountain visit or two is going on the books.
It was a much needed vacation spent with an amazing family. Memories sure to last a lifetime.

1 comment:

  1. Great trip with great friends. Thanks to the kerrs.