Colorado, a colossal post

I thought about spreading this out over several posts, but I figure it's nearly been a month and we're leaving for Hawaii in two days, and I really want to get this blogged, so here is a huge post about our vacation in Colorado.  You might want to grab a cup of coffee, or a drink or something, because this is as long as it gets for me friends :)

Now being the photographer that I am, I have to mention that I took all of these with my backup camera because I sent in my good one to Canon for some repairs.  Thus, the quality is good, but not quite my norm ;)

We drove to Colorado for a week.  Yup, we drove with a 2 and 4 year old because we're crazy like that ;)  I grew up doing this since my parents are both from Colorado, so this trip is quite nostalgic for me.

We drove 10 hours the first day and stayed in Grand Junction.  The kids actually did really well and we only stopped and let them get out of the car twice!  Thank goodness for DVD players!  The hotel was really nice and roomy.  Our kids were quite excited to stay in a hotel :)  The next morning we hit the road and enjoyed a gorgeous drive through the Rockies.  Seriously one of my favorite drives.  It's beautiful.

We stopped for a few pictures in Glenwood Canyon.  I was wishing so bad that I could go white water rafting.  One day I will!

We arrived at my grandparent's house after about 5 more hours of driving.  We were very happy to arrive at our destination and oh so happy to see my sweet grandparents.

Our first day in Colorado we spent the day in Estes Park and Rocky National Mountain Park.  This was probably my favorite day just because I am a nature lover and this place is right up my alley.  I also took the most pictures on this day. Oh my, is this place seriously gorgeous.  It has to be one of the most beautiful places I've been.  I just wanted to soak it all up. We packed a picnic and then hiked up a tiny trail to view this amazing waterfall. 

 Alayna was quite excited to have her own soda (a first for her).  Gotta love her orange mustache :)
While eating lunch I decided to show Ethan how to take a picture with my camera.  Might seem a little foolish to let a 4 year old use an L-series lens, lol.  However he did pretty good and had fun snapping a few pictures on the trip.

 He took these two pictures of Matt and I :)

Ethan took this picture

We went back down into Estes Park for some ice cream and a little break. Here are Ethan and Alayna with my Papa and Grandma (my dad's parents).  This is the ONLY picture I got of the four of them :(

Another picture courtesy of Ethan.  I love my little photog in training :)  Makes me proud!

We then headed over to the Gondolas.  Ethan has been fascinated with gondolas because we have a magnet with a picture of one from Mammoth.  He was sooooooooo excited to come across one and so we just had to take the kids up in it :)  He actually didn't care much at all for the view, he was just super excited to ride in the actual gondola.  It ended up being his very favorite part of vacation.

We were hoping so very badly to see elk, and finally at the end of the day, my Papa and Grandma took us to an area where they usually spot elk.  It did not disappoint.  We came upon a whole herd of mama's and babies.  They were right along a trail in a creek, and we got to walk right up near them.  It was so cool and totally made my day.  On the way out of the park we also spotted 4 males resting on the side of the road.  I was sooooooooo bummed I didn't bring along a zoom lens, all I had was my 35mm fixed lens.

Is this not gorgeous????  I wanted to stay there all day, or at least hike around or bike or something!  Unfortunately I had crabby children who didn't quite see the same beauty that I did :)  Perhaps in time?  I too remember being one of those antsy children who had seen enough of the mountains :)

One of the days we headed out to the country to my Aunt Karri's house.  She lives in the country and has a little bit of property and some animals.  She is a total animal lover.  I was super bummed because I forgot to bring my camera with us, but I did capture some fun pictures with my phone for Instagram :)

The kids loved seeing all her animals (as did I, I'm an animal lover as well).  She had the coolest chickens you'll ever see.  She also had a couple of donkeys, a horse, some geese, and some goats.  Alayna actually got to ride on one of the goats for a bit, and she thought that was great.  My cousins Kyle and Kevin were kind enough to let Ethan play with all their "big boy toys", which he though were awesome.

I love this Instagram picture of Ethan and my Grandma, taken while we were watching my cousin Kyle play baseball :)

We hung out at my grandparent's house a lot. They were so sweet and accommodating to let us stay with them and to feed us delicious food!  It was so nice to spend time with them.

Alayna snuggling with my Papa.

 Alayna and my Aunt Karri.  It was bedtime for the kids and I realized I needed some pictures, hence the jammies and wet hair.

Me and the kids with my Aunt Karri and her boys Kyle and Kevin.  They were so sweet with my kids :)

We played Canasta one night (a first for me, and I lost miserably).  This is my cousin Kevin.

My cousin Kyle.

Ethan and my Aunt Kami and then Uncle Roger

One night my Aunt Karri and her boys came over for dinner and she read to my kids before bed.  Being that they hadn't napped all week and were up super late, Alayna actually fell asleep while my Aunt Karri was reading to them.  This is a first folks!  This kind of stuff DOES NOT happen with my kids!

Another highlight of the trip was beer tasting with my Aunt Kami and Uncle Roger.  They took us over to Oddell Brewery, where we got to sample a flight of beers and took a tour of the facilities.  It's always fun learning about the process of beer making and even more fun sampling the goods!

My Aunt Kami and Uncle Roger (Kami is my dad's youngest sister)

 Some freshly packaged beer coming off the line at Odell.

Fort Collins Brewery... I actually liked their beers a lot.  The Chocolate Porter was my favorite.

This dude was a trip.  He was totally wasted (who does that at a tasting room????).  He asked me to take his picture, then he asked us to listen to his music through his headphones (which we didn't), then later he asked us for a ride home!  haha.  We said no because we didn't have room in our car.

We did enjoy our flights :)  We purchased a few bottles and brought them home as well :)

When we came home my Uncle Roger smoked us up some DELICIOUS chicken breasts that were stuffed with very spicy peppers and wrapped in bacon with bbq sauce.  They were so yummy.

The next morning we headed on home.  Another loooooooooonnnnnggggg drive.  However the kids did their best this day.  They were very good and once again, thank goodness for DVD players! A few scenes from the road (I kept myself busy Instagraming pictures and reading my Kindle)...

We stayed the night in St. George.  We let the kids swim a bit before we went to bed.  That's the fun part about staying in a hotel, right?

The next morning we headed on home, and were very happy to arrive back to our house.  It's always nice to come home after being away.  All in all it was a very nice "trip".  I say trip because with little ones, it's not a vacation, however it was quite enjoyable.  We made some fun memories together and saw some beautiful scenery. 

If you read all the way to the end, well congratulations!  You deserve a metal or something ;)  This was only about 50 photos out of the 282 I processed (and I came home with 800), lol!


Annette said…
Where's my medal? :-) thanks for all the great pictures, I especially liked the ones Ethan took.
Crystal Keilers said…
Super bummed my computer is only loading half of the pics =(.

I'll come back later. xo
Crystal Keilers said…
It worked! I totally remember Kami and Roger! Her laugh is contagious.

That beer sounds and looks divine. Mmmmmm.
. said…
it looks like you had SUCH an amazing time... the pictures are amazing!!!
Kelly said…
How fun! I know we must have beautiful places at least similar to those around here. We need to keep exploring! That is so funny/cute that Ethan took such an interest in gondolas simply from a tiny magnet. :) Have sooooo much fun in Hawaii!!!!!
Christy said…
Yay I may it to the end! So fun!

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