Thursday, July 19, 2012

Denver



We spent our first full day in Denver enjoying each others' company and recovering from our road trip with an epic number of bathroom stops (whoever it was that told me potty-trained life is easier than diapers has never driven cross-country with a three-year-old). I loved getting to just talk with my grandparents and catch up on life. 
On Sunday, we hiked with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin in Rocky Mountain National Park, and got to see the oldest pine tree in the state of Colorado. I LOVE being in the mountains, and it was a great opportunity to just talk and laugh together.
I was very impressed with Elliot's ability to do the whole hike with us, but that wasn't nearly as impressive as my grandma doing it. I hope I'm that awesome at her age. 
We met up with Rob's mom, Cristie and her family, Steve and his wife Brooke, and his Aunt and two cousins at the Children's Museum in Denver. Denver has a fantastic children's museum, and we had a great time playing together. My highlight was watching the kids play with their uncles. Steve would chase them around and get them squealing with laughter, and Emily and Brendan made up an awesome fish fighting game where they'd swing around their "fishing poles" and try to knock the stuffed fish off each other's poles. She laughed so hard, and it was really funny to watch.
 :) We sure wore my dad out on this trip. He fell asleep in the middle of the children's museum, which is saying something because he's not one to nod off in public places. Thanks, mom and dad, for doing so many exhausting things to give us a great trip.
  
The next day, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. I can proudly say I have now held a tarantula. Elliot's favorites were the turtle and the bird. Emily's was the play area (isn't that always how it goes?).

It was really fun watching everyone interact. When we went to the McDonalds playplace afterwards, Elliot and Abraham sat in a playhouse and just happily screamed together. My shy Emily was very excited to tell her oldest cousin, Sam, about what she was thinking about. Emily loved roaring like a lion at her uncle Brendan. Good times.

I felt like the vacation was the perfect blend of fun activities, down time, and time to just chat. We loved it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fun things in Omaha

We only spent three full days in Omaha, but we packed in some great stuff...

We drove over to have dinner with my Iowa grandma. It had been about three years since she saw Emily (which neither of them could remember) and had never met Elliot, so she really enjoyed getting to spend some time with them. I feel bad that we had just gotten off the plane, and well, I have shy kids, so they didn't interact with her very much. But my grandma got the biggest kick out of watching their giggly running and jumping around, and their messy ice cream eating. And I really enjoyed getting to talk to her and pick her brains about life with young children. My mom said that my grandma was crying happy tears when she walked her back to her room in the nursing home, and was telling everyone that she was so happy she got to take her great grandchildren to Burger King.
No visit to Omaha is complete without a visit to the zoo. We enjoyed riding the carousel, "digging for fossils," watching the bears eat celery and cantaloupe, and seeing giraffes (which are a novelty, as DC doesn't have them).
My highlight of the zoo was watching my dad and Emily play-banter about her cookies. My dad would do this awesome cookie monster "me so hungry" routine and beg for cookies, and Emily would laughingly taunt him with them and then take them away.
Omaha has re-done part of its waterfront, and it is lovely. My brother Doug took us there, and the kids played in the splash pad for over an hour. I loved getting to walk across the pedestrian bridge with my brother and just catch up.
 So happy and so wet.

My parents took us to Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, and it was a blast. My kids love hiking, so they thoroughly enjoyed getting to walk around the trails. They have a big tree house there, too, which my kids enjoyed exploring.
The farm also had a great play area with drums and xylophones to play, a water feature you could send pine cones racing down, a small tree house to play in, and other fun stuff. It also had delicious apple cider.


It is hard to see in this picture that Elliot is playing in grandma's kiddie pool, but easy to see that he loved it! Emily still asks when she'll get to play in the Zebra pool again.

I also got to have dinner with my fabulous friend, Jen, who I hadn't seen for years. 

I'm glad I was able to pack in fun things with fun people who I don't see nearly often enough.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Time Together

We got back a few days ago from a fantastic vacation. At first, we thought we were just going to see my grandparents in Denver. Then my parents offered to road trip with us to Denver if we flew in to Omaha and stayed a few days, so I got to see my parents, older brother, and another grandma. Then Rob's mom, two of his siblings, and the seven children/spouses associated with them asked if they could drive down to meet us in Denver. Then, as we were driving to Denver, my younger brother called and said he got tickets off priceline and he'd meet us in Denver that night. Then an uncle and his two kids (unaware I was coming that week) decided to visit my grandparents at the same time. Wow! I gained 18 family member visits off all that slick maneuvering. It was a vacation packed with fun activities and lots of family, and I loved almost every minute (it isn't a real vacation unless somebody barfs, right?).

We did lots of fun and exciting things that I hope I'll get time to write about, but the best part of the vacation was just enjoying the company of people I love and don't get to see nearly as often as I'd like to. I crave the sound of my children laughing with their uncles, or those moments where my mom and I laugh so hard we cry. So, with no related text, and being far too lazy to make it into a nice collage or something, here are some pictures of us having a great time together:















*PS - I'm sorry to my readers in the Omaha/Denver area I didn't see. As you can see, we had a very jam-packed vacation, and I couldn't see everybody I would have liked to. Next time!