So I am a little obsessed with Colorado. Some (my husband) might say I’m extremely obsessed. Growing up, my grandparents loved it and we camped with them in Cripple Creek, and then my parents carried on the tradition and almost every year we spent at least a week up in the Leadville or Breckenridge area riding bikes, hiking, fishing (dad fished – we distracted him and scared the fish away), and loving time together as a family.
Colorado has a smell – a delicious pine-scented, rainy, smoke-from-a-campfire smell that some days I wake up and I just need to inhale (like a wonderful and not-unhealthy-at-all addiction :)). And the 70 degree mornings and sweaters in the evening, even in summer, don’t hurt at all.
When Justin married me, he had no idea what he was in for. Seriously. I love that place. He says it is where I want to go on every vacation, and I have no defense against that truth. When my brother and sister-in-law moved there, the love grew. When they had precious twins, it grew exponentially, and when I had kids who adore time with their kids, it exploded into an unmanageable force.
Bekah loving hour 12 of the road trip
Justin and I had a few catastrophic trips to Colorado early in our marriage (we tend to attract natural disasters when we travel there – did I mention that?) and so he has never seen or experienced the Colorado that I love. He’s experienced blizzard Colorado twice and snowed-in with a stomach virus Colorado one lovely Christmas.
This year – we were determined to remedy that, break the curse, and take a summer family vacation. As the date drew near though – Justin’s work schedule seemed to close in while mine opened up, so I asked my sister to join me and off we went, two children under 5 in tow.
(By the way – Justin not being allowed to go ended up being the grace of God when one of his closest friends very unexpectedly passed away the day we left for the trip. We were so grateful Justin was able to attend our friend’s homecoming celebration and say goodbye to the man who was such a light in his life. Even in things like this – God is faithful and He knows what we need.)
So my sister and I piled into a car with entirely too much luggage, determined to make this a memorable experience for the kids like our trips were when we were young.
And I think we achieved memorable. Exhausting, but memorable.
We hiked a small mountain. We went to the amazing YMCA facility in Estes and it was beautiful. As you can see from the photo, hiking was more strenuous on some than others.
We camped (me and the girls sharing a futon in a tent, which really deserves an entirely separate blog post for the funny parts, but the sweet parts included me hearing Grace sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in the dead of night in her sleep and the multiple times I had to get up and move Bekah back onto the Futon because she had scooted off). I was quite busy that night. We quickly realized that camping with kids is SUPER fun… for the kids. For the adults, it’s a ton of hard work and maybe the most strenuous sleep-over ever, where you don’t really sleep at all. This gives me a new appreciation for my parents and grandparents. They made it look so easy!
Sweet Bek off the futon - onto the pillow I placed after the 2nd time I heard a thud.
We swam, and swam, and swam. Joe and Lori live in the plains just East of the mountains so you can see, from their house and the neighborhood pool, an incredible view of the Rocky Mountains. It was amazing. I cannot imagine living with that as my view every day (although it is my most sincere prayer that someday I would discover that reality for myself. Please Lord!) Brody and Annabelle are absolute fish, swimming underwater and bravely learning more everyday. Grace wanders around the pool in her floaty swimwear, meeting friends and swimming/floating by herself, and Bekah terrifies every adult in sight by thinking she can swim by herself when she cannot, in fact, do anything but sink like a rock.
Aunt Jess being soaked (the kids' favorite game in the pool)
We went to an amusement park and rode bumper cars, go-carts and bumper boats, went down a huge slide, played games, collected tickets for awesome prizes, and had a wonderful time.
We ate like kings, thanks to Joe and Lori’s amazing cooking, and laughed until we hurt.
Spidey-Brody and Spidey-Grace rescuing Princess Annabelle
It was a great trip, very much the Colorado I am obsessed with. Family, fresh air, God’s amazing creation, and not taking anything too seriously. It was everything I love about that incredible place and was good for my soul. Again Colorado was the gift to my heart that the Lord knew I needed.
Now we just have to work on getting Justin Wells up there to experience it… sans natural disaster or traumatic illness. Until then, Colorado and the Colorado Sims family, we love you dearly and are grateful for every second we got to enjoy your company. We will see you again soon, I promise…
The four wonderful kids eating ice cream in Estes Park