Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vacation - Day Three

For our next day of vacation, we spent the day outside enjoying the scent of the pine trees, the crisp mountain air and exploring our surroundings.

Ethan loves playing outside, digging in the dirt and making construction sites with his toys. Check out his dirty face and the shirt that perfectly describes my little boy's philosophy on life.

Some scenery shots from our walks around the lake.

After our nature hike, we headed into the small village of Red Feather Lakes, CO. The little town features a post office, old-fashioned general store, library, lodge, and a hardware store.

This hardware store is for sale. Anyone want to lend me some money so that Jim could run a hardware store and I could permanently live in this beautiful part of the world?

To finish our day, we had smores in either the outside campfire or indoor fireplace every night. I think I may have turned into a fluffy marshmallow by the time we left. I ate my weight in roasted marshmallows during vacation.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vacation - Day Two

We started our second day of vacation waking up in Denver and then hitting the road to drive the 1.5 hours to Red Feather Lake, CO. My Uncle Bill owns this cabin, Mason's Mountain Splendor, on Snake Lake and this would be our home for the next couple of days for our mountain adventure.

Mason's Mountain Splendor

We stopped on our way in Fort Collins to pick up groceries and supplies for our stay in the wilderness. Fort Collins has really grown since the last time that I can remember driving through the town. Jim and I were really impressed by the town and we are already talking about needing to spend some time exploring that town next time we are in that neck of the woods.

I also stopped at the Whole Foods store in Fort Collins. I've always wanted to shop at one of those stores but have never had the opportunity living out here in the middle of no where. I had a lot of fun looking at all the specialty food products that I've heard about but have never seen in person. I only spent $20 which is a huge testament to my self control and trying to vacation on a tight budget.

As soon as we arrived in Red Feather Lake, I was taken back to my childhood. My parents use to co-own the cabin until I was about five years old. We would usually spend about six weeks each summer staying at the cabin when I was a little girl. I love that everything has pretty much stayed the same in this little mountain village. It is a beautiful location that almost seems like it has been untouched by time and remains a simple, rustic retreat in the mountains.

One of the many lakes in Red Feather, Snake Lake, located immediately in front of our cabin.

View from the dining room of the cabin.
Perfect location for eating our breakfast in the morning and watching the sun rise. Breathtaking!

Living room fireplace in the cabin.

We quickly unpacked the truck and we were anxious to head out on our first adventure. We explored the hiking trails behind the cabin first and did lots of rock climbing. Ethan really impressed us with his ability to walk for miles and climb up the rock formations. Those are some strong little legs! Sometimes, my heart would race as my little baby scampered up the high rocks but he did an amazing job of being both careful and adventurous.

Little fort that we found. Perfect play spot for a little boy.

Beautiful views for miles and the dogs loved all the hiking.

Those little legs finally grew tired so he hitched a ride on top of Daddy's shoulders.

We had so much fun climbing, hiking and just taking in the scenery our first day at the lake. The cabin sleeps eight people - who's up for joining us next time?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vacation - Day One, Cont.

After unpacking at the hotel and letting the dogs out, we headed for our first adventure on our vacation. My cousin, Sarah, had provided me with a list of great places to check out in Denver with a three year old tourist. We decided to start with the Denver Museum of Natural History.

It was hard to get Ethan to slow down and look at the displays after being cooped up in a car for six hours but we all really enjoyed looking at the dinosaur bones and the different animal exhibits. I also found the Egyptian exhibit extremely interesting.

The museum features a hands-on children's room that was the biggest hit for our little adventurer. We were able to dig up dinosaur bones, build forts and play with lots of different puzzles and other activities for little hands.

Following the museum, we had dinner at the Olive Garden. It may be a chain restaurant, but we love it and there isn't one located anywhere near us. Ethan and I shared an order of a new seasonal special of Pear & Gorgonzola Cheese Ravioli. It was a very unique flavor combination and pretty good. I don't know if I would order it again but it was worth trying once.

After filling up on the pastas, breadsticks and salad, we headed over to Boondocks to check out their arcade. Ethan and Jim enjoyed playing some games and we didn't get back to the hotel until 10 p.m. - very late for our little one. But what's vacation if you don't stay up late playing?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Vacation - Day One

Last week, we headed away from our rural Kansas home for a much needed retreat and vacation. We drove the five hours, through the very flat lands of western KS and eastern CO, until we reached the Colorado mountains and stopped for the night in Denver, CO. It's always a fun game to see who can spot the mountains first as they start coming into focus over the open plains.

We stayed at the Aloft Hotel in Denver and we were very impressed. We were able to get the room for around $70 and the hotel offered many amenities. I thought it was a great deal!

We brought our dogs with us, a Golden Retriever and Beagle, and it was our first time traveling with our pets. The hotel was very pet friendly and we probably saw 20+ other dogs on the property.

Nice flat screen TV on the wall.

Very comfortable beds with nice, thick down comforters to curl up under.

Large bathroom with plenty of storage space and a huge, glass shower.

Outside sitting area.

The hotel also featured an indoor pool, workout room and computer area. I used the gym the next morning, while waiting for Jim and Ethan to wake up. I really enjoyed the workout facilities! Each piece of equipment had its' own TV in the monitor screen and that really helped my morning workout fly by.

After checking into our hotel, we headed out in the afternoon for a little adventure while we were in Denver for the day. I'll cover that outing in my next post.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Backyard Camping

For Memorial Day weekend, Ethan and I headed out to our backyard for a mommy & son camping adventure. This is our second year of this tradition, since Jim typically will work the Memorial weekend for the sheriff's department.

Of course, we had to roast marshmallows and make smores...I love smores!

Ethan dressed himself this day, so ignore the interesting outfit choice.

Best part of camping in the backyard - being able to go inside and wash up from the sticky marshmallow goo.

Jim came into the tent for a little story telling before he had to leave for work for the night.

We read many fairytales from a classic fairytales book that I picked up at the Dusty Bookshelf when we were in Manhattan last weekend. The original fairytales are sort of scary, so I guess this could count as our version of ghost stories.

Once we were ready to settle down for the night, Ethan received a glow stick. This little treat was by far the highlight of the camping experience. In his eyes, it was a magical wand and he just loved it. He was so disappointed in the morning when he realized that it no longer glowed.

The next day, we went out to the Phillipsburg and Kirwin cemeteries to deliver flowers and remember our loved ones. I was really disappointed that the local cemeteries are no longer holding Memorial Day ceremonies due to lack of interest. Just doesn't seem right to not have a service on Memorial Day.