Colorado 2015 | Day Seven + Eight

Monday | August 4 

{A day of going to the pool, Old Town, O'Dell, and Culvers :) }

Is this vacation update over yet, geesh?!? Plowing through in the name of being finished...

Porter is up at 12:45 am and is soaking wet because diapers aren't working well at night lately. I give him a bottle and change his clothes. Then he's up again at 2:15am and I want to die. I really cannot believe how awful he has slept here. The big kids are talking loudly before 7 am, then they release themselves from their room right when the clock is yellow. Nate goes upstairs with them because Truman and Cecelia are already fighting about ridiculous kid-things and need adult interference. I lay in bed willing myself to wake up. Finally do that at 7:20 and Porter is awake 7:30. Yawn, sigh, etc.


Pancakes!! Truman requested we make pancakes the other day so we had to make it happen on our last full day of vacation. Hang out, then the guys leave for golf at 8:15. Seriously, golfing four times during this trip is pretty incredible, no?





I get some 1:1 time with Porter as the bigs do a science experiment with Gogo. Porter loves the windmill thingy next door so we spend some time inspecting it and playing on the ground. Cecelia fell down the stairs this morning and I was very thankful they were of the carpeted variety instead of our solid wood stairs at home. I make Ports a bottle and lay him down at 9:15. When he's still quiet at 9:30 I go for a 3 mile run and felt amazing! 

Kids are having snacks and watching Jake when I return.  Cecelia is getting a keen sense of smell apparently and tells me, "I can smell that you're sweaty". Not sure that is really true but hustle into the shower anyway. I get the kids and our lunches all ready to take with us to the pool. My mom has a few friends that go to her Bible Study group and these moms are my age with little kids. Mom has told them my family was coming to Colorado and they wanted to meet up, offering to take us to the local pool in the neighborhood. The kids are super excited about this activity and I think it will be fun to meet some new mom friends who are my mom's friends.

Porter wakes at 10:45. Lindsey comes to get us at 11:15 and she follows me on Instagram so she feels like she already knows me and the kids and gives me a big hug immediately. She is outgoing and talkative and her little girls are adorable, and Truman and I ride with them in their car while mom takes Cecelia and Porter. Always such an ordeal fitting all three kids into cars these days...long live the minivan! ;)

Pool time! We get there around 11:30 and let the kids play, and one of Lindsey's (and mom's) friends meet us there with her two little ones, too. It's fun to see my three play with the other four, I love how kids can be social and just jump right into interacting with new people, no problem. We eat our packed lunches there, mom helps out with entertaining Porter who is moderately fussy, and we pack up around 1:45. Nate and dad meet us at the pool on their way back home and apparently they had a nice round of golf. They help us cart the children home and then we immediately put CC and Porter down for naps.

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Once they are asleep, Nate and I head to Old Town for some shopping and more exploring.  We had been discussing a very important topic last night and most of the morning: where to get afternoon coffee? We decided on Starry Night, because it was one of our favorites during our last trip. The iced lattes did not disappoint.
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Also, in my day five post I said we bought fudge and spices and gifts for our parents but OOPS---that wasn't day five, it was this day instead. Easy to mix things up when we did walk around Old Town both days and then....wait for it...we decided to go back to O'Dell Brewery for a beer. Nate said I was being all wishy washy about what we should do, because I couldn't decide on having dessert or alcohol at this point in the day. Vacation = rough life, I know. When I said we should go back to O'Dell Nate was practically giddy because he loves that place so much.

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This time we got sampler platters and the patio was, yet again, packed and full of awesome atmosphere. We feft at 5:10, hit rush hour traffic, and didn't get home until 5:45. We quickly said hello to our children and then our whole group headed out for dinner at Culvers. Eating out with children is always a crap shoot but this time proved to be really fun. Maybe having four adults and three kids had something to do with this? Also, the children ate nearly all of their meals (chicken tenders) and then got custard after so they were basically in heaven.

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 We went back home and played with the new toy my dad got the kids at Culvers---some ball toss game thing that was a huge hit.  



I wanted a family picture, Nate was behind the camera and got this one first. Love it.

And the infamous porch shot. Porter's face is my favorite, along with his one knee sock.
Porter went to bed at 8:15 and big kids were shortly after. Nate and I started packing up since we knew our morning would be really early the next day, and then we broke out the fudge for my parents and did a little taste testing. Verdict: all of the varieties were amazing but double chocolate was our favorite, followed closely by salted caramel, German chocolate, and turtle. Mmmmmmm.

Beer, HGTV with my parents, and bed at 10:40. Vacation, why do you  have to end? And yet, we were all kind of ready to get back into routine,  I guess. 

Tuesday | August 4

{Traveling Home}

Alarm goes off at 6 and everyone slept through the night, hallelujah!!! P-man is up 6:15 and gets his bottle, Nate and I are getting ready. We make time to eat breakfast outside one more time but in retrospect, we probably should have hustled butt a little more. But dude, coffee outside with the sunrising is the besssssst. 

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We woke the big kids up at 6:45 and left 7ish, sort of frazzled because I think we were trying to pull out of the driveway by 6:45 and that did not happen. Truman is crying about missing Margot the cat, which we think might be code for 'missing Colorado and grandparents'. Because really? The cat? I guess missing a cat is easier than encompassing his feelings of missing his grandparents. Truman rides with my dad and Nate, then Mom drives me and CC/Porter in her car. We wave goodbye to the mountains as we drive.

Horrible traffic on highway 25, like really really bad. Hear on the radio there is a major accident and I become slightly panicked that we will miss our flight. Stress-check my phone to see what other flights leave Denver and go to Milwaukee this date, and there are zero direct flights after ours and all of the later ones make us get in around 6-7pm. NOPE. Please let the traffic clear, Lord!

Arrive at the airport at 8:10 which isn't horrible, since our flight is scheduled to take off at 9:45. But we know that the Denver airport seems to be really horribly slow each time we are here, not sure why but it always takes us forever to get through lines and arrive at the proper gate. We say goodbye to my parents who illegally park in the loading zone to help us with our gigantic/numerous bags. We had such a wonderful time with them but it's easy to ignore the sadness of leaving when you are stressed out about flying with three small (exhausted) children.

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We eventually get to our gate at 9:10 and chaos ensues, all of the kids are thirsty/have to potty/are starving/are angry at life. We note our flight is delayed from 9:45 to now take off at 10:00, so I find my emergency candy in my bag and dish it out to the kids. I'm sure sugar makes bad moods better indefinitely, no crash allowed. Not sure what else we did while waiting for our flight, but I do recall Porter ingesting airport germs from every surface possible and being very sigh-y and anxious to get on with the flight.

Boarded the plane and we did end up sitting close together again, Porter on my lap and then Nate with the bigger kids across from us. P and I end up sitting on the aisle seat with a nice gentleman from Miller-Coors next to us. He says that his entire team is flying to Milwaukee and he's a CO native, stating that flying to Milwaukee is 'fine' in the summer but he is really upset about flying our way during our winters. Join the club, man. Winter blows and apparently even parts of Colorado have less snow that us somehow? It's definitely milder for my parents in Fort Collins than for us in Milwaukee, that is for sure. Not sure how that is possible but I will blame Lake Michigan.

Porter is alternating between being happy and playful to being PISSED as we prepare for take off. CC is constantly asking, 'when can I watch my show?" Finally took off and about 30 min later and Porter took part of a bottle, looking super tired. He fought it hard but did fall asleep on me for about 45 min. Heaven. 

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Then he awoke and immediately pointed to Cecelia's juice she got from the flight attendant, like 'you can't pull one over on me, lady, I know juice was handed out while I snoozed'. We managed the rest of the flight with snacks and letting him smack the back of the chair in front of me repeatedly (sorry, dude). He got a little antsy and I think we walked the aisles/hung in the back by the bathrooms but I can't be sure, I think I blocked a lot of this return flight from my memory.

Cecelia was singing 'bah bah black sheep' very loudly as we exited plane, and the flight attendant loved her. Tony met us at the airport, before we got to the baggage claim, and we are all excited to see him. We got our bags, found the van, and drove home. Sweet, glorious home. 

CC and Truman both slept for about15 minutes on the ride home, and we arrived at 2pm. Truman was wide awake when we got home and Cecelia, too, but I convinced her to keep sleeping in her own bed. We ended up having to wake her at 5 pm so she might have been a little tired. Porter and Truman ate lunch with us, Nate got Cousins and Colectivo before we unpacked because we were STARVING and it was 3pm. Porter went down after that, I went through work emails and phone calls, unpacked with Nate, cleaned up dishes, he watered outside and we all remarked it was amazing to be home. I liked getting back around 2 this day to have a bit of time to recollect before we returned to work the next day. I think Tony and Lois came over to our place that night and we all ate dinner together which was a perfect way to catch up on our trip away, and they brought Henry back to us after his fun week at grandma's. Super spoiled dog alert, and one that probably didn't want to come back home to us!

And that's a wrap! Such a great vacation, hope to make it annual or at least biannual!

Giveaway + Review | Itsy Ritzy Nursing Happens Infinity Scarf

August is National Breastfeeding Month and although Porter weaned in January, you know I'm still down to celebrate nursing. Truman nursed for a year, Cecelia for sixteen months, and Porter for six months so I'm sitting just under three years of nursing my children. Ah, I miss it, I really do. But what a privilege it was.

It goes without saying (I hope) that I support all moms no matter which method they use for feeding their babies. I've done it all at this point: nursing exclusively, pumping until my boobs nearly fell off, fighting a child to take a bottle (ahem, Cecelia), fighting a child to continue nursing when I wasn't nearly ready to let it go (ahem, Porter). I'm also a formula-feeding mama and this part of my journey has certainly taught me the most about humility and perspective. Because it's all good, ladies. And eventually (if they are anything like my children), babies grow into kids who like to eat stale Cheerios they find under the couch instead of the healthy lunch lovingly provided by mom.

Who me?


I didn't always use covers when breastfeeding in public, although I was a lot more self-conscious about that the first time around compared to the third. But now breastfeeding mamas have an awesome option for staying covered while looking fashionable. The Nursing Happens: Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf by Itzy Ritzy had me at 'infinity scarf' and completely sold me when I got my hands on it. It's super soft and breathable and looks like a regular old infinity scarf at first glance. I mean, I'm not even a nursing mom anymore and I will totally rock this scarf because it's adorable.



But it's actually very sneaky in that it doubles as a nursing cover for those that need a dual purpose of fashion and functional. I love that you could wear this to feel put together and cute then just adjust it to hide your goods when nursing the babe. No need to pack yet another baby item to leave the house. YES. Great invention, Itzy Ritzy! I think I just found my new go-to gift for my new mommy friends, too.

My favorite part:

See how huge it gets? Totally roomy enough to put a squirmy baby under there.
IMG_9695 has launched this nursing scarf chain wide just in time for National Breastfeeding Month, and you can order any of the patterns of the nursing scarf online or get the gray chevron in stores.
What about the giveaway, right? Up for grabs is one Itzy Ritzy Nursing Happens Infinity Scarf + one $50 gift card from Target. Anyone can enter the Rafflecopter drawing below and I will keep this one up for just a few days, since I'm a little late to the game. Darn postal service held my scarf hostage for many weeks it seems, and now August is almost over. Wahhh, slacker blogger, but not on purpose, I swear!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Colorado 2015 | Day Six

Sunday | August 2

{A day of exploring Rocky Mountain National Park}

Porter is up at 5:30 for a bottle, Cecelia comes into our room at 7:00 and goes upstairs with Nate. I finally force myself out of bed at 7:45 to shower right away, eat some breakfast, and pack up for our trip into the mountains this day. Porter is up for the day at 8:15 and Truman was still sleeping at 9:30 when Nate and I left the house. We later found out that he slept in until 10:00 am which is absolutely a record and totally insane! Maybe he is finally reaching an age where he can legitimately sleep in on weekends, let it be true.


Nate and I drove my mom's car towards Rocky Mountain National Park and had actual paper maps to help us find our way (vintage moment!). We wanted to stop and hike a bit, then drive to the top of the mountains and observe (i.e. take pictures) and then we planned to stop at Estes Park on our way back down the mountain for lunch. Sounds easy enough, right? 


We stopped once near Estes on our way up at a visitors center to use the restroom and refill water bottles, paid for our daily pass, and then continued on the windy roads to the top. It was such a beautiful drive and the damage from the last year's flooding was totally apparent near the bottom of the mountains.
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As we drove up higher and higher, I became more and more obsessed with the views. We stopped once at a really pretty parking area for a few pictures and then continued onward, noticing that it seems REALLY crowded with other tourists on this path.

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Best picture of the trip.


At one point all of the traffic sort of stopped and there were two park rangers directing people to continue and then we saw a TON of Elk (Nate thinks they were deer but I'm not sold) laying on this hillside, making people stop and stare. We eventually arrived at the top at 11:30 so it took about 2 hours to get to the final destination of 12,000+ ft elevation on Trail Ridge road. It was super crowded still and hard to find a place to park, but we wanted to get out and walk around a bit and found an open area without a ton of people. We took pictures, breathed the super thin air, and we were totally in awe of these gorgeous mountains. Seriously, no picture will ever do it justice which is a shame because I would love to revisit this over and over again through pictures.

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Since I only had a portrait lens for my nice camera, I took advantage and didn't just take big scenery shots. Obsessed with all of the cool plants up here.


A fave from the day:
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We met a group from Tennessee who wanted us to take their picture, and so OF COURSE I had to ask for a return favor. They were awesome, currently living in Denver and said that the weekends in the summer are always this nuts packed. But they said to come back in the fall once school is back in session and before the snow shuts down the entire trail because it's even more breathtaking.

Next Nate and I had the thrill of the day when we observed a random girl start to sprint, for no reason, in the open area of rocky grass. We think maybe she was trying to be super active and in shape by jogging for a few feet, high on life on top of a mountain. But anyway, she started running and looked very very awkward doing so and then she fell flat on her face. I don't know why, but seeing people fall down always gets me deep inside my inner B personality. She wasn't hurt and totally tried to play it off as if nobody saw her face plant on a mountain after running for fun. I don't think this will be nearly as funny to anyone else and I would KILL to have gotten a video, but alas. The memory lives in our minds and Nate and I still chuckle about it regularly.

So we were walking around and soaking in the scenery, noting that it had easily dropped 20 degrees from Fort Collins, so I was getting pretty chilly. But I still wanted to hike a little bit (not run! No way, not after witnessing that!) and we were already getting hungry. So we decided to walk towards some very large rocks and check out the views from there, since we were definitely not near any good hiking trails. Even just walking the 1/2 mile to these rocks caused major wind sucking by us at 12,000 feet. 

The rocks were called 'Mushroom Rocks' and it was really crazy crowded around them, but still worth it to climb on top and get even better views. This was all above the tree line and I have no idea we could see but it was really surreal and simply gorge.  In hindsight, I wish we would have just packed a picnic lunch along with our canned beer (which we did bring but never drank) and we could have just eaten up here while enjoying the scenery.
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Another fave from the day--I specifically told Nate to go sit on that rock and hoped the other people would clear out of my shot for this.
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'Can you see the mountains behind me?' Nate told me yes, but informed me I looked like I was posing as a Valley Girl.
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We decided to leave the top around 12:45 to head down for lunch at Estes. We snacked on Clif Bars and La Croix and I got really into taking pictures while driving because the trees were just indescribable. 



We got to Estes around 2pm and HOLY CRAZY TOURISTS BATMAN. It was so busy that there were seriously zero places to park our car and I'm sure any of the restaurants would have had hours and hours for a wait. It was ridiculous and totally not what we were expecting. We couldn't even park anywhere to walk around so we just kept going and again, I felt sad that we didn't just eat a rugged lunch on top of the mountain (with that canned beer I was craving). We did stop at this cute cherry store because Nate loves sour cherry juice, and it was adorable inside full of everything cherry. 

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By this time the twisty roads down the mountain were getting a little old, we were starving and bummed that our idea of lunch in Estes was a total flop. Also, we didn't really plan a good place to officially hike so we were not as outdoorsy driving the car to the top of the mountain versus going on foot but whatever, food was a top priority right now. Nate had me search for a place to eat in Loveland since we'd drive through it on our way to my parents' house. Google failed me because the reviews for lunch lead me to a restaurant on a golf course...but nothing mentioned the fact that it was a part of the golf course until we arrived there. Ironically, this was the course Nate and my dad were going to play the next day and I was highly irritated that it wasn't obviously stated on the internets that 'this is where golfers go when they finish a round.' I mean, duh. 

Hangry and tired and annoyed are not good things for me, so we made a decision to just eat at Panera because it was 3pm and STARVED. I do love me some Panera, even though it's not exactly a local experience for vacation. Whatever. It was tasty and I felt less hateful towards everyone once I ate. 

We got back home at 4pm and the kids had missed us as much as we missed them. We got the updates on their afternoon and learned that Porter napped one time for 2.5 hours and CC also napped for 2.5 hours, then hid from my mom and nearly gave her a heart attack when she wasn't in the room. My mom had made fudge-scicles with the kids (with black beans hidden in them, she finds the strangest sneaky-healthy recipes on Pinterest) and they were getting to consume them. Truman and CC both tasted the black beans right away and refused to go further, admittedly the shells of the beans were a little startling. But Porter did not mind in the slightest.



We sat in the backyard and watched the kids play in the pool and the sprinkler. And one point both Cecelia and Truman were flat out crying and then Porter was super fussy. Welcome home, mom and dad!! My parents were perplexed by this because all three were perfect angels while we were away, and go figure...they melt down when they see their parents. This is not surprising to me as it seems to happen frequently, plus being on vacation with so much FUN and TREATS and EXCITEMENT wears on a kid after awhile. Also, routines are shot and anything goes on vacation which is wonderful but also really difficult for children who need to know what to expect (i.e. routine). So yeah, kids were disasters by this point, as expected.



Oh man.

Mom started to make dinner around 5, I tried to help but kids were needing mama, and we all sat down to eat at 5:45. I noted in my phone here that the kids were super tired. We all took turns walking around with Porter inside the house a la his newborn days and then I took him outside for fresh air. Tried to lay him down around 6:30 pm,  after a triple bath was had, but he was not having it. The big kids were happy enough in bath, so Nate and I walked outside with Porter to reset him and we ended up walking fairly far. Then we gave him Ibuprofen around 7:30 and expedited bedtime for all three children. 

We talked about getting drinks or ice cream but we settled for both at home once the kids were down. Cecelia was calling for me at 8:15 and didn't feel tired but I convinced her to keep resting and see what happens (newsflash: she WAS tired and did pass out eventually). 

Beer and uploading pictures and chatting with my parents about tomorrow came next.  Mom and dad went to bed early at 9:15pm. My dad said something about having a new appreciation for us parenting three small children because he was BEAT. It's funny because in the past few years my mom always longingly said things like, 'Oh, I just wish we had ten kids, I loved having little kids.' And then they hang around us and love it (!!) but yeah, she has changed her tune about the ten kids thing. Having three grandkids close in age is enough, especially when mom and dad are in their sixties and keeping up with the rugrats!  It just goes to show that memories of the hard stuff of parenting certainly fade away with time, or at least it has for my mom. Nate and I went to bed at 10:15 this night, knowing the next day was our last full day of vacation.
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