We decided to hit the road for Thanksgiving and rented a cabin in the Columbine Lake neighborhood in Grand Lake. What a beautiful place! We spent the weekend playing lots of board games, taking lots of walks, playing in the snow and sledding on the tubing hill. I’m pretty sure Grand Lake is straight out of a Hallmark movie.
Another Halloween, another costume challenge from the boys. This year, they wanted to be Hiccup and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. I thought I had lucked out with Steven’s choice of Hiccup, until he said he wanted to be “teenage Hiccup” from How to Train Your Dragon 2. Henry’s Toothless costume actually has wings, but you can’t really see them in the picture. I think I did a pretty good job and the boys were happy with them!
Our second camping trip of the summer took us to Great Sand Dunes National Park. We arrived at the park on a Friday afternoon and set up the tent just in time for the rain to start. It only rained for a few hours and gave us enough time to check out the sand dunes before dinner. Apparently, we brought the one type of sled that doesn’t work for sledding down the dunes! Sorry boys! We will have to remember that for next time!
The next morning it was warm and sunny…the perfect day to hit the dunes. I decided to climb up the 699′ High Dune while the boys played in Medano Creek and Chris attempted to catch up on some reading in the shade. The hike up High Dune was one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever done, but I made it. The view from the top was well worth it! While I was hiking, Henry was working on his Junior Ranger badge and is now sworn in to protect nature. We headed back to the campsite just in time for more rain to come. After it stopped raining, we headed over to do the Dunes Overlook Trail, which you can read more about on the boys hiking blog. We had just enough time to eat dinner before the rain started again. It quickly became clear that this rain was not going to let up. We finally gave up any hopes of sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows and headed to bed early. It pretty much rained all night!
We only stayed for two nights, but we could have easily stayed for longer. Well…I can say that now that we are home and dry.
Pictures from our first camping trip of 2014 at Spruce Grove Campground. This is easily one of the most beautiful campsites I’ve stayed at in Colorado. We were in site 24, which provided some shade. Most of the sites were very exposed and this campsite was PACKED. The walk-in sites looked amazing, but if you have a lot of gear, that walk to get to them might be a pain! It was freezing at night. There was a trailhead right in our campground, so you can read about the hike we did at our hiking blog: Kids Hike Colorado.
We’ve gone to Tagawa Gardens every year to see Santa Claus. Beside being pretty positive this Santa is the real deal, he also brings his reindeer, carolers and sometimes even the Denver Bronco Cheerleaders. As the boys get older, I’m feeling like this part of Christmas will be going away soon (the Santa part…the Denver Broncos cheerleaders part is just starting…) Let’s reminisce, shall we?
I love that they’ve seen the same Santa (like I said, the real deal) every year since they were born. This year was another fun year at Tagawa. Because of basketball and karate, we were late getting there this time, but we had cheerleaders, reindeer and even Miles from the Denver Broncos to entertain us while we waited.
Wow…I’ve been sucking at updating our website. Here’s the boys at Halloween this year. They wanted to be a Peashooter and a Sunflower from Plants vs. Zombies. I went with the paper mache on a balloon technique again this year, since I could work with much smaller balloons than last year! The costumes were pretty easy to make this time. Henry insisted that his Sunflower costume be a mask, but he threw a wrench into our plans when he decided that the costume should NOT be a mask when he wore it to school for his Halloween party. We duct-taped it to the top of a bicycle helmet and called it good. We should have done the same thing with Steven’s, because his constantly fell, covering his face, while he was trick-or-treating. Our original plans were that I would also dress up as Crazy Dave and Chris would be a zombie, but we just ran out of time!
This past weekend we headed up to Summit County to attend a wedding. We decided to turn it into a fun little vacation while we were there. Our first stop on Friday morning was the Breck Summer Fun Park. It is pretty pricey, but so much fun! We parked in downtown Breckenridge and took the free gondola ride to the Fun Park. The boys LOVED the gondola ride. Seriously. LOVED. I think we could have headed back down the mountain and they would have thought the gondola ride *was* the fun park.
The Fun Park is really awesome. There is so much to do there! I don’t think there is a kid alive who wouldn’t love it. My advice, which we learned the hard way, is to get there early and hit the Gold Runner Coaster and the Alpine Slide first! Then take your time with all the other things. We did the maze, the bouncy house and the bungee trampolines and we were next in line for the Coaster when a storm rolled in and the park closed down for the rest of the day. Boooo! But we had lunch at the restaurant there, hoping for the rain to stop. One cool thing about the Park was that they refunded some of our money. Since we bought a day pass, they took off the attractions we had done and refunded the rest of the ticket pass. Pretty cool deal. We found ourselves stranded at the park (in the pouring rain) with another shuttle still 45 minutes away. The chef at the One Ski Hill Resort was setting up the restaurant for a wedding rehearsal and noticed us standing outside in the rain. He called for one of the resort shuttles to take us back to our car. Wow! Awesome customer service and we weren’t even customers!
After finally getting back to our car, we headed to our condo in Keystone which would be home for the next three days. We had an awesome condo with a great view of trees and nearby mountains. We were also close to a trail that ran along the Snake River, so once the rain stopped, we headed down there to do some exploring.
Saturday we had planned to go hiking. Since we were already in the mountains, we didn’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn, so we took advantage of it. We still had to leave early, as we had seen evidence of those mountain storms rolling in the day before! We did the Mayflower Gulch trail. Here are a few pictures, but you can see a lot more at our hiking blog Kids Hike Colorado.
After the hike, it was time to get ready for the wedding! My friend Heather was getting married at Arapahoe Basin at the top of Black Mountain. We arrived to find out we would be taking the ski lift up to the ceremony! That was kind of fun! Of course the weather held out just long enough for the guests to be seated before the skies opened up and started raining! The ceremony was quickly moved inside, but it was still a beautiful wedding and a great party!
Sunday morning we were heading back home, but not before heading back to the Breck Summer Fun Park to give that coaster a try! This time, we just bought tickets for the coaster. It was SO. MUCH. FUN! The boys loved it, and so did we! After that, we met some friends who live in the area for breakfast and headed home. What an awesome weekend! I’m ready to move to the mountains. Now I just have to convince my husband.
Nana was visiting from Canada, so we decided to take her to one of our favorite places in Colorado, Castlewood Canyon State Park. The park is near to us, and has been used many a time for our Christmas card pictures!
As soon as we got to the park, a huge storm cloud was rolling in. Since it looked like it was promising rain, we couldn’t complain. Colorado desperately needs some rain! We had a picnic in the now-chilly pavillons and let the boys play on the playground for awhile. We then drove over the the Bridge Canyon Overlook and walked the paved trail to gawk at the views. I never get tired of this place! I won’t mention how Nana’s walking cane tumbled over the side of the overlook down into the canyon and a certain someone had to rock climb down to the bottom to find the cane.