Take me to the Mountains

We had such a wonderful trip with Ryan’s family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It had been years since we went on a trip with them where ALL of us could go together. Everyone is in such different phases of life, so it is always hard to get everyone’s schedules lined up. Megan’s husband, Tim was going to be in Colorado for work in March, so we all decided that he would stay once he was done and we would all come meet him there. We had never been to Colorado, so we were excited to see it. The weather was perfect for hiking and it was so beautiful there. No matter where you go, you are surrounded by mountains. I hadn’t seen the mountains in years, and I forgot how beautiful they are. The view never got old. We packed a lot of activities into one week, and it was one amazing week! Here are some of the highlights from our trip…

Garden of the Gods

We visited Garden of the Gods twice during the week, and went on a few different trails. These were pretty quick and easy hikes with absolutely amazing views. Kinsie loved taking pictures and looking through her binoculars, and Brax loved hiking by himself and collecting rocks!

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Pike’s Peak

We drove most of the way up Pike’s Peak, which is one of the highest summits of the Rocky Mountains (elevation 14,000 ft). We stopped several times along the way to look at the view and take pictures. We especially loved one of the lakes (which was frozen and beautiful), and an area called the Devil’s Playground. It got colder and the air got thinner the higher up the mountain we went, so we had to bundle up and take deep breaths, but it was all worth it!

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On top of the world…or at least the Devil’s Playground

 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

We spent a day at the only zoo built in the mountains, and it did not disappoint! We were very impressed with this zoo…especially how many interactive exhibits there were. My personal favorite was the giraffe exhibit, where you can feed the giraffes up close. The kids (and the adults) LOVED everything about this zoo. The birds, elephants, meerkats, apes, and petting zoo were some favorite stops too. After the zoo, we drove up the mountain to see the Will Rogers Shrine. The kids loved climbing up the tower and we all loved the amazing view!

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The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

This was one of my favorite things we did. We had to drive almost 2 hours, but it was incredible. We walked along the bridge which surprisingly, ran over the Arkansas River! We enjoyed the view while the kids ran around in circles and played red light green light. Once we were across the bridge, there was a playground and a carousel that the kids loved. We took a gondola to get back across the bridge, which, I’ll admit was a little terrifying, but amazing! Then we ate lunch on the patio while overlooking the gorge and watching the gondolas and the zip-liners. It was an awesome experience!

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Playing at the park across the bridge

 

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Riding the gondola

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Helen Hunt Falls

On one of our last days, we took a quick hike around a small waterfall, which the kids loved! Brax could have watched that waterfall all day! We hiked around the waterfall and ended up getting to see more more beautiful views. The kids did great, but eventually took a little break and hitched a ride!

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Spending time with Family

This vacation was so special to us, mainly because it’s so rare that all of us get to be together. Whether we were hiking and seeing a beautiful mountain scenery, or hanging out in the amazing house we rented, or driving in the 15 passenger van together, we just enjoyed each other’s company. I cannot even believe how blessed I am to have married into this amazing family, and I am so grateful for them!

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Highlights of our Summer

I had every intention of writing this post about a month ago, but…life happened and I have been pretty busy since my school year started! Either way, it technically is still summer time so I guess I’m not too late with this post!

My summer vacation/maternity leave is officially over. I even had an extra month than what I normally would have had and it still seemed too short. Ryan had a busy few months of emergency medicine rotations (his favorite), so it wasn’t near as easy to get out and about and enjoy the outdoors this year since I had both kids alone most of the time and Brax was too little to be out in the heat too long, but we did what we could. Kinsie still got to have a lot of fun swimming and running around outside with lots of help from our family. Here is somewhat of a highlight reel of some of our favorite things we did this summer.

Family Reunion at the Dunes

In early June, we went to the Dunes State Park to meet up with my dad’s entire family. We loved getting to catch up with family, and Kinsie loved the beach!

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Anniversary Fishing

Ryan and I had our first date night since Brax was born for our fourth anniversary. We went out to eat, then went fishing. It was SO nice spending some time just the two of us and doing something we both love doing. The kids were in good hands…and Kinsie got Ninja Turtle ice cream from the ice cream truck!

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Field Trip to the Fish Farm

My cousin Sarah is engaged to a fish farmer, and they agreed to take us all on a tour of the fishery. Joe did an awesome job teaching us all about the fishery, and the kids loved seeing all the fish, tadpoles and crawfish. Afterwards, we ate lunch at my aunt’s house. It was a great afternoon of fish, family and fun!

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Time at the Lake

I know I already posted about our “Lake-cation,” but it was definitely a highlight of our summer. We love our time at the lake!

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4th of July Parade

Every year we go to the 4th of July Brownsburg parade. Ryan had to work, but Kinsie, Brax and I still went with the rest of my family. Brax took a little nap and Kinsie loved spending time with her cousins and getting candy!

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Movies, bowling, and more

On the days that it rained or was too hot, we had to find indoor activities to do. I took Kinsie on a date to see Finding Dory and she loved the movie and the popcorn. We also went bowling, painted pictures, worked out, and just played inside. Kinsie is good at finding fun in whatever activity we do!

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Swimming

This was probably Kinsie’s favorite part. She LOVED swimming. I couldn’t always swim with her since I had to feed Brax so often, so thank goodness for my parents and Uncle Ryan for taking Kinsie swimming for me. Going into summer, I didn’t expect Kinsie to become so independent in the pool, but with her floaties on, she could swim by herself. She could (and often did) spend all day in the pool. Especially when her cousins were with her! We even got Brax in the pool once. He didn’t have much of a reaction…probably because the pool was so warm. I think he just thought he was in a big bath tub.

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Other Outside Fun

Like I said, I tried to get outside with the kids as much as I could. I loved taking morning walks with them before it got too hot, and the kids loved it too. Ryan would join us when he could, but I still tried to take them out even when he couldn’t join us. We played a lot of “I Spy” and played in the sprinkler, and Brax just went along with whatever adventures we would take!

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I survived my first summer vacation with 2 kids. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of patience, adjustments, and help, but I still think Kinsie had a fun summer and that is all I really wanted. I didn’t want her to have to miss out on too much because of the baby. I got to spend some time with each kid individually, and we spent a lot of time together too. Even though I was sad to see my summer vacation end, I was more ready to go back to work than I thought I would be. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I loved my time with them, but I need a little break from mom life! Maybe someday I will quit teaching to be a stay-at-home mom, but I’m not ready yet. I still have other children who need me too. I still feel lucky to even get this time off every year to relax (as much as what is possible with two little ones) and recharge my battery. Now I’m back in full swing of mom life AND teacher life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!