She Said:

So we got up early this morning, but not early enough to catch the 6 am ballon takeoff at the balloon festival. Good thing we made it in early last night and caught the balloon glow, because otherwise we would have missed it completely… all four hot air balloons.

So we hopped in the minivan this morning and headed to Colorado Springs. On the way, we stopped at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center. On the way in, Max said, “I think we’re going to see not real dinosaurs Ava! They’re just dinosaur bones. A real dinosaur just bite me… AAh!” Ava replied, “A t rex just bite me… Aah!”
The kids had a good time at the dinosaur place, but they really just wanted to explore the gift shop and buy everything there :). We ended up getting these dinosaur heads on a stick that bite…. not my choice, but whatever. I wanted to get the dinosaur teepee, but Josh didn’t think we could fit it in the minivan. So dinosaur biters are what we ended up with.

Daddy got attacked by two t-rexes…

After the dinosaur place, we headed to Garden of the Gods, which we heard was amazing. Of course, both girls fell asleep on the way there and were still asleep when we got there. I wasn’t about to wake either of them up, so I hung out in the car with them while Max and daddy went exploring.

They eventually woke up and we all headed out. There were huge rock formations everywhere and plenty of smaller ones where climbing was allowed. The kids were in heaven. We spent a good hour and a half walking around climbing on all the different rocks.

This is Lia right before she fell asleep. I love the look on her face…
it’s like she’s saying, “where is my crib?!”

Some super-nice guy offered to take a photo of all of us together… and he did a great job!

There was some fog settling over the rock formations.

After Garden of the Gods, we headed to Seven Falls. The kids and I took the elevator up to the top and daddy decided to take the stairs… all 185 of them. After we looked for a couple minutes, we headed back down. Daddy wanted to climb the stairs on the other side (224 steps) and Max decided to go with him. Ava, Lia, and I just hung out and ate some dinner while we waited for them.

After Seven Falls, we were all pretty worn out, so we found a hotel and crashed. Of course, the one thing I asked when I called about the hotel is that we get one with internet. So of course, our room didn’t have internet… whatever.

Things I learned on day 7 of our road trip:
1. I’m still upset about the balloon festival.
2. I could save $20 or so by skipping the paid portion of most tourist attractions and taking my kids just into the gift shop.
3. My kids will happily eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day and not complain about it.
4. You should ALWAYS check your takeout food order, even when you’re the only one in the restaurant and the guy who rang you up checks your order. They messed up Josh’s tacos and forgot to give us our free dessert 🙁 The food was pretty good though.

He Said:
Busy, busy day. We saw so much beauty on Day 7 it was crazy. And, I’m short on words tonight 🙂

I’m going on record and saying…I love Colorado Springs.

Lia partied a little too hard last night and was ready for her nap before we left the hotel in the morning 🙂

We stopped for a bathroom break in Woodland Park. I checked the GPS and found this sweet dino museum less than a mile away…it was awesome!

Max & Ava channeled their inner dino.

Should I point out that they are happy dinos?

Max wanted to be “the dino that pokes with his head”

This is what Jenny looks like before makeup…I kid, I kid 🙂

Our best/worst purchases of the trip were these dinos. Best, because the kids love them and haven’t put them down since. Worst, because they usually end up hitting each other with them.

Lia likes dinosaurs, too.

Then we hit up the Garden of the Gods (thanks to the Cole family for the recommendation) It was absolutely amazing. Max and I headed in first, because the girls were napping, but we quickly headed out, because Max was “cold.”

I headed back in, of course.

I tried to climb some rocks, too, but they wouldn’t let me with my flip-flops on 🙁

Ok, girls woke up, it warmed up, so the Solars trekked through the Garden as a family. Max & Ava were climbing on any rock they possibly could.

Ava is fearless.

“I’m the Queen of the World!!”

This is Max’s tough face.

Mommy got in on the climbing action.

Then we headed to 7 Falls, which was also pretty. Note: This shot was taken
at ISO 100, 1/5 shutter, and f/16 aperture, hand held 🙂

My brave little Max climbed up 224 STEEP steps to the top of the falls. Let’s just say that I held on to his hand TIGHT. I was so nervous, but at the same time, I’m not about to tell him no when he’s perfectly capable of climbing those stairs. I wish I would have gotten a shot of all the stairs we climbed up (you can see the stairs in Jenny’s shot here), but all I could think about was holding his little hand as tight as possible. He was pretty proud of himself (the shot below was taken at the top) once we made it to the top…and I was too 🙂

Ava wanted to go to the top, too, but we wouldn’t let her, so we took her picture at the bottom of the falls 🙂

This one’s for Grandma Betty.

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