Colorado Here We Come… Day 3

Posted by in Colorado

She Said:

Today started out with cereal in the hotel room and an early start. The kids were really excited to get to the mountains. I was pretty sure that after two days of driving, no naps, going to bed late, and getting up early, that today was going to be, well, interesting. Surprisingly though, the kids behaved the best today of any day so far. They were full of commentary too. A few of their funniest comments:
Ava: Bite bite bite bite bite… a shark just bited me… oww!
Max: I got my cool cars hat on.
Max: Hey, are we still in Colorado? Was the motel in Colorado?
Max: Look at that mountain! Look at how tall that mountain is!
Ava: The clouds are moving!
Max: The mountains are moving!
Max: Look at those baby waves!

We drove through some mountains today and stopped at a huge waterfall (Treasure Falls) on the side of the road. We decided to make the 1/4 mile hike uphill (a 200 ft vertical climb). I think it was more than a 1/4 mile, but it was a beautiful view once we got up there. After that, we kept driving into Pagosa Springs. We decided to get a hotel and stay here and head to Durango tomorrow. I’ve read about the mineral springs and their supposed curative properties. I told Josh before we left that the one thing I wanted to do was go to the hot springs. We checked out some of the resorts only to find out that they are ridiculously expensive (I should’ve known that much).

While we were deciding where to stay, we backed out of our parking spot, and some guy in a big truck with his tailgate down backed out of a parking lot across the street and rammed into the back of our van, ripping off our license plate (bolts and all) and putting a nice dent in the back door. I’m pretty mad because his insurance company already called and said they are considering it to be both of our faults so we’ll have to pay for our damage. Of course there was no damage to his vehicle. Hopefully our insurance company will fight harder, because it definitely was not our fault.

Anyhow, after we recovered from that drama, we found a nice hotel and put all the kids down for a nap. Then we had dinner at the Malt Shoppe… they had great burgers and waffle fries (a little expensive, but really good). After dinner, we got the biggest ice cream cone ever (no we didn’t eat it all). At the Malt Shoppe they had a row of quarter machines and one of them had fake mustaches and such. We got a goatie and a mustache and took some fun pictures (see Josh’s blog). Then we went swimming at the hotel.

After the kids went to bed, I headed over to one of the spa hotels to soak in the hot springs (if you don’t stay in their hotel, you can still get a one time pass to the hot springs for $10… seemed like a great deal to me). The water was super hot and the mineral smell was really strong. I felt all tingly, but I think I’m magically cured of all my ailments πŸ™‚

Don’t forget to check Josh’s blog.

I loved the way the clouds looked over the landscape.

We saw a lot of streams running through the mountains.

We pulled off on the side of the road, trekked through mud, and climbed up on the edge of a little cliff to get a sweet shot of this valley.



I told Ava she had to eat four more bites of her hot dog before she could have any ice cream. It takes her about 5 minutes per bite, so she ended up only eating one more bite. Maybe someday I’ll win this battle…


He Said:

Day 3 was quite an eventful day…even though we really didn’t go that far. In fact, we were done driving by 1pm when we hit Pagosa Springs. Actually, we were definitely done driving when some dude backed into us. Oh, he had a truck. And the tailgate was down with steel rods hanging off the back, of course. No one was injured, but the license plate was knocked off. Kind of killed the itch to drive a little bit. But, this is our vacation, and even though I got a ticket for “unsafe backing” it didn’t damper our moods at all. Plus, it gave us a reason to stay in Pagosa Springs so Jenny could soak in the hot springs for a while. Here are my favorite images from day 3…

We have to start with the map, right?


I love a good blue sky.


But I love this series of Ava even more. I know there are a lot of pics from this series, and some are similar, but my daughter is amazing πŸ™‚

Note: She likes to write on herself, so that’s whats on her face and arms.






Then Max wanted to “defend the castle”



Ava decided to help, too πŸ™‚



Lia just laughed.

Colorado is pretty.

We trekked a ways up with the kids to some waterfall…and I know this isn’t a picture of a waterfall, but it was taken on our way up to the waterfall.

Lia was not impressed. Or happy about it.

Yes, Ava managed to write on her forehead.

I was trying to take a picture of the cool paintings on the walls, but Superman jumped into the frame. He really is faster than a speeding bullet πŸ™‚

Then we hit up The Malt Shoppe for dinner/dessert. One word: AMAZING.


Lia is getting good at stealing food off of people’s plate.


Max’s new sword, since we left his old sword at home. He put it here so no one would steal it.

The biggest ice cream cone ever.

Lia approves.

Now, for this next & final series from Day 3, I saw these cool things called “Turkish Moustaches” sold in one of those quarter vending machines inside the Malt Shoppe. Of course, my mind started going, and we just HAD to buy a couple for some portraits. I’m happy with the results πŸ™‚



Max is so sweet. He likes to say, “I want Ava in a picture with me too!” no matter what we are doing πŸ™‚





Colorado Here We Come… Day 2

Posted by in Colorado

She Said:

Ahh… today started early, at 7:30 am to be exact! We got on the road about 9:45 am and the kids were so excited to see Colorado. We did a lot of driving today and we really wanted to go see some dinosaur footprints at Picketwire Canyon Lands. We couldn’t find it in our GPS and for some reason there was no address or info in the Colorado vacation guide (what’s the point in putting it in the book if they don’t tell you where it’s at or how to get there?). We called Papa back in KC and got directions. So after lunch, we headed that way. We didn’t get too far down the dirt road before we decided to turn back for fear of getting the minivan stuck out in the mud with no cell phone service. Luckily for us we did turn around, because Papa called back later and said it’s a 5 mile hike to see the dinosaur footprints! Can you believe that? So, if you’re ever in La Junta, Colorado, don’t go to Picketwire Canyon Lands. Apparently it sucks πŸ™‚

When we saw the Colorado sign, Max said, “We’re in Colorado! Where are the mountains? Do you think this is Colorado? I’m gonna have so much fun in Colorado! Is this Colorado for real? I wanna go to Colorado! We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

When we got to our hotel and it was time for the kids to go to bed, we put one in each bed and Lia was in the pack n play at the foot of Ava’s bed. Well, Lia is pretty proud of herself for being able to pull herself standing up now. So she spent about an hour showing off. First you would see two little hands, then up pops her head, big grin on her face, then everybody laughs, and she plops back down. Wash, rinse, repeat. It was pretty funny… for the first 10 times or so πŸ™‚

Things I learned on day two of our road trip:
1. Circle PBJ’s are only great if mommy doesn’t leave them in the refrigerator at the hotel (and no we didn’t go back to get them even though the kids thought we should drive 3 hours back for them πŸ™‚
2. Max and Ava actually fight less in the car than they do at home, but it’s harder to ignore them and impossible to separate them.
3. Somehow, “If you don’t stop that now, you’re going to timeout” still works and I’m surprised they haven’t figured out that being in timeout in your carseat while we’re driving is no different than just riding in your carseat… we’ll see how long that one lasts.
4. Kansas has a lot of cows. Colorado also has a lot of cows.
5. You really shouldn’t use the cupholder on the side of the seat… your drink WILL spill EVERYTIME. (Why do they even put that one there?)
6. Here’s a list of things you should ask BEFORE you book a hotel room over the phone: do they have internet (this is really important if your husband is like mine :), do they have a bathtub (it’s really hard to give 3 kids a shower at one time), do they have breakfast (I’m not cranky about cereal in the hotel room, but SOME people are). On the plus side, our room did have 2 clean beds, and no bugs. I would like to make a public apology to the old couple who was in the room next to us who just wanted a “quiet room” for the night… my kids were NOT quiet and I’m really sorry.

Welcome to Colorado!

The kids loved this swirly slide.

They really loved the swings, except poor Lia. She was scared just watching Max & Ava swing, so daddy had to take her to the car.

Lia liked the merry go round as long as it wasn’t spinning.

I loved these wildflowers on the side of the road.

Sword fighting in the backseat!
It was cloudy and cold all day πŸ™
View from my seat

Max and Ava fighting for real over the Cars drawing book

I really wanted to get a picture of Max’s pouting/crying face, but he wouldn’t let me. So here’s his mad/pouting face.

He Said:

Well, it’s a day late, but we had no internet in our hotel….let’s see if I can remember all the amazing things we experienced on Day 2.

Here’s the Day 2 map.


Still in Kansas. I have a “thing” for windmills.

Woo-Freakin’-Hoo!!! Tall mountains here we come!

Saw a spinny thing, had to make a u-turn to ride it with the kids πŸ™‚


Wait…no…mountains…we’re in Colorado! Apparently Eastern Colorado is a lot like Kansas. Either way, we saw this really cool old structure (this time we busted a U-turn in the middle of the highway)

Note: I’ve been playing with a blu-ish bw conversion. What do you all think?


Same structure…just closer πŸ™‚

Apparently I have a “thing” for power lines, too.



We thought it would be neat to take the kids to Picketwire Canyonlands to see the dino prints, but we almost got stuck in the mud. Which turned out to be a blessing, because the Colorado tour guide doesn’t mention that it’s a 5.2 mile walk each way.

Since our van is not an off road vehicle, we turned around. I quickly stopped to do a portrait session with my family. Hey, we drove 25 miles off course, I had to do something right?
















Here’s our hotel. No internet. No bathtub. But it sure looked cool.

Someone didn’t think it was time for bed πŸ™‚

Colorado Here We Come… Day 1

Posted by in Colorado

She Said:

Yay! It’s FINALLY vacation time! We are heading to Durango, Colorado for (hopefully!) some rest and relaxation! So, last night, Max was so excited he wanted to help me pack and I said no way, you can help me pack tomorrow. So he says, “Mommy, when I wake up in the morning, I’m going to wake you up and daddy up. I’m going to wake both of you up so we can pack for Colorado!” So I thought it was pretty funny that he was the last one up this morning πŸ™‚

6:22 am I hear Lia in her room bouncing in her crib and drag my sleepy self from my bed
6:35 am Ava comes running out of the bedroom with a big grin on her face
7:10 am A sleepy Max comes out of his room and says, “is it time to pack yet?”
8:30 am I start packing, all the time reminding my wonderful husband that yes,
everything is going to fit in the minivan and please leave me alone and let me pack πŸ™‚
10:26 am All packed and ready to go!

I told Josh that everything would fit, and just for the record, it did πŸ™‚

So a few things I learned today on our first road trip with 3 kids…
1. The carpet in the minivan is capable of soaking up 32 oz of iced tea
2. 2 1/2 year olds can and will go potty every hour and if they say ‘I gotta go potty’ that means right now, not at the next gas station that has a bathroom
3. Car seats are not a good place to take a nap
4. The baby will fall asleep exactly 2 minutes after you announce, “who wants to go to the park?”
5. Paci launch is only funny until the paci goes in the back of the van where it is unreachable (in case you’re wondering what paci launch is, just imagine mommy with a paci spitting it at the kids… apparently it’s pretty hilarious)
6. It is possible for little kids to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the car without making a mess… they’re made by Smucker’s and they’re shaped like circles… totally worth the money in case you were wondering

So our morning consisted of driving out of KC, lunch at McDonalds, driving through Central Kansas, dinner, park, and ice cream in Great Bend (not sure what is so great, maybe the ice cream!) and now we’re here in Larned, Kansas. I think the kids asked today “are we in Colorado?” about 100 times. Josh really wanted to make it through Kansas, but I think we’ll make it to Colorado tomorrow πŸ™‚

Here’s a shot of all the stuff we took…

Lia kept trying to kick the camera…
Max & Ava had tons of books to read and games to play

Max’s drawing of ‘mr. the king’
Lia loves peekaboo


This is grumpy Lia
And sleeping Lia
This is what we saw pretty much all day
Lia really wanted some of daddy’s ice cream




He Said:

Jenny and I are and always have been big fans of road trips. We spent 3 weeks on the road for our honeymoon 6 years ago. Something about just getting in the car…errr, minivan now, putting the trusty ipod on shuffle, and just driving relaxes me.

For this trip, we are meeting my sister in Durango, CO, but we have no idea when we will arrive (hopefully by Thursday), and that’s the way we like it. We are also going to try and hit Buena Vista for the hot air balloon festival, but who knows. Day by day is the Solar way. Oh, wait, we have 3 young children with us now. I guess we’re on their schedule (which is why we didn’t hit the Colorado border today).
Note: I’m going to update our map as we go.

Anyway, here are a few favorites from Day 1 of our invasion of Colorado (except today, we’re still in the middle of nowhere Kansas)


the kiddos said goodbye to Grandma EE this morning

Here is what we saw all day, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just ain’t Colorado πŸ™‚


The clouds made for some interesting pictures, though.

After a full day of car riding, the kids needed a break, so we found a nice little playground and got some ice cream…lots of fun and smiles ensued πŸ™‚

I feel this image captures what it’s like to be 2.5 and on a swingset πŸ™‚


Max likes to swing, too.

Some fun broke out in front of a nice brick wall πŸ™‚

Ava REALLY enjoyed her mint chocolate chip ice cream.



so much so, she got it in her hair πŸ™‚

Max didn’t want to participate…

or did he?


I lied, Jenny took this shot, but it didn’t really fit on her blog, so it ended up here.

After we got the kids settled in our hotel in Larned, Kansas, I headed out to watch a sweet sunset by myself. I got these 2 images as a result. Who knew Kansas could be so pretty?