Road Trip to Colorado – Part 3: Northward and Sand Dunes

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We got on the road a bit later than my sister and brother-in-law on Monday morning, but still managed to get out the door before 10:00.  Josh and the kids got to experience sheep-herding on the road for the first time and we could tell that the kids were a tad tired.  Naps had been thrown off as well as bedtimes, but both kids were still holding up fairly well.  We made a few more stops than usual and as we got nearer to the halfway point we saw signs for the Great Sand Dunes National Park and remembered what a friend (Thanks, Jeff!) had said.  It wasn’t too far out of our way and we would need a place to stop anyway, so off we went!

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In retrospect, I really wish we had planned a bit better and made more time to hang out at the park. Because we arrived during the time our kiddos would normally be napping they weren’t super thrilled to get out of the car (it was also in the 90s that day).  Once I told Enzo the sand dunes were like a giant sand box, though, he perked up.  We didn’t quite realize we’d have to cross a stream, which was thankfully not at all deep, but both kids take a while to warm up to water and had zero desire to dip their toes in.  It was the perfect temperature and felt amazing. I was kind of jealous of everyone just hanging out in their swimsuits.  We are absolutely camping here the next time we road trip to Colorado!









We also stopped at the visitor’s center on our way out, and though it isn’t big it has a big bathroom, air conditioning, and a great view of the dunes.  There was a really big tour group at the time, but they were all extremely nice and thought our kids were adorable, so it was hard not to like them. 😉




Alas, time to get back on the road, let the kiddos take a much needed nap, and arrive back in Colorado Springs at a reasonable hour.

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Road Trip to Colorado – Part 2: Caravanning to Durango

Surprisingly, when it came time to get back into the van the next day and drive another 6 hours, the kids were fairly cooperative.  They settled in for the drive and we didn’t even have to make that many stops… granted when you’ve got two cars and four kids, rarely will everyone have to use the bathroom at the same time. Ha ha!





I didn’t take nearly enough photos overall in Durango, but it was so nice to see family and friends and to actually hang out with everyone at one time.  We stayed in a hotel the first two nights, but it was right downtown so we were able to walk around with the kids a bit since they do NOT like being cooped up for too long.


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California Dreamin’ Part 2

Wednesday was the warmest day of our trip, and we started the day off with a walk. The kids were waking up around 5:30-6:00 each morning, so around 9:00-10:00, Phoebe was generally ready for a little nap. Enzo got to play on a playground and tip toe in the sand while I found shade and let our lady nap on my back.


Wednesday was also the day that Josh and I went whale watching courtesy of my mom and step-dad. We went on a catamaran, which promised to have a really smooth ride that would cause less seasickness, and only held about 6 people. I loved it. There were a few moments where I felt a little fear creep in (hello, out in the ocean on a tiny boat), but overall really enjoyed it. It was a gorgeous day.




Josh also enjoyed it, but more so after he puked and was done being seasick. While the great thing about a catamaran is that you don’t have as many people on the boat, we also didn’t quite as close to the whales as I would have liked and it was really hard to get pictures with the constant movement. It was still an amazing experience, though, and a beautiful day. We were also lucky to have a great captain and friendly passengers with some really good conversations that got me thinking… a lot.









Thursday morning brought more exploring, and yummy coffee and treats, but also made it apparent that Enzo was definitely missing his routines and was not getting enough sleep. Phoebe was able to still get her naps in just fine, but Enzo has always been harder to get to sleep anywhere but his bed.


Since the kids had gone to the beach the previous day while we were whale watching, we thought Thursday would be another good day to stay close by and venture out to the pool.  Phoebe was not a fan of the water (it was a tad chilly) and while Enzo did dip his feet, stood on the steps, and let us hold him briefly in the water, he decided that his dream to swim like a turtle could be put off for a while.


With Enzo’s mood being a little off, we found it best to just enjoy the nearby beaches and fantastic weather and just walk around.  Both kids preferred being able to walk everywhere instead of driving around, so the California weather made both of them very happy. Phoebe could often be found running to the door demanding to go somewhere and now knows exactly what “outside” means.


Granted, while there was plenty of time outside, they also made themselves perfectly at home in the rental condo.  We actually rented some things from Toddler’s Travels to make things just a tad easier (booster seats for eating at home, some toys, bed safety rails, etc.).  While we could have probably managed without, it really did make things easier and was totally worth it.


On Friday we went to visit with Randy’s parents – one broken duck and lots of yummy snacks later we headed to a park for Enzo and kind of played the rest of the day by ear.  Our little traveler Phoebe probably would have been up for anything, but poor Enzo was just still not himself after lack of sleep and a disturbed routine.  Saturday brought a busy morning of packing and tidying up, but thankfully we were able to sleep in for quite a while.


We made it through security in great time – hardly any lines anywhere only to find that our flight was delayed half an hour, which thankfully gave us even more time to have lunch and get some wiggles out.  The gates next to ours were completely empty so the kids were free to run and run and run.


The flight home definitely felt longer than the flight to California, but only because Phoebe couldn’t quite get comfortable. Enzo fell asleep on my lap, so of course as soon as that happened, Phoebe decided she needed to be on my lap and we had to keep her from throwing a tiny tantrum and kicking her brother.  Josh ended up walking her around a bit and we did what we could to keep her happy.  No one was happy when we felt that first bit of cold weather, but we all managed to make it home and get to bed at mostly reasonable hours.  The week since has been interesting, but we’re doing what we can to get things back to normal.  Vacation is always so hard to come back from.

California Dreamin’ Part 1

Despite being gone for 5 nights we really didn’t take all that many photos during our trip, so I’ve got a jumble of photos from both of our phones and cameras and pictures were taken by both Josh and I and a couple of other random people.  Off we go!

The trip got off to an interesting start.  We left the house surprisingly on time and were all happily on our way when about halfway there Enzo started making whimpering sounds, so I turned around and asked if he was okay only to have him say that his tummy hurt.  Just as I was about to ask him something else, he vomited. Quite a bit.  Of course I had just cleaned out the car and had absolutely nothing on hand to help him out and we now had to find a gas station as fast as possible to clean him up.  I had a few wipes, but that wasn’t going to do it.  I also only had a short sleeve shirt as backup for him because we were headed to California and usually I don’t have to worry about backup clothes for him.  Did I also mention that he had thrown up on the only hoodie/jacket we had brought with us? Also, the gas station we stopped at?  No paper towels in the bathroom.  We finally got him cleaned up as much as possible and changed (I gave him my hoodie) and did our best to clean up his car seat with Subway napkins.  He seemed okay, so off we went.

About 5-10 minutes later, he started crying again.  I turned around and in a panic looked for anything that he could throw up in… I grabbed his winter hat.  It might have worked had he not tried to block his mouth with his hand and had he not projectile vomited everywhere.  I really started to panic now.  Was he sick?  Were we going to miss our flight? If he was sick were we going to be awful parents and make him get on a plane?  We stopped again and this time I had to get into the luggage in the trunk.  We did the best we could to yet again clean everything up and continued on our way once Enzo happily got back in the car. He no longer looked pasty and seemed to be in good spirits. We got to the airport, got to cut in line at security, made it in time to use the bathroom and then hopped on our flight. (This may be my wordiest post yet!)



The kids really did great on the flight.  Enzo looked out the window now and then, but really just though it was awesome to watch a movie on his little DVD player with his own headphones.  Also, they thought the beverage service and pretzels and cookies were kind of fabulous. I brought plenty of snacks and activities to keep them busy, but even though Phoebe was bored she wasn’t fussy – just squirmy, and then about halfway through the flight she settled down for a nap.


My mom and step-dad met us at the airport and then it was a matter of getting our rental minivan, getting the kids (and adults food) and then getting settled in our rental condo, which was within walking distance of the grandparents’ condo. 😉  We stayed close to home the day we arrived and the next day as well.  Did some driving/exploring and picked up some necessities for the kiddos.  The weather was amazing!  Beyond amazing!


Enzo really wanted to be adventurous and keep walking, but was still pretty nervous about how high up we were and felt more comfortable being held. I was a tad nervous as well… heights are not my favorite. Ha ha.



Phoebe was asleep in the car, so our family portrait is incomplete. You know what they say, though… never wake a sleeping baby.


She did wake up in time to go see some sea lions, and more importantly (to her) lots of pelicans and seagulls.







Short sleeves in February?  Yeah, that might be enough to make me move. Part 2 next week!  We went whale watching and we pretty much confirmed that Enzo is a Highly Sensitive Child. That is a whole different post, though.

And… we’re back.

We have returned safely from the warmth of sunny California to the cold embrace of gray Minnesota.  I’m not sure why people bother traveling to warmer places in the winter when it’s twice as depressing to return and then you have to get used to the cold all over again and sadly put away all warm weather attire for who knows how many more months.  Rant over, and California post to come.  In the meantime, how about a post with just random pictures I took and only slightly have something to do with anything?


For me, the hardest thing about coming back from vacation is… everything. Bags are unpacked, though, and half the laundry is done as well as shopping.  The kids managed to give the house that nice lived-in feel within hours of being home, so it’s almost as if we never left.


I think this morning was rough on all of us, partly because of the time change and partly because who wants to go to work/day care after so much playtime?  Both kids found bedtime to be difficult last night, so Josh had to rock Phoebe to sleep for a while, and Enzo watched some Downton Abbey with me. The stinker couldn’t have been more adorable as he quietly watched with me, sneaking little smiles at me every so often.

Anyhoo, I have (very few… whoops) pictures to upload and lots to think about after our trip, as well as Phoebe’s 15 month check-up tomorrow, so life goes on and off I go!