This was also the first trip I can recall that we had a great travel schedule... we usually try to max out our time off, so we'll say - fly to Texas on a Thursday night after work (or ass-early Friday morning) and then fly back Monday afternoon and be at work Tuesday (E always remembers to request off the next day - I never do!)
The house wasn't actually open to us until later Sunday afternoon, so we were all kind of trickling in from various entrances into the state of CO...\
Bro and SIL had flown in the night prior, and after staying at a hotel(friends' house?) in the Denver area, had decided to grab lunch before driving down to COS (CO Springs). The second great idea they had was to invite us to meet them at the restaraunt on our way down to COS - perfect!
Well - ultimately, we pulled up and they were all, "yea we already ate - and we actually have to leave now, [niece] is tired and needs a nap and we have to stop back [at hotel? friend's house?] to get her [almond] milk from the fridge..."
So we ended up sitting and eating by ourselves (at that point, Button needed to eat before he slept for his nap on the drive down to COS) while my parents and my sister (and family) were all enjoying a bar in COS, asking where we were...
Anyways - we eventually all got to a park in town to wait the last hour or so until it was time to head to the house...
The crew split, and while the girls got everyone settled in the house, the boys went grocery shopping.
Domino's pizza the first night (at the suggestion of frugal SIL - she'd found a coupon for $6 mediums! - but yeck: domino's pizza for a NJ Italian palette??) and we were all ready to call it a night after a long day of travel...
Day 2 (Monday)
My dad had wanted to meet a cousin's daughter the night before for dinner (which quickly got veto'd by the travel-weary group) so instead we headed over to Monument, CO (20-25 minutes) for lunch - sans Jeep roof panels! which made it quite interesting when it started to sprinkle with 10 minutes left in the drive... (somehow, physics and all - we did not get a single drop in the Jeep until we stopped moving at cousin's house!)
We picked up our jaws in time for lunch - where SIL (I'm sure) was all - "IS SHE EATING COLDCUTS!? OOOOOOOOOO!" because, yes - I had a turkey sandwich.
It was delicious.
I should have said, "If you are worried about listeria from these deli meats, you sure as hell better not let your husband or daughter eat them! seriously! PUT THE BOLOGNA DOWN!!!"
We enjoyed some fabulous homemade brownies, this preggo packed a plate of them to go, and we headed back to the house (roof ON the Jeep) for the kiddos to nap. As soon as they woke up, we headed to Reunion HQ (the nearby hotel where a lot of the family was staying, and where they had rented a conference room for the entire week) to check in and see some cousins we hadn't seen in years! (Last reunion E and I made it to was 2009!!)
Dinner planning hit a snag, as we had been told dinner "was included" for the reunion at the hotel - well, dinner was just a cold buffet that was open to all guests: cheese, crackers, snack mix, soup and salad. While it sat fine with a few of us, the boys demanded more sustenance, and so we headed off (as I checked my watch and worried about Button getting to bed at a decent hour - local AND home time) to discover the restaurants would all have 30+ minute waits... off to Trader Joe's we went for dinner foods to make at home (the grocery shopping earlier was only for breakfasts, lunches and snacks).
And so ended Day 2...
Day 3 (Tuesday)
We got a little bit of a later start on Tuesday - the kiddos were actually ready for a nap pretty early, travel and excitement having gotten to them on a bit of a delay... After their naps, we headed back to the hotel expecting to touch base and get the 4-1-1 on the reunion activities for the day (We even wore the shirts my mom surprised us all with - she made them in TX before the trip!!)
Well, we ended up being the only ones at the hotel... (well, ok not the only ones - but the only people in the common area/conference room from our family... lol)
So we headed off to one of our loosely scheduled activities/desires for the week: The Garden of the Gods, a registered natural landmark in COS:
We first checked out the free Visitor Center/Museum where the kids loved playing on the buffalo:
And then headed out into the park - we drove through most of it, and got out towards the end to hike a bit:
There was a reunion staple that night - The Talent Show, where it's a mix of the older women cousins singing silly songs with silly props, and the wee young ones whispering their misspoken ABCs - it's a blast! Of course, we baby-mommas had to leave early when it got close to bedtime, and again (a running theme all week) hadn't left enough time for dinner so we dashed into Panera, and dashed home - quickly fed Button, quickly bathed him, and got him to bed, oh around 9pm... which was 11pm home time. =\
I usually ended up hitting the hay around 10pm since the drinking was off limits, and the hot tub was off limits. So I ate the fresh baked cookies the homeowner had left, and tucked in with a good book... (oh more on that next Wednesday for the Reading Challenge update!)
And somehow, our week was already half over!