We went out to Colorado to visit Ryan's family for Independence Day. Most of them hadn't met Benjy yet, so the visit served two purposes. We left Salt Lake at 5am on the 3rd. The kids slept most of the morning. We stopped at Little America so I could feed the baby. Ryan and Sam got ice cream cones (lucky!) Ryan let me drive part of the way, so I listened to Soup on my iPod to help me stay awake.
Blankie, check. Shade blankie, check.
Playing Angry Birds on the Nook
We stopped in Fort Collins so we could visit the Institute. We got the kids dressed and ready for the day there. Then we met our friend Katie during her lunch break and went to a restaurant right off campus- just like being in college again! Except, you know, with the munchkins in tow. We also visited the Reader's Cove, the independent bookstore I worked for my last semester of school. They were closing for good that week, so we bought a couple books to help them out. We also met up with our friend Mark. A productive side trip!
Down in Denver, we got to hang out with Ryan's family. Rusty and Chrissy once again opened up their home to us. They are so generous. Sam had so much fun playing with his cousins. I remember playing with my cousins as a kid, and how that always felt like the most fun ever.
To celebrate Independence Day, we took the boys to the (not-so) nearby town of Byers for their parade. I'd never been to a small-town parade before. We loved watching the fire trucks and floats drive down the main street. Sam loved the candy they threw to us. We had lunch with Ryan's mom, then all headed back to Rusty and Chrissy's. We went geocaching as a family, a first time for Ryan's mom.
Back at the ranch, we played our traditional game of SceneIt, boys against girls as always. Ryan and his brothers played video games at night after the rest of us went to bed. On the 5th we went to Heritage Square, a "family entertainment village" in Golden. They have an alpine slide, lots of carnival-style rides, and various vendors in a town square setting.
The only ride Sam really liked, not that you can tell from his expression!
Chrissy and the girls
Sam got on the Ferris wheel kicking and screaming. Eventually, though, he liked it.
Chrissy's dad owns the old-timey photo shop, Professor Goodbellows' Old-Time Portraits. If you've never done one of those photo shoots where you get dressed up in the old-fashioned clothes, you really should. It was a blast.
We were so lucky all the kids cooperated- even Benjy!
We went swimming that night. Poor Sam, he was totally terrified of the water. We made him get in anyway. He clung to my back while I swam around the pool, crying the whole time. Benjy, however, loved the water.
The next day we headed home. We spent some more time in Fort Collins before really getting on our way. This time, the kids were not as content to sit in the car. We made a long stop at Little America to have ice cream and play on the playground so Sam could get his wiggles out.
It took us almost 12 hours to get home from the time we left Denver, with all the stops we made. We were exhausted when we got home, but so happy that we made the drive. It's great to be with family!