First off, here's a picture of The Reynolds Tribe's first Halloween in Laramie:
That bright shiny ribbon was attached to a balloon that Sister Williams gave to us. It's still floating around our house!
My parents had a lot of extra time share points this year, and they generously offered to use some of them so that we could have a mini-vacation. So we spent the weekend in Estes Park, Colorado, at the Historic Crags Lodge. As always, my job is to pack, and Ryan loads everything in the car. We left our house around 2:30pm on Friday afternoon, feeling good about our weekend. We were about five miles away from Fort Collins, our first stop, when I realized we forgot to bring a stroller or a baby carrier to transport Benjy around for the weekend. Strike one for Kara. We did a little shopping and eating in Fort Collins, and called some of our old college friends who were still in the area until we found someone able to loan us a stroller. The Brinks are our HEROES.
We headed up to Estes Park and checked into the lodge. The friendly lady at the front desk handed me our room key, and then gave me the code to the swimming pool gate.
"Isn't the pool closed?" I asked. "I thought the website said it closed on November 1st."
"It used to," she informed me cheerily. "But we just built a brand new heated pool and spa, and they are open year round." I didn't pack our swimsuits. Strike two for Kara.
We had a two bedroom suite with a mini kitchen all to ourselves. It was decorated in a charmingly rustic style that we all loved.
The wardrobe in Sam's room
Even the toilet paper holder was faux-logs!
We spent Saturday morning walking around downtown, looking at cool shops. While Ben took a nap after lunch, the rest of us explored the lodge. A wedding was being held there that night, so the dining room was beautifully decorated. We couldn't go in the pool, but the hotel had a bunch of FunNoodles and a water ball, so we played with those instead.
The view from the lodge. The big white building is the famous Stanley Hotel, where the movie The Shining was filmed.
After Ben woke up, we decided to go geocaching around town. Both of the caches ended up being kid-unfriendly: one on a busy road, the other a hundred feet or more up the side of a "mountain". I found both on my own, so I still count the trip as a success. With some navigational help from my dad, we were able to drive out to a ranch where Ryan's dad worked in the seventies. It's now on the Colorado Historic Register. Then we went to dinner. In typical Reynolds fashion, we picked a place to eat, drove there, read the reviews in the parking lot, decided not to eat there, then spent 30 minutes trying to pick a new place to eat. We ended up at the Rock Inn Mountain Tavern, and while it was more expensive than we wanted, the food and service were both fabulous (no that is not an excerpt from my Yelp review). Ryan went in first to make sure it was kid-friendly, and by the time the rest of us got in, the waitress had already set up a booster seat for Sam and brought us a high chair to put Ben's car seat on. We went all out and ordered an appetizer- Ryan picked fried pickles. They were fabulous. Sam loved them. I loved them. Even Benjy sucked the breading off of one and cried when it was over. Our burgers were great, and our dessert was fantastic. We went back to the lodge feeling very full and happy. I was especially happy because I didn't have to look at the check.
We gave the boys baths, and watched some TV in bed together, and went to sleep! And that was our trip. The next morning (that is, this morning) we got up early and got ready for church. We were in such a rush to get back to Laramie that I left Ben's bowl of peas and our milk in the fridge in our hotel room, which of course I didn't realize until we were twenty miles away. Strike three for Kara. We made a brief detour in Fort Collins to return the stroller, and made it back to Laramie in time for church. Mini-vacations are great!