Friday, September 11, 2015

Colorado | Labor Day 2015

This past weekend we took a trip to Colorado with Justin's brother Tyler and his wife Kristin. Our original plan was to go to Mexico for the week but Southwest decided not to provide non-stop flights from Austin so we decided on the next best thing...mountain views and cooler temps! I'm so glad we made that decision because we had so much fun! Cooler temperatures alone would be worth it but we did lots of fun things and ate lots of yummy food too :)

We started out our trip bright an early at 4:30 am on Saturday morning to catch our 6:30 flight. We were hoping Eli would sleep on the hour and a half flight but that was a big fat nope! He was too interested in our drinks, the people and kids in front of us, trying to rip the magazines...you get the idea. Once we arrived in Denver we picked up our rental car and grabbed breakfast on the way to Colorado Springs. We attempted to eat at Snooze in Lone Tree but it was an hour and a half wait and we had a kid that had been up for 5+ hours and needed a nap and hungry adults. So we settled for a Target with a Starbucks (I forgot Eli's shoes so this was a needed stop) and hit the road. Eli took a nice little nap just in time for our arrival at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. We spent a few hours at the zoo and it was great! The zoo is on the side of the mountain so it's a bit of a work out but the beautiful zoo and all the fun animals are so worth it.



6714 feet!

What a view!
Petting a baby wallaby!
These guys were just free to roam around where you were walking - so neat
Zoo gondola 
My happy guy
Giraffes!

I couldn't get a good picture but this baby orangutang...I die!!
After the zoo we stopped for lunch and then went straight to our hotel and were luckily able to check in early. Un-luckily, they were out of pack n plays and sent someone to buy a few more. We tried napping with Eli for nearly an hour but all he wanted to do was climb all over us. They finally brought the pack n play and he got an hour nap. After naptime it was time to head over to Memorial Park for the Labor Day Lift Off Hot Air Balloon Glow. We ended up getting there a tad early so we walked around and then found a spot in the shade to watch the Air Force Sky Diving Team. It was so fun to watch all of their different techniques. Once the sun went down the balloons started to inflate & "glow." It was such a cool experience! We didn't make it to the Glow last time we were there (3 years ago) because I had altitude sickness from our trip to the top of Pike's Peak. I'm really glad we made it this time. Eli was such a trooper all day and passed out when we got back to the hotel - it was a long day for us adults, so I can only imagine how long it felt to the little guy.






Air Force Sky Diver


Such a pretty backdrop with the mountains

The balloons are starting!
Beautiful sunset





Sunday morning we were up bright and early to make it to the Balloon Festival by 7am for the first wave of the balloon lift off. The weather was cool, it was the perfect amount of sunny, and just a great vibe all around. It's so crazy to be so close to the balloons because man are they HUGE. So many pretty colors & designs! Poor Eli was a little cranky and ended up falling asleep while we were there but the adults had a great time. 















Yoda!

Garden of the Gods in the distance...it looked SO pretty with the sun lighting it up!
Okay so he's not so happy but look at his shirt!!













We made a pit stop for Rudy's breakfast tacos and then hit the road for Breckenridge. The drive was uneventful but scenic. 





We walked around Breckenridge a little and oh my goodness...It's the CUTEST little town! I'm so so glad we are going back in February to experience it in the winter! We had lunch at the Breckenridge Brewery (buffalo chicken cheddar cheese soup...need I say more?) and had a fussy Eli on our hands. Pretty sure he had a fever because he was burning up. We decided to head back to the car and get on the road to our condo in Keystone. 











Luckily it's only a 20 minute drive between the two towns. Eli finally had time to crawl around and burn some energy...and take a nice nap in a pack n play rather than his carseat! Looking back, we are pretty sure he had some altitude sickness because he had a fever for a few days and was pretty irritable. Both of these are symptoms of altitude sickness in infants - although irritability could just be him being a baby. He's a typically a pretty happy guy though so we are thinking it was more than that. I stayed back with E and Justin, Tyler & Kristin went a few towns over to the grocery store and picked up some dinner so we didn't have to take E-man out again. It was a great decision because I ended up in bed around 8pm - so so tired!






Monday we had a lazy morning and then decided to go back to Breckenridge to explore a little more and have lunch. Originally we were going to take the gondola up the mountain but with Eli's suspected altitude sickness we decided against it. It ended up being pretty cloudy (and rained on our way home) so it was probably best we didn't go up anyways. We had lunch at a Mi Casa Mexican restaurant downtown and not gonna lie...I didn't have high hopes for Coloradan Mexican food. But wholy moly I was pleasantly surprised! It was the best quesadilla (and fried jalapenos) I've ever had...I can't wait to go back in February! We went in a few stores and bought some delicious cookies before heading back to the condo. We had a nice lazy afternoon and dinner in...it was so nice having a kitchen and not having to eat out every meal. It was another early night for mama because Eli was not having it in his crib and ended up in bed with us all night.















Tuesday we hit the road after breakfast and drove to Denver. What a beautiful drive! Hard to believe you go down about 4000ft on the drive. We were able to eat at Snooze (near downtown Denver) and boy was it yummy! It's a breakfast/brunch place and they are opening one in Austin - so excited! After we filled our bellies we went over to the Denver Zoo. What a great zoo!! On the map I was thinking it didn't look too big but boy was I wrong. Eli made it through probably 1/3 of it awake but we enjoyed the whole thing.

















We were all pretty beat after the car ride & walking around the zoo so we went to the hotel at the airport to get some rest. We stayed at Staybridge Suites and since we were there on a Tuesday night they had an evening "social" with free drinks & fajitas/club salad. It worked out perfectly to have dinner there since we returned the car when we got there. We had a relaxing evening and went to bed fairly early again. Wednesday we traveled home - thank goodness for TSA pre-check because after leaving the diaper bag in the shuttle and getting the car seat stuck in the security scanner...we only had 20ish minutes to kill at the gate (totally not a bad thing with a baby). Eli only slept for 25 minutes and was a busy body the rest of the time. 



We had such a fun trip and I hope to go back next year...it's the perfect family weekend getaway! Even though this trip really hit home that fact that vacationing with kids is a totally different ball game...it's really parenting in a different location...I would totally do it over again. Occasionally I get asked why we take Eli on these trips when he will never remember them. We are aware that he won't remember, but we will. We love experiencing new (and old) things with Eli and seeing his curiosity and his little face light up. We will have plenty of time later on to travel with just us two. Before we were blessed with Eli we would talk about taking our future child(ren) to all of our favorite places so that's what we are doing...and I wouldn't have it any other way! Can't wait for Eli's first CRUISE in December!! Woohoo!!