Family Vacation

Long post ahead!  I am finally getting to put up some photos from our New Years Colorado trip.  We went to Colorado Springs, CO.  This was a surprise trip for my husband for his birthday which is Dec. 28th and also to say thank you to him for helping me/putting up with me during the holiday rush that happens with my shop.  It was a lot of fun planning it and we had a great time.  It was also a fun challenge to bring along the 3 little ones.  Three big goals for me were to find a place where the kids would see snow, a mountain, and also ride a plane.  We did all those things although I wish there had been a bit more snow on the ground.

You can click on the photos below to make them larger if you want more detail and also to see the full caption. I always have dreams of all the fabulous pictures I/we will take of the family and the places we go but then life happens with kids and we are lucky with what we get. We also had a certain little girl knock our camera off a table earlier in the month which broke our lens that could get wide angle shots so with the lenses we had left I was unable to get any good shots of our hotel room or anything nearby.  Thankfully, Ken gave me a replacement lens for my birthday so we can once again get wide shots. To see an example of what our great room was like you can go here.  We had a double room with the 2 queen beds and a crib…it is similar to the first picture shown except a little bigger because of the two beds.  The bathroom area was also HUGE.  It was like the size of a normal hotel room we stay in.  The hotel doesn’t have free breakfast but we bought cereal and milk and used our fridge in the room to keep breakfast cheap and simple.  Having the fireplace was awesome.  I loved being able to turn it on and off with the flip of a switch.  And we could leave it on all night if we wanted.  We would definitely stay here again.

The flights went fabulously.  Poor Audrey lost it when we got to CO because she was so tired from traveling and it was her bed time.  But otherwise they were champs.  In fact, it may have helped us get a better deal on our rental vehicle.  We were just going to rough it and squeeze all 3 kids in carseats in the back of a full sized car to save tons of money but the rental guy wanted us to upgrade to a minivan which is so much more costly.  Ken was able to haggle with him and get the price WAY down.  So, we got to enjoy the room of having a van for only a little bit more.  But back to the flights…I think there is a good cop/bad cop thing on the flights with the flight attendants because we experienced that every time.  There was usually one pretty impatient with us trying to get all 5 of us seated.  We had to strap Audrey’s carseat in the seat because we didn’t want to check it and so that took an extra minute…which we were kindly reminded that the plane couldn’t take off until we sat down.  Duh.  It seems growing up that they used to let families board early to take care of things like that but this was not the case – we were usually almost last to get on.  So, we just tried to stay calm and go with the flow.  The plane was always able to take off  – although there was the one time when they had to stall the plane on the runway to de-ice it and then of course Audrey who was newly potty trained said she had to go.  The pilot let her go to the bathroom but then of course she sat on the toilet and didn’t go!  So, the whole plane got to wait on us for no reason.  Thankfully no one knew that she actually just wasted their time and were very gracious.

Since our trip was very quick and we had 3 small children we didn’t cram a ton into our days.  We rode the cog railway up Pikes Peak which was fun.  I had ridden it as a kid and thought that the combination of a train ride and going up a mountain should be pretty fascinating to the kids.  We weren’t taken to the summit but this allowed the trip to be a little shorter for our young ones.  If you ever do it I would recommend buying a seat for everyone (well except lap babies).  It was too cramped in the beginning with Audrey on Ken’s lap but since the train wasn’t full on this trip they allowed us to change seats on the way down which they normally don’t let you do.

We also visited the Garden of the Gods which was the view from our room.  It is free and the rock formations were really beautiful.  We began to hike part of it but our poor kids were worn out and I think the altitude wasn’t helping.  So, we had to turn back after a little while.  We did drive around it and get out to climb the rocks though which the kids loved.  They also have a great little visitor center with some educational displays plus the kids’ favorite – the two souvenier shops.  Speaking of altitude…I think me nursing was the culprit to my altitude sickness.  I have never experienced it before but kept getting really bad headaches this go round.  They say you are supposed to stay super hydrated to avoid it but I guess I wasn’t able to drink enough.

Our last night was new years eve.  I think I went to bed at 9:30 pm!!!  I haven’t gone to bed that early in months!  But we had to get up at the crack of dawn to be at the airport for our 8 am flight.  Thankfully the kids were all tired and were able to go to sleep faster that evening.  So, even though it wasn’t a super exciting new years eve, it was great to get some rest.  It was also a sweet way to start out the new year with the whole family in a far away place.  It’s a great way to set the tone for 2013 and get out of the rut of normal life.

Have you traveled with little kids before?  Got any recommendations?  If you have any specific questions about how we did part of the trip with the kiddos just ask.

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