Thursday, August 2, 2012

Keystone, Colorado

Since Chad had a diabetes conference for several days, Dr. Swinyard invited our whole family up to a condo to make a trip of it. Even though we had to get up and leave the very day after returning home at midnight from Mexico, we thought it would be worth it. Time with our family, change of scenery. Vacation is good. The kids each brought their electronic devices to help pass the time. (And keep Mom and Dad sane by cutting down on arguing.) Micah working on "Plants vs. Zombies" most likely.
Thank goodness for modern technology! We brought along the portable DVD player and it's been a lifesaver in more than one instance. Matthew now loves "Cars" and will be happy for 1 1/2 hours with that thing going.
 Having Elmo along for the trip helps, too.
 Daddy-O keeping everyone in check!
 It was a 7-8 hour drive to our destination. We got a nice little condo that was a perfect size for us and the length we were staying. Each night the kids had to rotate who slept where, due to the fact that there was a cool loft and everyone wanted a turn there. We quickly came to know the layout of the kitchen. If you know kids, you know you don't ever get far from the kitchen.
 They had fun playing games out the back door, on the deck and on the grass. Creativity is the key to happiness, kids!
 One game invented: drop the tissue and see if the person below can catch it. If not, try to retrieve it from the tree.
 Snuggles with Matthew.
 "This place is so cool! I wish this was our real home." They have no idea what they are talking about. That said, I do realize that, compared to millions around the world, a roof overhead and clean water would be a blessing.
 In the morning, the choices for breakfast were limited. But we did have hot chocolate and soldiers (toast cut into long strips which can be buttered and dipped in your hot chocolate...if you're the adventurous sort). They loved it. Cheers!
 Each day Chad had lectures to attend all day. This means I was solo with the five darlings. (Nevermind there were threats at different times for silence in the car or ELSE!) We headed to the resort and checked out what was there. Here, Micah is the moose, Matthew the fox, and Ella the bear.
 Matthew: fox, Mira: bear
 When Chad finished at dinnertime, we met up and played around a little. There was a nice spot with water, rocks, sticks, and trees. What more do they need for happiness to thrive? Watching Mira and Matthew try to get across on these rocks without getting wet was hilarious. And impossible.
 Chad and Matthew going around, looking for rocks to chuck into the water.
 Micah comes running, "Guys! Wait, I have an idea!" Such excitement.

 Miss Ella. The hair's getting longer. I think she loves that it is. She was starting to feel unwell at this point. By the next day, she had some serious altitude sickness. I wouldn't have thought we'd experience that, coming from as high as we are in Utah. But from what people there told me, it's really common. After Ella was recovered, Mira came down with it even worse. Headache, nausea, chills, and just so tired. It definitely tweaked our plans, but we still enjoyed our time. We went swimming a couple of times, I took them to see "Brave," and we just played around the condo. Oh, and watched more than our share of the Disney channel. (We never do at home.)

 It it really beautiful here. So many tree-covered mountains. I would have loved to take bikes for everyone in the family and gone on rides. How do you transport 6 bikes on the back of a minivan?
 One shop handed out popcorn. We were happy recipients.

 Who's so big?
Where should I play now?
 We bought tickets to see a little play in the village. By this point, Ella was miserable. I had to take her out and rest with her while she moaned. The boys were none too thrilled about seeing this musical, especially because it was prince/princess based. But once it started, they were hooked. It was well done. But I must say I was disappointed that there was a political slant to it. It went right over the kids' heads, but was blatant for adults. I cringe when I hear jokes and comments made to put down other political parties. From either side. I've heard enough of them and they give me a headache. I think it's immature and rude. Sure, have an opinion. But to be sarcastic and offensive is going to far. My opinion on that subject.

 There were so many cool activities for kids here. The kids noticed them and wanted to try them out. Everything was pretty darned pricey. I'd planned on taking them to Copper Mountain to meet up with my old mission companion and her family. We were going to party hard there with all the attractions. So I put off the kids' requests by reminding them of this. The thing is, by the time that day came, Mira had fallen really ill with the altitude sickness. I felt so bad they never got to do any of it.

 We did, however, take a gondola up to the top of Keystone. It was a gorgeous view. Matthew was a little frightened. Especially when the kids kept asking him, "Matthew, are you scared because we're going so high up the mountain?" Grr.

 Look at that view. Charming.
 The woman I asked to take this picture was a funny thing. She kindly obliged, and then, as we gathered together she looked taken aback and commented, "Wow, you guys sure took the 'Go forth and multiply' thing seriously!"
 Sarah (Kelly) Stamps and I were companions for four months in Antrim, Northern Ireland. She's a great gal. It was so good to see her in her element, with her husband and kids. As the days neared that we would be meeting up, thoughts from our time together ran through my mind. It wasn't an easy area. We worked hard and definitely felt discouraged (often). But it's a good feeling to know we persevered.
 Nicole: 5, Sarah: 5
 Sarah and her hubby, Steve and their adorable children:

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