Sunday, November 16, 2014

Colorado part 1

We had everything packed and ready the night before.  We got up early and headed out.  It was going to be a very VERY long day.  The drive ended up being about 16 hours.  The girls were content to just play for a while.  We made it up to Flagstaff no problem and then headed east towards New Mexico.  About half way to Albuquerque the AC stopped working.  We had decided to take the Civic since it gets better gas mileage, but it is SO much smaller than the van and we were crammed in there like sardines.  It was a tad uncomfortable.  Then the AC quits.  I'm dying its so hot and I have tons of stuff on my lap and around my feet.  We made it to a gas pull off and I took the kids inside the store while Keith fished around trying to figure out what to do.  It was a Sunday so nothing was open as far as car shops.  We tried what we could and finally decided to just have the windows down for a bit and try to get as far away from hot AZ as we could.  We drove for an hour or so and we decided to try it again and miraculously it worked.  Oh how I prayed a prayer of gratitude.  I didn't know how to stay positive for as long as we had ahead of us with no air and crammed in the car with two kids.  The girls really did quite amazing.  We used our usually traveling tricks.  It helped that we had just made our long California travel so the kids were a bit use to being in the car.  With it being a work trip they gave Keith a $60 a day food stipend.  That is more than we ever spend a day so we decided to make it work for the whole family as best we could.  If we were frugal this whole trip wouldn't cost us anything.  We stopped in Albuquerque for lunch around 11.  We were making really great time and hurried to keep going.  The drive from Albuquerque to Denver was beautiful!!

It rained on us actually quite a bit which put us back on time, but it was SO refreshing to see green living things.  I get so tired of the dry, dead, desert.  We did have to make more frequent stops in the later afternoon as kids started getting restless.  Honestly, probably the best driving trip with the girls.  I was so pleased with them.  We stopped in some little town and got KFC for dinner.  We ate outside on the grass.  It was even a little chilly for us coming from 115 degree weather.  We trudged on and finally made it around 10 to our hotel in Denver.  We got in and went right to bed.

The next morning was interesting.  We had only the one car, but Keith needed to get to work and I didn't want to be stranded without a car.  He usually goes into work at 5:30am.  So we decided to do 6am and (don't think badly of us) Keith would call my cell phone.  I would answer and put it by the girls bed.  We would slip out (the doors locked to our room) and I would drive him the two miles to work and then rush back.  He would stay on the phone listening like a monitor to our hotel room till I got back.  Then I would pick up the phone from by their bed and let him know I was back and all was well.  This is what we did every morning we were there.  There was only one morning the girls woke up before I got back.  Keith could hear everything.  They just woke up and turned on the lights and played on their bed.  It was the second to last morning so they were familiar with the room and not scared that I wasn't there.  I got home maybe 5 minutes after they woke up.  Otherwise, no problems and this worked so that I had a car to take the girls exploring.

The hotel had complimentary breakfast.  I took the girls down every morning.  They thought it was SO cool to eat there.  They always got a bowl of cereal and yogurt.  Rue's excitement the first morning was just too cute.

After our first breakfast we got ready for the day.  It was nice out and so I searched out a park to go play at.  Honestly, I could NOT have survived this two weeks without my phone and Siri.  I would just ask where a park was and options would come up.  Our first adventure was to Washington Park (aka Wash park).  It had a huge lake, magnificent gardens and a little playground.  It was a VERY popular park.  TONS of people were always there walking or running around.  I didn't love the playground, but that's ok.  The kids weren't thrilled the first time either and wanted me to follow them around.  We made it work though.  The weirdest thing though, for being a HUGE and frequented park it had no bathrooms.  Only portable potties...ewww gross!  The park was only about a mile and a half from our hotel.  Here's the thing though...roads and traffic in Denver are AWFUL!! There were 11 lights just to get two miles to where Keith worked.  Eight to get to this park.  The park was between our hotel and Keith's work so we would often go there to wait for him to get off work.  That park grew on my and I loved it.  The more we went the more fun the girls had.  This whole experience really pushed the girls outside of their comfort zone and they learned to make friends with other kids and have a good time together.  It also pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me look for things to do with my kids and try things and go places I wouldn't have normally done alone.

After playing at Wash park the first morning and early afternoon we went to the grocery store and got food to make lunches.  In our hotel we had a queen bed and a pull out couch.  I little kitchen with stove, dishwasher, fridge/freezer and it even had dishes and pans.  There was a closet and full bathroom as well.  We pulled the mattress off the hide a bed couch and put it on the floor.  That's were the girls slept.  We had hoped to have a hotel that had a different room for our bed, but it was all one.  It wasn't convenient, but it was a good experience to learn how to deal with tight living space.  In the evening Keith would call when he was almost done and we would head down to meet him and pick him up.  Then we would go out to eat with almost $40 dollar to spend on dinner.  It was really kind of fun to go out to eat each night and not have to worry about making food or doing the dishes.  It was nice to be spoiled for two weeks.

 Washington Park
 The playground there had no sand.  It was all wooden as well.  The girls took a while to warm up this one.

 The gardens at Wash park were my favorite though.  It was so fun to walk around and see the beautiful flowers.

The second day Siri took us to another park a little north of the heart of Denver downtown.  This park had a breath taking field with a Grecian pillar building at one end.  The opposite end had a playground. It was a normal playground with swings and slides.  It even had sand.  None of the other parks we went to had sand.  It was usually wood chips.  The area surrounding this park was VERY ritzy.  There were more kids there, but all with nannies.  The park even had sand town designated to this park.  Someone had bought them and written Cheesman park and left them.  The kids had fun playing with the kids at this one.  We stayed quite a while.

Cheesman Park

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