Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Colorado Vacation, Part 4 (Last one, I promise!!)

Okay, so this is the last vacay post.  I am a museum buff so we had to find one to visit in Denver.  There are a few to choose from, including a children's museum, but after much research we decided to go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Boy, am I glad we went here!  It was awesome.

I loved the pirate hanging from the sign on the outside of the museum. 

Miss Priss hanging out with the peg leg.

There was the coolest Real Pirates exhibit from National Geographic that you could purchase.  Cameras were not allowed inside, but it was so cool.  The kids got pirate hats and "tattoos" (stamps) upon exiting the exhibit.  It took about and hour and half to go through and was truly one of my favorite parts of the museum.

Next up was the Egypt exhibit.  Another really cool one.

Abby's mummy/zombie imitation.  This girl finds a way to get in almost every picture!

Finally a picture of my sweet Wyatt.

There was a really neat exhibit about space and a planetarium where we saw a show a cute little children's show about the Sun.  

We watched this fun Imax show about ocean life.  It was narrated by Jim Carrey and was pretty funny.

The children's area of the museum, called the Discovery Zone, was great.  Abby took advantage of all the fun activities and labs offered.

However, Wyatt did not move from the block station.  Typical.

Abby saw this book and insisted I take a picture.  She was laughing hysterically about it.  :)

The museum was great!  I could have gone back for a few days in a row, but the rest of the gang didn't appreicate it as much as I did. 

We also went to Manitou Springs and walked around the historic area.  There were so many neat little shops and restaurants.  I found some great bath bombs at a shop called Salus (you can order online!).

We ate at this restaurant called Coquette's.  It was delicious.  They had burgers and crepes and it was so good!

We decided to head up to the cliff dwellings after shopping.  It was pretty neat except for the two buses full of middle school camp kids.  I know that sounds horrible since I'm a teacher, but they were loud and rude and just really ruined the experience.  

Since we were in vicinity, we headed over the the Garden of the gods.  Be still my heart.  It was beautiful.  Until it started pouring rain.  We had to run for about 20 minutes in the pouring rain to get to our car.  It was a really cold, wet trip back to the hotel in Denver. 

The sky started to turn ominous. 

Balanced Rock.  I took this one inside the car. :)

Despite the rain, Garden of the gods was truly breathtaking.  I can't wait to go back to see it again!

If you didn't notice, I fell in love with Colorado.  I truly feel like it's a part of me now and is calling me back.  Maybe one day!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Colorado Vacation, Part 3

Okay,  the vacation posts are probably very boring for readers of my blog.  I have to document this stuff for us to look back on because I've not been scrapbooking much lately.  Hang in there because the vacay posts are coming to a close soon!  I have TONS more pictures (I took over 600 of them) but I tried to narrow it down to the major highlights. 

We spent lots of time in Colorado Springs- there is so much to do there!  We decided to visit the zoo since so many people we know told us it was great.  I must say, it is a really good zoo. 

There was a really great giraffe exhibit and you could buy food (lettuce) for a couple of bucks and feed the giraffes.  The kids, and someone else apparently :), really enjoyed it.

As you can see, Casey was being an excellent role model for all the young children.

The view from the zoo was amazing. 

The zoo was sectioned off into areas: Asian Highlands, Rocky Mountains, etc...  and there are many neat exhibits and things to do.  If you are ever in Colorado Springs, I highly recommend checking out this zoo!

After the zoo, we were hot and sweaty and decided to make an impromptu trip to Pike's Peak.  We had planned on doing it the next day but decided to go ahead with it. Boy, was it INTENSE!!!

Let me just say, this mountain almost did me in.  Seriously.  I hate heights and we were literally driving on the edge of a mountain with no guardrails at some places.  Most of the drive was paved, but there was an almost 4 mile stretch of unpaved, gravel road that caused my heart to beat out of my chest.  Abby was picking up on my anxiety and was in tears with me while Casey and Wyatt were laughing and enjoying the whole drama.  Sheesh. 

This sign was posted soon after entering the mountain drive.  Not only was I about to be tortured by the steep, mountainous drive but now I had to keep my eyes open for Big Foot!

The views were amazing.  (When I actually opened my eyes ;) )

It started to get really cloudy and I was so afraid that a thunderstorm would pop up.  I can't imagine making that drive in a storm.

We made it!!  It was so cold at the summit and we didn't have jackets with us.

Pike's Peak was truly amazing albeit a little (okay, a lot) scary at times.  If you decide to make the drive, just remember to bring along some Xanax and you should be fine. ;)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Colorado Vacation, Part 2

I'm back with more vacation fun!  After baking in the sun at the Rockies game, we headed downtown to the 16th Street Pedestrian mall to grab a bite to eat and look around.  There are lots of fun sculptures and cute boutiques all over. 

I had to take a pictures of these colorful buffalo since my alma mater is West Texas A&M and the mascot is buffalo.  Right after I took this picture, a homeless man came up to me, asked me for a high five and told me to give it up for all the beautiful women in downtown Denver.  Sheesh!

We decided to eat dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.  It was our first time and golly was that menu overwhelming.  So many dinner choices but I was really blown away by how many cheesecake flavors they offered.  It was really hard but we narrowed it down the lemon raspberry and the turtle.  Heavenly!

Since we were on vacation and no one knew us, we decided to take some silly pictures. :)

I loved seeing all the American flags up for the 4th of July. 

More fun pictures....

FYI: Medical marijuana is legal in Colorado (I did not know this) and there were marijuana centers all over the place, sometimes 2 or more on a block.  It was strange to see!

We decided to drive around for a while and just explore Denver.  It's the first big city that I felt like I really learned my way around (somewhat) and the traffic didn't seem as bad, even with construction, as other big cities like Dallas and Houston. 

I just loved how bright and colorful these townhomes were.  I was trying to be inconspicuous so that people didn't think I was a stalker taking pics of their homes. :)

Oh, how I miss Denver!  I'll soon be posting some fun pictures from our trip to the museum, the zoo, and the mountain that almost gave me a stroke!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Colorado Vacation, Part 1

Well, we are finally back from our wonderful vacation and are settled back in.  I came back home grudgingly...I fell in love with Colorado and literally want to move there.  One of these days!

Our first day of vacation was spent driving (duh) to Denver, with a quick stop in Pueblo for lunch and a little exploration.  We got there late in the afternoon and decided to just get settled in, grab a quick bite for dinner, and get rested up for the next day. 

We like staying at Hyatt's and got a pretty good deal through so it worked out well.

Our hotel was in a suburb called Englewood which was really nice.  We were in a business area and while we didn't have the best view, we were on the top floor and could still see the mountains.

The next day we got up bright and early to hit the Outlets  in Castle Rock.  What better way to start a vacation than with a shopping trip!  I found so many good deals at some stores that I don't have access to here.  They had a Gymboree outlet, the Loft, Nine West, and OshKosh B'gosh to name a few (at least where I spent the most money).

Getting ready to shop!  Yes, Wyatt is sucking his thumb.  I am trying desperately to get him to stop.  I was a thumbsucker and so was Abby, so I'm hoping he'll outgrow it soon.

The hubs. :)

We came across a neat little candy shop and got the kiddos some dippin' dots

After shopping, we were pretty worn out and decided to find something quick for dinner.  We ate at Noodles and Company and came back so the kids could swim at the hotel.  I think that was seriously their favorite part of vacation.  They called it "the beach". :)

On Sunday, we headed to a Colorado Rockies baseball game.  That was one of Casey's Father's Day gifts.  The temperatures in Denver were quite pleasant especially compared to the miserable heat we've had in Amarillo.  However, the day of the game is was 95 degrees and since we sat way up at the top, the sun was beating down on us.  It was HOT!

The very rude people sitting behind us felt the need to express their freedom of speech by using every curse word they knew so we left the game a little early. 

This was just the first 2 days of vacay.  Stay tuned for more fun!!