Ever since we lost Solveig almost six months ago, I've wanted to escape and flee the scene of my life for just a bit. We love to travel and have been blessed with many different opportunities to do so throughout the years. But that travel bug was really in me this spring, and I just could not wait to get out for a bit to breathe some different air and see some other scenery.
Gratefully, we were able to take a trip to Colorado and South Dakota and we just returned a week ago. I've been trying to catch up on life and that is why I haven't posted here in awhile. I'm living my REAL life, I guess you could say.
We spent time in Aspen, Snowmass, Ft. Collins, Rapid City and just an overnight stop in Sioux Falls before we headed home. Erik drove our van to Denver and met me and the kids at the airport! We had enough points through something that we were able to get tickets for the three of us to fly to Denver - pretty great. I'm so glad that we could do that, and the kids had so much fun flying! For Bug, it was the first plane trip she remembers, as she was one the last time she flew. And for Buzz, it was his first plan trip ever. They thought it was awesome! And I made sure to pack their backpacks full of fun things to keep them busy during the flight. Sticker scene books are the WAY TO GO for kids ages 4 and 6! They loved those and still play with them, a few weeks after the start of the trip.
We did some little hikes over the top of Aspen and Snowmass Mountains and in the surrounding area, through Rocky Mountain National Park, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park. I even enjoyed singing a bit while we were hiking. There were lots of little streams to wade in and the kids LOVED collecting rocks of all different shapes and sizes. A gold mine was visited and toured and we also spent time panning for gold. We ended up bringing home two tiny files filled with mostly water and a couple seedling sized pieces of gold. It was fun to experience the thrill of the gold hunt! We also went to the Woolly Mammoth dig site, had dinner and saw a show at a chuck wagon restaurant/theater, learned how to make an old fashioned cowboy rope, went on a boat tour of Grand Lake and so much more. Many animals were seen, including TWO black bears in downtown Aspen, mountain goats, big horn sheep, three herds of buffalo, gazillions of prairie dogs, fish and yellow bellied marmots. Those were all in the wild. Then we drove through a wildlife park where we saw a LOT of different bears, walking right next to our van, and many other animals as well. Good thing they keep those bears well fed!
While we were gone we had the opportunity to spend time with some very special people, including my voice teacher from grad. school and his sweet wife and son who have really become such dear friends, Erik's aunt and my special friend from high school and her adorable family - they're like family to me. I'm so grateful that we could be with these loved ones. It was food for my soul and I miss them all already. Thank you dear friends for the time we could be together. I so appreciated the times we could share as well as the wonderful conversations.
The one thing that was hard for me on the trip was that I kept thinking about Solveig and how she could have been with us. There were of course babies everywhere, and I noticed all of them...especially the newborns or those who were almost six months old, like Solveig would be. Sometimes it was very difficult, but I tried as much as I could to focus more on spending time with my living children and my husband and how we were still creating special memories together.
Here's a few of my favorite photos from the trip:
|At Maroon Bells - near Aspen|
|On top of Aspen Mountain - we did a nature hike with a guide|
|Bug and Buzz at Maroon Bells|
|Me and Erik - Maroon Bells|
|Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park|
All in all, it was a good vacation and I'm so glad that we could go. Our kids have become wonderful travelers and they really did a good job enduring long days of adventure...sometimes better than this mama! :) They seemed to really get into hiking and finding treasures. We look forward to more adventures as a family in the future.