Monday, July 9, 2012

Vacation Snapshot #1

It's the first day back from vacation.
It's the day Brett goes back to work.
It's the day Baby S comes back to play.
It's the day when I go back to being outnumbered, 5-to-1.
It's the first day back from a week break of gymnastics.
(Classes, that is.  We have still gymnasticked everyday.  Every.  Day.)
It's the regular, filled-to-the-brim, back-in-the-saddle, go-go-go speed of our lives.

and ...

It's Monday.

We might be looking at a bumpy landing for this crew as we find our feet!

What better way to cope with the end of a delightful vacation than to reflect back on my favorite snapshots from our time in Steamboat and Ouray??  And then share them with you?

Vacation Snapshot #1

We trekked to Steamboat for a few days last week amid exuberant enthusiasm from the kids, sweet memories of past Steamboat visits and smoky skies from area forest fires.  

In spite of black smoke billowing to the north of the interstate ("Why does everything smell like a campsite?"), my unintentionally forgetting my swimsuit ("Must I start my trip trying on swimsuits?  My least favorite activity ever."), finding ourselves on the wrong side of the tracks ("This might be the longest and slowest train of all time."), a near miss on the highway ("Is he on OUR side of the road?  Yes!  Hang on kids! Whew!") ... we made it to the condos.  

The same condos we stayed in for our honeymoon.  

Since that first vacation over 14 years ago, we have been back to this same resort several times ... thanks to Ma & Pa Kellum!  I love that Steamboat Springs has become a destination that our whole family enjoys and that we all have wonderful memories of time together here.

We have our favorite stores that we like to browse while visiting downtown.

Love Aaron's tough look.  And Lydia's, too.

Guess what Ashley wants for her birthday.

We have enjoyed the walking path along the Yampa River.

Try not to get too wet.  Yeah, right.

We love jumping into the pools at the resort, right outside our door.

Mommy's little fishies!

One goal of this visit, however, was to do a little something new.  A little something memorable.  A little something the entire family would enjoy.  And we were successful.

On Saturday morning, we headed up to the ski village for a trip up the mountain on the gondola.  We didn't really have any more plans than that, but that little kernel of an idea ended up being enough!

When we arrived at the ticket office, there were a few families milling around, but the majority of gondola riders were covered in BMX gear and walking their souped-up mountain bikes.  Being a mom, I took this opportunity to point out to the kids the importance of wearing the appropriate helmets and body armor when participating in an extreme sport.  (No thanks to the biker who chose that particular moment to walk by wearing his flip-flops!)

Brett bought our tickets and thrilled the kids with the news that our passes allowed us multiple trips up the mountain - time and weather permitting.  With great expectations, we headed to the gondola and greeted the ticket-taker with six tickets and six smiles!

I truly wished I had recored for posterity the pure joy and gleeful excitement of the kids as we loaded the gondola.  The kids sat on one side of the enclosed car, looking ahead while Brett and I sat on the opposite side and bit our lips, trying not to laugh at their anticipation.

Their eyes were huge as they watched the car just before ours take off up the hill.  Then as we paused for a moment, just before the cable caught and pulled us up the mountain, they took a collective breath and yelled, "Wheee!"  There was laughter, clapping and shouts of excitement ... and I thought, "Wow. We really need to get these kids on an actual roller-coaster."

The nine-minute ride climbed 2,200 feet and every minute and foot was filled with outbursts of "Look at that!", "We're so high!", "I'm so scared (giggle, giggle, giggle)!" and "This is awesome!"  We watched mountain bikers wind down the mountain below us, we peered into the property surrounding the homes along the path and marveled at crazy and precarious constructions and kidney-shaped pools, and we laughed every time the wheels of our car vibrated over the support posts.  We could spy our condo at the base of the mountain ... just on the other side of the white-domed tennis courts.  We pointed out the straight-as-an-arrow Main Street of downtown.  We looked down valley and traced our route along the highway ... and Aaron boasted he could see our house.

When the ride finally came to an end, we popped out at 9,080 feet and took time for a few family pictures at the top of the world!  

We took a little nature hike through the aspens and fern - so different from our desert hikes here in the Grand Valley - and enjoyed the coolness of the mountain air.  

As our hike came to a close (and the kids came to the end of their oomph) we headed back down the hill.

... And enjoyed another exuberant and glee-filled descent.

Then lunch.  And another trip up the hill.  And a dessert of Mint Oreos on the sky deck.  And another trip back down.

And each time, in the moments when the the gondola car slowed to a stop, it was the same anticipation and the same uncontainable thrill.  What a treat to enjoy life through the eyes of a child!

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