The last few weeks have been a whirlwind adventure for our family. We created travel plans for this summer before our lives did a 180 which included a drive to North Carolina for our annual Fourth of July celebration and a flight to Denver for my cousin’s wedding, but with the passing of my Grandfather we needed to squeeze in a trip to Florida for the funeral.
I guess the bright side of not being employed at the moment is that we were able to adjust our plans accordingly. We extended our trip by a few days and headed out for our three state vacation.
We dropped off the dogs the night before with the dog sitter and in the morning headed out bright and early to pick up the rental car for our trip. Once we were loaded up, we headed out for the Western mountains of North Carolina. The drive took a little over 11 hours and we did our best to make the most of it, playing road trip games, listening to good music, and playing on the tablet. The kids always thrive in the mountains – picking fruits and vegetables from the garden, playing with the cats, and spending quality time with their grandparents.
To make our trip easier and more affordable, my dear mother-in-law volunteered to watch the children for us so that my husband and I could attend the funeral together. We spent one day in the mountains and then headed down to Atlanta (which has the closest airport) and flew to Florida to spend two days with my family.
I had not seen everyone in a few months, so it was nice to catch up despite the sad reason for our meeting. It was also nice to catch up with some of my extended family. Unfortunately, despite coming from a rather large family, there were complex challenges that made the funeral small, adding an additional layer to the grief process.
That said, we tried to take advantage of the time we had in Florida and spend it with family. The trip was brief and so visiting friends was not a possibility. We were able to spend some time at my sister’s house though, taking her kids swimming while her husband grilled out and she spent time packing for the upcoming Colorado trip.
While on our trip, two of the challenges I knew I would have to overcome included the predisposition to drink at these types of events (funerals, celebrations, and weddings) and keeping up my training for the marathon. Luckily, I stayed pretty well on top of the two. I was even able to run 7 miles the evening of my grandfather’s funeral – talk about cathartic. My husband actually joined in for the last two, which made it an easier finish – and he brought me water to ward off the Florida heat!
We flew out the morning following the funeral and headed back from Atlanta to North Carolina where we spent the next several days with friends and family. We love these trips to the mountains as it is a great way to unplug. We filled our week with tennis, rafting, golfing, movies, food, friends, fireworks, and of course – running.
Our time in the mountains went fast, but it did not mean the end of our vacation. We had more mountains to see. So from the Smokies to the Rockies we went! Once again we drove down to Atlanta to catch our flight to Denver.
By the time we got in it was late at night and we all fell asleep pretty easily at the hotel. In the morning my son woke up bright and cheery thinking he heard his uncle’s voice in the hallway on his way to breakfast. I was highly doubtful that this was the case, as my brother tends to sleep in, but I was eager to get the day going so we headed down for breakfast. In the elevator, I told the kids that it was likely Grandpa who they had heard. It turns out it was neither, but Grandpa was indeed downstairs checking his email at the business center. Seeing him was a great start to their day!
My mother, brother, and brother’s girlfriend slowly trickled down and we said our hellos before we all headed out for the drive to Steamboat Springs. My parents had graciously got us all two condos to share for the weekend. The kids were ecstatic for our little family reunion. The weekend did not disappoint. The kids were not the only ones that got to see their aunts, uncles, and cousins, and reuniting with everybody was amazing.
The first day in town we met up with my immediate family for lunch, played at the creek and headed down to a rodeo with all the kids. Ellie and Brodie had mixed feelings about the rodeo – as we all agreed it was hard to watch in regards to the treatment of the animals. But they did love entering the sheep and calf chase with all of their cousins, where they chased around the animal with a herd of kids trying to grab the ribbon off the animal. Ellie said her favorite part was being able to touch the soft fur of the sheep and assured me that no one hurt the animals. Lol. That evening us “kids” went to a local pub to meet up with some of our cousins. It was the first time in a very long time that all four siblings actually went out together!
The second day we all met up – with aunts, uncles, and cousins too! – out on the town. We adventured down the Alpine slide, shopped downtown, strolled through an outside art show, and as we do best, ate! Lol. I even got a run in before coming home to get ready for the wedding. That evening was the wedding – and what a wedding it was! No offense to anyone whose wedding I’ve previously attended, but this may have been the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to. In true Steamboat fashion we took the chair lift up to the top of the mountain where the ceremony was performed. The weather was perfect, the view was absolutely stunning and the couple made the view pale in comparison. After tear inducing vows we all went inside to the beautiful ski lodge to dance our bottoms off until the wee hours of the night. My husband, who is not typically a big dancer, only left the dance floor a few times – and I think it was because I had to use the ladies room. 😉 It was an amazing night full of amazing people.
The next day we said goodbye and headed back to Denver where we met up with another cousin for dinner. It was really nice visiting her home and learning more about their lives in Denver. Although I was ready to be in my own space again and done with the traveling for the moment, it was hard to leave Colorado. The entire time I was there it simply confirmed my desire to make Colorado our home. There is just something so majestic about Colorado that I cannot put into words. There seems to be a strong culture around living active lives, getting outdoors, and participating in life. There is a laid back adventurer feel to Colorado that I love – and I also adore that no matter where this vegetarian, plant focused girl with a gluten allergy seems to go to eat – they always have an awesome option for me! 😉
That said, since we have returned home we’ve reconnected with some of our DC friends which reminds us how much we really do adore where we live. We’ve also been taking advantage our “time off” and hitting the city – renting bikes, swimming, going to different classes and free events, and playing lots of tennis, which also makes us love DC that much more. It’s amazing what a great community we have built here in such a short amount of time and are so grateful for the friends we have. As much as I want to go to Colorado, there is also a part of me that wants to stay put and see what evolves over time. I think the hardest part of living here is really just the financial cost. :/
Who knows where we will end up. We’ve resigned our lease, so we are staying put for the moment, but we have both applied to numerous jobs in DC as well as in Colorado – so we will see what the universe has in store for us. We are also still exploring avenues that would allow us to work remotely which would also open up some new possibilities for us. Either way, I truly feel that in the end we will end up where we are meant to be – and until then, we are certainly making the most of this time. 🙂