Last week was Spring Break for the hooligans, and we trekked to Denver for a vacation. I wrote my blogs for last week before we left, then scheduled them to publish each day. I felt so tech-savvy. Now I’m prepared to bore you for a couple of days with the internet version of “Come over and see the slides from our trip!”
Luckily for you, unlike the old days, I can’t see you sitting on my couch, bored out of your gourd. You can just surf on over to another blog…yay, 21st century! But please come back later in the week…I promise to have fun crafts and yummy recipes to share then, if you’re not interested in our adventures.
We love Colorado…my GI Joe grew up there, and we met as freshmen at the Colorado School of Mines (see, I told you I was a math geek). Colorado is a perfect vacation spot for us because the GI Joe’s family lives there, and we get to be tourists, as well. It’s fun taking the hooligans places that we loved as kids. My family vacationed in Colorado every year when I was growing up in Oklahoma, so I’ve always enjoyed what it offers.
I must point out, however, one major flaw in our plan…we decided to drive this time rather than fly, so that the hooligans could take their bikes. I was a major proponent of this. Growing up in the country, I know how amazing it is to be able to ride your bike on pavement, not gravel. My poor mom was badgered constantly to take us to “town” to ride bikes. From now on, they can suck it up and ride on gravel until we move back to paved roads.
The hooligans were great travelers, probably from the cross-country moves we make every few years, but 18 hours in the car is still 18 long hours. We drove 14 hours the first day, spent the night in North Platte, NE, and had a short 4 hours on to Denver. When we arrived, we went to a school near my in-laws’ house and let the kids ride bikes, fly kites, and generally burn some energy.
Then we picked up some groceries and took them and 3 dozen hard-boiled eggs over to the grandparents' house. A couple of cousins joined in the egg dying, and a great time was had by all.
Since we brought these eggs from home, none were to be eaten! We sent them, along with about 100 stuffed plastic eggs, home with the teenage cousins for the Easter morning egg hunt.
On Easter morning, we met the grandparents and littlest cousin for sunrise service, which was beautiful as always. A bit cold, but beautiful. It was only 39 degrees when the sun rose, and I’m pretty sure the biggest hooligan would have frozen to death if not for his Toy Story Snuggie we keep in the truck for emergencies. The little ones had receiving blankets they had to make do with, but we all survived in good spirits. Of course, the Peeps on a stick and warm peppermint milk from Starbucks immediately following the service helped a lot!
Oh, I almost forgot…we “planted” jelly beans in the flower bed at the hotel on Saturday night, and Peeps on a stick (from Walmart) magically “grew” from the seeds over night. I’m pretty sure the guy out walking his dog at o’dark thirty thought I had lost my mind. The hooligans' faces were worth it though...their little jaws dropped to the ground when we walked out to get in the truck for Mass.
Anyway, after Mass we returned to our hotel where the Easter bunny had finally gotten around to leaving baskets. I explained he doesn’t go hopping around before dawn, so we weren’t home when he came. Following that excitement, we headed to my sister-in-law’s home for brunch and egg-hunting.
She always sets a gorgeous table with traditional Italian Easter calzone (my husband’s mother is Italian, and his Italian grandmother lives in Colorado, as well), Lamb Cake (pound cake with buttercream and coconut), and Easter breads. This year she also made a bunny cake, which was darling AND delicious. She even had tiny little chocolate rabbits from Russell Stover that were only about 1/2” high.
We let the kids go hunting before breakfast, since they wouldn’t have been able to sit still long enough to eat otherwise.
My sister-in-law and her husband have 3 kids, ages 17, 15, and 5, which worked out really well. The older two hid the eggs very cleverly, and the four little ones had a blast hunting them.
I told my two older ones they could find 35 eggs each, and they pretty much stuck to it. Of course, this one had no use for the real eggs, knowing they held no treasure, so he pretended not to even see them.
Everyone was thrilled with their haul. The eggs were filled with bunny-shaped fruit bites, chick-shaped cheddar crackers, jelly beans, a few leftover M&M’s from baking, and a few special metallic eggs had quarters in them. Oh, and rubber lizards, Easter stamps, and stickers. They thought they really scored, though!
After brunch, we planned to take naps at the hotel, but one of my college roommates (and Best Woman at our wedding, as the hubs says) called so we met her and her dog, Louie, for a hike. He’s such a great dog…the hooligans took turns leading, or being lead by, him. And he put up with it.
We had an amazing Easter, from sunrise service to time with family to catching up with old friends and enjoying the mountains of Colorado. It almost makes that 18 hour drive to get there fade from my memory. Almost.
If you can stand it, come back tomorrow to hear what we did for the rest of the week…the Colorado Tourism Board will probably be knocking on my door, wanting me to work for them. Really.