3 important reasons for Colorado travel: Lexi, Matthew, and Skylee...
and... our newest 4th reason: 3 week old Travis
Friday morning dawned with the typical gorgeous blue skies. Fluffy white clouds were here and there, with some darker ones way off in the distance, hovering over the mountains. In California, we almost never see skies that blue, so it was a treat. We feasted on pancakes, eggs, and French Toast at The Egg and I. Matthew had hot chocolate and was very proud that he didn't spill it. Oh, it brought back so many memories of the crazy meals out with small children so many years ago, but what fun it was! Lots of pancakes to be cut up, and lots of diving under the table for escaped crayons.
After breakfast, we went back to the house, where 5 year old Matthew, and 7 year old Lexi decided they were up for spending the day back at our hotel swimming, and spending the night in our hotel room. Matthew threw a few things into a bag, but had to go back upstairs 2 or 3 times to get underwear, an extra T-shirt, or some other necessary item. Boys... Miss Lexi, on the other hand, meticulously packed everything she would need, and then some. She was leaving nothing to chance, bringing a beloved stuffed Hello Kitty, some Kettle Creatures, all needed items of clothing, paper, colored pencils, and a deck of cards. (We played at least a hundred games of Go Fish, and Crazy 8s. Seemed like at least a hundred, anyway...)
We headed to the pool first thing. Luckily, it was a smallish pool, not too deep - and WARM. Lexi is a decent swimmer, but Matthew didn't like to get his head dunked, so shallow water was a must. However, by the time the afternoon of swimming ended, Lexi was swimming like a fish, and Matthew was proudly telling everyone "I dunked my head - and I didn't drown!" It was great fun, and we were completely tuckered out at the end of the day. Even so, Matthew wanted to play more card games, so we did, until it was just TIME FOR BED. Luckily, there was a Harry Potter movie on and Lexi is obsessed with Harry Potter, so they both fell asleep watching it. Quiet at last... and both L and I soon joined in the snooze fest. We were just plain tuckered out.
In the morning we headed to McDonald's for breakfast. Matthew (who never eats much) chowed down all three pancakes. Every bit. Proving that if he's hungry, he will eat. Back to the hotel and more swimming. This time, there were other children in the pool, and so it was a little more lively. L got Matthew jumping off of the steps and getting his head completely under water. He was having a great time. He also taught Lexi how to kick with straight legs, and hold her breath longer so she could swim almost all the way across the pool with one big breath. I forgot how much more the sun affects you at the high altitude, and we all got a little burned. (Silly Mema didn't think to bring any sunscreen...) But it was a great day, and we all had fun playing in the water.
We had to get Lexi back in time for her afternoon Mother/Daughter Back To School pedicures. L and I watched the other kids while they had their toes painted. During our visit we took care of cooking all the dinners and clean up, so Ronna could try to relax and rest a little bit. And then we needed to hobble off ourselves at the end of the evening to rest up for the next day. (How do these mothers do it every day? I must have been a lot younger then...)
One night, as we were loading the dish washer, Skylee came up and touched the handle of a sharp knife that was in the dish washer. To my surprise, she looked up at me and said "Dangerous!" She is a very precocious talker (like her sister Lexi was. And still is.) So I had to get a video of this little tiny girl saying such a big word. Hopefully you can make out what she's saying because it's so cute. Sorry for my poor video skills...
On Sunday we met Rex and Matthew at church. Lexi and Skylee stayed home with Ronna and Travis because they had coughs. After church, though, I had my camera, and it was a beautiful day for pictures. I'd already talked to Lexi about taking pictures, and she met us at the door in her pink tutu, all ready for her photo session. She was such a willing little model, and it was great fun to snap picture after picture. Here are my favorites:
Matthew was next. Now, this little boy is extremely active, and doesn't sit in one place for long. Plus, he was in the middle of playing a game on Wii. In his pajamas. So luckily I struck gold with the first shot, and I released him back to the world of Wii and Super Mario.
I decided to save Skylee and Travis for the next day when Lexi and Matthew would be at school, so after dinner L and I wound our weary way back to the quiet sanctuary of the Doubletree Hotel. The kids were getting in bed early to be rested for the big first day of school. And mom was just happy to be getting them in bed early for any reason. We fell asleep to the sound of distant thunder, and the occasional lightning flash.
Monday. Back to the house at 10:30 after a great breakfast of Eggs Benedict (for me) and pancakes (for L). Ronna was ready to go, and after I figured out the proper camera settings, we got things rolling. Skylee first. This little girl just sparkles and shines with personality. Her best? This one:
But this one is pretty good too:
Ronna looked beautiful (as always) but poor little Travis just wasn't havin' it. He fussed and fumed, here and there, and in between, we managed to get a few good ones:
And then Skylee had to get into the picture. So we let her give kisses to Mommy...
And ham it up with Papa.
And I contented myself by holding a (by that time) very mellow Travis.
Back at the home front, we fed and bathed the kids as quickly as we could, and got them to bed. I think we just threw grilled cheese and tater tots at them. After things were calm again, the adults sat down to a lovely, quiet, grilled chicken salad, enjoying the quiet. Until we heard Lexi crying up in her bed. Seems she was sad to see us go. I am such a sucker for that. I went up and talked her down, and told her how much fun we'd had, and how sad we were to go home again. And then she seized her advantage and asked if I would tickle her back while she went to sleep. What could I do? I tickled her back as I slowly felt her relax and slip into a quiet dream. These little ones absolutely own your heart, don't they?
We left the next day after a quick drive-by to say a last goodbye to Rex, Ronna, Skylee and Travis. The others had gone to school. I realized I had taken a picture of everyone BUT Rex. So one last pose for both of us. Where did the time go? Wasn't he looking just like Travis a couple of years ago?
Now look at him. Never mind that - look at ME. When did I get to be so... so... not myself? Life is short. So short. I'm glad that we have the means to come visit and make time stand still for a few days. I will take these small memories with me for the next year, and savor them. It was pretty close to the perfect trip. Time with each little one. Time with Ronna. A very special evening with just Rex. Beautiful weather. Blue skies. Just the right amount of thunder and lightning to fall asleep to. Baby talk and giggles. Go Fish until bedtime. Seeing that all is well with this sweet family, and that their home is happy. It's the stuff that every good night's sleep is made of.