Last weekend Reid and I took the girls to Buena Vista--a little mountain town about 2 hours SW of Denver. Actually, let me rephrase that. Reid's firm took us and the girls to Buena Vista. Originally kids were not invited. But when we had to cancel--since we couldn't find a babysitter--they decided to make it a kid-friendly activity--that's how much they LOVE Reid! (or how badly they needed employed attorneys to "welcome" the summer interns)
It actually turned out to be a wonderful family get-a-way. Since we had the girls with us we had a lot of "unscheduled" time --which was great. And, since the activities of the night before had all of us up hours past our bedtimes, we all slept in the first morning there. (I love my children's ability to do that, btw....i'm sure i'll be cursing it someday...but not yet). So, after a lazy morning in our fancy cabin, we lunched at some local burger joint, and then decided to brave the moderately cold rain--we went swimming at the outdoor Hot Springs. It was awesome. I can now never imagine swimming there in nice weather. The contrast of the cold weather and the hot water was so fun. Eliza cried most of the time (she does that anyway) but the rest of us loved it.
After the hot springs we drove 10 miles or so through muddy roads to Iron City Cemetery and St Elmo--Colorado's famous ghost town.
This town is quaint, kind of cute, but most definitely worth it if you (or your little ones) enjoy tiny rodents eating out of your hands. These lil' chipmunks are actually really cute, and feeding them was not only a highlight for the girls...but maybe for me, too. Maybe.
Abby was the first one to feed them. Grace joined in soon after. And even I was able to push aside the tiny voice in my head telling me that these creatures could bite my hands off. But Eliza never did quite get up the nerve to actually open her hands--she held the seeds, but couldn't quite release them. Bravery is, apparently, a recessive gene :)
When Abby bent over, one of the chipmunks climbed up on her back. She got the BIGGEST kick out of it, so she bent over again, and again. It was so cute, and so funny--and I didn't get a picture of it!! If only I'd have know then how much Abby would talk about that experience!!! She mentioned it about 15-20 times in the car on the way back to our cabin. Literally at least fifteen times she said "I can't believe one of the chipmunks climbed on my back!!" By the 14th time Grace (who had been really supportive of Abby's excitement) finally said, in a sweet voice, "Abby, you've said that lots of times. We know you can't believe it. You don't have to keep talking about it." Well, somebody had to say it--I'm glad Grace did.
We spent the evening with the peeps from Reid's firm at a Bar and Grill. Our reservation was for 8pm. We tried to get out of the whole things, but were somehow convinced into coming. Yes. We were THAT couple with kids out of bed and at a restaurant at 10pm!!! And for paybacks? Eliza decided to spurt the contents of her diaper in every which direction. (That poor highchair will never be the same.) At least it gave us an excuse to leave!
The next morning Eliza was actually quite listless and weak--she was hard to wake up, she'd cry for a few moments, and then just fall asleep wherever she was. For a while there we even debated getting her to a hospital. But, after eating a bit of yogurt she perked up enough for us to feel okay heading home. And she was fine ever since--thank heavens. I'm thinking she must have had a little stomach bug or something (which would explain the previous night's explosion?).
It was so fun to get away from here, off on our own, in a beautiful and remote part of Colorado I'd never seen. I think I really needed to have some time to focus on my family, and it was nice to be away from cell-phone service, internet connections, etc.
But being away from home didn't take away any of the pain of missing my mom. Maybe it was bound to happen that weekend anyway, but for whatever reason, my mom's permanent absence in my remaining mortal life felt more real than ever. And I had so many unexpected moments of sorrow--that really spilled over into this whole week. But it was healing, too, to be surrounded by gigantic mountains, endless cascading rivers, and green, lush countryside--all things that remind me how small the now is in the grand scheme of things.