Mike was headed to Denver this past week for his fourth out of town trip this summer. We decided very spur of the moment to tag along. I've never been to Denver (or CO at all, actually), and it wasn't what I'd envisioned. I thought it was mountainous. Hmm. Anyway, Denver turned out to actually be quite a fun trip. The middle of the first night there found me thinking how we should have never come. I'd been sick most of the weekend and was still feeling a little crummy. That and the packing for seven, eight hour car ride with a little fella who cried and plead to be let "out" for most of it -- and who isn't particularly interested in or distracted by toys . . . or movies . . . or books, getting kids all to be quiet and actually go to sleep when we arrived (around 11:00pm) at our hotel, and then Jesse spending half the night not sleeping all coupled together to make me question the wisdom in our spontaneous decision to accompany Mike.
But the following two days proved our decision a good one. The kids all think a hotel is a super exciting place to be. So even just watching cartoons on hotel beds, playing some of the games we brought or coloring in our room had them pretty dang happy, but when it was discovered that our hotel (which wasn't a fancy one by any means) had a pretty great little free breakfast, a pool that was half outside and half in, and prairie dogs everywhere you turned -- the parking lot was mostly surrounded by empty lots, all of which were literally teaming with the little critters; well, the kids were convinced the trip was a complete success.
My favorite part was just strolling around the main "16th street Mall" in the middle of downtown Denver. The whole street had such a fun atmosphere. People were everywhere walking up and down the sidewalks. The busses that run up and down the street (stopping at every corner) are all free. So we let the kids experience standing in a bus holding onto bars to keep from falling. The middle of the street is set up with benches, fountains, and other random things -- blue painted bulls, brightly painted pianos (Goldie was pretty excited when we let her put a dollar in a hat by one that was being played), etc. There were horse carriages, and tons of little taxi bikes pulling little carts. A number of them stopped to see if we needed a ride up to the Rockies game at Coors field (though, if we had, I haven't the slightest idea how a family of seven would have fit on the small seat they pulled along). It would have been nice to have shopped a little, but it seemed fun just to walk and look around and stop for a shake. There was also a large fountain that, while it didn't allow "wading," had wet stony paths through it. The kids deemed walking on those to be different enough from wading to be OK.
I also took the kids to the Denver Zoo one of the days. One of the other guys at the training with Mike said his wife and kids had gone and weren't impressed, but they must have been pretty spoiled by the zoos wherever they live, because I thought this one was pretty great. It had all the animals our local zoo has plus a number of other fun ones -- sea lions, seals, polar bears, eels, okapis, etc. The only not great thing about it, in my book, was the fact that it was 90 some odd degrees (which, I suppose, wasn't the zoos fault), that Penny was extremely tired and grumpy, and that Jesse, who was very good natured, has become extremely earth friendly and at nearly every moment was presenting me with junk off the ground as he dutifully proclaimed, "garbage." It was cute watching him try to fit these never before seen animals into his animal knowledge base though. He was super excited and a bit shocked when he saw the giant "doggy" that the rest of us considered to be a giraffe. And he was nearly as intrigued with the fascinating "fish" that didn't even live in water . . . and had legs (a komodo dragon).
After three times in one month, I wouldn't mind having no cause to pack and unpack all seven of us any time in the next little while. Then again, I've gotten pretty adept at it, so maybe bring on the trips? Maybe. I really am glad Mike thought to bring us all along. I think we made some pretty good little fun memories. . . . And, of course, a few sad ones . . . like Daisy accidentally erasing the video footage she'd captured of the sea lions and seals showing off. Whoo. That was a cause for some tears.
Oh prairie dogs, we brought you some old biscuits! Quit chittering your little danger call and nervously peaking your heads out and come and get 'em!
Hello polar bear. You guys always seem so silly and pleasant it is hard to believe you'd rather eat me than play a nice game of fetch with me.