We love to travel. And we love to find a good deal. So when the two can be combined, it’s a no-brainer for us! A couple weeks ago, I was on Spirit Airline’s website looking at the times of my next flight to take the boys to Florida, and just started seeing what the prices were for different cities. Their prices are super cheap, but you have to know what you are doing with them or it can get expensive.
Anyways, I happened to check Denver, and we could go a couple different weekends for $70 round-trip each! Wait, what?! Yep, even during the ski season, we found the cheap flights. Ok, hotel next. Check Marriott since I get the friends/family discount, nothing. Wait, there’s a Days Inn for less than $100 per night. Check. Rental car, we can use our credit card points and it’s free. Let’s do it! I sent a text to Justin’s parents to see if they could get us to the airport and if they want to go with. They did not, but his brother did.
Plane Tickets: Check
Snow Clothes: ………..
When we went to visit Justin’s family in Missouri before Christmas, the boys were very disappointed that it didn’t snow. So when we decided to book this trip, we said it was a priority to make sure that we see snow. Even if they didn’t have snow in Denver, we would drive into the mountains. But being the sea-level, warm-weather-loving people we are, we are not prepared for this. We borrowed a lot of things for the boys: a snow jacket for Ryan from one of Tyler’s classmates, snow bibs for both boys from another, snow boots for Tyler from a neighbor, snow jacket for me from my mother-in-law, snow clothes and boots from their dad for Justin and his brother. I found a snow jacket for Tyler at a consignment store where I also found boots for Ryan. The only thing I ended up buying new was some winter boots for me.
Friday morning we were out of the house before 8am and headed to the airport with a very tightly packed suitcase and wearing our heavy jackets and snow boots. I’m used to packing for a week to Florida in that suitcase and couldn’t even get 3 days worth of snow clothes in there! It was a really bumpy flight, but not that big of a deal. We landed, got our suitcase, and went to get the rental car. Luckily we rented a mid-size, but all they had were full-size so they gave us something bigger. Since I had to squish in the back seat between the two car seats, it was a definite upgrade!
Once we had the car, we drove down to Aurora and met with one of my June Mommas! I am in a group on facebook for babies born in June 2013 (Tyler), and one of the mommas lives in the Denver area. It was so fun and exciting to meet someone who I only knew from my group. We went out to eat with her, her daughter, and her husband. Since we hadn’t had lunch, Ryan was getting hangry! And Tyler wasn’t feeling 100%, I think he had a bit of motion sickness going on, so he didn’t eat much at all. Then we went over to the Barnes and Noble (it was too cold outside to play at a park like we originally intended, especially with Tyler not feeling well), and the kids played with the train set there. It was so fun getting to meet up with them and meet another of my friends!
When we got to the restaurant, there was a bit of snow on the ground. The boys were so excited and kept stomping in the snow and tried to grab it a few times until they realized how cold it was on their hands!
After we left there, we went straight to the hotel and got situated there for the evening. I realized that this was the first time either of the boys have ever stayed in a hotel. Yes, we go to our beach condo every year in July, but I don’t count that. Technically, in some ways, you could call it staying at a hotel, but it’s really a condo. It feels more like an apartment, and really, to me, it feels like another home since I have been going there my whole life.
Our plan for Saturday was to just explore some of the areas around our hotel, which was in Golden, CO, just on the west side of Denver. We found a place called Dino Ridge that sounded neat, but it wasn’t what I expected. The boys love dinosaurs (all of them, even the big boys!), so we thought it would be fun. There were a lot of fossils and things like that, but the boys are too young to appreciate it.
We didn’t stay there long before we headed up to Red Rock Amphitheater. We had been told that Red Rock was a neat place to see, and it definitely was! It’s an outdoor amphitheater cut into the rocks. They do a lot of concerts there, and I can see how it would be an amazing show. We walked all the way down to the stage, and there was a guy sitting in the rocks playing his guitar. We checked out that area, then went back to the top to the grill there for lunch.
The last bit of exploring we did on Saturday brought us to Lair O’ The Bear and Bear Creek Trail. Most of the creek was frozen over, but you could still see water rushing underneath in some areas where the ice had melted. The boys (and adults) were so excited because there was an area with clean, fresh snow on the ground that was perfect for playing in! We didn’t have our full snow clothes, but were all in our big jackets and snow boots with some mittens so it was good enough! Justin and I are happy that Tyler and Ryan both seem to enjoy going out and doing trails. We hope to travel a lot when they get a little older, and their love of the outdoors makes that much easier.
That evening, after we went back to the hotel and all got dried out and changed, we went to the Colorado Mills Mall. Which by the way, is huge! That’s probably the biggest mall I have ever been to with the widest range of stores. We needed some snow gloves for the boys since we were planning to head to the mountains on Sunday. All we brought were some knit mittens which worked well enough to keep them warm, but wouldn’t hold up in a lot of snow. After going to many stores, we finally found some at a Carter’s. There were some for Tyler, but the only ones we could find for Ryan’s size were girl ones. So he had a pink collar on the gloves, oh well, they kept him warm and dry.
Sunday morning we woke up early, and my cousin and his girlfriend drove down from Fort Collins and met us at the hotel. Then we took off into the mountains, and went to Keystone. We found a small park called Rainbow Park that was perfect for the boys. My cousin brought a couple small sleds, and this park had a small hill. We read online that it was the best place around to bring little kids because it was enough of a hill to have fun, but not too much to climb back up. Tyler had fun sledding. Ryan didn’t like it too much, and freaked out when he and I fell off the sled, even though he never touched the snow. We had a small snowball fight there, and also built a snowman to look like Olaf.
Having toddlers with us, we didn’t get to do as much as we would normally do, or stay out as long. But the goal was to have the boys see snow, and get to really play in it. And we did. Tyler loved it. Ryan wasn’t as sure of it, and he was also still getting cold. It was great to be able to hang out with my cousin who I hadn’t seen since July, I got to meet his girlfriend, and the boys had a great time in the snow.
By the time we got back to our hotel Sunday night, we were all exhausted. I still got most of our stuff packed up though, since we were leaving the next day. We finished some of our leftover food, and called it a night.
Monday morning, Justin and I took the boys to a playground we found near the hotel. We didn’t have to check out of the hotel until 11 and our flight didn’t leave until 4. We figured a close playground was perfect for killing some time, and to let them burn some energy before we had to head to the airport.
I’m glad we did, because we ended up sitting at the airport for almost 3 hours. We left the hotel at 11, went to Panera for some lunch, and headed to the airport to drop the rental car off and get checked in. By the time we got through security, we still had a while. Then our flight was delayed by another 30 minutes. It’s not always easy keeping the kids occupied that long, but luckily we have the kindle and food for just that!
Luckily, both boys are so used to flying, they do really well on the plane. Tyler watched his kindle the whole time, and Ryan was playing on our phones. He got fussy and antsy for a few minutes, but he was just getting bored and tired. We finally made it home around 8:25 Monday night. It was a quick trip, but well worth it!