Here is your challenge: Take a trip out west (2.5 days to be exact) in an 8 seat minivan with 7 other passengers. (3 of them your children, 2 your parents, and 2 your younger siblings) Should you choose to accept this challenge, you will probably loose your mind. But should you choose to stay home in your warm,comfy bed, you will regret it and miss an adventure of a lifetime! Well of course I took the challenge! I mean seriously who would pass up something like that!?
We headed out on a hot, humid early morning...scratch that...We headed out on a hot, humid, almost lunch time morning. What a ride! God Bless my dad who drove about 92% of the time. And my mom who sat in the middle row and tended to all the kiddos. And my sis who set in the middle of 2 of my littles in the way back seat! Chan managed to make the whole 2.5 days with out puking in the car. I was able to stare out the window and imagine the wagon trains traveling through the deep rifts of land. All in all it was a very pleasant trip! We managed to make it to Colorado with our minds still in tack.
As we crossed the Colorado border, I was waiting in expectation to see the mountains popping up in the distance. I love Colorado mountains. They are not like Pennsylvania mountains. PA mountains are lovely. You are driving and are gently consumed by their majesty. They well up around you like gentle hills climbing into larger mountains. Full of greenery and depth. But Colorado mountains just appear. One minute it is flat, quiet. Then you look out and see great sharpness spiking out of the earth. It causes you to look and make sure you have seen correctly. There they are..spread in front of you! I love that moment. I wait for it. As a child, I was disappointed if we hit the border at night. It meant having to wait one more day to see those mountains.
Seeing my Grandma is like seeing the mountains. She is amazing! I have always been in awe of her. My Grandma is one of the most graceful, strong, confident women I know. Her house is a place of warmth, and beauty. Going there is still a special treat! Grandma is 89, lives in her own home, and still sells Mary Kay! I like to think I get a little of my crazy from her. She has never had trouble speaking her mind, and even when she is down she is up. Her courage in life is a true example for our family. And this is the lady I just spent 10 days with! Yep pretty cool!
We had a great time! I felt really good there. My joints did not ache at all. I had a few headaches and wore out but nothing major. Some highlights...hmmm...where to begin? My dad and I took the kiddos to a really cool bug museum. The bugs were tropical bugs from all over the world. All them were pinned and displayed. Aidan got some great ideas for the future. My aunt and 2 awesome cousins took us to the Olympic Training Center! I was super excited to be there! And even more mind blowing...my 2 cousins train in the Olympic pool! We had a shopping day at the outlet mall in Castle Rock. My dad took my brother and Aidan on a restaurant tour in Denver. They went to 3 restaurants featured on Man vs. Food. Aidan tried Elk. I was able to see my super cool cousin who lives in London now. I held my little tiny cousin. Made me one happy girl to hold a wee one again! The kids played, and played, and played with all their cousins! It was awesome how they all got along and played like they see each other every day! Brooke had a sleepover at my aunt's house with cousin Izzy. They even had pedi's! My aunts all cooked some pretty rockin' food which always led to conversations around the dinner table.
It was so refreshing to sit on my Grandma's deck, look at the mountains, and enjoy her gorgeous backyard. Spending time with her was a blessing. I lay in bed my last night there and prayed for one more visit to Colorado. Then I remembered last time I asked for one more. I felt like a little kid at the store, begging my mama for one more piece of candy. Promising her it would be the last time I asked. Just one more time to sit and hear her voice, see her flowers, sip coffee in the morning with her, eat cookies and drink Dr Pepper. When I was a kid, I always wondered why my mom, her sisters, and my grandma would put on the sunglasses when we were leaving. Whether it was still dark, we were at the airport, or standing in the driveway...the sunglasses always came out. Early Thursday morning my sunglasses were on too. The hugs were tight and long. The tears stung my eyes and were hot on my cheek. I quickly swiped them away, wanting my babes to see mama smiling as we said good-bye. Choked up "I love you" were uttered as we all crawled in the van. The first few minutes driving away are always very quiet.
The ride home is longer than the ride there. On Friday, I had a rough day. Not sure if it was the altitude change, but I fainted 5 times. It was scary and I wanted it to stop. Thankfully it did. I felt better Saturday and we made it home safe. It was a beautiful adventure with my fam! Not sure if it is my 36 years or my seemingly endless travels to visit family, but I can see the value in the time spent. I do not take a moment for granted. Thankful beyond words to my parents who helped us go!