Monday, August 11, 2008

Colorado Adventures

We made it back home last night (Sunday) safe and sound and completely EXHAUSTED!!! What a drive! We left early Thursday morning (4:45 am) and our trip that we thought was going to be 10 hours turned out to be more like 13! I'm not sure I want to do 13 hours in a day again. It is around 11-12 hours to Iowa, but this seemed so much more difficult to do, for whatever reason?

We had a really good time. I'm glad we went. On our way to Copper Mountain, we stopped through Denver at the Flatiron Crossing Mall. Denver reminded me of why I NEVER want to live in a big city again! We had a bit of difficulty getting to the mall and had to pay 2 extra toll fees of $0.75 each, but we made it there nonetheless. It was touch and go there for awhile, and we nearly saw (and would have been involved in) a huge traffic accident. I love the way city people drive. They are constantly switching lanes, trying to get into the lane that is going the fastest, only to be ahead one car in the long run. Anyway, there was some big semi that was slowing up traffic a bit and everyone seem to be getting a little bit impatient and just in front of us this van suddenly slams on his brakes and swerves all over the road and THANK GOD he regained control of his vehicle, because we would have been the first to run into him causing a multiple car pileup on a very busy road. I was so thankful that it was Scott driving and not me! I would have been a complete mess (I already was and I wasn't the one behind the wheel!). Anyway, we finally made it to the mall for our big trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop. The kids were thrilled to death to finally get to go to this store. (In answer to your text message Emily, YES, we are the proud new owners of build-a-bear animals!)

This was a very nice mall with tons of great stores. The kids couldn't get there fast enough as soon as we saw the storefront!

How annoying to have to stop and take pictures!!! C'mon MOM!

The first step is to choose a bear. Emma chose a Koala bear.

The bear starts out a flatso!

Gage found a T-rex and was so excited about that!

Flatso T-rex.

Emma was the first to get to stuff her bear. They just stick the animals onto this machine filled with stuffing and it blows the stuffing into the bear and you get to choose how full you want him, as to whether you want a soft cuddly bear, or a fully stuffed stiff bear.

Emma thought that the machine was a little too loud apparently!?

Emma testing her bear out to see if it's filled to just the right amount of cuddliness.

The next step is to make a wish on this little heart that goes inside the bear. The girl had both Emma and Gage turning around, doing jumping jacks, rubbing it on their noses and all kinds of goofy stuff, along with making a wish, before putting the hearts into their animals.

Gage's turn to fill up his T-rex.

The kids even got to step on the "gas" to fill up their bears.

Not too hard, and not too soft.................he's just right.

Next stop is the tub. We can't have dirty animals now, can we?

Oh my goodness......look at all of the clothes this little girl has to choose from!!!

They even have cars for your animals!! Thankfully I talked Gage out of this one!

Scott is trying to figure out how to get out of this place for as little $$ as possible!!

After they FINALLY made their decisions about the clothes they wanted for their animals, it was time to take them to the dressing room and get their clothes on.

Emma finally decided on a tank top and skirt, while Gage chose a t-shirt and jeans.

Ta-da! Isn't Ellie the Koala bear just adorable? :-)

Andrew the T-rex is looking mighty spiffy himself!

Just after I got Emma talked out of wanting the sandals she had picked out for Ellie, the nice young gal who was "helping" us pointed out a pair of fur-lined crocs that were just too irresistible.

Since Emma had a pair of shoes, it was only fair for Gage to get this baseball, bat and glove combo that he had picked out.

Now the last step is to register your animal on the computer so you can play with him (or her) online. (Great, that's just what we need, another animal to take care of on the computer......I swear I'm not going to get involved with this one, as I'm still slowly, but surely weaning myself off of Webkinz!)

Emma and Scott registering Ellie.

The bears come complete with a house (box) to take them home in!

Gage and Emma were thrilled to death with their Build-A-Bear experience, and thanks to the gift cards we had, it wasn't quite as painful as I thought it was going to be.

Leaving the mall was quite an exciting experience, since it was during 5 pm rush hour! UGH! We made a few wrong turns, but finally figured it out and headed further south and west to Copper Mountain.

We've driven over the mountains before, but never THROUGH them! I just happen to have the camera out and thought I'd snap a picture of this tunnel through the mountain!

It was a very scenic drive after we left Denver. We even saw 2 bighorn sheep along the interstate! I'm glad they didn't jump out in front of us!

Here's yet another tunnel we had to drive through. I told Gage and Emma it was a good thing Grandpa Alan wasn't with us because he wouldn't like driving through those tunnels since he's a little bit claustrophobic!
We finally arrived in Copper just as it was starting to get dark. We did stop in a town just before Copper to check out their outlet mall (thanks for the info Kara!), so we arrived a little later than we had originally planned. We didn't eat supper until nearly 10 pm and it was at this little Mexican Cantina in Copper and it was DELICIOUS!
After we got up and around on Friday morning we went out to check the place out. Scott had to attend some meetings in the morning so we went out to check the place on our own. Not too much was open or going on at 9am, so I made the kids walk with me to the entrance to the village so we could get some pictures by the signs.

I heard nothing but complaining out of Emma the entire walk. It was farther than I thought it was, but nothing too terrible. They were just very tired from the long drive the day before and getting to bed so late.

Copper Mountain is mainly a ski resort, but there were many activities going on while we were there.

Copper Mountain village.

I was having fun taking pictures of the kids and decided to do something just a little different with my camera by turning it sideways. I've seen some other people posting neating pictures like this on their blogs, so thought I would give it a try.

The weather was a bit cool, but it was comfortable with our jackets. There were a few times when I wished I had packed long pants for all of us!

This picture will surely make the Christmas Newsletter this year!
After our little walk we went back to our room because Emma was just so cranky and whining so much. We just hung out for about an hour or two and then went out exploring some more. When we went back out there was alot more going on. They had several different activities to do. We had been given a pass for free tickets to ride each of the rides (I don't know how else to put it, since they weren't really "rides"). It appeared that both Gage and Emma would get to do each thing once. When we were walking around, I noticed that each thing was $10 to do! I kept telling the kids "Let's just wait and see what all they have here." While we were in one of the gift shops, Scott just happened to walk in as he was looking for us, so we were excited that he was going to get to spend some time with us. While I was at the cashier's counter we had asked her about the pass I had for the kids' activities and she informed us that on Fridays, it is kids day and if you can show them that you've spent at least $30 with your receipts, they will give you free kids tickets. Boy was I glad to hear that! I kept thinking it was going to be a LONG weekend if the kids could only do each thing one time!

Our first stop was the bumper boats. Because I was trying to use our tickets sparingly, I had them get into the boat together. They did okay at first, but Gage was getting irritated with Emma because she wasn't steering very well AND they were fighting over the squirt button!

I have been on bumper boats before, but never any that you could squirt water at the other boaters! You can kind of see the stream of water coming from the front of their boat.

There were several people out in the boats and they were all very good at lining themselves up just right to soak their targets.

The kids were just soaking wet when they got off the bumper boats. I had packed Emma's rain jacket, so she wasn't quite as wet as Gage.

They had a fun time on the bumper boats.

The kids wanted to ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain and we did actually have to buy 2 tickets ($10 each) for Scott and I, then the kids could ride free with their parents. It was also an all-day pass, so we could have ridden it several times if we had had enough time. Scott was a bit nervous that I didn't have the strap of my camera wrapped around my wrist as I stuck the camera out for a shot of the kids riding the ski lift!

What beautiful scenery! Scott was a bit nervous throughout the ride. I didn't realize before that he was scared of heights, but I guess I've never ridden on a ski lift with him to the top of a mountain before! It was definitely colder at the higher altitude and you could definitely tell we were at higher elevations because at times we would just feel a bit short of breath and dizzy. We were told by some of the local DU folks to drink lots of water to prevent altitude sickness.

As you can see it was quite a steep climb up the mountain on the ski lift!

It was just amazing to me as we were riding along on the ski lift at the work it must have been to develop this area that was previously mountains and valleys.

Scott and Gage rode back up the ski lift to eat at the restaurant that was up on top of the mountain because Gage wanted to eat a hot dog for lunch and that was the only place you could get a hot dog. Emma did not want a hot dog (and neither did I for that matter), so we ate at a different place down below. We amazingly finished at nearly the same times and I was lucky to catch them coming down the ski lift.

The next thing the kids wanted to try out was the bungee jumping on the Quad jump. I had never seen anything quite like this and I was excited to see them give it a try.

After they hook the kids up to some elastic bands they raise them up and then start jumping on the trampoline and they fling them clear up into the air! It certainly scared both Gage and Emma at first and you could tell by their expressions on their faces. Most of the other kids were doing flips and Gage was just not brave enough to try it out at first.

He did get more brave each time he did it and by the time we used up all of the tickets on Saturday, he was flipping quite a bit!

Weeeeeeeee!!!!! I wanted to try it so bad, but there were 2 things holding me back. First of all, I was afraid that I would end up with a headache, since I can't even ride the swings at the superslide without getting sick with a headache, and second of all, you had to tell them your weight so they would know how much elastic to attach to you. I was afraid they might not have enough bands for me! LOL!

Here's Emma flipping away. She did end up doing a double flip on her last time. She was very proud of it too!

Miniature golf was another activity for the kids. Thankfully we only had 3 tickets for this and I thought it was time for Scott to spend some "quality" time with the kids. I just sat in the peace and quiet not too far away and watched the people. Miniature golf is NOT fun with Gage and Emma. They aren't really old enough to really play and there is ALOT of fighting going on. I was happy to give Scott the third ticket!

The golfing took them quite awhile. I think mostly because there were so many people playing that you had to wait for each hole. I was happy to have that much "alone time" however.

Rock climbing was another fun activity for the kids. This rock climbing was a little tougher than the ones they have done before since this one resembles more of a mountain WITHOUT the hand grips and steps. Emma was unable to make it to the top of this mountain; however, she gave it a good try!

Crocs are not the best shoes for mountain climbing either!

Gage had quite a difficult time making it to the top, but because he was more determined than Emma, he was able to ring the bell at the top a couple of times. Again, crocs are not the best type of shoe for climbing mountains!

When we were headed back down the mountain on the ski lift, we saw this great big checker board. We gave it a whirl, but it's never a good idea to play a game when there is a winner and a loser when you are on the edge of crankiness from sleep deprivation! It would have been more fun had they not been fighting. Gage was mad because I was helping Emma (who has no idea how to play checkers) and Emma was mad because Gage was winning. I couldn't win in that situation!

Uh oh! Emma is getting jumped!

Not again!!!

When we were walking through the village Saturday morning, I was thrilled to death when we stumbled upon this free activity for the kids! How smart was that to put out this big canvas for the kids to paint! I enjoyed my "quiet time" once again while I sat on the ledge watching them hard at work, painting up Guitar Town!

Emma was in heaven with her little cup of paint and her paintbrush!

Gage enjoyed painting the "flying serpent".

One thing Emma loves to do is paint.

Here's a rare moment of Gage and Emma in close proximity of one another and they are NOT fighting!

Another fun FREE activity was getting balloon animals. The lady was quite amazing with the things she could make. I've never seen anyone do such detailed balloon creations and with basically unlimited choices! Emma got a monkey climbing a banana tree!

She made Gage a bow and arrow that actually shoots! He was very excited about it, however, it wasn't long before his arrows popped and part of his bow. He was quite upset that they popped, and we ended up standing in line AGAIN for more balloons.

Gage wanted a quiver to hold his arrows too, but she told him that would be 2 things and he would have to wait in line again. (I think that was her way out of trying to figure out how to make one!)

On Emma's second time through the line she asked for a pink and black parrot. Believe it or not the balloon animals made the trip home with us and only the bananas popped off of Emma's banana tree! They aren't going to last too much longer though!
One of the events they had going on, which I was excited about was a Guitar Hero competition. It was supposed to start at 8pm Friday night, but it was late getting started because of one of the bands playing prior to the competition arriving late. I was really going to try and be bold and brave enough to enter the competition, but when they were announcing the competition, they made it sound like these were the finals and that the competition had started previously. So, I didn't think I would be able to enter. We went and ate supper with Scott and a couple DU guys and when we finished we went back out to watch what was left of the competition. Let me tell you, I think I could have won! These people sucked! One gal scored ZERO points! She was up there dancing and carrying on and had no idea how to play! We enjoyed watching these people make fools of themselves (many of them were quite drunk) until the language started to make a turn for the worse in the crowd behind us. I cringed every time I heard the F bomb drop and wondered if Gage or Emma heard it, and would I ever hear them repeat it. At one point I wasn't sure if I smelled someone light up a joint (please know that I have NEVER tried drugs in my life, but I have smelled people smoking marijuana at a Bob Dillon concert in Memphis) or if it was a sweet-smelling cigar that made me want to puke. I decided it was time to go back to our room at that point. On our way to the room Scott even admitted the people in the competition were pretty lame and that he thought I could have maybe won it! When Scott admits something like that, you know it's true! Sorry Dustin that I didn't get entered, but I totally could have won it! I think the top prize was a mountain bike. Oh well, maybe next time.
We got up early Sunday morning for our long drive back to Bismarck. I've never been more glad to get home in my life!

I had to take the kids' picture at this rest stop in Wyoming to prove they have been in the state. :-)
This turned out to be an extremely long post, and I'm sure I've put most of you to sleep, not to mention that it is WAY past my bedtime since it is nearing 2 am AND I have officially been working on it for about 12 hours! For whatever reason it was going really slow this afternoon when I was posting all of these pictures, so I'm glad to have it finished!

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