Tomorrow afternoon, we begin the 15 hour drive back to reality. Back to working night shifts and sleeping during the day. No more mountain hiking and sunny skies. Did you know that the sun shines more than 300 days per year in Colorado? So, tomorrow we go back to gloomy skies until about May.

But, while we were here, we had a blast (as long as you don’t count the numerous tantrums both of the kids threw every day). We celebrated Madelyn’s birthday here since this side of the family wouldn’t be able to make her party. She wanted a pirate themed party. Eye-patches and bullions. Pirate hats and hooks. And of course, as few “argh” and “matey” were in order. I wasn’t sure how to make her cake and she wanted ships, treasures and treasure maps. I knew that I’m not skilled enough to tackle a ship, so I came up with a design of my own.

The treasure chest is a bit off center, but at least it didn’t fall off.

Remember this game? Pretty, Pretty Princess. I’m guessing Dave wouldn’t want me to put up any pictures of him in a crown, necklace, bracelet, and earrings, so I’ll leave those pictures out:)

Sunday, Dave and I had a day to ourselves. We headed up to Estes Park and walked around downtown being a tourist. We stayed at the Stanley Hotel and hoped we’d have some ghost encounters. But nothing happened. Although, this picture looks suspicious. Do you see it?

There’s a blue spot about 1/3 of the way up. But it’s hard to see unless it’s larger.

There was a fire at the National Park, so the smoke is covering up all of the beautiful mountains. We planned on hiking in the National park but with the fire, a lot of trails were closed so we went outside the park and settled on hiking to Lily Mountain before we headed back to see the kiddos. Granted, we’re far from experienced hikers, but I thought that any hike would be labeled well. After about 1/4 of a mile, Dave and I just had to guess where the trail is. We were climbing up rocks and eventually we’d get back on some sort of trail but then we’d lose it again. The more that I wasn’t sure where we were going, the more I was worried about mountain lions and how I didn’t want to lose my life for a beautiful view. When we were about a mile up the mountain, we took in a good view and headed back down. I think that was enough mountain climbing for us.

The next day, we decided to stick to a better trail and went to our usual hike at Devil’s backbone. The kids loved it.

Asher waving to passerby’s. Madelyn was excited because she saw a “cowgirl”. It was just a lady with a cowboy hat and a dog. I couldn’t burst her excitement. 

Then came the New Belgium brewery tour. It was a great 90 min of beer tasting and brewery lessons. I find it amazing that after 1 year of employment, the employee gets a custom made New Belgium bike and company ownership. After 5 years, they get a trip to Belgium!!!! As expected, there isn’t a huge turnover there. I’m not a big beer drinker, but I can’t wait for the 2013 La Folie. It’s a sour brown ale that rests in French Oak barrels between one and three years before being bottled. It’s great!

Well, that’s our trip. We can’t wait to come back again soon. I hope you enjoyed all of these pictures. We took more than 1000 pictures! But, it’s just so beautiful here. It’s hard not to try to capture its beauty.

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