Sunday, July 27, 2014

Colorado 2014 - July 4th

If there's anyone who does the 4th of July right, it's the Beckers. They go all out every year with food, games, decorating and dressing up. This year was no exception. 

 The food was over the top!

 Everyone dressed in red, white and blue.

 We played a couple games of volleyball.

 The kids had a potato sack race.
 They walked on "stilts".

 One of the big highlights was digging through the sawdust pile to find prizes and coins.

There was a pi├▒ata filled with candy for the kids to work out their aggression on.

 They did a scavenger hunt.
 And to cap the day off, they decorated their bicycles and rode in their own parade, led by Dave in his blue Nissan Z.

Everyone had such a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our great nation. It will be hard to come up with something to do next year if we aren't out there with them. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Colorado 2014 - Bicycles

One reason we brought a trailer with us this year is so that we could bring bikes with us. Last year, our kids weren't really into riding (except for Olivia) so it wasn't a big deal. This year, however, Gabe and Ezra have really been wanting bikes. Jamie, who is a master of finding deals, managed to find us two bikes for Gabe and Ezra and a new (to her) one for Olivia, who had outgrown her old bike. She even had a scooter for Emma to use while she was there. :) It was such a blessing and an answer to prayer for us. Jamie had even walked into the Goodwill praying for two good bikes for the boys and there they were! It's surprising how quickly all the kids took to their new bikes, especially Ezra, who took to it like a duck to water.

Rebecca and I had our bikes from home with us and Jamie graciously volunteered to watch the kids for a day while Rebecca and I had a date day. We decided to ride the Cherry Creek Trail, which runs for 40 miles from Franktown to Downtown Denver. We started a few miles up the trail in Parker and decided to go as far as we felt comfortable. It was a warm, but overcast day and we got going right after lunch. The ride is pretty easy with just a couple of gentle hills, but mostly flat and winding through fields and behind neighborhoods along Cherry Creek. I brought the camera, but found it more of a nuisance and never did take a picture. About 3 or 4 miles into the ride, we rode out from under the cloud cover into bright, clear, intense sunshine. Neither of us had thought to bring sunscreen, so we knew we were in for a bit of a burn. Still, we kept on and rode about 12 miles up the trail only to find it end at a construction site. We tried to go around and find our way back to the trail only to find ourselves riding onto the 14th hole of the Valley Country Club gold course. Thinking this might not be the best plan, we went back the way we came and kept looking. From what we could find, they were still constructing part of the trail and it was difficult to tell where the trail might be. It was also at this point that my seat gave way and made riding a bit uncomfortable. So we decided to head back down the trail to the car and then look for a late lunch. By now, we were thoroughly hot, exhausted, and very thirsty (didn't bring water, either...) and my seat was making every mile more and more difficult. We did make it back, though, with the plan to someday do it again, but with sunscreen and water.
For lunch, we rode into Denver and went to Jerusalem Middle Eastern Restaurant, which is probably our favorite place to eat. We indulged in some fantastic food and got some awesome baklava. We stopped for coffee at Dazbog on the way home. In all, it was a wonderful time despite the difficulties and we will do it again next time we go out there, maybe with the kids in tow and riding along with us.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Colorado 2014 - Elitch Gardens

The Deering/Ginsberg clan all have season passes to Elitch Gardens in Downtown Denver. The whole time we lived there, Rebecca and I never went a single time. This trip, they offered us guest passes so we could all go together for a day. The kids had never been to an amusement park before, so this was a real treat for them. Sadly, we didn't bring our camera that day, but Jamie and Kristie we kind enough to send us the pictures they took on their phones.

Elitch's has two sides: a water park and an amusement park. We started the morning in the water park and went over to the rides after lunch. The kids haven't been to a water park since we went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg back in 2012. While not a huge water park, it had some great stuff for everyone. Besides the standard lazy river and wave pool, it had a pirate ship with slides for the littles, a spray house that certainly lived up to its name, a couple of slightly larger slides that our kids weren't big enough for and then several large tube-riding slides. Olivia and I went down a few of those together.

After a quick lunch at the car, we dashed back in and started on the rides. There is a fantastic area called Kiddieland that had a small roller coaster and a bunch of other rides. The kids were so excited to go on their first roller coaster! I stood out with Emma and Irene and watched them go around. Ezra seemed to lose his enthusiasm for it after the first turn. :)

 After the coaster, they found the rest of the rides. They particularly loved the planes and the motor cycles.

Emma absolutely loved the crazy bus.

While the younger kids were enjoying these rides, Olivia and I went and experienced the larger roller coasters. The first one we went on was an old-school wooden coaster. She really liked that one even though it was really rough. She liked going fast and all the turns. 

The second one was called the Boomerang and it actually starts you backwards and pulls you up a steep hill and then suddenly drops you down, through the loading area and then up through a couple of twisting loops and then up another hill. Then you do it backwards. She didn't like that one nearly as much. "I bit my tongue," she said.

The last one we did together was the Tower of Doom, which takes you up 200ft and drops you straight back down. She definitely didn't like that one. I was proud of her, tho. She chose them and followed through, only making a judgement after she had ridden them. There was one more coaster, called the Mind Eraser, that I wanted to do that she was, unfortunately, not tall enough to do, so Rebecca and I rode it just before the park closed. 

While Olivia and I were off doing the big coasters, the rest of the gang went on the Disaster Canyon rapids ride. We managed to find them just before they came down the rapids in front of us. :)

At the end of the day, the kids were wiped out, but had had a fantastic day. Thanks so much to the Deerings and Ginsbergs for sharing with us!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Colorado 2014 - Castlewood Canyon and Dam

Last year, we "discovered" Castlewood Canyon and were so excited about it that we went again this year. It's such a fun hike, regardless of which side of the park you do. Of course, we did both sides again, but this particular post is about the hike up the Dam side of the park. Jamie was working that day, so we took her 4 kids and ours into the park for the hike. We tried using our new bike trailer/stroller for a little while, but the trail was just too rocky for the wide wheelbase to fit through, so we parked it on the side and picked it up on the way back.

The dam collapsed in 1933, causing a huge flood all the way to Downtown Denver, about 40 miles away

Emma being a big girl.

 The kids all love climbing into the spillway pipe.

   The dam is really cool and doesn't take long to get to, but the big bonus for the kids is splashing in the creek on the way back.

Irene wasn't too keen on the cold water.
 She much preferred the rocks.

 The kids found a big crayfish to play with.

 This time of year has some very pretty thistles in bloom. Eeyore would be thrilled. Well, as thrilled as Eeyore can get anyway...
 The cacti are so pretty in bloom, too.