10 Years and Counting!

It's hard to believe that we've been married now for 10 years!  A lot has happened in the last ten years and it has been quite a journey.  We are so very blessed to have each other and two beautiful children.  We were engaged in Colorado and 10 years later here we are - locals.  Although we miss our family and friends back in KC, we are so happy here. 

To celebrate we decided to take the kids camping at Rocky Mountain National Park.  We thought about a fancy dinner or a date out but when it came down to it, we just wanted to spend it with our family in the great outdoors.  It is so weird to be able to decide one morning to go camping in the mountains and be set up at our campsite for dinner that very night.  Crazy!

We don't have a lot of space in either vehicle and since we were not sure if we would be going off road-ing we wanted to take the Jeep.  But with both car seats in the back and virtually NO space to bring even a bag of clothes we needed to buy a hitch haul platform.  It worked out nicely and I think we'll be getting some good use out of it in the future.

The drive was not too long (about and hour and 45 minutes) but it poured on us when we hit Boulder.  Thankfully it stopped raining when we got to Estes Park and it never rained again while we were there.  We found an EXCELLENT camp site with a beautiful view of the mountains.  It was cool but we all layered up well and it was manageable.  The kids are not used to dinner taking so long to cook but they survived and it turned out great.  BBQ chicken on kabobs, baked potatoes, and steamed carrots.  Yup, we like to live it up - no hot dogs for our special occasion! : ) I thought it would take forever to get the kids to sleep but it wasn't too bad.  We sat around the campfire, sang songs, and made up stories for the kids.

 Elk just wandering around.  They were all around us and they have a very musical call that we heard all night long.
 Ethan helping carry the firewood... or at least the kindling
 Enjoying the fire.

We all slept in one giant sleeping bag bed comprised of a total of 4 sleeping pads and 5 sleeping bags.  The kids were layered in long sleeved pjs under their fleece zip up jammies and stayed pretty warm sleeping between John and I.  The over night low was in the upper 30's which made for a pretty brisk morning!  Surprisingly the kids never really complained about being cold. 
 Bright and early!

 Boys warming up in the morning by the fire.
 Enjoying nice warm hot chocolate.
Our awesome view!

We made pancakes, bacon, and fruit slices for breakfast and enjoyed a spectacular view of the mountains from our campsite.  By the time we packed everything back up it was about 11:30 and check out was at  noon.  We spent the rest of the day checking out the park.  First we went to a water fall area where there were huge boulders and rocks for the kids to climb on.  We had a picnic lunch there.
 Breakfast.  Ethan's eating, Aaron's playing.  Same as at home except look at the backdrop!
 I love those boys!

 There were all kinds of little chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits, and birds to check out.
 That's my mountain man!  I love him so much!
 Ethan and I.  He wanted to climb those rocks all the time. We couldn't keep him off of them.

 Our little helper.  To be fair, Aaron helped with all of the sleeping bags but I didn't catch it on camera.
 Ethan got a ride to the Jeep.
 Our climber loved all of the rocks to climb.

 The rangers constantly warned us about putting our food away due to bears.  We were a little worried about the soft top on the Jeep with all of the crumbs inside but it was fine.  Even the rangers seem concerned about it.  Glad they didn't come around.  That we know of anyway!  Although it would have been really cool to see!
 Climbing between rocks
 Call me cheesy!  This was at lunch. : )

 The kids enjoyed throwing rocks in the creek.  Ethan especially loved the bubbles.
My sweet little Aaron

Then it was off to find a trail.  Since I have joined the Mountain Mamas club I contacted the founder and asked if I could rent or borrow a child pack while were gone.  She enthusiastically told me to to take one of her demo packs so I could try it out.  So with the fancy demo pack and our old consignment find we were able to carry both kids on our backs while we hiked.  The views were incredible!  We ate a snack by Cub Creek lake and let Aaron hike for about half a mile.  The whole loop was 6.2 miles!  We were both pretty tired by the end of it but had a great sense of accomplishment.

We drove around a bit after that and then finally headed home when it started getting dark.  While driving through Estes Park we were stopped by a whole heard of elk crossing the road!  There must have been at least 40 of them!  I've never seen anything like it! 

This has been an unforgettable anniversary.  We will forever remember our 10 year anniversary as the first real successful camping trip and hike in the beautiful rocky mountains that we now call home!