Saturday, June 27, 2015

Red Rocks, 16th Street Mall, Missional Community & Saying GoodBye

Sunday (6/14) we woke up a little sad that it was our last day of vacation but ready to enjoy it to the fullest!!  We picked the kids up from the Sanfords house and headed over to Red Rocks.  It was fun to see the amazing amphitheater they have built in the middle of the rock formations!  We went on our last hike of the trip.  It had been a trip full of hiking!! 

 It was really neat to see the city of Denver in the background of the beautiful rocks!

 We then headed back downtown to the 16th Street Mall.  It is a mile long pedestrian shopping area.  They have really neat fountains and pianos out all along the street.  We enjoyed exploring the shops and restaurants.  

 One of the kids favorites was a candy store with giant candy!

 We ate at a famous burger restaurant called 5280.  It was yummy!

 Late afternoon we headed back to Lowry to attend the Sanford's missional community group.  This is the start of their church plant.  They have several families that attend so it was great to get to meet them.  We helped to cook out and invited lots of their neighbors to the group.
 The kids enjoyed playing and meeting neighbors through sports and playing on the playground.
 I love this picture of Kate and Reagan.  They because such special friends so quickly!
 We loved getting to spend so much time with the Sanfords and seeing how God is using them in the Lowry area.  Be praying for them as they continue to serve and work in Lowry.  It was such a special way to finish up our trip!
 Monday (6/15) we had to set our alarm clocks to get up early (only time the whole trip) to catch our plane home.  First we had to turn in our rental car.  This poor car served us well over the 2 weeks.  We put almost 2,000 miles on it.  It was also peeed in and thrown up in by kids.  Poor car will never be the same!!
 It was a quick 2 hour flight home.
 We were welcomed back to the South with really warm temperatures!  Nothing like being broken back in quickly.
Well, that wraps it up!  That is our trip!  We had such an amazing time.  So thankful for such a fun time together as a family.  We can't wait until our next trip!

Downtown Denver, VBS Kickoff Celebration & Anniversary Dinner

Saturday (6/13) was a different kind of vacation day but it was really awesome.  We kicked it off by heading to downtown Denver to check out this crazy giant blue bear that looks into the convention center.  

 Then we headed over to Union Station to check it out.  It had some cute little stores and restaurants.

 Then it was off to Riverside Church to help with their VBS kickoff celebration.  This is the "sending' church for the Sanford's church plant.  We were excited to get to help them staff the carnival.  It was great to get to serve others on the trip.  The kids enjoyed playing on all the inflatables while Matt and I monitored the obstacle course.

 It was a super hot Denver day (like 85 degrees) so after the VBS celebration we headed over to Little Man Ice Cream which is a famous Denver ice cream shop.  They had some really interesting flavors that was super yummy.
One of the things Kate loved the most is that the Sanfords had a litter of kittens in their garage.  She was in love with the little kittens!!  She would hold them and sing to them and put on shows for them.  So sweet!!
 Eric and Amanda were sweet enough to offer to let the kids spend the night with them so Matt and I could enjoy a night out for our anniversary.  The kids had so much fun and we had a blast getting some alone time!  After almost 2 weeks of constant family time it was great to have a little alone adult time.  We headed to downtown Denver for a fun evening together.  We ate at a trendy Denver restaurant called Vesta Dipping Grill.  It was so good!!!  The specialize in special dipping sauces for their meats.  We loved getting to try different ones.  It was nice to get to spend some time together celebrating 12 years of marriage!

Even though it was a different kind of vacation day but it was awesome.  Loved getting to serve Denver at the VBS kickoff and celebrate 12 years together!

Colorado State Capital, Denver Zoo & Lowry Fun

Friday (6/12) we woke up to a really rainy day in Denver.  We didn't let the dreary skies slow up down for checking out downtown Denver.  We went to the Colorado capital building.  The kids got to stand on the mile high step!  5280 feet high exactly.  

 We drove around the downtown area and saw the Denver mint.
 We picked up the Sanford kids and Eric and headed over to the Denver zoo.  It was a really fun zoo with lots interesting animals.  The kids had so much fun exploring with Reagan and Alex.  It was so much fun to watch how quickly they become such good friends!

 We even saw a grizzly bear that we didn't get to see in Yellowstone.

 Everyone thought it was a really funny that I walked around all day with an Alabama backpack on.  Amanda packed it with drinks and snacks and somehow I got to carry it.  Ugh!

 Matt was excited to see a hippo!  Not many zoos have hippos.

 After the zoo fun we headed back to the Lowry area for the evening.  We visited a couple of parks while learning about the area.  There are so many people that need to hear about Jesus and His love.  The Sanfords have a big job ahead of them!  We spent time praying for the area and that the residents would have receptive hearts to the gospel.  We also went to the parks to play and interact with some of the residents.  Ben and Alex did a great job of playing wiffle ball to draw other kids so they could talk to them.  It was a great way to teach our kids a little about what it means to be a missionary.

Air Force Academy, Whit's End & Lowry

Thursday morning (6/11) we were up early for a yummy breakfast in our hotel before packing up for our last location move of the trip.  Before we left Colorado Springs we had a few more stops to make.  First up with the US Air Force Academy.  
 It is an absolutely beautiful campus!  We were lucky enough to stumble upon a private tour of the campus which was really neat.  We got to learn all about the cadets and what all they do while on campus.
 Of course the centerpiece of the campus is the amazing chapel!  It is stunning!

 Ben loved hearing about the campus and cadets.  He was all about attending the USAFA until he heard that cadets are required to keep their rooms spotless.
 We got to tour the inside of the chapel.  It was amazing!

 Ben and Matt practiced walking along the lines that the first year cadets have to walk along.

 It was great to see first hand the USAFA and the training that the brave young men and women go through in service of our country.
 The next stop was what the kids had been looking forward to for the whole trip - the Focus on the Family visitor's center which meant time at Whit's End!!  Everyone knows how much Ben loves Adventures in Odyssey this was a chance to get to see the world of Odyssey come to life!  They have such a fun play area that is set up to look like different areas of Odyssey.  There is Whit's End which is the centerpiece of Odyssey.
 They have an amazing 4 story twisty slide that is so much fun!!  Ben probably went down it 25 times.  Kate and I did it once that was enough for us.

 There were so many little touches of Adventures in Odyssey throughout the center.

 Kate loved getting to perform on the "Little Theater" stage.

 We had a yummy lunch at Whit's End of pizza and then finished off with the family Whit's End "Wodfamchocsod" and raspberry ripple ice cream.  The kids loved getting to actually try things they hear on the Odyssey episodes.  It was such a fun stop!
 After our time at Whit's End we headed up the road to Denver.  Spending time in Denver was the whole thing that started our trip planning.  Our dear friends the Sanfords moved to Colorado 2 years ago to plant a church.  We have loved hearing about all the amazing things God is doing in Lowry so we wanted to see it first hand.  Plus we would get to spend time with the Sanfords!  After we got checked into our hotel in Denver we went over to their house for the evening.  We shared dinner together.  The kids had a blast playing together while the adults laughed and enjoyed hanging out.

We were so excited to be in our final destination and to serve the community of Lowry!