After we said goodbye to the Senges and the Avenue Hotel, we hopped in our car for a rainy drive to the greater Denver area to visit with all the Clarks. Our first stop was to my cousin's house, who had graciously offered to host a little get-together for anyone who was able to come by.
|The lovely hostess and I, in a flattering soft-focus.|
I was so glad to see everyone, and so glad that I actually got to visit and chat with each of them. And the girls were so glad to have some little cousins around to play with! And I even remembered to take a photo with my Grandpa before we left.
The next morning we went over to my Grandma's house to spend the day with her. She had lots of fun things for the girls to play with, like tri-ominos. Grandma spent some time teaching Alice to fold down the corner of each page of an old telephone book to make a door stop like the one she had in her office. It kept her busy for a good long while...
Omnichord that Ivy thought was pretty cool...
Larkburger, which we loved. Really delicious food with a simple menu and a simple store. Kind of the same idea and set-up as Chipotle, but with yummy burgers. My Grandma likes them because they offer adorable tiny burgers that are just the right size for a light lunch (in addition to full-size burgers, too!). I would love to see them expand out of Colorado!
After lunch, we headed to the Butterfly Pavilion. We arrived just in time to see them release some new butterflies for their first flights. I was expecting them to open a box and a fountain of butterflies to erupt into the sky. Instead, the girl would reach into a box, carefully retrieve a butterfly and hold it (I think by the wings? She must have been wearing special gloves?), tell us a thing or two about it, and then toss it into the air. It was neat to see, but rather unceremonious!
The girls were tired and restless, but I was absolutely enamored. There were butterflies there that I have never, ever seen, and I have certainly never seen such large butterflies, or so many. One of my favorites were the blue morpho. This is not a great photo, and this guy is a little ragged, but their backs are the most beautiful iridescent blue. The undersides of their wings - what you can see from below, or as they flap and fly - are much more nondescript, but as they fly along you see these amazing flashes of blue.
The oils on our skin can damage the butterflies, so we aren't supposed to touch, but no one told that to the butterflies who were delighting us all by landing on peoples' hair and clothes.
After they made sure we weren't harboring any stowaway butterflies, we headed over to the Crawl-A-See-Em (it took me a minute, too) to visit Rosie, the famous tarantula. I think Ivy would have held the giant spider, she seemed pretty excited to see it through the window, but she wasn't old enough and that was probably a good idea (for the spider). Alice definitely did not want to hold it, but I gathered up my courage and set a good example for her.
|This is a different tarantula. Probably not as nice as Rosie.|
Prost Brewing has a nice little tasting room with some great German-style beers (and pretzels!).
When we got too hungry, we took a walk down the street and over a bridge to a favorite pizza joint.
Protos Pizza was delicious. The girls were really behaving well for being out so past their bedtime, so we let them share some ice cream for dessert. Ivy's favorite!
But first, we enjoyed a field full of prairie dogs! Our Colorado family makes fun of people like us, but we don't have those adorable little vermin where we come from!
We were also excited to spot a real-life reptile slithering into the rocks. He's hard to see, but he's a squiggle right in the middle of that crack in the rock.
There was a little spot at the base of the rock that you could actually climb up, so Alice climbed up to perch in a little hole and take a photo with some dino tracks
My IronWoman cousin got Alice to run up the hill while Pumpkin waited patiently, and then Alice would call her to come and she would take off as fast as her short little legs would carry her.
|Pumpkin, waiting patiently.|
At my aunt's, we walked down to the park around the corner from her house and played until Alice needed to use the bathroom...
My aunt and uncle have the sweetest dog who was feeling a bit under the weather while we were there and the crowd of galloping children didn't help. She tried to tuck herself out of the way...
And the next morning, we said goodbye to my aunt and uncle, and to Colorado, and hit the road. After a bumpy ride home, I was extra glad to jam out the back door. We love using the air stairs and grabbing seats in the back when we fly Southwest!