Last summer a dear friend of mine asked me if I would come out to Denver and visit for her birthday. As you may have read in my previous post, I suffer from a bit of travel anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I love being on vacation in other cities. I just hate the process of getting there. But this particular friend has driven from Colorado to Fargo several times since the last time I went out west to see her, so it seemed only fair. We couldn’t afford for all 4 of us to go, so I went by myself and left Ian at home with the kids.
It was the best kind of vacation ever. Though I missed my family and my pets, and felt periodically guilty for leaving Ian at home to be a single dad for the week, I really really needed the vacation. I think my friend did too because the day before I flew out, she gave birth to a baby girl. My friend was perpetually worried that I wasn’t having enough fun on vacation since we mostly just hung around their house with her kids doing not much of anything. For my part though, that is what made the vacation so great because I just happen to love hanging around the house doing not much of anything. Also it’s a lot cheaper than sightseeing. Here’s a highlight reel:
- I slept in almost every day.
- I got to see my friends’ adorable baby when she was brand-new. And I’m not just saying she’s adorable out of obligation because she’s my friends’ baby and you don’t want to hurt your friends’ feelings by telling them how ugly their baby is. This little girl is really stinking cute.
- I got to hold said brand new baby for the first time since my teenagers were babies. And I carried her around a lot. And sometimes she sucked on my finger because her mum couldn’t feed her right at that moment.*
- I also got to give the baby back to her mum and dad when she cried or had a messy diaper. That’s the best part about other people’s babies.
- My friends’ 4-yr-old asked me to read him a bedtime story, invited me to his best friend’s birthday, and named a toy car after me.
- I tried not to laugh out loud when 4-yr-old tried to say “Kitty” because he has a lisp that causes him to substitute the “K” sound with a “T” sound.**
- One time we were driving somewhere and 4-yr-old said “Hey Tah-wee?” and I said “Yes?” and he said “I wuv you.” And then my heart exploded. (I lost count of how many times he said I wuv you after that, but there were at least a half dozen. ❤ )
- I got to see a baby leopard at the Denver Zoo attempting to catch a fly which was buzzing around its enclosure. [see photo of said leopard below]
- I convinced 4-yr-old to try the climbing wall at the Rec Center for the first time.
- I went to an Asian market which had an entire aisle devoted to nothing but potstickers and other dumplings.
- I got the giggles when someone (not naming names) accidentally farted in my face as we walked up the stairs.
- We went to this place called the Butterfly Pavilion which had a lovely indoor garden populated by all kinds of fluttering winged invertebrates. They also had a ton of creepy crawly invertebrates but I didn’t have to see any of those because that part of the museum was closed. Darn.
- I played Singstar with my friends and learned 4-yr-old knows more of the words to that Flaming Lips song than I do.
- I had the world’s most delicious caramel frappe at a coffee place called Daz Bog. Twice.
- I read this comic strip and laughed for three days:
- On the way to the airport on my last day, we passed a house that had a half a dozen giant metal chickens in the driveway (including the identical twin of Beyonce the famous giant metal chicken.) [Sorry, no picture. We were on the way to the airport and didn’t have time to stop for a photo.]
My family actually drove down to the Minneapolis airport to pick me up instead of having me fly home to Fargo, so we could go to the Rennaisance Fair. I met the family at the Mall of America where we partook of delicious Godiva chocolates, gawked at the amazing lego sculptures at Legoland, and took our daughter on her first roller coaster – The Rock Bottom Plunge. In case you have not seen or ridden this roller coaster, here is an actual photo of the first drop:
This was also the first time I had been on this particular roller coaster. It was crazy fun, but I seriously did not expect my butt to be lifted off the seat so many times. I think we were sideways or upside-down at least a half a dozen times. After we stepped out of the car, my daughter said “I NEVER want to do that again. EVER.” If you to see a video of it (this is not my video, but the point-of-view begins at 01:23):
We spent the rest of our Friday doing various geeky things like browsing a giant comic book store, almost buying a stuffed talking Dalek, and standing around a gaming shop trying to decide whether or not to buy that special Munchkin expansion deck. You know, like you do.
The next day we went the Rennaisance Festival as early as possible because we knew it would be busy and wanted to have as much time as we could to enjoy the nerdiness before we had to drive all the way back to Fargo.
- The most important thing we did there was renew our wedding vows. At 11 am we stood before a dude with a huge bushy beard, who teased me for being late because I had to help Adele get my cameraphone ready to take pictures, and recited our vows (with minor alterations). For example:
- Bushy Beard Dude: Repeat after me – “I promise to always put your needs ahead of my own…”
- Me: “I promise to put your needs ahead of my own, most of the time…”
- Ian: “I promise to put your needs ahead of my own, except when card games are involved…”
I loved that we were able to do this and have our children there to witness it, even if they were initially rude about having to stand around and wait, and asked when we were going to go eat lunch. “Not until I marry your father, you ungrateful bastards!” I shouted (but only in my head).
- I scaled the castle wall one and a half times. The second time they moved me to a more challenging section of the wall, but my arms were all noodley and I just couldn’t manage it. But they still gave me a small wooden medallion with “I scaled the castle wall” burned into it, so it was worth the effort.
- We saw the Eleventh Doctor. My son went right up to him and said “Bowties are cool.” Even from a distance I knew that’s what he’d said, because the Doctor reached up and straightened his bowtie. My kids are so awesome.
- We watched the jousting for the better part of an hour, but we had rotten luck because our champions lost every round. In the final round Ian started a group of people cheering for a champion who had actually been eliminated in a previous round.
- Later in the day we watched the Eleventh Doctor trying to learn bellydancing. (Someone told us the Tenth Doctor was at the Fair as well, but alas we did not see him).
And of course, we also browsed the many wonderful shops. These were some of our favorite vendors:
- My daughter absolutely fell in love with these ponytail twisters. Actually, if I had long hair I probably would want some too. I almost want to grow out my hair, just so I can wear them.
- This place had some of the most beautiful mocassins, sandals, and boots I have ever seen. The website doesn’t have anywhere near the selection that was at the fair; I will have to save up for next time so I can bring a pair home with me.
- This shop had some of the most fabulous pirate clothes, including several amazing coats that were so fabulous I would actually be willing to wear them on a regular basis.
- My daughter took a business card from this lady and handed it to me, saying “my birthday’s coming up in a couple of months. Just saying.” She’s very subtle, isn’t she?
- My daughter could not resist bringing home one of these bendable dragons. You can also purchase “armor” for them. Isn’t that cute?
- Even Ian enjoyed playing with these sticks. Unfortunately, they were quite a bit out of our budget so we did not bring any home.
Next year we will be sure to bring more cash so we can buy lots of stuff we don’t need.
* You didn’t think I meant it literally when I said I “had a baby” did you? I mean, I held her a bunch of times and carried her around and stuff, so technically I “had a baby” whenever I was holding her, but that’s as close as I ever intend to get to giving birth again. Honestly, it’s like you guys don’t know me at all.
** Go on, say it out loud to yourself. I dare you not to giggle.