Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Trip to Denver for the LPA conference July

Ashley has had quite the busy summer so far with back to back girls camp, EFY and now a trip to Denver to attend the Little People of America conference. 

I literally drove up to Santa Barbara to pick up a full carload of kids and got them home from EFY, then did some laundry for Ashley and then we loaded up to drive to LA to fly out to Denver. 

A fun week with Jolene. We were so happy that she could come with us!

The downtown hotel we were staying at dressed up for 4th of July...

The girls imitation...ha ha.

Our hotel was right in the downtown area with lots of shops and a free shuttle taking us up and down the street. We got to try out eating a a few different places and the girls like that Krispy Kreme was right across the street. 

Some photo opportunities with the downtown urban art

We met up with a lot of people that we've grown to know at the past Little People of America conferences and got to meet a few new people. We enjoyed talking to Zack Roloff and hearing about his experiences being a new dad!

On July 3rd we got to go to a Rockies game.  We were up in the nosebleed seats but better to see the view from the stadium. It had a beautiful view of the mountains and the surrounding area.

We got to hang out with Ashley's friend Kali at the game too.

After the game we waited for part of the stands to clear and make their way onto the field for the fireworks show. There was a LOT of people on the field. 

Great fireworks and like every time we go to fireworks we watched the finale as we were walking away from the stadium (my family hates the crowds at the end)

On our walk back to the hotel even the Union Station was decorated for the holiday. 

Hanging out in the lobby during the convention with Kali again.

Making new friends on the street, (we saw lots of dogs in Denver). We were there at the same time as a Comicon convention so there was some interesting people watching opportunities. 

One of the nights the girls joined us at bingo before they headed off to the dance for the night. Jeff and I went every night and never won once! Good thing it was all free, ha ha. 

On actual 4th of July we got to meet up with my aunt and uncle Renae and Larry and my cousin Shavonne and her family to explore the Rockies. 

We did a lot of driving that day! It was a nice day and cooler than it was in the city. We saw some a few waterfalls and were able to enjoy the mountains. 

Our group! My aunt and uncle, cousin and her family and mother-in-law and her daughters friend...all of us just hanging out.

We had a nice picnic.

Ashley found a friend that wanted to join in

Sharing her food with him. 

After lunch we walked to some of the waterfalls next to the road. 

Shavonne and her family (her daughter stayed at the picnic tables)

Awww cousins and friends...

Our crazy family.

After we left this spot we followed my cousin up this narrow dirt road to get to the top of the mountain (you can see it in the bottom left of the picture)

One of the waterfalls we saw on the way. 

The view at the top wasn't a drop of the edge of a cliff view but it was nice and had snow.

Snow on the ridge.

One of our days we went to the Natural History museum. We watched an IMAX movie and explored the large museum and enjoyed the air conditioning (it was pretty hot and humid that week).

Checking out the mummies. 

One of the days we were there the girls were in the hotel room just wanting to take a nap. Jeff and I wanted to explore some so we took a walk to the park behind our hotel and walked through the capital building. 

It was too late to take a guided tour so we started out walking on our own. 

It was very beautiful and ornate. 

This is a view of the dome from the bottom. 

When we got into this room we overheard the tour going on and listened in on what the tour guide was saying. 

This room used to covered over in plaster and they took it all off and restored it to what it probably looked like when it was built. 

We ended up jumping into the group at the end so we could have access to the top of the dome. There were some people that couldn't make it up the stairs so we asked if we could take their spot and it wasn't a problem. It had a nice view and I was glad we were able to do it. 

On our last day in Denver we went on a tour of the US Mint since it was only 3 blocks from our hotel. We tried to get tickets a few days before but it was closed for 4th of July so we thought we would try on our last day. Jeff and I got in line a little after 6am and we barely got tickets! I ended up having to run back to the hotel room to get the girls up and down the street for our tour (which was the first one). 

They weren't too excited but they were good sports and did it anyway.  

We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside but they gave us these as a souvenir. The penny on the left is a blank that they cut out of a long sheet of metal and then the new penny on the right is after it has left the stamping process. The mint produces 55% of the pennies that we use! 

Jeff and I thought it was interesting...the girls I'm not so sure but we bought them Krispy Kreme after and they were fine. 

After the girls were fed we brought them to the Aquarium to kill some time. 

I actually was pretty impressed. It was a very cute aquarium! 

You wound through mazes of displays and you never knew what you were going to find around the corner. 

Like a tiger...which was a surprise in an aquarium. 

They had one of those tubes that went under the shark tank and you can watch the fish above you. 

Around one corner they had a display that reenacted the flash floods that happen in the desert. 

You can't tell but Jolene and Jeff are standing in the "splash zone" and Jeff got soaked! (Jolene moved out of the way at the last minute)

They both said the aquarium was one of their favorite parts of the trip.

The last thing they got to do was feed the sting rays.

Petting them was pretty cool because the step was high enough that even Ashley could reach them. They would come pretty far out of the water!

We realized why they came so far out of the water when we bought food for the girls to feed them. They were come up hoping to eat!

Ashley wasn't too sure as her hand was getting sucked into the mouth of the sting ray!

A great trip in Denver. We were glad to be able to have Jolene with us too.