A New Appreciation for the Outdoors

I’ve always loved the outdoors.  When I was younger, a great majority of my time was spent outside.  We walked to and from school, came home and had a snack, went outside to play until dinnertime.  My family used to go camping every summer.  Now, as an adult, I still love being outdoors.  It centers me.  It relaxes me.  It rejuvenates me.

William has also always enjoyed the outdoors, but I think our Colorado vacation really sealed the deal.  He’s learning to appreciate the outdoors and nature now that he is getting a little older.  One of my favorite pictures from our trip:

smelling flowers

Smelling the flowers.  Whenever he sees flowers now, he has to smell them.  It’s the cutest thing ever.  After he smells them, he proceeds to pick them and rip off every single petal, but it’s still adorable.  Being outside keeps him entertained forever!

I’m not going to lie, I’m usually much more of a beach person.  But I didn’t get sick of these mountains or beautiful views once while on vacation.

colorado mountains

How could you?  Gorgeous!

I know we got back in town over a week ago, but I’m going to share a few more snapshots from Colorado that haven’t yet made their appearance on the blog.  Plus, it lets me relive a little bit of our vacation.

Like these two smiling babes:

aud colorado morning

It’s never too early to go outside, jammies and all.  Good thing William’s babysitter was willing to do anything and everything for him! (Thanks, Audrey!)

I think William misses waking up in the same house as his cousins…

jacob reading colorado

They literally took care of him.  Jacob would read and Audrey would do everything else.

But William always makes time to snuggle his momma…

july15

Cutest little smile I ever did see!

More adventures in the town of Durango:

big bear

Big bear, little bear.

My adventurous little baby… Not scared of anything!

adventurous

Flexible, too! 😉 He wanted those rocks in the water so bad!

One morning while my parents watched Audrey and William, the rest of us went for a white water rafting adventure.

white water rafting

It was a pretty calm trip with not a lot of paddling as our guide did most of the work.  It was still fun to be on the river though!  The kids jumped in which was impressive considering the water was 45 degrees!  Brave little ones!

And then all of a sudden our adventures in Colorado came to an end. We boarded a tiny plane, and headed back to St. Louis (well, Denver first).

mom airplane

‘Til next time, Colorado!

And just in case you missed the other posts from our summer vacation:

Have you ever been to Colorado?

Working Out in the Mountains

It’s no secret that the high altitude of places such as Colorado elevate your heart rate and make you huff and puff a bit harder than if you were at sea level.  We stayed in a three-story condo while in Durango, Colorado.  Some of my family members complained that they were out of breath each time they climbed the stairs.  I said it felt like I was getting in mini workouts all day long, so I didn’t really mind.

I definitely felt the elevation when we went hiking.  Granted, I had an extra 25 pounds on my back since I was carrying William, but still.  Especially going up the mountain, my heart rate was so fast and I was breathing really hard.  It’s amazing the workout you can get in the mountains!

One quiet morning, I decided to sneak out while William was napping.  I jogged to a nearby set of stairs at the resort and went to climb the stairs for my workout.

stairs colorado

Oh baby, it was tough!  I think I lasted about 20 minutes which was plenty for me.  I alternated the way I climbed the stairs.  First, I jogged each step as I went up, then the next time up, I stepped on every other step which adds a new dimension.  I couldn’t go as fast that way, but my quads and calves sure were burning!

My dad went out for a walk and snapped the photos of me.

colorado stairs

Then, apparently my dad turned into my trainer because when I had enough stairs, he told me to follow him.  He led me to a giant hill and made me run up it.  I had to side step on the way down, so I didn’t bite the dirt… which I was close to doing!

hill colorado

Just for fun and so I could take a break at the top, I did a couple of cartwheels.

cartwheel colorado

And if I wasn’t already tired enough, I tried out my split jump.

split jump colorado

I was tired by the end.  We headed back to the condo, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do just one more handstand while in Colorado!

handstand colorado

Working out in Colorado is a big game – so much fun to play around while being active!

Do you workout while on vacation? What do you do?

Durango to Silverton Train

One thing my family likes to do during family vacations is stay busy.  We went hiking.  Our latest adventure included the Durango to Silverton Train.  It was a great way to see some beautiful sites, explore the town, and make memories by having new experiences.  In our group, there were nine adults and six kiddos.  Doing anything with that large of a group is sure to make an adventure.  We drove a short distance from our resort in Durango, hopped on the train for a two and a half hour ride to Silverton, ate lunch and walked around the town, boarded a bus, stopped at Molas Pass, and headed back to Durango.  It was a busy day, everyone was worn out by the end, but it was an experience we certainly couldn’t have had in St. Louis.

When we first got to the train station, we had a short wait.  The area was covered in rocks, and if you know anything about the children in my family, they love rocks.  They pick out “special” rocks to save, ask every adult to hold them for later, and love searching and sorting for the biggest, shiniest, and coolest rocks.  Although William is just 15 months old, he, too, joined in on the rock collection fun.

rock train

Look, Momma! A rock!

We put all the rocks in a pile “for later,” and the excitement peaked when we heard the train approaching.  I got a quick picture before the adventure began, and we were on our way for William’s first train ride.

train colorado

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad winds through spectacular & breathtaking canyons in the remote wilderness of the two-million acre San Juan National Forest for an unforgettable year-round adventure. Experience the adventure of traveling by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive on the same tracks miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old West took over a century ago. Relive history with the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a truly spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

The train ride was fun with countless spectacular sites.  Everyone’s eyes were glued to the outside, and between all of us, probably hundreds of pictures were taken.  We stopped a couple of times, and of course Stephanie captured it perfectly.

river

Like I said, every sight was spectacular.

Linking up with Katie and Erin.

When we stopped in Silverton, we were ready to get off.  The town was quaint and bustling with people ready to eat, walk, and explore.  We snapped a quick photo of most of the group (sorry, Dana and Justin, you missed this one).

train

We walked around before finding a restaurant that could accommodate our large party.  We ended up at the Shady Lady Saloon which was built in the 1880’s and was the last brothel in Silverton.  The last madam, known to the trade as Jew Fanny, permanently closed her professional doors in 1947.  The food was mediocre, but it filled our bellies and we still had some time before the bus came.  We walked some more and ended up on a rooftop of another restaurant.  Arm wrestling and other shenanigans took place.

justin dad arm wrestle

The bus driver suggested stopping at Molas Pass on the way home because of the view.  He was certainly correct, and we stretched our legs, snapped some photos, and took in the fresh air for a short time before getting back on the bus.

yaya pops

William with his Yaya and Pops.  So lucky.

With the beautiful view in the background, I had to attempt a handstand.  It had been far too long since I’ve gone upside down somewhere cool.  Not the best, but it worked:

handstand colorado

What kind of adventures do you go on during vacations?

Hiking in Durango, Colorado

Our first full day in Durango, Colorado was awesome!  The weather is perfect – not too cold, not too hot, and it just so happened to rain during nap time.  No big deal.  We started off yesterday with a family hike.  I absolutely love staying active while on vacation, and to do it with family is even better.  This was William’s first time in the mountains, and he did great!  Ok, so he didn’t really have to work hard… or at all, but I know he enjoyed all the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

hiking durango

Babywearing for the win!  I’m loving this Ergo 360! So easy to use and so comfortable for both of us.  The total hike was about three miles and took just under two hours.  Not bad for hiking with six little ones.  We went downhill first, and the hike back up was definitely challenging.  This altitude thing sure puts your fitness into perspective.  We are all in pretty decent shape, but were huffing and puffing at some point.  Not to mention this sack of potatoes on my back…

babywearing hike

…who caught a little snooze during part of it.

Before we began, Justin gave directions to the kiddos.  Basically all he said was, “No running and stay behind me.”  Necessary rules for hiking.

There wasn’t a bad view in sight.  Everywhere we looked was gorgeous.  Stephanie captured it perfectly.

durango colorado

Picture perfect.

And to top it all off, we were all together.  All four of us siblings.  Stephanie posted this picture on her Instagram and wrote, It’s a pretty incredible thing to have the relationship that the four of us have with each other… It has not always been without fights (oh, the days when we were little and my parents had to deal with all of that), but there is not a single thing we wouldn’t do for each other. I am so thankful for my parents for instilling in us the importance of family and for bringing us all together on these vacations.”

hiking family

Do you enjoy hiking?

We’re in….

Yesterday was a very busy day because…

We’re in…

durango

Durango, Colorado for my family’s summer vacation! Follow along our adventure on my Instagram (@itzlinz).  There’s an absolutely, ridiculously hilarious video that you must check out!

Our day began with a noon flight.  The family all met at the airport.

jackson audrey

Always fun with my little munchkins!

We all boarded the plane, and shortly after, my mom, Yaya, brought out her healthy snacks that she packed for everyone.  She sure knows how to travel!

mom audrey

Audrey (and everyone else) was definitely a fan of the turkey sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, nuts and dried fruit, apple slices, snacks, and a few pieces of candy.

William was due for a nap and fell asleep on his momma for just a short time.

sleep airplane

So peaceful.  I tried giving him a couple bites for a snack when he woke up, and thanks to his lovely active gag reflex, he threw up all over me and my nephew Jackson.  It was disgusting on its own, but even more so dealing with it on the plane.  My mom helped me get him cleaned up and Stephanie changed him while I tried to wipe myself and Jackson off before changing shirts. Oy. Note to self: next time pack an entire extra outfit, not just a shirt.

The second flight was on a tiny plane and it was the most turbulent flight I’ve been on in quite some time.  Not only that, they ended up having to circle for about 45 minutes in order to avoid some bad weather.  An hour flight turned into an almost two-hour flight.  William slept for the majority of it, but we sure were glad to finally touch down.

Once at the airport, we collected ALL of our luggage… which was a lot.  My mom sorted out the details at the rental car company while we kept the kiddos entertained.

luggage

From the airport, we went to the grocery store to stock up for the week.  One of my sweet friends let me borrow her Ergo 360.  This was the first time I’ve used it, and I loved it!  I knew William was tired, so I wore him on my front, but I practiced at home with having him on my back and he loved it!  My little mini me HAD to have her baby doll wrapped up, too, so we went out to the car to figure out how to make that happen (and prevent a meltdown).

babywearing

We love babywearing!

It started drizzling on the way to the condo, but there were TWO bright rainbows!

double rainbow

Every view we saw was beautiful and I’m so excited for this year’s summer vacation!  More adventures to come.  I’m not sure of the frequency of blogging during this trip, so be sure you’re following me on Instagram to keep up.  Otherwise, I’ll update you when I can!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Are you or have you taken any vacations this summer?