Sunday, October 26, 2014

Last Vacation of the Summer

So I started school the day after our last trip of the summer which is why its almost November and I'm just now posting this. It's long and I still probably left out a bunch of stuff. I had so much fun with Dave and Erika on this trip.

Saturday, August 9th
We woke up at 3 AM to catch our flight to New Orleans at 6. Dave's mom was nice enough to pick us up this early and take us to the airport. We were SO tired. Erika was delirious and cried laughing while in line at McDonald's at the airport over some joke she made that wasn't even funny hah. We got to New Orleans around noon and DANG was it HUMID. We walked out of the airport and it was so moist it was crazy. We picked up our rental car which was a new silver hyundai elantra (which I love) and it even had a Colorado license plate so that was awesome.

We headed to my Aunt & Uncles in Metairie about 20 minutes from the airport and had lunch with them from Danny & Clyde's. This place has the BEST shrimp po boys ever. They were awesome...just like Erika & me remembered from when we were little. We also enjoyed visiting with their sweet little Yorkie puppy, Pixie. She was so tiny & cute & way too squirmy for me to get a good pic of her.

After we visited for a while we headed out to New Orleans. It rained on the way there but stopped before we got parked and started walking. We went to the riverwalk mall and walked around the French Quarter & Bourbon street. There were a ton of people, guys & girls, wearing red dresses because they had a red dress run that afternoon around that area.

We ate at Cafe Maspero's and me & Erika shared a muffaletta sandwich which was yummy. Then we walked down Bourbon street and it was gross. There was trash everywhere and I guess cuz it rained it made it feel even more nasty. After that we went to Cafe DuMonde for beignets and MMMM they are amazing. Dave had never had them and he loved them so much. A random stranger even gave him their extra one cuz they didn't want it.

Bourbon Street

After beignets we were full & super tired so we headed back to the car and to my Aunt's & Uncle's and went to sleep.

Sunday, August 10th
We left New Orleans around 8am to head for Fort Walton Beach, Florida. It took 4 hours to get there and we checked in at Venus Condos (where we've stayed for YEARS) and then headed to the ocean with Sean & Michelle who were just there for the weekend. We hung out in the ocean talking for a couple hours and then Michelle & Sean had to leave :(

We ordered pizza from Hungry Howie's since we never had lunch and then hung out by the pool for a while. Later we went to Wal-Mart for food & drinks and also to Publix for some sushi & delicious crab dip. I loveeee seafood :)

Monday, August 11th
Erika & me layed out all day by the pool. Poor Dave got burnt so bad our first day when we were all floating in the ocean so he stayed in the room all day. After laying out we all napped and then got ready to go to Destin and eat at McGuire's Irish Pub for dinner. They have awesome burgers and the best spinach artichoke dip & chips you will ever eat. Erika & me got so full on spinach dip that we took like 2 bites of the burger we were sharing and had to just get a to go box for that. But it made for a yummy lunch the next day.

Dave & me waiting on our table at McGuire's

 sometimes we like to take pictures like they did in the old days when they didn't smile 

Tuesday, August 12th
Dave came out since it was kinda cloudy. We all played in the ocean for a while and it wasn't that clear. That green mushy seaweed that gets in your bathing suit was everywhere but we still had some fun. Since it was so cloudy Dave & me decided to go on a lunch date instead of dinner like we were originally planning. So we went in around noon and showered and got all fancy for our date.

We went to Angler's and we shared some nachos that were huge and we shared a seafood platter that was also big so we had leftovers. It was super yummy. Then we came back home and hung out in the room since it was still cloudy and then around 6:30 we packed up sushi and wine and headed to the beach to watch the sunset.

It was SO nice. We finished our sushi & bottle of wine and a while after the sun was down we went back to room and then hopped in the pool before it closed.

Wednesday, August 13th
We spent a lot of time in the ocean because it was absolutely beautiful. Super clear & no seaweed and it was just the prettiest I've ever seen it. So we hung out on our floats in the ocean and Erika was searching for sand dollars. We also played games to see who could stay on their float the longest without using legs or feet to balance when the waves hit us and that was fun.

After more pool time we got ready for dinner in Destin again. We went to AJ's because Michelle & Sean had recommended it. We got seafood platters that were huge and also very delicious.

Thursday, August 14th
We went to the ocean for 1 last time. It was really pretty but you could see the seaweed start to come back in before we left. We went to the pool for a while and then packed & checked out to head to Birmingham.

Before heading to Birmingham we had to get wings at Buffalo's Reef. They have really good wings and curly fries. On the ride home we played the Alphabet game. Dave had the great idea to do ghetto black names that way we'd have to make them up and also it would be harder to remember since they'd be made up. Some of my favorites were Herfweshon, Pearl Nay Nay, Von Twee Twee, Ramadainniqua. That game lasted like over an hour and usually we play it in probably about 10 minutes. It was hilarious.

Made it to Birmingham around 9 and it was so good to see my Mom and Dad again since I hadn't seen them in over a year. Also good to see my puppy Emma. She's been really sick and not eating & her sister Chi-Chi passed away earlier this year and I just feel so bad for her. She is so skinny. Poor thing :(

Friday, August 15th
We woke up and went to get a wedding gift for Lindsay while my Dad and Dave went to return our rental car from New Orleans and pick us up a new one for the couple days we'd be in Birmingham. Then they met us at Academy & then we went to Munoz for delicious mexican and WHITE cheese dip! Michelle met us there and we had margaritas and I got a spinach & mushroom quesadilla & a lot of white cheese dip. It was so good. I miss Alabama mexican food so much. We have no good places in Colorado for mexican and NOWHERE has white cheese dip. It's all orange and spicy & not as good. After lunch we went home and Dave and I got ready to head to Lindsay's mom's house for the wedding rehearsal.

We got to Lindsay's moms house and then headed down the street to Sweet Apple Farm where they were getting married. It was such a pretty venue with all the rolling green hills & trees. For dinner we had BBQ & banana pudding that was amazing. I think it was from Golden Corral. After dinner we helped decorate some and then Dave & me headed back to my parents to sleep.

Leslie (Maid of honor) me (bridesmaid), and Lindsay (bride) at the rehearsal dinner

all the bridesmaids with the bride
Jennifer, LeeAnn, Leslie, Lindsay, me and Stephanie
Jennifer & LeeAnn are the twins older sisters and Stephanie is their cousin

Saturday, August 16th- Lindsay's Wedding Day!
Saturday morning Dave & me woke up early to head to Lindsay's since I had to be at the salon to get my hair done at 10. Which ended up being totally pointless since they didn't even start on my hair until after 12 and by the time we took pictures my hair looked like crap cuz of the stupid humidity. ANYWAYS. Dave dropped me off there and then headed to Lindsay's house to hang out with the guys. The salon was fun. Especially when I agreed to wash Lindsay's mom's hair to help save time since they were short some employees. Well I turned the water on and the sprayer that was pointing straight up sprayed so hard and right into my face and hit the ceiling. Leslie, me and her mom started dying out laughing and I just stood there like ow my eye. hah. That thing had some power to it. So we cleaned up the water from everywhere while we were laughing and then I did successfully wash her moms hair. So thankful that I had not done my makeup or hair yet cuz that would've really sucked.

After we all had our hair done we went back to Lindsay's moms house and changed into our dresses. Then we rushed to the wedding location and almost immediately started taking pictures. They took us on a golf cart over the hill and through the woods for some pics and yea it was hot and like I said my poor hair that was pretty had fallen to just be a frizzy, stringy mess. After pics we pretty much just cooled off inside again before the ceremony started.

Lindsay looked so pretty!

Lindsay's 2 older nephews walked her down the aisle and it was so cute. Her cousin Brody is hilarious and he loved me since he saw me in my turtle backpack and anytime he saw me the rest of the night he'd say "Hey Donatello!" So cute :) After the ceremony and more pictures when I was done I took my shoes off (FINALLY they were so uncomfortable I hate heels) and went to find Dave. We ate and oh man was it delicious. Lindsay's cousin had grilled sausage & peppers and stuff and there was this awesome spinach dip and seriously it was the best wedding food I've ever had. After eating we danced. The DJ was good and played a good mix so it was fun. After the reception we helped clean up and then went to get something I left at Lindsay's mom's house then went to Lindsay and Dean's house to say goodbye to them and everyone else since they were kinda having a party everyone was there. Dave and me got home around 1am and passed out. We were exhausted.

Brody and Kasen walking Lindsay down the aisle

Lindsay & Dean

Brody & Me aka Donatello ;)

Sunday, August 17th
We went to have lunch at Michelle's and she is an amazing cook. We had shrimp and grits and they were like better than restaurant good. AMAZING. Then we returned the rental and Dave & me had to say goodbye (Erika wasn't leaving til the next day). I hate saying goodbye to my parent's. My mom always cries and it makes me so sad to see her sad.

Our plane stopped in Chicago but we didn't have to get off the plane. We landed in Denver at like 10:50 PM and went to baggage claim where we waited FOR FREAKIN EVER for our bags. Apparently they got "jammed" and it took forever to fix. Then when the bags finally started coming out again only about 5 made it before they stopped AGAIN. And then a worker guy came and jumped down in the hole and pulled out MY bag and held it up and said "This is the bag!" My bag. My houndstooth bag....yea you can't miss it. Totally implying that my bag was the reason we had to wait for an hour for them to un jam a freakin bag. WHATEVER. I was so aggravated by this point and went over to get my bag. It ended up working out to our advantage cuz Dave and me both complained to South West about the long wait for our bags and we both got $75 towards a future flight so it was ok that I didn't get home until 1 am and started my 3rd semester of nursing school the next morning.

So for the whole Summer Dave and me went to 11 different states. Go us!
1. Colorado
2. Utah
3. Arizona
4. Nevada
5. Wyoming
6. South Dakota
7. Nebraska
8. Louisiana
9. Mississippi
10. Florida
11. Alabama

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

South Dakota Road Trip

This past Friday Erika, Dave, and me left for South Dakota for the weekend. I finally got done babysitting at about 12:30 am and we left at 1:00 in the morning. We headed straight for Badlands National Park about a 7.5 hour drive from here. Dave drove first and when we were in Wyoming we hit some really intense fog. We were in the middle of nowhere so it was super dark and the fog was so thick you literally couldn't see 10 feet in front of the car. It was crazy. We finally got out of that and then I drove, then a couple hours later Erika took over and I passed out so hard and when I woke up we were entering the Badlands.

The first overlook we reached. It was a little chilly and cloudy but that did not last long

We stopped at the visitors center to change and freshen up and then went to hike up this mountain that gave an awesome view of the park.

us sittin on top of the mountain

the highest point in this pic below is where we are sitting in the above pic

Then we did a couple of other easy hikes that gave pretty but really different views from the first hike we did. It's like a mini Grand Canyon. And really dry. There was no water to be seen anywhere down in the canyons.
Erika and me chillin on the edge with Lil Leo and Lil Donnie. 
You can't really tell in the pic but there was a drop off where our feet were hanging down

Beware of rattlesnakes signs were everywhere but we never saw any (thankfully!)

After enjoying the views and taking lots of pics we decided to head out to Rapid City where we were going to stay in a hotel for the night.

Right after the park exit we started seeing billboards for Wall Drug. About ice cream and donuts and all this crazy stuff and Erika said when she was driving and Dave and me were sleeping there were a ton of signs about it so we decided we had to see what all the fuss was about.

So in the middle of this little old town where you feel like you've stepped back in time theres Wall Drug Drugstore. But not just a drugstore, an arcade, ice cream shop, donut shop, gift shop, with a cafe and everything. Oh, and can't forget the giant jackalope outside.

Erika sitting on it

They had both of our names! Spelled right and everything. That almost NEVER happens.
We still didn't buy them though :)

We also had homemade confetti cake ice cream and it was seriously the best ice cream ever. 

Then we headed about an hour away to Rapid City. We found our hotel and then went to eat at Fuddruckers which Dave was super excited about. They used to have one in Colorado close to us and it closed but he's told me how good it is so when we saw they had one we of course had to eat there. I am so glad we did it was sooo delicious.

A pic of my delicious meal. Those grilled onions on my burger were amazing. And they had hot nacho cheese sauce which was amazing on the fries. MMM. I want it again like right now.

After dinner(which we ate at like 4:30) we were sitting at the table talking about different license plates and then got on the subject of state capitols and started naming states and trying to remember the capitols for them. We were pretty horrible at it and we were delirious cuz we were so tired so we were laughing our faces off and of course Erika and me laughed so hard we started crying. It happens a lot :)  

We got back to the hotel and went to sleep at like 7 and it felt so good to sleep in a bed. Woke up before 6 Sunday morning and slowly got ready and headed to Mount Rushmore. We stopped by Hardee's for breakfast which is weird that in Colorado it's Carl's Jr. and in South Dakota it's Hardee's but whatever. They seriously have like the best fast food breakfast around. It was perfect.

We got to Mount Rushmore and the weather was perfect.

After walking around a bit there we left for another hour long drive to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota to tour the cave. The drive there was so pretty through some back roads and also through a state park where we saw a huge buffalo just walking right along the road. We got to Wind Cave and took a tour. It was really cool cuz you got on this elevator that took you down into the earth and then they opened a door and there was this cave. The tour was pretty neat and some of the passageways were pretty narrow and low so you had to duck to walk through. If I go back I wanna do the 4 hour tour where you're actually crawling and stuff. I went caving like that with some friends in a random cave in Alabama and it was so much fun. What is crazy about this cave is how complicated it is. Passageways all over the place and it's the 6th longest cave in the world with around 140 miles of passages. BUT it's estimated that only 5% of the cave has actually been discovered and there's much more that hasn't been explored yet. Our tour guide said just 2 weeks earlier there was a new area discovered. It'll be interesting to see how much more has been added to the map if we go back there.

After the tour we loaded up and headed home. We stopped at a Target in Nebraska and they had ninja turtle phone cases so of course Erika and me HAD to get one :)

Then we hit Wyoming and Colorado and stopped for some Wendy's for dinner. Dave and me were curious about how much trouble our kitties got into over the weekend since we left them out. We kitty proofed and moved all the breakable frames and taped shut cabinets & drawers and basically child proofed cuz sometimes our kitties get into stuff and they are put in the bathroom at night and when we leave the house for this reason. Since we were only going to be gone for less than 2 full days we decided it wouldn't be worth the hassle of taking them to Dave's mom's house for her to watch. We got home and everything was still in place. We were so surprised and happy that they were such good kitties. I love traveling but I sure do miss them when I'm gone.

State count so far this summer
     1. Colorado
     2. Utah
     3. Arizona
     4. Nevada
     5. Wyoming
     6. South Dakota
     7. Nebraska
and still more to come :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lots of Free Food. Build A Bear. Slurpee!

Today is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A and if you are dressed like a cow then you can get a free meal. A whole meal! FOR FREE! So yea we had to get in on that action. Erika made costumes for her and the girls that she nannies for now and I made mine.

You like my sign? :) I came up with it all by myself

Erika picked me up at 9 and we went to the Chick-Fil-A by my house for breakfast. I think there was just one other family dressed up and then another came in later. But everyone thought we were so cute. 

Cuz we were!

After our free breakfast we headed to Flatirons Mall to go to Build A Bear because the Ninja Turtles came out today and you can build your own! The girls had never been to Build A Bear and they were so cute making their bears. There were a few people in front of us and all of them had a ninja turtle in their arms. Turtle Power! :)

Me and Lil Donnie

Erika and Lil Leo

It's funny that every kid we saw that was building a turtle also had on a ninja turtle shirt 

After we built our "bears" the girls played at the indoor play place at the mall for a while and then we headed to a different Chick-Fil-A for a free lunch.

There were way more people dressed up at this Chick-Fil-A and there was a real Chick-Fil-A cow there.

Then we got in the car and headed to 7-11 for free slurpee day!

Such a fun day :) I love acting like a kid 

Earlier this week Dave and me got to have dinner with the kids I used to nanny for in Alabama. They were heading out of Denver after being in Crested Butte for a wedding over the weekend. It is so crazy seeing how big they've gotten. When I was their nanny Nick had like no hair and was just a little baby and now he's almost 5 and has a head full of hair. 

On Sunday I watched Kash and Meadow who I nannied for when I first moved to Colorado. Kash just turned 5 and Meadow is almost 9. SO CRAZY! I can't believe I've lived in Colorado almost 4 years.

I just randomly decided to curl Meadow's hair and then when her mom got home she said the birthday party she was going to later that day was a Hollywood Glam theme so that worked out perfect. She looked so cute.

Tonight after I babysit Erika, Dave and me are driving to South Dakota for some adventuring this weekend. I'm excited :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Vegas, Zion Road Trip

So Dave and me decided to road trip to Vegas and make a couple of stops on the way there and back. Vegas is about a 12 hour drive from us if we were to go straight there.

We left Friday night around 8 pm and had decided we were just going to take turns driving and sleeping through the night and go straight to our first stop, The Grand Canyon!

Boy was that a fun drive...not. Once we got into Utah and began to head south there was like nothing for forever. We saw a lot of deer, mice, and a few jack rabbits... and I hit one. Sad day. We got to the Grand Canyon a little after 6 in the morning local time.

Its SO big. You hear people say pictures don't do it justice and man is that true. It's so deep and huge and just amazing. It was nice that we got there so early because we were able to enjoy many of the first few overlooks just us two. It was super windy and that made it kinda chilly but as the day went on it warmed up and was absolutely perfect. Blue sky and probably around 75. It was a little bit hazy because there was a fire but it wasn't too bad. Just made some of the pictures less pretty than they could've been.

We found the visitors center and hopped on a free shuttle bus that takes you further into the canyon to other overlooks that you can't just drive to on your own. We took a ton of pics and still couldn't believe how big it was. On the drive back to the visitors center Dave and me both fell asleep. People probably thought we were weird but they were probably people that didn't drive from Colorado the night before ;)

The pictures of the Grand Canyon we got in the early morning were the best

Later in the day at one of the shuttle stops

We left the Grand Canyon once we finally found a way out. Like seriously there was a sign that sent us in a circle and it was super annoying how hard it was to find our way out. But we finally did and headed to Kingman, Arizona about 3 hours away to stay in a hotel for the night. We checked in and then headed to the In N Out that was nearby. I had somehow forgotten how delicious it was. God it is SO freaking good. We went back to the hotel and got in bed by 8. It was amazing to sleep in a bed.

We woke up at 6am and Dave asked me what time it was and I told him 6 and he said "That's it?" and we both slept for about another hour. We got breakfast at our hotel and then headed to the Hoover Dam about 1 hour 20 minutes away.

We got to the Hoover Dam and I had no idea it was literally on the Nevada/Arizona border. We walked out on the bridge to look at the Dam and it was soooooo windy. But it was also really hot so I guess it was kinda nice that it was so windy. After the bridge we parked and then walked across the Dam.

This is the view of the Hoover Dam from standing on the bridge

This is the view of the bridge from standing on the Dam

After we finished there we headed to Vegas where we were staying at The Flamingo on the strip and staying for 3 nights. So much about our hotel was stupid and we will never be staying at The Flamingo again. Anyways, the first night we walked around the strip after resting in our room for a little while. That's one thing I love about Vegas is that you can wait until late to go out and not worry about missing anything and everything closing. The strip is so pretty with all the hotels and lights. So after we walked around a while we came back to our room and went to bed.

Next day we slept in then went to the pool, then rested and walked the strip some more. There was an awesome Michael Jackson street performer and he was friends with an Elvis impersonator. We watched them for a while and it was really entertaining especially after this drunk homeless man came up and started hovering around their money bucket. Michael Jackson was pissed! It was so funny.

You can tell Michael had enough. He's got his hands on his hips haha

Pretty much did the same thing the next day except we played some penny slots just to get drinks and that was fun to see inside some of the nicer hotels we hadn't been in yet.

Our last night in Vegas we went to In n Out for dinner again because WHY NOT?! It was even better than it was when we had it in Arizona. Plus its really cheap. Delicious and cheap what more could you want? We went to bed pretty early because we were waking up and leaving super early the next day.

Our In N Out mmmmm animal style everything for me :)

The next day after a hassle of a checkout we were on the road and headed toward Zion National Park in Utah which was about a 3 hour drive away. When we got there we hopped on the shuttle bus that was going to take us to the trail head of our hike, The Narrows. There were so many people hiking the trail. It's really only a trail for about the first half mile and then you literally are hiking in a river through the canyon. It was amazing! We could not have asked for a better day. Blue skies, perfect water temp and air temp. It was the coolest hike ever. So different from any hiking we'd done before. The trail is just an out and back trail so we knew we needed to turn around because we still had 10.5 hours left of driving before we got home that night and because The Flamingo prolonged our checkout process we really needed to get back on the road. But we just couldn't turn around. It was just so much fun hiking through the water and it was just the coolest hike ever. Finally we came to a fork in the river and decided we better turn around and head back to the bus. So sad. We just wanted to stay longer and do the whole thing. We will definitely be back though.

This picture I took from the bus. See what a gorgeous day it was!

Hiking The Narrows

This is probably my favorite picture from that day

Random stranger took this for us

Dave standing in one of the deeper parts of the hike

We got back to our car and headed home. With still more than 10 hours to go we were going to get home at 2:30 AM. Southern Utah is actually a really pretty drive. There's nothingness and then theres these canyons that just keep going and going and its just crazy.

This is Devil's Canyon overlook which was one of many overlooks off the highway

The one thing that made us want to go home was that we would get to see our kitties. Dave's mom was watching them at her house for us so we went at 2:30 to get them from her house. They were so happy to see us and definitely happy to be back home with us.

State count so far this summer
     1. Colorado
     2. Utah
     3. Arizona
     4. Nevada
many more to come...