Friday, July 31, 2015

Monticello and More

We are known for packing alot of stuff into every single vacation day so here we go...Friday we opted to drive almost two hours to the other side of Richmond to Monticello and a few other stops. After all Rachel hadn't ever been there so we were on it.

 Monticello is still just the coolest place. I wish you could take pictures of the inside. We had a great little tour and then checked out the grounds. Christina was a bad influence on Rachel and they were naughty and jumped the chain. luckily we didn't get thrown out hahaha.

 Got have a selfie. Too bad you can't even see the house behind us lol.
 Gotta have scaffolding on a Cooper vacation.
 The garden looked just the same. It is amazing how much they can grow there.
 Two goofballs in the brick reading gazebo. Lots of bugs in there too.
 Jeff pondering life. It was quite the view so not a bad idea.
 Thomas Jefferson's grave.
 Rachel found this in the family cemetery. We about "died" laughing. Ahhh I crack myself up.
 Thomas hangin with Jeffery Thomas and Rachel
 Next we headed over to Ashlawn-Highland which is Monroe's home. It was the first time for all of us to see it. Not as spectacular but we were glad to check it out.

 We stopped at Michie Tavern on the way down the mountain. A famous stop for the locals that had the cutest gift and curio shop. Of course I made a bee line for the penny smashing machine (thanks again Karla) and Mendis and I enjoyed shopping and looking around while the kids hung out in the van.
 We had just gotten back on the freeway headed back and we decided we need to check out the University of Virginia because Thomas Jefferson had founded it and laid it all out and everything. It was really a cool campus.

Lots of red brick and for some reason I didn't take a single picture so I got these online. Lame. It was an enormous campus. We drove all around it and then got back on the road after our detour and headed back to Williamsburg. We got back in time to have pizza delivered. Very convenient and very pricey.
After dinner we played some nertz and relaxed.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Washington DC/Williamsburg Trip

YAY time for our summer vacation! Christina arrived from Provo just before I got home from work (on a dreaded Wednesday late night) and we loaded up and headed to Vegas for the night. Our flight was leaving at 6:30 am so spending the night one hour closer was going to help even if it was just a little bit.
There's still something unappealing about going to the airport in the pitch dark at 4:30 but we were off! We got to watch the sunrise from the gate of the airport. Christina and I shared a breakfast sandwich and then we were off.
 Southwest was good to us because we had enough points to go without it costing us $$$. 
For once. This is the free flights smile.
So this is more or less the view of Chicago I told Christina we were going to see (like the last trip). Even more dramatic actually than this...
The view we got wasn't even this cool!! 
 But we did stop at Nuts on Clark and load up on Chicago Mix popcorn. To DIE for, seriously.
Gotta be Chicago mix...1/2 caramel 1/2 cheese sounds gross but so fabulous.
So the whole day went by and we finally arrived at Reagan Airport. You can just see the Pentagon in the distance. We hit the ground running and then waited for ever for our luggage which finally arrived. We slogged through the multitudes of travelers, walked a couple miles and finally got to our rental car. They gave us a Flex instead of the minivan we reserved but it worked out after we finally figured out how to put the back seat down. We are technical geniuses. We headed straight over to Jeff & Rachel's apartment and picked up Jeff after a grand tour of their apartment. Then we thought we would get some groceries for the condo while we waited for Rachel to get home from work. She beat us by a mile. We grabbed Rachel and headed off to Williamsburg!
Of course we didn't completely miss rush hour traffic but it wasn't too bad. We thought we would quickly exit the packed freeway and grab some Chic Fila but we couldn't find the place even with GPS so we went to Qdoba which was fab. We hit some construction about 1/2 hour from Williamsburg and the GPS suggested a quicker bueno. We completely circled a lake in the dark and finally rolled into Ford's Colony about 11 pm. So much for our plans for an easy, early trip down!

Christina shot a funny little video of our condo so I am putting it in. Our home away from home.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


 We snagged the boys and went to the movies one afternoon. Ashley wanted to come too so that worked out perfectly because we had wanted to take Dane too and we couldn't fit all the boys in our car. So we took Rees & Cooper and met them at the theater. We loaded up on treats before the movie of course. The hilarious thing was Dane was beside me and I was watching him so into the movie he hardly ate his popcorn. Then he would go in spurts and eat a bunch. It was so funny to watch. He was so intent on watching the movie he didn't even notice he was slowly getting folded up in the chair because he is so light. So I kept my foot on it so he didn't get swallowed up completely.

After the movie we took Rees & Cooper to McDonald's for dinner and play time. We were so surprised they were actually hungry enough to eat anything after the movie!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Colorado Springs

We were off with the Ozaki's in July to Colorado Springs for a few days. We flew there since it was quite a drive. Would you believe the whole time it was drizzly and cloudy so we never saw Pike's Peak until the day we were leaving of course! We loved it. But it would have been great to take the cog train up to the top of the mountain but there was hardly any point.
This was the inaugural flight for my new luggage that I got for my birthday!
Airport selfie
While we were there we ate at a couple of Diners, Drive Inns & Dives places. Randall is always great at scoping those out for us. The Bagel Deli was fun. A real Jewish Delicatessen so I had my first taste of knish and matzo ball soup. Pretty darn good. The Denver Biscuit Co was amazing. It was only open until two each day so we hit that on our way to the airport going home. Now it was incredible. Lori and I both got the french toast biscuits to go thinking we would eat them on the plane but we were still so stuffed we didn't have ours until the next day.
We have always wanted to see the Garden of the Gods. It was a little smaller than I thought it would be but just beautiful. We thought on our way back through we would hike a bit but it was raining by then so we just drove through. So now we have to go back because the hiking trails looked so fun.
 Randall had also scoped out this cool castle. Ayre Castle that had limited tours that were unfortunately all full for the rest of our time there so another thing we have to go back and do. When I looked online I saw that they did afternoon teas that Lori and I were dying to go to. Rats they were all sold out too!!
 We went to these cliff dwellings that were right there. I didn't think it would be that much of a big deal after Mesa Verde etc but they were very cool. You could go all around in them so that made it even more cool.

 It was misty all day threatening to pour and finally it did let loose so we went to the Cave of the Winds. I love caverns so I loved it. Still can't see Pike's Peak!
 Here we are touching the only rock you are allowed to touch. Good luck was promised so we will see.
Lori and I walked all around old town Colorado City and Manitou Springs and shopped and explored one day. We hit this place for lunch and had some amazing homemade butternut squash ravioli.
Last food pic of the post I promise!

 On our last night we went to Tucannos to celebrate Randall's birthday. We love that place. During dinner it started to pour and HAIL and everything. There was lightening and quite the storm hit. We kinda enjoyed that too except the rain was leaking in where Lori was sitting.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 4th

We stayed in the valley this year for the 4th. Of course we had a big BBQ too.

It's what we do best. It kept threatening to rain all day and sure enough when it was time to put the food out and eat here it came so we just ate inside. It was just drizzling but who wants to eat with rain drops? After dinner we headed up to Ashley's to do sparklers and little stuff with the kids and watch the town fireworks.
Swinging those glow lights from Aunt Alisha!


 The boys had a blast running around with the sparklers and lighting off all the fun stuff from their family and Grammy & Grandpa too.
As soon as the town fireworks ended we took our chairs to the front yard and watched the spectacular show from the neighbors! What a fun night. The pictures don't do it justice.