Monday, June 30, 2008

Camping at Chatfield

We recently went on our first camping trip as a family of 5. It was just a little trip; just one night. We camped at Chatfield State Park, close to home here in the Denver Metro area. I prefer camping in the mountains, since the plains are so flat and shadeless, but we're working up to going further away.
Practically the only shade in the whole campsite when we set up was the shade created by our tent. Next time I am so buying a dining fly.
Our campsite

We wanted to wait until it cooled off a bit before starting dinner, since it involved building a fire. 7pm was as long as the boys would wait. We built a fire (after borrowing some matches from a neighbor, since ours didn't work. We forgot that ours weren't strike-anywhere matches and didn't bring the box) and roasted some hot dogs. Thomas said, "I can't believe I'm learning to cook hot dogs!" Yeah, Thomas. You're learning to cook, if learning to cook means sort-of holding a stick over a fire that your mom put a hot dog on. :)

Henry was pretty good while we cooked, but got a little lonely during dinner, so he and I hung out while I ate my hot dog. Most of the evening he sat in his stroller.

After dinner we went for a walk. We walked over toward the amphitheater to see if there were any ranger talks that evening. There weren't, but James and Thomas enjoyed putting on a show for us.

After it got dark, we made s'mores. Thomas and James thought it was fun to roast marshmallows and thought s'mores were pretty good, even if they did keep calling them smears.
After awhile, the boys got restless and decided they wanted to go to bed (which really means that they wanted to play in the tent). It took awhile to get everyone to bed. Matt and I sat by the fire for awhile before going to bed around 11:45pm.
Unfortunately, I didn't fall asleep until about 3am, just 15 minutes or so before Henry woke up screaming. He usually sleeps through the night, but I think the cold woke him up (he was well bundled, but nonetheless). I fed him and let him snuggle with me to warm up and he went back to bed. By 6am, everyone was up. I'd had 2 hours of sleep. But, that's okay. Camping is still fun. Next time we will bring warmer pajamas and softer sleeping pads (maybe an air mattress or cots).
This is what we saw as we opened the tent door in the morning:

Thomas and James enjoyed counting the hot air balloons. At one point, there were seven of them in the air. After making pancakes for breakfast on our Coleman stove, we broke camp and headed home.

It was a lot of work, but still fun. Next time we will camp longer (one night campouts are more work than otherwise with all the set up and take down in one 24 hour period). The main point of this campout was to fine-tune our camping plan and be sure which equipment was best before heading further away. All in all it was a fun experience. James and Thomas are already asking when they can go again!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 27, 2008

Doin' that Ball and Stick Thing

Adventure #1, even though it wasn't on our list.
We ended up going miniature golfing at All Star Sports today because A wanted to go to another splash park, I wanted to visit some candy stores that were spot-lighted in the local paper, and the other girls weren't keen on doing anything. The only thing we could all agree on was golfing, so golfing we went.

Once we got there, I remembered that golfing with kids consists of going through the holes as fast as humanly possible (with your two year old going as slow as humanly possible).

Thankfully there was no crying over scores and who won (because I gave up multitasking halfway through). The only problem was when a ball ended up in the waterhole...

...but even that was soon fixed.

It was hot, and after a while, this was all they wanted to do:

I think what they liked best, though, was the slide and arcade inside. :)

Long and short of it: too much money for not enough fun. Hopefully there are other places in town to go mini-golfing, because this just wasn't worth it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Splash Park

Our first Summer Adventure was last Wednesday. We went to the Herriman Splash Park by our house. We went two summers ago, but didn't make it last summer. I decided that James was more than able to run around and have fun by himself this year (mom not having to shadow him).

He was a little unsure at first, but didn't take long to get in and enjoy it. He also enjoyed the park that was just outside the splash pad. It was good for him to have a little more free reign going back and forth between the park and the water.

The key to this splash park is get there early and get a spot in the shade. We got there early, but I choose a bench instead of a shady spot (who knows what I was thinking!).

Our ward is changing their playdate group each week to the Splash Park and I am so excited. Fun for James and a little more relaxing for me (no swings to push!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

My List

I have a private blog, so I thought I'd list our plans for adventure here:

1. Little Sykes Railway Park - Sykesville, MD
2. Zoo Boise - Idaho
3. The Discovery Center - Boise, ID
4. Minnetonka Cave - near Bear Lake, ID
5. Cimarron, NM - including the Kit Carson Museum and the Old Mill Museum

I may add more as plans solidify, but I thought I'd commit to at least these for now!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum

Today was my first of my summer adventures - we took the short 20 minute drive up to Baltimore to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum, right in downtown Baltimore.

If you are a train enthusiast, parent or child of a train enthusiast, or really even anyone who enjoys history (that's me) this is an amazing place to visit. I learned all sorts of things about one of my favorite cities today - such as: Baltimore is the birthplace of American railroading. Who knew? The train ride we took (in a circa 1940s MARC car) took us along the first mile of commercial railroad track in America. THAT is serious historical stuff that even my kids think is cool!! Preston didn't even move from his seat once, just watched out the window. Of course, the train doesn't go fast at all, and the view is sometimes just of the not-so-great part of Baltimore, but you go past Mount Clare Museum House as well as the big building where they are refurbishing a bunch of old train cars (there are a lot of old and run down train cars outside that my boys thought were pretty cool.)

The exhibits inside the museum itself interested my sons for only a few minutes - a lot of model train cars, original sets of dishes from the dining cars and the original train station. Outside in the roundhouse, however - HOLY COW. A massive maze of engines and cars - so many it was hard to keep track of my kids. They were fascinated and so was I. There was so many to see and the building is so tall and imposing. Nearly all of them you can look inside and several of them you can walk around in. All my kids enjoyed pretending to be engineers (there is another massive steam engine in ANOTHER building that they played in for a long time too)
There was a little movie about trains showing and a train table nearby to amuse (or completely obsess about to the point of distraction) the boys. The staff was so friendly and helpful. Not once did I hear anyone fuss about my children - telling them to watch out or not to run or to keep quiet. It really feels like they are trying to cater to families with small children - although there is MUCH to see and read for adults, I think they are just careful to be kid-friendly.

The train ride was included with the steep price of admission ($36 for the four of us) but only runs once during the day, at 11:30. There is a big open area behind the roundhouse where the kids could run around and play on a big wooden train - there's also a huge model train set-up out there that was really neat.
Around on the OTHER side are MORE cars you can go in - an old dining car, a car with a model train movie inside, a car full of an actual model train set of Baltimore which my boys were REALLY excited about, as well as a caboose you can play in.I was so surprised that we lasted so long there and I was surprised at how interested I was in the exhibits. I'm not so much into trains, but the historical aspect of it - these trains in the context of the city and the time period when they were in use is very interesting to me. The kids LOVED it. I highly recommend it to families with young kids - but, one piece of advice. Bring at least two adults. I asked my sweet friend Kellie to join me incredibly last minute and I was SO glad she came with her son and two nephews (the extra boys in these pictures!!). The space is just huge and I would've been very hard pressed to keep track of everyone with only my own set of eyes. Oh, and you can't bring in your own food, you have to buy it at their snack bar, and I hate buying snack bar food. That's why we finally went home at 1:15 :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Scott (Austin TX) and Adventure #1 complete...Lockhart, TX

Check out the rundown by clicking here.

Scott (Austin, TX)

Melissa's Plans

Since I'm blogless for this challenge, I thought I'd put my plans up here...

I think -- for right now -- we'll do Level 1, for right now, and maybe I'll even expand to Level 2.

Two new places we'll -- meaning me, my four girls, and possibly my husband -- experience are Rock River Rapids, in Derby, KS and the Great Plains Nature Center here in Wichita. We're also planning on visiting the zoo, but since we've been there before, I'm not going to count it. We also might go to the Native American museum, but since they just opened, there's no link to it.

We'll also do something in Denver when we get there (any suggestions?), but I'm not sure what it is. And we're planning on climbing Casper Mountain with my aunt and uncle when we visit them in Casper, Wyoming.

Monday, June 9, 2008

our adventures..the new plan :)

So, here is the new idea. After getting some feedback and thinking about it a bit, I think having us all post our adventures on this blog could turn this blog into a fantastic resource. To have all these neat-o (or not neat-o) places reviewed, so to speak, in one spot. You can still add your link to your original post at Mr. Linky, if you want. But please DOUBLE POST THEM HERE ON THIS BLOG!! I will add all of you as an author and you can cut and paste your post into a new post here on the blog (or, if you aren't a blogger, you can just post your reviews here!!!). PLEASE USE LABELS (they will be on the bottom right of your posting screen). Pictures are fun too, if you want.

Helpful labels would be:

the state the adventure was in (spell it out for us)
what sort of adventure: camping, hiking, musuem, tourist attraction, national/state park, amusement park, etc.
your name
anything else relevant that you can think of

That way people could click on any of those labels and get a list of posts with that same label.

If you have any questions, post them here and I'll try to answer them. If I don't have an email address for you, please email me at newsummeradventures (at) gmail (dot) com and I will add you as an author.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


If you want to sign up for our Summer Adventure Challenge, please go here and scroll to the bottom of the post

Friday, June 6, 2008

Our Adventures...

Here is where we can follow all the things each other is doing. After you have posted about your adventure on your own blog, come here and post the link TO THAT SPECIFIC POST. That means, from the main page of your blog, click on the title of the post and then cut and paste that link here in Mr. Linky. Next to your name, you can put where you went for those who are keeping track :)