For the New Year, I joined my brother, his wife, and her parents up in Estes Park. I love a trip to the mountains! It was really nice to be able to spend time relaxing and playing games in the lodge with the Stuarts. : ) They often go up to the YMCA in Estes for Christmas. This national park is where Lenny and Lexey were supposed to get married when there was massive flooding in Fall of 2013, which canceled those plans. Their wedding was still fabulous -- and impressively re-planned within less than 24 hours!! I really enjoyed being able to see the wedding venue this time -- a beautiful outdoor chapel (and at this point, it was covered in a blanket of white). Koura (Lenny's dog) and the Stuart's cat, Vito, also joined for the time in the mountains!
Lenny, Lexey, Ken, and Koura outside for a walk in the sunny cold.
My first stop once reaching Denver is usually one of two things: a trip to the public library to pick up my books on hold OR a meal at Benny's for Mexican food! My Denver trip around the New Year turned out to be the library first. I usually go through my list of To-Read books and put as many as I can on hold at the library one week before going home (that's how long they'll let them sit on the shelf before moving them on again). I love going in and having a huge pile of new books waiting for me. -- Especially since living abroad and not having the ease of access to new English books like I do when I'm in the States.
My almost-annual library book picture with Koura! THIS means I'm HOME. : D
Koura was pretty worn out from our major road trip and lost interest in my library books pretty quickly.
I make daily trips to the library. One of the days I sat for a while and read through some of the newer picture books that I've seen good reviews on:
From our time in Florida for Christmas, Lenny and I then drove allll the way back to Denver with his dog, Koura! It was quite the road trip. Lenny was "all business" as I said along the way -- making it the 30 hours of drive time in just TWO DAYS. It was a fun trip with lots of laughs, music, and listening to the entire first season of the Serial podcast on NPR. We also drove through the middle of the major ice storm in Texas. (Yikes! Turns out that there were hurricanes very nearby to where we stayed overnight. Thankfully, our trip was smooth and safe.)
Mmmmhmmmmmm. We stopped for an amazingly delicious and BIG barbecue lunch!
Ice covered everything in Texas!
All trees were coated in ice.
Even the gas pumps were coated in ice!
Frozen receipt on the gas station's machine:
Our last night of driving... getting there, getting there!