Wanderlust; YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch

Last month,before our big move, we had the opportunity to escape the city and head into the mountains for a weekend of fun at YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch. It ended up being the perfect time to go because Denver reached triple digits the entire weekend we were away..no thanks!

We arrived Friday evening just in time to roast marshmallows by the campfire and play some mini golf in the dusk before it was time to head to our room for bed. We stayed at one of the lodge rooms (they also have yurts and cabins and camping!) which was really good sized with two queen beds, a couch, table/chairs and plenty of room to move around. Perfect size for our family of 5! Plus it had a balcony! We try to get rooms with balconies when we are traveling, its so nice to have a little place to escape to once the kids are in bed to have a drink, talk, watch netflix on the iPad...

Saturday morning we had breakfast at the cafeteria on sight and then had a busy day filled with zip lining (so much fun!!) tubing (also a blast, probably our favorite activity we did) archery shooting for Jasper and Drew, more mini golf and rock climbing. The kids were basically in outdoor heaven. 

We went into Winter Park to grab some medicine for Soren who had a slight fever and was teething so we got back to late to have dinner at the cafeteria, which ended up being a good thing because it made us try the grill on sight. We enjoyed delicious pizza and french fries (why is this the best combination!?!) while enjoying the best views out on their patio. Perfect ending to the busy day. After ice cream and playing at one of the many play grounds on site, we all passed out hard! Something about that mountain air! We all slept in (which never happens in every day life and certainly NEVER happens while we are all sleeping in a room together) so we rushed to eat at the cafeteria and then went to the lake where they were having a fathers day fishing derby, where Jasper caught his very first fish! I think its time to find a lake around here for him to go fishing, because he hasn't stopped talking about it since! 

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After a morning filled with fishing it was time to pack up and head back home. No one wanted to leave! The weekend went way too fast and we didn't have a chance to try so many of the activities! I guess that just means we HAVE to go back. For an entire week next time! There's also mountain biking, an indoor pool, horse back riding, a craft room (which looked Amazing) organized activities like kickball/ hungry hungry hippo (kicking myself for not making it there in time for that) and so many more activities we wanted to try! When traveling with three kids I'm learning to lower my expectations. My instinct is to PACK AS MUCH FUN and activities into our days. I want to DO ALL THE THINGS, but that just doesnt work when you have three kiddos, nap times to deal with and all that, so I am learning to try to stop trying to fit it all in. So hard to do in a place filled with so many fun things to do! We are definitely going to need to plan a trip for the winter also, they have out door activities then too, like snow shoeing and cross country skiing!

Thank you so much YMCA of the Rockies for hosting our family for the weekend! We can't wait to come back again! 

We made a little gopro video of some of the footage from our trip! 

Travel Tuesday; What to do in Stockholm on a rainy day

If you have spent any amount of time in Scandinavia during the summer, you know that you are going to get some rain. It's the kind of rain that doesn't bother me though! I actually find it super cozy. And it's not usually all day, it can be gorgeous out, rain for a little bit, and then back to sun. Kind of like Colorado in that way.

Last time we were in Stockholm we found ourselves with forecast that called for rain all day so we needed to find some fun things to do indoors.  Not hard at all!

We ended up taking the ferry from where we were staying (J Hotel|) to djurgarden, one of the islands that make up the city of Stockholm. This island has several amazing museums, an open air museum/zoo and even an amusement park. We got off the boat, in the rain of course, and walked down to Junibacken, probably the worlds most amazing Children's museum. It's only a 5-7 min walk along the water from the boat, and on a nice day it's such a gorgeous little walk. In the rain we walked quickly and didn't stop and stare at the views too much! 

We spent about 2 hrs there and we could have easily spent even longer time there but the kiddos were getting hungry (okay we all were) and we didn't have cash for the cafe in the museum (which looked amazing), so if you go make sure you bring cash!

Backing up, when you first get into the play area, you are in a little village. Theres a movie theater to play in, a bakery, a church, hill with a slide, a boat, castle and so much more. Drew and I split up, and each took a kid to watch/play with. It was busy in there and so many little rooms to slip into and they were each going at different speeds so this is what worked best for us! 

When you get into the museum you are assigned a train time, and the time on your ticket is when you go get in line to get on the train that takes you through the rest of the museum. I wish I would have known before going in line that we could have gone into that second area earlier because the 'waiting' room for the train was really amazing also. There were little houses with slides, a plane to fly, and again so much more. It made waiting in line a complete blast for the kids! I stood in line, and Drew walked around and let them play. When it was our turn for the train, we climbed into a little cart and picked a language to listen to the narrator. The train was by far my favorite part of musem. It took us through different Astrid Lindgren stories that I and every other Swede grew up watching/reading. Emil, Pippi Longstocking etc. Even if you didn't know these characters growing up (like Drew) its still so much fun. It felt like a Disney World ride. 

At the end of the train ride you end up at Pippi's house to play in. The kids could have spent hours alone here! I have all the old Pippi movies in Swedish so my kids absolutely loved playing in her 'real house'. And of course, there was a slide that took you down the two story house that Jasper couldn't get enough of. 

 

After we left Junibacken, in the rain again of course we needed to find food Stat. Drew wanted hot dogs from the hot dog stand, and the kids and I grabbed shelter at an outdoor bar that had an awning and ordered Swedish meatballs and cheese sandwiches. It doesn't get much more 'Swedish' that meatballs and cheese sandwiches. 

After lunch we headed next door the Vasa Musem. If you have any boat lovers, this is definitely the place to be. Even if you aren't a boat lover, you should still go, it's pretty amazing. Its an old ship that sank on it's maiden voyage out of the harbor, and then hundreds of years later, (in the 60's I think?) it was brought up, whole and restored. It's so crazy something was under water for so long and in such amazing condition. 

I was hoping Tindra would sleep because it's dark in there and it was her nap time. She was out within minutes of, so Drew offered to push her around on the first floor (theres 7-8 floors I think?) so he could slowly read all the signs under there and I could take Jasper around to all the different floors since he doesn't have the patience for hrs of sign reading. Understandably so! Jasper and I had a lot of fun exploring the different levels and he loved having a little bit of 'freedom' with mom letting him walk a little ahead at times. 

Our kids were 2 and almost 7 when we visited Junibacken and Vasa but I would highly HIGHLY recommend either one for kids of almost all ages, Juniback newborn through at least 10, but maybe older? Jasper is almost 9 and I know he would be thrilled to go again. Vasa is probably better for kids a little older, maybe 5 and up. 

Have you been to either? I would love to hear your experience! 

 

*Please excuse the crappy cell phone pictures! The iPhone 4 wasn't quite up to par with cell phones now! 

-Darlene