The boys, David, and I just got back yesterday from the best trip to David's sister's ranch in Colorado. Let me tell you, being on the ranch is a little slice of heaven. It is so beautiful there, so peaceful, and the ultimate playground for two little boys.
My first time there was this last Thanksgiving, which was also a great trip. I went without the boy's because they were with their Dad for Thanksgiving. But after going and having such a great time I knew it would be something super cool for the boys to experience. We were so grateful for David's sister and her family's hospitality to host us for almost a week.
The car ride wasn't as painful as it could have been, which was a relief. I was nervous about a few things for the trip, one of them being how my energy levels would hold up, and another being how well the boys would do during the five hour drive there and back. But, I packed them some fun little "travel backpacks" with a couple new dollar toys they could play with during the drive, some snacks, headphones, and other activities.
When we first go there we got to meet the kitties that were four days old. I had never seen kittens that tiny before, they were seriously like the size of a small rat. They were the sweetest things and the boys were so excited about getting to hold and pet newborn kittens too. I was a little nervous about Carter with them, but he ended up doing alright. It was kind of cool to see the mama cat pick up her kittens in her mouth and carry them from place to place. That evening, Everett also got to help bottle feed a baby calf whose mom had died.
We went to church the next day, came back to David's sister's house, and I enjoyed a nice nap while the boys got to explore the endless yard outside, backed by green, beautiful fields. They have a neat treehouse, trampoline, and some fun rope swings the boys loved. Everett became fast friends with the family dog, Mac. If I wasn't sold on getting a dog before, I am now! It was so cute to watch Everett play with Mac for hours, throwing the ball and talking to him. After I finished my "Sunday" nap, the boys, Mac, and I explored by the pond near the house. It was so much fun! I heard a ton of frogs and felt determined to catch one. David came out and joined us right in time to hear me experiment with my frog calls; a talent I never knew I had. I'm dead serious, the frogs would stop croaking when they knew I was near, so I would hold still and make some frog noises and they would start croaking back. Then they would stop, I would do it again, and they would respond. The boys played near the edge while David and I took our muddy shoes off and got calf-deep into the pond to get serious about our frog hunting. I almost caught one a couple of times, but it ended up being David who caught the only frog which was still exciting. Everett got to hold it and release it back.
On Monday we started off by going on a little hike up a steep and rocky hill on the property. I was so proud of the boys because it was pretty steep and the ground was loose which made it tricky to get up, but they did it. And let's be honest, I was proud of myself too because I am a wimp when it comes to that stuff. Later that day we went to a fun little Alpaca farm where we all got to feed these adorable baby Alpaca's. The boys each picked out one souvenir, Everett chose a mug, which was kind of random, and Carter chose a fluffy Alpaca toy made with real Alpaca fur. It was hilarious though because he got it from a big bucket of these perfectly round, super fluffy Alpaca toys, and somehow he managed to grab the one that looked a little mangey, looked like fur had been pulled from it, and just was not big and round like the others. We all got a nice little chuckle out of that, because he insisted on that one and it is just such a Carter thing to do. That evening we had did a fire pit in the yard and roasted marshmallows. It was so fun! It was your quintessential all-American kind of evening with country music playing as the sun went down, the fire going, cooking s'mores, kids running around, and playing games. It was a great night!
Tuesday was cattle drive day! Everett's favorite part, and one of mine just from watching him. Once a year the cattle on the ranch are brought from a piece of the property about 10 miles away, (if I am remembering that correctly), up to a different part of the ranch. It's an all day event where the whole family is involved in herding the cows to move them to the different part of the ranch. David, the boys, and I, met up with everyone about 2.5 hours in and parked on the side of the road. I hopped in the truck with David's sister, David hopped on one of the four wheelers while his niece got off to walk, and the boys hopped on the four wheelers with David and David's sister's husband. We followed behind the long trail of cows on the road while everyone outside of the truck who were immediately behind the cows were making noises at them to keep them going and also creating a barrier and making sure they stayed in the road and didn't run off to the side. There were a few times where some cows would run off onto a hillside or onto someone else's property and they had to be chased down. Everett was a champ though! He only took two small breaks in the truck during the three hours we were out there helping. The rest of the time, he mostly walked so happily behind the cows, making sure they weren't going off to the side using the flag and yelling at them. He loved it so much and walked probably four miles, up hills at times, and didn't complain once. I keep telling him I think his calling in life is to be a rancher.
When we got the cows to the corral at the end, there was a yummy picnic waiting for us. We ate, got our cars, and then I went to take a nap, (surprise, surprise), while David helped "throw" and hold down calves while so they could be branded. When he was done he took Everett and Carter on a four wheeler ride. Carter was so cute about it. He got so excited and asked constantly about going again after that.
Wednesday, our last day, we went to the Hot Springs. It was so pretty and the water felt so nice! When we got back we hung out, David took me on a four wheeler ride to a part of the ranch I hadn't seen before that was just endless green fields. It was so beautiful!
Our first trip all together couldn't have gone any better! It was perfect in every way and a great start to our summer.