Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mile High Adventures

So the title of this post might be deceiving, because the only thing we did in Denver was fly in, sleep at my sister's adorable (!) new house, and have brunch with some good friends. There aren't even any pictures of the Mile High City part of this adventure... but it was a nice place to start our Colorado visit. Deep down, it's always the place I consider "home" if someone asks me that complicated question, and it's always nice to visit. Joe and I agreed in the future we'll have to plan a Colorado visit when there's not any specific events going on, since we always end up back there for a busy weekend of wedding or graduation type activities. 

Thursday we took the scenic route to Fort Collins, driving up through Boulder and Estes Park.
Here's the view as we're driving in to Estes Park. The white building in the distance is the
famous Stanley Hotel, a beautiful historic hotel that is said to be Steven King's inspiration
 to write The Shining.

We had to stop more than once to enjoy the scenery!
We weren't dressed to actually hike, though,
so we stayed towards the beginning of the trails we stopped at.

We couldn't resist stopping at the original Oskar Blues brewery in Lyons.

We had some time Friday to explore around Fort Collins, and split our time between the great outdoors and the beer tasting indoors. First, we drove up Poudre Canyon. It was incredible! So beautiful, with the river running down the canyon. It was cold, though, and it actually started to snow while we were up there! Then, we went back down to Fort Collins, and met my dad and brother at O'Dell Brewery. We did a tasting, then a tour, then a little more tasting. It was fantastic beer-- really some of the best that I've had recently. The guys there were really cool, too, and traded us some Chicago beer we'd brought with us for a bunch of their brews. We were well saturated that night ;)  The rest of the weekend was full of graduation celebrations, and lots of laughing and crazy antics with my family. It's always fun when our whole group gets together! 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Graduation Celebration!

Last weekend I went "home" to Colorado to see my family and celebrate a big accomplishment... my little brother graduated from Colorado State University! We spent a couple days playing around at the foot of the mountains, driving through scenic canyons and forest areas. We got to have brunch with our good friends who recently moved to Denver, and of course found time to visit a couple breweries. We also did some major celebrating as a family, eating and drinking in honor of my brother's graduation and birthday, with a sprinkle of mother's day at the end of the weekend. It was a busy weekend, but so wonderful! I love living in Chicago, but it does bum me out that it's far from the rest of my family. At least they're all pretty spread out at this point. If they all lived there and I was the only one out here in the Midwest, I would feel a lot more distant. But at this point my parents are in South Dakota, and us four siblings live in four different cities... so we're all pretty much experts at staying close and keeping in touch no matter where we are!

Congratulations little brother! We're all SO proud of you!

The Dean of the Education School giving the intro at the cording ceremony.

I got to cord Brendan myself. He worked so hard in school, and got
not only a history degree, but is also certified to teach. They wore the
cords at the College of Liberal Arts graduation.

Joe and I with the graduate.

It was an excellent weekend, and spending it with my family was just what I needed. We're a pretty close bunch, despite our distance in miles, and it is always so much fun to eat, drink, and laugh together! Congrats again, Brendan! We're all so proud of your accomplishments!

More pictures from the Colorado trip to come in another post... stay tuned!