Posts Tagged ‘family vacation’


Lessons Learned from a Colorado Family Reunion Vacation…

Estes Park

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Warning: War and Peace was shorter.

If you’re a fairly regular visitor here, then you probably have detected a little themeMIP went on vacation with the extended in-law family last week. Early in the 2000’s my hubby’s family decided to do destination family reunion vacations together. Despite the diversity of people in the family, we manage to get along with each other in sometimes tight quarters for an entire week. Quite a feat for what was then a group of 24 people total. 24 people showed up this time, but that’s now only 3/4 of the family! We are up to 31.5 with a new great nephew due in early October (Yesss! More people to spoil rotten and then swiftly return to parents!).

We have taken on a number of destinations now (or they have taken on us and lived to tell the tale??): Branson, Virginia Beach, Nashville (IN), Hilton Head and now Estes Park, CO. Here’s what I learned this week while hanging with the fam-in-law:

1. Never believe the emails from a property management company regarding lock box codes.

2. Never believe the codes in the vacation home “renter’s manual” for how to unlock the dumpster. (Yes, the dumpster. Reminder–there were 24 people! And yes, locked. Bears in Colorado think a dumpster is fine dining.)

3. It doesn’t matter how much you emphasize that 1/3 of the food cost is built into each family’s housing fee, we’ll all bring food.

4. Because of # 3 and because we are all too generous, there were enough tortillas to feed a 3rd world country, not to mention fruit and Keurig cups.

5. The best solution to early morning people demanding coffee immediately is to have too many Keurig cups next to a Keurig machine.

6. Your biggest hassle arriving in the nation’s snow playground is renting a car for clear roads.

7. Breakfast for 24 takes 3 full grocery carts and 2 cars to transport.

8. When feeling the effects of thinner air, drink water.

9. You can never buy enough bottled water in Estes Park.

10. To satisfy the soda drinkers in the house, you may need another fridge for the week.

11. The freezers stay empty. This includes ice for water. And no, I still don’t understand why.

12. No hot tubbing after 8 pm. (Get your mind out of the gutter!)

13. If you ask the “sub-families” to each cook one dinner meal, your biggest problem will be finding enough dinner meals for everyone and giving everyone the Monday night meal.

14. With families coming from 3 different states, the dinner meal variety is simply awesome.

15. If you didn’t get to cook on Monday, volunteer for Friday and Saturday night. You can do “leftover night” either time and it’s remarkably wonderful…and cheap!

16. If you want to do anything with the Fowlers, get up at 2 am.

17. The earliest I went to sleep was 2 am.

18. I wish I’d had more time with the Fowlers. Wait. Did they even come on this vacation???

19. When the hubby and the DSL are ATV-ing, make sure all insurance is paid up.

20. My niece’s last name must be Andretti.

21. If I ever video my entire life, call the other niece. She was smart enough not to drive.

22. Yes, you can get a speeding ticket on an ATV in Colorado. It’s a Communist plot.

23. Your spine will tell you about your ATV-ing a full 2 days after the actual event.

24. Plan your visit to the top of the Continental Divide the day before the huge thunderstorm.

25. Elk are not intimidated by goofy tourists.

26. Elk don’t respond to, “Hey Elkie, come here!”

27. I need 2 bottles of water to get to the top of the Continental Divide.

28. I brought 1 bottle of water to get to the top of the Continental Divide.

29. I need my heart meds and frequent stops to get to the top of the Continental Divide.

30. I left my heart meds in the car.

31. When you’re at the top of the world, you need 2 gift shops. Here’s a thought: add on to the already-existing gift shop??? Oh, wait. That would require fewer tax dollars. My bad.

32. I am a sucker for 3 types of stores: food, Christmas items and hand-blown glass.

33. I had the greatest quiche of my life in Estes Park.

34. There was an awesome farmer’s market last week in Estes Park.

35. There were only 3 Christmas stores in Estes Park.

36. One glass store (out of many) had an entire snowman village, including pine trees.

37. Creditors started calling our home this morning.

38. Only my hubby buys horseradish at the farmer’s market.

39. We will be playing “Ticket to Ride” this Christmas. It’s like Risk without any luck involved.

40. I predict I will be the loser of every “Ticket to Ride” game this Christmas.

41. The hubby needs to make raspberry & pecan pancakes to make me a morning person.

42. If we have granddaughters someday, they will get “princess pancakes”.

43. When I have to get up at 5 am to help the hubby with the princess pancakes, it’s probably smart to go to bed before 4 am.

44. It’s hard to shut off my brain at 4 am.

45. There is nothing as beautiful as a rodeo with a Rocky Mountain backdrop at dusk.

46. Your kids’ favorite youth director lives a mere 2 hours away from in another state.

47. My son lives 4 hours away in the same state. You’d think he lives in TX or something.

48. When visiting the farmer’s market, take your shower early. Let’s just say the temp of my shower and the cool temps were similar.

49. It takes a full car load to bring back half of our kitchen for princess pancakes.

50. My Surveymonkey membership comes in handy when analyzing family vacation feedback.

Monday’s Post: Did you fret and fume about spume? 

You Might Also Like: Grocery List for a Family Reunion Vacation; Would You Like a Family Like This?; Lessons Learned from a Family Vacation; and Lessons Learned from