Last fall, after a stressful and humbling internship search, Brad was offered an HR internship with DigitalGlobe in Longmont, Colorado. We took a week or two after school got out to vacation and pack up. We opted to save money by bringing only what could fit in our van, and true to form, Brad had no problem making everything we wanted to bring fit. We left Jordan at our house, and drove out to Colorado, only 4 hours later than planned, our car full to the brim. It took us a couple hours to unpack, and we settled into our new Colorado home.
Brad enjoys his job most days and after 5 years in the Army appreciates only working 40 hours a week. We’ve had no problem filling all that free time exploring everything that Colorado has to offer. We think everyone should come visit Colorado, and in case you do, we’ve compiled a helpful list of things you should and should not do while you are here.
If you come to Colorado, you should bring a bike. We’ve counted between 50-100 road bikers on our way to church each Sunday, and spent hours at Boulder’s bike park. We found a couple of balance bikes on Craigslist for our twins, and in the last month Annika learned to ride without her training wheels. We are amazed to see tiny kids flying around the BMX track at the bike park, but I think our girls may be on their way. When we went back to Utah for Jordan’s wedding, we brought Brad’s road bike back to Colorado, and he has been enjoying some long Saturday morning rides.
If you are going to let your kids loose at the bike park, you should not forgo dental or health insurance. Or knee and elbow pads. We are constantly tending to new cuts, scrapes and bruises. While climbing on a fence a few weeks ago, Elise flipped over it and cracked her tooth. We are now spending our summer earnings on dental care for our three year old. After spending days on the phone with doctors and dentists and insurance agents, Elise went in for surgery on her tooth. It was cracked too badly for them to save, so she now has the smile of a 7 year old. I’ve fallen in love with her toothless grin.
While in Colorado, you should go to the mountains. Rocky Mountain National Park is only an hour away, and we didn’t wait long to take the girls up for some camping and hiking. It is just as beautiful as you would expect it to be, and we even saw a bear with cubs!
Photo credit Annika Holland
However, you should not go camping and hiking without doing some preliminary research into the condition of the campsites and the trails. Somehow we reserved a campsite that was mostly flooded and muddy, and we could have used snowshoes on the first hike we tried (instead we were wearing shorts and sandals.) As we started the hike Brad said “I’m not sure we should do this. The girls are going to get too cold and cry.” I said “Where is the man I married!? Where is your sense of adventure!?” Brad was right. The girls were great until we got to the lake, and by then their little toes were frozen and they cried and cried. The man I married was smart as well as adventurous.
In Longmont, you should take advantage of the many, many parks, walking trails, and hiking trails in close proximity. Boulder is only 20 minutes away, and there are beautiful mountain hikes with trailheads only a few blocks away from downtown. Longmont has a large network of walking trails and dedicated “greenways” that we’ve explored on our Sunday evening walks.
A view of Meeker and Longs Peak from the Pella Crossing trail
Even though I encourage you to go hiking, you probably should not reasonably expect your small children to do a 6 mile hike up a mountain. Bring backpacks and plan on carrying them if you are determined to get to the top. (We were determined, and Brad is really good at carrying multiple children at once.) However, there are a multitude of kid friendly trails in the area just perfect for little legs.
You should try out some of Boulder’s incredible restaurants. It is a foodie’s paradise.
You should probably not take all your kids with you when you go out to eat at one of Pearl Street’s fine dining establishments. The food is great, but the bill is high. (We meant to be next door.)
You definitely should get an apartment close to a pool. Our pool is only 100 feet from our door and we are there nearly every day. All of our girls are getting quite comfortable in the water. Last summer Annika screamed whenever she was in deep water, even if someone was holding her. Now she is swimming the width of the pool. Lucy has never wanted to wear floaties, and so she is quickly learning to swim.
You should not take your eyes off of Elise in the pool. She is not as good a swimmer as Lucy, but she has no fear. She loves to jump into the pool, sink to the bottom, the kick her way back up and assumes someone will always be there to grab her once she gets to the top. So far she has only jumped in when someone is watching nearby, but I think it is only a matter of time until she tries it on her own.
When you go visit anywhere you should do your best to get involved in the community. A few years in the Army taught me to treat everywhere like a permanent home, no matter how short your time there may be. We helped my cousin Zach plant trees at the bike park for his Eagle Scout project. Now whenever we visit the park the girls are so proud when they point out the trees they planted. We also visited Boulder’s farmers’ market, bought into a CSA, and visit the library weekly.
You should not stand around and watch while your kids do all the work. Or maybe you should.
If you go to Colorado, you should definitely convince all your favorite people to come visit you. Everything is more enjoyable when you share it with people you love. We were lucky enough to have Jeff and Tammy stop by for a couple of days as they made a major move from Texas to Boston. Seeing all those cousins reunited was a highlight of the summer for me.
Taniel and Isaac are coming out on the 4th of July and I have a long list of things I want to do with them while they are here. Does anyone else want to join us before we move back to Utah in August? These two would be super happy if you did!