As reported, the family has returned, intact, from our adventure to Colorado. The top of the line bullet points are that the girls earned an overall B+ for their behavior and S. and I have decided we’re not traveling with the girls again until they are both at least five.

The flight out was mostly uneventful. C. was fussy for about ten minutes in the middle, but otherwise fine. M. loved the airplane toilets, which is surprising. After she used it, she jumped into the seat next to me, put her arms out, rocked from side to side, and said, “Dad, I used the BUMPY potty!” Who knew she would like a little turbulence with her bathroom usage?

We were lulled into a false sense of security, though. Around 3:00 that night/morning, C. woke up screaming like she’s never really screamed before. This continued for about 40 minutes, and only some Motrin, milk, and Dora in the DVD player finally wore her down. Based on the newspapers left in front of the doors of the surrounding rooms, we think we may have been the only people in that corner of the floor, so hopefully no one else had to endure the meltdown. Oh, and M. got wound up and did her own act for about 20 minutes. Fun.<

Friday, I met with a couple friends from my KC days who I had not seen in 4-5 years for lunch. (What up, Erin and Mandi?!?!) That night was the rehearsal dinner for my sister-in-law’s wedding. The girls were decent, although they preferred to run around the room, going up the stairs then down the wheel-chair ramp on the far side over-and-over again. Fortunately, most of the people there seemed to think it was cute. By the time we ate, they were pretty much trashed and refused to eat their food. M. and I had a several little talks and took a couple walks when her behavior was less than ideal. Night #2 was better, with C. only waking up once for just a few minutes.

Saturday was wedding day, and we were very nervous. Although the girls were not in the wedding (parents’ insistence) they and we were included in the pictures. So they needed to be in their dresses and ready by 3:00, which should be nap time. They did ok in pictures, then got antsy/fussy. I was really worried about C. going into the ceremony, but the Motrin apparently kicked in just in time and she played happily on my lap. Once, she caught a glimpse of S. up front and said her name, but there was no meltdown. M., on the other hand, passed out in S.’s aunt’s lap about ten minutes into the ceremony. That was nice, since it meant we could sit for the entire ceremony (It was at an Episcopal church, FWIW).

The reception was a little much for both of them. They had fun at times, especially when they got to dance with their aunts, but they tired quickly and we made a hasty exit just as the party was really starting.

I think that night was ok, although I’m not sure. One night in Denver I woke up with a nasty nosebleed and had to sleep sitting up the rest of the night. I forget which night it was. Damn is it dry in Denver.

Sunday, most of the family packed up and headed into the mountains for a couple days in Breckenridge. The weather was great on the way up, sunny and warm. We arrived in the late afternoon and my brother-in-law and I had a celebratory beer. Mistake. Between being sleep-deprived, dehydrated, and the altitude, that one beer hit us both pretty hard. In addition, I had never been at that altitude before and it quickly kicked my ass. I was gasping for breath after each trip up the stairs (our place had four levels, and our bedroom was in the basement while the common area was on the third floor) and when I went to bed, I felt like I couldn’t fill my lungs. It was a pretty nasty sensation. Why do people live in the mountains again?

Monday was our day to play. It was snowing, but we took the girls over to Keystone for some tubing fun. On our first trip down the hill, M., who was sitting in my lap, starting screaming, “I don’t like this, I don’t like this!” When we got to the bottom, she said, “Daddy, can we do that again?” She loved it; C. had a good time but perhaps not quite as much fun. Luckily, my altitude issues had passed and I was able to climb the hill for about 45 minutes.

We headed back to Denver Tuesday in a snowstorm. It didn’t seem like much at first, but as we climbed away from Breck, the snow picked up, the roads got more covered, and big trucks were pulling off I-70 and either putting on chains or waiting it out. As we were climbing one hill, which didn’t seem all that slick, we noticed a black SUV off the side of the road, facing the wrong way. After about two beats we realized it was my sister-in-law. We pulled off and ran back quickly. Everyone was ok, if shaken. They hit a slick spot, swerved across the road, then spun around and into a snowbank. We were able to push her out and her truck (My old 4Runner, BTW) seemed ok, so we cautiously got back onto the road. It took several minutes for the crap-ass Chevy van we had to get good traction, and it was a pretty tense 45 minutes or so until we got below the snowline. I was really glad we were on I-70, which is wide and has guardrails and no steep drop-offs, and not one of those crazy highways that go right to the edge and lack guardrails so the snow can be plowed over the edge.

We made it to the airport in plenty of time, the girls enjoyed the train ride to the terminal, and after a slight delay, we winged it back home so we could drive home in the remnants of the snow/ice storm that had gone through Indy the previous night and morning. C. was a little more restless this time around, but not horrible. The aunts and friend in the other seats were a huge help. M. passed out about 30 minutes before we landed.

Overall, solid trip. It’s definitely different traveling with little kids. You spend a ton of time and energy trying to control their behavior, always worried that they are interfering with other peoples’ good times. It’s a drain and not one we’re ready to repeat, even if we had a pretty decent time. I think this was the first time in two or three years we had S.’s entire family together at one time, so that was fun, too. It’s very nice to have another guy in the family. At another time, I’ll share the phenomenal prank my father-in-law pulled on the bride during the reception.