Last Thursday our trip took a turn—from seeing places, to seeing people. Since then the days and nights have been packed so full that I’ve had no time to write. Now, with Colorado (sadly) in our rear-view mirror, I have a few minutes to share some highlights…
We arrived in Denver last Thursday evening and went straight to the home of a former student of ours. Wes calculated that we hadn’t seen each other in fourteen years—not since he moved to Denver for seminary, married his lovely wife, took a pastoral position at a church, and had three adorable children. Our kids are the same ages, and they bonded instantly over dress-up clothes and Legos, which gave us grownups the opportunity to reminisce and share a bit of what God has been doing these past many years. (We were so busy talking that I completely forgot to take any photos.)
When we pulled away from their house—less than three short hours after we arrived—Daryl asked, “Can we move to Denver and be their neighbors?” And we were sure tempted to say, “Yes.”
From Wes’ house, we drove across town to the home of some long-time family friends of mine. My family started to attend church with Ken and Diana when I was 10. It was a small church (40-50 people, if I remember correctly), and that church body quickly became like family to us. Ken and Diana knew my parents well. I babysat their kids. And though I hadn’t seen them in sixteen years, we had the kind of conversation that you can only have when you share such a history.
I remembered that Ken and Diana love antiques and have an amazing collection of beautiful and interesting things. What I didn’t remember is that many of their treasures are toys. The kids were in heaven!
We stayed the night with Ken and Diana. On Friday morning Diana made us a wonderful breakfast before we took the kids to a local park. Then in the afternoon Ken took us to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. Next time you are in the Denver area, you ought to check it out. It’s home to over 5000 animals—some sea creatures and many different insects—but the butterflies are the main attraction. In their rainforest you can walk among over 1600 butterflies. They might even land on your shoulder like they did on Daryl’s!
From the Butterfly Pavilion we headed west, up into the mountains to Keystone, for the wedding weekend of my cousin’s daughter Katie and her now-husband Tom.
The entire weekend was spectacular! It included a Beat the Bride 5k, since Katie is a runner. Peter ran the race, while the kids and I walked part of the stunning mountain path.
Our little family spent one morning exploring Breckenridge and taking the free gondola ride up to the Summer Family Fun Park.
Then on Sunday was the big event! Both Katie and Tom are also avid skiers, so this was a true mountain wedding. It took place at the Arapahoe Basin. Everyone—wedding party and guests alike—took the chairlift to Black Mountain Lodge for the outdoor ceremony. Amelia was the flower girl, and Daryl was the ring bearer, who carried a sign that read “Here Comes the Bride!” Just as the bridal party was coming down the aisle, it started to rain. The wedding coordinator passed out ponchos to all of the guests and the ceremony continued as planned. During the exchange of vows, there was some hail, but it only added to the ambiance. During the reception, the sun peaked out between the clouds just in time to set spectacularly behind the mountain peak. And during our pitch black chairlift ride down the mountain, we were treated to a lightning show over the next mountain range. For a young couple who values adventure, it was a perfect day. And we were blessed to be a part of it!
Now, we’re on the road again. We were originally planning to head straight back to McHenry after the wedding. However, because we aren’t ready for this road trip to end and because we enjoyed the Laura Ingalls locations at the beginning of our trip so much, we’ve decided to finish what we started. We’re currently on our way to Independence, Kansas, to see the real Little House on the Prairie site. We just finished reading the book in the car, and we’re excited to see where it took place.
So stay tuned for a couple more reports on all things Little House. Until then…