It didn’t take much convincing for Chad and I to take off some time from work and head to Grand Junction for an extended staycation.
First of all, my parents are excellent hosts. I will jump at any opportunity to visit them and have fun together. Additionally, their house is an oasis, and it’s a huge perk to not only spend time with their dogs, but to also laugh as Wally and Monet chase each others for hours and play like only puppies can.
Probably the biggest reason for our visit, however, was that my brother and his family were visiting for three weeks. Spencer and Mary, and their kiddos Everest (3) and Atlas (6 weeks!) came to Colorado, which is always a treat. Spencer and Mary work for the Foreign Service, and were most recently stationed in India for two years, and Mexico prior to that. Up next, they’ll be in Turkey, after about a year’s worth of training in D.C. (Mary has to learn Farsi! This is her third language she’ll have to dive into because of her job).
My other brother, Tyler, along with his wife Natalie and daughter Nora (1) were also able to make it down for a quick weekend visit. For the first time in a long time, our whole immediate family was able to be together. This was also my first time meeting our nephew Atlas, which was an extra special treat.
During our time in Grand Junction, we had a ton of fun. Chad and I laughed, relaxed, and soaked up the sun and desert heat. We ate well, recharged our batteries, and enjoyed all of the precious family time.
Here were some of the many good times and highlights from our GJ escape.
Located a short drive away in Loma, Colorado, Highline State Park is a family-friendly beach area. We picnicked, swam, and skipped rocks. (We also tried throwing them as far as we could, and Chad can attest to some shoulder soreness.)
This was one of my favorite day-trips, and I hope to return. They rent stand up paddleboards and I’d also love to bring our inflatable kayak for an outing.
My parents had the great idea to hire a professional photographer while we were all together. I was able to reach out to some old classmates from Gunnison, Alaina and Eb, who took us to the Colorado National Monument and did a fantastic job photographing us.
Their company, Drop Anchor Productions, is worth hiring! They have a beautiful style and they are so easy and wonderful to work with.
New Castle Day Trip
During the earlier days of their visit, Spencer, Mary, and fam were nice enough to visit Chad and I in New Castle to see our home. While here, my parents were kind enough to order takeout from Glenwood Springs’ Zheng, followed by a quick trip to Rifle Falls.
It was great to have the family gathered at our home, though we might have to invest in some better seating options outside. 😉
Though they could get a little rough-housy with each other, it was great for Wally and Monet to get some quality puppy time together. Those two can go non-stop. They chase, egg each other on, and then collapse next to each other when they’re tired. They’re besties, and offer each other endless entertainment.
Also, Wally had a grooming appointment. He came out of the shop looking like a marshmallow, and was apparently a pretty good boy. He loved spending time with family and being a cuddly puppy.
Food and Drink
When I’m with my parents, delicious food and drinks are always on the agenda. During this staycation, there was a range: we had Asian-fusion food from Zheng Asian Bistro, homemade vegan enchiladas (my mom’s perfected recipe), banana zucchini bread, pesto pasta, takeout from Palisade Cafe, donuts from Daylight Donuts, and delightful chips and homemade salsa.
On the liquid side, Chad made us a basil-infused gin drink and margaritas, both of which were a tremendous hit. We also were able to visit Red Fox Cellars and Maison La Belle Vie Winery in Grand Junction, safely distanced and with masks. I was also able to score a few homemade lattes from Chad from my parents’ machine, making him husband of the morning several days in a row.
Quality Time Together
As previously mentioned, it’s hard to get all the family together. So when it happens, it’s very much a blast.
Some of my top moments were spending time with my nephew, Everest (he calls me Auntie Boo, and it’s one of the best feelings ever), which included blowing bubbles, chasing him through the splash pad, a dance party with him and my mom (Gigi, to him), going on walks, listening to his imagination in the cooled-down hot tub, and getting to know his big-boy personality a little more.
As always, it was a treat to hang out with Spencer and Mary, get a few moments alone with Atlas, and catch up with my parents. When Tyler, Natalie, and Nora arrived, there was more playing and giggles. Tyler stayed up late with Chad and I one night, and we had a little too much fun.
Across the board, quality time spent with these guys will always be a highlight. Regardless of what we were up to, it was fantastic to see and spend time with family, and I cherish every moment.