Let’s leave the baby and go away together.

“I don’t want to be married just to be married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.” -Mary Ann Shaffer

Oatmeal and I just returned home from a trip to Colorado.  We flew out of Houston on Wednesday and flew back in on Saturday.  It was such a wonderful little getaway.

On Wednesday afternoon we landed in Denver and I googled “eating paleo in Denver” and was thrilled to see that Colorado is a VERY paleo-friendly state.  We rented a car and drove to an awesome little place called mmm…COFFEE! for lunch before making the 2.5 hour, VERY curvy drive to Grand Lake.

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Originally we’d tried to book a trip to Estes Park (roughly 45 miles from Grand Lake) but all of the hotels there were sold out.  Even if they hadn’t been, I don’t think we’d have been able to swing it.  The prices were sky high, but a little research and a tip from my SIL uncovered the tiny town of Grand Lake.  We rented a very affordable little cabin on the side of a mountain.  Not only was it just inside of Rocky Mountain National Park, but it overlooked the lake itself.  Next door to our cabin was a nice lodge with a restaurant, and the little town was just a short drive away. It was perfect.

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Oh, and as it turned out, Estes Park was pretty much shut down due to all of the Colorado flooding, so I felt very thankful that Plan A didn’t work out!

On Thursday morning we woke up early, brewed some coffee, ate breakfast, and drove to the visitor’s center for a map of all the trails.  While driving into the park, we had to stop so that a huge pack of elk could cross the road.  We were just amazed at those animals – they are so huge!  We pulled off the side of the road and got out of our car to stand and watch them leisurely walk across the highway.  There were about 15-20 females and 1 absolutely HUGE male with the biggest set of antlers (I think that’s the right term, right?) I had ever seen.  Oatmeal and I joked for the rest of the weekend about how great the life of the male elk has to be.  He just gets to walk around with dozens of women all day and tell them where to go.

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Reminds me of something Oatmeal said to me in an email when had just began dating.  He was working in Oklahoma and living in a trailer.  I emailed him to give him a hard time for not calling me the night before.  He responded to tell me that he meant to call, but he’d fallen asleep by 6:30pm while sitting at his kitchen table.  This is a direct quote:

“Sorry honey.  I’m like a wild animal.  I wake up when the sun rises and fall asleep when it gets dark outside.  I just don’t mate random women walking through the woods.”

LIKE AN ELK.

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We eventually found a really awesome trail.  It was about 7.2 miles of very diverse terrain.  Some parts were steep and rocky, while others were flat and lush.  Let me just say that it was a phenomenal leg workout.

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After the hike we decided to just drive through the park.  Rocky Mountain National Park is giant, and the views from Old Trail Road are gorgeous.  The speed limit ranges from 15mph to 35mph, and frankly when we got to about 12,000 feet above sea level and there were no shoulders on the road and no guard rails, I had to really try hard to not feel sick.  It was super scary to sit in the car and know that a tiny mistake on Oatmeal’s part could send our car off a cliff and to our death!  Ultimately I just tried to focus on the beauty and views, but if I were being 100% honest, I was happy when that drive was over and we were safely back at our cabin.

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We spent the rest of the day holed up in our cabin reading, watching Duck Dynasty on TV, and then going out to dinner that night.  The whole day was so much fun because it was just the two of us with no distractions – we joked around, laughed like teenagers and just did whatever we wanted to do.

On our second morning we awoke to a very gray sky.  The weather report showed that it was supposed to rain all day.  We walked outside our cabin and could hear the elk calling in the distance.  What could I say – I wanted to go see those huge animals again, and I could tell from their calls that they had to be close.  We decided to risk getting rained on and go on a quick hike.

We did find the elk and had a really good time tracking them through the park.  If I have one regret, it’s that I didn’t buy a good camera before our little vacation so that I could get some good pictures.  We were probably about 3 miles from our cabin when it began to rain.  The rain wasn’t so bad, but when it turned to sleet we picked up the pace and hurried in the direction of home.  Unfortunately Oatmeal can’t read signs (ha) and he led us about 1 mile in the wrong direction.  (Sorry to call you out like that honey, you know you were the one who said we should make a left turn.)  Even though we were stuck in the woods getting sleeted on in 35 degree weather, what can I say, I wouldn’t want to be running through the mountains as frozen as a popsicle with anyone else.

“When love beckons to you follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.  -Kahlil Gibran

We did eventually find our way home, where I stayed in the shower for about a half hour to thaw out.

Rather than stay the third night in Grand Lake as originally planned, we decided to check out early and go visit some friends, Clint and Staci, in Denver.  Oatmeal went to college with Clint, and their wedding was one of the first ones that we went to after we were married.  It was so fun to spend a night at their house eating a homemade dinner (thanks again Staci!), drinking wine, and catching up.  I couldn’t hang past 11pm, but Oatmeal actually stayed up until around 2am visiting with Clint.  I could not believe that sleepy Oatmeal made it that late!   Maybe he is less of a wild animal than he thought.

The next morning we flew home to Texas, where the reunion with our little chunky monkey was oh so sweet.

It’s funny, but when I booked this trip for us, I felt sort of unsure about it.  It felt a little wrong to be leaving our toddler for three entire nights.  Now sure, I’ve spent a few nights away from Poppyseed in the past 6 months or so, and Oatmeal has traveled overnight a few times for work.  But we’ve never booked a trip together and left her for more than a half a day or so in someone else’s care.

And really, if I were being completely honest, in the past I have seen other parents leaving town and wondered why they did it.  I would think to myself, “How can they just up and leave?  Why don’t they just take their kid(s) with them on vacation?  What if something happened?”  I had the impression that there may be some selfishness involved, but if I were being honest with myself, I think I was just jealous.   I wanted to go on a fun trip with Oatmeal, but I felt like I’d be a bad mom if I were to actually do it.  About 6 months ago I started trying to book a babysitter a few times a month so that we could hang out together.  We usually just did something low key such as go jogging together or get ice cream.  And we planned it around P’s bedtime – she never even knew we were gone.  That helped me to feel like I was getting out of the house with my guy without the mom-guilt that I abandoned my firstborn.  But sometime this summer I feel like she just grew up and became even more independent that she was before, so it gave me the confidence to plan something longer.

I am so glad we went.  We probably laughed and flirted more on that three day trip than we have in the past three months.  Not because we don’t love each other all the time of course, but we just spend so much time focusing on that cute little munchkin when we are at home.  I have to remind myself that our marriage is always first – we need to make time for the two of us.  Having one baby makes me realize how hard it must be to carve out time with your spouse when you have even more kids.  I hope that we always make time to hire a Sunday sitter or book a little weekend rendezvous.

Oh, and I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when we were gone.  Ultimately, I think that the best way I can show love to my tot is to show love to her daddy.  I love knowing that she will always see that her parents are bonded and in love.  Sometimes Mommy and Daddy just need a little “us” time.

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Comments

  1. Holli Metz says:

    We haven’t seen Clint in ages! We also need a getaway trip without “the baby”! I am so glad you guys were able to get away and enjoy quality time!

  2. Great post! I totally agree with everything you said. And yes the elk are awesome!! You can see them in the mornings out at my dad’s (and before sunset) and it’s just so cool. Glad you had a much deserved get away!

  3. PS Weird, random question thought. Do you still have to pump when you’re nursing and they’re not tiny any more?

    • I can actually make it 36 hours without needing to pump. Figured that out when I went to DFW last month and didnt even think to pack the ole Medela. I hadn’t pumped in 6 months!

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