Saturday, August 3, 2013

Broncos, Babies, and Beer

When I lived in New Mexico, I was only a 5-hour drive from my grandparents' house.  It was my first chance to really get to know them since when I was growing up it was hard to get a family of five across the country for any significant period of time and when we did I spent most of the time playing with my cousins.  Since I moved here, I haven't been back to Colorado (not that I didn't want to go, but between car payments and vet bills there was no money for plane tickets).  Since I had a little extra money this summer, I figured it was time to get out there: my cousin has had two babies in the time I've been gone, my grandma can't travel anymore, and I've gotten two new 4-legged cousins.

My aunt and I took an impromptu tour of the Broncos stadium one day.  We had spent all morning working in her classroom and sorting her classroom library.  She wanted to run up to the stadium store to get more Broncos gear to go with her newly painted blue and orange shed.  When we got there, they had just a couple spots open on their final stadium tour of the day, so we signed up.  Even though I don't care about football, it was really interesting.  I learned a lot of neat things about the stadium design.  Did you know that not including domed stadiums professional football stadiums are built North -South so that players are never running into the sun?
In the Kids Room in the Colorado Sports museum at the stadium. Aunt Shell makes a great lacrosse player!

Since I've left the southwest, my cousin and his wife have had two babies.  I hadn't met either one and the oldest turned two on the day I arrived.  Those who know me know that I'm not a kid person.  I don't do jam hands or glitter.  I don't do crying.  I am not good at nonsensical conversations.  I get really stressed out when parents are afraid to discipline their children or tell their children no.  But, my cousin's kids are awesome.  Their little boy is so well behaved and polite and sweet.  (And he wasn't sticky!)  I adored him.  Their baby is only a month old, but she hardly fussed and was a generally happy baby.  She was also adorable.  When she did fuss, my cousin's wife said, "Sing to your sister" and their son sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and she was silent.  It's clear she adores her big brother already!  I won't post pictures of them since the Internet is a strange place and they aren't my kids, but just know that I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with those sweet babies.

I will post pictures of my four-legged cousins.  I spent the most time with Sofie--who knows what she is, but the shelter said great dane mix.  She's definitely all legs.  She reminds me of an awkward, gangly teenage boy.  She had no idea what to do with her paws and would slap anything that came near her.  I left black and blue, but she was cute, so it's ok.  My other aunt's dog, Harley, is a deaf dalmatian.  She loves to play fetch and sit in laps.  She was also one of the softest dogs I've ever pet.  
Sofie sticking her tongue out
Harley with her ball
It was nice to have dogs around while I was so far away from my baby girl.

Colorado has a pretty big craft beer scene.  My aunts know how much I love trying new beers, so they (and my aunt's best friend) took me on a beer tasting adventure one day.  We drove up to Fort Collins to visit New Belgium and Odell.  I've had plenty of New Belgium before, but I don't think it's sold in Ohio so it has been a while. They had their regular beers, but they also had a list of single batch beers and a Hop Kitchen collection.  Since I figured I have a better chance of trying the ones they bottle some day, I decided to try the interesting ones they only have at the brewery.  They had an Ales for ALS, so I guess it's something lots of breweries are doing--I preferred the Great Lakes one, but it wasn't bad.  We also tried some IPAs (yum!) and a biere de garde (I like Flying Dog's better, but maybe that's just because the dog on the label looks like Barley).

I'd seen the labels for Odell before and maybe tried a beer or two, but I definitely wasn't as familiar with their beers.  They had three different kinds of tasting flights, so we got one of each and shared them.  Some were really good, others I was not interested in.  I tried to warn my aunts that milk stouts are NASTY, but they tried that one anyway.  I was smart enough to skip it.  I did really like their nitro porter.

Seriously, how cute is this hops bike rack?

I'm a hop head!
We had grand plans to go to several other breweries, but I'm a flatlander and the altitude got to me before the beer did.  Since we'd shared all our samples, we hadn't even had two full beers each, but I got dehydrated and had flashbacks to throwing up in rental cars on trips to Colorado as a child, so we quit after two breweries and then I watched the aunts do a wine tasting while I drank a massive bottle of water.

While my aunt and I were visiting the Broncos stadium, we also made a trip to Coors Field to visit the Blue Moon tasting room.  I'm not a huge Blue Moon fan since I don't love Belgian beers, but I was surprised by a few of them.  I absolutely loved the Pine in the Neck IPA.  I was surprised that I enjoyed the seasonal Agave Nectar Ale so much, too.  I was kind of dreading it when my aunt ordered it, but I ended up claiming it as one of my two favorites to finish out of our 4 samples.  I did not love the Right Field Red, but then again I don't love any red ales--and at least I was drinking it at a ballpark.  It would probably have been wrong to not try that one while at the Rockies stadium.

Overall, it was a great trip, but it flew by!  I did get to spend a little bit of time with my grandparents, though.  We had breakfast together and I watched a Rockies game on tv with my grandpa one night.  While we ate lunch one day, we got to watch a good old western tv show--something I have many fond memories of doing with my grandparents during my time in NM.  They also came over to my aunts' for the cookout when I met the babies, so we had some quality time together despite the constant running around.  We crammed a lot into a very short amount of time.  Hopefully it's not another 3 years before I can make it out there again.

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