Denver 2022 (First Trip As Fam of 4!) – Part 1

We took off for a few days in Denver last week, and I’m excited to share pics with you! I miss doing travel recaps. There were sooo many of them in the first few years of blogging, and then recently with the pandemic, Nate’s accident, and a couple years of having babies…the travels definitely slowed. I scratched the itch by doing some day trips and a couple local overnight stays, but it feels especially fun to get to share an actual trip to another city.

By the way! If you want to see any old travel recap posts, here are a few:

Liverpool, Edinburgh, and London with Milo Part 1 and Part 2

Honeymoon in San Sebastian

NYC Anniversary Trip Part 1 and Part 2

Costa Rica Part 1 and Part 2

London w/ Nate Part 1 and Part 2

Miami for Caitlin’s 30th

That being said…I was very clear in my head about expectations for this trip. Ha. It was our first time to fly somewhere with both boys, and so I made sure to constantly remind myself that THIS IS A PRACTICE TRIP. Haha! I’m not kidding when I say that I had super duper extra low expectations for the entire trip, start to finish. I was talking to my friend Courtney while our kids played on the playground, and I told her “we’re flying to Denver this week, and I’m anticipating the whole thing will be completely exhausting.” (It was.)

Ok, so with that out of the way, I’m going to go ahead and share all the details with ya. My 50/50 mindset about motherhood that I shared with you includes traveling. These family trips are going to be fun and they’re also going to be exhausting, so I’m just going to focus on the fun memories. I mean, of course there were tantrums and meltdowns (from the kids and the adults), but we had so much fun, learned a bunch, and I can’t wait to travel with these babies again!


So, last month, Nate told me that he had to fly to Denver for a few days for work. We talked a bit, and we decided it could be fun if that babies and I tag along. We’ve never flown with both boys (and we’ve only flown with Milo once, back when he was 4 months old and we went to the UK.) So I thought of this trip as the first pancake..we just need to get it done, toss it out, and learn from our mistakes. Nate had to work for most of the time there, so it would pretty much just be me watching my boys in Denver instead of Austin…but it felt like a good opportunity to go ahead and learn how to travel with these little stinks.

It’s important to me that I learn how to travel with my kids, because we have at least three more years of things like bottles and spoon feeding and pack-n-plays and diapers. I don’t want those three years to pass by without some family travel memories. And whether the boys remember all these travels or not, I’ll remember them! And I want those memories.

So we powered through and went on our first trip as a family of four! 

Up early! I woke Milo around 4:45 am and he said “I awake now!! I like your shirt, mommy. Sing Jingle Bells?” Like, whaaa?? Kiddo. Let me finish my first cup of coffee first…

There’s so much to think about when traveling with two little ones! We brought our Vista stroller along and used Dayton’s infant car seat as his stroller seat for the trip. But since we had to check it at the curb, I wore Dayton through the airport and Milo rode in the stroller…and then we checked the stroller at the gate.

Dayton boy’s first flight! He sat in the aisle seat with me so we had easy access to standing room in case he got fussy. But he never fussed! He was such a champ, both ways!

My sweet babe! I nurse him on takeoff and landing (to help with the pressure on his ears) and he napped for most of the flight.

Not kidding you…the flight went so great! Dayton napped, Milo watched Mickey Mouse, and Nate and I listened to podcasts. We chose Austin -> Denver as our first family flight of four because it’s quick 2-hour direct flight.

We made it to Colorado! High five.

I love having this sweet babe so close to me. He’s 6 months now, so he’s starting to get kiiiinda heavy to carry around in the Baby Bjorn for long stretches. I’m savoring the snuggles.

Caffeine. Caffeine caffeine caffeine.

Something I didn’t realize before our 2020 UK trip with Milo is that little things, like picking up a rental car, are so much more complicated with babies. When you’re just one person, you find the shuttle and lift your suitcase up and then you’re brought to the car rental and you stand in line to pick it up. But with two babies, you have your suitcases plus two car seats, a stroller, a diaper bag, and the two human children. So most of the time when there was a logistical thing to figure out (parking, etc.) one of us would stay with the babies and all the stuff, and the other would quickly go handle the task. All that to say: Nate went to pick up the rental car while I hung out in the airport with two babies for 45 minutes.

I looooove downtown Denver! I think it’s such a beautiful city with all the dark red bricks.

First stop: Union Station to grab some lunch!

Ok, I just need to explain something and defend myself real fast: Milo doesn’t wear pants anymore. It’s a rare occasion that he’ll let me put pants or shoes on him. And so flying somewhere cold and asking him to wear pants, shoes AND a coat was a big struggle. Sometimes he put the coat on willingly, and sometimes not so willingly… But I’m stronger than him (for a little while!) and I didn’t want him to get sick from the cold, so he wore the coat. But gloves and a hat? There was absolutely no way I could keep those on. They went flying out of the stroller the second I put them on his hands.

All that to say, his hands are glove-less in the cold Colorado weather, and I’m not proud of it.

Dayton wore his hat the entire time.

Moving along..

Ahh! Union Station is so beautiful! It’s a train station from 1881 that’s now an Amtrak station and home to a hotel and shops and restaurants. I looooove eating at Mercantile Dining & Provision when it’s just Nate and me.

We got a quick coffee at Pig Train Coffee Co, and then…

Ordered some lunch at Acme Delicatessen. This poutine with green Chile pork was delicious!

And a big ol’ toasted turkey and swiss. Food tastes extra good when you’re traveling!

After lunch it was time to check in to our room. We stayed with Kasa, and it was such a great experience! I hadn’t heard of them before, but it’s basically a short-term rental company where you can book apartments in various cities around the country. A hotel room would have been pretty cramped with all 4 of us (both boys still sleep in pack-n-plays), and Airbnbs are hit or miss. Kasa is kind of an in-between: it’s an apartment (similar to what you could book through Airbnb) but it’s professionally managed (similar to a hotel) with a 24/7 help line, hotel amenities like big stacks of white towels and to-go coffee cups, and an easy and predictable digital check in/check out.

It was so wonderful! Our apartment was a 1 bedroom with an office, so we put Milo’s crib in the office and Dayton slept in the spacious closet in the primary room. It was sooo wonderful to have a really large bathroom, a washer/dryer, a full kitchen with a dishwasher, and separate rooms for the boys to take their naps each day. I think I might end up booking a Kasa for every trip now!

Since this was a work trip for Nate, he had to take the car and head out for the rest of the day.

I got the boys down for their naps, made some tea, and watched the snow start to fall! Cozy.

Milo woke first, so we had some time to play together before Dayton was up.

By the way, I think my favorite thing I packed on this trip was this thick quilt for the floor. Milo woke up from his nap and immediately ran over to the quilt to play (what is it about a cozy blanket on the floor?), and when Dayton was awake, I’d plop him down there when I needed my hands to be free.

Several friends made the trip with us. 😉

Excited about the snow!!!

It was just soooo beautiful! I love living in a city where it doesn’t snow, because whenever I see snow I get so excited!

Whole Foods was a quick 5 minute walk from our apartment, so I bundled up the babies, put all the covers down, and trudged through the snow. It was very exciting. 🙂

Gorgeous!

His requests at Whole Foods: Yogurt pouches and milk. The man loves his dairy…

And then a quick walk back home! Milo was sooo excited to be back in our apartment after our (very quick) evening walk. We walked in the front door and he said “I home now!!!” It was snowing really hard outside (and Nate still had the car), so we just hunkered down and enjoyed a cozy evening at home.

My sweet boys. They both ate dinner, had baths, and fell asleep very quickly at bedtime. I packed their sleep sacks and sound machines, so even though they were sleeping in a different environment, it felt familiar. They both slept great the entire trip, thankfully!

I ordered some Dave’s Hot Chicken for Nate to pick up on his way back. He also brought back a couple beers from Denver Brewing Co., and we sipped on a pale ale with dinner. And then we shared a graham cracker porter and watched the Beijing 2022 Olympics and watched the snow fall out the window before falling asleep.


That’s day 1! This is getting long, so I’ll share days 2 and 3 in a separate blog post.

One quick thing, in case you’re someone with young kids and you’re deciding if you want to try traveling with them: I fell asleep on this first night feeling sooo accomplished! Haha! I know you might be thinking “but you didn’t really do that much on this day…”, but I seriously just felt so proud of myself for figuring out how to fly with these two babies. My goal for this practice trip was to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what my travel style will be when I’m trekking around with two babies, and I took the first steps toward figuring that out.

Also, I slept soooo well.

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9 months ago

[…] MY NEW BOOK, AUSTIN FOOD CRAWLS IS NOW AVAILABLE! GRAB YOUR COPY! […]

Maria
9 months ago

So encouraging to hear it went well!

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8 months ago

[…] boots I bought for our anniversary trip to New York, gloves and liners that I bought for our trip to Denver last month. I don’t buy a lot of cold weather gear, so I try to just get a few basic high-quality items […]

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6 months ago

[…] the boys out to Jester King to check out their new inn! (It’s 20 minutes from our home, so no flight with two babies or lengthy road trip this time.) We’ve been a fan of Jester King for ages. After our very […]

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