So this past week we got to go home to America! Even though Doug has been back to the states for business, this was my first time back since we moved over here. I realized that while we were in America, we actually had our 6 month anniversary of moving to England. So this was my first time back to the great U.S.A. in 6 whole months. And it was so nice to be home (even though I didn’t even go to Indianapolis or Austin which would be the two places I would consider home)! We really packed a lot into our week long trip by traveling to Denver, Boulder, Vail, and Houston. And Doug is actually still in America at the moment. He added California onto the end of his trip because he had some work business to do out there.
So first up was a couple days in Denver and Boulder. Doug’s parents met us out there and we rented a house together. And it was actually hot there! I felt like I finally got to experience summer! In Denver, we decided to check out the Colorado state capitol because it is exactly one mile above sea level! However, that seems to be all the capitol has going for it. The Texas one is way better. It also had some sort of mini Washington monument out front.
Oh I forgot to mention that the very first thing we did once we got back in America was get some Mexican food!! Wow, I have definitely missed good tacos and margaritas!
We also explored Boulder for a little shopping. There was this really cool pedestrian-only area called Pearl street with a lot of unique shops. Robin and I enjoyed ourselves, although I don’t think the guys liked shopping as much as us. Boulder actually reminded me a lot of Austin, so it was sort of like being back home!
We also checked out Rocky Mountain National Park since it wasn’t too far from our rental house in Boulder. It was an awesome park, and you could see most of it the American-way: by driving. Yep, you could drive to all parts of the park, and reach really high points and great scenic overlooks. We saw some gorgeous views, and also some cool animals such as chipmunks and elk.
So even though you could see some really cool stuff by just driving around the park, Doug and I decided to go for a short 4.1 mile hike. The hike was pretty nice, and the best part was that it was all downhill! We saw some more chipmunks, birds, and deer, but nothing too spectacular. However, Doug’s parents saw a moose while we were on our hike, so maybe we should have stuck with them!
After our hike, we saw even more elk! There were some grazing just by the side of the road. I managed to get Doug into one of the pictures.
After a couple days with Doug’s parents exploring Denver and Boulder, it was time to head to Vail for the wedding festivities. Doug’s parents headed on to Yellowstone where they got to see even more wildlife. Doug and I rented our own car, and drove the couple hours out to Vail. Even though Vail is known as a ski resort town, it was just as nice to be there in the summer. The drive out there was really beautiful as well! The mountains and the scenery were spectacular.
So we went to Vail for my friend Rach’s wedding to Matt Balven. We arrived on the Friday before the wedding and immediately went on a horseback ride with Rach, the other bridesmaids, and their significant others. It was an awesome pre-wedding activity and was better than the alternative of manicures/pedicures. Not that I don’t like getting my nails done, but we wanted to experience some of Vail!
After the horseback riding, we all got cleaned up and ready for the rehearsal dinner. It was at Blue Moose Pizza in the Vail Village, and it was delicious! If you are going to Vail, I highly recommend it! And the Vail Village was really cute as well.
BTW, Rach also played tennis with me at SLU, so this was another S.L.U.T. (Saint Louis University Tennis) reunion. It was so nice to see all my tennis girls again, especially so soon after our European reunion. That Friday night we took over the hot tub in order to catch up.
The day on Saturday was filled with wedding activities! I love weddings, and Rach’s was especially great! Rach and her husband live in St. Louis, but one of their first trips together was to Vail, so they decided to have a destination wedding there. I’m so glad they did b/c it was a great place to visit!
The first activity on Saturday was a bridal brunch! We had an awesome buffet breakfast, complete with bottomless mimosas! And Rach opened all her gifts from us, most of which I won’t be posting pictures of because they were mainly lingerie! Haha!
After the bridal brunch, it was time to start getting ready for the wedding!! Rach had hired a couple of ladies to do all of our hair and make-up, so that made it pretty easy! We got to sit around in the hospitality suite while the ladies did all the work on us! I love being pampered like that!
Meanwhile, Doug did not need as much time to get ready as us girls, so he decided to spend the day mountain biking. Caitlin’s boyfriend, Joe, also joined him and they spent the day riding down the mountain.
So anyway, after we were all ready, it was time to head to the wedding. The actual ceremony was to take place on the top of the mountain at the Vail wedding deck. In order to get up there, you had to take the gondola to the top. As we arrived to the gondola, we noticed that it wasn’t running… uh oh! It turns out that there was lightning in the area and they had to temporarily stop the lift. However, they reassured us that as soon as it was clear to go, we would be the first ones up. However, as they were saying this, it was starting to rain!! We all ran into the little shelter at the bottom of the lift as it proceeded to pour down rain outside. I have no idea how Rach wasn’t freaking out, but we were all checking the radar on our phones, and assuring her that the storm was going to pass quickly.
So anyway, this was a pretty bad situation. The entire ceremony was supposed to be outside, and the back-up plan was this little room at the Marriott hotel. Imagine the difference between wedding pictures on a Vail mountain-top or in a hotel room? We were just praying for the storm to pass. Additionally, the guests (and the groom!) could be making their way to the gondola at any moment. Luckily, we were able to contact the groom and tell him to wait at the hotel bar, and to hold up the guests there. We didn’t want anyone to see the bride and her dress before the actual ceremony!
After about 45 tense minutes, the rain actually stopped!! Yes, we were so relieved! Our prayers had been answered! The gondola started up, and we were the first ones on the lift!
Once we were at the top, we were taken out of sight, and the rest of the guests made their way up. Finally we were ready for the ceremony, and we were only about 15 minutes behind schedule! Since Doug wasn’t in the wedding, I gave him the duty of taking pictures. I think he did a great job!
After the ceremony and picture taking, we partied the night away at the reception! It was a great time!
We stayed up celebrating pretty late that night, and then we had to get up at 3am in order to drive to Denver to catch our flight to Houston. That Sunday, our little nephew, William McIntosh Grant, was getting baptized! I am the godmother, so I really needed to be there. The baptism was scheduled for 3pm in Houston, so we had booked the 8am flight out of Denver. But guess what? Our flight was delayed!! Ahhh, I was freaking out. I still hadn’t met William in person, and I definitely wanted to be there for his baptism. Our flight was delayed over 2 hours (ugh, that could have been 2 extra hours of sleep!), but we finally made it to Houston. We pretty much stopped by my grandmother’s house to change clothes, and then headed to the church. And I finally got to meet William for the first time! Omigosh, he is just the most precious little baby ever! I fell in love with him instantly!
The baptism ceremony was actually many baptisms, with probably around 15 babies getting baptized that day. Luckily, William McIntosh got to go first! And he did a great job! He didn’t even get upset when they were anointing him with oil, or pouring water over his head.
After the baptism, they had a small get-together back at Ryan and Michelle’s place and it was really nice to catch up with a lot of my family members. Everybody wanted to know how England was, so I told them to read our blog! Hopefully they are reading it now! When my parents came over and we toured Scotland, we had gotten some Grant and McIntosh ties, so here are all the guys with their clan ties!
Doug and I stayed with Ryan and Michelle from Sunday through Tuesday so that we got plenty of time to play with Will! However, on Monday, we took a break from him so that we could drive over to Nederland, TX (small town near Beaumont) so that I could see my grandmother Mormor, great Uncle Eddie, Aunt Joanie, and cousin (also my maid of honor) Morgan. It was about a 1.5 hour drive from Houston, so we basically went over there for lunch and a little visiting, and then headed back. I’m really glad that we had the chance to see them because I’m not sure when my next opportunity will be!
After our quick lunch in Nederland, we headed back to Houston for more play time with William!
And that’s about it for the America trip! On Tuesday, I headed back to England, and Doug went to California. Next weekend we are going on a 3 day trip to Normandy, so look out for that blog post.