Sunday, June 26, 2011

the mile high graduation.

graduation season was in full swing last month and early this month! i usually just look longingly at the people around me graduating, missing my own, and not believing how long it has been since i did that. my cousin liana was graduating from colorado state this year in and i had seriously thought about going, but didnt think it would actually happen. a few weeks before nashville my mom informed that she and my dad were going so i should come too. however with it being 2 weeks after we got back from nashville i just wasnt sure i could afford it. then my mom informed me that we scored buddy passes from my aunt who works for fronteir. we could now fly for $55 roundtrip! now thats a deal i could get behind:) we soon booked our rental car and hotel where the rest of the family was staying and was on our way!

getting to the airport was quite the feet since the 3 of us were all coming from different directions. richard was not coming, so it was just me and my parents. i definitely missed him, but it was really nice to have some time with just them. the night before i had checked us in super easily even with the buddy passes so all we had to do was check our bag and meet at the gate. the one downside to buddy passes is that you must fly standby and it is all based on seniority. so since we were not the actual employees they ranked higher in getting on the planes then we did. we were shooting for the 620pm flight, but it was looking pretty full. there was only 1 seat open on the flight once they got to the standby people, so we decided to hold off for the 750pm flight instead because all 3 of us could get on the same flight. only issue with that was mom and i's bags were going to fly on the earlier flight to denver, that was going to be an adventure to track them down.

we arrived in denver pretty much on time about 1130pm with warm cookies from the flight in our bellies. we had made plans to meet the family at the mexican restaurant right next to our hotel once we arrived, except as soon as we landed we found out it was closed. mom and i hadnt really eaten dinner beacuse we were countin on margaritas! we did find our bags pretty easy, they actually flew on our same flight so it was even better. then on to hunt down our rental car. we got on the bus dashing through the chilly denver air getting sleepier and hungrier by the minute. i had taken care of the rental care with the tricks richard had shown me over our last couple of trips. mom was so set on having an suv that could fit at least 5-6 people, so thats what i ordered. we ended up with a chevy traverse and since i had ordered the car i got to drive for the whole weekend! i forgot what it was like to drive sitting up that high haha.
i really wanted to get it one, but there was security everywhere!
after making the half hour trek to parker where my family lives we were ready to eat somethin fast and crash. we checked into our hotel only to find that the key didnt work. so dad went back down the hallway to get the front desk clerk. he told us the key thing just needed new batteries and it work. in the meantime mom and i had found a doorbell and had to try it out. right after the guy changed the batteries someone opened the door from the inside and asked if they could help us! oops. we went back to the lobby for a new room assignment that also had someone in it! by this point it was well past 1am and mom and i were about to pass out from hunger. dad decided to stay and figure out the room situation while we went and found food. we grabbed uncle thomas on the way to the car and went on a late night adventure when most things are closed. after going the wrong way and desperately looking for anything open we found a sonic! that just made everything better. once we made it back to the hotel we found out there were no room available, they had mixed up our reservations, and we were moving to the hotel next door. at least we had a bed at this point. oh and lemon berry slushies:)
we woke up the next morning with only about 5 hours of sleep so we could sightsee before making the drive up to fort collins for the 7pm graduation. great plan, until pretty much everyone else punked out on us. they wanted to stay and clean, or do nothing till we had to leave. i had never been to denver and couldnt wait to go look around. so the 3 of us decided to go on our own! it was really cold for the 2nd week in may, good thing i had repacked. we had sooo much fun!! we stopped in at the coolest bookstore ever and had fantastic coffee. then we wandered around 16th street and people watched, souvenior shopped, and talked with kyle on the phone. one of the funniest things we say was the location of the cheeecake factory, it was underneath the healthclub! now thats motivation.
moms new friend.

my new friend:)
the tattered cover bookstore.

we had made the plan to met everyone at maggianos near the hotel for lunch before going back to the hotel to change and make the drive. well we got there and were the only ones there! uncle thomas and aunt lana had fallen back to sleep and werent hungry. aunt nettie and the girls had just had lunch at a mexican food restauraunt instead. we figured we were already there, and we love it, might as well eat here. it was amazing! and we had so many leftovers for later that night. the three of us chatting was so great, and dad gave me the greatest compliments:) we made our way back to the hotel for a quick nap and to change before meeting the rest of the family.

once we got on the road it had now started to rain. now by rain, i mean pouring!! we were crawling through denver on the freeway to get up the hill to graduation. it was awful and scary since i was driving a new car. we finally got out of the rain and made pretty good time the rest of the way. we were all going to hang out at liana's apartment, which is really close to campus, then all head over after her so we could find seats. once we got to her apartment she gets out and announces that she forgot her keys in denver so now we have to find somewhere else to hang out for an hour. luckily there were things across the street, we decided on starbucks:) however, while making the walk to the stadium i found out there was a freakin pita pit acorss the street we could have been eating at instead!

it was friggin cold up there! so we walked pretty quickly to the stadium which was packed when we got there. we found seats halfway up the side though where we could all sit. there was about 12 of us total, what can i say we have a big family, and thats only about half of us. we waited the standard time to get going. we found her really easily on the floor, thank goodness for cell phones. we of course yelled and screamed as soon as liana's name was called. she was even able to hear us while walking across the stage!

walking acorss the stage!
 they actually hussled them through darn quick! the whole ceremony was about 2 hours. part of the group though left soon after her name was called to go wait outside then decided it was too cold and they would go wait in the pizza place instead. the cool group then got to meet the brand new graduate outside and take pictures!
the ruiz family.

the las vegas crew.

the cool group that stayed.
we have 2 college graduates now!
we headed back to gather the other lame group so we could make the advenutre back to parker. by this time i was starving and so ready for the leftovers in our fridge. they were so worth the wait when we got back. mom and i dove right in and that cake, so in love. we crashed pretty soon after that so we could meet the rest of the group in the morning for brunch at a seafood kitchen. it had been decided to meet at 1030am so we could still be on time for the graduation party that early afternoon. we were headed out the door when we got the phone call that the other group was already there and eating and by the time we got there they would probably already be done. we decided to go anyway because we were hungry and actually had a lot of fun with everyone. they decided to stay and hang out, which turned out to be the best because kyle got to call! we passed him around the table and everyone got to say hi. it was definitely the highlight of breakfast :)

afterwards we all headed over to aunt liz's house for the party. it was mostly just hanging out with the family and more food. we are really good at the eating thing! we watched the girls open their graduation presents and of course rake in the cash. liana graduated from college saturday night and bethany was graduating from high school a few days later. i even became a little attached to liana's dog pedro.
the standard hill picture.

the kids, theres always one picture.
pedro was so cute! and very well behaved.
 we had a pretty tight time schedule to get back to the airport since it is about 40 minutes from their house. with returning the rental car and again being on standby we tried to stick to the schedule pretty tight. we made it to the airport no problem and returned the rental car with ease. we had checked in the night before but had to print our boarding passes at the gate. i realized as we were trying to print and check-in bags that we not met a single person working for fronteir that was pleasant. everyone was really rude and seemed so annoyed i was even asking a question. we hightailed it out of there pretty quickly to the gate to be met by the only nice people of the whole trip. they warned us the flight was not looking good for us, not many seats left. we were praying that we would because the next flight wasnt for 4 hours. apparently we are not that lucky, because we did not get on that flight and got to hang out in the lovely denver airport forever. ps there really isnt much going on in that airport. however the ben and jerrys is amazing!

the downside of renting an suv!

on the shuttle from the rental car to the terminal.
 after a 50 minute delay on top of the extra 4 hours we were already in the airport for we finally got on the plane. lesson learned: i will never, ever fly standby again! once we finally got back to vegas i was so glad to be home and to see richard. it was weird to sleep without him for a few nights. but it was really fun to hang out with my parents in a new place on our own. plus now i can cross denver off my list of places to visit!

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