Father’s Day, the 2021 version

Happy day after Father’s Day to all you dads out there! I hope you were thoroughly spoiled and had just the best time with your loved ones. We’re in full-on packing/planning mode for our trip over here, but we did manage to get out to celebrate Chris for a bit, which was lovely. It was bagels and presents in the morning, followed by a short hike/walk to New Terrain Brewing Company, then a movie and dinner ordered in.

Glorious.

Anyway, wish us luck as we continue to prep for our cross-country adventure! Any advice for long car trips with littles? Send ’em my way!

Bis bald, friends!

Chris went for a run in the morning and came home to three very excited little ladies .. and the presents they had painstakingly picked out for him πŸ˜‰
You can park about a half mile from New Terrain and walk to the brewery, which is always a lot of fun. You walk behind an archery course, a dog park and a bike park, so there’s no end of things to keep the kids occupied watching.
Someone was particularly mesmerized watching the archers
It was Em’s first brewery experience, and she approved.
The girls have also been happy to get back out into the world, I think. They’ve been pretty happy with the outings …
Particularly where treat are involved!

The Long Road Ahead …

Happiness is Grace at a splash pad!

Welcome to Friday, friends! This week felt … long! As I mentioned in this post about returning to normal, the more things we tack on to our calendar, the more time just flies by. Seriously. End of June, where did you come from? Summer? What happened to Spring?! But I digress.

Drinks and dinner at a new-to-me restaurant β€” American Elm, in Denver β€” with a friend earlier this week felt surprisingly normal and refreshingly wonderful.

The biggest thing we have coming up β€” other than Father’s Day this weekend … happy early Dad’s Day to all your wonder fathers and father-figures out there! β€” is our road trip out east, which commences next Thursday. I will be using this weekend to do all. the. things. That includes making approximately 1,000 lists and ticking each and every thing off methodically as I go along. Any other list-makers out there? It’s the only way I can seem to get everything done these days! (This Smarter Travel packing list is a good place to start …) I’ll head back over here soon to list out our actual plan for the trip β€” kid-friendly (hopefully!) stops we’ll be making on the way out and back, what we actually packed, etc. β€” but for now I wanted to hop on and say happy Friday/happy weekend/happy Father’s Day/happy Summer/and happy Juneteenth! However and whatever you’re celebrating this weekend, I hope you make it a great one.

Last weekend we tried out Westminster Center Park β€” also referred to as Peter Pan Park β€” for its playground area and splashpad. Even though the splashpad was smaller than we were expecting, the girls had THE BEST time, and the playground β€” modeled after the movie Peter Pan β€” was so adorable!
Em enjoyed it, too!
That itty, bitty face … gets me every time <3
It’s been 90+ degrees here all week, which has meant lots of backyard, blow-up pool time for us!
Chris planted two rose bushes the other weekend β€” one for my Grandma and one for my mom β€” and they are starting to bloom.
Somewhere along the way, this little one turned six months old.
It was Dads and Donuts morning at Lotte & G’s summer camp this morning … no better way to celebrate, if you ask me!

Bis bald, friends!

Life Recently: Returning to “Normal”

Living that post-vaccine life … or getting there, at least!

Happy almost summer, friends! This year we have … plans?! For things to do?! And how crazy does that feel after the year and a half we’ve all just had? I mean honestly, a friend of mine mentioned that after she got her first shot she expected balloons to fall from the ceiling and a marching band to play. Obviously that didn’t happen, but what did happen was that we’ve started, slowly, to return to what our life looked like pre-Covid.

Lunch at an outdoor restaurant in Golden when my stepdad came to visit a few weeks ago. It was the first time we had physically been to a restaurant in more than a year, and man oh MAN did it feel good!

It definitely took me a while to get into the swing of things, but I’ve now gotten my hair done, we’ve had dinner at an indoor restaurant and guests and playdates at our home. We’ve started to open our lives back up, and while that’s awesome and amazing and wonderful, there’s a small part of me that still longs for the quiet days. The older girls are in summer camp from now until school starts in the fall, Lotte has started track and we have a monster road trip planned from Colorado out to New York (and back!) to see family we haven’t seen in more than a year, to head to the beach for a couple of days and to attend a wedding.

All of this feels … almost too good to be true. And while I’m grateful to be able to do these things β€” see our family, most importantly β€” I’m also staring at our (overfilled) calendar and remembering the days when there was nothing on it but to hang.

So I propose a challenge, dear friends, to bring back the things that give you joy in your life when you feel comfortable doing so, but to also say NO to more things that don’t. That’s a tough thing to do β€” especially when it involves keeping your littles from doing things β€” but for me, at least, I think that’s the only way I’ll stay sane as we dip our toes back into life.

Bis bald, friends … and stay safe out there!

My birthday celebration back in April … I felt the same way the girls did about the cake, I just hid it better than they did πŸ˜‰
Real Simple helped me with our Easter table this year, and I could not have been more pleased. Was it just me, or has anyone else out there become obsessed with home goods during lockdown, as well?
Two of my three Easter bunnies <3
Outdoor parks and playgrounds continue to be our preferred places to hang, but we’re slowly opening up to indoor playdates and dinner parties, too, which feels oh-so-lovely.
Lotte went spring skiing with her dad again at A-Basin, and we even got her a season pass for next year. I love that she’s loving this sport, and I can’t wait until we can all go together as a family!
We honored my Mom on the 5th anniversary of her death with a family Zoom and, of course, making her (in)famous cinnamon buns.
The girls continue to find happiness in everything they do, which is truly the most inspiring.
This crew has become very good at finding new playgrounds to enjoy … and Em is just along for the ride.
My stepdad came to visit! We surprised the girls and they were SO EXCITED! It was truly adorable. Not to mention that Grandpa was the first grandparent that Em got to meet. It was a happy, happy time.
We headed to Golden with Grandpa, which is one of our favorite spots to bring guests. It truly never disappoints.
And we ate at a RESTAURANT! The Golden Mill just opened up along the creek, and it was so lovely to be out and about in a way that we hadn’t in so long.
That outdoor beer life <3
Emilia, taking in those mountain views.
These girls are picnic pros at this point!
Our little preschool graduate! Lotte is off to kindergarten in the fall, and honestly, I cannot talk about it …
Lotte has also started track! Which of course makes Chris endlessly proud …
Track star.
Chris & I dressed the girls in their best purple for a little “hike” around Evergreen Lake this past weekend as part of an event that my alma mater β€” JMU β€” was sponsoring. It was so nice getting outside with them and sporting those JMU colors!
Evergreen Lake views are pretty magnificent.
Ever-the-rebel.
The majestic mountain/water combo.
Evergreen Lake
The perfect day for a lake walk.
We also got family photos taken recently to celebrate adding little Em to our family, and I am SO HAPPY with how they all came out!
Big & Middle, always being monkeys <3
And our newest angel, who is truly just the sweetest child in all the world.
Our trio <3 <3 <3
Bis bald, friends! Hope your summer(ish) season is off to a great start!

Back in the (Travel) Saddle, Again

Oh hi there, friends … remember me?! If you don’t, I am not offended. My last post on this website was September 1, 2020, but even then, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot to report. Sure, the past year has been pretty busy β€” we had a baby, Chris started a new job and became a U.S. citizen (he has dual Australia/U.S. citizenship now … wahoo!), we both tried to hold on to some semblance of our careers while watching two children from home full-time. However, because of the pandemic, there was also a heck of a lot of nothing that happened. My trip back to New York with Lotte in February of 2020 was my last flight, and Chris’s trip back to Australia in February was his. Those were the last times that we saw our family, as well. If only we could have known what was coming … am I right?

Anyway, it’s been a rough 12+ months for everyone, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, my friends. Although Chris and I haven’t been able to get vaccinated yet, just knowing it’s right around the corner β€” and seeing the numbers drop from the people who have been vaccinated already β€” is such a joy. So, with all of that in mind, Chris and I decided to pack up the car with our brand new family of five, and to head out on a vacation that was as safe as it could possibly be. Rather than taking a super-long car ride, we opted to head into the mountains, to one of the spots that we’ve loved in the past: Granby Ranch. We stayed at a little Airbnb in the Blue Sky Trail area, which was the perfect location for skiing (the older two girls got their first lessons!), as well as quickly getting to a beautiful hike in Rocky Mountain National Park and checking out the most adorable Grand Lake area, which had the cutest little town and, as you might have guessed, a very grand lake πŸ˜‰ The lake was frozen, so we were able to walk out on it, which I think the girls found to be pretty fun.

Grace is never happier than when she’s running into wide, open spaces!

Before I get into the fun parts of the trip, and the amazing pictures (because, Colorado), let me just say … Chris and I were pretty surprised at the level of difficulty this trip reached. We’ve traveled with a 3-year-old before, but every 3-year-old is different and, if I can just say, our current 3-year-old can be quite sassy, to put it delicately. When we were out and about exploring, everything was pretty great for the most part, but when we were back in the cabin, things tended to get a bit hairy. To be fair, thanks to the pandemic, Grace probably doesn’t even remember the trips that she has been on in the past, so she’s not used to being on an extended adventure. I was looking back at pictures of her last trip, and wow she was so little! Chris and I kept reminding ourselves that this, right now, with a 4.5 and 3-year-old and a six-month-old, will likely be the hardest it’ll be for us in terms of traveling. At the end of the day, the minute you get home, the stressful moments tend to either fade away or become funny memories, so it’s almost always worth it, or at least it has been so far, in our experience.

What about you guys? Any other readers out there traveling with littles? Care to share any tips and tricks to make it magically easier?!

While I wait for that advice to roll in, here’s a look at our trip in pictures ….

Lotte, Emilia and Grace, ready to hit the road!
Chris, Lotte and Grace, adventuring out on the lake.
Okay, so maybe we didn’t actually make this snowman – hah! But we did enjoy posing with him!
Just a couple of ladies on the ice … cue the Frozen soundtrack πŸ˜‰
We wrangled the kids to take a quick selfie when we got out on the lake in Grand Lake.
Grace might seem uninterested, but I’m happy to have gotten this shot of the three of us in front of the lake.
Lotte, Grace & Emilia cuddled up on our couch in the cabin.
We stopped for lunch at the top of our hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. The terrain was icy in spots, but I’m glad we stuck with it!
Anyone else have a trick to get a sassy 3-year-old to smile for pictures?!
We were honestly very impressed with both of the big girls on this hike … they took it like champs! Lotte even walked the whole thing β€” about a mile β€” by herself.
This gorgeous view was a short but steep hike about three minutes from our cabin in Granby Ranch.
It was windy and freezing at the top of the hill, but we just had to stop for a quick family selfie!
Lotte and Grace had their first ski lessons on this trip, and I was honestly so proud of both of them! Lotte especially loved it, and I think Grace will come to love it more with time, as well.
They look a little weathered here because this was after their lessons … but I HAD to get a pic of the two of them with their adorable little set of skis!
If we offer the girls hot chocolate after every ski lessons, I’m pretty sure they’ll always be happy to oblige πŸ˜‰

And that, my friends, was our little trip in a nutshell. We packed a lot in, while still trying to be as socially distanced and as safe as we could. I’m glad that we were able to get away, for however short of an amount of time. We were all so happy to be back home, even though we’ve spent pretty much every day here for the past year, which was a nice feeling. Now, with some more trips planned for the summer, it’s starting to feel like things are getting back to normal, and we are HERE. FOR. THAT. Hope you guys are all finding some moments of happiness amidst this craziness and, until next time … BIS BALD!

Life Recently: The 2020 Edition

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Oh, friends, where to begin. I certainly hope this blog post finds you … well?? Who even knows what to say anymore. I hope this blog post finds you … sane? The answer to that probably depends on a number of factors, including where you live. Who you live with. What your work situation is. And any number of other things that we could have never known would have such an impact on us for such an extended period of time.

For my own part, 2020 has been, like most people, a series of highs and lows. (But, let’s be honest, mostly lows.) My last trip was in February, and while I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to take that trip β€” and with Lotte, no less β€” I sure do miss travel. And my family. And regular life. We had to postpone indefinitely a trip to Spain with Chris’ parents that we had all really been looking forward to, not to mention all the other little trips throughout the year that we likely would have taken, back to New York to see friends and family, to the mountains, to other states. Who knows. What 2020Β could have been isn’t worth contemplating. In the meantime, besides travel, my grandmother passed away from Covid, and because I live in Colorado, I had to miss her memorial. I missed my nieces baptism. I missed my Mom’s annual MS fundraiser. We’ve missed holidays (and probably will continue to miss holidays) with friends and family. We’ve had low moments at home, moments of exhaustion and frustration and sadness. We’ve cried. Lotte has missed out on a year’s worth of preschool experiences, learning and making friends. My heart broke the other day when she leaned in before bed and whispered, “Mom, I’m lonely.”

Amidst the sadness, we’ve managed to have some of the most amazing moments, as well. With Chris working from home, he’s spent way more time with the girls than he ever was able to in the past, and he’s home for dinner every single night. (Hell, heΒ makes dinner every single night πŸ˜‰ We’ve gone out of our way to find new, fun, hopefully empty places to explore. I met two big career milestones (you can read them here and here), all while trying to keep my kids entertained and ignore a worldwide pandemic. Plus, above all else, I’m pregnant. Pregnant with our third and final child, in a world that has forced me to attend every doctor’s appointment by myself (with Chris on Facetime) and in a mask. Throughout the lows and highs, we’ve tried hard to keep breathing, and to focus on the here and now, the things that we can control, whatever little that might be. The girls are healthy. We are healthy. We are incredibly lucky to be in a position where Chris and I can both work from home, and keep the girls home until we feel safe enough to send them back to school.

And for now, that’s all that really matters. I’m thinking of all of you, and livin’ on a prayer that this will all be a memory in the near future.

Bis bald, friends.

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^^Pretending to be ballerinas and dancing to scenes from the Nutcracker have become a pandemic activity favorite.

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^^Β So incredibly thankful that we moved before the pandemic, and that we have this amazing play area in the backyard for the girls to get their energy out on!

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^^Β Also thankful for all of the wide open spaces that Colorado provides.

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^^Β Not gonna lie β€” we haven’t minded having Chris around more to cook, either …

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^^Β We are such huge fans of the zoo, so we were so happy when they finally opened back up, allowing only small groups of people in at once, all of whom must be wearing masks.

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^^Β We’ve met up twice with friends and their kids, which was glorious for the kids, and only somewhat nerve-rackingΒ for the adults.

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^^Β Lotte has really missed flying, so I took the girls out to the airport one morning, parked in a nearby parking lot, and we watched the planes take off. It was gloriously delightful.Β 

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^^Β So far we’ve had my birthday, both Mother’s and Father’s Day, and Lotte’s birthday during quarantine. Chris is next in October, then G in December. I’m most proud about the fact that Lotte had a great birthday, complete with a masked-up trip to The Wild Animal Sanctuary.Β 

IMG_8841IMG_8842IMG_9166IMG_9327IMG_9400IMG_9401IMG_9494IMG_9495IMG_9535IMG_9599IMG_9600IMG_9602IMG_9628^^ Lotte started her virtual preschool classes today, which is this final picture. I’m so incredibly sad that she won’t be in-class making actual, face-to-face friends, but I’m so incredibly grateful for a school that even offers virtual preschool, a teacher who is trying her darnedest to make it fun, and for the fact that she’ll be able to connect with other littles her age, albeit virtually, at least until the new year.Β 

Solo Mother-Daughter Dates Back to New York

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Welcome to mid-February, friends! This year, as expected, is already breezing by. And this year, as expected, has already been filled with its fair share of ups and downs, highs and lows. Sadness and happiness. This is life, am I right?

On one of the happier notes, Lotte and I just returned from a solo mom/daughter trip back east to celebrate my niece Rosalie’s first birthday. I can’t believe how quickly that year flew by, so I can only imagine how her parents must feel. This trip was super quick β€” just Thursday night through Sunday β€” but it was so amazing. We got to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the fam, I got to visit my grandmother, we celebrated Ro at her first birthday party and saw so many friends and family<3 Going back east is always a whirlwind, but it’s never not worth it. And this solo trip with Lotte β€” our first since Grace was born, our third in total β€” was so much fun. At 3.5, Lotte is at, I believe, the perfect travel age. Despite the fact that she’s traveled quite a bit, flying on an airplane is still magical to her (as it should be!), and she has the best time eating snacks, watching shows, coloring, reading … basically all of her every day activities are made that much more fun when they’re done mid-air.

Continue reading “Solo Mother-Daughter Dates Back to New York”

2019: A Year in Review

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A very merry, bright and happy holiday season to all of you! It has been super quiet on here lately because, to be honest, the final few months of this year have been the busiest of our lives. Selling a house, buying a house, having two small children and jobs has basically consumed all of our time. We are very happy to be spending some down time at the end of this year with Chris’s brother and his wife (visiting from Australia!), as well as with my sister and her husband and their baby. It’s a quieter holiday than we’re used to, and we are very happy about it! Before the clock strikes New Year, I wanted to take a second to round up a year that included our daughters’ first-ever international trips, my first-ever girlfriend getaway since having kids, Chris & my first-ever overnight trip away from the girls, my first-ever Mom-daughter trip with G, a lot of fun press trips, the happiest amount of trips back to New York, and a bunch of other fun mountain getaways sprinkled in, as well.

Hope you are all having fabulous, relaxing holidays with your loved ones – and cheers to a fabulous 2020!

January
The beginning of this year β€” which feels like decades ago β€” started out with our little family having the time of our lives visiting friends and family in Australia (here, here and here). We had about a week back in the states before Grace and I turned around and took our first-ever solo Mom-daughter trip out to New York for my sister’s baby shower. It truly was amazing to be able to start our year off in such a spectacular fashion …

February
In February we welcomed Auntie Kate into our home for a three-month visit, which included a trip out to Granby Ranch for some snowboarding, hikes in Golden and day dates in Evergreen.

March
March was a special month, when the whole family flew out to New York to meet baby Ro for the first time. We also said a sad farewell to Auntie Kate at the end of the month, but at least we sent her home in style.

April
We celebrated my birthday in April by driving up to the top of Pike’s Peak, which was my first-ever 14er experience. I closed out the month of April by meeting up with a girlfriend in Nashville for my first-ever girlfriends getaway since having babies.

May
My lovely husband surprised me for my birthday by getting me another solo trip in May β€” this time over Memorial Day weekend, and out to New York to visit my sister and new niece, all by myself <3

June
June was a very fun month when I flew out to Massanutten, Virginia for a press trip with my best friend from college. We even stopped by JMU for a quick tour before heading into the mountains.

July
July was an epic month for us, as well. A new gig as the Denver Ambassador for Happy Active Family kept me busy exploring our area with the girls (a taste of some of our outings can be found here, here, here, here, and here), and we all flew out to New York for the end of July/early August to celebrate Lotte’s birthday, take some family photos, visit New York City with the girls and attend my cousin’s wedding.