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 — just Thursday night through Sunday — 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 — our first since Grace was born, our third in total — 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.

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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 — which feels like decades ago — 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 — 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.

August
In August, The Source Hotel + Market Hall invited me out to stay at the hotel and attend the New Orleans-style Bacchanal celebration.

September
In September we took a Labor Day trip to Frisco that was glorious and gorgeous and wonderful, and exactly what our little family needed to prepare for the hectic and crazy fall season.

October
October became a super fun month when we hosted Nan and Poppa on their surprise trip from Australia, and then headed over to Colorado Springs for a long weekend while we sold our house back home.

November/December
November and December have been filled with prepping a house to move and moving into our new place. We celebrated a low-key Thanksgiving with friends in town, prepped the house to host Christmas, I flew to New York for a super-quick holiday visit with some family, we hosted MomMom & Papa and Grandpa Robert and celebrated G’s 2nd birthday, and we are now relaxing and enjoying the final few days of the year with Ben & Lauren, Steph & Brian & Rosalie.

 

Going back through our adventures from this past year I am reminded of how truly, truly lucky and blessed we are. There have been times throughout this year when I’ve felt stressed and overwhelmed. There have been times I’ve felt like I wasn’t doing enough — whether that was with the girls, in my marriage, traveling, in my career or on this blog. The truth is, though, it truly was a wonderful year, and it really is a wonderful life. Life is what you make of it, friends, and if you’re lucky enough to make a great one, enjoy every moment.

Bis bald, friends – and cheers to all the adventures that 2020 will bring!

Last-minute Fall Getaways in Colorado Springs

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Happy Monday, friends! It’s been a little nuts around here lately, so when our realtor recommended that we go away for the weekend while she had our open houses to sell our home (yes … we’re selling our first-ever family home … and that’s all I have to say about that for now), I really balked at the idea. We’ve been so busy, and the girls have been sick, and all I really wanted to do was lay in my own bed all weekend (obviously not an option anyway) with a cup of hot chocolate and a book.

But we decided to go away, since leaving the house on the spur of the moment for hours a time for showings didn’t sound like much fun either … and at the end of the day, I’m glad we did. It was nice to get a little breather away from the house (which has been the center of a lot of our stress, to be honest) and to spend some time in the mountains in fall. We ended up booking this place in Colorado Springs, which was actually part of a larger home in a gorgeous neighborhood, but we had our own entrance and it was completely cut off from the rest of the house, so it ended up being really nice. Here’s what we ended up spending:

The Money Rundown: Colorado Springs, Colorado

  1. Accommodation: We paid $302.95 for two nights, even though we only ended up heading over there on Saturday morning. We wanted to be sure we had an early spot to get to so the girls could nap and we could unwind a bit. We also paid an additional $50 to check out later on Sunday.
  2. Food: We spent $59 on brunch on the way into Colorado Springs, and then spent $72.03 on groceries when we got there. We also got Chipotle for dinner for ourselves on Saturday night, but we had a two-for-one entree card so that was only $8 — score 😉
  3. Transportation: One of the best things about going to a place where we’ve already been numerous times was the fact that we didn’t feel pressured to do too much. We had some plans to see some different things, but the place had its own little playground on our side of the house, and Sunday turned out to be a horrible windy and cold day, so we ended up just hanging around the house, playing in the backyard, and watching movies in front of the fire. Oh and also playing some of the fun vintage video games they had in the house, like Pac-Man.
  4. Entertainment: See above … we spent $0 on entertainment.

TOTAL: $483.98

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^^ On the way into Colorado Springs we stopped off in Parker for an early lunch. Lotte was actually born in Parker, and we passed by the hospital where I had her, which brought back oh-so-many memories 😉 We had never been to the downtown area of Parker, though, and it was adorable!

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^^ Brunch at La Petite Creperie was delightful and hilarious. We ordered a chocolate and banana crepe, a strawberries and creme one, a ham and gruyere and a salmon and cream cheese one. The girls barely touched the sweet ones, with Lotte opting for the ham one and Grace lovin’ up on the salmon one. Kids, man. Just when you think you have them figured out …

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IMG_9161^^ To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about this place when we first drove up. You park in the driveway of the owner’s home, and then the entrance to the cottage is around the back and to the side. We definitely did run into the owners twice, so if you’d prefer a spot with total privacy, this isn’t for you. If you don’t mind potentially running into the people who you’re renting from, however, then this place is wonderful.

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^^ Views from the backyard.

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^^ The private playground for the girls was definitely a perk!

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^^ As were the vintage games, like this Pac-Man!

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^^ Just down the road was a goat paddock, and you could walk right up to the fence where the goats were grazing. We went to check them out Sunday morning, but we only ended up staying a couple minutes because of the wind.

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And that was our quick little getaway in a nutshell, my friends. It was fairly relaxing (although hard to be too relaxed when you’re thinking about what’s going on back at your home!), and the place really was a lot of fun. I hope you’re all spending as much time outside during this fabulous fall as possible … and cheers to a brand new week!

Bis bald!

A Very Special Surprise Visit From Aussie Nan & Poppa

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Happy October, friends! Oh my goodness — sometimes life just requires that you take a break from blogging … am I right? This is, without a doubt, one of the busiest seasons so far in my life. We’ve got the two babes and work and some big changes coming in the next few weeks … but despite all the madness, we always, always, always have room for a little fun. Enter … Nan & Poppa. These amazing, wonderful, generous in-laws of mine decided that they missed their grandkids, they found a decent flight, and they hopped on it and flew around the world to see them.

Sometimes, my friends, it’s as simple as that.

So for the past week and 1/2, we’ve been livin’ the high life with Aussie Nan & Poppa (and putting them to work, for sure, because of those forthcoming changes I mentioned earlier). Between the work, though, we went to three pumpkin festivals. We visited the Denver Zoo and the Butterfly Pavilion (both firsts for them), took G to a dance party at the library, dropped off and picked up Lotte from preschool, crafted, read books, watched favorite shows … and just oh-so-much more. There was also lots of snuggling since, of course, Lotte got strep throat for the last few days of their visit. Le sigh. Kids man. School man. Winter man. I’m not ready for it!

Here’s the thing about grandparents, though: The best ones can make the world a brighter, better place. Nan & Poppa do that for our kids, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

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Frisco, Colorado for the Perfect Labor Day Weekend

Our family of four hiking near Frisco, Colorado

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you all had a happy (and hopefully relaxing) holiday weekend. Chris & I took our lot to the mountains for a little getaway in Frisco, Colorado.  We had only been there once before when we stopped for breakfast on our way back from Beaver Creek two summers ago, and I made a mental note back then that we would have to come back and stay for longer. Plus, spending one of the final summer weekends in the mountains seemed like a good way to top off a summer of adventures.

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Keeping National Parks Pristine, One Clean-Up Event at a Time

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Happy Thursday, friends, and happy almost holiday weekend! We’ll be heading to the mountains for a couple of days, but before we left I wanted to spread the word about an amazing initiative that was recently brought to my attention. The program — called Adventure Responsibly — is being spearheaded by Travelodge by Wyndham, and they hosted a cleanup event at Rocky Mountain National Park this past Tuesday. Unfortunately I couldn’t make the actual event (you know, kids and all), but I am here to make sure all you lovely readers know about future ones, in case there is one happening near you that you might be able to join.

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The Top 3 Reasons We Love Living in Colorado With Kids

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Garden of the Gods, Colorado

There is a lot to love about living in Colorado, but to be honest, it took me a while to realize that. When we first moved here from New York City, I couldn’t help but compare Denver to Manhattan, and it just wasn’t the same. In our first few months in Colorado I missed the hustle and bustle of the city. I missed living three blocks from Central Park and walking down 3rd Ave. to my magazine job every morning. I missed the museums and the culture, the electricity and the craziness. And although I grew to like Denver as time went on, it wasn’t really until we moved to Arvada — and especially when we had Lotte, and then Grace — that my love of this place really flourished.

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Hiking a Colorado 14er: Quandary Peak

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My husband and his friend from New York have started a tradition of hiking 14ers, or mountains that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation, and this past weekend they took on the task of hiking Quandry Peak. Colorado has a lot of 14ers, and there are usually multiple ways you can get to the top, including hiking, mountain biking and, sometimes, even driving. (We did this for my birthday back in April when we visited Pikes Peak.) Needless to say, hiking a 14er isn’t on my Colorado Bucket List, so I’m glad that Chris has found a companion in Gavin to tackle these adventures.

I asked Chris to do a little write-up about the trip. Here’s what he had to say:

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The Source Hotel + Market Hall and a Bacchanal Celebration of All Things New Orleans

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Happy Monday, friends! This past weekend I was hosted by The Source Hotel + Market Hall, where I got to stay in a King suite (and soak in the glorious tub), shop at Market Hall, eat at their different restaurants and attend Bacchanal, a New Orleans-style wine, food and music festival that was held in the parking lot of The Source. Besides the fact that having a full weekend in a hotel all by myself was glorious (love you Chris & kids!), it was also a great opportunity to see all the ways that this particular Denver neighborhood — called RiNo — is really developing.

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The Rustic Wedding of Every Instagram Account’s Dream

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Happy Monday, friends! We spent the weekend in the Albany area for my cousin’s wedding, and it was, without a doubt, the most gorgeous wedding I have ever attended. The M&D Farm describes itself as a rustic chic farm for barn and garden weddings, and every one of those words describes the exact atmosphere of Alyssa’s stunning day. Although it poured right before the ceremony and they had to move that part inside, the rain stopped just in time for cocktail hour and for the rest of the night, so we could wander around and check out the grounds. We also rented a house in a town near the ceremony that had a pool and lake and lots of land for the girls to run around on, so all-in-all it was a pretty successful and fun weekend.

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