The Summer of Yes

It’s Red Rocks concert season, ya’ll!

Happy August, friends! Man, oh man, did that summer fly by! I mean, I know it’s technically still summer, and for most of the country, kids are still out of school. Here in Colorado, though, we’re gearing up for the return of the school season (TOMORROW!), and all the insanity that comes with it.

Traditionally speaking, summer has never been my favorite season. I obviously loved having the time off from school when I was a kid, but as an adult, the heat and humidity, long, lazy days … it’s just not really my thing. So, after returning from New York at the start of the girls’ summer vacation, I vowed to make this year different. I vowed to say yes. Yes to more concerts and more shows. Yes to more swimming and more adventures. Yes to being out in the (hot!) world more. The older girls would be in summer camp for the majority of the break, but I also wanted Emilia to have a stellar time. I enrolled her in swim lessons and a couple half days of camp. I made an Emilia Summer Bucket List and slowly ticked things off as the weeks went by. We took more walks, went to story times at the library and got her a scooter.

All of this is to say … this summer, I changed my own personal narrative. Don’t get me wrong. I was still very tired and had moments of absolute stress. We had illnesses and bumps and bruises and fought boredom (and each other), for sure. But overall, this was a summer for the books, and we didn’t even travel until the last few weeks of it. We made fun in our own backyard, as it were, and I’m here for the results, experiences and memories.

I hope you’re all making the most of any breaks that have come your way, as well!

Library Story Time!

The first-ever toddler story time visit for Emilia was a huge hit! We made it back a few more times throughout the summer and she walked in like she owned the place. I can’t with this little one. I simply. Can. Not.

The Denver Zoo

I took Emilia to the zoo by herself for the first time, and the way that she loved setting our agenda was a delight. Highlights included picking up dirt, eating snacks and watching construction vehicles πŸ˜‰

We went back to the zoo for Lotte’s birthday because Chris’ parents got us the Feed the Giraffes Experience, and it was EPIC! So much fun!

Look at those magnificent animals!
Look at those tongues!

Taste of Fort Collins

We made a trip out to Fort Collins in early June to celebrate my bestie’s Big Birthday! We went to the Taste of Fort Collins all together, and I returned later that night with Moe to watch The All-American Rejects perform.
We also made our own pizzas in Moe’s sister’s outdoor pizza oven, and now we can never go back to boxed!

Red Rocks, Red Rocks & More Red Rocks!

I hadn’t been to Red Rocks as much in my eight years of living in Colorado combined as I have this season … including one more to come in September that I’m SO EXCITED FOR!

Chris and I saw the Barenaked Ladies perform at Red Rocks (with openers Del Amitri and Semisonic) and it was SO WONDERFUL! They were awesome performers, and it was really fun to relive my high school days with Chris <3
I went to Yoga on the Rocks (which is exactly as it sounds … performing a yoga class on the stairs at Red Rocks!) with some friends in July. I had been once before with Chris’ sister a few years ago and O.M.G. it is a delight. Red Rocks is always wonderful, but to be doing something so calming and meditative while you’re out in this gorgeous venue in nature … it’s really something else.
My baby is growing up. I took Lotte to her first Red Rocks concert this summer. We tailgated with PB & J in the parking lot and hung out until 9:30 listening to Tori Amos under the stars. It was a magical night.
Red Rocks at night with my big girl <3

Swim Lessons For Em

Emilia started swim lessons and she has been loving it. As she’s gotten further into them it’s gotten harder for mom (lots more going under the water … yikes!), but I have so loved having this experience with her while I’m still an active part of her lesson. We didn’t start the big girls in lessons until they were old enough to go in themselves. This feels so special.

Junkyard Social Club

We visited the Junkyard Social Club in Boulder, a very cool cafe/play area that takes junk from around Boulder and turns it into fun play structures for kids!

Playdates, Playdates & More Playdates

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … we got SO LUCKY with our neighborhood.

Father’s Day Delights

For Father’s Day we took the girls to their first movie β€” Elemental β€” at The Alamo Drafthouse. The movie was super cute, but more than that the experience β€” sitting in an amazing theater ordering food and drink DELIVERED TO YOU β€” was so much fun! That was definitely NOT how I went to the movies with my parents as a kid … but then again, nothing is the same from when I was a kid…
We had Father’s Day dinner at Freedom Street Social, a cool food hall that opened in Arvada with lots of different restaurant options in one spot. Look at these cuties that I get to call my own … <3

Camp, Camp & More Camps!

The girls have mostly gone to camps at the YMCA, but they took a break from the Y for a week to attend two different camps β€” drama and art β€” with friends at the Arvada Center and they loved it!
Here’s Grace in front of some of her artwork on display at the end of the week. My little love.

Ralston Central Park & Splash Pad

I finally took Emilia to the Ralston Central Park & Splash Pad! It was PACKED with camp kids (as were most of the places we visited this summer), but she had so much fun.
I’ve so loved our adventures this summer, little one. Please stop growing up.

Touristing With Visitors

Chris had a cousin come visit near the beginning of July, and so the girls got to do some adventuring with Matt, as well.
We sure do love our visitors!
When Grandpa came to visit we checked out Immersive Disney, which was so cool!
The girls had the best time running around and listening to some of their favorite Disney songs. (So did the adults, to be honest!)
The girls even got to check out a Rockies game β€” on Stars Wars night, so less β€” with Grandpa!

Birthday Parties!

We’ve had a couple of summer birthday parties to attend, including this one which took place at Clear Creek Valley Park, a new-to-us spot that is definitely a place we’ll be revisiting. It was so cool!

Camp for Emilia, Too πŸ˜‰

Emilia’s first camp! She went for four morning sessions at My Gym and had a great time! It was the first time I ever dropped her off somewhere and left and it was … hard. But I made it through πŸ˜‰

The Book of Mormon

Chris and I saw The Book of Mormon at the Denver Center for Performing Arts and it was SO GOOD!
Parents gone wild.

Children’s Museum of Denver

Emilia and I visited the Children’s Museum of Denver on a rainy day in the summer. Translation: IT WAS PACKED! Adventures were still had.
More like amazin’ Emilia <3

Milestones & Makin’ Memories <3

This has nothing to do with saying yes to adventure, but it’s worth noting that Grace and Lotte lost a collective FOUR TEETH (two each) this summer! They kept the tooth fairy busy.
Chris’ version of a “yes” summer was trying out lots of new recipes. His family was happy to oblige him in his efforts. This was the lobster roll and homemade coconut oil chips he made for July 4th. Yes and yes, please!
Grace read ‘Dragons Love Tacos’ before bed one night and asked for tacos the next day. Dad made it happen πŸ˜‰
Don’t worry. We made sure to have plenty of down time for snuggle sessions, as well.
I took the girls out for dinner and ice cream to celebrate the last full day of camp. We love The Golden Mill for its multiple restaurants and live music and festive atmosphere. It was the perfect way to celebrate a camp-filled fun summer!

Urban Air

Dad took the big girls on a trip to Urban Air, which is always a big hit.

Our Neighborhood Block Party

Our neighborhood had one of its twice-annual block parties the night before July 4th. It’s always so much fun to see everyone, especially ….
All the cute kiddos <3 This is like a third of them!

The Indigo Girls in Fort Collins!

I saw so much amazing live music this summer, including the Indigo Girls at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins with Moe and her sister. I was truly reliving those glory days of high school this summer!

Mordecai Children’s Garden (the Denver Botanic Gardens)

I took all three girlies to visit the Mordecai Children’s Garden β€” a separate section of the Denver Botanic Gardens β€” when the big girls were off of camp during the week of July 4th. We hadn’t been in years (and Emilia had never been!) and they had the best time!

Big Soda Lake in Bear Creek Lake Park

Emilia and I finally got to tick Big Soda Lake in Bear Creek Lake Park off our to-checkout list! Park entrance is $10 for a daily pass (that usually gets you in and out, unless it’s a particularly crowded day), and the lake area is so cute! The beach part is on the small side, so I’d suggest going early, but there is a great sectioned-off area for little people, a playground, free life jackets to borrow and a snack stand. Plus, you can get really adventurous and rent (or bring your own) canoe to paddle out into the lake on.
So pretty … you can even see Red Rocks in the background on the other side.

Yard Sale Sunday!

We had a yard sale! Made a couple bucks, sold some of our fave things to some cute families, taught the girls some solid lessons and donated a LOT of stuff to Goodwill. It was a solid way to spend a Sunday πŸ˜‰

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Emilia and I visited the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on a delightfully quiet Thursday. She (and I) had a ball.

Press Trips x 3!

We were lucky enough to be able to go on not one, not two, but THREE press trips this summer. I can’t write a lot about them just yet, but once the story is out, I’ll post more details. For now I’ll just share the where ….

The first was Grand Colorado on Peak 8, which was a pure delight.
We got to visit the Breckenridge Troll on this trip, too!
Our second stop was the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek! We’ve only been to Beaver Creek once before but we LOVED it, and this hotel was STUNNING. So. Much. Fun!
Mountainside s’mores by the fire pit. Like I said … Too. Much. Fun!
Our third and ALL TIME FAVORITE was C Lazy U Ranch outside of Granby. The extent to which we loved this place β€” and the extent to which it was incredibly difficult to only include a few photos here β€” was a whole heck of a lot <3
Breakfast Friday morning was a real highlight …
And we all (except for Emilia) got to ride horses!
Am I a little bit proud of us? Why yes, yes I am.

Tiny Town

When my stepdad was in town for Lotte’s birthday, we took Emilia to check out Tiny Town, a cute little kids’ play area in the mountains that has a bunch of small, kid-sized buildings that make up a “town” they can play in, plus a playground and a train. So cute <3

Such teeny tiny cuteness!
These two <3 They sure are cute together!

Lair o’ the Bear Park

Taking Emilia to visit Lair o’ the Bear Park was the final tick I needed to complete her Summer of Fun Bucket List. It was even better that the girls had the week before school started off and the four of us got to visit together <3

These cuties had a blast exploring on a beautiful Monday morning.
Dipping our toes in the creek was a highlight!
I love, love, LOVE adventuring with my little ladies.

PHEW! And now, the girls start school tomorrow. We’ve bought backpacks and new clothes, gotten haircuts and had our doc check-ups. I don’t know what to say about the fact that time keeps on flying. Except that I’m sure glad I said yes to this summer, and that we’ve all had these experiences. Starting the summer in New York with our loves was the absolute best, and we did our best to keep the party going all season long. It’s been a summer I won’t forget.

Bis bald, friends … until next time!

Kicking Off the Summer in NYC: The Final Installation

These ridiculously adorable subway shirts were courtesy of our besties, Fiona & Jake.

Welcome to the final installation of our time in NYC β€” Days 4, 5 & 6. They were chock full, and I will do my best to edit, but honestly, we all know I love a good photo. Here’s what we got up to.

Day 4: Prospect Park, Pizza & Baseball

We had tickets to see the Mets play (and beat!) the Phillies on Tuesday night, so we had a bit of more relaxing day. We took Simon the Pup to Prospect Park, had stoop-side pizza for lunch and even managed short catnaps.

We felt like a real Brooklyn fam, with our wagon and our cute pup.
Poor Simon sure would have loved a romp. Of course there was no way I was letting that happpen!
Pizza!! Now that G has discovered her love of hot cheese pizza, it’s literally allllll she wants to eat.
And who can blame her.
A favorite activity on this trip was sitting on Carla’s stoop, waving and saying hey to everyone passing by. Not one of them didn’t smile and wave back <3
YUM!

After a quick rest, Chris ran over my friend’s place to pick up their car so we could drive to the game. We paid about $50 for parking up in the VERY front, but it was worth every. single. penny. No regrets at all. The ride was about an hour there and 40 minutes back (minus the traffic), and being on our own schedule was priceless. We weren’t sure how long we’d be staying. Turns out … the girls love baseball! Or at least the fanfare involved with it.

We’re off!
We’ve arrived!
It was such a beautiful night for sitting out and watching some baseball.
Ice cream was a big hit, obviously.
As was Emilia’s slushy.
She was blue for days after!
Nosebleed seats were the way to go with this gang. We didn’t feel bad getting in and out 20,000 times, the kids are up and down and all over, and it was pure delight.
Thanks for putting on a great first game for these girlies, Mets!

Day 5: Playgrounds, Fiona’s play, Lunch dates with Mom, DUMBO & Jane’s Carousel

Grandpa came back into the city to see us Wednesday night and we headed over to Dumbo for Grimaldi’s pizza, rides on Jane’s Carousel and to check out the Time Out Market. Before that, though, Chris took the girls on a playground hunt, Lotte and I saw Fiona perform a play at her school, and I took my three little ladies out for a special lunch in the neighborhood.

City playgrounds just hit better.
Love for Fiona after her school play.
Lunch with my best ladies <3
We went to Sweet Chick which, once I figured out how to use the online menu, was SO GOOD.
That night we stopped at Grimaldi’s to pick up our pizzas before heading over to Jane’s Carousel.
Which was every bit as magical as I imagined it would be.
I mean … look at that face!
It was way too much.
And my <3 explodes.
The Time Out Market was also very cool, and had a ton of great food and drink options.
Besties for life.
And look at those views!
There’s always room for ice cream.
And the sun set on our second to last day in the city.

Day 6: The High Line and the Color Factory

Thursday was our last full day, since our flight out was 7 a.m. Friday. Sadly, Chris had to work, but I took the girls to visit the High Line, we met up with Fiona and Jake at their favorite place, the Color Factory, and Faye and her kiddos and my sister and Rosalie met us back at Carla’s for a farewell dinner that night.

The High Line never disappoints.
Finding a food truck nearby with vegan smoothies that Emilia could also eat was a total score!
These cuties walked a ton this day, I was so proud of them!
Come for the nature vibe, stay for the food and artwork.
Oh and the views. Definitely also come for the views!

After the High Line we walked about 2.5 miles (with Grace and Lotte swapping out of the second seat of Carla’s double stroller, but really, Grace basically walked the whole thing!) to the Color Factory. This place is crack for kids. They had the best time running around like crazy and, of course, I didn’t mind the opportunity for super cool pics πŸ˜‰ They actually give you a card with a QR code on it when you enter, though, and there are spots to take pictures throughout that get emailed to you. For free. Can’t think of any other place that does that!

A riot of colors from the very entrance!
Drawing their partner on the other side.
As you can imagine, the confetti room was a big hit!
A blur of color!
This is the quiet dance room, where everyone puts on headphones with the same music and dances around <3
Lotte is in a big dancing phase, so this room was definitely a favorite!
The photos from the Color Factory in this room β€” shared later β€” were amazing.
And the final room. The ball pit. OBVIOUSLY another huge hit!
Even though Emilia couldn’t even stand in it without being completely submerged, she was in love.
Plus ice cream to round out the visit — what an awesome place!
Ball pit photo via the Color Factory <3
Confetti room photo via the Color Factory <3
More confetti!
The Wheel Room!
More wheels …
Ugh with these cuties!
Final wheel photo … I swear πŸ˜‰
Such a fun experience, and so great we got to share it with friends!

After the Color Factory we met everyone back at Carla’s for our final dinner. It was the perfect way to end our perfect NYC trip.

Watermelon outside for all!
The love I have for this gang is … a lot.

And that was our trip in a nutshell, friends. It was full of so many amazing and fun things. We had the perfect weather. And Grace found/was covered in no less than five ladybugs, so my mom was absolutely there in spirit.

Until next time New York …. we sure do love you!

We’re onto summer things now (camp, swim, play dates, etc.), and we have a press trip coming up in August that I’m super excited about. Then we have an awesome Europe trip planned for Christmas. I’m trying not to wish the year away for that trip to arrive, but it’s hard because dang I’m so excited! But until then, you know what I say … bis bald, friends! I hope you all have wonderful summers planned.

Kicking Off the Summer in NYC: Part II

Welcome back, friends! After our first day of welcoming summer by galavanting around New York City, we really kicked it up a notch for Memorial Day. Adventures included:

It was the sweetest of days with some of our besties <3

American Museum of Natural History

With so many amazing museums in NYC it can be hard to pick just one for kiddos, but I’m sure glad we went with this one. We only had time for our two extra experiences, the dinosaur exhibit and the Room With the Whale, but gosh was it worth it.
This Invisible Worlds exhibit was giving Meow Wolf vibes, but with a much better story and on a much more tame scale.
How small do your problems seem in an exhibit like this, though. I mean, really.
The girls LOVED it!
Dinosaurs were a huge hit too, obviously.
Rawwwwwring like dinosaurs!
Even Em was intrigued <3
I wasn’t sure how the 30-minute planetarium show would go over, but the girls loved it! And Carla, Fiona & Jake were able to join us, too.
The whale room never disappoints.
Cuties.

Alice’s Tea Cup

After the museum we walked over to Alice’s which, while thoroughly expensive (it was a full tea service that, let’s be honest, mostly got thrown out) was a true NY experience, as well. I’m really glad we did it!

“What’s this stuff?!”
The whole gang. And how gorgeous is this room?!

Central Park

We left Alice’s around 2:30 and had reservations at 4 for Top of the Rock, so we took our time wandering through Central Park to get there.

Good ole’ Uncle Brizz.
Enjoying live music at Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Top of the Rock

This is one of Chris’ favorite spots in the city, so it was fun to take the girls there to experience the city the way that birds do <3

Walking through the Rockefeller Center area is always a joy, too.
Chris had some extra help pulling the baggage.
Gotta love a girl who only loves her snacks, no matter where she may be!
More cuteness <3
So much love for this girl of mine <3
And this one <3
And all of them!
Plus this one. Carla. My freshman year roommate at JMU, whom I’ve known for 22 years (yikes!). We’ve been to Germany & Salzburg & Nashville together, survived college and our first years as babies living in NYC. She’s a doll and I love her immensely <3

After a very long day, it was back on the subway to head to our home away from home.

Seeing the sites is one thing, but catching up with your loves … that’s everything.

Until next time, friends … bis bald!

Kicking Off the Summer in NYC: Part 1

Ah friends, welcome to summer! Or at least, it’s summer for us! The school year ended the week before Memorial Day, so we decided to head on out! For as often as we visit New York state, we had yet to actually stay for multiple days in the city itself.

So we decided to change that.

Through the incredible generosity of a good friend of mine from college, we were able to stay in an awesome Brooklyn apartment for free, and spend our money on all. the. activities. And we did activities, friends. Boy, did we do activities πŸ˜‰

I’ll break down our days into a couple of different posts so as to not overwhelm, but here are a few overarching highlights:

  • We miss our friends and family in New York like crazy. Trips like this are beyond memorable, especially now that the girls are getting old enough to remember them.
  • Taking the subway with three littles is … interesting. Hah. One day is was just me and a double stroller and three children. When Carla joined it was five children. We got onto the subway at one station and the (heavenly) woman who gave up her seat for the kids turned to me and Carla and said, “You’re doing amazing” and I could have kissed her right then and there. Or cried. Or probably both.
  • Both older girls really loved their time in the city (so did Em, but you know, she can’t talk a lot yet, soooo …), but I foresee a future where G goes to school there, or lives there after school … basically makes the city a bigger part of her life story.
  • On our last full day Grace must have walked over a mile from the High Line to the Color Factory, while she played a game of “veterinarian” with Lotte, who was in one of the double stroller seats. Em was napping in the other. It was an amazing moment I’ll never forget, and damn was I proud of her!

Without further adieu, here was our Saturday and Sunday, Manhattan Style!

Saturday

Because of multiple snafoos that I won’t get into, we didn’t end up arriving in Brooklyn until around 3 on Saturday morning. As such, I didn’t have the highest of hopes for our Saturday plans … but as is usually the case when it comes to my kids, I was proved wrong! These girls slept a cool four hours and woke up ready to explore! My friend Faye and her two kiddos met up with us. On the agenda were:

There is also a fun playground in this area, too, if you’re looking to spend more time there.

First subway ride! The girls started out fascinated. Then they took it upon themselves to chat with anyone who would chat. Then they decided to use the poles as swings. And finally, by the 5th or 6th ride, they were content to actually sit and ride. The evolution of a subway ride, courtesy of a 6- and 5-year-old πŸ˜‰
This carousel is expensive, but it’s a MUST if you’re here! It’s beyond gorgeous, and so fun to watch.
I mean, look at that face!
Stunning.
After the playground and carousel it was onto the ferry! The kids were more excited about snacking on a ferry ride than they were to take in the views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, but that’s okay. It’s all part of the fun!
Ah, the joys of forcing your kids to take memorable photos πŸ˜‰
At least G was very taken with the water!
Love ya, NYC!
Love ya Brooklyn friends!
We missed the first ferry back to the city and had to wait 30 minutes to catch the next one, but that was okay because it gave us time to do more fun things, like get ice cream …
And have a stranger take this picture!
Thanks for a fun ride, ferry!

Back in Manhattan my friend ordered up some pizza and we ate it on her rooftop. It was the perfect ending to the perfect first day in the city.

Sunday

We had plans on Sunday to catch the train from Grand Central into Cold Spring to meet up with our family for lunch at the Cold Spring Depot. That also meant that Chris got a chance to give the girls his world-famous Grand Central tour when we arrived back πŸ˜‰

No matter how many times I’ve ridden in and out of Grand Central (hundreds), she never ceases to amaze me.
The glory!
The history!
In Cold Spring we met up with these loves of our lives, and it was a delight.
The waterfront was a big hit too, naturally.
Sissy <3
Grandpa & Mojo
All four of these faces were asleep about 20 minutes into our ride home.
Back in Grand Central, Chris’ tour was a hit!
<3<3<3
The end.

And those were our first two days in a nutshell, friends! They also included Grace discovering that she does, in fact, like cheese on pizza (duh), and only a handful of tantrums and slight frustrations πŸ˜‰

Next up … a packed Memorial Day! Until then … bis bald, friends!

40th Birthday Bucket List Trips

Glacier National Park, in all her beautiful glory … plus my little bubs <3

I feel like I should start this post by writing: β€œAnd just like that, I was 40.”

It’s what almost everyone says about turning 40, but it doesn’t actually feel that way. On the one hand yes, I feel like I turned 21 just yesterday. But on the other hand … holy hell a lot of work has gone into reaching this decade!

Between 30 and 40 I became a whole new person. I entered into my first year of marriage, started my business and moved across the country. I added countries and states and continents to my travels, bought a house, sold a house, bought another one. I had two miscarriages and three babies. I lost and gained friends. I lost my Mom.

It’s been a ride, friends!

Anyway, all of this is to say, entering my 40s does feel like a milestone, but not in a “oh my God I’m so old!” way. More in a, “Wow, that was a whirlwind. I wonder what’s next?!” kind of way.

So to kick off this new and exciting decade, I thought it would be nice to celebrate in a place that’s been on my Bucket List since I wrote a geography report about it in 8th grade: Glacier National Park.

And I was right β€” she did not disappoint.

Although traveling at the end of March/early April meant that most things (restaurants, hotels, sections of the main road) would be either closed or covered in snow, it also meant that we literally had the entire place to ourselves. It was magical, friends. When I tell you the park was our playground, what I mean is that we probably saw about a dozen people the entire time we were there, and the majority of those were on the final day when we visited one of the most popular lakes in the entire park.

We’ve already made plans to go back when the weather is nicer, now that we got to have our initial trip all to ourselves.

Here’s a little bit of what we got up to on my 40th birthday trip.

Day 1: Arrival

We didn’t arrive until mid-afternoon on our first day, which was a nice way to ease into the trip.

These little muffins are becoming quite the travelers πŸ˜‰
Bluey for the win!
When we landed we had time to kill before we could check in, so we headed to The Montana Club in Kalispell (about 20 minutes from the airport) for lunch. It was the perfect Montana introduction.
And the perfect way to toast an introduction to my birthday weekend!
At 4, we checked into our tiny cabin. While this place was fine, there ended up being a few quirks (spider! broken fireplace! hot water that doesn’t last for very long!) that would make me not recommend it for big families like ours. Still, it was a fantastic location β€” at about 15 minutes to the West entrance of Glacier β€” AND had one of our favorite features ….
A hot tub!
Em couldn’t go in for long, but she did get a dip, which she was VERY happy about πŸ˜‰

We knew we wanted to get up early on Friday to start the exploring, so after dinner we hit the hay (the girls did enjoy their loft beds in this Airbnb, that’s for sure!) and called it a night!

Day 2: East Glacier

On our first full day in the park, we hit the road! We were staying near the West Glacier entrance, but we wanted to head over to the East side to check out Two Medicine Grill for breakfast on our way to St. Mary Lake.

Hard not to take picture of EVERYTHING you see in Montana.
Driving over the continental divide!
Only one child was awake for the event.
Breakfast at Two Medicine Grill was everything we could have ever hoped for in a diner.
See what I mean πŸ˜‰
Chris took this photo of me from the car, because ….
I will always stop on the side of the road for horse photos. Always.
The park entrance photo of my dreams, on the way into the St. Mary Lake area!
It was definitely chilly on Friday, so we didn’t actually do any hiking. But driving around and stopping for photo opps was just as good, in my mind.
See what I mean πŸ˜‰
There were a lot of road closure on this trip, but we definitely got the gist, and definitely plan to come back when we can see the whole thing!
All told, we drove about four or five hours on Friday around the park, and the girls were ROCK STARS. I love my little crew…
We stopped at the Glacier Distilling Company on the way home, which happened to be about five minutes from our Airbnb and AMAZING.
Delightful tasting flight!
Delightful cocktails!
Then it was back to our Airbnb for more HOT TUB TIME!

Day 3: Polebridge Mercantile

On our second day in the park we traveled over dirt roads and through rivers (basically) for … HUCKLEBERRY BEAR CLAWS!

The Polebridge Mercantile & Bakery is a Glacier institution, and we were so lucky that it just happened to open for the season on April 1st!

Chris didn’t let on how nervous he was driving to Polebridge until we got home β€” but he did an awesome job and we arrived in one piece!
While Chris fretted the drive, I took photos πŸ˜‰
About an hour later, we arrived!
I mean … HOW CUTE IS THIS PLACE?!
AND THEY HAD PUPPIES!!!!! (that were actually for bear control …. yikes!)
And so many treats! And a coffee that I loved so much I got two of. PLUS …
Don’t ask me how many Huckleberry Bear Claws we purchased …
How adorable is this Lego version of the store?!
Running from a family of Sasquatches. Naturally.
We tried to drive into the park from the store, but our car got stuck in a trench of water. So, we nixed that idea in favor of ….
More hot tub time!
Hot tubbin’ in the cold and snow really can’t be beat <3
It was the PERFECT last day of my 30s, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way <3

Day 4: WELCOME TO 40!

And then there was the One Where I Turned 40 …

Yikes!

It was honestly a good day, friends, filled with Facetimes and family and fun and Huckleberry things. I felt very loved and special on this day, and there wasn’t anything else I could have possibly wanted.

Starting your birthday off with waffles covered in Huckleberry jam and ice cream is ALWAYS a good idea!
For my birthday, we decided to head over to the famous Lake McDonald, which afforded us some glorious views along the way.
Plus this picture-perfect park entrance sign <3
It was a cloudy morning, but look at this splendor …
So incredibly gorgeous.
AND WE BASICALLY HAD THE PLACE TO OURSELVES!
It was a special moment.
How Mom throws …
How Dad throws.
Gorgeous.
Serene.
For dinner that night we headed into Whitefish (about 30 minutes away) and ate at The Firebrand Hotel, which was magnificent.
After dinner the skies had cleared and it was nearing sunset, and Chris had the idea to head back to Lake McDonald. I’m so incredibly glad we did …
Because these views …
Are breathtaking.
We have no fun πŸ˜‰
Thank you, Glacier, for putting on a show.
Birthday pie that night was … you guessed it! … HUCKLEBERRY!
Plus one more hot tub/star gazing soak.

Oh, Montana, you stole my heart. This was the trip of a lifetime, and I’m so happy I got to spend it with my crew.

On Monday it was …

One final hot tub soak and …
One final Huckleberry cocktail, then home.

That was my 40th birthday adventure in a nutshell, friends. I hope you enjoyed following along.

I can’t wait to see where my 40s take me in this crazy beautiful world, and I can’t wait to bring you along.

Bis bald, loves!

“Spring” Break in Grand Lake, the 2023 Edition

Happy Thursday, my friends! The above photo perfectly encapsulates what you should expect when heading to the Colorado mountains for a spring break that takes place during the third week of March.

Lots and lots (and lots and lots) of snow!

I’ll start by saying this: I wasn’t into this trip. I mean, I planned this trip, don’t get me wrong. When I knew the girls had some time coming up for break, but that Chris wouldn’t be able to take time off from work, I knew that getting out of our house, even for just a couple of days, would be a necessity.

What I didn’t count on was a massive storm heading in for the two days we would be in Grand Lake, and the absolute FOMO I would have from watching our friends head off to sunny and fabulous locales, like Hawaii and Colombia.

I mean … how do you compete with Hawaii? Or Colombia?

I decided you don’t. Instead, you lean into the snowy Xanadu, buy all the hot chocolate, wine and comfort food you can get your hands on, and decide to make the most of it.

Or at least, I tried. We stayed in this tiny cabin which, while appealing, is a bit close quarters for a family of five, during a snow storm, while one parent is still trying to get some work done.

Cabin was cute, with beautiful views, but still … small is small, people!

Still, we absolutely made the most of it. At the end of the day, I’m so glad we got up to the mountains and spent a couple days in the fresh air. Here’s what we got up to!

Day 1: Our Arrival

We arrived after dark on Monday after making a pit stop in Winter Park for dinner at Hernando’s. Even in the dark, you could tell from the outside that the cabin would be charming. (And that this trip would be … ahem … an adventure!)

After my anxiety driving over Berthoud Pass and one carsick-induced puke (poor Emilia), it was really nice to stop off in Winter Park for dinner and a breather.
See? So cute and charming!
At least the girls are getting way better at sharing a bedroom! Bunkbeds are always preferred, but this worked, too πŸ˜‰
Emilia made herself right at home, testing out all the furniture and climbing over everything possible.
These little muffins sure are the cutest adventurers <3

Day 2: Grand Lake Adventures

Our first full day in Grand Lake called for snow, but we lucked out and got only a few flurries, combined with a mostly gloriously sunny day!
So we took advantage of our nice-weather luck and headed over to Grand Lake. If you’ve been here a while you’ll recall that we made a similar trek last spring break β€” with Nan and Poppa! β€” and it was just as much a hit this year as it was last!
This mom will interrupt the fun for selfies. Always. #sorrynotsorry
Just a coupla cuties, having a snowy blast!
I’ll never get over the fact that we were walking on a lake. Although this time parts of the lake were definitely more thawed than I would have liked, which was terrifying ….
Snowmen and snow angels were a must.
So full of love for these ladies.
Chris had to work while we were away, but the girls and I made the most of our lady time <3<3<3
This little one definitely doesn’t remember her trip out here last year, but she just might have a few glimmers from this one πŸ˜‰
The rest of our day was filled with equally as essential snow day necessities, including lunch at The Hub
Couch snuggles …
Family reading ….
And (very competitive!) family games!

Oh, and we also had to get our car towed out of our driveway when it got stuck on ice.

Never a dull moment, friends.

Day 3: Rocky Mountain National Park … and SNOW!

We woke up Wednesday morning to alllllllll theeeeeeeeee snowwwwwwwwww!
So up we suited and out we went … again! We spent the morning in our front yard before heading out to Rocky Mountain National Park, where our first stop was the Kawuneeche Visitor Center.
Snow, snow, and ….
MORE SNOW!
Made for some cute pics, like this one (don’t mind Emilia … she had just stuck her hands in the snow without gloves on …)
And this one πŸ˜‰

After our early morning snowcapades, we loaded up the car and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park and the visitor center.

At first we thought the visitor center was closed because of how absolutely deserted the area was, but luckily it was open (guess we were the only intrepid blizzard travelers), and it provided us with about 45 minutes of activity, which was priceless. (Insert exasperated/exhausted face here.)

We wanted to try for a short hike after the visitor center, but it had started snowing pretty heavily again by then, so we scrapped that idea and opted for lunch in the town, instead.

But not without stopping for a RMNP sign photo first, of course!
If you don’t take a selfie … were you really there?!

Lunch was at Sagebrush BBQ & Grill, which was delightful, and I would highly recommend (as would Emilia)!

Back at home, the girls spent our final afternoon riding sleds and climbing up to the roofs of the cabins because THAT’S HOW TALL THE SNOW WENT.

My little adventurer. (This was obviously a Chris activity. I would have been WAY to nervous to let her do that!)

After one final night in our tiny cabin we were up and at ’em at 5 so we could get home in time for Chris to start his work day. Grand Lake, you ended up being a gem, despite my initial hesitation πŸ˜‰ I’m so glad we went.

The gorgeous (and at times terrifying!) road home.

And that was our trip, friends! Next weekend if my birthday (!), and we’re off again, this time to tick off a bucket list adventure that I’ve had since an 8th grade report. Any guesses?!

Until then … bis bald!

Old Friends, New Experiences, Loads of Memories

Happy Monday, friends! We celebrated the holiday weekend with a visit from one of my oldest friends and her husband and kids. Another one of my high school friends moved to the area recently, and this little mini-reunion between the three of us β€” along with my kids getting to hang out with Faye’s kids β€” was everything my soul needed.

Highlights included sledding in Majestic View Park, a trip to the Butterfly Pavilion, checking out Meow Wolf Denver, lunch at Avanti in Denver … and of course all the extra special bonding time. It’s sappy but true β€” old friends make the best friends.

It snowed quite a bit the day our NY friends arrived, so hanging in our back yard and having snowball fights was a highlight, as well.
The cuteness between these two is off the charts <3
Love this girl.
And this whole gang!

Here’s a bit more of what we got into β€” hope you all are having a happy weekend, as well!

Majestic View Park Sledding

Sledding down slick hills is THE BEST!
Snow cuties.
<3 <3 <3

The Butterfly Pavilion

My friend Moe is not a fan of butterflies, but she faced her fears for the sake of the kiddos πŸ˜‰
Lotte held a tarantula ….
Grace gave her a “high five”!
This place is so interactive and hands-on, it’s amazing for kids.
Butterflies!
This particular butterfly was in love with us and kept coming back …
Such a friendly butterfly!

A Day in Denver

On Saturday we headed into the city to check out the interactive Meow Wolf experience (AMAZING, if not somewhat overwhelming!) and have lunch.
There were four floors (I think, it was honestly hard to keep track!) and SO MANY interactive, amazing things to check out!
The exhibits all bled into each other so you spend the entire time in these realistic “worlds”.
I can definitely see how it would be overwhelming for some, but our kiddos all loved it!
This was OBVIOUSLY my favorite room … BOOKS!
We had a big group and we got separated for most of the visit, but we all met up for the lunch after and agreed that it was well worth the trip!
I told them to make faces like aliens were coming to get them.
My loves <3
Lunch after was at Avanti, and the weather was so wonderful we were able to sit on the roof with views of the city.

It was a fun visit with some very sweet moments that we’ll always treasure.

I can’t even <3
We had a birthday celebration for Faye’s husband after our Denver day, and the mini cowboy hats were a big hit.
So were the moustaches.
Come back real soon, friends <3

Bis bald!

Holidays In Australia Part 4: Forster Beach

What’s a trip to Australia without a proper visit to the beach?!

The final leg of our Australian holiday journey was a trip to Forster, the beach where Chris almost every post-Christmas holiday with his family and two groups of family friends growing up.

But before we headed to the beach, we flew from New Zealand to Sydney and hopped right quick on a train to catch up with the kids in Circular Quay and take some necessary touristy shots of the quintessential Aussie sites:

The cutest twins!
We have a similar photo of these two from our trip back in 2019. Time. Sigh.
Emilia obviously had no idea what she was seeing, but I wanted her to see it, nonetheless.
Just a couple of cuties πŸ˜‰
Also cute <3
The girls did surprisingly well with all the photo taking, considering ….
Train rides are fun.

I also forgot to mention that while Chris and I were livin’ that kid-free life in New Zealand, the girls did some pretty fun things with their fam back in Sydney, including a visit to the Simbio Wildlife Park where they got to SEE KOALAS AND PET KANGAROOS!

So incredibly grateful to this crew for watching our own little zoo for a couple days, allowing us a very much appreciated solo getaway!
While getting away by ourselves was the main objective of our New Zealand trip, obviously, Chris and I were both so incredibly grateful that the girls got to spend some one-on-one time with this delightful family of theirs that they don’t get to see very much.
They unsurprisingly had a blast, plus …
FED KANGAROOS! An experience that at least Lotte and Grace will, I’m sure, always remember <3

We were also finally able to catch up with Chris’ grandmother β€” and all of his other family members on his mom’s side β€” after missing them on Christmas when Nannan got Covid. Thankfully she was doing much better, and getting everyone together before heading off to the beach was absolutely the best.

Absolutely priceless.
The best there is.
The (absolutely incredible) gang <3

We decided to head straight from dinner to Forster to make the most out of our few days left. That meant a three hour drive, but the girls did incredibly well, and Chris and Vince volunteered to take ALL THREE with them so that Cath and I could drive and chat in silence.

I mean, how sweet is that?

We arrived after dark, obviously, but once the morning hit, it wasn’t hard to see why Forster has meant so much Chris and his family. Here’s what we got up to during our few short days there.

Our cute little condo is the same place Chris’ family has been staying for years!
Vacation necessities.
Our girls would have slept in the water if we left them. Other than a few terrifying moments where we lost Grace (which, bright side, afforded us the opportunity to discuss what to do when you get lost!), we had THE BEST TIME at the beach!
Lives here now, thanks.
Beach treasures.
Lotte & Nan <3
They had a blast together in the water!
<3
Chris’ best friend even drove hours from his home to stay at the beach with his own family while we were there. That was so special and sweet!
This was the first time these two had ever had their families together, so that was a lot of fun for us <3
His daughter became fast and adorable friends with Lotte and Grace <3
Too. Stinkin.
We had a cookout on the beach the second night we were there, which is another one of Chris’ families’ traditions.
Another mediocre dining view πŸ˜‰
Having family around was the. best. Chris’ mom took Lotte and Grace for a walk on our second morning, which gave me and Chris a chance to take a walk with just Grace. It was so delightful.
Walks with Nan.
Morning beach walks for the win!
My cutie.
This little beach “pool” was so great. It was a sectioned-off area of water separate from the actual ocean, which meant there were no waves/riptides contend with. The girls did have fun splashing around in the actual ocean for a bit, but we spent most of our time here, which was a nervous parents dream come true!
Fearless.
So much fun with all these adorable people!
Fun and more fun.
Cute and more cute.
See? Adorable!
That beach life.
Emilia wasn’t totally convinced on this trip that she loves water … but I have faith that she’ll get there!
We ordered fish & chips for dinner and went out for ice cream on our last night, which is also a Connor Clan tradition!
Our last day before heading back to Sydney was cloudy and rainy, but that didn’t stop the girls from a beach trip!
Breakfast at a restaurant on the beach was also a highlight!