I feel like I should start this post by writing: “And 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 — 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.
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.
Day 3: Polebridge Mercantile
On our second day in the park we traveled over dirt roads and through rivers (basically) for … HUCKLEBERRY BEAR CLAWS!
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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!)
Day 2: Grand Lake Adventures
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!
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.
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.
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 😉 I’m so glad we went.
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?!
Edit Note: I wrote this post on the Monday after Thanksgiving, as we had just spent the weekend at the second YMCA of the Rockies location. Since the trip was a sponsored press trip, I waited to post this until the story for the publication that sponsored me went live. You can find the complete Good Housekeeping 2023 Family Travel Rewards story here!
Happy Monday after Thanksgiving, loves! Our little family was lucky enough to try out the second YMCA of the Rockies location — this time in Estes Park — the weekend after the holiday. (You can find information on our stay at the Granby Ranch location here.)
While similar in many ways, and with many of the same amenities as Granby, the Estes Park location did feel slightly different. There is less property at this location, which means the cabins and activities are closer together. This is nice if you’d like to opportunity to walk around more easily, but the vastness of the Granby location also had its perks. Whichever you visit, you honestly can’t go wrong. Grace spent the entire first-day-back-preschool-morning-check-in walking up to her little friends and her teacher and saying, “I went to the YMCA of the Rockies!”
It obviously had a lasting impact. Here’s a little bit why …
And that was our action-packed, amazing trip in a nutshell, my friends! Check out the YMCA of the Rockies in the Good Housekeeping travel awards here.
Happy Thanksgiving week, my friends! We have been battling all the illnesses over here lately (just like literally everyone else in the world, I know), but we did manage to pull it together this past weekend for a quick press trip out to YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, CO.
As you’ll recall, we are already big fans of Granby, but the YMCA property took that love to a whole other level. I won’t go into a ton of detail here (because all of that is covered in the actual story that the press trip was for, which you can find here), but I’ll just say, this is the best, most upgraded camp experience you could ever have, dropped right in the middle of the most majestic mountain setting.
Some of our activities included:
Meeting the sled dog team and going on a little ride
Checking out the Kiva/Rec Center
Making crafts in the Craft Center
Smoresing and bonfireing
Building a float for a mini Thanksgiving Day parade
Enjoying our SPECTACULAR mountain views
We feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit this iconic spot.
We stopped off in Idaho Springs on our way home, as well, and had lunch at Beau Jo’s <3
I hope you guys are staying healthy and have some relaxing and fun holiday plans ahead. Until next time … bis bald!
Welp, friends … there goes another year. As the photo above indicates, we’ve had our highs and lows. I think the year didn’t quite pan out the way most of us were hoping it would, but still, there were bright spots to be found.
Here’s hoping 2022 brings you and your family all the happiness and cheer that you deserve! And here’s what we were able to get up to in 2021 …
We dusted off our travel boots for the first time in more than a year (!) this past April for a trip to the mountains. We headed to one of our favorite low-key spots — Granby Ranch — and the older girls even tried their hand at skiing for the first time.
The end of June and beginning of July was a busy time for us, as we packed up the car and hit the road for our trip out East! We started in Colorado and made out way out to New Jersey and New York and then back, stopping in a number of states along the way. (You can find all the gritty details here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)