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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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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Savoring that Sweet Summer Feeling

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I have a secret to share, friends … I’ve never really been a huge fan of summer.

There, I said it. Anyone who actually knows me is rolling their eyes right now and thinking, “Duh, who doesn’t know that?” but to others, this might come as a surprise. As a curly headed woman who didn’t grow up near water but did grow up in a home without air conditioning for the longest time, the only things I had to look forward to when the weather got warmer was frizzy hair (okay, I admit, that was a year-round problem) and just the most awful humidity. These days, though, I’m making a concerted effort to change my ways … for the girls.

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Your 2019 Colorado Summer Bucket List

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I mean … G is barely even in this photo, but you get the gist — Colorado is amazing in the summer, and summer is right around the corner! I mean, it’s pretty amazing all of the time, but the summer is a great time to check out the mountains, lakes, hikes, breweries … and everything in between.

To help you out if you happen to be in the hood, here are a few of our fave hangouts when the weather gets warmer:

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Welcome February!

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Well friends, it’s officially February, and as is always the case, the year is already flying by. I’ve been seeing so many posts on social media about how January lasts forever, but for us, this month has absolutely disappeared. Between us being in Australia for the first week, welcoming Aunt Kate to our home for her almost-three-month visit (!), and my trip with G back to New York for 10 days, I have no idea where the 31 days of January have gone.

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2018: A Year in Review

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Well friends, somehow — and I’m really not sure how — this photo was taken on New Years Eve ONE YEAR AGO. 2018 is coming to a close, and since we leave for Australia the day after tomorrow, I figured I should put together my Year In Review post before we head out, and then just add Epic Australia, as I will from now on be calling it, once we’re back.

So without further adieu, here is a bit of what we got up to in the year that started with us expanding our little family ….

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When Grandpa Comes to Visit

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Well friends, amidst all the craziness of finishing up work for the year, prepping for our trip to Australia next week, and our BABY DAUGHTER TURNING ONE ON SUNDAY …. my stepdad made a quick trip out to see us over the weekend, and it was so much fun.

The girls always have the best time with him, and he really does adore them, so it’s very cute to see. We hit up the Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light Festival — Lotte has been every year since she’s been born — as well as the Thornton WinterFest — which was new to us but is sure to become a tradition because of how fun it was — attended a neighbor’s holiday party, opened presents, walked to the lake, watched some football, ate some delicious food … and just basically had an all around awesome time.

We hope you guys are really getting into the holiday swing of things, as well!

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^^ This standing lady is ONE on Sunday, and I just cannot believe it!

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I have a big ole’ Aussie prep post coming later this week, because I have spent — ahem — a lot on stuff for the plane so far in order to try and keep our two little ladies happy. We’ll mostly just have to cross our fingers and see how it goes, though, right?

Bis bald, friends! And happy holiday season!

Pumpkin Picking Is Better In the Mountains

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I mean, it’s pretty hard to argue with that amazing view, right? Yesterday the girls and I said farewell to Chris as he headed off to Chicago to run the marathon on Sunday. He’s already run the Chicago Marathon before, but this will be his first marathon where I won’t be in attendance. Wah wahhh. In all honesty, I tried to find a flight that would get me (and probably G) in for the day to surprise him and to watch, but nothing got me there early enough because, if you didn’t already know, my man is fast 😉 Anyway, I’m sure he’ll have a nice weekend away with running buddies while the girls and I bond and hold down the fort back at home.

Before Chris left, though, we hit up our favorite pumpkin picking spot, Rock Creek Farm. It was Grace’s first pumpkin picking experience, but this was Lotte’s third visit, the first of which took place when her Nannan and Papa were here from Australia and she was not yet three months old. We really do love this little family tradition we’ve created.  Here are some photos from our pumpkin adventures …
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^^ You can’t win ’em all, right?! Seriously though, this photo cracks me up! Particularly G, who is looking like she’s very much over the tantrum her sister is throwing.

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^^ Ugh with these two cuties … it’s too much!

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^^ And of course, the aftermath back at home 😉 Plus some additional little pumpkins and gourds we let Lotte pick up that we placed inside. Oh fall, I love you so.

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Bis bald, friends! Hope everyone has fun weekend plans!

Two.

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Well my friends, Chris and I officially have a 2 year old, and my mind is officially blown. How that happened, I have no idea. But Lotte is 2, and she’s wonderful. We spent the entire weekend celebrating with ‘Grandpoppa’ Robert, who flew in for basically 48 hours so he could be with Lotte. We went to the zoo, had lots and lots and lots of sweets, Lotte had her first swim lesson, and we threw a Happy Bee-Day Pancake Brunch Birthday Party on Sunday, which was super sweet and very fun.

There is so much that I could say about this sweet, smart, funny, charming, amazing daughter of mine, but what I really think sums it up is that every day with her is better and more amazing than the last, which I never think is possible. We love you more than anything, Lotte — three cheers to you <3

Here’s a photo dump of our birthday celebrations! Bis bald, friends!

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Dinosaurs, Kayaks, Baseball, Glaciers … and all the Aussie Guests!

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Happy July, friends! Our summer of insanity is still in full swing over here! We’ve had guests upon guests upon guests … and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Over the July 4th holiday we welcomed Chris’ aunt and uncle and their three kids from Australia, while the fabulous Auntie Kate was still on the tail end of her trip out, as well. We did all the things while this troop was here, which has been a lot of fun. Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to lately …

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^^ We checked out Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison on what turned out to be a very, very hot day. It’s a bit of an uphill trek to reach the dinosaur footprints, but once you get there it’s actually really, really cool. There are tons of geological stops along the way, too.

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^^ I’m sorry, but Colorado backdrops are hard to beat.

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^^ We rented some kayaks on Lake Standley behind our house the second day after the family arrived. We did this last year with Lotte, too, and even though she still wasn’t too sure about the life jacket situation, this year she seemed to enjoy the overall activity much more!

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^^ We even took in a baseball game with the Aussie clan, and while the kids seemed to enjoy the game, it was mostly the junk food that kept them in the seats, I’d say 😉

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^^ Nothing more American than baseball and Coors Light!

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^^The day before July 4th we drove into the mountains to do the hike up to St. Mary’s Glacier. I was skeptical how the kids would handle it—especially 6-year-old Lucy—but they were all champs, which was great because this view is truly spectacular.

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^^ Our family selfie game needs improvement 😉

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^^ Ugh Auntie Kate, why did you leave us?!

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^^  By July 4th we were all pretty tuckered out. So we dressed up … and hung out! We played games, ate delicious food (including my homemade American Flag brownie, see below!), listened/watched the fireworks, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company.

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^^ American Flag brownie, courtesy of one of my favorite food bloggers 😉

We still have one of Chris’ friends in town until tomorrow, and then we’re done with visitors for a little while, which always makes me a bit sad. We do have Lotte’s 2nd birthday at the end of July to look forward to (which also makes me sad!), our trip to New York in August, Chicago in October and the grand finale of the year … Australia in December/January! Chris and I are still contemplating a separate mini-trip, just the two of us, to New Zealand while we’re in Australia. That extra adventure is TBD, but for now, there’s a lot more to look forward to, even though we’re halfway through the year already!

Hope you guys are having a great summer, as well! Until next time … bis bald!

Three Cheers to Starting the New Year Off Right

 

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Happy 2018, friends!

While the first photo up above was taken before Chris and I went to dinner on New Years Eve (also known as our 10-year anniversary of meeting and 5-year anniversary of being married!), the truth is we have actually been firmly ensconced in Newborn Land over here, along with Chris’ parents (who leave this Friday and have been beyond helpful) and my sister and brother-in-law, who just left after visiting for the long weekend.

While there’s not a whole lot new to report, we have managed to take about 1 million adorable photos — some of which I will share here — and get out to some fun dinners, hikes, breweries and the like.

Here’s a bit of what’s been going on in our world over here the past few weeks since 2018 began. I hope everyone else is having a great start to the new year, as well!

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^^ Only the fanciest duds for my ladies on New Years day!

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^^ Can’t stop, won’t stop my obsession with these pink sparkly Kate Spade for Keds shoes that Lotte, Grace & I all have 😉

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^^ This little lady has always only had eyes for Dad, to be honest, but lately she’s really upped her Daddy’s Girl game … and it’s sort of the cutest.

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^^ Grace’s first tummy time was a big success!

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^^ See what I mean about the shoe obsession?

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^^ There is absolutely nothing better than first newborn smiles. Nothing.

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^^ I can’t with the hand-holding in this picture <3

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^^ What father of a newborn doesn’t have a picture like this? Too. Precious.

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^^ A good friend of mine from New York (who also happens to currently be pregnant with her second little one), stopped over for a night on her way back home from a conference in Vail. Lotte & Grace took to her so easily, and it was just the best having her here, even if just for the shortest of whiles.

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^^ Aunt Stephie!! We managed to go on a hike, visit a brewery, go out to dinner, visit with our cousin who lives out here, have fun at the park and go snowboarding (well, the boys did at least) in the 2.5 days she and my bro-in-law were here. Come back soon, please, guys!

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^^ This Nan & Poppa. They are champions, and it the time they’ve been able to spend with Lotte & Grace is priceless.

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^^ Someone is super bright-eyed these days!

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I’ll be back tomorrow with more pics from our hike in Boulder with the fam, but for now, bis bald, friends!

Waiting for Baby

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Merry, happy, holly everything, friends! Well, it’s December 12th, and we’re all about waiting for Baby and making the most of our holiday time as a family of three while we still can over here! It’s been a whirlwind finishing up work and having visitors like my dad and stepdad in town, plus getting our house set up for the holidays, getting all our presents purchased … oh, and getting prepped for our baby, of course.

We’ve been using the past couple weeks to set up the nursery and do as many holiday things with Lotte as possible. We got our tree a couple weekends ago and decorated the house, and my stepdad was here this past weekend to help finish off the nursery and hang with us a bit. It’s been a really great (and somewhat wistful, at least for me!) time, but I feel ready for the next chapter of our lives. I’m so excited to meet Baby No. 2 and to introduce Lotte to her new best friend. Chris’ parents arrive on Wednesday, and we’ll be ready and raring to go!

I hope you guys are all having a great start to the holiday season, as well!

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^^ My discerning little Christmas tree shopper (and my big ole’ belly!).

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^^ Despite the fact that we had to start the ornaments halfway up the tree to keep them away from little hands, I think she looks mighty pretty.

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^^ We love when Grandpa visits!

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^^ At 38 weeks pregnant, I somehow managed to dress up and head out of the house past 7 at night for Chris’ office holiday party. It was nice to get out for a bit, but also very exhausting! We hit up another holiday on Saturday at our friends’ house, too … how fancy are we?!

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^^ I can’t necessarily say I had as much of a vision for Baby Connor No. 2’s nursery as I did for Lotte’s, since a bunch of the furniture in here is recycled and the room was already painted, but in the end I think it all came together nicely and I’m actually super excited for her to be in it!

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^^ Lunch at School House Kitchen in Old Town Arvada. It was our first time here and I was really impressed. The theme is super cute, and the food was great!

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^^ She is not a barrette lover, which pains me to my core!

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^^ Wearing our matching Kate Spade for Keds sneakers out and about on the town! Don’t worry – I got a pair for Baby 2, as well 😉

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^^ Waiting in line to meet Santa … for the second time!

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^^ This time we didn’t even bother trying to have Lotte sit on Santa’s lap by herself (it was way too close to the other weekend when she flipped out when we tried it in Colorado Springs!), so we all sat with Santa as a family. It sort of worked 😉 I look so pregnant here, and Lotte is unimpressed, but hey, what can you do?

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^^ Grandpa couldn’t leave without spoiling both Lotte and Baby 2 for Christmas. He loaded them up with the sweetest clothes and books, as well as gift certificates for flights for all of us back to New York to visit, which of course made me cry. Thank you, Grandpa, your gifts were so thoughtful!

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^^ On Monday night we hit up the Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light show as part of a holiday party thrown by our realtor, whom we love. We went last year when Chris’ family was in town and Lotte was only about five months old, and we loved it then, as well. It’s so pretty and festive – the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit!

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^^ My loves <3 No one I enjoy holiday outting with more 😉

Okay, so now the wait for Baby is really on! Wish us luck, and I probably won’t be back until I have a new little cherub faced-photo to share with you all here! Until then … bis bald!

The First Snowfall of the Season

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Happy Wednesday, friends! So remember when I said yesterday that we had lovely fall weather this past weekend? Colorado is the craziest of crazies when it comes to weather, because a gorgeous, fall Sunday can be followed quickly by a winter-white Monday, which is exactly what happened. Of course by Tuesday the snow had all melted and temps were in the upper 50s … but for a couple hours on Monday Lotte & I jammed out to Christmas music (yes, we really did), put on our snowsuits (well, Lotte did, anyway) and braved the cold to play in the snow.

Last year Lotte was too young to really understand what snow was, and while she’s still a tad too young to really get it right now, she was definitely much more interested in this cold, wet, white stuff, and she couldn’t stop staring at it. It was pretty adorable.

So, happy holidays, friends! At least for one day …

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Summer Sundays at the Lake

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Ever since we moved into this neighborhood more than a year ago, I’ve wanted to become “lake people”. We live about five minutes from the beautiful Standley Lake, and while you can’t swim in the lake, you can rent kayaks and canoes and paddleboards and boats and take them out. We love to visit the lake as often as we can — we even had Lotte’s first birthday cake there — but we had yet to rent anything and take it out.

Until yesterday.

It was glorious weather here on Sunday — not too hot, just windy enough and sunny — so we tested our luck and parked over near the dog park (it’s free there, otherwise you have to pay $7 to get your car all the way down to the lake area, which would be totally worth it if you were bringing your own gear) and walked through the eagle sanctuary area (we even saw a baby bald eagle!) down to the lake. We chatted with the rangers for a bit before deciding to try out a two-person kayak. Getting a life jacket that would fit Lotte was essential, and the infant one she ended up with was probably a bit small for her (hence the crying and screaming while she was wearing it :/), but it did the job.

We had the best time on the water! (Well, Chris and I did, at least. Lotte wasn’t so happy sitting on my lap, and I attribute it all to the life jacket, because otherwise being out there doing something new, seeing the water and trees and people and ducks, it was all something I think she would have loved!) Anyway, while we didn’t stay out for the full hour we had the kayak ($10 for one hour … what a bargain!), it was still fun to give it a try and I think it’s safe to say we’ll be back. Hey, the more Lotte is in that life jacket the more she’ll have to get used to it … right?!

Happy Monday, friends!

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^^ That’s a baby bald eagle in that tree on the right! We verified with a park ranger … how cool is that?!

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^^ Hahahah! Poor little Lotte :/ You can tell from this pic she wasn’t quite the happiest camper!

Splash Pads, Playgrounds, Ice Cream & Cake at the Lake for Our 1-Year-Old

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Well friends, just like that our little Lotte is one. Chris & I cannot believe it. Just yesterday we were bringing home our six-pound ball of love, and today she’s standing, taking steps, saying words and basically charming us (and amazing us) every single minute. To celebrate our Little’s birthday, my dad, stepmom and stepdad flew out, and we loaded on the activities. We visited the Red Rocks, tried out the Arvada Splash Pad (an A+, by the way!), had lunch in Olde Town and ice cream at Scrumptious, followed at birthday cake (called a Strawberry Charlotte from the La Patisserie Francaise bakery … how could we resist!) and opened lots and lots of presents. On Friday we checked out the Garden of the Gods, and then Saturday was the MS Hike at Keystone. Although it rained the entire event, we still had an amazing time honoring my mom.

The grandparents were all gone by late Sunday morning, but I’m hoping we made memories for everyone that will never fade. I think Lotte had a fabulous week of birthday celebrations (including her birthday shindig in New York last Sunday). I know for my part I’ve loved celebrating this little one and the amazing little girl she’s becoming. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.

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^^ Lotte’s an old hat at touring people around Red Rocks. In fact, this was the first-ever place she visited (besides the doctor) after she was born!

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^^ One of Lotte’s favorite games while my Dad was here was pointing at him to get his attention, and it was kind of adorable.

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^^ The group of us squired Lotte around the block in her Radio Flyer, a birthday gift from my aunt and uncle. How fun is that?!

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^^ Facetiming with Aussie Nan & Papa (who couldn’t be here in person, for obvious reasons) on the morning of Lotte’s birthday to open her presents from them was also a highlight!

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^^ This. Smiling. Face!!! Oh, and by the way, it’s true – I am pregnant again 😉 New Baby Connor will be making his or her arrival in mid-December … wahoo!

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^^ Flying high as a one-year-old 😉

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^^ How adorable is the Arvada Splash Pad?! We will absolutely be back here.

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^^ As long as there is a television around to watch, Lotte is happy 😉

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^^ This car from Mommom & Papa was a big hit, as was the play kitchen my sisters and parents chipped in to get her. Everyone hit it out of the park with gifts for this girl!

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^^ My nickname for Lotte is pumpkin (“puntin,” actually, don’t ask me why!), and Chris calls her monkey, so we compromised for her birthday cake. Plus the candles (which we were never able to find a lighter to light … oops!) came all the way from Australia!

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^^ It’s always fun to play with birthday noise makers 😉

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^^ Lotte may have only had a few bites of her cake, but the adults couldn’t get enough. So good!

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Lotte’s birthday was Thursday, and Friday we checked out Garden of the Gods, then on Saturday we headed into the mountains to do the MS Hike at Keystone.

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^^ Lotte’s U.S. grandparents in full force 😉

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^^ This busy bee has had quite the couple of weeks, so she snoozed on the way to the hike to Keystone.

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^^ A little rain couldn’t keep us away!

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^^ This little face. Boy I sure do love her.

I can’t stop thinking about how many people made Lotte’s first birthday so special. From everyone who made last weekend’s party possible to my dad & stepmom & stepdad for coming out this week, it just felt like such a special time for us, and I know Lotte felt so loved.

To be one … it’s a pretty special thing, isn’t it?

Bis bald, friends!

 

A Week of Firsts

Happy Monday, friends. It’s been a bit crazy over here the past few days. We were so excited to have my sister and stepdad in town visiting, although the reason they were visiting — the one-year anniversary of my mom’s passing — was less than a happy one. Still, we managed to make the most of the day, and it was so good to be together (and to have Lotte as a distraction, obviously).

We even took Lotte on her first trip to the zoo while they were here. Lotte also celebrated her first Easter and we checked out a new walking trail, Van Bibber Park. So like I said, it’s been a full couple of days, and I’m coming down from all our visitors and activities, which always makes me a little sad. We have a visit from my other sister, her husband and two boys at the end of the month, though, so that is definitely something to look forward to.

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^^ At my sister’s suggestion, we made Mom’s traditional Pillsbury cinnamon rolls on the morning of her anniversary. I had forgotten how good they actually are 😉

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^^ We lit the fire pit in the backyard on the eve of her anniversary as well, and made smores, something else she also loved to do with us.

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^^ Ready for the zoo! You’ll notice halfway through the zoo pictures that Lotte’s adorable jumper is gone and in its place is a pair of pajamas. I realized once we got to the zoo how she was in the direct sunlight, and I started to freak out about her getting burned, so I changed her into something that would cover her arms and legs as well. Rookie mom mistake!

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^^ Kangaroos!

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^^ It was super fun checking out the zoo for the first time with my sis and stepdad!

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^^ In her Easter best! (How she managed to wear these ears for the couple of pics I got is beyond me, because she absolutely hated them!)

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^^ We walked to Jack’s Coffee shop on Saturday afternoon with this little one for a super early dinner, and she was amazing the entire time. Look at this face.

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^^ Van Bibber park on Sunday was lovely. There is a totally paved path you can follow that is 2.8 miles round-trip, or you can off-road it a bit on some rocky paths, which we did, but nothing is too difficult, and the scenery is really pretty. Plus you come across some really amazing homes, some of which had horses grazing in their backyard. It was just a really nice, easy hike for our Easter Sunday morning.

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^^ If you can’t tell by my 1,000 photos of them, I was kind of obsessed with these creepy-cool trees. Something about them intrigued me …

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Until next time, my friends – bis bald!

Sunday Hikes at Clear Creek Trail

Happy Monday, friends! Our weekend was filled with lots of house stuff (we haven’t been home together in four weekends … it’s amazing how things pile up), tons of Lotte time and a bit of finalizing stuff for our basement, which should, hopefully, be done by the time my sister and stepdad arrive on Tuesday – finally.

Amidst the mayhem, though, we managed to fit in a little hike at Clear Creek Trail near Golden. The Arvada hike entrance