The Best Fall Activities Around Denver for Kids

Peak fall is happening over at Anderson Farms right now!

Welcome to October, friends! Technically, it’s been October for a while, but this past weekend was the girls’ fall break from school, so it really feels like we’re in the midst of the season now! Over the past four days we’ve really laid it on thick with all the quintessential things. We managed to:

  • Finally attend the Fall Festival at Anderson Farms, out in Erie, Colorado
  • Hit up the girls’ favorite park — Paco Sanchez Park — for a Mom/daughter date with Lotte
  • Get in lots of outdoor time for scootering and bike riding
  • Check out the Halloween decorations at the Denver Zoo with Grace’s little bestie from preschool
  • Pick up some supplies from the local library for a marathon afternoon of Halloween movie watching (and, while we were there, checked out Lotte’s kindergarten artwork on display!)

Have I mentioned we love fall?

Day 1: Anderson Farms Fall Festival

Thursday was Day 1 of the girls’ fall break, and we met up with my cousin and her three cuties at Anderson Farms for their fall festival. This place was awesome, and I have a feeling that it’s a pretty good thing we went on a weekday (tickets are cheaper on weekdays, too!). I imagine weekends might be a madhouse. But we got lucky, and on a random Thursday there were no lines for things like duck races, hay rides, bouncy castles, corn mazes, barrel rides and so much more.

I HIGHLY recommend this place if you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids!

Ready for all the fall activities!
I have truly never seen such fun pumpkin displays, except for The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley.
Duck races!
There was a long and spooky corn maze for adults, and then this shorter, kid-friendly version for the littles.
Ask me how much I wanted to jump on these inflatables?!
The tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch was definitely a big hit!
This cutie loved it all <3
Pumpkins, as far as the eye can see!
And … the best part … they were already picked! At our usual pumpkin patch (which I still love), you have to cut the pumpkins yourself, which can sometimes be tricky.
Grace took her pumpkin picking very seriously.
It was the first time this little one visited a pumpkin patch and, as no surprise to anyone, she rocked it!
Our cute little crew.
One of these things is not like the other.
Chris enjoyed this ride as much as the kids, I think.

Day 2: Paco Sanchez Park

On Friday, Lotte and I stole away from the rest of the crew for a bit to visit a park that Chris had introduced the girls to, but that I had never been to before. According to their website, “the giant 1950s microphone-inspired tower heralds the horizon, but the built-in play value is what really makes this park honoring local radio DJ Paco Sanchez truly extraordinary.”

Well, no kidding … take a look at this place!

I won’t lie — the first time Lotte started doing stuff at the playground I had a quick momentary thought of, “Can she handle this?!” I mean I’m her Mom, I worry, okay!?
I quickly learned that she was more than capable, though, and it was so amazing watching her climb, swing, run and slide.

I love some good family time, of course, but it’s also awesome to get away with just one girl every so often.

One quick note: If you do come here, the playground is recommended for kids from five to 12, but of course it’ll be up to you decide if your kid is ready for the dexterity that all the play equipment requires.

Day 3: Boo at the Zoo!

On Saturday, we met up with one of Grace’s preschool friends to check out the Halloween decorations at the zoo. We didn’t actually spend a lot of time paying attention to the animals, but the kids had a great time together, and it was so lovely getting to know Judah’s parents a bit better, too.

Plus, the zoo is always one of our favorite spots around Halloween!

Can’t even take this one …
Grace, never not running places.
The “strolley,” as we lovingly call our foldable Radio Flyer, turned out to be quite the draw!
It’s become a tradition to hit up the train (which only lasts about five minuets, if that) while we’re at the zoo, and Judah was happy to oblige.
The girls had their first Carousel ride (at this particular zoo, at least) AND their first fruit roll-up on this trip! Not a bad day …
This guy was certainly creepy, but Em didn’t seem to mind!
This spot is always a crowd pleaser.
My girl <3
Too. Much. Cuteness.
The new penguin exhibit proved very exciting!

And that, my friends, was our fall break in a nutshell! Oh, plus a photo of Lotte and her dot at the library, because, duh …

Bis bald, friends! Hope you’re all getting into the festiveness of the season, as well!

The Start to a Crazy New Year

One of our favorite spots in Colorado — the Frisco Bay Marina

Friends. How is it that no one told me how hectic life gets when you have kids in school?! And in activities?!

O.M.G.

Lotte started kindergarten a few weeks ago (sob!) and Grace is back in preschool, while little Em continues to delight us from home. Lotte also started ballet/tap, and Grace is starting up with swim lessons and music classes in the month of September. And honestly, at this pace, I’m not sure how long I can handle it!

Sweetest little dancer, who forgave me for the fact that I didn’t have her ballet outfit ready in time for her first class 😉

I mean, I know we’ll get used to this as our life, and so-on-and-so-forth, but sheesh, I’m way more exhausted than the kids. I think the fact that we’re still coming out of a pandemic (which is so not over yet) adds to the exhaustion.

Anyway, I’m rambling. The point is, life is crazy busy right now, so when we get a chance to break away from the madness, I’m all-the-more grateful. This weekend we took a day to head into the mountains. We hadn’t been to Frisco in years, and I’m dying over the photos of itty bitty Lotte and Grace in this post! It was Em’s first trip to Frisco (only second trip to the mountains ever, actually, with this trip to Granby being her first), and it was an all-around success, I’d say.

I’m not usually one to climb on the playground equipment with the girls (I have Chris for that!), but something about that mountain air changes me, friends 😉
We adore the Frisco Bay Marina — it’s the perfect, low-key spot for families!
It’s also the perfect spot to live vicariously through people who rent things there, like kayaks and canoes.
Just look at that happy Frisco face!
Em is happiest checking out her surroundings … the older girls are happiest when snacking.
Checking out new places is exhausting!

After hanging in the bay for a while, we walked into town and headed straight for our favorite outdoor lunch spot, right next to Foote’s Rest Sweet Shoppe (because ending a trip to the mountains with ice cream is a must, obviously).

Em has started standing (with help), and even though it literally pains me how quickly she’s growing up, I’m so, so proud of her.
Like I said … ice cream! It’s a must …
Ending the day with laughs.

After our busy Sunday in Frisco, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about actually getting out the door on Monday with all three girls like I planned, but Lotte happened to have the day off, and I was determined to make it work. So we packed up the car, and I headed to the Denver Zoo with my girlies.

Lucky for me, Lotte was more than happy to help push Grace, since I had Em strapped to me the whole time.

We had our ups and downs on this little outing, but overall, I’m so grateful that I have a flexible job that allows me to do fun and spontaneous things like this with my girlies.

Heading to the Zoo first thing in the morning is without a doubt the best time, we’ve found. It’s less busy, of course, but also the animals are always out and about!
We did something new on this trip, which was to feed the Lorikeets! So. Much. Fun!
Gorgeous!
We road the train, too, which as you can probably tell by these faces is one of our all-time favorite Zoo activities.
Happy place.

Anyway, a very happy and healthy start to the week to you, my dear friends! I hope whatever craziness you’re getting up to right now, that your able to take a beat and enjoy the little things, too.

Bis bald, friends!

Our Firstborn is Five

This gorgeous little girl is no longer so little …

What is it exactly that you feel when your firstborn child turns five? Is it wonder at the amazing little person she is becoming? Is it sadness for missing the baby that was so sweet and cuddly?

Whatever the feelings are that you’re supposed to have when your first child turns five …. I’ve got ’em! I have all the feelings, friends! Lotte turned five this past Tuesday, and while she’ll probably never, ever read this, I just want to say … it’s not possible to love someone more, little muffin. You are sweet and sensitive, smart and silly. I cannot wait to see everything you have in store for this world.

Lotte had a “no rules” night on Monday night — aka a campout in the basement with Dad! — while we set up her bedroom for her birthday surprise. She got a big-girl bed for her birthday, and I set up all the gifts from family and friends in her room, as well. It was the most fun to see her come in and have everything laid out, and I dare say we’ve created a new birthday tradition.

We hit up the Denver Botanic Gardens — and the accompanying Mordecai Children’s Garden across the street — that morning, and it was so much fun. I had been to the children’s garden with Lotte and Grace years ago, but heading back with them at these ages was great. I think there’s probably a limited amount of time that I have left before Lotte starts to grow out of these things (or perhaps not … what do I know?!), so I’ll be soaking it all in as much as I can!

Bis bald, friends — I hope you’re all having amazing summers!

The fact that we can all fit together on Lotte’s big-girl bed is such a perk!
Everyone knows that little sisters get some gifts on big sister’s birthday, as well 😉
I still have one more print to get, but those Trailblazer on the wall behind Lotte’s headboard are my favorite. They’re from a sweet little company called Piccolina, and I am obsessed.
The traditional balloon pose is a must!
Pancakes with strawberry ice cream for breakfast … it must be a birthday!
The rooftop children’s section is so sweet, with plenty of spaces for the littles to run and play, things to touch and small, and even a small stream to splash in.
I can’t even imagine the upkeep for a place like this, and they do SUCH an amazing job!
May you always stop to smell the flowers, my love.
It was super busy on a Tuesday morning, but still a lot of fun!
Cutest sisters <3
We brought a picnic as well, of course! Having a picnic in a garden is just about the best summer activity there is.
See … we all enjoyed it!
The regular, adult section of the Gardens was looking so good this year, too!
I love how curious these girls are. I never want this phase to end.
Halfway through, I remembered that I had taken a photo in this entrance when I was quite pregnant with Lotte, so we had to get a cuddle photo in the same spot on her fifth birthday, obviously.
A little baby Lotte, all ready to come out and take on the world!
Chris’s birthday cake tradition continues! Lotte requested a strawberry Owlette cake from PJ Masks, even though she hasn’t watched the show in about two years.

The Long Road Ahead …

Happiness is Grace at a splash pad!

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

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

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

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

Bis bald, friends!

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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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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Lair o’ the Bear on a Glorious Thursday Morning

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Happy Thursday, friends! So my research for a fun new client continued today with a visit by myself and the girls to Lair o’ the Bear Park. We had actually tried to do this hike a couple months back, but by the time we got there, the parking lot was completely full and there were tons of cars waiting, and with two antsy little girls in the back seat, it didn’t make sense to wait it out.

Today, I had a plan.

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Mondays Like These

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I mean, is there anything better than a picnic by the lake after playing in a new park … like, at all?!

I’m doing some research for some stories I’m working on and it’s just been the most fun, because it’s been bringing me all around to new places the girls and I haven’t been. I do feel a little worried when Lotte wakes up in the morning and is like, “Where are we going today?!” I love that she’s excited, but also … like, it’s okay to hang at home sometimes, too 😉

Anyway, I guess we’ll leave the hanging at home for bad-weather and winter days. For now, there’s much to explore. Yesterday it just happened to be Washington Park (which somehow I had managed to never visit in my 4.5 years of living here). We tested out their playground and sandpit (amazing) and had lunch by the lake.

It was a glorious Monday, friends, and I wish they all could be like this.

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One With the Flowers

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As part of my continued effort to keep these kids of mine occupied and busy during this summer (and, in all honesty, to keep myself from going bonkers as well), we hit up the Denver Botanic Gardens — and more specifically the adorable and amazing Mordecai Children’s Garden — yesterday. There were plants galore — that they could actually touch and smell — and a sand box and a bubbling brook and multiple ecosystems. The girls had a blast getting as dirty and wet as possible, and I had a blast watching them. I had packed us a lunch as well, which we ate over in the “adult” side of the gardens, which I will from now on be referring to the main gardens as.

If you happen to be in the Denver area over the summer and you’re looking for some outdoor fun to be had with your kids, you really should check out the Mordecai Children’s Garden. Kids under three are free, too, which means I’ll be taking Lotte there again at least one more time in the next few weeks so we can get her in for free at least one final time.

Here’s what we got up to at the gardens …

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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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Celebrating a First Birthday & Seeing All the Christmas Lights

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Somehow, and don’t ask me how, our daughter is one.

This little light has been with us for a full year now, and there is no way that I can even imagine or remember what life was like without her. She is tenacious and spunky and funny and silly and smart and rambunctious and curious … and just totally amazing.

G’s birthday on Sunday rounded out a week of celebrations, starting with Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms on Thursday, my dad and stepmom coming into town Friday and hitting up the Denver Zoo Lights, then celebrating G’s birthday on Saturday with my dad and Judy before the left early on Sunday, as well as alllllll day Sunday with presents and cake and general merriment.

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^^ I was fully unsure of how meeting Santa would go down for G, since she is not a fan at all of Santa when she seems him on Lotte’s cartoon, but we ended up getting this sort of fascinated reaction, which was beyond adorable. Lotte, on the other hand, was giddy with excitement while we waited in line, then got very shy when it came time to actually chat with him. Both reactions were priceless.

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^^ We had never been to the Chatfield Farms branch fo the Botanic Gardens, but the 40 minute drive was totally worth it, because the whole event was spectacular. From lights and Santa to reindeer and hot chocolate and cookies and carolers – it was a great way to celebrate the holiday season!

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My dad and Judy arrived early Friday and the girls was so excited to spend some time with them. We planned to hit up the Denver Zoo Lights Friday night, and I was a little worried because it can get crazy packed and be very cold, but here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on that we have discovered about events like this — pick the earliest time slot available, especially on a weeknight, if possible, and go then. We went at 5:30, which was the first time available, and we got an amazing parking spot and it wasn’t crowded at all. Plus, the weather was fairly mild, so it all worked out well!

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Chris was very busy Saturday cooking all day for his Baby G. We had a pancake party in the morning, a quiche for lunch, and for dinner he made spaghetti and meatballs (G’s first time trying them both), as well as an adorable giraffe cake for dessert.

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^^ I mean … how cute is this cake?!

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^^ Walks by the lake are pretty much mandatory when people come to visit us, as well 😉

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^^ These naked babes sure did love their spaghetti and meatball dinner … and especially the cake!

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^^ Setting up G’s presents (and also Lotte & G’s Christmas presents, to be fair) for her to come down to in the morning was so much fun. We did this for Lotte for her first birthday as well, and it’s absolutely become one of my favorite traditions.

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^^ The girls work up late Sunday and so my dad and Judy didn’t get to see them open their presents. They held a photo of the girls over the presents to prove they were at least here in spirit.

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^^ You sure are loved, Baby G.

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^^ I hope this spunky little lady of ours never loses her amazing energy and zest for life. You’re one of a kind, G, and we wouldn’t have it any other way <3

So Thursday it’s off to Australia! I’m hoping to get a post together before we head out about all the stuff we’re bringing with us that we hope will help with the littles on the plane. If I don’t get to it before we leave, though, I’ll definitely put one up after, including whether or not the things we hoped would work actually did work. Please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Bis bald, friends!

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!

Welcome Summer! (And a Whole Slew of Photos)

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Happy Tuesday, friends! It’s been a hot sec since I’ve blogged, mostly because we’ve been super busy (in the best possible way) with a visit from Chris’ sister. Yes friends, Auntie Kate is here from Australia, and our girls could. not. be. happier. Our summer so far has consisted of birthday parties, breweries, new adventures (like yoga at Red Rocks!), and a brand spankin’ new deck. Kate is here through July 5, and Chris’ aunt, uncle, and their three kids are joining us for the week of July 4, as well. It’s just about the best way to kick off the summer that I can think of.

Hope everyone else is living their best life, as well 😉

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^^ Aussie treats from Aunt Kate included all the Snakes Alive treats that were in Australia <3 Girl knows the way to my heart!

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^^ We attended a joint birthday party for our little neighbors the first Saturday Kate was here. It was at The Craftsman & Apprentice in Denver, which meant the kids got to run around and create all kinds of arts and crafts.

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^^ Grace participated, too!

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^^ Grace’s first Father’s Day <3

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^^ Celebrating Dad’s Day with some drinks at Westminster Brewing Co.

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^^ This little one has fallen head over heels in love with her Auntie Kate. I don’t know how we’re going to let her leave …

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^^ Not only did Auntie Kate come with all the Aussie treats, but she also came with all the Aussie clothes. Here, Grace & Lotte are modeling their new Bonds pjs by rolling around on the ground together.

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^^ We took Auntie Kate to the Denver Children’s Museum last Friday and Lotte had so much fun showing her all her favorite things – including this bubble room, which is always the biggest hit.

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^^ Kate treated me to a session of Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks. I was nervous since the extent of my yoga experience was the class Steph’s friend taught for our Mom’s fundraiser back in April, but this was so much fun!

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