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.

To start, the modern-style King suites came stocked with a living area, shower and glorious tub (just look at that glorious tub!) and my corner room had some pretty cool views of the Denver skyline and the mountains in the distance.

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After checking in on Friday, I headed down to the second floor to check out the stores that are part of Market Hall. There was an artists’ installation, a flower shop, the Israeli-focused restaurant Safta, barbecue restaurant Smok, New Belgium Brewing’s inaugural Denver brewery and some pop-up bespoke stalls.

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Dinner and drinks on Friday were at The Woods, the rooftop restaurant of the hotel. The views were gorgeous, the drinks tasty and the sweet soy cauliflower appetizers were a must-try.

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^^ Morning Denver views from my room.

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^^ Breakfast on Saturday morning was a pastry from the Reunion Bread Company, juice from Isabel and a latte from Caffe Figurati.

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The hotel is also a block away from Zeppelin Station, which features a rotating retail space called Made in a City. “Made in Mexico City” was the current experience for the weekend I was there, and there were shops and restaurants that featured Mexico City-based experiences. I had a beet veggie salad and a ceviche tostada from Campobaja, which were both really delightful.

IMG_6100IMG_6101IMG_6102After Zeppelin Station, I met up with a colleague at Safta to grab some food before heading over to the Bacchanal event. Safta specializes in Israeli cuisine, and their mushroom hummus was without a doubt some of the best hummus I’ve ever had (sorry Hummus Place in NYC — you’ve got competition!)

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After our quick bite it was off to Bacchanal! Here’s where I admit something silly — I’ve actually been to the real-life Bacchanal in New Orleans (blogged about here), but didn’t remember until about halfway through the event Saturday night. Once I did remember, though, the whole event snapped into focus for me. Bacchanal in New Orleans is basically one big outdoor house party — it’s a very laid-back scene with amazing food plates and buckets of wine that you stand in line to order. There are colorful string lights, picnic tables in the yard and fantastic, live music. So that was what the Bacchanal team was attempting to recreate in the parking lot of The Source on Saturday and Sunday, and they did a pretty great job. They even managed to bring over two of the original Bacchanal bands from New Orleans to perform, too.

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The team has actually been bringing this event around the country for a while now — they’ve been in LA twice and in Chicago, and a few others, as well — and I think it’s such a great idea. For people who have never been to New Orleans, getting a chance to partake in some of the culture is a great way to entice them to take a trip, and for people who have been, it’s a lovely reminder of what makes New Orleans so special.

On Sunday we all got to test out the new brunch menu at Safta before heading out. Here’s where I tell you that, if you enjoy eating Israeli-based foods as much as I do (I have never met a hummus flavor I didn’t love), then this brunch is for you. I mean there is so much more than hummus (just look at those pictures!), and they even bring in Rosenberg’s bagels which, I just learned on this trip, adjusts the pH level of the water they use to create the bagels so that they closely match what you’ll find in NYC.

Ah-mazing.

IMG_6140IMG_6141IMG_6142IMG_6143IMG_6144IMG_6145IMG_6146Safta, we learned, means grandmother in Hebrew, and so the restaurant is meant to evoke homestyle feelings of being back at your grandmother’s house eating a big ole’ Sunday meal. Quaint and cozy with a dash of elegance … and all the tasty treats you could possibly ask for.

And that was my weekend in a nutshell, friends. I really enjoyed my relaxing time at The Source Hotel, and I’m so glad I was able to attend the Bacchanal celebration and find a new amazing eatery, too. It was an area I will definitely be heading back to.

Bis bald!

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.

Besides the fact that it was a Thursday morning and not a weekend, I also had lunches done and the car packed before the girls even finished breakfast, so that we could be out the door in no time. We actually made it to the parking lot at about 8:45 a.m., and it was only about half full. Besides getting a parking spot (under a shaded tree, no less), today tapped out at 97 degrees (seriously, it felt gross just typing that), so I wanted to make sure our hike was done well before the real heat started.

Anyway, the hike — it is beyond amazing. I had the double stroller with me and although there were a couple spots where I struggled over bumps, for the most part it was easy. It was totally flat, and mostly along  a babbling creek, which was so serene. Plus, at certain points, Lotte could go down into the creek and dip her feet in. There was a big tree to climb, a “tunnel” that was actually an old water well building that the girls were obsessed with, tons of spots to eat outside (which of course we did), and lots of additional activity to take in, like mountain bikers and fly fishers. It was just such a great day, topped off with ice cream from The Cow Eatery in Morrison on our way back home.

This is what summer is all about, my friends.

Bis bald!

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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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Bis bald, friends — I hope you are all having amazing summers, as well!

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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Following the flowers is never a bad idea, in my opinion, friends 😉

Happy Wednesday!

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.

You see, kids love summer. And what’s NOT to love about summer when you’re a kid? All they know is that they get to be outside all the dang time and they couldn’t care less about sweat. Or frizzy hair. Or sticky bodies. Or anything else that adults (just me?) care about. The interesting thing, though, is that in trying to shift my mindset, a funny thing has happened … I’ve shifted my mindset! I mean … summer can be GREAT! If you forget about all those things I already mentioned (and insects, and bees, and thunderstorms, and … okay, I’m running away with it again ….) then summer really is great!

So here’s to making the most of things for those you love, even if they aren’t really and truly your favorite things to begin with. Here are a few ways we’ve been really trying to get into the spirit of the season…

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^^ The Ralston Central Park and Splash Pad are an absolute must when the temps soar. Get there as soon as they turn on (around 10 a.m. most days) so you can beat the crowds (sort of) and avoid the hottest part of the day.

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^^ The Denver Children’s Museum has tons of stuff to see and do inside, but their outside area — including this sand pit — is a big draw for my girls, as well.

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^^ I have to give a major shout-out to Chris, who has put so much effort and love and care into our own backyard, that most days the girls don’t even want to leave the house (which is always, always fine by me!).

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^^ We are just the luckiest to have Standley Lake Regional Park basically in our backyard. The lake is gorgeous to check out even if that’s all you do, and the prairie dogs will keep the kids entertained for hours. There’s also the bald eagle sanctuary, tipi rentals for camping and canoes and kayaks that you can rent by the hour.

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^^ We took the little ladies for a canoe ride over July 4th weekend, and it was glorious. It was Lotte’s third time, but G’s first, and she actually held in there for longer than I expected!

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^^ Breweries in the area offer plenty for kids to do these days as well, like run in laps (Oh, that’s just my children? Okay, then.), check out the dogs, and lots of them even have games. The one in the photo above is New Terrain Brewing Company, but really, they’re all pretty kid friendly.

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^^ Lotte takes swim lessons on Saturday mornings at the Apex Center, and this past weekend G and I joined in for a swim in their amazing indoor water park area. They have an outdoor splash pad area, as well.

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^^ We’re members and regulars at the Denver Children’s Museum, but up until this summer I never felt like we’d get a lot out of a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Lotte’s latest obsession with planets and space and space travel, however, meant that a visit to the museum’s space section (and corresponding planetarium Sesame Street show) was a big hit!

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^^ Lotte in her “spacesuit,” (aka my tea towel), which she insisted on bringing to the museum. I cannot get enough of this age.

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^^ After the museum, we had a picnic at Denver’s City Park and let the kids run around. This is such an amazing area because the museum, a splash pad, the zoo, a bunch of playgrounds and the lake (where you can rent pedal boats) are all right there.

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^^ I swear there is nothing this kid loves more than eating outside 😉

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And those have been my brazen attempts at embracing this season so far, my friends. I know summer technically just began at the end of June, but really, once July is over, isn’t everyone already looking forward to fall?

Oh, that’s just me, too? Okay, then.

Well, for now I’ll keep plugging along, making the most of this sweltering season, as long as it makes my littles happy <3 Bis bald, friends — I hope you all had amazing July 4th holidays!

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:

Ice cream at Little ManGetting your first ice cream of the summer at Little Man is almost more about the experience itself than the ice cream … although the ice cream is pretty darn fantastic, as well. Lotte had her first taste of ice cream here, and it was one of the first spots we visited when we were testing the area out to see if we actually wanted to move here. If you can rent a bike and stop here on your way to touring other spots of Denver, you’ll make the whole experience even more quintessentially Denver-esque.

Every single thing Golden related: Check out the quaint old Main Street, grab a beer at Golden City Brewery, tour Coors Brewery, drive up the scenic overlook pass and take a peek at Buffalo Bill’s grave … all in gorgeous Golden.

Hikes, hikes and more hikes: Hiking in Colorado is basically an essential, but fear not, there is a trail for every level. Some of our favorites have included Hanging Lake, St. Mary’s Glacier, Gem Lake and the Flat Irons.

Check out a 14er: Okay, okay, to be fair I’ve only actually done one 14er, and it was a drive-up one, but still, it was glorious and I would highly recommend it! The mountain was Pikes Peak, and it was well worth the altitude. 

Visit the mountains: Mountains are a-plenty here in Colorado (duh), but the summer is the perfect time to visit. Glorious hiking, delicious drinks and food, hot tubs and pools and hanging out in the warm summer sun — there’s just nothing like it. Some of our favorite summertime mountain adventures have included camping in Boreas Pass, visiting Telluride for Easter (not technically summer, but always gorgeous), Beaver Creek for a getaway before G was born and checking out the Maroon Bells in Aspen.

Head to a National Park: The National Parks in Colorado are not to be missed, even if they may be a bit off the beaten path. Be sure to check out Rocky Mountain National Park (which is easily combined with a trip to Boulder), and if you have time/happen to be in the area, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a place you won’t want to miss.

Find the rock formations: By which, of course, I mean visit Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks, two must-not-be-missed spots in this great state called Colorado. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a concert at Red Rocks and/or get to take a morning yoga class. Both are pure magic.

Besides those big-ticket items, there are unlimited places to find great brews and get great food. Living in Colorado has been such an adventure, and I’m so grateful for all of the amazing things we’ve been able to see and do. So, without further adieu ‚ bis bald, friends — and I hope you all have a fantastic summer ahead!

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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^^ Auntie Kate joined us for Lotte’s gym class last Saturday, too. She’s pretty much the best sport ever.

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^^ We’re testing out some books for Parents magazine like we did last year, and this year is so much fun because Lotte is actually into books now. This picture has got to be one of my faves ever.

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^^ And this one …

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^^ And this one!

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^^ This past Sunday would have been my mom’s birthday, so Kate & Chris took the girls to Chautauqua Park in Boulder so I could have some time to myself. They only got a short way into the hike before it started raining, unfortunately, but it still seems like they had a lot of fun.

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^^ This past Sunday we christened our brand new deck with our first barbecue with my cousin and her husband and kids. It’s always fun hanging with that crew, but to host our first guests on our brand new back deck made it even more special.

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And that has been our summer in a nutshell so far, my friends! We have the rest of our guests to look forward to in July (as well as Lotte’s 2nd birthday, which I can’t talk about …), and another trip back east in August. Other than that, you’ll find us on the back deck if you need us <3

Bis bald, friends!

Making Memories and Holding On to That Maternity Leave

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Happy Monday, friends! Somehow we’ve ended up here, with only three weeks left of my maternity leave and almost into spring?! How?! No, but seriously … how?!

Anyway, our travel is finally starting to shape up for the year, which is to say that we have a couple things on the calendar for the foreseeable couple of months. We’ll be heading to Telluride for my birthday weekend, which I am beyond excited for (we’ve never been and have always wanted to go!), and we’ll be taking Grace on her first plane ride in mid-April to attend a fundraiser for my mom that my sister and I are throwing. We’ll also head to Chicago in October for Chris to run the marathon, and then we plan to head to Australia in December to celebrate G’s first birthday and for Christmas. There will probably be some other trips back east scattered here and there throughout the year, as well, but having at least those couple of things to look forward to is really nice.

In the meantime, our stream of visitors has continued with trips from Grandpa this past weekend, and one of my oldest friends will be heading our way next weekend, as well. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately, including a super fun trip to the Aquarium in Downtown Denver with Grandpa just yesterday.

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^^ This face <3 Gets me every time.

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^^ Lotte’s new favorite activity – walking her stuffed animals in a stroller!

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^^ A particularly cozy corner in G’s nursery, where we spend lots of time together. These days are fleeting my friends, this I know. Some day soon this will be a toddler’s room, then a preschooler’s, and so on and so forth. For now, though, I’m doing the best I can to soak up every last inch of my babies while they still let me. (AKA while they have no say in the matter!)

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^^ Grandpa Robert is the best! He treated us to the Denver Aquarium, which was our first time there. At $21 a pop for adult tickets, it’s a tad on the expensive side, but Lotte had such a fun time, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be back.

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^^Her favorite was actually the sea otter section, but unfortunately I didn’t get a great picture. Gramps even bought her a little stuffed Otter — which we cleverly named Otto — to bring home.

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And that’s about it for now, my friends! I’ll be back after our trip to Telluride to let you know all about how that goes. (Wish us luck, since it’s a 6 hour trip and G has not been a fan of cars as of yet … )

Bis bald, friends!