Life Lately: The Rest of October, 2023

It was the surprise of the century when Chris’ siblings showed up from Australia for his 40th birthday!

Happy end of October, friends! I just finished pulling off a MASSIVE surprise that I’ve known about since we were in Australia in December. All four of Chris’ siblings flew out to surprise him for his 40th bday bash, and it was epic and wonderful and all the things.

After our trip out to Disneyland earlier in October, these two big events made for a super fun month. I hope you’ve all been making the most of fall and gearing up to head into a holiday season filled with love and festive activities.

Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to lately <3

Nan & Poppa were the first of our Aussie fam to arrive, and the girls were so excited to show them around a day-in-their life!
They came to gymnastics and swim lessons, school drop-offs and bus stop pick-ups. No rest for the weary!
We were so lucky with the weather the whole time the Connors were here! It was fall in all her splendid glory!
The grandparents arrived on Tuesday while Chris was out of town for work (which was so super helpful for me!), and the girls had off for fall break on Thursday and Friday, so that worked well! Obviously the Denver Zoo was on our must-visit list πŸ˜‰
It was all decked out for Halloween, which was an added delight.
This bond. Just goes to show that distance doesn’t matter, if you put your heart into it.
We had a picnic in Majestic View Park and took Nan & Poppa for a visit at the Majestic View Nature Center!
We took advantage of the scenery to have a little photo shoot, of course.
Surprise! The rest of the Connor clan arrived the Friday before Chris’ birthday party/birthday, and he had no idea. It was so wonderful <3
The girls also had no idea, which was even MORE fun!
I love, love, LOVE these people …
I mean … they couldn’t be any cuter if they tried <3
Grandpa flew in as a surprise for the party, as well!
The girls don’t get much one-on-one time with their Aussie aunties and uncles, so that was a super special element of the trip, as well.
Saturday was party time! We threw Chris’ 40th bday bash at the upstairs tiki bar at The Arvada Tavern in Olde Town Arvada. It was so. much. fun!
People really leaned into the Hawaiian theme, which was amazing.
We had food and drinks and 80s music … what’s not to love?!
Sunday was Chris’ actual birthday, and he requested steak, of course πŸ˜‰ So we all headed over to The Fort Steakhouse in Morrison. I had never been before, but Chris was there for a work dinner a few years ago. It was so much fun!
There’s a ton of history associated with the place, and the food is top-notch. 10/10 would recommend!
Love this crew <3
Grace was sick for a few days while the Connors were here (a bummer, for sure, but she bounced back!), but Lotte managed to head into downtown Denver with the crew on afternoon after school. They visited the Mile-High step and grabbed pizza and checked out a bit of the city.
Exactly one mile above sea level! (Allegedly πŸ˜‰
We headed into Fort Collins one day while the big girls were in school and, despite the weather being SUPER foggy, we took on the Horsetooth Reservoir hike. Uncle Ben even did it with Emilia on his back!
I think they both enjoyed it <3
Despite the fog, it was so, so pretty!
Uncle Paul was desperate to try In-N-Out Burger, so we did that on the way home. Emilia thoroughly enjoyed it, as well!
Our last meal with the fam before they flew home was at Jack’s, naturally.

And that was it in a nutshell, my loves. We’re so sad it’s over, but so happy we got to be a part of it at all. Life sure does move fast, friends. The only saving grace after saying goodbye to our loves was our first snow of the season.

The snow certainly was a nice distraction!

Bis bald, friends! And Happy Halloween!

The Summer of Yes

It’s Red Rocks concert season, ya’ll!

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

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

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

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

Library Story Time!

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

The Denver Zoo

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

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

Look at those magnificent animals!
Look at those tongues!

Taste of Fort Collins

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

Red Rocks, Red Rocks & More Red Rocks!

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

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

Swim Lessons For Em

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

Junkyard Social Club

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

Playdates, Playdates & More Playdates

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

Father’s Day Delights

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

Camp, Camp & More Camps!

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

Ralston Central Park & Splash Pad

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

Touristing With Visitors

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

Birthday Parties!

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

Camp for Emilia, Too πŸ˜‰

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

The Book of Mormon

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

Children’s Museum of Denver

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

Milestones & Makin’ Memories <3

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

Urban Air

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

Our Neighborhood Block Party

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

The Indigo Girls in Fort Collins!

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

Mordecai Children’s Garden (the Denver Botanic Gardens)

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

Big Soda Lake in Bear Creek Lake Park

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

Yard Sale Sunday!

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

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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

Press Trips x 3!

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

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

Tiny Town

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

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

Lair o’ the Bear Park

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

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

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

Bis bald, friends … until next time!

Old Friends, New Experiences, Loads of Memories

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

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

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

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

Majestic View Park Sledding

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

The Butterfly Pavilion

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

A Day in Denver

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

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

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

Bis bald!

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 β€” Paco Sanchez Park β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰
We adore the Frisco Bay Marina β€” 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 β€” aka a campout in the basement with Dad! β€” 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 β€” and the accompanying Mordecai Children’s Garden across the street β€” 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 β€” 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 πŸ˜‰
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 β€” American Elm, in Denver β€” with a friend earlier this week felt surprisingly normal and refreshingly wonderful.

The biggest thing we have coming up β€” other than Father’s Day this weekend … happy early Dad’s Day to all your wonder fathers and father-figures out there! β€” 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 β€” kid-friendly (hopefully!) stops we’ll be making on the way out and back, what we actually packed, etc. β€” 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 β€” also referred to as Peter Pan Park β€” 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 β€” modeled after the movie Peter Pan β€” 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 β€” one for my Grandma and one for my mom β€” 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

IMG_7858
Happy October, friends! Oh my goodness β€” 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.

Continue reading “A Very Special Surprise Visit From Aussie Nan & Poppa”

The Top 3 Reasons We Love Living in Colorado With Kids

IMG_0461
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 β€” and especially when we had Lotte, and then Grace β€” that my love of this place really flourished.

Continue reading “The Top 3 Reasons We Love Living in Colorado With Kids”

The Source Hotel + Market Hall and a Bacchanal Celebration of All Things New Orleans

IMG_6030
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 β€” called RiNo β€” is really developing.

Continue reading “The Source Hotel + Market Hall and a Bacchanal Celebration of All Things New Orleans”

Lair o’ the Bear on a Glorious Thursday Morning

IMG_3927
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 fullΒ 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.

Continue reading “Lair o’ the Bear on a Glorious Thursday Morning”

Mondays Like These

IMG_3723
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 πŸ˜‰

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.

Continue reading “Mondays Like These”

One With the Flowers

IMG_3514

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 β€” and more specifically the adorable and amazing Mordecai Children’s GardenΒ β€” yesterday. There were plants galore β€” that they could actually touch and smell β€” 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 …

Continue reading “One With the Flowers”

Savoring that Sweet Summer Feeling

IMG_2996
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.

Continue reading “Savoring that Sweet Summer Feeling”

Your 2019 Colorado Summer Bucket List

IMG_3728
I mean … G is barely even in this photo, but you get the gist β€” Colorado isΒ 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:

Continue reading “Your 2019 Colorado Summer Bucket List”

Celebrating a First Birthday & Seeing All the Christmas Lights

IMG_3138

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 FarmsΒ 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.

IMG_2606
^^ I was fully unsure of how meeting Santa would go down for G, since she is not a fanΒ 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.

IMG_2616IMG_2605IMG_2601
^^ 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!

IMG_2603IMG_2604IMG_2618IMG_2617IMG_2619

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 β€” 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!

IMG_2788IMG_2789IMG_2791IMG_2790IMG_2793IMG_2794IMG_2795IMG_2796IMG_2797IMG_2798IMG_2801IMG_2802

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.

IMG_2809IMG_2829IMG_2921
^^ I mean … how cute is this cake?!

IMG_2845IMG_2846IMG_2848
^^ Walks by the lake are pretty much mandatory when people come to visit us, as well πŸ˜‰

IMG_2849IMG_2850IMG_2851IMG_2976
^^ These naked babes sure did love their spaghetti and meatball dinner … and especially the cake!

IMG_2974IMG_2975IMG_2977IMG_2978IMG_2979IMG_3109
^^ 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.

IMG_3104IMG_3105
^^ 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.

IMG_3106IMG_3107IMG_3111IMG_3112IMG_3113IMG_3114IMG_3110
^^ You sure are loved, Baby G.

IMG_3139IMG_3140IMG_3141IMG_2847
^^ 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 weΒ 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!

IMG_3386

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 didΒ 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 …

IMG_3302IMG_3317IMG_3381
^^ 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.

IMG_3382
^^ I’m sorry, but Colorado backdrops are hard to beat.

IMG_3383IMG_3385IMG_3387IMG_3406IMG_3492
^^ WeΒ rented some kayaks on Lake Standley behind our houseΒ 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!

IMG_3493IMG_3495IMG_3496IMG_3497IMG_3498IMG_3499IMG_3500IMG_3501IMG_3512IMG_3536IMG_3551
^^ 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 πŸ˜‰

IMG_3554
^^ Nothing more American than baseball and Coors Light!

IMG_3720
^^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 itβ€”especially 6-year-old Lucyβ€”but they were all champs, which was great because this view is truly spectacular.

IMG_3721IMG_3722IMG_3723IMG_3726IMG_3728
^^ Our family selfie game needs improvement πŸ˜‰

IMG_3729IMG_3730IMG_3731IMG_3733
^^ Ugh Auntie Kate,Β why did you leave us?!

IMG_3734IMG_3735IMG_3736IMG_3737IMG_3739IMG_3817
^^Β  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.

IMG_3818IMG_3856IMG_3884
^^ American Flag brownie, courtesy of one of my favorite food bloggers πŸ˜‰

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)

IMG_1948

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 πŸ˜‰

IMG_1828
^^ Aussie treats from Aunt Kate included all the Snakes Alive treats that were in Australia <3 Girl knows the way to my heart!

IMG_1946
^^ 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.

IMG_1949
^^ Grace participated, too!

IMG_1960IMG_1961IMG_1962IMG_1755IMG_2040IMG_2042
^^ Grace’s first Father’s Day <3

IMG_2112
^^ Celebrating Dad’s Day with some drinks at Westminster Brewing Co.

IMG_2113IMG_2156
^^ This little one has fallen head over heels in love with her Auntie Kate. I don’t knowΒ how we’re going to let her leave …

IMG_2221IMG_2308IMG_2310IMG_2350
^^ 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.

IMG_2525IMG_2537
^^ 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.

IMG_2735
^^ Kate treated me to a session of Yoga on the Rocks at Red Rocks.Β 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!

IMG_2738IMG_2739IMG_2742IMG_2746
^^ Auntie Kate joined us for Lotte’s gym class last Saturday, too. She’s pretty much the best sport ever.

IMG_2752IMG_2772
^^ We’re testing out some books forΒ 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.

IMG_2773
^^ And this one …

IMG_2790
^^ And this one!

IMG_2883
^^ 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.

IMG_2884IMG_2885IMG_2886IMG_2887IMG_2888IMG_2891IMG_2895
^^ 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.

IMG_2897IMG_2898IMG_2899IMG_2900

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

IMG_6959

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 amΒ 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.

IMG_5797
^^ This face <3 Gets me every time.

IMG_6272
^^ Lotte’s new favorite activity – walking her stuffed animals in a stroller!

IMG_6344
^^ 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!)

IMG_6480IMG_6717IMG_6719IMG_6721IMG_6722IMG_6723IMG_6724IMG_6953IMG_6954IMG_6956
^^ 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.

IMG_6957IMG_6958
^^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 β€” which we cleverly named Otto β€” to bring home.

IMG_6960IMG_6961IMG_6962IMG_6963IMG_6964IMG_6966IMG_6967IMG_6968IMG_6969

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 hasΒ not been a fan of cars as of yet … )

Bis bald, friends!

Life Recently: The Mid-February (and Mid-Maternity Leave) Edition

IMG_4586

Well … welcome to mid-February, my friends! I can hardly believe it, myself. I can’t believe it’s mid-February. I can’t believe my newborn is two months old (and then some). I can’t believe how many visitors have come and gone and IΒ really can’t believe that I go back to work in six weeks!

We’re still in the process of planning out our travel for the year over here, but I can promise you it includes lots of fun stuff. (Like hopefully a bunch of trips back east for family things, our first vacation in Telluride for my birthday, a visit to Chicago in October for Chris to run the marathon there again, and of course, our big, fancy trip to Australia at the end of the year for Christmas/Grace’s birthday.)

In the meantime, though, Chris and I have just been soaking up life with two kiddos under the age of two (and getting used to the insanity that comes with it, if we’re being totally honest). We’ve had so many amazing visitors come and spend time with us, and we still have a couple more people to welcome before life returns to “normal” in April. Until I have more to post about our travel adventures for the year, please enjoy these photos of what life has been like lately, complete with lots and lots of adorable baby and toddler smiles πŸ˜‰

IMG_2633
^^ I can get a little creative when it comes to photos of my girls, in case you haven’t noticed. Lotte was thoroughly interested in my technique for this one …

IMG_2919
^^ The Denver Children’s Museum never disappoints. Oh and by the way this photo is also worth sharing because this was the first outing I had withΒ both the girls all on my own. I strapped G to my chest in the Ergo and let Lotte run wild and it all went pretty well, if I do say so myself!

IMG_2957IMG_3170
^^ I took advantage of the in-laws and my parents being in town to head to the lake to get some family photos. Oh Standley Lake, how lucky are we to have you five minutes away?!

IMG_3183IMG_3306
^^ It was nothing short of amazing having Nan and Aussie Pop here for six weeks to help us welcome Grace and get used to our new lives as parents of two. We miss them so much, and are so excited to see them in Australia in December.