Hello, friends … welcome to December! With the holiday and the end of the year right around the corner, things are insane! Which is why we were so lucky to get the chance to shoot back to New York one last time to see all our loves.
(Mind you we’ve visited our favorite state quite a bit this year, documented here and here and here and more!).
To start, my sister & I planned a surprise 60th birthday bash for our stepdad, and it was so much fun! He was so surprised!
After our day upstate celebrating Grandpa, we spent a quick few hours in NYC on Sunday before flying back that night. We met up with our forever besties, took in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City, and walked the Bryant Park holiday shops in the glorious rain.
And that was our trip, friends. It’s always too short — even when we stay for weeks! — but always very sweet. Until next time, NY …
Now it’s on to our next adventure … Europe for Christmas in JUST. TWO. WEEKS! We’re meeting Chris’ parents for a winter adventure in Germany, Switzerland and, hopefully, Iceland (if a certain volcano can make up its mind). We are very excited, but also ready to relax for the two weeks until then.
Until those updates … bis bald, friends, and happy holidays!
Welcome back to press trip summer, friends! I already talked about Breckenridge and Beaver Creek, and today’s post is about our third and final trip out to C Lazy U Ranch.
Believe it or not, a trip out here is not about being lazy. (As I learned on our ranger ride tour, a “lazy” U is a U that’s turned on its side). Being at C Lazy U Ranch actually means doing all the things. The girls attended camps in the mornings and afternoons where they made friends, played on the playground, did crafts and rode ponies (G) and horses (Lotte). We had Emilia with us, of course, but for parents with kids over three (the age when they can join the camps), being here means attending summer camps with your kids. Sending them off for large chunks of the day (plus dinner!) to have the time of their lives while you do the same, and reconvening for an evening activity (plus breakfast and lunch). It’s really the best of both worlds.
Here’s a bit of what we got up to in our Thursday to Saturday visit.
And that was that, my friends. I would HIGLY recommend this place to anyone who has kids over the age of three (and a lot of money. It was … quite pricey!)
Anyway, I’m so incredibly grateful for having had all these adventures with my family this summer, and for my editor who continues to have faith in my travel testing abilities 😉 Keep ’em coming, Karen … I think we can handle them 😉
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
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.
Happy September friends! I hope you all had amazing, restful Labor Day weekends. We spent ours back East with our beloved NY fam for my sister’s twins’ baptism, of which Chris & I had the honor of being anointed their grandparents at.
The baptism and afterparty were the main events of the weekend, but we snuck in some quality hang time at Grandpa’s, some quality pool time at my brother-in-law’s parents’ house, and some quality drinking/relaxing time at Angry Orchard, as well.
Steph had never been to Angry Orchard — an orchard that distills hard apple cider — but it’s well-known throughout New York so it was fun to go and check out where the magic happens.
Well I, specifically, will be back at the end of September for my cousin’s wedding, which made this goodbye sad, but not as sad as it would have been had I not had that to look forward to.
Because plans are what keep me going, friends! So until then … bis bald, my loves!
Welcome to the final installation of our time in NYC — Days 4, 5 & 6. They were chock full, and I will do my best to edit, but honestly, we all know I love a good photo. Here’s what we got up to.
Day 4: Prospect Park, Pizza & Baseball
We had tickets to see the Mets play (and beat!) the Phillies on Tuesday night, so we had a bit of more relaxing day. We took Simon the Pup to Prospect Park, had stoop-side pizza for lunch and even managed short catnaps.
After a quick rest, Chris ran over my friend’s place to pick up their car so we could drive to the game. We paid about $50 for parking up in the VERY front, but it was worth every. single. penny. No regrets at all. The ride was about an hour there and 40 minutes back (minus the traffic), and being on our own schedule was priceless. We weren’t sure how long we’d be staying. Turns out … the girls love baseball! Or at least the fanfare involved with it.
Day 5: Playgrounds, Fiona’s play, Lunch dates with Mom, DUMBO & Jane’s Carousel
Grandpa came back into the city to see us Wednesday night and we headed over to Dumbo for Grimaldi’s pizza, rides on Jane’s Carousel and to check out the Time Out Market. Before that, though, Chris took the girls on a playground hunt, Lotte and I saw Fiona perform a play at her school, and I took my three little ladies out for a special lunch in the neighborhood.
Day 6: The High Line and the Color Factory
Thursday was our last full day, since our flight out was 7 a.m. Friday. Sadly, Chris had to work, but I took the girls to visit the High Line, we met up with Fiona and Jake at their favorite place, the Color Factory, and Faye and her kiddos and my sister and Rosalie met us back at Carla’s for a farewell dinner that night.
After the High Line we walked about 2.5 miles (with Grace and Lotte swapping out of the second seat of Carla’s double stroller, but really, Grace basically walked the whole thing!) to the Color Factory. This place is crack for kids. They had the best time running around like crazy and, of course, I didn’t mind the opportunity for super cool pics 😉 They actually give you a card with a QR code on it when you enter, though, and there are spots to take pictures throughout that get emailed to you. For free. Can’t think of any other place that does that!
After the Color Factory we met everyone back at Carla’s for our final dinner. It was the perfect way to end our perfect NYC trip.
And that was our trip in a nutshell, friends. It was full of so many amazing and fun things. We had the perfect weather. And Grace found/was covered in no less than five ladybugs, so my mom was absolutely there in spirit.
Until next time New York …. we sure do love you!
We’re onto summer things now (camp, swim, play dates, etc.), and we have a press trip coming up in August that I’m super excited about. Then we have an awesome Europe trip planned for Christmas. I’m trying not to wish the year away for that trip to arrive, but it’s hard because dang I’m so excited! But until then, you know what I say … bis bald, friends! I hope you all have wonderful summers planned.
Ah friends, welcome to summer! Or at least, it’s summer for us! The school year ended the week before Memorial Day, so we decided to head on out! For as often as we visit New York state, we had yet to actually stay for multiple days in the city itself.
So we decided to change that.
Through the incredible generosity of a good friend of mine from college, we were able to stay in an awesome Brooklyn apartment for free, and spend our money on all. the. activities. And we did activities, friends. Boy, did we do activities 😉
I’ll break down our days into a couple of different posts so as to not overwhelm, but here are a few overarching highlights:
We miss our friends and family in New York like crazy. Trips like this are beyond memorable, especially now that the girls are getting old enough to remember them.
Taking the subway with three littles is … interesting. Hah. One day is was just me and a double stroller and three children. When Carla joined it was five children. We got onto the subway at one station and the (heavenly) woman who gave up her seat for the kids turned to me and Carla and said, “You’re doing amazing” and I could have kissed her right then and there. Or cried. Or probably both.
Both older girls really loved their time in the city (so did Em, but you know, she can’t talk a lot yet, soooo …), but I foresee a future where G goes to school there, or lives there after school … basically makes the city a bigger part of her life story.
On our last full day Grace must have walked over a mile from the High Line to the Color Factory, while she played a game of “veterinarian” with Lotte, who was in one of the double stroller seats. Em was napping in the other. It was an amazing moment I’ll never forget, and damn was I proud of her!
Without further adieu, here was our Saturday and Sunday, Manhattan Style!
Because of multiple snafoos that I won’t get into, we didn’t end up arriving in Brooklyn until around 3 on Saturday morning. As such, I didn’t have the highest of hopes for our Saturday plans … but as is usually the case when it comes to my kids, I was proved wrong! These girls slept a cool four hours and woke up ready to explore! My friend Faye and her two kiddos met up with us. On the agenda were:
There is also a fun playground in this area, too, if you’re looking to spend more time there.
Back in Manhattan my friend ordered up some pizza and we ate it on her rooftop. It was the perfect ending to the perfect first day in the city.
We had plans on Sunday to catch the train from Grand Central into Cold Spring to meet up with our family for lunch at the Cold Spring Depot. That also meant that Chris got a chance to give the girls his world-famous Grand Central tour when we arrived back 😉
And those were our first two days in a nutshell, friends! They also included Grace discovering that she does, in fact, like cheese on pizza (duh), and only a handful of tantrums and slight frustrations 😉
Next up … a packed Memorial Day! Until then … bis bald, friends!
What’s a trip to Australia without a proper visit to the beach?!
The final leg of our Australian holiday journey was a trip to Forster, the beach where Chris almost every post-Christmas holiday with his family and two groups of family friends growing up.
But before we headed to the beach, we flew from New Zealand to Sydney and hopped right quick on a train to catch up with the kids in Circular Quay and take some necessary touristy shots of the quintessential Aussie sites:
We were also finally able to catch up with Chris’ grandmother — and all of his other family members on his mom’s side — after missing them on Christmas when Nannan got Covid. Thankfully she was doing much better, and getting everyone together before heading off to the beach was absolutely the best.
We decided to head straight from dinner to Forster to make the most out of our few days left. That meant a three hour drive, but the girls did incredibly well, and Chris and Vince volunteered to take ALL THREE with them so that Cath and I could drive and chat in silence.
I mean, how sweet is that?
We arrived after dark, obviously, but once the morning hit, it wasn’t hard to see why Forster has meant so much Chris and his family. Here’s what we got up to during our few short days there.
And that was Forster, friends. It was the most amazing beach time, and I’m so glad we were able to make it work.
Then we were back in the car headed to our final night in Sydney before flying out the following morning.
It’s absolutely impossible to sum up what this trip and all of its parts has meant to us. I have 12,000 photos to relive the memories, of course, but I’m hoping to hold on to the feeling for as long as I possibly can.
Welcome back to my Holidays in Australia series, including a surprise 24-hour layover in San Francisco, Christmas in Australia, our anniversary and New Years Eve in New Zealand, and a visit to the beach that Chris visited every year growing up! We saw friends and family that we haven’t seen since before the pandemic (I blogged about our first trip out with Lotte & Grace in 2019, including here), and friends and family got to meet Emilia for the very first time. Emotions were high (in both the best and saddest of ways … traveling, and especially traveling with children, is never not fraught), but while I sit here typing this up, I honestly can’t believe it’s over. So very much planning and buying and packing (and stressing!) went into this trip, and it was definitely one for the books, friends.
I have, as you can imagine, approximately 12 million photos to add here and to look back on for years to come. I’m going to break the trip up into sections. First up — Christmas at Chris’ parents house in Bathurst. We were so excited to be spending the day with Chris’ NanNan, but she sadly came down with Covid (on Christmas Day, no less!) so our plans had to shift. Still, we spent the day with all Chris’ siblings and all of our Aussie nieces and nephews, and it was magical, nonetheless.
Swimming, sleeping, eating all the tasty treats and getting in as many cuddles as possible topped our list of priorities for this first half of the trip. We also managed to get in some kangaroo and cricket viewing.
After we spent the holiday in Bathurst we all packed up and drove to Sydney, where Chris and I would be leaving the girls before we headed off to our own separate little holiday in New Zealand to celebrate the New Year and our anniversaries (10 years married, 15 years knowing each other!). We stopped off at the Three Sisters in Katoomba along the way.
And that was the first third of our trip in a nutshell, friends! It was filled with all the love and fun that we imagined, and then some. Next up was our SOLO trip to New Zealand … until then, bis bald, friends!
Happy New Year, friends! I hope everyone had a fabulous and fantastic holiday season filled with all the fun things.
We sure did.
We arrived back LAST NIGHT from our holiday trip. It included Christmas in Australia, our anniversary and New Years Eve in New Zealand, and a visit to the beach that Chris visited every year growing up! We saw friends and family that we haven’t seen since before the pandemic (I blogged about our first trip out with Lotte & Grace in 2019, including here), and friends and family got to meet Emilia for the very first time. Emotions were high (in both the best and saddest of ways … traveling, and especially traveling with children, is never not fraught), but while I sit here typing this up, I honestly can’t believe it’s over. So very much planning and buying and packing (and stressing, if I’m being completely honest! I was SO SURE someone would get sick! Spoiler alert: WE DID NOT!) went into this trip, and it was definitely one for the books, friends.
But first, we had to get there.
Things started optimistically enough! We knew that weird weather was rolling into Denver, and our flight out to San Francisco was scheduled for early evening, with a layover of only about an hour to make our connecting flight to Sydney.
Needless to say, that didn’t end up happening.
We sat for about 2.5 hours on the tarmac before finally taking off and landing in San Francisco around 1 a.m. United Airlines, to their credit, gave us two hotel rooms for two nights, since the next flight out they could get us on didn’t leave until 10:45 p.m.
Instead of looking at it as a lost day in Australia, we decided to find the silver lining and consider it a free (Kind of. Well, the hotel rooms were free, at least) and unexpected day in San Francisco.
Ordered in pizza to our hotel room/showered/repacked
Headed back to the airport around 8 p.m.
You know what’s great about catching a 14.5-hour flight at 10:45 at night after spending the day running your kids ragged around San Francisco?
They. Are. Zonked.
Seriously, the flight from San Francisco to Sydney was probably one of the best we’ve ever had, courtesy of exhausted children who slept seven to eight hours and then watched tv/snacked/did crafts the whole rest of the time. I was BEYOND impressed with my kids’ travel abilities and their willingness to go with the flow and find adventure in every little thing (even the snags) … but more on that later.
For now … bis bald, friends! See ya when we’re in Sydney!
Edit Note: I wrote this post on the Monday after Thanksgiving, as we had just spent the weekend at the second YMCA of the Rockies location. Since the trip was a sponsored press trip, I waited to post this until the story for the publication that sponsored me went live. You can find the complete Good Housekeeping 2023 Family Travel Rewards story here!
Happy Monday after Thanksgiving, loves! Our little family was lucky enough to try out the second YMCA of the Rockies location — this time in Estes Park — the weekend after the holiday. (You can find information on our stay at the Granby Ranch location here.)
While similar in many ways, and with many of the same amenities as Granby, the Estes Park location did feel slightly different. There is less property at this location, which means the cabins and activities are closer together. This is nice if you’d like to opportunity to walk around more easily, but the vastness of the Granby location also had its perks. Whichever you visit, you honestly can’t go wrong. Grace spent the entire first-day-back-preschool-morning-check-in walking up to her little friends and her teacher and saying, “I went to the YMCA of the Rockies!”
It obviously had a lasting impact. Here’s a little bit why …