Summer Weekends in the Mountains Part III: C Lazy U Ranch

Ever since we moved to Colorado I have wanted to drive through one of these ranch gates, which are located throughout the state. The second weekend in August was my time to make that dream a reality πŸ˜‰

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.

For the girls, dressing the part was half the fun!
Anywhere that Lotte can practice the monkey bars is amazing in her book.
On our very first night there the girls had dinner with complete strangers (who they became great friends with) and performed “Let It Go”, again in front of complete strangers, to much amusement and obsession. It’s safe to say that we have never had a more fun first night on a trip.
Friday was our first full day, and we started off wit a short tractor ride up the mountain where we were met with fresh homemade donuts, coffee and a full breakfast with the most amazing view.
Enjoying her view with a side of hot chocolate.
Too stinkin.
We had the most glorious morning for it, too.
The best.
After breakfast Chris had to work, but the girls and I got a ranger ride β€” which is basically a ride in a humongous and very powerful four-wheeler β€” all around the ranch. Grace even found this horseshoe! (Lotte was not thrilled to have not found one, hah.)
There were just gorgeous views everywhere we looked!
A little bird watching.
Emilia was too young for the camps β€” they start at three β€” but we had the best time anyway!
The driver let Grace and Lotte sit in the front on the last 10 minutes of the ride, so we obliged Emilia with a quick tour of the front seat, as well <3
The girls really fell in love with horses on this trip (and have since asked to get one), and to be honest, so did I.
I EVEN went on my first ride! Look at me up there, all calm, cool and collected!
That night Chris escorted the girls to a Barn Dance, where they listened to live music, ate ice cream, rode a mechanical bull and just generally had a blast.
Emilia had a grand time at the morning Cowboy coffee <3
On Saturday morning the girls set off for their morning camp session …
And it was Chris’ turn to ride!
Grace rode a pony that she and her campmates decorated to look like a unicorn!
Can you even? She had the best time! Emilia and I were on the playground nearby so I happened to catch her ride, and she kept calling out, “Hi Emilia! See me riding a pony, Emilia!”
And Lotte rode a horse ALL BY HERSELF! I was so proud of her!
In the afternoon, the “Showdeo” allowed the kids to show off the skills they learned all week. For Grace’s group, that was how to hone their cuteness.
Lotte was in a horse/cherry eating race, and she came in 2nd and had a blast!
Maximum cuteness.

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 πŸ˜‰ Keep ’em coming, Karen … I think we can handle them πŸ˜‰

Until next time … bis bald, friends!

Summer Weekends in the Mountains Part II: Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek is the sweetest little mountain town you ever will see.

Happy Thursday, friends! As I already mentioned, we were so lucky this summer because we got to go on THREE press trips that took us to awesome places in the mountains.

I blogged about our first trip here.

Our second was to the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek. We had only been to Beaver Creek once before (when Lotte was itty bitty and I was pregnant with Grace!), but we had loved it so much that time, we were more than happy to get back.

There’s plenty to love about Beaver Creek β€” its quaint, safe feel, gorgeous views and friendly people, to name a few β€” but the Hyatt offered its own set of amenities to treasure.

Views from every window!
The cutest kiddie toys in the suites!
The best location! The middle of the town is right outside the door, with tons of restaurants and shops, an ice skating rink in the winter and this huge play area in the summer.
And holy moly the food. So. Much. Good. Food.
So many tasty drinks!
That includes 24-hour-a-day room service.
Nutella pancakes for the win πŸ˜‰
You can also grab a s’mores kit from the front desk and make your own at their outdoor fire pits, surrounded by the glorious mountains.

You can catch the gondola or ski lift right outside the door and take it to the top of the mountain. There you’ll find a lodge with lots of fun games, tons of hiking trails, or plenty of spaces to just sit and sip and relax, if that’s your preferred mountain activity.

We love a gondola ride!
Views from the top.
Look at these cuties <3
Our hike was cut short when Grace fell and skinned her knee, but until then it was glorious!
Rides back down!

The town itself has tons of restaurants and shops, like I mentioned, plus a cute creek and, if you walk a short distance, a playground.

This cutie loved the creek!
Hiking around town.

And obviously no trip of ours is complete without trying out the pool & hot tub situation. Both options at this hotel scored a 10/10 on our scale.

Pool ready!
What better way to wake up the guests than with squeals of delight from the pool down below?!

And that was it in a nutshell, my friends. We love you Beaver Creek! My only wish is that this place is slightly closer (it’s two hours in good traffic). If it were, we’d be there much more often, I can promise you that πŸ˜‰

Bis bald, friends! I’ll be back tomorrow with our third and final press trip of the summer β€” C Lazy U Ranch!

Summer Weekends in the Mountains Part I: Grand Colorado on Peak 8

Happy fall, friends! Back in July of this past summer, we were lucky enough to check out Grand Colorado on Peak 8 in Breckenridge for a press trip. I couldn’t share our adventures until the story came out, and now that it has, I’m so excited to drop some mountain love here, as well.

We stayed at the resort from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. And even though we hit some gnarly traffic on the ride home, it was definitely worth it. Other than a small accident that put Emilia in urgent care on Saturday night, we all had a blast.

Friday Night

We arrived to our suite late afternoon on Friday, and holy hell was it impressive! Our living room had amazing views of the mountain, the Adventure Park activities and the pool area down below. In general, the hotel was very well suited for families, and the girls had the best time exploring.

Kid-sized games galore!
So much people watching!
Dinner at Robbie’s Tavern, located in the resort, was so yum. As were the drinks πŸ˜‰

Saturday

On Saturday we explored the resort a bit more (pools, kids’ crafts & cafe), and drove into town to check out the Breckenridge Alpine Garden.

Is there anything better than a blue-sky mountain day??
The Alpine Garden was the perfect substitute when we discovered that the hike we wanted to take was closed, and the other had no parking. Small enough to enjoy at a kids’ pace, and the kids love being in nature.
Downtown Breck is such a delight <3
The girls and I caught the free gondola from town back to the resort!
More fun games with a breathtaking backdrop.
After a morning spent exploring, we picked up some crafts to paint back in our room while we had some lunch.
Chris & I switched off on having amazing massages in the afternoon while the girls rested, then we hit up the pool. We had evening plans to head back into town, but after Emilia’s accident and urgent care visit, we decided to lay low back in the room and let her rest. Rest assured she was totally fine and back to her adorable, rambunctious self in no time πŸ˜‰

Sunday

Sunday begin with pancakes in our suite and a trip to the second indoor/outdoor pool.
We were given passes for the Epic Discovery Adventure Park, which the girls made great use of, starting with this amazing bungee jump trampoline!
Look at that pure joy!
We also opted to ride the ski lift, which was so beautiful and only about 75% terrifying with littles!
Emilia was unphased by Mom’s anxiety, particularly after her head trauma the day before!
After checking out we headed back into town for lunch at Breckenridge Tap House and ice cream at Higgles.
The girls got to ride the Gondola with Chris this time <3
Mint chocolate chip all around!
After filling up on treats, it was off to find the Breckenridge Troll! (Please know that you can easily park in the huge parking lot near the troll and walk about 400 feet. We started off trying to hike there from the downtown area, and this was so. much. easier!)
Troll spotted!
The hike to and from the parking lot is short but beautiful. My favorite kind πŸ˜‰

And that was it, friends! 10/10 recommend this place for adventurous, outdoor-loving families looking for a fun getaway! Until my next press trip post (we had THREE!) … bis bald, friends!

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!

Early October in Disneyland!

Happy October, loves! This month is the best kind of chaos for us, beginning with a solo trip for me back to New York for my cousin’s wedding at the end of September/first weekend in October, followed a few days later by …. drum roll, please …. OUR TRIP TO DISNEYLAND!

I’ve only been to Disney World, and the girls had never been to anything Disney related, so this was very special. Sadly Chris couldn’t get away from work to join, but we did manage to drag Grandpa Robert along, so that was very lovely, as well.

We stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and splurged for the Genie+ passes, so this was not a cheap trip. Still, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. With a 7-, 5- and 2-year-old, I wanted to do as much as I could to make this trip as “easy” as possible for myself and Grandpa. Staying in a hotel that was walking distance to everything we needed and paying to skip the lines whenever possible was absolutely worth it. Even though we all stayed together in one room, Grandpa and I each got a Queen bed, Emilia slept in a travel crib that the resort had, and the girls slept on a (very large) hide-away bed. It was delightfully comfortable. I also booked the majority of our meals prior to the trip. This turned out to be a smart move, as well. As you can imagine it was insanely busy, so knowing where and when we were eating was an essential step in avoiding hangriness (myself included) all around.

Here’s a bit of what we got up to πŸ˜‰

Day 1: Arrival & Downtown Disney!

We were so lucky that we got to visit during the 100th anniversary of Disney and during the height of their Halloween festivities. I LOVE Halloween, so seeing all the decorations and visiting the special attractions was so much fun!

There was direct access to Adventure Park from our hotel (which we didn’t visit on this trip), as well as to the Downtown Disney District, which is steps to the Disney entrance. Be prepared to open all your bags and walk through a metal detector to get into Downtown Disney. Part of the Disney experience is knowing you’re safe from weapons. Because that’s the world we live in.

Halloween decor at the Disney entrance!
The Disney attention to detail is SO REAL. No stone is left unturned when it comes to delight.
The Storytellers Cafe β€” where characters hang out with you during breakfast and lunch services β€” was in our hotel. Sadly breakfast and lunches were booked out while we were there, but we did do dinner one night. The girls wore their princess best πŸ˜‰
The buffet was great! Honestly the food everywhere was amazing, which is a good thing because that ish is EXPENSIVE πŸ˜‰

Day 2: Our First Disney Experience!

Hello, Disneyland!

One of the best things about this trip was the fact that the girls had no idea what to expect. Yes, they knew we were going to Disney, and they obviously know who most of the Disney characters are, but outside of that, they couldn’t grasp the experience. How could they?

It’s safe to say they were blown away.

Guests of any Disney resort get early access to the park at 7:30 a.m. (it opens to the general public at 8), so we were there bright and early both days, and had good spots to check out Mickey & Minnie’s opening act. Not too shabby πŸ˜‰
Grandpa hadn’t been to Disneyland since he was a little kid, so this was basically all new to him, as well!
The Disney app is AMAZING, including the photo feature. They had professional photographers located around the park who would take photos that got loaded automatically to your app. Genius.
The girls’ first ride was DUMBO … a very solid choice! Emilia in particular was IN LOVE.
It’s a Small World was another hit. We went on it twice!
We hung with so many characters! Goofy was our first <3
I obviously bought special Disney shirts for our trip, and Grace was disappointed in mine because she said it wasn’t “Disney” enough. So I was very happy when we came across this statue with the same phrase!
Captain Hook!
Aladdin!
Mickey’s Toontown was so cute! The girls and I got to walk through Minnie’s house and then meet her, and then Grandpa did Mickey’s house with them. (All this while Emilia slept through the chaos around her!) We also rode the Runaway Railway, which was so fun, although a bit more roller coaster-ey than I expected! Emilia seemed to enjoy it all the same!
Grace was right at home at Minnie’s House <3
How cute is Minnie’s kitchen?
Minnie was a delight!
And Mickey, of course!
We even managed to catch the ending of the parade on Main St., which was so much fun! It was the perfect topper to the perfect first day in the park <3

Day 3: Finding Our Disney Mojo

By Day 2 in the park I figured out how to use the Disney app and Genie service a bit better, so we were able to take advantage of shorter lines more frequently. Our first stop was Pirates of the Caribbean! It was a dark and “scary” ride, but I was so proud of Grace for challenging herself to do rides that scared her! She ended up enjoying (most of!) them.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh <3
The Jungle Cruise was so cute, and the guide was hilarious!
Peter Pan’s Flight had one of the longer lines we waited in (about 30 minutes), and the ride itself was fairly short, but it was definitely cute and worth doing.
Lunch at Jazz Kitchen Costal Grill & Patio was back in Downtown Disney β€” so about a 20 minute walk from Fantasyland in the park, where we were β€” but I enjoyed having lunch in a more laidback setting, away from the insanity of the park. Plus, it was SO GOOD!
Our first ride after lunch was the Haunted Mansion from The Nightmare Before Christmas. We scored a Lightning Lane entrance from the Genie + app for this, which got us in at about a 15 minute wait, as opposed to about an hour. SCORE!
After the mansion we booked it back over to Fantasyland to meet some princesses, and on the way we ran into Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh!
Mulan!
My heart <3
Cinderella!
Ariel!
We had tried to do the Snow White ride our first day in the park and the ride broke down. Oops. We caught it after the princesses, though, and it was worth going back!
The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was so much cuter than I expected! Totally worth a visit.
Before heading back to the hotel after an insane day, we managed to snag this photo at the pumpkin in the main square, as well as see the Disney Band play as they lowered the flag for the day.
Back at the hotel we took advantage of the pool and hot tub, which the girls are thoroughly obsessed with.

Day 4: Headed Home

Our final breakfast was Mickey waffles β€” obviously β€” at the GCH Craftsman Bar in our hotel. A fitting final meal for a simply delightful trip.

And that was it, friends! As I type this we are back home, awaiting our next adventure β€” Aussie Nan & Poppa coming to visit in four days! They head in for Chris’ Big Birthday next week, and we cannot wait! Until next time, bis bald, friends! Hope your fall is off to a fabulous start!

Celebrating Birthdays and Friendship in Savannah, Georgia

Happy Tuesday, friends! I just arrived back from the best trip down South β€” to Savannah, Georgia, to be exact β€” with three of my closet friends that I’ve known since our 2nd grade Balmville Elementary School Days in Newburgh, New York. 2023 marks 40 years on earth for all of us, meaning 30-plus years of friendship.

If that’s not something to celebrate, I don’t know what is.

We stayed at this Airbnb, which was the perfect location for us. We were walking distance to so many restaurants, bars and shops, not to mention the water and the Savannah and ghost tours, both of which we took full advantage.

Since I knew I’d be mostly catching up with my friends, I didn’t spend too much time researching what I might want to do while in town. Seeing my friends, checking out some gorgeous trees and eating delicious food was about all I had on my list. Luckily, my friend Laura did do her research, and she guided us through the most magical and perfect couple of days in (holy crap it was hot!) Savannah. Some of our highlights included:

  • Vic’s River Grill for dinner on the Friday we arrived.
  • Visiting the Love Lock Bridge.
  • Treylor Park Restaurant for breakfast on both Saturday and Monday … that’s how good it was!
  • Our tour of the city was hop-on/hop-off, and we hopped off at Forsyth Park to take in some of the gorgeous Spanish Moss (neither Spanish nor moss, mind you) trees.
  • Lunch in the beer garden at Moon River Brewing Company.
  • Dinner at The Olde Pink House. This place was SO. STINKIN. COOL! It’s actually an old house that turned naturally pink when the sun baked through the white paint to expose the brick underneath. You can check out the entire house β€” which is gorgeous β€” after you eat and, of course, they say it’s haunted.
  • On Sunday we drove out to Tybee Island, which was about 20 minutes and totally worth the drive. It was the cutest little beach town.
  • Chamacos Tacos and Surf for lunch on the way back was so fun, especially when combined with Rita’s Ice after.
  • Dinner at Huey’s On the River before our ghost tour was so tasty.
  • Arco Lounge had the yummiest (and prettiest!) craft cocktails.
  • The breakfast at Little Duck Diner was so good (even if the service was so incredibly slow).

Besides all the eating, drinking and site seeing β€” which was an integral part of the trip, don’t get me wrong β€” it was so amazing to catch up with these lovelies. We live in Colorado, upstate New York, Florida and Arizona, respectively, so as you can imagine we don’t get together that frequently. Upon leaving this trip we made a pact to do this every five years.

I surely hope we can keep that promise.

Here’s a bit of what we saw, friends!

Even the Savannah airport was adorable! Look at these cute rocking chairs outside!
Love Lock Bridge was something else <3
Savannah, you sure are cute.
So many treats! Such amazing pralines! This place is a gold mine for candy/sweets lovers.
Look at this Treylor Park breakfast insanity! I ate more grits on this trip than I did probably the entire time I was in college in Virginia. And I’m not in the least bit sad about it.
Touring around Forsyth Park.
Look at these trees!!! (Don’t touch ’em, though! Tiny little bugs called chiggers live in them. They used to be used to make pillows, though, which is where the phrase “Don’t let the bed bugs bite” comes from!)
Look at this gorgeous room at the Olde Pink House!
And this creepy cellar that was actually incredibly cool.
Tybee Island was such a tucked away gem of a spot!
I hadn’t been in the ocean since we were in Australia, so this day was long overdue.
And to be there with these besties was even better.
A little Chamacos humor πŸ˜‰
Dinner at Huey’s.
Drinks at Arco.
And a super cute ghost tour to round out our last night.

I sure do love these muffins. Best friends are hard to come by. People who stick by you through thick and thin are hard to come by. Finding people who have been with you from the beginning is a nearly impossible feat. My luck to have been found these friends is off the charts.

Bis bald, my friends. I hope you’re soaking in the last days of summer, too!

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!

Kicking Off the Summer in NYC: Part II

Welcome back, friends! After our first day of welcoming summer by galavanting around New York City, we really kicked it up a notch for Memorial Day. Adventures included:

It was the sweetest of days with some of our besties <3

American Museum of Natural History

With so many amazing museums in NYC it can be hard to pick just one for kiddos, but I’m sure glad we went with this one. We only had time for our two extra experiences, the dinosaur exhibit and the Room With the Whale, but gosh was it worth it.
This Invisible Worlds exhibit was giving Meow Wolf vibes, but with a much better story and on a much more tame scale.
How small do your problems seem in an exhibit like this, though. I mean, really.
The girls LOVED it!
Dinosaurs were a huge hit too, obviously.
Rawwwwwring like dinosaurs!
Even Em was intrigued <3
I wasn’t sure how the 30-minute planetarium show would go over, but the girls loved it! And Carla, Fiona & Jake were able to join us, too.
The whale room never disappoints.
Cuties.

Alice’s Tea Cup

After the museum we walked over to Alice’s which, while thoroughly expensive (it was a full tea service that, let’s be honest, mostly got thrown out) was a true NY experience, as well. I’m really glad we did it!

“What’s this stuff?!”
The whole gang. And how gorgeous is this room?!

Central Park

We left Alice’s around 2:30 and had reservations at 4 for Top of the Rock, so we took our time wandering through Central Park to get there.

Good ole’ Uncle Brizz.
Enjoying live music at Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Top of the Rock

This is one of Chris’ favorite spots in the city, so it was fun to take the girls there to experience the city the way that birds do <3

Walking through the Rockefeller Center area is always a joy, too.
Chris had some extra help pulling the baggage.
Gotta love a girl who only loves her snacks, no matter where she may be!
More cuteness <3
So much love for this girl of mine <3
And this one <3
And all of them!
Plus this one. Carla. My freshman year roommate at JMU, whom I’ve known for 22 years (yikes!). We’ve been to Germany & Salzburg & Nashville together, survived college and our first years as babies living in NYC. She’s a doll and I love her immensely <3

After a very long day, it was back on the subway to head to our home away from home.

Seeing the sites is one thing, but catching up with your loves … that’s everything.

Until next time, friends … bis bald!

40th Birthday Bucket List Trips

Glacier National Park, in all her beautiful glory … plus my little bubs <3

I feel like I should start this post by writing: β€œAnd just like that, I was 40.”

It’s what almost everyone says about turning 40, but it doesn’t actually feel that way. On the one hand yes, I feel like I turned 21 just yesterday. But on the other hand … holy hell a lot of work has gone into reaching this decade!

Between 30 and 40 I became a whole new person. I entered into my first year of marriage, started my business and moved across the country. I added countries and states and continents to my travels, bought a house, sold a house, bought another one. I had two miscarriages and three babies. I lost and gained friends. I lost my Mom.

It’s been a ride, friends!

Anyway, all of this is to say, entering my 40s does feel like a milestone, but not in a “oh my God I’m so old!” way. More in a, “Wow, that was a whirlwind. I wonder what’s next?!” kind of way.

So to kick off this new and exciting decade, I thought it would be nice to celebrate in a place that’s been on my Bucket List since I wrote a geography report about it in 8th grade: Glacier National Park.

And I was right β€” she did not disappoint.

Although traveling at the end of March/early April meant that most things (restaurants, hotels, sections of the main road) would be either closed or covered in snow, it also meant that we literally had the entire place to ourselves. It was magical, friends. When I tell you the park was our playground, what I mean is that we probably saw about a dozen people the entire time we were there, and the majority of those were on the final day when we visited one of the most popular lakes in the entire park.

We’ve already made plans to go back when the weather is nicer, now that we got to have our initial trip all to ourselves.

Here’s a little bit of what we got up to on my 40th birthday trip.

Day 1: Arrival

We didn’t arrive until mid-afternoon on our first day, which was a nice way to ease into the trip.

These little muffins are becoming quite the travelers πŸ˜‰
Bluey for the win!
When we landed we had time to kill before we could check in, so we headed to The Montana Club in Kalispell (about 20 minutes from the airport) for lunch. It was the perfect Montana introduction.
And the perfect way to toast an introduction to my birthday weekend!
At 4, we checked into our tiny cabin. While this place was fine, there ended up being a few quirks (spider! broken fireplace! hot water that doesn’t last for very long!) that would make me not recommend it for big families like ours. Still, it was a fantastic location β€” at about 15 minutes to the West entrance of Glacier β€” AND had one of our favorite features ….
A hot tub!
Em couldn’t go in for long, but she did get a dip, which she was VERY happy about πŸ˜‰

We knew we wanted to get up early on Friday to start the exploring, so after dinner we hit the hay (the girls did enjoy their loft beds in this Airbnb, that’s for sure!) and called it a night!

Day 2: East Glacier

On our first full day in the park, we hit the road! We were staying near the West Glacier entrance, but we wanted to head over to the East side to check out Two Medicine Grill for breakfast on our way to St. Mary Lake.

Hard not to take picture of EVERYTHING you see in Montana.
Driving over the continental divide!
Only one child was awake for the event.
Breakfast at Two Medicine Grill was everything we could have ever hoped for in a diner.
See what I mean πŸ˜‰
Chris took this photo of me from the car, because ….
I will always stop on the side of the road for horse photos. Always.
The park entrance photo of my dreams, on the way into the St. Mary Lake area!
It was definitely chilly on Friday, so we didn’t actually do any hiking. But driving around and stopping for photo opps was just as good, in my mind.
See what I mean πŸ˜‰
There were a lot of road closure on this trip, but we definitely got the gist, and definitely plan to come back when we can see the whole thing!
All told, we drove about four or five hours on Friday around the park, and the girls were ROCK STARS. I love my little crew…
We stopped at the Glacier Distilling Company on the way home, which happened to be about five minutes from our Airbnb and AMAZING.
Delightful tasting flight!
Delightful cocktails!
Then it was back to our Airbnb for more HOT TUB TIME!

Day 3: Polebridge Mercantile

On our second day in the park we traveled over dirt roads and through rivers (basically) for … HUCKLEBERRY BEAR CLAWS!

The Polebridge Mercantile & Bakery is a Glacier institution, and we were so lucky that it just happened to open for the season on April 1st!

Chris didn’t let on how nervous he was driving to Polebridge until we got home β€” but he did an awesome job and we arrived in one piece!
While Chris fretted the drive, I took photos πŸ˜‰
About an hour later, we arrived!
I mean … HOW CUTE IS THIS PLACE?!
AND THEY HAD PUPPIES!!!!! (that were actually for bear control …. yikes!)
And so many treats! And a coffee that I loved so much I got two of. PLUS …
Don’t ask me how many Huckleberry Bear Claws we purchased …
How adorable is this Lego version of the store?!
Running from a family of Sasquatches. Naturally.
We tried to drive into the park from the store, but our car got stuck in a trench of water. So, we nixed that idea in favor of ….
More hot tub time!
Hot tubbin’ in the cold and snow really can’t be beat <3
It was the PERFECT last day of my 30s, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way <3

Day 4: WELCOME TO 40!

And then there was the One Where I Turned 40 …

Yikes!

It was honestly a good day, friends, filled with Facetimes and family and fun and Huckleberry things. I felt very loved and special on this day, and there wasn’t anything else I could have possibly wanted.

Starting your birthday off with waffles covered in Huckleberry jam and ice cream is ALWAYS a good idea!
For my birthday, we decided to head over to the famous Lake McDonald, which afforded us some glorious views along the way.
Plus this picture-perfect park entrance sign <3
It was a cloudy morning, but look at this splendor …
So incredibly gorgeous.
AND WE BASICALLY HAD THE PLACE TO OURSELVES!
It was a special moment.
How Mom throws …
How Dad throws.
Gorgeous.
Serene.
For dinner that night we headed into Whitefish (about 30 minutes away) and ate at The Firebrand Hotel, which was magnificent.
After dinner the skies had cleared and it was nearing sunset, and Chris had the idea to head back to Lake McDonald. I’m so incredibly glad we did …
Because these views …
Are breathtaking.
We have no fun πŸ˜‰
Thank you, Glacier, for putting on a show.
Birthday pie that night was … you guessed it! … HUCKLEBERRY!
Plus one more hot tub/star gazing soak.

Oh, Montana, you stole my heart. This was the trip of a lifetime, and I’m so happy I got to spend it with my crew.

On Monday it was …

One final hot tub soak and …
One final Huckleberry cocktail, then home.

That was my 40th birthday adventure in a nutshell, friends. I hope you enjoyed following along.

I can’t wait to see where my 40s take me in this crazy beautiful world, and I can’t wait to bring you along.

Bis bald, loves!

“Spring” Break in Grand Lake, the 2023 Edition

Happy Thursday, my friends! The above photo perfectly encapsulates what you should expect when heading to the Colorado mountains for a spring break that takes place during the third week of March.

Lots and lots (and lots and lots) of snow!

I’ll start by saying this: I wasn’t into this trip. I mean, I planned this trip, don’t get me wrong. When I knew the girls had some time coming up for break, but that Chris wouldn’t be able to take time off from work, I knew that getting out of our house, even for just a couple of days, would be a necessity.

What I didn’t count on was a massive storm heading in for the two days we would be in Grand Lake, and the absolute FOMO I would have from watching our friends head off to sunny and fabulous locales, like Hawaii and Colombia.

I mean … how do you compete with Hawaii? Or Colombia?

I decided you don’t. Instead, you lean into the snowy Xanadu, buy all the hot chocolate, wine and comfort food you can get your hands on, and decide to make the most of it.

Or at least, I tried. We stayed in this tiny cabin which, while appealing, is a bit close quarters for a family of five, during a snow storm, while one parent is still trying to get some work done.

Cabin was cute, with beautiful views, but still … small is small, people!

Still, we absolutely made the most of it. At the end of the day, I’m so glad we got up to the mountains and spent a couple days in the fresh air. Here’s what we got up to!

Day 1: Our Arrival

We arrived after dark on Monday after making a pit stop in Winter Park for dinner at Hernando’s. Even in the dark, you could tell from the outside that the cabin would be charming. (And that this trip would be … ahem … an adventure!)

After my anxiety driving over Berthoud Pass and one carsick-induced puke (poor Emilia), it was really nice to stop off in Winter Park for dinner and a breather.
See? So cute and charming!
At least the girls are getting way better at sharing a bedroom! Bunkbeds are always preferred, but this worked, too πŸ˜‰
Emilia made herself right at home, testing out all the furniture and climbing over everything possible.
These little muffins sure are the cutest adventurers <3

Day 2: Grand Lake Adventures

Our first full day in Grand Lake called for snow, but we lucked out and got only a few flurries, combined with a mostly gloriously sunny day!
So we took advantage of our nice-weather luck and headed over to Grand Lake. If you’ve been here a while you’ll recall that we made a similar trek last spring break β€” with Nan and Poppa! β€” and it was just as much a hit this year as it was last!
This mom will interrupt the fun for selfies. Always. #sorrynotsorry
Just a coupla cuties, having a snowy blast!
I’ll never get over the fact that we were walking on a lake. Although this time parts of the lake were definitely more thawed than I would have liked, which was terrifying ….
Snowmen and snow angels were a must.
So full of love for these ladies.
Chris had to work while we were away, but the girls and I made the most of our lady time <3<3<3
This little one definitely doesn’t remember her trip out here last year, but she just might have a few glimmers from this one πŸ˜‰
The rest of our day was filled with equally as essential snow day necessities, including lunch at The Hub
Couch snuggles …
Family reading ….