Life continues to be heavy, friends, and I know we’re all feeling it. Around the world it seems like we’re going about our daily lives — sending kids to school, getting dinner on the table, meeting work deadlines (or trying to) — while emotionally, we’re all dying a little bit inside.
The stories and photos out of Ukraine are heartbreaking, and what the kids are going through … it will be with them their entire lives. It feels wrong that this is happening, while I’m over here typing up a blog post, including photos of how we’ve spent our “carefree” time over the past few months since the holiday. It doesn’t just feel wrong, it is wrong.
And yet … here we are. In 2022, we live in a world where one insane leader has enough power (and money) to force an entire country of people into an unwarranted war, while we sit idly by and watch. All the donations in the world can’t stop us from feeling lost, but it’s all we have. Today I donated to World Central Kitchen (and TripAdvisor is matching my donation). This organization is currently working at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland and has expanded to provide meals to refugees as they flee to the neighboring countries of Romania, Hungary, Moldova, and Slovakia. If you can, consider donating here, or at any number of organizations doing amazing work.
I can’t stop reading and thinking about and praying for the people for Ukraine, even as I try to keep a normal face for my kids. We’re so incredibly lucky to live where we live — despite the issues we put up with — and I hope we never, ever forget that.
Bis bald, friends — I hope you’re doing well. Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to lately.
And that’s about it, my friends. Hug those loved ones tight, be grateful for the good things … and help out where you can. It’s the least we can do.
Now that fall is officially here, and the weather (for the most part) is changing, I’m looking forward to all things fall and cold-weather related. I’ve already got this this fall festival booked for us for next weekend, along with a trip out Paint Maines Interpretive Park to celebrate Chris’ birthday. We’ve had our Halloween costumes planned since the beginning of September (there’s no shame in my game), Lotte has a season ski pass and lessons awaiting her, and our flights back east for the Christmas season were booked months ago.
In other words, we’re ready!
I won’t lie, there is a small part of me that feels an inkling of sadness when I compare this year to last. As Halloween and Thanksgiving rolled around last year, I was very pregnant and we were very excited to meet our little nugget (and find out whether she was a boy or a girl!) at the end of the year. There is no excitement that can equal that of waiting for a baby to arrive.
But this year … she is here! She can celebrate with us, and that, I have to remind myself, is even more fun.
I hope you guys are all gearing up for a super fun (and super safe!) fall and winter season, as well. I don’t know you personally, but I can say without a doubt … we all deserve it <3
Bis bald, friends!
P.S. I started an Instagram account for Chris’ culinary shenanigans — if you’re interested, check it out @the_au_chef !
Happy almost summer, friends! This year we have … plans?! For things to do?! And how crazy does that feel after the year and a half we’ve all just had? I mean honestly, a friend of mine mentioned that after she got her first shot she expected balloons to fall from the ceiling and a marching band to play. Obviously that didn’t happen, but what did happen was that we’ve started, slowly, to return to what our life looked like pre-Covid.
It definitely took me a while to get into the swing of things, but I’ve now gotten my hair done, we’ve had dinner at an indoor restaurant and guests and playdates at our home. We’ve started to open our lives back up, and while that’s awesome and amazing and wonderful, there’s a small part of me that still longs for the quiet days. The older girls are in summer camp from now until school starts in the fall, Lotte has started track and we have a monster road trip planned from Colorado out to New York (and back!) to see family we haven’t seen in more than a year, to head to the beach for a couple of days and to attend a wedding.
All of this feels … almost too good to be true. And while I’m grateful to be able to do these things — see our family, most importantly — I’m also staring at our (overfilled) calendar and remembering the days when there was nothing on it but to hang.
So I propose a challenge, dear friends, to bring back the things that give you joy in your life when you feel comfortable doing so, but to also say NO to more things that don’t. That’s a tough thing to do — especially when it involves keeping your littles from doing things — but for me, at least, I think that’s the only way I’ll stay sane as we dip our toes back into life.
Oh, friends, where to begin. I certainly hope this blog post finds you … well?? Who even knows what to say anymore. I hope this blog post finds you … sane? The answer to that probably depends on a number of factors, including where you live. Who you live with. What your work situation is. And any number of other things that we could have never known would have such an impact on us for such an extended period of time.
For my own part, 2020 has been, like most people, a series of highs and lows. (But, let’s be honest, mostly lows.) My last trip was in February, and while I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to take that trip — and with Lotte, no less — I sure do miss travel. And my family. And regular life. We had to postpone indefinitely a trip to Spain with Chris’ parents that we had all really been looking forward to, not to mention all the other little trips throughout the year that we likely would have taken, back to New York to see friends and family, to the mountains, to other states. Who knows. What 2020 could have been isn’t worth contemplating. In the meantime, besides travel, my grandmother passed away from Covid, and because I live in Colorado, I had to miss her memorial. I missed my nieces baptism. I missed my Mom’s annual MS fundraiser. We’ve missed holidays (and probably will continue to miss holidays) with friends and family. We’ve had low moments at home, moments of exhaustion and frustration and sadness. We’ve cried. Lotte has missed out on a year’s worth of preschool experiences, learning and making friends. My heart broke the other day when she leaned in before bed and whispered, “Mom, I’m lonely.”
Amidst the sadness, we’ve managed to have some of the most amazing moments, as well. With Chris working from home, he’s spent way more time with the girls than he ever was able to in the past, and he’s home for dinner every single night. (Hell, he makes dinner every single night 😉 We’ve gone out of our way to find new, fun, hopefully empty places to explore. I met two big career milestones (you can read them here and here), all while trying to keep my kids entertained and ignore a worldwide pandemic. Plus, above all else, I’m pregnant. Pregnant with our third and final child, in a world that has forced me to attend every doctor’s appointment by myself (with Chris on Facetime) and in a mask. Throughout the lows and highs, we’ve tried hard to keep breathing, and to focus on the here and now, the things that we can control, whatever little that might be. The girls are healthy. We are healthy. We are incredibly lucky to be in a position where Chris and I can both work from home, and keep the girls home until we feel safe enough to send them back to school.
And for now, that’s all that really matters. I’m thinking of all of you, and livin’ on a prayer that this will all be a memory in the near future.
Bis bald, friends.
^^Pretending to be ballerinas and dancing to scenes from the Nutcracker have become a pandemic activity favorite.
^^ So incredibly thankful that we moved before the pandemic, and that we have this amazing play area in the backyard for the girls to get their energy out on!
^^ Also thankful for all of the wide open spaces that Colorado provides.
^^ Not gonna lie — we haven’t minded having Chris around more to cook, either …
^^ We are such huge fans of the zoo, so we were so happy when they finally opened back up, allowing only small groups of people in at once, all of whom must be wearing masks.
^^ We’ve met up twice with friends and their kids, which was glorious for the kids, and only somewhat nerve-racking for the adults.
^^ Lotte has really missed flying, so I took the girls out to the airport one morning, parked in a nearby parking lot, and we watched the planes take off. It was gloriously delightful.
^^ So far we’ve had my birthday, both Mother’s and Father’s Day, and Lotte’s birthday during quarantine. Chris is next in October, then G in December. I’m most proud about the fact that Lotte had a great birthday, complete with a masked-up trip to The Wild Animal Sanctuary.
^^ Lotte started her virtual preschool classes today, which is this final picture. I’m so incredibly sad that she won’t be in-class making actual, face-to-face friends, but I’m so incredibly grateful for a school that even offers virtual preschool, a teacher who is trying her darnedest to make it fun, and for the fact that she’ll be able to connect with other littles her age, albeit virtually, at least until the new year.
Happy October, friends! Oh my goodness — sometimes life just requires that you take a break from blogging … am I right? This is, without a doubt, one of the busiest seasons so far in my life. We’ve got the two babes and work and some big changes coming in the next few weeks … but despite all the madness, we always, always, always have room for a little fun. Enter … Nan & Poppa. These amazing, wonderful, generous in-laws of mine decided that they missed their grandkids, they found a decent flight, and they hopped on it and flew around the world to see them.
Sometimes, my friends, it’s as simple as that.
So for the past week and 1/2, we’ve been livin’ the high life with Aussie Nan & Poppa (and putting them to work, for sure, because of those forthcoming changes I mentioned earlier). Between the work, though, we went to three pumpkin festivals. We visited the Denver Zoo and the Butterfly Pavilion (both firsts for them), took G to a dance party at the library, dropped off and picked up Lotte from preschool, crafted, read books, watched favorite shows … and just oh-so-much more. There was also lots of snuggling since, of course, Lotte got strep throat for the last few days of their visit. Le sigh. Kids man. School man. Winter man. I’m not ready for it!
Here’s the thing about grandparents, though: The best ones can make the world a brighter, better place. Nan & Poppa do that for our kids, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Well friends, yesterday we said good-bye to Auntie Kate. That’s right. We packed her up, had a final day filled with fun, and sent her on her way back to Australia.
We always knew this day would come, but man oh man did it come fast! While we are incredibly sad to say good-bye, we’re also super excited to see what fun and adventures await Kate when she gets back to Australia.
Plus, our basement is always open to more visits 😉
So, here’s to sisters-in-law that are more like sisters, and aunties that are more like second Moms. Our two little ladies sure will miss you, Kate — and so will we <3
Well friends, it’s officially February, and as is always the case, the year is already flying by. I’ve been seeing so many posts on social media about how January lasts forever, but for us, this month has absolutely disappeared. Between us being in Australia for the first week, welcoming Aunt Kate to our home for her almost-three-month visit (!), and my trip with G back to New York for 10 days, I have no idea where the 31 days of January have gone.
Well in the past 13 days our whole world has changed, since we welcomed the newest addition of our family — Baby Girl Grace Catherine Connor — on December 16. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since then (especially when I landed back in the hospital with an infection two days after giving birth), and all I can say is thank the lord Chris’ parents are here! How anyone does this without help is beyond me!
Anyway, Grace’s first Christmas has come and gone, and she is adjusting very well to her new life. Lotte, as a surprise to no one, has also become the ultimate big sister, taking to giving kisses to her little sister every single chance she can.
In other words, we’re all just happily ensconced in Newborn World right now, as tiring and stressful as it may be, at times.
I hope you guys all had an amazing holiday and are looking forward to a fun, festive and prosperous New Year!
Here’s a bit of our life, lately, which basically includes lots and lots of amazing newborness 😉
The Four of Us
^^ Our hero Aussie Nan, and her accomplice Aussie Poppa, below 😉 Lotte doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with her Australian grandparents, for obvious reasons, so it’s beyond adorable watching her grow to love and adore them while they’re here now.
^^ Our very last photo as a family of three before heading to the hospital on Saturday, December 16, to have Baby G.
^^ Big sister Lotte was pretty much smitten from the second she saw her little sister.
^^ Newborns change like crazy, don’t they!? I don’t even remember Grace ever looking like this, and I’m so glad we did the newborn photos in the hospital to cherish forever.
^^ First car ride!
^^ The cutest little cupcake ‘G’ from Nan for Grace’s arrival home.
^^ Look at this dad, just rockin’ it with his two little ladies 😉
^^ I have the same photo of Lotte when she was five days old – I’m sentimental like that.
^^ Nan & Poppa took great care of Lotte while we were in the hospital with Grace, and then took great care of both Grace and Lotte when we were back in the hospital for two nights only two days later :/
^^ Denver adventures with Nan and Poppa!
^^ We spent Christmas Eve with my cousin and her family, which included their new baby, Oliver, who was born only two days before Grace!
^^ The most amazing holiday outfits you’ve ever seen. Period.
^^ Cutest grandparents lovin’ up on some grandkids!
^^ Baby’s first Christmas, and Lotte made sure it was a fun one.
^^ Our little babes, all dressed for the holiday <3
^^ Touching noses.
^^ Merry, merry!
^^ Bright-eyed and ready to take on the world!
^^ Baby’s first bath! It was with big sister, and it was a success!
^^ Me with my two babes <3 This was actually taken when I landed back in the hospital, and having these two come visit was definitely what kept me going.
And that has been our holiday so far in a nutshell, friends. Have a great New Year and we’ll see you back here soon!
Welcome to Friday, friends. My sister and stepdad will be coming into town for a few days next week because, unbelievably, it is already the anniversary of my Mom’s death. One whole year has absolutely flown by, and I can’t believe it. As I prepare myself for that day, I can’t help but realize how many amazing things I have in my life, in stark contrast to the sadness that thinking of this dreaded anniversary brings.
To honor my Mom — and to help cheer things up a bit, at least for the time being — I thought I’d dedicate this Life Recently post to being grateful for all the amazing things I have. There’s a lot I’m thankful for, friends, so sometimes it helps to take a second to remember that …
So without further adieu, I’m grateful for …
^^ A sister and stepdad who love my daughter (and me, I guess ;)) unconditionally, and who basically will drop everything and fly out to Colorado because that’s where I think we need to be together on the anniversary of my Mom’s passing.
^^ These two together, all day, every day.
^^ All the trips we’ve been able to make with Lotte so far … may the ease of travel always remain the same!
^^ Lotte’s hair in this picture!
^^ This adorable decorative ladybug, gifted to me (and my sister and stepdad) by my best friend, who knows how ladybugs have come to symbolize my Mom and her continued presence in our lives.
^^ The Colorado sky.
^^ Speaking of signs, my Mom has been giving me plenty in these days leading up to my birthday and the anniversary of her passing. The biggest, I think, when when I accidentally clicked on the “credit” folder in my Gmail instead of the “coupons” one, and an email between myself and my Mom — a lovely one, too — showed up at the top. There was no reason for an email from my Mom to have been archived in “credit”, and clicking on it was completely accidental. It was just what I needed on the Friday heading into my birthday weekend. Later in the week the above ad showed up in my Instagram feed. The bottom left elephant journal was something my Mom was able to purchase for Lotte before she died, and I so treasure filling it out for Lotte now. Signs are not something I necessarily thought much about before, but I do have to say, they are everywhere.
^^ This hat and baby sunglasses, which were both gifts and which Lotte hates, but which I continue to put her in because come on how adorable?!
^^ This insanely gorgeous tree in our backyard. This is the first April we’ve been here, so we had never seen it in bloom before. It truly is magnificent.
^^ All the other glorious trees Lotte and I come across on our daily walks.
^^ And all their glorious details.
^^ The prairie dogs at Standley Lake, which simply do not care about humans and will not run away from you!
^^ And Standley Lake views, of course.
^^ This hygge lamp, which I became obsessed with after reading “The Little Book of Hygge.” Chris bought it for me as a birthday present and installed it in our hallway. I love it … and him, of course.
^^ A husband who continues to make the most fabulous, personalized birthday wrapping paper for me each and every year. This was only one version of this years’ …the other featured Lotte prominently, of course.
^^ Old friends and new. After we got home from Estes Park last weekend we had a little barbecue back at our place with two other couples — all four of whom had gone to college with Chris — and their kids. I love Lotte’s cheeky face in this picture, as well as how many pictures we actually had to take to get one decent one.
^^ Squint really hard and look at the top right of our deck. Can you see the two baby bunnies?! A couple months back Chris and I were pretty sure the main bunny in our yard had picked up a Mrs., and she appeared to be with child, as well. Now we know we were right! (Also repurposing the indoor/outdoor rug from our NYC apartment to use on our back deck … that makes me happy, too ;))
^^ This awesome tree wallpaper in our basement bathroom — I love the way it looks!
^^ Friends who buy Lotte the cutest clothes and hats!
^^ All these goodies, which make it much easier for me to work. (Of course checking on Lotte frequently while she’s “napping” — which she clearly isn’t doing here! — is just good for my soul .. not necessarily my work.)
^^ And lastly, this little girl, all by her lonesome, day in and day out. I could never have imagined what it would be like to be a mother, but it’s something special. She’s my heart and soul, that’s for sure … even when she’s screaming her head off 😉
Bis bald, friends. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Well it’s been hectic here friends – how about you?! Since getting back from our trip to Breck we’ve had ongoing construction to finish our basement (amazing, by the way), work has been crazy and Chris is currently in California. It was Lotte’s first Valentine’s Day, we’ve had some awesome walking weather and we’re off to Steamboat this weekend with family. BUT, crazy and hectic is how life is supposed to be, right? As long as you’re having fun 😉
Here are some photos from our life lately.
^^My little girl is sitting up all by herself now – she’s so grown up!
^^ Not the best photo at all, but Facetiming with my Grandmother on her 95th birthday was certainly a highlight of these past few weeks. Happy birthday Rosie! You’re one-of-a-kind and we love ya!
^^ Homemade dinners by Chris (sorry, I hadn’t yet figured out how to save photos before posting them to Instagram stories with silly emojis!)
^^ Soon to be one of my absolute favorite spots in the house … I can’t wait until it’s finished!
^^ Starting to shop for basement accessories = my favorite hobby right now
^^ Like I said, perfect walking weather!
^^ These two. My loves.
^^ Toes out walking weather! So. Much. Fun!
^^ My sister sent us the most adorable Valentine’s basket, including these cutest little ladybug chocolates <3
^^ Yesterday was very busy for me, workwise, but as soon as I was done I was able to grab my little lady and take her to what I hope was our first of many Valentine’s Day lunches. (Despite her face here, she actually was quite wonderful and had a very lovely time!)
^^ Just us gals, against the world 😉
^^ Not such a fabulous photo of me, but I don’t care because ohmygoodness that teeny tiny hand just resting on my chest. I cannot.
^^ My stepdad slayed it with this adorable (and yummy!) Valentine’s delivery. Thanks Grandpa Robert!
Hope you guys are having a great start to the year, as well. Like I said, we’re off to Steamboat this weekend with family — Lotte’s second Steamboat visit! — so I’ll be back next week with an update on that. Until then – bis bald!
Well friends, we’ve certainly been keeping ourselves busy since our visitors departed. We’ve had playdates and protests, nanny meetings and dinner with friends.
To top it all off, we have a super fun weekend with friends in Breckenridge coming up, followed closely by a weekend in Steamboat Springs (the site of Lotte’s first long car ride getaway, if you’ll recall!) with family, a visit from Auntie Lisa when dad heads out to Australia and then another trip back East (my first alone with Lotte!) for my nephew’s birthday and an MS fundraiser in honor of my mom.
Here’s to full steam ahead … am I right?
^^ Taking advantage of the final few days of Chris’s parents being in town and sneaking out for a date night at Yak & Yeti.
^^ Lotte was a little too interested in the candy at Scrumptious, if you ask me 😉
^^ Another Blue Apron win, thanks to my very talented hubs.
^^ The other day I pulled out this teeny, tiny giraffe blanket that I had taken this photo of Lotte on at five days old. Check out this peanut compared to …
^^ Gah! My baby is growing too quickly! Please make time stop!
^^ We’ve started solids over here, and I know one person in the house who’s super pumped about it!
^^ Winter at Standley Lake is pretty gorgeous. But then again so are summer, spring and fall.
^^ Snug as a bug, all rugged up and snoozing on one of our winter walks.
^^ The veggie fixin’s of another awesome Blue Apron meal, courtesy of Chris.
^^ I pulled over on the side of the road the other day to take this photo. How could I not? Sometimes Colorado just really amazes me …
Is it just me or do the weeks fly by now? Not that I’m complaining, because weekends are seriously great, but I sometimes have to stop and marvel over how quickly the past 4.5 months of Lotte’s life have gone.
Life, man … am I right?
Anyway, enough of that. As my child is an angel, she is still sleeping at 8:45 a.m., which has given me some time to go through a couple old photos on my phone. As fast as time has flown lately, we’ve certainly managed to make the most of it.
Here’s to the end of 2016. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m about ready for a fresh start with a new year. Let’s do this.
^^ Measuring Lotte’s growth with one of the cutest personalized gifts she received. My little monkey is getting so big so fast! (Actually that’s not quite true. At her 4-month check-up we found out she’s only in the 9th percentile for height … she’s still a little munchkin!)
^^ It’s a darn good thing my husband likes to cook, because otherwise I might starve 😉 How good does this ramen dish look … and he basically just made it up? In awe of his cooking skills, since mine are limited to toast and boiling water, pretty much.
^^ We’ve been trying out Blue Apron lately (my sister and her husband finally convinced us), and it’s pretty fun to get fancy in the kitchen every now and then.
^^ Chris switched out the fairy lights in our backyard so they glow with red, green and white now. It’s a Christmas wonderland back there, I tell ya.
^^ ^^ Clearly still working on perfecting our family selfies.
^^ And so begins a series of photos that my sister calls Pinterest fails. “You basically stuck a pair of lights on your kid and called it a day!” she responded when I text her some of these pics. What can I say … girl has a point.
^^ Still cute, though! (Especially with my fuzzy sock in the picture, too :/ Anne Geddes I am not.)
^^ Finally got our fireplace checked out so we can actually use it! It’s now one of my favorite spots in the house.
^^ It’s hard to tell from this blurry photo taken through my dirty window, but that’s our neighbor across the way, hanging Christmas lights in his front tree with a cherry picker! How can we compete with such professionalism?
^^ And by comparison, our own little slice of outdoor holiday happiness. Chris routinely laughs at the solar lights he strung up when he gets home from work. Sure they aren’t as bright and bold as our neighbors’ lights, but hey, they’re resourceful!
^^ Our backyard is equally as festive, especially in the snow.
^^ At one point Saturday’s temp dipped all the way down to a high of 3. Yuck. Luckily it’s slowly been creeping back up. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess! Pajamas, eggnog, fire and Christmas movies, anyone?
^^ I took this photo to send to Chris because holy cow-and-a-half was it a nightmare getting Lotte into the Ergo with all of our winter layers on. But WE MADE IT! Motherhood … am I right?