Happy Labor Day weekend, loves! I hope you were all able to find some kind of rest and relaxation over the past few days.
Chris had a friend visiting from New York and the two of them hiked a couple of 14ers over the week (more on that, later!), then came back to hang with us for a couple of days before Gavin flew back. On his last day, we all headed over to our local lake — Standley Lake — to rent some canoes and take them out on the water. We had been making this a tradition of ours each summer, but last summer they were closed because of the pandemic.
This summer, however, they were back open for business, and it was better than ever! We met some other friends of ours over at the lake and got one canoe and one kayak and spent two hours out on the water. The big girls lovedit, while Em loved hanging out and supervising.
Rentals were $40 each for life jackets and the kayak and the canoe, and you get two hours out on the water. It was time well spent, friends!
Happy Labor Day, friends! Sending all the sunshiney, mellow vibes your way!
I have a secret to share, friends … I’ve never really been a huge fan of summer.
There, I said it. Anyone who actually knows me is rolling their eyes right now and thinking, “Duh, who doesn’t know that?” but to others, this might come as a surprise. As a curly headed woman who didn’t grow up near water but did grow up in a home without air conditioning for the longest time, the only things I had to look forward to when the weather got warmer was frizzy hair (okay, I admit, that was a year-round problem) and just the most awful humidity. These days, though, I’m making a concerted effort to change my ways … for the girls.
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 friends, somehow — and I’m really not sure how — this photo was taken on New Years Eve ONE YEAR AGO. 2018 is coming to a close, and since we leave for Australia the day after tomorrow, I figured I should put together my Year In Review post before we head out, and then just add Epic Australia, as I will from now on be calling it, once we’re back.
So without further adieu, here is a bit of what we got up to in the year that started with us expanding our little family ….
Somehow, and don’t ask me how, our daughter is one.
This little light has been with us for a full year now, and there is no way that I can even imagine or remember what life was like without her. She is tenacious and spunky and funny and silly and smart and rambunctious and curious … and just totally amazing.
G’s birthday on Sunday rounded out a week of celebrations, starting with Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms on Thursday, my dad and stepmom coming into town Friday and hitting up the Denver Zoo Lights, then celebrating G’s birthday on Saturday with my dad and Judy before the left early on Sunday, as well as alllllll day Sunday with presents and cake and general merriment.
^^ I was fully unsure of how meeting Santa would go down for G, since she is not a fan at all of Santa when she seems him on Lotte’s cartoon, but we ended up getting this sort of fascinated reaction, which was beyond adorable. Lotte, on the other hand, was giddy with excitement while we waited in line, then got very shy when it came time to actually chat with him. Both reactions were priceless.
^^ We had never been to the Chatfield Farms branch fo the Botanic Gardens, but the 40 minute drive was totally worth it, because the whole event was spectacular. From lights and Santa to reindeer and hot chocolate and cookies and carolers – it was a great way to celebrate the holiday season!
My dad and Judy arrived early Friday and the girls was so excited to spend some time with them. We planned to hit up the Denver Zoo Lights Friday night, and I was a little worried because it can get crazy packed and be very cold, but here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on that we have discovered about events like this — pick the earliest time slot available, especially on a weeknight, if possible, and go then. We went at 5:30, which was the first time available, and we got an amazing parking spot and it wasn’t crowded at all. Plus, the weather was fairly mild, so it all worked out well!
Chris was very busy Saturday cooking all day for his Baby G. We had a pancake party in the morning, a quiche for lunch, and for dinner he made spaghetti and meatballs (G’s first time trying them both), as well as an adorable giraffe cake for dessert.
^^ I mean … how cute is this cake?!
^^ Walks by the lake are pretty much mandatory when people come to visit us, as well 😉
^^ These naked babes sure did love their spaghetti and meatball dinner … and especially the cake!
^^ Setting up G’s presents (and also Lotte & G’s Christmas presents, to be fair) for her to come down to in the morning was so much fun. We did this for Lotte for her first birthday as well, and it’s absolutely become one of my favorite traditions.
^^ The girls work up late Sunday and so my dad and Judy didn’t get to see them open their presents. They held a photo of the girls over the presents to prove they were at least here in spirit.
^^ You sure are loved, Baby G.
^^ I hope this spunky little lady of ours never loses her amazing energy and zest for life. You’re one of a kind, G, and we wouldn’t have it any other way <3
So Thursday it’s off to Australia! I’m hoping to get a post together before we head out about all the stuff we’re bringing with us that we hope will help with the littles on the plane. If I don’t get to it before we leave, though, I’ll definitely put one up after, including whether or not the things we hoped would work actually did work. Please keep your fingers crossed for us!
Well friends, amidst all the craziness of finishing up work for the year, prepping for our trip to Australia next week, and our BABY DAUGHTER TURNING ONE ON SUNDAY …. my stepdad made a quick trip out to see us over the weekend, and it was so much fun.
The girls always have the best time with him, and he really does adore them, so it’s very cute to see. We hit up the Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light Festival — Lotte has been every year since she’s been born — as well as the Thornton WinterFest — which was new to us but is sure to become a tradition because of how fun it was — attended a neighbor’s holiday party, opened presents, walked to the lake, watched some football, ate some delicious food … and just basically had an all around awesome time.
We hope you guys are really getting into the holiday swing of things, as well!
^^ This standing lady is ONE on Sunday, and I just cannot believe it!
I have a big ole’ Aussie prep post coming later this week, because I have spent — ahem — a lot on stuff for the plane so far in order to try and keep our two little ladies happy. We’ll mostly just have to cross our fingers and see how it goes, though, right?
Happy July, friends! Our summer of insanity is still in full swing over here! We’ve had guests upon guests upon guests … and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Over the July 4th holiday we welcomed Chris’ aunt and uncle and their three kids from Australia, while the fabulous Auntie Kate was still on the tail end of her trip out, as well. We did all the things while this troop was here, which has been a lot of fun. Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to lately …
^^ We checked out Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison on what turned out to be a very, very hot day. It’s a bit of an uphill trek to reach the dinosaur footprints, but once you get there it’s actually really, really cool. There are tons of geological stops along the way, too.
^^ I’m sorry, but Colorado backdrops are hard to beat.
^^ We rented some kayaks on Lake Standley behind our house the second day after the family arrived. We did this last year with Lotte, too, and even though she still wasn’t too sure about the life jacket situation, this year she seemed to enjoy the overall activity much more!
^^ We even took in a baseball game with the Aussie clan, and while the kids seemed to enjoy the game, it was mostly the junk food that kept them in the seats, I’d say 😉
^^ Nothing more American than baseball and Coors Light!
^^The day before July 4th we drove into the mountains to do the hike up to St. Mary’s Glacier. I was skeptical how the kids would handle it—especially 6-year-old Lucy—but they were all champs, which was great because this view is truly spectacular.
^^ Our family selfie game needs improvement 😉
^^ Ugh Auntie Kate, why did you leave us?!
^^ By July 4th we were all pretty tuckered out. So we dressed up … and hung out! We played games, ate delicious food (including my homemade American Flag brownie, see below!), listened/watched the fireworks, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company.
^^ American Flag brownie, courtesy of one of my favorite food bloggers 😉
We still have one of Chris’ friends in town until tomorrow, and then we’re done with visitors for a little while, which always makes me a bit sad. We do have Lotte’s 2nd birthday at the end of July to look forward to (which also makes me sad!), our trip to New York in August, Chicago in October and the grand finale of the year … Australia in December/January! Chris and I are still contemplating a separate mini-trip, just the two of us, to New Zealand while we’re in Australia. That extra adventure is TBD, but for now, there’s a lot more to look forward to, even though we’re halfway through the year already!
Hope you guys are having a great summer, as well! Until next time … bis bald!
Ever since we moved into this neighborhood more than a year ago, I’ve wanted to become “lake people”. We live about five minutes from the beautiful Standley Lake, and while you can’t swim in the lake, you can rent kayaks and canoes and paddleboards and boats and take them out. We love to visit the lake as often as we can — we even had Lotte’s first birthday cake there — but we had yet to rent anything and take it out.
It was glorious weather here on Sunday — not too hot, just windy enough and sunny — so we tested our luck and parked over near the dog park (it’s free there, otherwise you have to pay $7 to get your car all the way down to the lake area, which would be totally worth it if you were bringing your own gear) and walked through the eagle sanctuary area (we even saw a baby bald eagle!) down to the lake. We chatted with the rangers for a bit before deciding to try out a two-person kayak. Getting a life jacket that would fit Lotte was essential, and the infant one she ended up with was probably a bit small for her (hence the crying and screaming while she was wearing it :/), but it did the job.
We had the best time on the water! (Well, Chris and I did, at least. Lotte wasn’t so happy sitting on my lap, and I attribute it all to the life jacket, because otherwise being out there doing something new, seeing the water and trees and people and ducks, it was all something I think she would have loved!) Anyway, while we didn’t stay out for the full hour we had the kayak ($10 for one hour … what a bargain!), it was still fun to give it a try and I think it’s safe to say we’ll be back. Hey, the more Lotte is in that life jacket the more she’ll have to get used to it … right?!
Happy Monday, friends!
^^ That’s a baby bald eagle in that tree on the right! We verified with a park ranger … how cool is that?!
^^ Hahahah! Poor little Lotte :/ You can tell from this pic she wasn’t quite the happiest camper!
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.
Chris has been in Australia this past week for his brother’s wedding, so to keep us company (and help me out!), my darling friend Lisa flew in from D.C. to have a girls’ week with myself and Lotte.
We. Had. So. Much. Fun.
Not only did she help me immensely by being here, but she also surprised me with an early birthday celebration — complete with strawberry shortcake, carrot cake cupcakes, presents and adorable decorations (she made a shirt for Lotte!) — since we were together.
One of my highest hopes in life for Lotte is that she finds friends like Lisa. They are invaluable.
^^ Among the many reasons that I love when Lisa comes to visit are the millions of photos that she takes of Lotte and of Lotte & me. Since I am usually the one behind the camera in our everyday life, it’s nice to have these memories.
^^ I am so glad Lisa was here to watch the Oscars with me, wine glass in hand.
^^ Lisa did most of the cooking while she was here (because again, she’s a doll), but I did make this homemade hummus dip for us, which is something I used to make back when we lived in NYC. Sigh. Memories.
^^ Shirt 1 of 2 Lisa made for Lotte. I cannot. And she even made a big-girl version for me.
^^ Who doesn’t LOVE an early birthday celebration?! No one decorates or celebrates like Lisa. No one.
^^ This shirt. Look for it again on my actual birthday, because I cannot WAIT for Lotte to wear it then!
^^ Lisa made this Penne Alla Betsy dish from Ree Drummond as part of my birthday celebration. I highly recommend trying it.
^^ We checked out Majestic View Park (which also has a nature center) while Lisa was here, which is something I’ve been meaning to do. I’m so glad we did, because although it was the windiest day ever, it was still beautiful, and I can’t wait to go back.
^^ After Lisa left on Saturday I took Lotte to the Arvada Library for Family Time, and we were the only ones there! We stayed for Baby Time, too, and there was only one other baby. (He didn’t enjoy Baby Time as much as Lotte did, I don’t think :/) Anyway, it was only so-so. There is a library much closer that has the same types of activities, but we’ve always missed them because of Lotte’s naps. I’m hoping we’ll be able to try out a Baby or Family Time at the Standley Lake Library some day soon.
^^ All alone … and loving it!
^^ Lisa sent me this compilation of Lotte photos after she left. Seriously. She’s the best ever. I can’t say it enough.
And that was our little girls’ week in a nutshell, friends. The week after this one Lotte and I are jetting off to the east coast (my first flight solo with the babe … yikes!) for some events. I’m looking forward to it, but it’ll be nice to have Chris home and to have our little family together for a couple days, as well.
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.
Happy July, friends. I can’t believe that July is here, and even more so I can’t believe that with July comes the fact that my baby is due next month. I can barely even say that without getting my heart racing.
But for now, friends, Baby is safe and sound still where she still belongs, and we had a visitor over the Fourth of July weekend in the form of my stepdad, who tacked on a couple extra days out to Colorado to a business trip in Arizona. We did a lot while he was here — to include a pretty rockin’ backyard revival, which was totally unexpected but awesome — so it was nice having him visit for a couple of days.
One place I knew I had to take him was the Eagle Sanctuary at Standley Lake, because in college my stepdad actually used to raise baby Bald Eagles, so obviously I knew this was something he would enjoy.
And, luckily, he did 😉
^^^How completely adorable are these tipis which, by the way, you can rent to camp out in!?
^^^ It seriously took my stepdad maybe about 7 minutes to spot an eagle. Then another. Then another. Of the four Bald Eagles that live at Standley Lake, we saw three … not too shabby!
^^^ The cattle dog coming down the pathway should have tipped us off to what was ahead, but we were still caught off guard by this heap of goats in the field by the lake. So fun to listen to them chat to each other 😉
^^^ These geese, however … not so much fun! We tried sitting at this picnic bench by the water for a hot second after eagle spotting, but clearly the geese had other ideas. If we didn’t have any food for them, they made it pretty clear that we weren’t welcome!
^^^ I love that we also found where you can rent kayaks, paddle boards and the like at the lake … that seems like it would be so much fun!
On Friday night we ventured out into Denver to eat dinner at the Buckhorn Exchange, Denver’s oldest restaurant. While I’m not a meat-eater, I can still appreciate a fun steakhouse when I see one and this, my friends, was about as fun as it gets.
^^^ Cheers’ing with my iced tea … always a good time!
^^^ Not my meal, obviously (although the salmon I had seriously melted in your mouth, it was that delicious), but the boys really seemed to enjoy their meat which, I guess, is the most important thing at a steakhouse, right?!
^^^ Grainy photo, but they had a live singer upstairs who was just about the cutest old man you ever could see.
^^^ Again, not the best photo, but how funny is this sign outside the restaurant?
The boys left bright and early Saturday morning to check out Mount Evans, the highest paved road in North America at over 14,000 feet. When we went to the mountains a couple weeks back I found the altitude really affected me during pregnancy, so I decided to beg off on this adventure, but after seeing the photos, I definitely plan on making it out myself at some point.
Despite all the hubbub, we did also manage to have Robert help us out with our backyard …
^^^ All of these flowers are now officially in our garden!
… and we took a couple pretty nice walks around the lake, to include a sunset one the night before Robert left
Robert will be back in August with some other family to meet our little baby girl, but until then, it was great having you, my dear!
Bis bald, my friends – I hope you all had lovely and safe July 4th weekends, as well!
Long time no write :/ Sorry about that. To be honest, 2016 has been a bit challenging so far, to say the least. Despite some of the biggest “ups” of my life [preparing for our first baby, for example], there have also been some of the lowest of the lows, like losing my mom. I haven’t felt much like writing here over the past three months, really, since that happened, but I’m trying to come out of my funk a bit, and this blog has always meant so much so me, so I figured I’d give writing here a shot and see how it goes … at least for now.
In other big news, Chris and I moved out of our downtown Denver apartment and into our first home in Arvada near Standley Lake, which is about 15-20 minutes from downtown Denver. So far, we’re really liking it out here in the ‘burbs, which is something that has come as quite a surprise to both of us [and our friends and family, too!]. Having the lake so close by certainly helps — Chris runs there multiple nights a week and it’s about all I can manage to drag my pregnant self on about a 10-20 minute walk most days, but whenever I do get out there, it’s simply gorgeous.
Like Saturday morning. We grabbed some coffees [decaf for me, of course ;)] and walked the five minutes to the lake entrance, then walked about 1.5 miles around the lake and back. It was the perfect length for me, and I really needed the change of scenery …
^^ This photo is blurry because I zoomed in, but just look at those Flatirons! Gorgeous.
We’ve definitely lived in some cities with some pretty spectacular views before, but I have to say, it doesn’t matter how many times we walk around this lake … it always stuns me with its beauty.
For Christmas my sister got me a membership to the Denver Botanic Gardens, and on Saturday we were finally able to get out there for a visit, which was really quite lovely.
^^ Just the three of us, out for a day at the gardens 😉
On Sunday I met up with my cousin at Sassafras back in Denver for brunch, where I had the most delicious beignets and shrimp & grits that I’ve had since New Orleans!
So friends, those outings — coupled with lots of outdoor porch time — made for a pretty nice weekend. I hope yours was as lovely … or that you’re at least finding some way to stay cool in the heat! My stepdad will be here for a visit starting Wednesday, so we’re really looking forward to that.