2017: A Year in Review

dsc_2244_1.jpgHappy almost 2018, my friends! This year has felt both incredibly long and exhausting and like it flew by and was exhilarating. And while we didn’t do any international travel, we did manage to make many fun trips to the mountains and back east, and our epic trip to California to check out some national parks was definitely one of my faves.

Next year we’ll be traveling with two kids, which seems somehow both super stressful and lots of fun 🙂 Either way I look forward to making many, many travel memories with this little family of mine. Travel has become such an important part of mine and Chris’ life together, so I hope we can impart some of that love for travel to Lotte & Grace, as well.

So here’s to a 2018 filled with fun, love, health … and lots and lots of travel!

January
In January we took a quick trip back east for a wedding and to do Christmas with our Pennsylvania family.

February
Feb. was an epic mountain month when we met friends in Breckenridge and then headed to Steamboat later in the month to hang with family.

March
I had a friend visit in March while Chris was in Australia for his brother’s wedding and we had a fun and fantastic girlfriend’s week with Lotte. Then, later in the month, Lotte and I had our first flight alone together when we headed east for a fundraiser in honor of my mom, for Rory’s birthday party and to celebrate my Grandma and great-Aunt’s 95th birthday. Lotte & I also took a little road trip to D.C. to visit my bestie while we were back, and while there we visited some of the amazing monuments in the area.


April
In April we checked out Estes Park for my birthday (which was a seriously fun place to spend a birthday!) and did a little local exploring as well, including a hike at Clear Creek Trail and Lotte’s first trip to the Denver Zoo.


May
I didn’t have any blog posts in May, but we did find out we were pregnant with Baby Grace in May – right on Mother’s Day weekend! So hoorah for us!

June
In June my stepdad sprung for us to fly back East for a quick trip for my brother-in-law’s birthday. We also took Lotte camping for the first time ever in the mountains and checked out gorgeous St. Mary’s Glacier.

July
In July we took advantage of the long holiday weekend to check out South Park and do the Twin Lakes hike. We also headed back East again, this time for my uncle’s retirement party and to have an early first birthday celebration for Lotte. Lotte also visited the beach for the first time on this trip 😉 Later in the month we had an epic first birthday celebration for Lotte that included MomMom and Papa and Grandpa Robert, along with birthday cake at the lake, visits to the splashpad and lots and lots of present opening! We also headed to Keystone to partake in an MS fundraising walk in honor of my mom.

August
In August we finally took a kayak out on the lake that’s right in our backyard (Lotte was not a fan!), and we headed to Beaver Creek for some mountain air, hiking and splashing around in the hotel pool (Lotte was a fan of that!).

September
September was so much fun when we hopped on a plane to take Lotte to San Francisco, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but our little Lotte was amazing the entire time.

October
October was full of fun when I took a quick trip up to Vail with a visiting friend. We also checked out the same pumpkin patch we took Lotte to last year when she was just a teeny, tiny babe of three months, celebrated our first snowfall and checked out Fort Collins for Chris’ birthday. Oh, and a little something that was the most fun ever — Chris & Lotte & I dressed as smores for Halloween, with Lotte as a marshmallow, me as a Hershey kiss and Chris as a graham cracker.

November
In November my dad flew out to spend Thanksgiving with us, and we started our Christmas celebrations early (knowing that Baby G would be arriving in mid-December and celebrations might be a tad hard to do once that happened) by checking out the lights at the zoo and eating in a life-size gingerbread house and visiting Santa at Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs.

December
Holiday celebrations continued in early December when Grandpa Robert came to visit and we checked out Santa in Olde Town and got our Christmas tree. We also checked out the lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens, which we also did last year with Lotte when she was about five months old. I’m loving the traditions that we’re making with our Littles as a family.

And of course there was the best part of our entire year — welcoming our second little girl into the world on Dec. 16. Chris’ parents are here for a few weeks to help, and Lotte has been having the most amazing time with them!

We love you Baby G, and we can’t wait for you to be a part of all of our traditions starting next year!

And that, my friends, was our year in a nutshell! Despite how tumultuous it may have been at times, I’m hoping everyone was able to find some peace and fun throughout 2017.

And here’s to a fabulous and fruitful 2018! Bis bald, friends!

Life Recently: Welcome to the World, Baby Girl Grace

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Happy Thursday, friends!

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 😉

xo,

The Four of Us

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^^ 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.

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^^ Our very last photo as a family of three before heading to the hospital on Saturday, December 16, to have Baby G.

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^^ Big sister Lotte was pretty much smitten from the second she saw her little sister.

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^^ 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.

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^^ First car ride!

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^^ The cutest little  cupcake ‘G’ from Nan for Grace’s arrival home.

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^^ Look at this dad, just rockin’ it with his two little ladies 😉

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^^ I have the same photo of Lotte when she was five days old – I’m sentimental like that.

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^^ 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 :/

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^^ Denver adventures with Nan and Poppa!

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^^ We spent Christmas Eve with my cousin and her family, which included their new baby, Oliver, who was born only two days before Grace!

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^^ The most amazing holiday outfits you’ve ever seen. Period.

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^^ Cutest grandparents lovin’ up on some grandkids!

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^^ Baby’s first Christmas, and Lotte made sure it was a fun one.

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^^ Our little babes, all dressed for the holiday ❤

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^^ Touching noses.

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^^ Merry, merry!

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^^ Bright-eyed and ready to take on the world!

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^^ Baby’s first bath! It was with big sister, and it was a success!

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^^ Me with my two babes ❤ 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!

Bis bald, friends!

Waiting for Baby

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Merry, happy, holly everything, friends! Well, it’s December 12th, and we’re all about waiting for Baby and making the most of our holiday time as a family of three while we still can over here! It’s been a whirlwind finishing up work and having visitors like my dad and stepdad in town, plus getting our house set up for the holidays, getting all our presents purchased … oh, and getting prepped for our baby, of course.

We’ve been using the past couple weeks to set up the nursery and do as many holiday things with Lotte as possible. We got our tree a couple weekends ago and decorated the house, and my stepdad was here this past weekend to help finish off the nursery and hang with us a bit. It’s been a really great (and somewhat wistful, at least for me!) time, but I feel ready for the next chapter of our lives. I’m so excited to meet Baby No. 2 and to introduce Lotte to her new best friend. Chris’ parents arrive on Wednesday, and we’ll be ready and raring to go!

I hope you guys are all having a great start to the holiday season, as well!

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^^ My discerning little Christmas tree shopper (and my big ole’ belly!).

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^^ Despite the fact that we had to start the ornaments halfway up the tree to keep them away from little hands, I think she looks mighty pretty.

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^^ We love when Grandpa visits!

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^^ At 38 weeks pregnant, I somehow managed to dress up and head out of the house past 7 at night for Chris’ office holiday party. It was nice to get out for a bit, but also very exhausting! We hit up another holiday on Saturday at our friends’ house, too … how fancy are we?!

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^^ I can’t necessarily say I had as much of a vision for Baby Connor No. 2’s nursery as I did for Lotte’s, since a bunch of the furniture in here is recycled and the room was already painted, but in the end I think it all came together nicely and I’m actually super excited for her to be in it!

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^^ Lunch at School House Kitchen in Old Town Arvada. It was our first time here and I was really impressed. The theme is super cute, and the food was great!

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^^ She is not a barrette lover, which pains me to my core!

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^^ Wearing our matching Kate Spade for Keds sneakers out and about on the town! Don’t worry – I got a pair for Baby 2, as well 😉

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^^ Waiting in line to meet Santa … for the second time!

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^^ This time we didn’t even bother trying to have Lotte sit on Santa’s lap by herself (it was way too close to the other weekend when she flipped out when we tried it in Colorado Springs!), so we all sat with Santa as a family. It sort of worked 😉 I look so pregnant here, and Lotte is unimpressed, but hey, what can you do?

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^^ Grandpa couldn’t leave without spoiling both Lotte and Baby 2 for Christmas. He loaded them up with the sweetest clothes and books, as well as gift certificates for flights for all of us back to New York to visit, which of course made me cry. Thank you, Grandpa, your gifts were so thoughtful!

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^^ On Monday night we hit up the Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Light show as part of a holiday party thrown by our realtor, whom we love. We went last year when Chris’ family was in town and Lotte was only about five months old, and we loved it then, as well. It’s so pretty and festive – the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit!

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^^ My loves ❤ No one I enjoy holiday outting with more 😉

Okay, so now the wait for Baby is really on! Wish us luck, and I probably won’t be back until I have a new little cherub faced-photo to share with you all here! Until then … bis bald!

Thanksgiving 2017, and the Start of the Christmas Season

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Welp friends, somehow it has happened — Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we are moving on to Christmas and the end of the year … and for this family, we’re gearing up for a brand new baby, as well!

Our Thanksgiving break started out great. My dad came out for a couple days to spend some time with us, we celebrated Thanksgiving over at my cousin’s house with her family, and then we spent the whole weekend (well, until Sunday), doing fun holiday things Lotte, since I’m obsessed with the fact that this will be her last three weeks (!) as an only child. Then, on Sunday, I unfortunately came down with the flu. My dad wasn’t feeling well when he left, and when he got home he found out he had the flu, which I promptly was diagnosed with the next day. Oh boy. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed over here that this goes quickly and that Lotte and Chris don’t get it as well. Please pray with us, friends, because we do not have a lot of time to spare before Baby C No. 2 arrives, and we have a lot to get done before then!

Anyway, let’s go back to remembering the fun times before the sickness descended. Here’s a couple of pics from our Thanksgiving, the Denver Zoo Lights we took Lotte to on Friday, and the gingerbread house we ate in at Wolf Creek Lodge in Colorado Springs on Saturday.

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^^ Lotte, my dad and I took a walk to the lake on Thanksgiving morning while Chris finished off his dishes to bring to my cousin’s for dinner. (Seriously gotta love a man who cooks!) It was in the 70s here on Thanksgiving day … can you believe that?!

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^^ I’ll be honest – this isn’t my favorite picture of me. But Lotte’s little had on my chest and her smile ?? I cannot.

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^^ Lotte fell in love with this art easel over at my cousin’s house. Guess we know what a good gift idea for the near future will be 😉

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^^ We didn’t have all the letters we needed for our message, but we made out pretty well with what we had 😉

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^^ Happy Thanksgiving, from our little family to yours!

My dad left early Friday, and Friday night we bundled up (though not too much, because it was in the upper 50s!) and headed over to the Denver Zoo Lights, which was a lot of fun. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect because technically the exhibit isn’t even open yet — this was just a preview — but it was packed! Still, the lights were so pretty, and we saw a lot of animals, too. Lotte enjoyed it, but I think she’ll especially love it next year when she’s a bit older.

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^^ Chris dressed Lotte like a candy cane to celebrate our first holiday event of the season 😉

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^^ My blurry loves ❤

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^^ Lotte fell in love with the giraffes hard core, and it was kind of adorable. 

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The fun continued on Saturday when we checked out Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs. We played games in the arcade, ate dinner in a life-size gingerbread house (the proceeds of which go to the Ronald McDonald House charities), attended a dance party in the lobby with other kiddos and met (and hated!) Santa Claus. It was so much fun! I guess it’s just lucky that I didn’t start to get really sick until we got home, because I would have been super bummed to have missed any other part of our weekend plans.

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^^ How cute is this life-sized gingerbread house?! You need to make individual reservations to eat inside, and while we definitely felt a little like we were on display (you know, since it was in the middle of the hotel and little kids kept walking in to ask us questions about it!), it still was super fun. You could pick to eat off the menu from one of the hotel restaurants or just do the buffet, and we went with the buffet, which was a lot easier with a little one in tow. 

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^^ Poor Lotte … and poor Santa! He was a good sport, though! I could tell this encounter wasn’t going to be great as I started to hand Lotte over and she gripped onto me like she never has before. Oh well … maybe next year she’ll love him!

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And that was our Thanksgiving holiday bonanza in a nutshell, friends. Now I’m laid up in bed trying desperately to stay on top of work while Chris does the same as we juggle watching Lotte and trying to keep her from getting sick, all while getting ready for second baby to arrive in a few weeks. Life is crazy sometimes friends, am I right?

Bis bald, ya’ll!

Happy Halloween, Love The Smores

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Yesterday was Lotte’s second Halloween. I cannot believe that we’ve entered the realm of second holidays with this Little, whom we are beyond lucky to have in our lives. Last year we skipped the whole family costume idea and just dressed our 3-month-old up in a ladybug costume (which, by the way, she rocked), but this year I couldn’t help it. At 8+ months pregnant myself, I wanted to come up with something that would be cute for a growing baby bump and also super adorbes for Lottes.

So, we settled on smores. Lotte went as the marshmallow, I was a Hershey’s Kiss and Chris [who really leaned into his costume, by the way, and made it, basically … so proud ;)] was a graham cracker. And while we only hit up about four houses on our block before returning home, it was still super fun and a memory I’ll never forget.

And now … happy November, everyone! It’s our last full month as a family of three, and I plan to soak it in as much as possible.

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^^ Rocking her pre-Halloween outfit from Aunt Steph and a totally rad top knot before getting dolled up for the night.

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Bis bald, friends! I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween ❤

Celebrating a Birthday With a Short Fort Collins Retreat

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Happy Monday, friends! Yesterday was Chris’ (ahem) 34th birthday … happy birthday, love! So in one of our favorite long-standing traditions, we went out of town for the weekend. While we were originally thinking of Telluride, driving that far meant Chris and I would both have to take a couple days off work, and at almost 8 months preggs, I can barely go 20 minutes without needing to pee, so something closer felt more realistic and do-able. We finally settled on Fort Collins, which is only about an hour away, but still felt like a nice getaway all the same.

(As you might recall, Chris’ birthday trip last year was our first trip to Steamboat Springs—now one of our fave places — as well as our first trip as a family of three. How fitting that this year’s birthday trip for Chris was likely our last trip as a family of three, since Brand New Baby C will be gracing us with her presence in mid-December!)

Anyway, back to Fort Collins. My good friend’s sister lives there, so I hit her up for recommendations, and she definitely came through for us. On Friday night we checked into our hotel (note: There are so many cute Airbnb places to stay on Fort Collins, but unfortunately I booked too late and they were either all sold out or ridiculously expensive, so we ended up just staying at a Best Western. It was fine for location and the free brekkie, but next time we’ll hope to plan ahead and stay at an Airbnb.) and then headed over to the Jessup Farm Artisan Village.  It’s a super cute little outdoor area with a bunch of shops and restaurants and a brewery. We checked out the Jessup Farm Barrel House for drinks (for Chris, not me) before dinner, then had dinner at The Farmhouse. The Barrel House was a lot of fun and had a festive atmosphere with games to play outside, and dinner at The Farmhouse was tasty, but the inside was all booked out with reservations and a big party, so we had to eat outside which was slightly chilly. Note to self: next time you want to eat here, make reservations ahead of time!

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^^ This pretzel was every bit as delicious as it looks here. The one thing I’ll also note here is how friendly everyone in Fort Collins was. Twice we sat down at a table and had people join, and they were so lovely and nice and easy to talk to.

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^^ She kept this hat on for all of two seconds, but it wasn’t for my lack of trying to get her to keep it on all throughout dinner!

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On Saturday we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and jumped in the car for the 20 minute ride out to the Shoreline Trail to Horsetooth Reservoir. (It’s worth noting that there is a $7 fee to get into the park.) Colleen had noted that she did the hike earlier in the year with another pregnant friend (since I mentioned we were looking for something super easy, since I’m super slow these days!), and she was right that it was fairly flat, with only a modest incline for a short amount of the hike. Plus, the overall trail is less than 1.5 miles long, anyway, and it’s so scenic and beautiful, especially on a lovely fall day like we had.

It’s also worth noting that the drive out there took us along the Reservoir Ridge Trail as well, which was another hike Colleen had recommended and which was pretty even to drive along.

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After the hike I was craving cupcakes (yes, even after a 1.4-mile hike, so sue me!) so we headed into the downtown area to walk around and stop in at The Little Bird Bakeshop, where I actually didn’t end up getting cupcakes at all but did get a hot chocolate and a pumpkin whoppie pie and chocolate chip/macadamia nut bread to share.

After our little downtown break we hit up some breweries for Chris. First up was his new favorite haunt, Horse & Dragon Brewing Company, which was super low-key and relaxing. (Well maybe not relaxing, per se. Is anything relaxing when you’re doing it with a toddler?!) Anyway, we loved it there so much we went back on Sunday. After H&D we met some of Chris’ friends over at New Belgium brewery, which was a whole crazy experience and like a world all by itself. A lot of people like New Belgium these days, and the popularity showed at the brewery, because it. was. bumpin’! Seriously – so crazy busy and crowded, and definitely not what we’re used to when it comes to breweries. Still, it was fun to see it and say we went, even if we never end up going back 😉

After that Lotte was getting a tad antsy, so we headed back to the hotel and ended up having take-out dinner from the steak restaurant right next to the hotel, Charco Broiler. Chris ordered his traditional birthday steak dinner, but by this point I was pretty full from all my snacking throughout the day, so I went with a veggie cobb salad. Lotte had spaghetti and proceeded to make as much of a mess as you properly can in a hotel room.

Oops 😉

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^^ Chillin’ with dad after a full day of fun!

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On Sunday (Chris’ birthday!) we tried to have breakfast at Lucile’s Creole Cafe, but judging from the line out the door it would have taken forever to get seated. So we headed back into town and to the Silver Grill Cafe, which still had a bit of a wait but was totally worth it for their legendary cinnamon buns, which do not disappoint!

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^^ Blood Mary’s for the birthday boy, of course!

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^^ See what I mean? Ah-mazing.

After breakfast we decided to check out the trails at the Environmental Learning Center which, while serene and idyllic, were not exactly stroller friendly :/ Oh well, lesson learned! Lotte had fallen asleep in the car on the ride over, so it wasn’t worth waking her up and the birthday boy has muscles of steel anyway, so he could handle it 😉

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^^ And yes, we did head back to Horse & Dragon after our walk to try to recreate the family photo we took at a brewery on Chris’ birthday last year and to grab one last beer for the birthday boy.

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^^ Family selfie success!

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^^ And one of just this face, because … come on ❤

And that was it. Happy, happy birthday to the man who makes the most amazing father, husband and friend that a gal could ask for. We sure do love you, Chris ❤

Bis bald, friends!

The First Snowfall of the Season

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Happy Wednesday, friends! So remember when I said yesterday that we had lovely fall weather this past weekend? Colorado is the craziest of crazies when it comes to weather, because a gorgeous, fall Sunday can be followed quickly by a winter-white Monday, which is exactly what happened. Of course by Tuesday the snow had all melted and temps were in the upper 50s … but for a couple hours on Monday Lotte & I jammed out to Christmas music (yes, we really did), put on our snowsuits (well, Lotte did, anyway) and braved the cold to play in the snow.

Last year Lotte was too young to really understand what snow was, and while she’s still a tad too young to really get it right now, she was definitely much more interested in this cold, wet, white stuff, and she couldn’t stop staring at it. It was pretty adorable.

So, happy holidays, friends! At least for one day …

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