Pennsylvania, Brooklyn & NYC — A Tale of a 5-day Trip

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^^ Gussied up in our fanciest for a very pretty (if somewhat cold!) Central Park wedding.

Hi friends,

Well we just returned from a super quick and very fun trip over to the east coast. We headed out last Friday, arriving in Pennsylvania around 10:30 p.m. for a second Christmas with my dad and stepmom, sisters and their husbands and Rory and Jude. Nan and Aussie Poppa came, too, which made the trip a super lot more fun.

Second Chrissy was only one of our objectives with this trip — we also rented a car and drove to Brooklyn on Monday, where we stayed with a friend of mine in her gorgeous brownstone and attended a wedding in Central Park on Tuesday and the reception at the Wythe Hotel.

This was Lotte’s second trip out to the east coast — a trip that followed quickly behind her trip out the mountains at the end of last year — and she was nothing but a wonderful pumpkin full of smiles the whole time.

Something tells me we got super lucky with this kid of ours.

Anyway, here’s what we got up to, in photos 😉

01_flyingout^^ Super pumped for her second trip out east!

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^^ These two together … it seriously always warms my heart.

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^^ My family has a little tradition of doing a taste-testing competition for one holiday (usually it’s Thanksgiving), and although we’d already done wine in the past, we decided why not do it again 😉 After what was meant to be a tie-breaker using beer between the three wine-tasting winners (my dad and both my brothers-in-law), both of my brothers-in-law won the beer round. This was not in the least surprising 😉

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^^ Steph and I chipped in to get Rory an actual excavator toy that he can ride, and I think it’s safe to say he liked it. (Thanks Uncle Brian for setting it up!)

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^^ The chef — aka my brother-in-law — hard at work.

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^^ My delicious dinner plate. These shrimp with Kev’s homemade barbecue sauce were to die for.

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^^ At the sports bar the next day with the fam!

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^^ A poopy diaper explosion meant Lotte was taking photos with her cousins in pjs instead of her super cute daytime outfit. Oh well, still cute, though!

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^^ Yup. Parenting is tiring.

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^^ Sleeping on the ride from Pennsylvania to Brooklyn.

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^^ The gorgeous setting for Tuesday’s wedding in Central Park.

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^^ Almost four years ago, exactly, Chris and I stood under those very same arches and sat on those very same steps, taking photos of our own after we had just been married 😉

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^^ Meanwhile, my friend Carla manned the fort back in Brooklyn with both of our babies … and her dog Simon helped.

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^^ After a short hiatus, the reception took place at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn, which was nice because I had never been before. The views of Manhattan were spectacular, and the food was super delish. All-in-all, it was a very fun wedding.

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^^ At one point during the night Carla sent me this picture, which I seriously adore. She even said Lotte went down super easy that night, which may have been because of …

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^^ This amazing sleepsuit! Have you heard of this?! Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit is, as promised, magic! Lotte simply loves it, and although I’m pretty sure I’m not meant to be using it anymore since she can roll over, for now I’m just grateful it’s helped get her to sleep after the disruption of her routine over the past couple weeks. Thanks Carla, for letting Lotte borrow Fiona’s!

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^^ Fiona and Lotte the morning before we left to fly back to Denver. It is my sincere hope that these two become good, lifelong friends. At least I know Carla and I will do everything in our power to help make that happen.

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^^ Home. There’s no place like it.

And that was our trip in a nutshell, friends. We’ve got a pretty busy couple first months coming up, with trips planned and visitors coming out. But busy is how we like to be 😉

Until next time – bis bald!

New Year’s Eve 2016

fullsizerender^^ 2017 is looking infinitely better than 2016 already 😉

Since my wonderful in-laws were still in town for New Year’s Eve (which just happens to also be the anniversary of when Chris and I met, got engaged and got married … it’s kind of a special day for us!), Chris and I took advantage of their babysitting abilities and had a couple mini dates. We headed back to the Arvada Tavern the night before New Year’s Eve (I blogged about our first date at the Arvada Tavern here) with Chris’s two sisters, who treated us to a delicious dinner and drinks. Then on New Year’s Eve we cashed in on my stepmom’s Christmas present to us from last year and took a sushi-making making at Sur La Table (amazingly fun!) and met up with Kate and Sarah for cocktails at Corridor 44 in Larimer Square in Denver.

Then, after trying to have dinner at the new restaurant — The Butchery — in Arvada and finding out the wait was going to be hours, we ended up at Olive Garden instead! And you know what … we certainly didn’t regret it.

Some photos from our New Year’s Eve Eve and New Year’s Eve itself. Hope you guys had an amazing time, as well!

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^^ Cocktails and live jazz music in the upstairs section of the Arvada Tavern before dinner.

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^^ Being an amazing husband, Chris got me some anniversary presents and I got him nothing. Sorry dear — I do love you, though!

img_1993img_1997img_1999-1img_2002-1img_2003img_2009img_2014img_2019img_2068^^ Celebrating a new year with this little bundle … and things are certainly looking peachy 😉

A Final 2016 Trip

img_1879^^ The gang’s all here …

The day after Christmas we all packed up and headed to Keystone to spend a couple days in the mountains. We rented a cabin in Gateway Mountain Lodge, which was super close to the slopes and the little shopping area, so everyone was happy.

And while my day at the mountain was cut painfully short when my lovely daughter refused to take a bottle from my sister and stepdad, who were babysitting (long story short, it was actually my fault … lesson learned), I still had a lot of fun, and I think everyone else did, too.

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^^ Ready for her mountain adventure!

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^^ Could the back of these pants be any cuter?

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^^ Darkest photo ever of our pit stop at Red Rocks on the way to Keystone.

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^^ This window in our cabin … can I have one in my house, please?

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^^ Although I missed out on snowboarding last season since I was pregnant, this was the first time I got on my snowboard and really just felt it all click. So. Much. Fun!

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^^ Somebody had a five month birthday celebration at the mountains, surrounded by family. Not a bad way to spend a birthday, my friends.

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^^ My stepdad bought all of us these New York shirts for Christmas and we wore them to dinner on our last night. How cute are we?!

_dsc6979^^ So long mountains, see ya in a couple weeks when we head to Breckenridge with some friends!

And that was our little mountain getaway in a nutshell. It was only three days, but it felt longer for some reason, which was nice. We’re off Friday to Philly and then New York to celebrate second Christmas with my Philly fam and then to attend a wedding in Central Park on Tuesday. (Ummmm … how much do I love how much we’re getting back to NYC with Lotte lately? A LOT, let’s just say!)

Bis bald, friends! I’ll just go ahead and leave you with this video of me rockin’ out on my snowboard 😉

Christmas 2016: A Very Merry Connor, Lock, Graham, Woodill Experience

_dsc6881^^ You have no idea how long it took us to get this photo – and I’m obviously mid-sentence 😉 But what can you do … the good of the many!

Is it just me or does it feel like Christmas was years ago? Well, I guess technically it was last year … but you know what I mean!

Anyway, we had a lovely, relaxed Christmas at home, celebrating with Chris’s parents and two sisters, my sister and brother-in-law and my stepdad. It was lovely and perfect and exactly as I would have wanted Lotte’s first Christmas holiday to be.

Here are some shots from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We mostly hung out around the house (my sister even brought a pair of my mom’s pajamas for me and for her to wear on Christmas Eve) and ate and drank, which was actually quite perfect, since we packed up and headed to the mountains the very next day. (I’ll post about that tomorrow.)

For now, though … happy (belated!) holidays, all!

Year In Review: So Long 2016

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^^ A very merry, happy, jolly 2017, from our little family to yours.

Well friends, 2016 is over and I have to say … I don’t miss it one bit. Of course Lotte being born was the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but other than that, 2016 was kind of awful in a lot of ways. So we’re moving on over here, embracing 2017 with open arms and hoping that it’s a much kinder year.

We’ve had family in town since before the holiday so I’m way far behind on my WW postings, but for now, here’s a short look back at what we got up to in 2016 …

February
In Feb. we announced that we were expecting our little bundle. I took a trip to New York for my grandmother’s 94th birthday, to attend a professional conference and spend some time in the city with a friend.

March
In March we headed off to Japan for Chris to run his sixth and final marathon in the World Marathon Series (blogged about here, here, here, here, here and here).

April
April was a pretty awful month when we lost my mom on the 12th. It’s a month that will forever be hard for me, now. Before that happened, though, Chris and I headed into the mountains to Crested Butte to celebrate my last birthday before becoming a mother myself.

July/August/September/October
July was a banner month for us when we welcomed our little Lotte into the world. We spent the next three months surrounded by friends and family who all took turns coming out to visit us and help us get settled into parenthood. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we never could have made it through last year without the friends and family that love us so dearly. We’re very humbled by it. (Some posts from that time here and here.)

 We also spent the last weekend in October (my last weekend of maternity leave!) in Steamboat Springs for Chris’s birthday. It was Lotte’s first car trip and her first trip into the mountains, and she did amazing. (Naturally!)

November
Last month Lotte had her first plane adventure when we packed up and headed over to New York for Thanksgiving. She also made her first trip into New York City, which was a pretty important moment for myself and Chris. (Some posts from that trip here and here), and we celebrated her first snowfall with an impromptu photoshoot in our backyard.

December
Well I haven’t had a chance to blog about the end of December yet, because we’re still livin’ it 😉 Our Aussie family is here for another couple weeks, so instead of spending time at the computer, we’re spending as much time with them as we can! I will say that we had an amazing Christmas — which included lots of family and a trip into the mountains — and we rang in the New Year with our little daughter in our arms and Chris’s parents at our side. So, as I said, we’re optimistic about 2017, and I hope you guys are, too. Until I’m back with more photos from the end of December, check out my final December roundup before our family arrived.

See you soon friends — and happy 2017!

Editor’s Note: My post about our Christmas celebration is now posted here, and one about our final trip of 2016 to Keystone for a couple days is here

Life Recently: Feel Good Friday Vibes

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^^ 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.

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^^ 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!)

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^^ 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.

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^^ 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.

img_0907^^ 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.

06family_selfie^^ ^^ Clearly still working on perfecting our family selfies.

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^^ 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.

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^^ Still cute, though! (Especially with my fuzzy sock in the picture, too :/ Anne Geddes I am not.)

img_0905^^ Finally got our fireplace checked out so we can actually use it! It’s now one of my favorite spots in the house. 

img_0908^^ 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?

img_0904^^ 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!

img_0911^^ Our backyard is equally as festive, especially in the snow.

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^^ 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?

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^^ 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?

img_0909^^ And it was certainly worth the effort, because girlfriend needs some fresh air every now and then, if you know what I mean.

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^^ This. Little. Girl. Sigh.

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^^ Lots and lots and lots of tummy time happening over here!

img_0910^^ I mean a lot  of tummy time 😉

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^^ How cute is the outfit Lotte wore to meet Santa for the first time? Thanks Auntie M!

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^^ Dad on a mission. Here’s Chris taking Lotte out and about to do some errands with him last weekend. Gotta love the look of determination 😉 And to note – it all went very swimmingly!

img_0906^^ For some reason my Aussie husband keeps expecting the act of shoveling snow to get fun at some point. Sorry to tell you, dear … but it doesn’t.

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^^ Torturing the cat with some holiday cheer.

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^^ I swear we feed Penny, but more often than not you’ll find her in front of the pantry door, just waiting for it to open to reveal her next meal or treat.

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^^ A reminder via my Timehop app of our little Christmas tree in our tiny NYC apartment from four years ago. Oh NYC and our tiny little apartment … sometimes I really miss those days.

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^^ Always smiling, even when Dad dressed her for the day and it’s a bit … eclectic 😉

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^^ Not much better when Mom dresses her, I guess.

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^^ Throwing some serious shade on our walk yesterday.

And our onslaught of holiday guests starts to arrive next Tuesday … I cannot wait.

Happy holidays, friends!

Bis bald.

Meeting Santa in Olde Town Arvada

thumb__dsc6260_1024^^ Thoroughly unimpressed by Santa.

Hi friends,

Happy Monday! Saturday was a gloriously sunny and upper 50s day here in Arvada, so we packed up Lotte and headed to Olde Town so that she could meet Santa for the first time. Even though we’ve only been twice, I really like this cute little section of Arvada. Lucky for us the line wasn’t too long, and they were playing Christmas songs and selling hot chocolate with all the trimmings — it was a great first Santa visit for Lotte … except for the fact that she couldn’t care less.

Oh well! The pictures were still cute 😉

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^^ Sustenance from the nearby bakery for the *long* wait. (It wasn’t long … these were just delicious and necessary!)

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^^ Santa was visible to Lotte before she actually got her turn to sit in his lap, and she was hard-core checking him out. I think this might be part of the reason why she was so completely uninterested when she got up-close and personal.

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^^ Still cute, though!

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^^ Oh and by the way, after sunny, warm weather on Saturday, it snowed on Sunday. Oh, Colorado. Still, that gave me a chance to put Lotte back in her snowsuit and make a (albeit sort of lame) snowman with her.

And that was our weekend, friends. Sun. Santa. Snow. Snowsuits and snowmen.

Bis bald, all!

Oh, Christmas Tree …

img_0036^^ Our first Christmas tree in our new home. 

Well friends, we had to miss a holiday party this past Thursday at the Denver Botanic Gardens (which is currently displaying their awesome holiday lights … at least we’ve heard it’s awesome, we haven’t been yet) because Lotte was pretty stuffed up and sick after we got home from our Thanksgiving travels.

The things you do when you’re parents 😉

Anyway, she was somewhat better on Saturday, and the weather was gorgeous (although as you’ll see from these photos, we still dressed our child like it was a snowstorm outside. Oops.), so we hopped in the car and headed off to the Christmas tree lot to find ourselves our first ever Christmas tree for our new home — and Lotte’s first Christmas tree ever.

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^^ Still a bit grumpy and snotty, as you can see :/

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Our home is definitely starting to feel festive for the holidays, friends. How early do you all get your holiday decorations up? It seems like everyone in our neighborhood had their trees up and the front of their houses decorated when we came home from Thanksgiving. I mean, I probably wouldn’t have minded doing that either, had we been home, but still, for some reason I was surprised.

Now I just have to wait for allllllll the decorations to come in that I ordered this past weekend, then we’ll be done. Man, I love the holidays.

Bis bald, friends!

 

Thanksgiving 2016 – Part II

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^^ These little cuties all together … it’s almost too much to handle.

Last Friday after Thanksgiving we packed up the car and headed to Pennsylvania to spend the weekend with my dad and stepmom, sisters, brothers-in-law and nephews. We had another Thanksgiving and my parents threw a little party for family to meet Lotte, so it was hectic, but a whole lot of fun.

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^^ Starting second Thanksgiving morning with donuts and coffee is pretty amazing in my books.

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^^ These two had a bit of a love affair going on, and it made my heart so, so happy!

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^^ Watching football with Papa. Hey it was a holiday, why not 😉

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^^ This cute little family …

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^^ Both Jude and Lotte’s faces crack me up in this picture!

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^^ Party food!

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^^ Back at my mom and stepdad’s on Sunday night we had a couple people over to meet Lotte, as well. One of my best friends from junior high just had her first baby, too — baby Miles — so Lotte got to meet him. That’s auntie Moe in the middle. I’ve known these ladies for oh-so-many years, and I’m just really grateful for their friendship.

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^^ Miles is only about 2-months-old, so I love that Lotte is his older, wiser friend 😉

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^^ This picture cracks me up! Look at my little Lotte makin’ moves on Miles!

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^^ Fell asleep in Aunt Stephie’s arms on Sunday night. She was totally exhausted after all her meet and greets, but it was just about the best time ever.

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^^ Grandpa Robert sure knows how to multi-task 😉

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^^ And suddenly, before we knew it, we were back at Newark for our flight home. Amazing how fast time flies when you’re having fun.

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^^ This little angel mostly slept and ate on the way back home, which was so nice!

And that was it — our incredibly hectic, fun and full-of-love Thanksgiving break. I hope you guys had just as much fun.

Now … on to December!

Bis bald, friends!

Thanksgiving 2016 — Part 1

02_roseandgirls^^ The meeting between Lotte and my grandmother was one of the biggest highlights of this trip. I’ll never, ever forget it.

Well friends, last Thursday was Thanksgiving. And while I can hardly believe it’s over, and that we’re on to December and Christmas now, I can say without a doubt that we had a really good one. As our first Thanksgiving without my mom, I’ll admit I was a little worried about how it might go. But having a baby and being constantly on the move kept me from dwelling too much on the sad part of the holiday and helped me to focus on how much I do have in my life, and how much Lotte is so loved by all these friends and family of ours.

The day before Thanksgiving we stopped by the assisted living place where my Grandmother lives to surprise her with a visit. It was my sister’s idea to do that, and I’m so, so glad she thought of it.

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^^ Did I tell you about this child and her side eye?! I have tons of nice photos from my Grams and my daughter’s first meeting, but this one just makes me laugh every single time I look at it. Both of these ladies are too, too much.

03_roseandgirls04_funnyrose^^ Chris just kept taking shots while we were moving around the room, and this totally candid and ridiculous one has got to be one of my favorites, too.

We stayed at my sister and brother-in-law’s new house the night before Thanksgiving, which is only about 15 minutes from my aunt and uncle’s, where we would be spending the holiday. It was nice to have a little down time in the morning and to not have to rush too much to drive somewhere far away.

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^^ #parenting 😉

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^^ Aunt Stephie and Lotte, in the outfit (shoes included) that Aunt Stephie bought for her for the holiday. Too. Stinkin’. Cute. Too bad a poop explosion caused her to only wear it for about two hours on the actual day. Oh well – at least we got a couple photos!

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^^ Meeting the extended fam.

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^^ My Grams and her two great-granddaughters – priceless.

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^^ The meltdown post diaper blowout and pre-outfit change.

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^^ You know a holiday was great when it ends like this 😉

It was really so great spending time with our family for Thanksgiving, and the following day we loaded up the car and headed to Pennsylvania to do it all over again with my Dad’s gang. Can’t complain about two Thanksgivings, that’s for sure!

I’ll be back tomorrow with photos from our final couple days back east. Until then – bis bald!

Back in the Borough: Hot Child in the City

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^^ Oh NYC, how I’ve missed you.

Well friends, two amazing things happened on the very first day of our trip out east — Lotte met my grandmother and she visited NYC.

Lots of love for those two things right there.

For starters, I have to give props to our little four-month old for being quite the flying champ. Sure she had her moments, but for the most part she was pretty great. She was totally fascinated in the airport and held her own all the way until the very end when she got a little sleepy, but once we boarded (a half hour late, mind you) and I could breastfeed her, she settled right down.

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^^ Look at that face! Like, ” what in the heck is going on around me?!”

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^^ Since we had a small delay we stopped at Root Down to grab some food. Lotte was just a little bit popular there, as you might have guessed 😉

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^^ Landed!

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^^ Lest you think my child is always happy, here’s a bit of a meltdown pic for ya, as well.

After landing around 11 p.m. and getting back to Newburgh around 1 a.m., we had a super early wake-up call to try to leave the house by 8 a.m. the next day to head into the city.

Our departure time ended up being closer to 8:30, which I still say is pretty awesome, all things considered.

We were only in the city for a couple of hours total, but we sure did make the most of it. Chris renewed his passport. Steph and Lotte and I met up with my friend Carla and her 9-month-old Fiona for brunch at The Wheeltapper Pub inside the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel. We even took the babes through a bit of a Grand Central tour and on to Bryant Park so that Steph could take some potential Christmas card photos for us.

Here’s our time in the city in photos.

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^^ Fiona was fascinated with Lotte’s hair for some reason, which made for some pretty funny photos. Love these two ladies, and I’m so thrilled Carla and I get to raise our babies together, even if we do live half-way across the country from each other.

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^^ Some Aunt Stephie cuddles. (Aunt Stephie also dresses Lotte every single time she’s with her, in case you were wondering … )

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^^ The Grand Central detour.

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^^ Hubbub all around them, and yet these two babes remained as calm as ever. True city babies, if you ask me 😉

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^^ Bryant Park at the holidays — my absolute favorite place on earth. I cannot believe I got to actually share it with my own daughter this year.

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img_9314^^ Behind the scenes of our baby photo shoot 😉 Don’t worry – Chris was holding on very tight!

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^^ My child has perfected her side eye.

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^^ Ah the stroller and steps — thanks hubs, for always taking care of the transport!

img_9390^^ Back to the car, completely unfazed. Like I said – a little city lady.

And that, my dear friends, was our fast and furious introduction of Lotte to the city we love so dearly. Of course there are 10,001 other things I want to do in the city with her, but I have no doubt we’ll be back plenty. In fact, we’re planning another potential trip in January with Chris’s parents while they’re in the states for Christmas, so I’ll start dreaming of that for now.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more of the rest of our trip. For now … bis bald, friends.

A First Plane Ride in the Books

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Well friends, someone had her first plane ride last Tuesday (and her second one back home to Denver yesterday), and I’m happy to report she did very well! It’s going to take me a couple days at least to go through all my photos of our trip, but for now I wanted to share this pic of Lotte looking out the window as we touched down back home in Denver yesterday. Whether you were old enough when you took your first flight to remember it or not, there’s just something so magical about it.

Bis bald, friends – I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Welcome to the Winter of 2016

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Well friends – winter has arrived in Colorado. And this winter is special, since it’s Lotte’s first one. Of course at the first sign of flakes yesterday I grabbed my camera and my child, shoved her in a snowsuit that is still way too big for her, and rushed outside to snap some shots.

This holiday season will be filled with mixed feelings for me – my first baby’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas … my first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my mom. How do you even deal with those conflicting things?

For now, I’ll deal by spending as much time in the winter wonderland with Lotte as I can. Next week we’re off to New York (baby’s first flight!) to spend Thanksgiving with the family, and then only a couple weeks after that Chris’s parents and sisters, as well as my sister, brother-in-law and stepdad, will be heading out way to spend Christmas with us. I’m looking forward to hosting our first holidays in our brand new house.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

1lottefirstsnow^^ Snowflakes in front of my face … love it!

2lottefirstsnow^^ Oh you know, just sittin’ on a bench in the snow. No big deal 😉

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8lottefirstsnow^^ I’m sorry Chris didn’t make it home from work before it got dark (at like 4:30 p.m., mind you!), because we couldn’t take pictures with him in them. Something tells me we’ll have plenty more opportunity, though!

About Last Night’s Election …

thumb__dsc6400_1024I woke up in a different America this morning than the one I went to sleep in last night.

A little before midnight Mountain Time on November 8th, I decided to go to bed after Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman told the eager (if somewhat deflated) crowd at the Javits Center in Manhattan that they should all go home, because there were still a handful of states left to be counted in the 2016 election for president, and many votes left to include.

This election, he said, wouldn’t be over until every last voice had been heard.

I went to sleep last night hopeful, and still very optimistic that the America I live in is not one that would elect a man like Donald Trump to the highest office of the land.

This morning, however, I woke up in one that did.

I won’t resort to name calling because, as the ever-so-eloquent Michelle Obama says, “when they go low, we go high.” Plus, there has been enough mudslinging over the past few months to last me a lifetime.

I did, however, feel the need to say something, somewhere, and since this is my blog, where I’m allowed my feelings and have been keeping track of my own adventures since 2008, I thought this was a good place. I didn’t take to Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram because, again, I’m not interested in the mudslinging.

Last night the media was talking about how it was possible that everyone — every. single. member. of. the.media. — could have so drastically missed the boat on what was happening. It’s a point well worth taking. “We’ve missed the groundswell of what’s going on in middle America,” one anchor said. “We sit here in our offices in big cities and conduct our polls with the people around us, and we’ve totally ignored what’s being said in rural America.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

Rural America, it seems, had a lot to say, and they made their point very clear at the polls last night. Trump supporting women (women!) who were interviewed said things like, “Who doesn’t like being groped!” and “I’ve heard women say far more worse things about men,” and “That was so long ago, why should it matter?”

To them, mostly, I am speechless. I understand there are people in this world who still believe all Mexican or Muslim people are evil. (I didn’t say I believed that, I said I understand these people exist.) I can understand (again, not agree with) how Donald Trump’s specific brand of hate breathes new fire into those beliefs.

I can understand there are men in this world who still look at women as objects — playthings with which they can do whatever they want. To me, though, the fact that there are women out there who potentially believe this as well … that’s a real tragedy.

I’m not here to say that this is the worst thing that has ever happened to Americans — I’m not that naive. No one died here, or was sent into battle. This is simply an embarrassment of monumental proportions, a blistering wake-up call about our calamitous divisions as a country, and one that we all, as a country, need to come to terms with. What I am going to say, though, is that Donald Trump is not now, nor will he ever be, my president. He does not represent my ideals or beliefs, and he in fact represents the complete opposite of what I believe America stands for.

For the record, I still love America. I love living here, and I love being American. I do believe that we can find our way back to the ideals that this country was originally founded on. After all, we’re all immigrants here. We’re all “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” … at least our ancestors were, and it’s in our blood.

So what am I going to do about an election with which I so deeply disagree with the results? I don’t know about tomorrow, or the day after or the day after that, but for today, what I’m going to do is hug my daughter a little tighter.

I’m going to repeat over and over to her that despite the fact that we unfortunately now live in a world that apparently rewards bigotry, racism and name-calling, she, however, will never embody those characteristics, and she, however, is just like everyone else in this country, and around the world. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly (at least at first).

And despite the fact that we unfortunately now live in a world that apparently rewards sexism, she will never put up with that type of behavior from any man. She is WORTH JUST AS MUCH AS ANY MAN, and she is special, and unique and smart. No man, despite what he might say about her, or women in general, in the future, can take those things away.

Today I will take a deep breath. I will realize that despite what happened in the early hours of this morning, the sun still came up, and Americans still enjoy oh-so-many more freedoms than do so many other people around the world (in fact, last night might just be a perfect example of that), and for that I am eternally grateful and humbled.

Today I will realize that while the feelings we’re all feeling are justified — whether that’s elation, complete confusion or downright depression — there is still a tomorrow.

And there is also another election in just four short years. Let’s make that one count.

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^^ Clearly we’ve still got a lot of work to do … let’s fix this, for our kids.

Scenic Sunday Drives in Golden

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Happy Monday, friends!

Upfront I want to say that this is not an advertisement for Subaru, although we did pick up our new Forester on Friday and take it for a drive around Golden on Sunday, and it was just a little bit of fabulousness!

We decided to take the wheels for an introductory spin up the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway and stop by Buffalo Bill’s Grave. We also hit up Golden City Brewery on the way back home. (I’ve blogged about these places, as well as a few other Golden hot spots, here, if you’re interested.) If you’re ever in the Denver/Golden area, I would highly recommend checking out these spots, even if only for the amazing views you’ll get …

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fullsizerender-100^^ I let the hubs do the heavy stroller lifting these days 😉

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fullsizerender8^^ That’s Denver there in the distance … oh hey, Denvy!

fullsizerender9^^ A pixelated up-close view!

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Is it just me, or does having a great Sunday make heading back to work on Monday just a little bit easier?

I hope you guys had a great weekend, too!

Bis bald!

Another Birthday Celebration in the Books, This Time in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

thumb__dsc5111_1024^^ Have you ever seen a happier dog? Can you blame him — look at that view!

Well my friends, we made it back from our first road trip with the Little, and we’re all in tact and, what’s more, we all had an amazing time. Chris’s birthday was this past Saturday, so we decided to check out a new place — Steamboat Springs. At only a little over three hours away, it was the perfect place to get our feet wet when it comes to traveling with a baby, and Lotte obliged us by being pretty much amazing the entire time.

What can I say — she has travel in her blood 😉

For starters, we stayed at Nordic Lodge which, while totally bare essentials when it comes to amenities, was the perfect location, especially when you have a baby who needs feeding  and/or a good nap every couple hours and you prefer to do that at a home base. They had a Pack ‘n Play that we were able to use for our trip, which meant we could skip taking up room in the car with ours, and they were willing to upgrade us for free to a larger room to accommodate the Pack ‘n Play, although we opted to pay an extra $50 for the weekend and actually upgrade to a suite with a separate bedroom, that way Lotte could nap in peace and we didn’t have to tiptoe around her and whisper the whole time.

I gotta say — for newbies, I think we did well!

Here’s what we three got up to …

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^^ You know my child would have a onesie specifically dedicated to traveling, although I can’t take credit for buying this — it was all my sister!

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^^ Our first night in town we walked to Mahogany Ridge Brewery for dinner which, while a brewery, was in my opinion probably a little bit fancier than you should bring a baby (and a huge stroller!) to. So we really have to give props to Lotte for sleeping through our entire meal! Great job, kid! That certainly made us feel more comfortable taking you out for more restaurant visits throughout the weekend.

03fullsizerender^^ Chris’s traditional birthday steak dinner … just one night early 😉

04fullsizerender_1^^ What you see here are parents who are ecstatic that their child slept through their meal!

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^^ The cute little town, all lit up at night.

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^^ Saturday started out with this adorable face … and some birthday present opening 😉

02_dsc5002^^ After presents we made our way to Fish Creek Falls, a pretty little hike that was short enough to do with our 3-month-old strapped to Chris’s chest and long enough to make us feel like we actually did something — plus it was so pretty! (Bring $5 for parking! I had read that this place gets really packed, but during the off-peak season at like 7:30 in the morning, it was pretty much us alone on the trails — we only ran into two other (very small) groups of people the whole time.)

03thumb__dsc5066_102404thumb__dsc5060_102405thumb__dsc5033_1024^^ The falls!

06thumb__dsc5064_102407thumb__dsc5082_1024^^ The rising sun was not my photography friend on this hike, but the falls are there, if you look hard enough!

08fullsizerender_7^^ Again, slept like a champ throughout the whole thing! We made sure to rug her up so she was nice and warm, all cozy-like against dad’s chest for the hike.

09fullsizerender_10^^ After the hike we had a seriously delicious breakfast at Creekside Cafe & Grill, which just happens to literally be almost in the parking lot of the hotel where we stayed. Score! The back porch was closed for the season, but it was such a glorious day we could easily have eaten outside and been happy. Oh well — next time! 

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11fullsizerender_12^^ Bloody Mary’s all around!

12fullsizerender_13^^ Under the table and dreaming 😉

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15fullsizerender_16^^ See? How cute is this back patio?!

16fullsizerender_8^^ After breakfast we went for a little walk in town to do some shopping and check out the fall colors. Although some things were unfortunately closed for the season (like back patios, for example, and the gondola), I would highly recommend traveling during this time. It was really quiet, which was nice, and the views were spectacular.

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^^ If you’re looking for a quintessential Western shop with cowboy boots, hats and the like, check out F.M. Light & Sons. It’s sort of an institution in town.

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21fullsizerender_20^^ Cowboy boots for days!

22fullsizerender_21^^ They had ’em for kids, too!

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24fullsizerender_23^^ See what I mean about the fall colors? Glorious!

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28fullsizerender_27^^ Elevated Oil is a fun place to check out if you’re an olive oil connoisseur. You can even taste test the oils, which I thought would be totally gross but actually turned out to be delicious! 

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30fullsizerender_29^^ After shopping we hopped in the car for a (super) short ride to Storm Peak brewery, which was a really fun little brewery with tons of delicious beers on tap. Plus the weather was so nice they opened the garage doors, making it even more fun to hang.

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32fullsizerender_31^^ Again, ecstatic parents that their child is cooperating …

33fullsizerender_32^^ Lotte did wake up from a short nap here, which allowed us to take some silly pictures. Always a plus in my book.

34img_7208^^ Silly pic No. 1 …

35fullsizerender_34^^ And 2 …

36img_7202^^ And 3 …

37img_7207^^ And 4 … and trust me, there were many more, but I’ll spare you. You get the picture.

38img_7116^^ We tried to hang at Butcherknife Brewing after Storm Peak, but Lotte had had enough, which was fair enough — you did well little one! So we headed back to the hotel so she could nap properly, and Chris and I ordered take-out from Rex’s American Grill & Bar. In all honesty, we only ordered from this place because I thought it delivered (it does not, I had to go pick our food up), but it turned out to be delicious, so it was a win!

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02img_7254^^ On Sunday morning we had to get rugged up again (which someone was not happy about at first), because we took a walk down by the Yampa River.

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07thumb__dsc5106_1024^^ On the way back to the lodge to grab the car we stopped in Off the Beaten Path, an amazing local bookstore that I highly recommend, if you’re into that kind of thing 😉

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09thumb__dsc5120_1024^^ We definitely wanted to check out the area near the mountain while we were there as well. It’s really cute with lots of little shops and restaurants, and while you can tell it would probably be crazy packed in winter, again, at this perfect time of year, it was pretty empty, which is always amazing for a ski town.

10thumb__dsc5109_1024^^ Improvising when no ramp is available.

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14thumb__dsc5128_1024^^ We grabbed lunch at Slopeside Grill before heading out and ate on their deck. Chris was a bit upset they didn’t have more local beers on tap, but their veggie burger was pretty awesome (although Mahogany’s was better, if you’re keeping score) and the views were unparalleled. 

15img_7264^^ Multitasking at its best.

16img_7267^^ Views on the drive home.

And that was it, my friends — our first road trip with Lotte is officially in the books, and it was a great one. Her next big trip will be in November when we head back east for Thanksgiving, and that one involves a plane. Yikes. Wish us luck!

Bis bald, friends!

Life Recently: The Early Fall 2016 Edition

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Fall has been fast and furious for us so far, with lots of fun trips, a visit from Aussie Nan and Poppa and our first pumpkin carving experience with Lotte.

Here’s a look at some of what’s been going on … prepare for picture overload!

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^^ Someone was unimpressed with how rugged up her parents made her get for her first official fall walk.

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^^ So incredibly grateful to live a stones throw from this gorgeous view.

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^^ Yay! Aussie Nan and Poppa were here!

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^^ What’s not to smile about when you’re this fawned over 😉

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^^ This face … and the Nan and Poppa who love her.

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^^ Outtakes from a family photo shoot on our front porch.

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^^ Someone remained unimpressed pretty much the entire time. Oh well, what can ya do?!

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^^ This photo with Penny creeping in the background … I just can’t.

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^^ Date night made possible by Nan and Poppa … thank you!

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^^ An up-close look at how awkward our baby handoffs still are. This parenting thing … what can I say? It’s a work in progress 😉

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^^ We got all dolled up for a Facetime date with American Papa for his 60th birthday. Of course we didn’t look this angelic the whole time. Most of the time, we looked like this …

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^^ Yeahhhhh. This is definitely more accurate.

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^^ Also, when your child falls asleep on you after a screaming fit, it’s best to let her lie … wherever that may be.

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^^ Monkeying around at the Carousel of Happiness — get it 😉

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^^ Chris’s parents were generous enough to get us a fire pit for our backyard as our housewarming gift. Delicious smores under the fall night sky, here we come!

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^^ I’ve started a tradition of grabbing a coffee and driving around town with Lotte for a bit in the afternoons. It’s pretty amazing some of the views you can catch around here …

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^^ Facetiming with family. It’s the only cure for this ‘living far away’ thing.

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^^ I may have overdone it with the cover-up job for this particular walk.

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^^ Snow on the mountains … welcome to October!

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^^ We took a long walk with Lotte to the local coffee shop this weekend, and she was great! She only screamed for about the last five minutes of it, which I’ll count as a win.

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^^ Carving pumpkins with our little pumpkin. (We simply couldn’t resist this photo opportunity!)

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Happy fall, friends! Hope yours is off to a roaring start, as well!

Finding Our Inner Child at the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland

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This past Monday we packed up our Matrix and drove about 45 minutes to Nederland, Colorado, to ride the Carousel of Happiness.

What’s so special about a carousel, and why would anyone drive 45 minutes to ride one? (Besides the fact that we are so obviously insane?) This carousel happens to be extra special, as it’s made up of 61 hand-carved animals (including 36 animals to ride and 25 smaller ones to keep those company, all of which were hand-carved by the same person!), which turns to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ.

The ride seriously does transport you to another time and place. You can read more about its origination, and what makes it so special, here. I have to say, for Lotte’s first-ever carousel ride, this wasn’t a bad one to visit.

_dsc4853_dsc4856_dsc4860_dsc4867_dsc4876^^ Look at these awesomely accommodating grandparents! Honestly, though, they loved the ride, so that was a good thing!

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^^ I love this photo — look at that little face, just taking in the world around her …

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^^ You can go upstairs from the gift shop and check out the carousel from the top, which I highly recommend doing. There are actually some cute little animals hidden on top of the carousel, as well.

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^^ This little kid’s face says it all, does it not?!

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^^ Mr. Fox keeps watch on the carousel animals from above.

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After our ride (which costs $1, by the way!), we wandered across the street to grab some coffee. We would have stayed and explored the cute town a bit longer, but a fire had started in the campgrounds near the town and we were worried the road home might get blocked off. Something tells me we’ll be back, though.

fullsizerender-90fullsizerender-91fullsizerender-92fullsizerender-93img_5804^^ Tuckered our from her full day of carousel fun!

Bis bald, friends!

Making Memories at Rock Creek Farm

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Fall has always been my favorite season, and now that I have a little one to share it with, it’s even more fun to really take advantage of everything the insanely wonderful weather has to offer. Along with long walks and fall decorations, one other thing I couldn’t wait to do with Lotte was to go pumpkin picking. So, at the ripe ole’ age of 10 weeks, we took Lotte on her first pumpkin picking (and corn maze wandering!) adventure at Rock Creek Farm outside of Boulder.

The experience did not disappoint, although I highly doubt Lotte will actually remember it 😉 Still, I do believe a tradition has been formed …

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chris_jump^^ Going anywhere with a child these days requires lots and lots of mechanisms to keep said child happy, like jumping up and down in a pumpkin field. (P.S. Note the face … still not happy!)

4_family_selfie^^ Our family selfie game could use some work …

5_familyselfie2^^ Hmmm … better?? Lotte seems to think not.

6-fieldfamily^^ Much better when someone else takes the photo — thanks MIL!

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cornmaze^^ While the rest of the group may have been happy to take on one of the longer corn maze options, I, however, refused to. So it was the short loop for us, friends, and that was just fine by me!

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^^ The kids’ play section sure seems like something Lotte will love in the future!