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.

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.

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!

A Date Night in Olde Town Arvada

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While my in-laws were in town Chris and I had a chance to have a date night out in Olde Town Arvada, which I’ve been meaning to get to since we moved here in May.

We’ve been busy, to say the least.

Anyway, I did a little research and found Arvada Tavern, which, according to TripAdvisor, is the second best place in Arvada to eat. After checking it out for ourselves I have to say I was really impressed. The cocktails were spectacular — especially the seasonal pumpkin flavored one I tried — and the food was even better. Check it out when you’re in town.

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And of course after dinner we had to stop off at Scrumptious for some ice cream dessert. The best part about date night these days, though, is coming home to this …

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^^ I mean …

We actually got to do quite a bit while the in-laws were here. Lotte went to Boulder again, we got to visit a pumpkin patch and we even took the little one on her first carousel ride. I’ll have more on all that later, for now — bis bald, friends!