summer in denver :: highlights

The weather recently has still been too hot for my liking, but there are sure signs of fall all around. Leaves are changing, and the mornings are full of crisp air.

I did a terrible job blogging about our summer adventures…I probably have one more post to do about our trip to Vermont, but until I can get around to doing that, I wanted to post some miscellaneous pictures from the summer months.

img_3586^^homemade ice cream; delicious.^^

img_3610^^many of our summer days looked like this.^^

img_3472^^bocce and pizza in the park!^^

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img_3686^^summer haircut + pizza afterwards.^^

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img_3728^^denver chalk art festival.^^

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img_3726^^few things are more fun than the fountains at union station.^^

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dsc01515^^willa’s 4th birthday!^^

img_3785^^bbqs at my sister’s house are always fun + yay for a rare family photo!^^

img_3814^^willa asked for a kite for her birthday. windy days aren’t frequent, but we’ve gotten it up in the air a few times!^^

dsc01434^^fun with nana!^^

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img_4398^^we hit the pools pretty hard this summer.^^

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img_4480^^summer nights.^^

img_4292^^friends. thank goodness for friends. and park picnic playdates.^^

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img_4549^^the color run. super fun.^^

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img_4782^^the day we biked to cherry creek to buy a deep fryer.^^

img_4783^^the donuts we made with the fryer.^^

dsc01940^^and just like that, summer was over. back to school!^^

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while i was snapping…

I’ve been given a hard time lately for a dearth of Instagram photos. I used to post at least once a day, but in recent months I’ve waned. Mostly, my aging phone has been to blame. Every picture I took was blurry and not Instagram-able. But, also, I must admit, Snapchat has been dominating my social media time. I really like Snapchat. It’s fun. And quick.

However, Snaps do indeed disappear unless manually saved, so I best post some pictures on this here blog lest we forget everything we’ve been up to lately. Here’s a roundup of pictures from the past month or so!

IMG_3352^^spring has been coming and going, but i think the nice weather is finally here to stay!^^

IMG_2775^^biker cam! we’ve been biking a lot more, but the two kids are pretty heavy in the trailer, so when the whole family bikes, we put one of them on the back of dan’s bike.^^

IMG_3405^^one of those bad shots i referenced from a roller-skating birthday party!^^

IMG_2825^^flowers on our cherry tree!^^

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IMG_3439^^that montage is called: “eating out with kids is fun…”^^

DSC01173^^so much magna tile fun with grandpa!^^

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IMG_2848^^yay for backyard time!^^IMG_2891^^celebrating A&J’s birthday!^^

DSC01238-001^^girls’ spa day in boulder for our dear friend sara’s baby sprinkle!^^

IMG_2896^^mother’s day lunch at taste of thailand. SOOOOO GOOD!^^

IMG_2899^^her “celebration of learning” at school. she was so excited to show us what they’d been working on but mostly she was thrilled to “be in charge” all night. ;)^^

IMG_3520^^pizza delivery race at her school’s field day!^^

january highlights

So far, 2016 has been go go go. Great great great. That’s cheesy way to summarize, but it’s totally accurate. We’ve had a lot going on so far this year, but it’s been all good things. No better way to summarize than in pictures:

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DSC00370^^fancy clothes + family pizza night to ring in 2016.^^

IMG_2491^^new year’s day walk around sloan’s lake. it was COLD. cam had a busted lip from falling on our shoe bin.^^

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DSC00409^^my parents came to visit mid-month. we went to the western stock show. willa had new boots from texas thanks to her aunt and uncle. she got a light-up hat courtesy of her grandparents. she was thrilled about all of the above.^^

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IMG_2558^^lunch at osaka ramen. i was sick and probably shouldn’t have even been there, but willa was full of energy!^^

IMG_2569^^i’m not sure i’ve expressed my love for it on here yet, but the chariot is an absolutely fantastic piece of baby/life equipment. we bought it previously-loved from another family and even though it was far from retail price, it was still an investment. but it’s been worth every penny. i like to fully maximize it’s capacity on the regular. on this day, after a trip to the grocery with my parents, cameron had to ride home in the ergo on my back.^^

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IMG_2417^^lunch with my mom at sushi rama. conveyer belt sushi is always fun. not the best sushi ever, but the speed, options, and portion size make it worth the visit. they did, notably, NOT have highchairs, which to me makes a certain statement. however, willa didn’t notice the vibe and happily selected a few choice sushi plates off the belt.^^

IMG_2427^^our family needs, conservatively, 5 slices of pizza for dinner. the price of a whole pizza at atomic cowboy is roughly the same as 5 slices. so you’re basically getting 8 for the price of 5. plus the staring eyes of everyone sitting around you. what can i say, we like pizza?^^

Happy February, folks! I have more January pictures to come though…always a bit behind these days.

how to see santa at union station

The most anticipated event of our advent activities last month was to take the train to Union Station to see Santa. Willa had been asking to take the light rail for a long time, and while driving to a station outside the city to ride downtown didn’t make tons of logistical sense, it still sounded like a fun family adventure. So. That’s what we did. Only, it wasn’t that simple. Here’s how it went down:

IMG_2234^^step 1: buy tickets.^^

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DSC00126^^step 2: ride the train. arrive downtown.^^

IMG_2242^^step 3: realize the “real” santa isn’t there on the sunday before christmas. WHAT!?^^

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IMG_2239^^step 4: have lunch while you try to regroup. mercantile dining & provision.^^ 

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DSC00149^^step 5: try to make up for your parenting fail by buying your children sugary treats. throw in some adult holiday drinks as well. wreak havoc in the middle of union station when hot cocoa is spilled (why is the “kid’s size” so damn big!?).^^

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DSC00207^^step 6: check the santa’s schedule online, and then go to union station again. this time, by car. observe santa and families in action for several minutes. try not to feel too weird that you’re just watching.^^

DSC00226^^step 7: go eat lunch at zoe mama. because, the best. and what else would you want to eat on christmas eve?^^

DSC00241 ^^step 8: ice cream. because the line for that is much shorter than the line to see santa.^^

DSC00232Hurray! That’s our story! Live and learn, friends.

wish list + wise purchases

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

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(Actually that was in October when we had friends visiting and went hiking above the snow line. But still. It’s currently snowy in Denver. Promise.)

Christmas is about so many things: Making memories with my family. Remembering memories of past holidays. Hugging. Eating. Eggnog. Spinach Balls. Joy. Surprise. LOVE.

But it’s a little bit about gifts too. Try as I might (and honestly I’m not able to try that hard) you can’t completely eliminate materialism from Christmas. And I’m not sure we should. Exchanging gifts is part of the spirit of Christmas. Reciprocity is an important part of our culture. And desire is human nature, no?

That said, here’s my Christmas list. Things I’ve been lusting over. And after my desires, I’m listing some of my favorite products. Things I’ve been given or bought in the past couple years that have literally changed my life. If you need gift ideas, they’d make someone very happy. Promise.

DESIRES //

A new Patagonia fleece. I had this one in brown for a few years, but I made a mistake and got the wrong size. So I never really enjoyed wearing it. It was always too small. I finally accepted the reality, and passed it along to a friend, but I’ve been missing it. It’s so warm and perfect for those not-super-cold winter days that Denver has a lot of. I’m not loving the options Patagonia has on their site right now, but perhaps REI or another retailer has some other options. Also, investing in a brand like Patagonia that prioritizes repairing products (that are already made to last in the first place) instead of buying new ones, has my vote. Great company that truly values sustainability.

Slip-on sorta-winter boots. Not very specific, I know, but I’m not sure exactly what I want. Maybe someone can suggest some for me? I have a pair of Sorels that I love for real snow boots, but I need want some that I can slip on when it’s just a little bit snowy or slippery. I suppose my Uggs from 2002 fit this purpose…but they’re Uggs. So 2002.

“Get to Work Book” planner. Here’s a very specific one. I want this exact planner to get my life in order in 2016. I’ve thought a lot about my goals, big and small, and researched books. This one is what I want. If you don’t buy it for me, I’m buying it for myself. You might want to buy it for yourself too?

My Mom’s gold star necklace. My mom has a beautiful star necklace. It looks a lot like this one. Ever since the first time I trolled through her jewelry box, I’ve wanted it. Now I’m making it public. Mom, fork over your necklace! Kidding. But think about it? I love you!

Frame Jeans – Flares. Flared jeans are finally back in style. Hallelujah! I like these. Now I just also need sewing lessons so I can hem them myself. Therein lies the problem with non-skinny jeans…

Something from Kit + Ace. Technical cashmere seems like something I should probably have in my life.

LOVES //

Minnetonka Fringe Boots. I got these in black a year or two ago, and there are not words to express how much I love them. They are so comfortable. It’s basically like wearing slippers. They also have the effect of making me feel like a youthful teenager and a hip thirtysomething simultaneously. That shouldn’t even be possible, but it is and it’s a good feeling. Get them.

Casio Watch. This is the ultimate parenting watch. The top right button sets an alarm for 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 minutes (one press is 1 minute, press twice for 3 minutes, etc.). I use it about 75 times per day. “Willa, we’re leaving in 3 minutes.” Or, I set it for myself: “When the alarm goes off I better be putting on my shoes or we’re f-ed.” It’s good for cooking too. It has a stopwatch and alarm function too. It does not, however, have Indiglo, so it’s not so good for night wakings with babes. Thankfully, that is very recently no longer an issue for me.

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine. We saved and saved for this and finally splurged right before my birthday last year. That was also right after Cameron was born. It perhaps sounds ridiculous, but this machine has seriously improved the quality of my life. It’s easier to wake up in the morning knowing I have a coffee shop quality latte in my near future. The built-in grinder feature is key.

Cuppow drinking lids. Make any Mason jar a travel cup. Ditch plastic and single-use cups.

Car phone mount. I’m all kinds of against using your phone while driving. But let’s face it, no one’s buying a new Garmin when their iPhone has the capability of providing directions. This mount makes your phone easy to view while driving and it’s nice and small for travel too. Just set up an app to block messages, and you’re good to go!

Alex and Ani earrings. I wear these almost every day. Love their bangles too!

a skunky halloween

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Halloween is old news, so I’m not going to bore anyone with a long synopsis of events, but here’s the bullet point version!

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  • I made Willa’s skunk costume with a borrowed glue gun and the creative advice of a good friend. Overall it turned out well. (There was a small hiccup when Willa realized skunks are indeed black and not pink, but she overcame that relatively quickly.)
  • We first hit up the neighborhood’s trick or treet street, and then later regained our focus for a few block of after-dark trick-or-treating. Willa was all about it this year, even venturing up to a few doors all by herself.
  • Cam was a lion. He wasn’t that into keep his mane on, but he was cute nonetheless.
  • Bryna was a “dog-tor.” Credit to a child on the street who named her that.
  • I did not dress up. Some year I’ll feel inspired?
  • We played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity after the trick-or-treaters went to bed. We should consider making that a tradition.
  • There was some unfortunate illness in the aftermath of Halloween. It was more than just too much candy and whiskey. The count of GI bugs since having kids is absurd.
  • Willa wants to be a skunk again next year. That sentiment probably won’t last, but I take it as a sign that Halloween was a success!

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more donut complaining

We are leaving in the morning to fly east. My sister is getting MARRIED! And we’re making a vacation of it; spending time in Boston before heading out Cape Cod for the festivities. But to distract myself from our inability to pack light (that’ll be another post), I’m going to write about donuts. And how Denver is still failing on that front.

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Ok. Failing is a blatant overstatement. The multiple donut establishments in the area are providing totally servicable donuts. But no one is hitting it out of the ballpark. New places keep opening but they are not satisfying my intense need for a donut exactly like one from Seattle’s Mighty-O (Side note: It expanded recently! In Ballard now! And Capitol Hill!).

We recently biked down to Lohi on a Saturday morning to check out Habit Doughnut Dispensary. I had high hopes. Probably much too high. Definitely much too high. But Lohi! Old brick building! Donuts! Donuts.

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Let’s be positive. Here’s what they had going for themselves:

  • Solid yeasted donuts. The dough was the right amount of puffy and held its shape when you took a bite. And it wasn’t too sweet.
  • Decent varieties. I’m a bit of a purist. I don’t want fruit loops on my donut. Don’t you dare give me an artificial flavor. I just want some thoughtful flavors with an appropriate amount of sugar. Habit was okay in this regard. They delivered on some, but others were a bit over the top.
  • Good hours. A donut place has to be open early. Period. End of sentence.
  • Friendly staff. Welcoming, knowledgable, efficient.

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Positives are boring. I like to complain. Here are my gripes:

  • No cake donuts. Wtf? Is it an altitude thing?
  • Whiskey? Huh? They advertise alcohol to go with the donuts. I’m pretty sure that’s a silly idea, but even if I were to go with it, I’d expect some high-quality bourbon. But no. They have little plastic shots by the cash register. Not enticing.
  • Free coffee. Habit is right next door to Carbon and both businesses are under the same owner. But they’re not really connected. Two different outside doors. Habit offers free drip coffee when you buy donuts. I’ve never been to business school, but that seems like a terrible idea. If you weren’t giving me free coffee, I’d go buy a $4 latte next door. I would have enjoyed the latte more than the drip coffee too, but I’m a sucker for free things. But now all I remember is bad coffee.
  • Candy store? The also sell other “necessities” like candy and laundry detergent. An interesting concept, but it’s not so much corner store-y as it is gimmicky. I just don’t imagine they’ll sell much of that stuff. But again, I am no business expert so maybe it’s me who’s missing something.
  • Atmosphere. The space Habit occupies is primo. But they obviously weren’t aiming to make it a comfortable café. Most of the space is devoted to baking (I assume?) with just a small counter and limited indoor seating. Even though the donuts were good, it didn’t feel like a place I’d want to linger.

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Can’t wait to go donut hunting in Boston! And no, I will not be eating any Dunkin’. I’m surprised you’d even ask.