Yesterday, we were told officially to stay home. I forget how long we need to do this, or how long we’re been doing this. Or where exactly we’re still allowed to go and do, but basically it’s not much.
We’ve been staying home for the last few weeks. I leave occasionally to get groceries, but Target isn’t even fun anymore. Shopping is stressful, the shelves are bare and you’re looking at everyone suspiciously wondering if they’re the ones who will get you sick. I wear gloves now. Bring my own wipes, carry hand sanitizer, and keep track of what I touch. I miss the days of strolling the aisles, sipping my Starbucks. I miss browsing.
Now that we’re officially required to stay home, we can’t play in the sandbox we found a week ago. We can still go for walks, but intentionally. We shouldn’t do extra shopping or frivolous stops. We need to not play with our friends (who we haven’t see in weeks).
We’ve been told to stay home. To leave only when needed. To exercise outside, but not play. Walk but not too close. To avoid people and crowds and don’t touch anything and please for the love of god not your face. We were asked, and now we’re told, to distance, together.
It’s an odd one, this pandemic. We’re all in this together, but we’re all so very alone.
I’ve painted my way through the hard seasons for years. The instant gratification and the quick fresh start calms my nerves. Something tangible to focus on. Something entirely in my control.
When things started to go downhill with this COVID thing, I joked with Ryan that we’d need to do a Home Depot run for some quarantine supplies. And before we started socially distancing, I swung by Sherwin Williams for a few gallons of paint.
I don’t love change. I really dislike it. But this change, this small and unimportant change. This I have control over, this is my choice. This I can change over and over and over again.
Paint a room. See progress and change, big change, quickly. Have a fresh start. Try something new. Let me know how it goes.
I wonder what my kids will remember from this season. This season of distancing and isolation. The spring break we stayed home. We saw no one. We only went outside to walk and bike and hike, but didn’t stop at any of the playgrounds. I wonder what they’ll remember of this season of us all being at home. Of weeks of Saturday’s.
I hope they remember the games and the movie nights and the little things that I planned to make this tricky time easier. I hope they remember the day I busted out the extra playdoh or dug out a hidden art project.
I hope they remember our talks about going without to keep others healthy. I hope that this passes quickly, and relatively easily. That if we get it, we stay in bed and watch movies and drink Gatorade and recover without hiccups.
I hope that this season is as peaceful as it can be. That planning helped, that we’re prepared.
I hope they look back on this season as one that changed them, but didn’t wear them out. Inspired them to think differently about what’s important and who’s important and inspires creativity and selflessness.
I hope that this season lasts longer than we want, for the sake of many, giving everyone the time to catch up that they desperately need. I hope we have the patience to keep it up, even when we’re tired.
I don’t know what this spring will look like, but I’m hopeful. That we’ll all come together, while we’re so far apart, for the greater good of many.
One day, this will be over. This lock down, the fear, the shortages. One day, we’ll be on the other side. We’ll have come through, stronger, but weary. One day, my kids will tell their kids about that time the world shut down because of a virus. One day, they’ll want to know more about what happened this spring. They’ll have questions.
I remember in February, before I flew to Disney with NoCo Moms Blog, discussing the Coronavirus with a friend and her coworker at the gym. Her coworker’s family lived just south of Wuhan and there was this wild virus going around. Things were getting locked down, it was wild. But we were safe. They were safe. They weren’t horribly worried.
On my flight, I briefly thought about bring hand sanitizer. I wasn’t worried. It wasn’t here. I was safe, we were safe. Our flight was full – there was a cheerleading competition at Disney that weekend. A few girls wore masks and we joked that maybe they had it. We weren’t concerned.
I came home. It was fine, no one was worried. China was locked down. It was fine.
Mid-February, I was worried. But felt crazy. So I didn’t say anything. I texted a friend, we bought toilet paper. We read reddit. I felt crazy, so I didn’t say anything.
And then at the end of February, shit got realer. Seattle got hit. And we were texting back and forth, and it was too big to deal. Too big to really think about. It was wild and unbelievable and couldn’t possibly happen to us. But we went out and bought toilet paper.
Here we are, three weeks later. The country is out of toilet paper. Finding milk AND eggs AND meat at the grocery store is a reason to celebrate. And we’re discussing locking the whole country down.
Jump, jump. You’ll have that tune stuck in your head for the rest of the blog post and you’re welcome.
Have you been to an Urban Air? Because they’re great. I mean, they’re loud and chaotic and a little crazy, but they’re really great. Matilda wanted to go to a trampoline park on a cold Saturday, and Groupon to the rescue! Buy a pass for each of your kids, pick up a parent pass when you get there, and get ready to jump your little heart out.
We hit up the one in Westminster, but looking at the Stapleton one, I think that’s where we’ll go next. You’ll need fancy socks, and you’ll want to bring some water.
My kids loved all of the different areas to play in. We could jump on the variety of trampolines, take a break to do an obstacle course, go climb some buildings, do a zip-line.
We went on a Saturday afternoon, expecting it to be pretty darn busy. It was. It was loud and crazy, with kids running everywhere. But it was fine. The kids still had a blast, waiting in lines for some things gave them a little bit of time and space to take a break.
My kids (5 and 8) were old enough to do almost everything. Wilson couldn’t do the zip line, but he didn’t seem to mind. He didn’t try to do the climbing walls. If your kids are under 48″ tall, I’d double check requirements for all of the activities.
I’m looking forward to buying another Groupon for this place. It was a great way to spend a weekend. I do wish they were open on our free Mondays so we could go when everyone else is at school. I’m looking forward to extended summer hours, when it might not be as busy to go.
Finding fun things to do indoors in Denver with kids isn’t always easy. But this is definitely on the rainy day to-do list.
If you haven’t snow tubed or ice skated or bumper car’ed in 60 degrees, I highly recommend it. The Gaylord Rockies had a wonderful holiday fun package, and I’m already looking forward to booking it next year.
When we went back for the day to the Gaylord, the hotel was much less busy, and all of the fun things outside were totally manageable. Lines were short, and the staff made sure everyone moved through and did what they were supposed to do. While I’m bummed our Christmas stay was such a bust, we definitely wouldn’t have had as much fun doing all these outside things in the brisk 30’s.
We kept swapping between bumper cars and snow tubing, depending on which line was longer. Matilda and I took a break from the boys and did some ice skating. We heading inside for snacks and hit the pool side restaurant for the chicken nuggets I know my kids will eat.
We took a break for the Cirque show. It was incredible! But we learned that seat choices definitely matter. The seats were all on the same level, so the kids struggled to see over some heads. Next year, I’ll definitely spend more money for better seats.
We hit the s’more station at 3pm even though we weren’t staying at the hotel. Wilson tried his first s’more! And, believe it or not, he liked it. It got two sticky thumbs up.
After s’mores, we did one more round of everything awesome. We stayed until bedtime, soaking in the beautiful day and the unlimited passes of the tubing, bumper cars, and skating.
It was a wonderful day of family fun. I’m excited for a warm winter day next year to do the same.
This year we had no Christmas plans. We knew we didn’t want to travel. I am a terrible cook. Our friends were busy. And then I found a screaming good deal at the Gaylord Rockies. I was pumped.
I planned this elaborate gift baskets that I’d set up in the room before the kids arrived. I bought snacks. I remembered swim suits and goggles and snow gear, to take advantage of the ticketed outdoor events that were going on. I was ready.
And then Matilda got the flu. Not the stomach flu, which everyone assumes you have. The legit Influenza B flu. Girl was down for the count. She missed a whole week of school, her Christmas concert, her holiday parties, her friend’s Nutcracker ballet. It was intense. But she got over it. She had 2 days to sleep and recover, everyone else was healthy. We were in the clear.
We check in. Wilson sneezes. I repress all memories of the last week and convince myself that we’re fine. It’s fine. He’s fine. We go to see ICE! It’s so fricken crowded I can’t even see the sculptures. Apparently all of Denver decided that December 23rd was the best day to stay at the Gaylord with us. Cool. (I mean, it’s like 9 degrees in there, so it was literally cool.)
We leave ICE! and Wilson is just done. Poor kid spikes a fever and just wants to go back to the hotel room. LUCKILY I had awesome swag bags waiting and a room full of snacks. SADLY I had just spent a bunch of money on this weekend and didn’t want to spend it inside our un-upgraded non-suite hotel room.
With Wilson down with what I assume was a very contagious Influenza B and us being at the hotel on what I assume is the busiest day of their year because it was packed, Matilda and I ventured down to the front desk to beg them to adjust our reservation. The only thing worse than being in a beautiful and fun hotel with a sick kid for one night was being there for 2. The staff at the hotel was amazing, she quickly adjusted our stay and offered any flu supplies we needed. We did what any other mother-daughter duo would do at a hotel with an expensive spa: we hit the pool.
The pool is what I’m most looking forward to enjoying when we head back this summer! They have an outdoor pool with a lazy river, a huge indoor pool with a slide. It was pretty nuts for the holiday weekend, and a little chilly with the giant garage doors open, but it was fun while it lasted. I’m looking forward to the lazy river this summer, and the pool-side restaurant with chicken nuggets my kids both approve of, a small miracle in and of itself.
After the pool, we picked up the boys for free 3-5pm s’mores outside. Matilda had fun. Wilson ran around (the ibuprofen had kicked in by this point). It was crazy crowded, which I don’t think is the norm, but the staff was wonderful.
We had purchased tickets to snow tubing and bumper cars, but they let us reschedule them for the following week, when we were heading back for the Cirque show. Matilda and I sent the boys back to the room while we went ice skating.
Once everyone woke up, we at goldfish and animal crackers in bed until Build a Bear opened. We headed down to Mistletoe Village, made our bears, and then headed home for a lazy and quarantined Christmas Eve at home.
While we didn’t get to stay overnight, our second attempt at the holiday fun at the Gaylord, was much more successful.
Overall, I’m hoping that one day we’ll be able to go back without sick kids. Fingers crossed that the stars and room rates align for a summer stay. It’s a wonderful staycation, close to home with lots to do and a welcoming and accommodating staff to help with anything and everything you need.
In August, I went on The Best Fucking Photo Retreat ever with Kirsten Lewis and 23 of my now favorite people. I had so much fun exploring Copper Mountain Resort with my friends that I needed to bring my family back.
The weather was perfect. If we’d planned it a little further out, we totally would have spent the whole weekend. I tried to convince myself to stay the night, but the cleaning and service fees are always a little nuts on condos for just one night.
We left bright and early on Saturday morning, stopped for coffees and bathroom breaks, and rolled in to town just as their rides opened. They were running a BOGO on their day activity passes and it was definitely worth it.
The Wreck Tangle course was a blast. I did it with my girlfriend a few days ago and it was tough. Matilda rocked it. Wilson totally cried at the end when he had to jump off the zip line, but the oh so patient employees cheerleader him and encouraged him and he eventually dropped.
I watched my kids grow up right in front of my eyes. They started jumping hesitantly. Small bounces. Soon they were doing flip after flip after flip. Being super bounced by the amazing staff. Working on ninja skills.
They loved every second of the trampoline jumps.
As part of the BOGO pass, we got to do unlimited ski lift rides, unlimited bumper boats, and a round of go karts. I am definitely not a skilled go kart driver. We may have gotten lapped a few times. But Matilda and I had a blast pretending we were in first place.
The best part of the trip was the Coaster. I don’t even LIKE rollercoasters and this was wonderful. You can control how fast or slow you go, as long as you remember which way is the brakes, which I kept confusing. Somewhere we have a 7 minute video of our whole ride, and I definitely yelled “Don’t pee your paaaaaants!” sometime around minute 6.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly mountain adventure that isn’t too far from the city, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. We’ll be back next August when everyone’s back in school and the temperatures are dreamy. Next time, though, I’m hoping to stay the weekend and spend some time in Frisco on the lake.
Wilson celebrated his 5th birthday in May. He’s five, completely eligible for kindergarten. He might even be ready, he definitely could be ready, if we pushed him. But it doesn’t matter, because he’s not going.
We’re waiting. Redshirting? Is that a thing if your kids don’t sport? If you just want to hold them back for a long list of emotional and life reasons? I’d say that it was a hard decision with a lot of thought and care, but it wasn’t. It was a really easy one.
He wasn’t ready. We weren’t ready. I wanted to give him the gift of time. Time to be a kid. To be silly. To write his name in Robot. To play and relax and spend his afternoons playing with trucks instead of learning letters. To have one more year of freedom.
Matilda was a young five when she started kindergarten. She was petite and so young, but all of her friends who were five were going. So we sent her, without hesitation. Until we realized that we just weren’t ready.
We moved a month into 2nd grade across the country. This was the perfect opportunity for us to take a step back. To catch up. To breathe deep and gain some confidence. We enrolled Matilda in the first grade. And we never looked back. It’s been so much of the best decision we could have made.
Wilson will be a full year older than most of his classmates next year. We’re spending all sorts of money on preschool this year, instead of free all day kindergarten. But we’re getting time. We’re getting confidence. We’re letting his little brain and emotions and social skills grow just a little slower.
We’ve spent more time in the last 10 days in pajamas than in all of 2019 combined. I get that we’re only 3 months in to 2019, but we’ve had a lot of sick days.
Following our stir-crazy Snowbomb, we weekend’ed hard and ended up with a stomach bug.
We spent two days on lockdown, eating saltines and popsicles. We stayed in pajamas. We watched “The Little Prince” six times. We took a bunch of baths. I did 18 loads of laundry (and yet still have laundry to do…).
It was rough, you guys. We don’t rest. We don’t stay home. We don’t have lazy days. And we certainly don’t have FOUR in SEVEN DAYS. But we did. And it was hard and lonely. On the eve of a surprise roadtrip, it was stressful.
But here we are, 36 hours in the clear. Matilda just missed the 24 hour window for school, so the two of us spent the day together while Wilson went to a preschool program. We got our nails done. We got coffee. We played Zingo.
We played monsters and watched cartoons. We spent the afternoon soaking in the gorgeous warm sun.
It was a good day. But even good days end in desperate solo trips to Target once the husband gets home.
We’ve been told that Denver doesn’t do snow days. But we’re 2 days in to proving otherwise. This week we were hit with a snow bomb, and it was just as ridiculous as it sounds.
All of Denver closed down Wednesday. School canceled Tuesday night. We ran to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make goodies and have a pizza party. We woke up Wednesday preparing for a lazy day stuck inside. And the weather certainly accommodated that.
We ended up with 2 snow days. Thursday everything was such a mess, school was canceled again. It was much nicer than it was on Wednesday, but we laid low, played at home, and shoveled ourselves out.
By the time Friday rolled around, Wilson was definitely ready for Matilda to head back to school. And she was pretty jazzed to go see all of her friends after such a short week.
One of my goals for 2019 is to blog more. To blog our boring adventures as well as our grand ones. I want to write for 10 years from now me, for 10 years from now Matilda (I really hope she reads these with fond memories and not pangs of embarrassment…)
Here we go. 2019, week one. I’ll run my weeks Monday-Sunday
December 31. We had a super mellow day, we stayed home and played Robot Turtles and some RushHour. We don’t normally hang at home, but some days it’s more needed than others. We had friends join us later for some more board games, including Don’t Rock the Boat. We cooked food (something we don’t do terribly often…) We unpacked from Christmas traveling and did some laundry. All those life things.
We started 2019 with a bang flying parachutes at Stanley Marketplace. We ate ice cream at Sweet Cow. We laughed, we cried, we got a photo of the kids together.
I really, really wanted one family photo to ring in 2019. I meant to do it on New Years Eve, along with everyone else, but we just weren’t dressed in time. And better late than never, right?
January 2nd, we made it to Nature and Science Museum. January 3rd we hit up the zoo with friends, soaking in a surprisingly warm day. We learned to bring snow boots, despite the temperature, if it’s snowed recently. A minor oversight resulting in some wet toes.
We rocked our NickiChicki and soaked in that it was warm enough to ditch our coats in January.
We checked out our new favorite bike park. The kids rocked their second attempt, and got brave enough to try some new courses. Wilson was a little more hesitant at first, but once he was ready, he was ready, as with everything he does.
Saturday, we checked out the First Free Saturday at the Denver Art Museum. It was so busy, I think we’re going to spring for a dual membership (since kids are FREE and Matilda loves it there.
We went from the Denver Art Museum to the Dillon Ice Castles, and parked just in time to make our ticket window. We picked a warm day, the weather was pretty perfect. I think next time we’d skip a weekend date and leave work early one week day. The crowds were pretty crazy.
We wrapped up our weekend soaking in another gorgeous day biking the trails and open spaces around our house. I love all of these trails and didn’t realize how accessible things were by bike from our house! We can’t do MUCH but we can hit Starbucks, Reunion Coffee House, the grocery store, an Ace Hardware – all of life’s essential stops – by bike. I can’t wait to start biking Matilda to school when it’s consistently warmer. Sunday, we just biked to a new playground.
Today, the high was 55 degrees. We spent it at the Denver Zoo. We brought coats, and didn’t need them. Hats, not a chance. We did need boots, which was what we forgot.
We waited until 11 to finally show up, having a slow morning. Doing life and laundry. We packed a lunch and snacks.
The thing about Denver weather is you have to be ready when it is. It’s not about your schedule for the day, it’ll be ready when it’s ready. We just waited out the chilly morning, missed the chilly evening, and soaked in the warm sun all afternoon.
I remember last winter, sitting in Minnesota, and watching the Colorado forecasts enviously. Always a 50 degree day somewhere in the 10 day forecast. And man, is it amazing.
Also, our fabulous hats are from the very talented Nickichicki, a lovely Minnesota friend of mine. Check out her stuff. You’ll look forward to chilly days. 😉
2018 was quite the year. We started January with a trip to Rice Park to see the ice sculptures. I took found a new studio space with a friend. We spent the weekend at Great Wolf Lodge, swimming and climbing, for our annual staycation in lieu of Christmas presents. We had some pretty chill days.
We spent the day down in Nicolette Mall exploring all of the Super Bowl shenanigans. I’m not one for football or being out in the cold, but it was pretty cool to see it.
We went to the Ice Castles, roller skating, we finished our kitchen remodel.
In February, we spent a lot of time painting mom’s new studio. We played with friends. We had pizza and grandma and papa Owie’s. We played with our best friends at all the local indoor spots. The mall. The children’s museum. The zoo.
Matilda lost her first tooth. And her second. She participated in her first science fair. We hugged our friends again for the first time in a while because they moved back home from Thailand.
In March, we had a brief warm up and explored our favorite local beach. We spring break’ed at a local hotel with a fancy pool with friends. We played free video games in their sketchy basement. The snow melted and we played outside, we went on walks, we rode our bikes.
Matilda made green eggs and ham for Dr Seuss’s birthday. Wilson was totally unimpressed. We went to the roller rink so Wilson could do cool tricks on his scooter and Matilda could master skates.
In April, we got 24″ of snow and had 2 snow days. It was a mess. We spent the first nice weekend of the year in Duluth, exploring giant ice mountains from the blizzard the week before, and it was absolutely beautiful.
May. May was pretty great. Wilson turned 4. Matilda had her track and field, and it didn’t rain like the year before, but it was annoyingly hot.
Wilson ended up at Children’s Hospital one morning when his eye wouldn’t stop crossing. The whole thing was a disaster, but his skull wasn’t fractured and he just needed some followup care and an eyepatch. We hit up the Art A Whirl and got one of my favorite family photos to date, with a random stranger photobombing and all.
We spent Mother’s Day climbing Minnehaha Falls. We finished our ECFE class. We opened the ComoTown park for the season and rode the swings 6 times in a row.
June started with a trip to a Twins game. It was all of 20 minutes before Wilson got bored. Enough time to go searching for the most expensive hat of ice cream we’ve ever ordered. We went fishing at Grandma and Grandpa Sue’s, and almost got stuck in the middle of the lake when the boat broke down.
We did many county fairs. The colors and the cheesy rides and the bright blue skies make for one of my favorite summer outings.
We made it to the flag wall for 4th of July photos. We spent Father’s Day (just like we did every year) at the Stone Arch Bridge festival. We went to the circus. We went to Duluth with the Carroll’s. We chased a couple waterfalls. We spent the weekend at Lake Mille Lacs. We went to a parade, our first parade. We had our last day of first grade.
July, we had Matilda’s party quite a bit late. We went to Lutsen for a magical week i. Lake Superior. We went swimming. A lot. We kept on with our tour of County Fairs. We explored the Sculpture Garden. We had plenty of coffee dates.
Both kids did swim lessons and Matilda had summer school, which sucked up our days.
In August, we went to Denver to visit my cousin, Jen. We stayed in the mountains and watched my other cousin get married. We went to the zoo and the Children’s Museum. Ryan interviewed for a few jobs.
The 6 week road construction project in front of our house continued, well beyond the 6 week window. We went to more county fairs. We went to the State Fair, twice. We Minnesota summered hard, knowing it could be our maybe last one.
In September, we announced that we were moving to Denver. It was a pretty big deal, with pretty big feelings. We listed our house on my birthday, and man, was I exhausted after repainting almost the whole house because of all of my photos. We dealt with the stress of showings, moving, goodbyes. To celebrate our house being listed, we spent the weekend at Great Wolf Lodge. It didn’t sell that weekend like we’d hoped, but it was nice not to have to keep it clean.
We pumpkin patched and corn pitted. We closed down ComoTown for the season. We went to all of our favorite places. We hugged all of our favorite friends.
We sold our house.
October was pretty nuts. We moved. I’d be lying if I said that was easy, but it was totally worth it. We rolled in to town and looked a house before even unpacking. We saw about 84 houses in 12 days. We put an offer on one.
It snowed our first day here, and then the kids did Halloween at the zoo in t-shirts. The weather here is nuts. We went on bike rides and walks. We did Colorado Halloween activities instead of Minnesota.
We lived with my cousin. And she was the absolute best, so incredibly patient with all our chaos. And my kids love her dearly.
In November, we started school. As soon as I had a signed purchase agreement, we enrolled Matilda. We started the first grade, again. And it was totally the right choice. Maybe I’ll blog that one day.
We spent a lot of time at Chik Fil A. We went to the Children’s Museum a lot. Matilda fell in love with the Denver Art Museum. Matilda made cake pops with Jen. Wilson played with the cat. We went to our first 3 school activities and really fell in love with our community. We closed on a house, 32 days after we rolled in to town.
Wilson begged to start preschool. We found one with an opening and a friend for him to play with.
We celebrated our first holiday in Colorado, Thanksgiving at our friends’ house.
December was a lot of fun. We totally enjoyed being able to do winter things outside and not freeze. We did a few winter light tours, one at the Denver Zoo, and one at the Botanical Gardens. We went to Georgetown in the mountains and attended their Christmas Mart. We explored downtown. We found new playgrounds on warm, sunny days.
We played GoFish, Old Made, and Crazy 8’s. We waited until 3 days before Christmas to wrap anything and then still lost our minds waiting.
We spent our first Christmas in Colorado, totally and completely different than any Christmas we’ve ever had ever. Everything was different, but we were the same. We were together, laughing and hugging and loving. And that was the same. And it was beautiful.
I just finished my 3rd Project 365. And I’m one day into my next one. Such a rewarding project, but this year, I’m going to blog it.
We’ve been in our new house for two-ish weeks. We survived our first holiday. We filled a weekend with Santa things. We found our Christmas spirit.
Usually we put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving, and we take it down (okay, I take it down…) on Christmas. The clutter stresses me out. This year, for our first Christmas in our new home, we were able to stick the tree in our living room leaving the family room uncluttered. Maybe it’ll even stay up until New Year’s this week.
We started the day watching “Wreck it Ralph Breaks the Internet”. The exploding bunny short at the end pushed poor Matilda into a little bit of anxiety about eating too much popcorn. We recovered with watching “The Nutcracker” (starring the kid from Home Alone, per Matilda) in bed and ended in a dance party.
We dug out our Christmas decorations and got started. We don’t do much, we don’t have much. When Ryan and I first got our tree, I bought all matching ornaments, so it’d be clean and coordinated. Over the years, it’s become less matched, and I really appreciate my perfectly imperfect decor.
The kids did all the ornaments, carefully and intentionally placing them with thought and consideration. I didn’t move a single one, even the light bulb novelty necklace Wilson added to the mix.
The very best part of waiting until late afternoon to start the tree was the glorious afternoon sun we get in our living room.
It was a beautiful start to a whole new chapter, a chapter of holidays here, in this home, in this state. A chapter of new holiday traditions, of new adventures.