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.
I’ve been tumbling this post around in my brain the last week, so we’ll see how this goes.
Moving is hard. Last July, when my best left, it was really hard. And now, here we are, having left all of our favorite people 931 miles away. Now that I’m here, so far away, I am so damn happy for her, that they followed their dreams and packed their bags. I get it now. I understand it.
When you move, it’s hard. It’s exciting, but hard. Everything is new, which is great and terrifying. And totally overwhelming. We’ve been here 3 weeks now and I can almost get to Target without mapping it. Your whole life is unfamiliar. You miss your old life, but the missing is so big and the new is so big, that its all just a jumble. And you’re so busy trying to remember where Target is and what your new highways are called and what the hell these turn lanes are that you don’t always feel the enormity of all you’ve left behind.
When someone you love moves, your life is the same, except this big whole where the person you loved used to be. Your days look almost the same, but they’re missing. You can drive by their house and see that they aren’t there. Your favorite places and your favorite things can be littered with all the fun things you used to do together. Your life looks the same, but it’s totally different. You have time to feel all of the feelings of loss, because you aren’t busy relearning your whole world.
I remember when my sister wife from across the street moved to a whole new state. The street we played in, the steps we drew on, the kitchen we snacked in – it all looked the same but it wasn’t. My whole day changed. Eventually, our afternoons filled in with new activities. Our mornings had new play dates. We made new friends. Phone dates replaced coffee dates. But man, I was sad.
I miss my friends. And my friends’ kids. And I’m so sad that I’m making them sad, by leaving this Ockwig sized hole in their lives. But you guys. If you feel like you need to move, do it. If you long for a new adventure and unfamiliar road names and unknown Targets, go for it. You can’t live your life for someone else.
Life is short and the world is big. This new adventure has been so amazing that it’s worth every bit of hard on this end. But getting there is hard.
So, Minnesota, we miss you. We’d love for you to join us. We can’t wait to see you. And thank you for all the high fives and cheerleading.
On Friday, the kids and I headed to the Denver Children’s Museum for their Halloween bash, Trick or Treat Street. We’ve been Denver residents for about two weeks, and member of the Children’s Museum for 12-ish days. We loved going as visitors to Colorado and now that we can go anytime we want, we really love it.
We’re still discovering new parts of the Children’s Museum and falling more in love with the familiar spots. On Friday, we particularly enjoyed jumping on hay bales, driving the truck, and building sand castles.
We took advantage of Rocky Mountain Mini Train (definitely worth the $2). We watched a scary science show, scored lots of free treats and some tasty lemonade, and grabbed a hot dog lunch.
We were so excited to discover the bubble room! This was our 4th visit to the museum, but this spot was always too busy to check out. We had a blast blowing bubbles! These vapor filled bubbles? Kind of the coolest. They have a bubble solution recipe on their website you should check out if you’re in the mood to DIY.
We swung by the market, where my kids sold me some overpriced cheese and milk. It’s amazing how much fun they can have, just pretending. Stocking and restocking. Cooking. Arranging.
One of their favorite stops indoors has been the Altitude. Wilson was so proud to have made it to the very top of this incredible structure, with the help of his best cheerleader, of course.
We took the trolly to REI, thinking that was closer to where we parked. I’m not entirely sure it was closer, but I got a Starbucks out of it and Wilson met Wilson, so everyone won (except Matilda, who conked her head and was super sad until she crashed in the car on the way home.)
We’re making the most of this solo fall, trying to squeeze in as many fun, family dates as we can.
When we were still prepping to move, someone said, “Oh, you can always come back.” And I said, no. And they said, “But don’t you have any friends here? How could you just leave your friends?” Oh, I have the very best of friends. My tribe is so special, you guys.
Which brings us to today. The first day I’m really feeling the sting of flying solo. Normally, today, I’d be texting Tara planning our outing. We’d have until 1 to play, because Wilson has school at 1:30. Tuesdays was usually Biz, because that’s when our schedules lined up. Katie would be lunch dates, because preschool every morning. Stefany had Friday’s free.
Today I’m on my own. We’re going to our new Children’s Museum alone, with just us. Ryan’s back to work. It’s just me and the kids, living this new life that we dreamed up. And I’m really sad about it. I know new friends will come, but they won’t be my old my friends. And I really love my old friends.
It’s okay to want something huge and scary and be so excited and still be sad. Today, I’m feeling the loss. Tomorrow, we’ll climb mountains, but today is hard.
… begins with a single step. But this journey was only 931 miles.
We started the day off with last minute cleaning and packing (meaning, fit all the things in the van), a play date to exhaust the kids (which failed), last minute hugs from our favorite friends, and a big wave goodbye to the house we brought Wilson home to.
You guys, some people really like to drive. 12 hours and 39 minutes is a quick, easy jaunt to them. And I am not one of those people. But I contained my complaints knowing that me begging to stop would only 1. Delay arrival in CO and 2. inspire the littles to start complaining.
The kids did awesome. Iowa and Nebraska are really big states and, sadly, it was really cold so we couldn’t do the fun things we wanted to do along the way. But Wilson did get his hotel stay, and Matilda got all the tablet time she could handle.
We had approximately 34 minutes of heavenly double nap, and it was amazing. Luckily, Wilson woke up just as we approached a gas station for the first time in an hour, and we convinced him to get back in the car with a bag of M&Ms.
When we left Nebraska that morning, I told Ryan that I really wanted to hit this open house on the way to Jen’s. Because obviously we’re going to just swing by an open house as soon as we’re in town. It was going to be close, Ryan said, especially with lunch and mandatory bathroom breaks (4 year old bladders are smaller than glasses of chocolate milk). But we made it!
It wasn’t our dream house, but it did make our dream more of a reality. We explored and imagined our life here. We headed to Jen’s, went out for dinner, came home and crashed. We enjoyed beautiful mountain views and the most amazing sunset from the rooftop patio and the kids were a little obsessed with the revolving door.
It felt good to be home, even just our in-between home.
We’re several hours into the first of what I imagine will be many cross-country drives. We’ve only stopped twice, we just booked our hotel room for the night, and barely anyone’s cried.
Today was was the beginning of a whole new world of firsts. And the end of six weeks of lasts. The last time we’d roll down our favorite hill. The last time we’d eat at our favorite breakfast place. The last time at the big mall or Eagles Nest or our local Target. And the really hard lasts: the last hug from all of our favorite people. The last play dates with my very best friends. The last dinners. The last coffee dates. The last photo dates. The lasts.
Last night was our last night in the house we loved so much. The house we brought Wilson home to. The house we had our first day of school in. The house we laughed and cried and rebuilt. The house that we wallpapered with photos I took of all of our favorite adventures. The house that we made so much our home.
And now, a new chapter. A big, scary chapter filled with new firsts. With all sorts of firsts and unfamiliarity. And we absolutely cannot wait.
It was hard, all of the lasts. Well, most of them. Some things were welcome goodbyes. But the best things in life are hard, right?
If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.
– Tom Hanks
Go do big things your heart longs for. It’ll be totally worth it.
This is by no means an expert guide, but mostly a place for me to dump all my links. One day my internet browser with 28 tabs will spontaneously close and I’ll be screwed. So here we go.
Spoiler alert: I have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m excited to try it.
When we started the moving process, we knew we had a place to stay. We decided that we’d sell here, move there, and then figure out what and where we were going to end up. We plan on staying in this next house for a while, and we want to make sure we get it right. Since we don’t have a permanent home yet, we don’t have a school to enroll in. In the interim, we’re homeschooling.
I’m excited. And terrified. But excited. We’ve dealt with so much anxiety around school, I think this time together will help ease the transitions. We’ll have the freedom to explore. To get to know this new place together. All while squeezing in some actual school work.
I’ve been doing some reading on the regulations for homeschooling in Colorado, joined a few facebook groups, visited a local homeschooling store, and I’m feeling pretty darn good about this. I mean, if I totally screw this up, at least we have a while to get back on track before she goes to high school.
We’re doing it. We’re moving. To Denver. We’re packing up our whole lives to try something crazy and new, for no other reason than we really, really want to. (Which, I’ve realized, is really hard for some people to understand.) Last summer, we spent a week in Denver staying with a friend I met on the internet. (No. For real. Brooke and I met IRL for the first time when we met her at the aquarium before sleeping at her house.) Ryan and I stood in the mountains and looked at each other. We could live here. That’d be fun.
And then my best friend, my co-parent, my mid-afternoon coffee-on-the-front-steps-while-the-kids-bike neighbor across the street moved. And Ryan and I looked at each other and said, hey, we could do that. But could we? Could we really pack up all of our lives and leave our friends and our history and our families behind? Could we give up a whole life of familiarity for a wild and crazy dream? Yup. We sure could.
This summer, when my cousin offered us a free place to stay, we booked our flights and headed back. We knew.
Here we are, a year later. Most of my life is in boxes. My walls are bare. We’re so ready, you guys. SO ready. And I get that not everyone gets it. And that’s cool, because this feels so crazy right. We’re going to go live by the mountains, we might go skiing, we’re going to scope out all that Colorado has to offer.
And we’re really dang excited.
But it’s hard, you guys. Packing your life and selling your house and starting new jobs is hard. And saying goodbye to all of your friends is so hard. These are the friendships I’ve waited my whole life for, and I have some really kick ass friends. And we’re changing all of that, to go chase some dreams. Building a whole spankin’ new life. With the four of us at the core.
Life doesn’t have to be what it was. It’s okay to do something new, even if the old was find. It’s okay to make selfish choices for your family, it’s okay to follow your dreams and to listen to your heart. It’s okay. You can do this. You can do whatever the hell you want to live your best life, with whomever you want to live it with.
So, if you’re on the fence, do it. Take the job, sell the house. (I mean, ask me in 3 weeks when we’re all on top of each other in my cousin’s house, driving each other nuts, and I might change my mind.) And if someone you love is chasing crazy dreams across the country, don’t be mad. It’s not you, it’s them. And that’s okay. Cheer them on. Help them pack. Babysit their kids while they patch the holes in their walls. Whatever you want to do, just show up for them. You can’t ask them to live your version of their life.
I can’t wait to share this journey with you. This wild and crazy adventure. I’d like to blog more, as we work through this.. Here we go! Final countdown is on.