Category: Denver with Kids

School Schmool

I’m gonna be real with you here. We aren’t pushing school all that hard right now. My kids aren’t academic geniuses.

They aren’t teaching themselves calculus and foreign language during this break. They aren’t above grade level or excelling or anything like that. And I don’t even care. They’re mostly trying their best and I love them for that.

They’re average kids. And that’s awesome. Guys. Someone has to be average. We can’t all be gifted and talented, or that’d become the new average.

I’m gonna be real with you again. My kids are fucking rad as hell. They really really exemplarily awesome kids, the absolute coolest, kindest kids I know.

And right now, they’re living their best life. And so darn happy. And PLAYING. HARD. This season of life, for us, is super chill with nothing but time. Weeks of Saturdays, with assignments sprinkled in where they fit.

We were behind before this started. And we might be behind in spots in the fall. But our successes can look different than yours, right now. Our triumphs and failures and to do lists can be our own right now. We’ll do us. You do you. Be okay with your day not looking like everyone else’s.

Be okay knowing that you’re doing the best you can do.

A Typical Day

A typical day.

What does that even mean anymore, typical. Someone asked me how we spent our days. Now that thee kids aren’t in school and we can’t go anywhere. What do we do all day?

I don’t even know how to answer that. They go by slowly, and all at once. I have all the time and none of it. My kids play. A lot. Together. And apart. The TV is on sometimes. Sometimes it’s on most of the time. I pretend that we watch mostly educational shows, but sometimes they’re more educational than others.

We do homework occasionally (but maybe not as much as we should? I can’t be sure because the guidelines are foggy.). We read together and apart. We play outside. A lot. I cook and clean up from cooking what feels like almost all day. Some days there’s more yelling than others. We usually don’t cry. Typical day’s are so atypical now, I can’t even clearly tell you what they look like.

The days drag on and fly by, all the the same time, with an ongoing list of things that should have gotten done and didn’t. A list of things that will go on tomorrow’s list of good intentions. How things can go slowly and quickly, all at the same time still blows my mind.

Our days now circle around prepping and feeding and cleaning up meals. They work in 30 minute chunks of studying and schoolwork. They take place in between the parts of our days that need to happen in order for our optimal mental health (meaning my morning workouts and our weather-permitting neighborhood walks).

This slow season is so different for me. It’s a month of snowdays, unable to go anywhere or see anyone or do anything with the gift of time.

Happy Easter

Last year was our first solo Easter. When we moved to Denver, we knew that our holidays would look a little different. We left our families behind for a solo adventure. Last Easter, we were driving home from our San Diego spring break trip. We stopped at the prettiest pitstop in Utah, soaking in the biggness of it all.

This year, like everyone else’s holiday, was different.

We stayed home. We cooked easy, favorite foods. We laid low and took our time.

On Saturday, we surprised the kids with an early mini egg hunt since Easter was snowy. The trails by our house offered a little better hiding spots than our backyard, which meant we needed to wear our masks. It was almost normal, for a little while.

The kids didn’t mind the mask wearing, surprisingly enough. It’s a big change, and I expected big fights, but they’re taking it in stride, like everything else.

We started our Sunday with a basket hunt. Wilson had been anxiously awaiting his Easter basket for weeks. He’d picked out a LEGO set at the end of February, and I’d picked it up along with the rest of our Easter supplies in an anxious shopping trip at the beginning of March.

We hid eggs in the afternoon, after a morning of playing and treat making and video games. The kids loved it so much they begged to do it again the next day, only harder. (With nothing but time, of course we obliged.)

It was a really wonderful day. A slow day. A quiet holiday. Holidays stress me out, the hustle and bustle and running and expectations. I hate rushing and obligations that come along with them. The compromises and the time shares. It was a slow, quiet day. Soaking in the people I love most in the world.

Documentary Safely

I’m struggling right now, and maybe you are too, with how to accurately and safely tell this story. How do I show how crazy things are when staying in places any longer than needed adds unnecessary risk?

How do I show the emptiness of cities and roads and popular places while not being able to go there? How do I show the frenzied faces of gloved shoppers, anxiously scanning shelves. How do I find the balance between documenting and staying at home?

I don’t.

My daily life looks awful lot like a team weekend. It feels so different, but it looks familiar enough. How do I show the stress and the unknown and angst behind the hours of play and messes and blanket forts?

Maybe that’s not our story.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to tell the story, while maintaining distance. Here’s the story I am telling.

I started blogging again, even if no one reads it I’ll have it one day. No one read my blog before, I just never had time. Now I have time. Nothing but time.

I’m taking photos for daily life, the same as always. I encourage you to do the same, the little things that kids find comfort inn. Their favorite toys and games and spots to play. FaceTime in with friends, the little ways in which life has changed in big ways.

Matilda and I did an interview. Raster questions about what’s going on now, and what happen to get us here. I’m glad I asked her all those questions, took the time to do an interview. To hear the story through her little voice.

Next up, I’ll ask her to journal it, too. To write the story of what’s going on.

There are so many big, crazy, scary stories to tell right now. And while those are very much a part of our reality, they are also very much not a part of our reality. I cannot in good conscious document the grocery stores shortages, the empty roads, downtown Denver deserted. I’ll keep telling it how I have been, blogging my thoughts and feelings and shooting our daily life.

How are you telling this story?

What’s Changed

What’s changed in the last few weeks? Besides everything.

Three weeks ago, we were still in school. I was stressing about the Coronavirus, but it wasn’t a huge deal yet. I was prepping for company. We were planning Spring Break. Three weeks ago, we sat around little tables at conferences and explored the book fair. Three weeks ago, if I would have known, we would have spent our Monday differently.

I have never ever cooked so much in my whole life. Folks. The struggle is real. I feel like I’m doing dishes or cooking most of the day, with sprinkles of tripping over toys and breaking up fights and redirecting in between. I cook now. We eat leftovers. I plan our meals. I grocery shop with intention and lists. Basically, I’m a more responsible grown up now.

We miss our friends. I miss my friends. But, I do make more of an effort now to check in daily-ish with people, including my Minnesota mom squad. Life always got so busy, too loud for phone calls. Weeks would pass and then you’d mean to call, but things would come up. And now I call. Or voice text. Or slide in to their DM’s with a humorous meme on Instagram. But I’m working harder at showing up for the women who mean so much to me.

Spending is down. Granted, I spent a lot of money in the weeks leading up to this. I started stressing seriously at the end of February and stocked up on a whole lot of stuff (like toilet paper and paper towels, before it was trendy). But since then, I’ve been pretty good about reigning in my supplemental spending. So, basically, I’m a better grown up now. We’re on a budget, trying to limit excess spending. And while I did splurge on a few fun surprises for the kids, they were well thought out and pretty intentional. (And they’ve all been pretty big hits). I thought for sure I’d comfort shop and splurge on some new spring clothes, or buy the shoes that have been in my cart for a while, but I’m really working on holding off. And being a more responsible adult.

Our days have slowed down. We’re literally never in a hurry right now. We have absolutely no where to be. Nothing that must be done (until next week when we start online schooling). Sure, we’ve spent some days watching too much TV or too much technology time, or I’ve spent way too much time freaking out on Reddit, but for the most part, we’ve found a good balance. We try to go for walks when it’s sunny. I really need to get a workout in for my own mental health. But with nothing on our to-do or to-go or to-see list, we have the flexibility to go slow and take our time. Granted, I am really really excited to go for a hike again, but that day will come. And for now, the trails behind our house will suffice.

I’ve changed. A lot. In the last few weeks. And we’ll all keep changing, over the next few weeks. Adapting and growing and learning. I can do this. You can do this. We can do this. I’m going to keep on growing up, while chilling out, and reprioritizing.

Unemployment in a Pandemic

When businesses started to close and people started to lose their jobs, I turned to my husband and said. This is hard, but we know your job is safe. You do so much for them, you work so hard, we’ll be okay.

I took relief in knowing that even though this was hard, that I was stressed and sad and overwhelmed by more change than I could imagine, at least I didn’t have to worry about that.

But I was wrong.

On Tuesday, my husband’s company did a RIF. A “reduction in force”. An attempt to keep the company afloat for the next 12 months. And I came upstairs from my workout to hear, “Emily, I’ve been let go. I’ve got to jump on a meeting.” I wanted to cry and scream and WHAT THE FUCK, but he had to jump on a meeting and I had kids with big ears basing their reactions on my reaction.

We’ve never been in this position before. I’ve been laid off, but I was never the breadwinner. He’s always carried the insurance and paid the mortgage and been the responsible adult in our relationship, making sure our bills are paid. We’ve never been here, without an income. And certainly not in the middle of a pandemic.

A reduction in force, based on no particular logic. I thought for sure we’d be fine. He’d be safe. But we weren’t. Twenty percent of his office is in this same rocky boat. So many people right now, suddenly struggling.

Things since Tuesday have gone surprisingly well on the job front. Turns out companies are indeed still hiring. It is possible to find work. He’s completely stepped up and kicked ass and hustled his way through dozens of applications and a few interviews in the longest 72 hours of my life. And I am so damn proud of him for how he’s responded to this. How he just dove in and did it.

I, on the other hand, am drowning in anxiety and paralyzing fear of all of the unknown. The waiting. The complete and total lack of control. I am so deep in the grief of everything I knew for certain just a few weeks ago. He says he’s a duck. Calm and collected from the surface of the lake, but treading water below. I don’t what animal I am. Maybe an ostrich, desperately trying to stick her head in the dirt.

It’s funny to me, when you tell people bad news, they immediately try to spin it. Maybe that’s my midwestern friends. Oh, honey. I’m sorry. But he’ll land on his feet. A blessing in disguise. This will be for the best. Something better will come along.

I mean, I get it. I do it, too. But guys. This. Blows. Ask any of the many, many people unemployed right now, treading water in a time of unprecedented suck, how they’re doing. They’re a mess. They’re angry. They’re a little lost.

Check on your friends who are out of work right now. They’re not okay.

You Know You Make Me Wanna

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.

Skating in T-Shirts

Right after New Years, we headed back to the Gaylord Rockies to use the tickets for the things we had to miss out on over our Christmas stay. We totally lucked out and bought Cirque Dreams Holidaze tickets for a 60 degree January day. It was wonderful.

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.

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A Weekend at the Gaylord

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 indoor pool at the Gaylord Rockies.

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.

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Saturday Adventures to Copper Mountain

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.

What’s your favorite mountain getaway?

We’re Waiting on Kindergarten

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.

And we’re really darn excited about this.

Snowed in in Denver

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.

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The Week in Review – Week One

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.

Denver Mom Photographer Lifestyle

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.

Stanley Marketplace

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.

Denver Colorado Zoo Family Fun

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.

Denver Family Fun City Biking

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.

Denver Family Fun Lifestyle Photographer Denver Art Museum Dior

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.

Dillion Colorado Ice Castles
Dillon CO Ice Castles

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.

January Zoo Trips

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 in Review

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.

We made a summer bucket list and checked most of it off.

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.