A few weekends ago Jon’s lifelong friend Brittany and her three littles made an overnight pitstop in Denver on their way to Idaho. After a good nights sleep we all loaded up to head for the Denver Zoo. We had beautiful weather and it was a fun challenge to chase these three munchkins all over the place trying to snag some photos. Hope you enjoy!I have a tough time at Zoo’s (I feel so sad for the animals) but it IS pretty majestic to see elephants this close. The new elephant exhibit at the Denver Zoo is pretty remarkable.These photos make me want to hold onto summer as long as humanely possible!I think Ben and Max liked this truck more than the animals…of course. : )So glad these two were able to get together! Too much time had passed since the last time.The beautiful carousel was a pretty big highlight…at least for me anyway, photographers can’t often resist such incredible colors. I just LOVE the missing tooth. She’s such a sweet girl.The biggest challenge of my day was getting Momma and all three of her nuggets in one ‘happy and smiling’ photo. To be totally honest, I like the ‘un-perfect’ ones better anyway. You’ve done a great job Brittany and you have the sweetest kids EVER! Thanks for looking us up on your way through.
Some of my favorite women in the world came to visit a few weeks back. Two of them have been to Colorado many times before, but for one it was a first. I put on my tour guide cap and we covered some major ground and popular sights in the four days they were here.
On one of the days (and the only day I got out my camera) we headed to Garden of the Gods for an evening stroll. It had been nearly 8 years since I’d been, and it was nice to have a reason to go again.
Here are some snapshots of this beautiful, beautiful state I’m lucky to call home.
Jon and I looked all over ski country for a place to gather our families for Thanksgiving. From Vail, Breckenridge, and Beaver Creek all the way to Cordillera. We fell in love with one that ended up falling through, which also ended up being the best possible thing to happen to us. It lead us to the perfect house. Comfortable, incredibly spacious, sweeping views of our favorite ski resort, unbeatable location, and with a great kitchen for my Dad.
The setting couldn’t have been more beautiful. Nestled right into the mountain, directly on runs leading into the Bachelor Gulch base, and with an outdoor hot tub for prime viewing of skiers, the horizon, and wildlife.
I have to admit that the night we arrived I loved seeing everybody ooh and ahh over the house. I myself did the same thing the first time I walked in and so so hoped everyone else would have the same reaction and that we had met their expectations.
We spent the first evening mostly in the living room, around the fireplace with drinks in hand, reveling in each others company.
Mom had the great idea (since Livi was to be the only kid) to give her the doll she’d been begging for Christmas. Something to help ‘entertain’ her while all the adults did boring adult stuff. I grew up playing with American Girl dolls and could hardly WAIT for the day that Livi was interested. I was probably more excited than she was.
Grandpa Pete was the first person to get tears out of us (not even an hour into the vacation) by laughing so hard at something that he started (then we all started…and by all I mean the girls) to cry.
~ Livi’s little baby ski’s. ~
Livi picked it up right away…
Everyone had a great time, even if they weren’t skiing. It was so warm that it bordered on hot so we all soaked up as much famous Colorado sunshine as we could take. Once Livi tuckered out, she declared that she needed to teach Sawyer how to ski, and just like that she was a pro. Another night of game playing, hot tubbing and reflecting on the great day followed.
I’ve got one final installment coming later this week of the rest of our trip. Stay tuned!
It was part an attempt to thank everyone for what they did to make our wedding possible, but mostly it was fulfilling a dream I’ve had since living in Colorado. For Thanksgiving, both the Kinkade’s and the Hendrickson’s made their way to Beaver Creek Colorado for a week long vacation hosted by Jon and I. We found the perfect house in the perfect location, planned and plotted for months, bought all the food and alcohol our cars could carry and crossed our fingers for good weather.
It turns out when it comes to being hosts, we’re not too shabby.
I don’t know what I can say about this week without coming off too sappy. After dropping everyone off at the airport, I cried in my car the whole way home, not so much because people were leaving but because the incredible week had ended.
There are no words to describe what it’s like watching your family experience and enjoy for the first time a place you’ve grown to love and call home. To see all your planning be so worth it you can hardly believe it. To watch your brothers (who never get a vacation like this) grinning ear to ear for days on end. To see your dad (who never just shuts down) relax with a glass of wine and let someone else do the dishes. To make it possible for your Grandpa to see his big sister (possibly for the last time) and show off his own family to her. To watch 16 people leave all their cares at the door and do nothing but enjoy themselves for 6 days straight. It was a magical, once in a lifetime sort of experience, for me anyway.
I’ve got about three blog’s worth of photos dedicated to this week, but for today I’ll just post the one’s from Thanksgiving. That’s what it was all about after all.
Some of you may know that my Dad is a chef extraordinaire who has owned his own restaurants and currently runs a catering business.
Thank God we decided to invite him : )
Had I been the one required to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 16 people we would have been having tacos. One of the requirements while searching for the house we stayed at was a beautiful kitchen that he would enjoy cooking in. I’d say we nailed it.
We spent most of the day trying to stay out of Bob’s way, helping when asked, and watching him work his magic. My Mom, Grandpa, Aunt Megan and I spent a chunk of the afternoon out on the patio soaking up the sun and the amazing views and just enjoying each others company. My Grandpa’s version of this day involves seeing bear on a nearby mountain…we think he’s losing it. : )
We all started smelling the food so we got dressed for dinner and began setting the tables. Yet another requirement of the house was that it seat comfortably 16 people for Thanksgiving dinner. The house we chose sat that many…exactly.
Following dinner, Jon and I emceed the first annual Hendrickson/Kinkade trivia night. We were filled with trepidation, but it ended up being a really fun way to close out the night. It ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip. The winning team was declared (Mindy Kinkade, Tyler Hendrickson, Livi Kinkade and Ryan Kinkade) and the evening ended with people hot tubbing, card playing, relaxing and snoozing.
The day was a huge and delicious success. My Dad cooked two 20+ pound turkeys for the purpose of leftovers (what can I say I’m brilliant) and we enjoyed the meal for days to come. Easily my favorite Thanksgiving to date.
There’s a 100% chance we’ll have many more great Thanksgivings, but this one was special, and this group of people might not all be in one place at one time to share a meal ever again.
Every time I look back at this photo filled with grinning people I love…
This last week, three of my favorite Texan’s came to Colorado for a family vacation. Little Wilhelmina is turning 1 soon and I got the pleasure of shooting some family photo’s to document this time in their lives. We spent the afternoon in beautiful Estes Park crawling around in the grass and flying up in the air. She’s such a sweet little girl. Here are some of my favorites from the day.
And just like that…it’s fall in Colorado.
And I LOVE IT!!!
Because do you know what comes next?
And skiing. And Thanksgiving. And more skiing. And boots and scarves and freshly baked Beaver Creek chocolate chip cookies.
But let’s get back to fall because I’m so happy that it’s here.
Fall brings us several things around here:
…ski pass purchases (ouch).
…my birthday (it’s Friday, double ouch).
…and over the last few years…my in-laws (I know you think i’m going to say triple ouch, but I like them, so HA you’re wrong).
This fall was no different. Jay and Heidi arrived last Thursday for a weekend of good food, delicious wine and the always breathtaking Colorado views.
Last year we all went to Aspen, but this time we decided to stay a little bit closer to home and headed up to the Echo Lake area instead.
It’s wonderful here in the summer, spectacularly fun in the winter, but as far as showcasing Colorado’s natural beauty goes…fall takes the cake.
After our exhausting viewing of the landscape we decided that visiting a Colorado winery was our only option.
…unless you’re Jon in which case you hate all things adorable.
The rest of the weekend was action packed with a concert in Boulder on Friday, some shopping and sightseeing, a baseball game and a relaxing Sunday brunch at Lola.
Who doesn’t start breakfast with an order of donuts?
Who doesn’t follow donuts with lobster filled deviled eggs?
It was a lovely weekend jam packed with things I’d like to do every weekend if I could. It’s always nice to have visitors here, especially when it’s family. Jon and I both love sharing what we find so irresistible about Colorado with people.
I wish fall could last forever, but just this morning it was dumping snow in the mountains. It’s only a matter of time before it makes it’s way to the foothills and eventually Denver. So cheers to your fall, wherever you are, soak it up because it always goes way too fast.