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.
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.
I spent the afternoon with Miss Finley on Tuesday and as usual could not resist snapping some photo’s of her in the beautiful late morning light.
Those eyelashes and sweet little nose just kill me. This was one of the first shoots I’ve done with her where she had a vested interest in the end result. After nearly every shot she wanted to try a new face and then approve the image. Maybe I’ll give her the photography bug eventually! Here were her top choices : )
Have a lovely Wednesday everybody.
Jon hate’s it when I say that. He says it’s an ‘old person term’.
I don’t care. That’s how I feel.
We left fresh faced and full of energy for Minnesota last Friday morning in a clean and washed Aviator with a brand new bike rack attached to the back. Full of excitement and anxiousness we set out for a scenic drive through Wyoming (a way we’d never taken) and on our way pointed excitedly at all the beautiful scenery and wildlife. We had an expertly packed cooler full of healthy snacks like olives, orzo salad, cherries and blueberries. The world was our oyster.
We arrived back in Denver yesterday feeling exhausted and mentally unstable. Jon’s car was thickly caked in bugs, guts covering the windshield, with a broken bike rack pathetically hanging on the back. We drove through Nebraska (the way we always drive) and if looks could kill every single stinky cow we glared at would be on its way to the chophouse. The car was sloppily packed, our suitcases full of dirty clothes and wet swimming suits, and the cooler was empty except for a warm brick of cheese.
Minnesota whooped our butts.
It’s true, Minnesota did completely drain us, but not because it wasn’t fun. In FACT it was one of the most enjoyable trips back I have ever had. The weather was uncommonly wonderful and every day we woke up and pinched ourselves because we couldn’t believe it was happening again. We must’ve spent upwards of 10 hours a day on the boat and in the water for 8 of the 10 days we were there. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Minnesota lakes scene but when you combine that amount of sun with a constant supply of beer, mimosas and cocktails as well as skiing, wake surfing and boarding PLUS late to bed and early to rise for 10 days…you’re a hot mess by the end of it.
I shot upwards of 800 photo’s (…I know…) in those 10 days and have a chore ahead of me to get through them all. This might be the longest multi-day weekend recap of all time, but that’s the way it’s gonna work. I’ll be throwing up sections of our week in Minne here and there over the next week or two with some of the regularly scheduled programming appearing as well.
Let’s kick it off with the more ‘fresh faced’ end of our trip…the day we left.
Jon has had an obsession over the last few years with checking Mount Rushmore off of our ‘before we die’ list.
I have had an obsession with avoiding this at all costs.
Well I finally lost the battle when we decided to take a different route home that took us literally right past it. The drive was FAR more beautiful than the one we normally take and we saw tons of beautiful wildlife and scenery so I had a hard time complaining. By the time we were close to Mount Rushmore I was finally on board and at about 35% excitement to Jon’s 100%.
I will say this about the monument…the people watching was extraordinary.
The monument itself? I can’t say the same.
It’s checked off our list, which I am happy about because we can finally stop talking about it, but I’m gonna go ahead and say if you haven’t been there…you’re not missing much. When we got into the park, I noticed some faces in a hill and said to myself “huh, that must be a replica at the entrance to prepare us for the full scale giant noggins in the giant rock on the giant mountain waiting around the corner“.
I think if you’re 6 and your parents bring you as an educational experience that it would be great and seem really huge and amazing! But when you’re 27 and have had this in your mind as being a certain way, it’s a bit disappointing. Being the supportive wife that I am, I only laughed and pointed for about 4 minutes before strapping on my ‘I’m on board’ boots and going into full on tourist mode. I snapped the required photo’s, looked at the required information, stared at the lunatics wandering around for the required amount of time before we headed back to the car for the rest of our drive.
I have evidence:
Saying goodbye has never been an easy thing.
I would assume that statement is true for most people, but for some reason it manages to be particularly challenging for me.
I think said difficutly comes from two different personality traits.
The first is that I’m very shy and saying goodbye (with the risk of it being super awkward) scares me almost as much as meeting someone for the first time. Very rational…I know.
The second trait is that I become very attached to things. I’m hoping this doesn’t eventually result in an episode of hoarders, but I’m not counting it out.
I guess I shouldn’t say all things. I should say sentimental things.
I’ll take it one step futher and say not even seemingly obvious sentimental things. I mean things that I attach sentimentality to. Things that are uniquely sentimental to me and are that way because of experiences/feeling/thoughts I have about them.
These things have quite a range.
Some of them ‘normal’ like concert ticket stubs, love letters, cards, etc.
Some of them not so normal.
Like a hershey nugget candy wrapper from opening night of my highschool play Annie. My best friend at the time Jess Burke and I split one before the show (our favorite candy) and even looking at it reminds me of how I felt in those ten minutes before the curtain went up. Thrilled, proud, naseous, etc. I can’t throw it away. It’s not about the wrapper, it’s about the feeling that I can still get back from looking at it. It’s magical.
Or how about the tag from a pair of Steve Madden shoes I bought in higschool. I found them at The Buckle in West Acres mall in Fargo, North Dakota, couldn’t afford them as a 16 year old ($80) so I put them on layaway and paid them off until I could take them home. They were grey wool platform pennyloafers and they were beautiful (hideous). When I look at that tag, I remember how I TRULY felt they were going to make me more popular, I remember the first day I wore them to school, and I remember the day I sold them to Plato’s Closet because I realized how hideous they were.
Those are small things. There are many more examples but in order to keep up an illusion of sanity I’m not going to talk about all of them.
A few days ago I had to say goodbye to something I was incredibly attached to. Something that I had used almost every single day for over 7 years. Something that gave me comfort, gave me escape, gave me safety, gave me adventures, gave me a place to be alone, gave me music, gave me sunshine and freedom and air and wind in my hair.
Last Friday, I said goodbye to Sexy Lexy, my trusted and very much loved car of over 7 years. It was bizarrely difficult.
As I’m writing this in my neighborhood coffee shop I am tearing up just thinking about it. Rational…I know.
Let me give you a little history.
When I was a junior in college, my dad gifted his Lexus ES 300 to me. At this point the car was only 7-8 years old and was down right luxurious to me and all my friends. I had a cool car. She had heated leather seats, a six disc cd player, a huge trunk, and an amazing sound system. A boy I liked dubbed her Sexy Lexy. That was in 2005.
Cut to 2012 and my my how things had changed.
My old girl had ripped leather seats, a six disc cd player that skipped, a dirty trunk and a struggling sound system. Buttons that no longer worked, leaking tires, leaking oil, a bum headlight, several dents, and a windshield so pitted I could hardly see when driving in the sun. She clicked, she whined, and when I drove up hills she sounded like an 80 year old lifelong smoker.
She no longer gave me freedom because I was afraid to drive more than 5 miles from my house (she had started to overheat).
She no longer kept me safe because I was afraid at any moment she might blow up, lose a wheel, or just stop in the middle of 75mph I-25 traffic.
She no longer gave me air simply because the air conditioner didn’t work.
The last year and a half I had anxiety every single day over this car.
Will it start? Can I get to work? Where is Jon today in case I have to call him to come pick me up when she stalls? No sorry, I can’t drive to Boulder. Am I going to hit traffic in 100 degrees with no air? Can you drive us to dinner? Yes – it is my car leaking oil.
Didn’t matter. I still loved her.
She still gave me escape. She still gave me the wind in my hair. She made me feel like me. She tied me to where I came from and brought me to where I was. She was my car.
In the end she had 280,000 (THOUSAND!) miles on her and I had a big sense of pride about that number. I’m sure most of those were put on by my dad before I inherited her, but that still leaves she and I with a lot of miles together.
Some of those miles were put on when I was in College. Fed up with dorm life I would jump in and drive to Ada, feeling a sense of safety and relief when I pulled in the driveway.
I put on a lot driving from wherever I was in the world to Pelican lake to see a boy. He was from Bloomington and we would sit in Lexy, listen to the first song we loved together (and the song we danced to at our wedding) and talk about everything that seemed to matter more than everything else.
Several inappropriate miles were put on driving around with Gabe and Greg Haney late at night on the country roads, shooting fireworks out the window, drinking a road soda on the gravel roads while wondering ‘does it ever get better than this‘?
A TON were put on driving to Denver with a huge smile on my face.
A TON were put on driving right back home with tears in my eyes.
Mostly they were put on going from here to there, just ordinary life on an ordinary day.
Regardless of when they happened, I was proud of those miles.
Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce you to Pearl.
Isn’t she beautiful?
She’s EASILY the nicest and most spectacular thing I’ve ever owned. This car came into my possession with less than 10 miles on the odometer. Yes, from almost 300,000 miles to 10. It’s like something out of the movies.
The differences between these cars shouldn’t even be talked about. My new car talks to me, knows my voice, seat preferences, music volume preference, seat heat preference, where I’m going, who I want to talk to, and the color of my husbands eyes.
I tried to park Pearl on the street and keep Sexy Lexy safe and sound in the garage. Jon said I was insane. That’s when the feelings of abandonement and guilt started to set in. That first night when I parked my trusted old friend out on the cold dark street and left her there. For days. While I frolicked around like a teenager in my newer model.
I was supposed to try and sell her. I couldn’t. I was supposed to donate her. I couldn’t. I had the Food Bank of the Rockies lined up to come pick her up for donation several weeks ago and called the night before to cancel because I just could not do it.
I wasn’t ready.
Well last Friday I could stall no longer. The call was made, the title was signed, the appointment was set. I went out the Thursday night before to empty all personal items, remove the liscence plates, and say goodbye.
I spent over thirty minutes sitting in and around that stupid car. I would have turned her on and listened to a sentimental song or two, but as of two days prior, she wouldn’t start anymore. She had given up. : (
I opened the creaking door one last time and sat in the torn up drivers seat. It’s crazy how much sliding into that seat felt so comfortable and normal. Like being home. Albeit a dirty and broke down home, but still.
I said goodbye.
I actually swept my hand across the back of her as I walked away and choked back tears (as I am RIGHT NOW). So rational…I know.
I woke up Friday morning and the first thing I did was run to our front window to see if she was still there. She wasn’t. Food Bank of the Rockies had come and towed her away “to garner money to feed hungry people” Jon told me after I called him very distraught.
I would have held on to her if I could have, stuck her in a box next to that candy wrapper.
I guess it was so hard because I have a lot of my most important memories in that car. Another part of it is that car used to suit me, or at least the old college student me. It suited the girl that packed her car to the brim to drive off to Denver all by herself for a new adventure. I like to think I’m still that girl, but I also have to admit that ‘times they are a changing’ and a 27 year old woman maybe doesn’t belong in a car that can hardly get her from point A to point B. It was tough saying goodbye to that part of my life, admitting that it’s really over, and that I’m really 27 years old.
Slowly, each time I jump in my new car, it starts to feel less like a really nice rental car and more like mine. I’ve driven it to the mountains twice in the last week, something I could never have done in my old car. It really has been a life changer. I get excited when I think about where this car will take me, what it will haul around (kids…yikes!), and the tons of new memories I’ll have. I feel like an bona fide adult. Maybe it’s silly for a car to make you feel that way, but it does. It feels grown up, feels responsible, and full of possibilities.
It’s pretty great.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to put Sexy Lexy in a shoe box, but I did keep one of her old license plates. Sometime down the road, probably while cleaning and when I’ve forgotten it’s there, I’ll find it. I hope it will have that magical quality that puts me right back in the drivers seat, wind in my hair, and reminds me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.
Ahhh the things I tell myself I’m going to accomplish in any given week.
Wednesday Monday and I still haven’t tied up the loose ends on 3 posts I have waiting in the wings for you all.
Instead of quality content, how about we do some low quality iPhone photo’s?
Elly and Ashley – so pretty.
I promise I’ll do better this week : )
All I did was dig through a few boxes for my new blog feature “Throwback Thursdays” which will start tomorrow…found some pictures of Livi and then all this happened.
I remember very clearly the morning I left.
Eyes exhausted, mind racing, throat sore from swallowing down my nerves, fears and sadness.
I scooped Livi up out of her crib and laid her on the floor to change her diaper. I was trying to avoid looking her in the eyes but they eventually met and with that the crocodile tears that I had pointlessly tried to keep swallowed down silently and heavily rolled down my face.
I forced smiles at her as I picked her back up and held her tight to walk down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast.
There was a quiet and nervous energy in the house that day.
My car was sitting outside in the driveway with a tankful of gas. It was packed to the brim with all that I didn’t send in the moving truck, ready and waiting to transport me to a new city, new home, and new life.
We all shuffled around the kitchen, the entryway, the driveway until there I was standing with the drivers door open doing everything I could think of to avoid getting in.
Why did this feel so much different from when I left for college? Why did it feel so much worse?
Because I went to college 45 minutes away from home and saw my mom and family multiple times a week.
Because when I went to college I didn’t have a little sister.
People have always said about Livi that she is an ‘old soul’. Born three months early and at two pounds she started her life with a pain that most people don’t have to deal with until they’re much older.
She’s always been wise.
She’s always been knowing.
She’s always been able to look right through people in an incredible way.
It’s always been a little bit surprising and that morning was no different.
I’ll never forget the way she looked at me, barely two years old, knowing that something was happening but not quite sure what. So observant. So aware. She was somber, and quiet, which only made me all the more sad.
Standing in the driveway, I picked her little pajama clad body up and wrapped myself around her. She just laid her head on my shoulder, let me cry, and waited what felt like a very long time until I was ready to let her go.
I didn’t know what to do, I had to just set her down. My parents came next with hugs, tears, ‘i love you’ and ‘we’re proud of you’ and before I knew it I was sobbing my way down highway 9 towards my favorite boy and my favorite city.
Very dramatic I realize. But it stands out as one of the most vivid and memorable days of my entire life. I thought that my heart was going to shatter in two that morning.
Once on the road and nearing Denver, when I realized I was still living and breathing, I became very excited for my new life. But facing my family that morning and really truly leaving was astoundingly difficult. It remained so for the next…oh…six years.
I’ve been missing Miss Livi lately.
Since day one it’s been difficult for me to be away from her, but as time goes on, it really does get easier. But for some reason it was harder than it has been to leave her this time. I’m sure it’s due to the wonderful Memorial Day weekend we spent with her and my family in MN.
I used to truly believe that she could forget me. That she would forget me.
One of my second most vivid memories was after a particularly long time apart at the beginning of my life in Denver.
Jon and I were back at the lake and I had been experiencing INSANE amounts of anxiety that she would have no idea who I was.
Not even that. I was worried she would know exactly who I was, but that she would be nervous, shy, and uncomfortable around me.
I wouldn’t blame her.
But it would kill me.
I got the phone call that they were on their way.
I remember pacing the cabin.
I got the phone call that they were there which I knew because I had been nervously staring out the window for six hours.
It plays in slow motion every time I re-imagine it happening.
I opened the back door of the cabin and saw the tail end of my moms van sticking out. I watched her come around the edge of the drivers side, a quick wave, heading toward the back to let Livi out.
I was already nervous and on the verge of tears.
Livi rounded the corner and hesitantly started walking down the hill towards the lake.
I held my breath and powered forward, acting like I didn’t care, managing my expectations with every bit of self control I had.
She’s going to walk right past me. She’s going to cling to my Mom and not look at me. She’s going to cry when I try and talk to her.
Instead she broke into a run. She started running down the hill.
Oh my God it’s happening. She’s going to run past me. She hate’s me. Act like you don’t care, focus on your Mom, she’s just a two year old…who cares.
Instead, she looked straight at me, continued running down the hill with a grin on her face and LITERALLY leapt right into my arms.
It was right out of a damn movie.
I completely choked up, remained as still as possible while I just held her, like the day I left home, and let wave upon wave of gratitude wash all over me.
It was easily one of the best moments of my entire life. That little girl had NO IDEA how much I unfairly had wrapped up in her that day.
Anyways. I’ve been missing Livi.
Luckily for me I’ll be scooping her 6 year old self up in less than a month when we go back to Minnesota for the 4th of July. I’m pretty lucky to be her big sister. She’s an amazingly sweet and kind little girl and it’s been such a blast to watch her grow up.
As if things weren’t dramatic enough already, I’ve been wanting to post this video for awhile now. It’s a stunning music video for the band Gotye and their song (my favorite on the album) Bronte. It reminds me very much of Livi, it reminds me of how bittersweet it felt to leave that morning for Denver, but most of all it reminds me of our ‘Neverland’ back yard where my siblings and I grew up. Grab your tissues Mom.