Tag Archives: friends

Denver Christmas Trip 2015

28 Dec

The second week of December, Travis, Annabelle and I flew out to Denver for Travis’ work Christmas party — a major perk of working for a small company! The trip was a whirlwind — we flew out Thursday morning and back Friday night. Emma stayed with Travis’ parents at our house. We would’ve preferred to not have Annabelle tag along either but she won’t take a bottle so she goes where mommy goes for now.

We left early Thursday morning, arriving in Denver by around 10:30. It was my first time flying out of the airport in Brainerd and it was so much easier than going to the Cities! We had a little snafu checking in because the plane flying us from Brainerd to Minneapolis was so small that Annabelle could only be on the one side with child oxygen masks. It took a while to reassign our seats but we were thankful that the small airport meant they knew we were there and wouldn’t leave without us.

The flights and car rental went well (got upgraded to a fully loaded Town & Country, heck yeah!). We had lunch at Chipotle with our good friend Randy and drove past our old house before checking into our hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Downtown and it was the first time I had ever used valet parking. I felt so fancy! We got a corner room and one whole wall was a floor to ceiling window. It was cool but kind of trippy.
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Travis had a work meeting that afternoon so Annabelle and I just hung out in our room watching TV while I did my hair and makeup and set Annabelle’s rock n play up in the coat closet. It fit perfectly! (We left the door open most of the night, just shutting it when we used the bathroom or turned on the light.)
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We made a quick trip to 7-Eleven and then it was time for the Christmas party. Travis’ boss’ 15- year-old daughter watched Annabelle in our hotel room during the party. We expected to get called back early but we didn’t!
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The party was just a couple blocks away at Maggiano’s on the 16th Street Mall. The food was delicious, and it was great seeing Travis’ co-workers and spouses again. Since the whole company works from home in various states, this is one of just a few times each year the whole company is together at one time. I enjoyed my baby-free night with a couple glasses of chardonnay (though they gave me a headache the next day).
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The next day, Travis had work meetings pretty much all day so Annabelle and I were on our own. I met up with my good friend Cathy for breakfast at Panera and then while Annabelle napped in the car, I drove up to Boulder to see the Flatirons. They’re so amazing.

After Annabelle’s nap, I nursed her and we stopped by my favorite consignment store for kids, called Kid to Kid in Arvada. I found matching black bows for Emma and Annabelle to wear in my brother-in-law’s wedding this weekend and a sleep sack for Annabelle.

I grabbed a quick bite to eat at Good Times (similar to Culver’s but Culver’s is far superior) and ate in the car on the way to my friend D’s father’s funeral down in Lakewood. It was a very nice service, and good to see my friend. I was glad that I just happened to be out there that day.

After the funeral, Annabelle and I went back to the hotel and packed up. Once Travis was done, we loaded up our stuff and headed back to the airport.

Our flights back went well. We got a row to ourselves both times and it was nice to spread out.
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By the time we landed in Brainerd, it was 10:30 pm. We stopped at our house quick to pick up the dogs and Travis’ hunting stuff (he decided that he wanted to try muzzleloading this year) and drove the hour up to his parents’ house in Nevis. By the time we carried all our stuff in and got situated, it was almost 1 am!

Undaunted, Travis got up around 6:30 to go hunting. I was up around that time with Annabelle too — a doozy! It was a nice, relaxing day overall though. During Annabelle’s morning nap, I worked on a blog post. Travis got back from hunting around 10:30 and watched Annabelle while I designed and ordered our Christmas cards (which took a few hours so Annabelle went down for her afternoon nap before I finished). We also watched the first Lord of the Rings movie.

Travis went out for the afternoon hunt around 3 and Annabelle and I just chilled at the house, playing with toys and tidying up. Once Travis was back and showered, we went out to eat at the Iron Horse in Nevis. The BBQ there is amazing. The rest of the night was spent just hanging out at the house. We were exhausted from our trip!

Sunday morning, Travis hunted a few hours (with no luck) while I got us packed up. We left around 9 to drive down to St. Cloud to pick Emma up. She had gone down to the Cities for a Christmas party with extended family with Nana and Papa Saturday night.

We ate lunch at Chipotle and then headed over to spend the afternoon with our good friends, the Lonergans, who live in St. Cloud.

After a great time catching up, it was way past naptime and Annabelle had fallen asleep in Travis’ arms, so we hit the road back up to Brainerd. Emma fell asleep in less than 5 minutes.
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Fun weekend but exhausting!

Denver Babymoon

20 Dec

Travis works for a small engineering company where all the employees work remotely. Since it’s rare for everyone to be together at once, his boss flew both of us out for the company Christmas party and paid for our hotel two nights! Seriously, Travis works for a great boss/company. We are blessed. Anyway, we thought we’d extend the trip for the whole weekend and make it our babymoon.

Travis’ parents came down Wednesday night to watch Emma for the weekend and we left early Thursday morning for the airport. I think it might’ve been hard on Emma to have us leave while we was sleeping (and then return when she was also sleeping) so maybe next time we’ll try to time it differently. But Emma did great while we were gone regardless.

We flew into Denver around noon on Thursday, ate lunch with one of Travis’ co-workers and his wife (who had been on the same flight as us), and then checked into our hotel. I took advantage of being in the big city to use one of my gift cards at Massage Envy for a prenatal massage, and then went and got a mani / pedi. So wonderful. I seriously haven’t had my nails done since before Emma was born.

That night was the Christmas party, which was really fun. All of Travis’ co-workers and their spouses were there. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Travis’ boss bought all the employees gag gifts from Sky Mall. It was funny to see what everyone got. Travis got a Snuggie, since our basement (where his office is) is so cold.

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Friday, Travis had a couple of work meetings in the morning so I hung out at the hotel doing some reading and writing. When he got back, he had to do a little more work so I took the rental car and got Einstein Bros. for lunch. I ate my sandwich outside on the patio in the sunny, 70 degree weather. Man, I miss that about Denver.

We went out for sushi that night – I got the fully cooked varieties but they satisfied my sushi cravings. (Seriously, why is that you always crave what you can’t have during pregnancy?) Then we drove out to the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield for their Trail of Lights display. Unfortunately, we had originally planned on seeing a movie after dinner so I had worn flip-flops! My feet were icicles by the time we left, but it was fun anyway.

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Saturday, we slept in and then met our friends D and Doug for lunch at New Peach Garden in downtown Golden. It was great catching up with them. Then we went to see The Homesman in the theater – the most depressing and disturbing movie I’ve seen in a long time. I would not recommend it. It still haunts me. Ugh.

After we checked into a different hotel, we went over to a friend’s house for dinner, and saw several of our friends from our old church. So fun catching up! I wish it were easier to stay connected across the miles.

Sunday, we ate breakfast at Panera (we made sure to eat at restaurants that we don’t have in Brainerd!) with our good friends Randy, Cathy and James, and their 2 kids. We had seen them the night before, but it was nice to have more time with them to catch one on one.

Then we headed to our old church for the morning service, and stayed after to talk to more friends. We drove straight from there to the airport and just like that, our babymoon trip was over. It had a really good mix of busyness and downtime though. We got home relaxed and rested – only to be thrown back into the furnace of Bisky care! She had slept through the night every night while we were gone. Then the night we returned, she woke up about 30 minutes after Travis’ parents left and was awake for a couple hours. Uff-da. (But since then, we’ve extended her awake time by an hour or so, and so far, that has helped a lot!)

A Bittersweet Farewell

11 Mar

We got word a few days ago from our Realtor that our house appraised! So now we are in the final stage of closing.

Which means we’ve started packing. The easiest thing to pack right now are all of the house decorations so yesterday, I took everything off the walls and boxed them up.

Looking around Emma’s nursery at blank walls and bare shelves, I felt sad. I love her nursery. And even though we’re taking all of the decorations with us, and can paint her new room the same yellow if we want, it won’t be the same.

Last night, as I lay awake for a bit in bed after getting Emma down… again, the full weight of reality hit me: We’re leaving. We’re going to drive away from this house and never come back. It will never be our home again. We will never belong to our church again. We won’t shop at this Target. We won’t check out books from this library. We won’t see mountains on the horizon.

Sure, we’ll come back to visit. But it will never be like this again.

We knew that leaving our life out here would be hard. But I think I underestimated it. We’ve been having dinner with the families in our care group one by one. It has been so good to connect with them and I’m sure we’re all wondering why we didn’t do this more often before we were leaving the state. Our going away party is this coming Saturday and even though part of me thinks it’s weird to entertain when your house is bare bones and near-empty, it also feels very fitting.

I am grateful for the sadness though. It means we’ve connected and let our hearts be engaged here. We didn’t stay on the sidelines or watch from afar. We take with us memories that will last for a lifetime, some of which I plan to share on the blog in the next week or so.

Though this transition is laden with sadness, we are also very excited for the next chapter. I know that for things to change, they can’t stay the same. Even if we were staying, things would change. So we have to press on in faith. That’s the great thing about having an omnipresent Savior. Wherever we go, He goes with us. He’s been faithful to us in Colorado. He’ll be faithful in Minnesota.
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71dea5b44f335fc9c5ca4323eacc0f2c“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5)

Christmas Festivities + House Projects

18 Dec

Things have been pretty busy over here, but life is good!

Wednesday night, we had our Christmas celebration with our care group. We ate dinner together as usual and then played a huge group game of Apples to Apples. It was a lot of fun! Travis and I both won a round.

Thursday night, we went out to dinner with Travis’ company at The Fort in Morrison. It’s a small company (4 men + Travis) so we all had fun chatting and laughing about the crazy stuff that happens on the road.

Friday, I had lunch with a friend and then went to the church to set my table up for the women’s Christmas tea on Saturday.

20131213_141239 20131213_141246 20131213_141253Saturday, Travis worked on the soffet and fascia while I ran errands and frantically baked some Bagel Bites right before leaving for the Christmas tea. The tea was a lot of fun though, and I got to chat with some new faces. Right when the tea ended, I packed up my table quickly, drove home to nurse Emma and then turned around to take her to the babysitters for our date night. We went out to eat at Rock Bottom Brewery and then to Avs vs. Wild game. It was a pretty tame game – the teams were so evenly matched that not many surprise plays happened. But the game ended up going into overtime and a shoot out, where the Wild won!

Sunday, Travis did some more work on the soffet and fascia while Emma napped and I cleaned our house for the first time in way too long (oops). I also picked some friends up from the airport.

Monday, it was in the upper 50s, so we had Charlotte watch Emma while Travis and I painted the soffet and fascia. We got it scraped, washed and painted in about 6 hours!

20131216_115114This shows all the scraping we did.

Tuesday, I took a half day off from work to help Travis put a second coat of paint on. Painting is done! We went from white to a dark brown based on our realtor’s suggestion. I never would’ve thought to paint it dark brown but we think it looks nice! My neck is so tired from looking up for that long.

housepainting1 housepainting2We’re not quite ready for the gutters to be installed – Travis has to add a piece of wood for them to hang the gutters on – but we’re very close!

So that’s what we’ve been up to around here! Next up is packing for our trip to Minnesota. So excited!

Thanksgiving Weekend 2013

3 Dec

It was nice staying in town for Thanksgiving this year. On Wednesday night, I went with some of our small group from church to volunteer for Operation Christmas Child while Travis stayed home with Emma. We’ve done this for the past 4-5 years and it is always rewarding and enjoyable. I didn’t go last year because I was pregnant, so I’m glad I got to go this year! We prepared boxes that were going to Guayana and Togo.

On Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), we ran the Turkey Chase 5K that benefitted the Denver Rescue Mission with our friends D and Doug. It was Emma’s first race! She did really well – she slept through the first half and was content hanging out for the rest. While I think the Denver Rescue Mission is a great organization, I was a little frustrated with the race. One, the first half mile was on gravel – while that’s nice for running, it’s a little bumpy for a stroller! So Travis and I ended up mostly walking that portion for Emma’s sake. Two, the course ended up being 3.5 miles instead of 3.1. And three, it was an out and back course on a greenway, meaning not much room to get by slower people. Travis and I had quite a time of weaving around walkers and other strollers. But really, those things are just frustrations as a runner with a stroller. If we hadn’t had a stroller, it would’ve been fine, except for the course length.

We had a pretty good race anyway though. Here are our mile splits:

turkey trot splitsWe were cruising for Mile 3! A little too much, because I had to have Travis take over pushing the stroller. I pushed it for the first mile or so, he pushed for the second mile, I pushed it again for about 5 minutes, and then he pushed it the rest of the way. 😉 That was nice. We finished in 38:42, average pace of 11:08/mile.

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After the race, we went home, showered while Emma took a nap and then went over to our friends’ house for the feast. We brought pumpkin pie with whipped cream and green bean casserole (which I made for the first time, and I thought it was meh). But the rest of the food was delicious!

1486723_10202757468642641_1227915238_nEmma thought so too – she mostly had her own butternut squash puree, but she tried mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. She loved the pie!

20131128_145135After stuffing ourselves, the guys went downstairs to watch football and the ladies talked and looked through Black Friday ads. It was nice and lowkey, but it certainly wasn’t as relaxing as in past years, with a baby to take care of!

On Friday, Travis went fly fishing with a couple of friends, including my friend Cathy’s husband, so Emma and I went over and hung out at her house most of the day (after I took a much-needed nap during Emma’s naptime!). We drank coffee, talked and watched Miracle on 34th Street – I had never seen it before. I enjoyed it.

Saturday, Travis woke up sick. Major bummer because that’s when we were supposed to have our date night/birthday celebration! I had bought tickets to the Avalanche vs. Wild hockey game, but we ended up selling them. Instead, we just hung out at home watching Monsters University while Emma was at our friends’ house. We have another date night scheduled in a couple weeks, so hopefully that’ll turn out more like we hope. It was a nice night anyway.  And we didn’t have to worry about the volume being too loud! (Emma’s room is right next to our living room – sooo looking forward to a bigger house!)

On Sunday, Emma and I went to church while Travis stayed home. I checked her into the nursery for the sermon, but she lasted only about 5 minutes. When I came back to get her, her face was bright red and she had snot running down her face from crying so hard. Poor baby! She just wanted mommy though because she was perfectly happy with me. The rest of the day, we just bummed at home because I was beat.

Monday was a marathon shopping day for me and Emma. I realized that every weekend until we leave for Minnesota is crazy busy so I needed to get some Christmas shopping done ASAP! We went to Office Max, the post office, Sports Authority, Walmart and the grocery store. Emma was a trouper though! The only noise she made in the stores was a lot of loud squawking at Walmart.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving!

 

 

Free Day Fun.

5 Nov

This past weekend, we took advantage of the ‘free days’ at both the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Zoo.

Travis, Emma and I went to the Art Museum on Saturday with some friends from church. It was a lot of fun and Emma did really well. I found some sock puppets in one of the exhibits and put crazy eyes on one for Emma. She thought it was pretty funny.

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We gave her a bottle around her usual eating time and she fell asleep while drinking it. Soon after, we were also hungry so we left and had lunch at Cafe Rio. Mmmm… pulled pork salad.

On Monday, Travis had to work so just Emma and I went to the Denver Zoo with some friends.

736178_10151974635723540_382117657_oStroller Brigade!

1417707_10151974632598540_169358723_oWe saw elephants, giraffes, polar bears, brown bear, monkeys, lions, leopards, cheetahs, you name it!

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Emma did really well there too – I had her in the Baby Bjorn for the first hour or so, and when she started to fall asleep, I transferred her to the stroller. She slept for about 40 minutes before waking up and then it was time to eat! I nursed her in the car and then we went home.

What a fun weekend!

Race Recap: Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon Relay

16 Oct

Due to the flooding in Colorado at the end of September, the Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon that I had signed up to do with my friends Jess and Charlotte got rescheduled to Saturday, October 5. Luckily, it still was a day we could all make it!

The Thursday before the race, we all met in Boulder (with kids in tow) for packet pickup. After we got our race gear, we went out for dinner at Old Chicago on Pearl Street. All 3 of us were going to a wedding Saturday afternoon after the race, so this was our ‘team building’ dinner. It was fun!

The morning of the race, it was only 35 degrees! Travis, Emma and I left the house later than I had wanted to and then we encountered a road that was closed from the flooding, so I was worried that we were going to get to the race too late. But we made it with plenty of time – the race ended up being only about 200 athletes instead of 600 due to the date change, but that meant more room in transition!

The weather had been cool the week before the race so the water was a chilly 58 degrees. Brrrr. Charlotte was a trooper, though, and swam anyway. I felt bad standing around in my many layers, gloves and ear warmers while she was getting into icy water but she totally rocked the 800 meter swim!

1383614_10153338850290271_1687547636_nMe, Jess and Charlotte before the swim

SWIM: 14:58

We were waiting for Charlotte at the swim out, but somehow missed her get out of the water. We saw her as she was walking past us so Jess ran with her into transition and I ran along outside, since I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way.

T1: 1:15

Then Jess was off on the bike, wearing long pants, a sweatshirt, winter parka, winter gloves and face mask under her helmet. She said she was cold for the first loop, but then she warmed up and wanted to remove layers but couldn’t! Jess also did really well and crushed the 12.4 mile bike leg.

BIKE: 45:52

About 10 minutes before Jess was expected back, I ran around the parking lot a bit and then I went and stood in the transition area to wait for Jess.

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20131005_090257The Cheering Squad

Jess arrived, I grabbed the chip from her, strapped it around my ankle and was off on my 5K run!

T2: 0:56

Right away, my throat and lungs felt hoarse from the cold air. My legs felt great, but my breathing was just really labored. Even though there were people passing me consistently (that’s the reality of a triathlon when everyone starts in different waves), I tried to settle into a pace that was challenging but sustainable. I could tell, though, that I wasn’t feeling as strong as the Community Christian 5K I had done a few weeks earlier.

About the time I started running, the sun decided to make its appearance. So all of my layers made me very overdressed! By Mile 1, I had my gloves off. And by Mile 2, I had my ear warmer and jacket off.

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I definitely pushed myself more for our relay team than I would have had I just been racing for myself. There was one main hill on the course leading up to Mile 1. On the way back, I used that hill to my advantage. My splits were (roughly, recalling from memory):

Mile 1 – 11:07

Mile 2- 10:39

Mile 3 – 10:30

Mile .1 – 1:03

RUN TIME – 33:19

TOTAL TIME – 1:36:18

Just for fun, here are my splits from when I did the Oktoberfest Sprint Tri back in 2009 as an age group athlete (times listed in italics show the difference from our relay time):

Swim – 19:57 (+4:59)

T1 – 2:14 (+0:59)

Bike – 46:34 (+0:42)

T2 – 1:09 (+0:13)

Run – 34:07 (+0:48)

Overall Time – 1:43:59 (+7:41)

I hadn’t spectated at a triathlon in a very long time so it was a nice change of pace to watch other athletes (especially the speedy ones)! We checked our time after I finished and noticed that we got 2nd place in the All-Female Relay division. So Jess and I stayed for the award ceremony (Charlotte left after the swim because it was a busy day for her).

1383624_635629303134062_286529633_nDoing a triathlon relay was a lot of fun! I was glad that I wasn’t swimming that day, but it does make me miss the triathlon atmosphere. Maybe I’ll do a full race next year?