Camping with Candace

I secretly bugged out for a camping trip in the mountains with 27 high schoolers (oh my).  I’m one of three adults and we are setting up camp in right between the girls and the boys tents (a human buffer, if you will) so no funny business happens.  Little do they know, I rarely stay past 9.30pm.

Also, I’m not much for camping but I think living in Colorado has inspired me to be more rugged.  I made sure to pack all of the essentials:

*body spray

*homemade chocolate chip cookies

*6 outfit changes (we’ll be gone 2 days total)

and this classic eyeshadow palette, which screams camping to me:

Think I’ll survive?

My Presence, a follow-up

A mere six months ago, I wrote a sorta sappy post about how Hubs and I were choosing to spend time together instead exchanging loads of Christmas gifts. To save you the click through, here were the dates we had decided on:

Hubs Date:

1. A hike and hot chocolate.  As in, Hubs wants to drink hot chocolate at the summit.  That’s all sorts of adorable.  We need to find a thermos, stat.

(the)Candace’s Date:

2. I’m copying last year’s because creativity is not my strong suit and I thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of our morning running date, capped with breakfast.

Shared Date:

3. Either snowshoeing or cross country skiing (also a repeat), depending on what equipment we can round up on the cheap.

If you don’t remember (I barely do), we did hammer out the second date, a frosty morning running and warm sticky buns, in a timely fashion.  But aren’t you just dying to know what we did for the other two?

Frankly, we forgot about it until last week.

To remedy that, we decided to go for a hike.  We set off on Chautauqua’s Second Flatiron trail on a sunny Sunday afternoon:

Hubs also got a chance to break in his new hiking shoes, which were a total steal from Craiglist!

The hike was mostly trails, but also included some scrambling to keep things spicy.

We were blessed with perfect weather, each other and a reminder of how very lucky we are to be here in Colorado living our dream.

Eventually, we made it to the top.  Pretty view – eh?

Long gone are the days for hot chocolate, but you know I’m flexible:

Happy to be with my handsome date, especially when King size Reese’s are involved.

And, that’s it.  Hub’s date is officially checked off.  Seeing how the snow has been gone for two seasons already, we may have to improvise on the third and last date.  Hubs can’t wait to spend more time with me, because working from home and sharing every meal together just isn’t enough Candace for him.

Bolder Boulder

A few light years ago (Memorial Day weekend), I told you that Hubs and I were gearing up for our first Bolder Boulder.  I ran the entire 10k – that’s 6.2 miles – carrying our clunky DSLR so I could tell you about it.  Better late than never?

Memorial Day started early.  Hubs brilliantly suggested we ride our bikes to the midway point of the race loop and park our bikes there.  That way, all we had was a reasonable walk to the starting line and then the same for the finish line.  Biking saved us a bunch of headaches since all of the roads were blocked off and there were, you know, over 50k runners and their families to share the town with.  It was nuts!

My fancy timing chip:

In hindsight, we should have afforded ourselves more time at the starting line because it took almost an hour just to check our gear! We figured if we missed our wave (the one we qualified for that day on the treadmill weeks earlier), it wouldn’t matter because new waves were starting every minute for the next FIVE HOURS.  FIVE HOURS!!!

Side note: They dedicate the first three waves to all of those courageous folks, past and present, that have served our country.  Love. that.

Miraculously, we did manage to squeeze into our wave just in time…our start time was 7.15am!

A real close up pre-race picture:

Lots and lots of runner legs:

The race started and Hubs and I set out.  There was loads of entertainment around every turn and we soaked it all up!

We ran into the Blues Brothers:

We enjoyed tons of bands and jugglers and cheerleaders and people in costumes…

We may have also snacked on marshmallows

and bacon…

Obviously we weren’t breaking any records (we finished in just under an hour) snarfing down bacon and carrying a fancy camera around, but my potty break at mile 5 didn’t help things either.

The finish is awesome.  You run a final lap inside the Folsom Field stadium, with the crowds cheering you on.  I felt like I was in the Olympics!  This is what it looks like – can you spot the local wildlife?

Hubs with 6.2 miles under his belt and his hands full of race swag (including two beers!):

He was just one of the many folks picking up their post race lunch totes.

We sat in the stadium for a while, watching the waves (and waves and waves) of finishers come through.

We had a while to wait still before the elite race (the final race of the day), so I did what I always do when I have too much time on my hands:

Then we moseyed back to where we parked our bikes, grabbed a seat and a coffee to spectate the elite race, which has one of the largest purses in the country so it attracts incredible talent!

Holy fit, Batman.

Afterward, we biked home and still had the rest of the day to BBQ with friends at a local park.  Good, good times.  Well, not our actual Bolder Boulder race times but you know what I mean.

Badabirthday!

It was my birthday a few weeks back (ok, like last month) and I just *know* you are super anxious to hear all about it.  Let’s waste no time, shall we?

I started off my day like I do most mornings, with a run and a friend.

To my surprise she gifted me a pair of running socks and so I clutched her with gratitude.

Hubs was waiting for me when I got home, for we had a breakfast date at the local bagel shop!  It was such a pretty morning that we hopped on our bikes and headed over.  That’s when I receieved my second present of the day and you’ll never guess what I got…

A lululemon tank top that I picked out myself the week before my birthday!  Surprise!

Even Sephora jumped in to celebrate my birth by sending over a sample of two high-end lip balms.  You didn’t think those two words could go together but a full size version of this would cost you $25!

Hubs thinks it was because they do that for all of their overspending clients but I know in my heart it’s because my birthday meant something to them.

I did have to log in some work time after breakfast, but then Hubs sweetly grilled up some delicious food to eat outside in the sunshine.

But my birthday fun didn’t end there.  That afternoon, I headed to practice.  They sang me happy birthday (all 150 of them!) and then I got to jump in and run a leg of a relay workout with my distance kids.

Holy hell I felt my age.  That HURT.

As if I couldn’t be any more spoiled, Hubs took me out to dinner that evening.  We got Pho at a new favorite restaurant of ours!

And, MORE presents!!  

We capped off the night with cupcakes and an early bedtime.  Getting old is exhausting!

Before I end, I must make mention of a few more birthday highlights.

No matter how old I get, receiving birthday love in the mail is THE BEST.  It just can’t be beat.

During Mamap’s last visit, she bought me a pair of Smart Wool socks as an early birthday gift and I’ve already worn them snowboarding and to my track meets that go late into the evening.  They are so perfect!

I also got a homemade birthday delight from a dear friend.  I absolutely luuuurve it.

And finally, my MIL got me TOMS!

For those of you that don’t know, “with every purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.  One for One.”  So, amidst all of my birthday selfishness, some good did come of it!

Am I spoiled or what?

(Check out what turning 32 looked like for me last year)

A little nugget

All Hubs wanted to do for his birthday is go to a Denver Nuggets vs Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game.  A few weeks ago, we made that happen.

But first,

the food.

It’s in Hubs best interest to feed me before we go anywhere or do anything.  It’s just better that way.  Before the game, we did it up right and grabbed subs from Snarfs – the best sandwich shop EVER (their famous pickled jalapenos are amazing!).

After snarfing down some carbs, Hubs and I hopped in the car and headed to Denver.  In predictable selfish form, I snoozed the entire way while Hubs fought through despicable Denver traffic (poor guy).

I perked up when we got to the stadium and we snapped this pic me and my birthday boy:

Then, once inside, this happened:

To be even further ridiculous, we purchased matching Denver Nuggets shirts:

(even though we were actually there to cheer on the T-wolves.  Aren’t they cute though?)

Once we scooted to our seats, a guy came along and asked to take a picture of us.  We assumed our matching shirts screamed SUPER FANS and thought to ourselves, why wouldn’t he want to grab a pic of a sexy couple like us to use for marketing/general Nuggets propaganda?  Then, Hubs noticed he was “shooting Nikon” and so he asked if the guy would snap a quick pic with our camera too.  He obliged awkwardly after asking us to hold on to a card (see below), and just before tip toeing away, whispered with a wink “You could have gone to the website and just taken a picture of your picture.”

Yes, we were *that* couple that accidentally took advantage of the picture-taking-guy that you buy the pics from later, online.  Wow, how could we have not known?

Besides the previously mentioned embarrassing interaction and KLove’s concussion (sad face), the buffalo wings were nice and spicy and the game was a tight one.  Yes, I ate for a second time and the Nuggets won, btw.

So, that’s what we did for Hubs birthday gift.  I hope he thoroughly enjoyed himself because my birthday is TOMORROW and I have high expectations that it’ll be the best birthday of my life.

The Recap, round 2

A while back (much longer than I had hoped, actually) I told you a little about MamaP’s playdate in the mountains.  Well, I’m back to finish what I started.

After our previously mentioned adventures in the wild, we decided to keep the next day low key and urban.  What I’m trying to say is, we ate a lot and went shopping.

The sun was out, the deals were hot and we were more than enthusiastic to be in the midst of it all.

After we oogled lovelies at a handful of shops, we decided to hit up Pearl Street for lunch, sip some afternoon coffee and enjoy the live music.

It was the perfect day to take our time and soak it all in.

Mostly though, we just spent time being Together.

As the afternoon wandered towards evening, we swung by the local track where my kids were competing to catch a few races.  Just like my old track days, MamaP settled in with a good book and hollered encouragingly to those that sprinted by.

And because I’m nothing less than classy, I had thawed chicken chili waiting for us at home for dinner.  We filled our bellies and spent the evening packing, resting and savoring the last night of her visit.

When morning came, we ate breakfast and sipped coffee, quietly and somberly, avoiding goodbyes.  You know the feeling, don’t you?

Another question for you:

Panic washed over me.  I was *supposed* to drop MamaP off in town so she could catch a shuttle to the airport.  A shuttle that had come and gone almost an hour ago.  She was never going to make it.

Surprisingly nimble for a couple of aging over-eaters, we packed up the car and high tailed it to the airport ourselves.  As I zoomed up to the gate, MamaP sprung out like a coiled up rattlesnake and I hollered out to her galloping backside “Run, Mom, RUN!  Love you!!”

And you know what?  She made her flight with a few spare minutes to get frisked by security for her Sephora samples and take a pee.

Hugs and kisses, The End.

Take that, Eldora!

As you may recall, Eldora is the little local mountain where Hubs and I have our ski passes.  Our first trip out was utterly painful, our second attempt we didn’t even make it to the mountain, and our last time out was spent convincing Emily that 60mph winds were an aberration in Colorado’s normally gorgeous weather.

Although our spirits were certainly weakened, we still decided to head back to Eldora a few weeks ago.

I’m happy to say, it was our lucky day.  The skies were sunny, the weather was lovely enough to sit out on the deck of the chalet, and my toes had circulation the entire day.

Eldora, I hardly recognize you with your kick butt views and plushy snow!

Moments before a double back diamond run:

http://youtu.be/TbpJQu9qngQ

Don’t be impressed, kids shorter than my knee caps sped past me on that run.

Moral of the story is…we’ll be back!  Mostly because we have a wad of ski passes to use up or they go to waste and not going would be like throwing money off a chair lift over the back country during an avalanche.

The recap is here!

It happened again.  MamaP had such a delightful time last go around, she decided to come back.  Here’s the recap.

On her first day into town, two important things happened:

I undercooked her pumpkin bread (a grievous moment in both of our lives) and we spent the rest of the day doing this:

The next day we rose early (not true) and took down a hearty breakfast and strong tea to prepare ourselves for the arduous day ahead.

We planned to spend the whole day hiking the jagged terrain of Rocky National Park (only taking short breaks for water) ever aware that the dangers of mountain lion run ins, avalanches, slipping into icy crevasses, and unpredictable weather could bully us at every turn.

With strong resolve, we headed out.

When we got to the entrance of the park, the guide suggested a rigorous route from Cub Creek trailhead.  He told us “Just take a left, right, left and you’ll arrive at Cub Creek.  If you can’t find it, then don’t join the army!”  (laughs)

As it would go, we got a bit turned around (read: LOST), ended up a Bear Lake trailhead (same difference, right?) and were completely famished since breakfast was a little over an hour ago.  So although it was not our intended target, we quickly set up camp to eat lunch.

I’d like to tell you we made a fire, over which we grilled fresh caught fish from a mountain stream but really we ate deli salami and pre-sliced cheese in the parking lot.

MamaP had to make a run to the potty and I told her to set our lunch tote by the car on the way, while I gathered up everything else being sure to leave no trace.

With our tummies full and our bladders empty, we were ready for the wilderness.

Well, almost ready.

We debated on which trail to take but finally settled on the one that was so short, it was only listed in feet.

And set off on our adventure.

Part way into our 10 minute hike, we ran into peril.

Although my dexterity is not disimilar to a light pole, I still managed to save myself and get back to enjoying the incredibly mountain views.

We were sure to note the local mountain fauna:

And much to our delight, we made it back to where we started from.  That seriously never happens when we’re together.

After all of our hiking efforts, we decided it’d be in our best interest to get Mexican food for second lunch.

And then, treat our tired legs to

a pedicure.

Of course we ate dinner and a snack before calling it a a day.

Part two is coming.  Can you believe I’m dragging this out into more than one blog post?

Little Miss 300 Days of Sunshine

Boulder is *known* for its 300+ days of sunshine.  It’s, like, famous for it.  I try not to be smug about it, but coming from the land of perpetual winter, I really can’t help myself.  So when Emily waltzed into town, I just knew she’d love this place so much…that she probably wouldn’t want to leave.

It was late afternoon by the time she arrived; the sun was strong still but the air was on the chilly side.  We caught up over coffee, I fretted about sunburn (because “Be careful Emily, the sun is incredibly strong here!”) and I accidentally over-smiled:

The hot sun dropped fast, so we set out in search of fire…

The Pearl Street performers…you wouldn’t be able to find this kind of fun in frigid Minnesota, you know.

Much to my disbelief, it actually got, dare I say it, a wee nippy out on the street.  We hustled home to warm our toesies, sip tea, and catch up on all the time we had missed out on since our move.

When we settled in for the night, I slept well, knowing the mountains and a perfect day would greet us in the morning.

The next day arrived, right on time as it usually does, and we headed back out to bustling Pearl Street to take in the sights.

Except, it was rather glum outside and you could barely make out the mountains.  We hung out all day pretend shopping, popping into stores solely to stay warm.  I was more than a little bummed the sunshine didn’t join us.

Nonetheless, I had a few more days to let CO blow Emily’s mind, starting out with the incredibly picturesque Chautauqua the very next morning:

Even with the sunshine, surprisingly, it was cold to start out with.  But, we got hot fast after tromping through the snow packed trails (and also because baby, we were born that way).

Emily gobbled the views right up.  Finally, the inevitable CO love affair was set into motion…

Unfortunately, the trails were super slick and would make anyone carrying camera equipment worth-way-more-than-my-car more than a little nervous.  So we had to turn back early.  Why, Colorado, why are you doing this to me?

To make up for our crappy “hike”, I took Emily to the most intricate tea house in Boulder.  What I imagined is us sipping pretty drinks outside.  What I didn’t expect is for the sun to skip town and leave us with a dreary, windy, messy day.  We took cover inside.

To top it off, her bloom tea didn’t bloom properly because it was apparently feeling shy.  I was beginning to worry Emily might not be having the time of her life after all…

Thankfully, a new dawn was waiting for us and I just knew a fresh start would change her mind.  I, my friends, planned to take her to Rocky National Park, one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Our drive in, in hopes of enjoying some leisurely snowshoeing:

Luckily, we were told, there was “Little-to-no chance of death, if you stick together and take cover in the trees.  Except, watch out for falling trees because those could kill you too.  It’s pretty nasty out there.”

Thank gosh we’re tough chicks from Minnesota because this weather was not for the faint of heart.

It took the entire evening, in front of the fire of our apartment, for my soul to thaw.  Since my hopes were dashed by the blizzardy madness of Rocky National Park, I realized I could only bank on one final thing.

We had to go skiing.

People FLOCK to this state to ski their ever lovin hearts out and I knew the slopes would be the perfect medicine to cure any bitter memories.

You know where this is going, yeah?

You know that great tune “I had the time of my life (and I’ve never felt like this before)”?  Pretty sure Emily never felt like this before.

I won’t even mention the horribly massive snowstorm that Emily had to drive through to catch her early morning flight back home because it’s all too much for me to take.

Emily, please come back someday?  We can do a re-do?

UPDATE:  Take a peek at Emily’s view of CO through her iPhone here!

Double the birthdays

(obviously) Double the birthday fun!

I know the average person only has *one* birthday, but Hubs has been lucking out year after year with multiple. You see, I get all gung-ho scouring the after Christmas sales for birthday pressies because “his birthday is right around the corner and might as well grab the good deals while I can!”  Little does my brain realize, Hub’s birthday is not, in fact, right around the corner but rather almost two months after those tantalizing Christmas sales end.  That’s 1/6th of a year, people.

And since his birthday is so far off, I’m forced to show him the pressies I bought so he can try them on and let me know if I have to return any before it’s too late.  Fast forward two months and his *actual* birthday shows up unannounced. Obviously, he gets additional/real presents and all sorts of birthday fun.  It’s all very predictable and nice.

But.  Not this year.  I actually stayed clear of the malls after Christmas since we are on a budget.  For his birthday gift, Hubs requested to go to a Minnesota Timberwolves vs Denver Nuggets game, so we got tickets for a game in April.

Then, on his actual birthday, he had no presents to open, EXCEPT for the cold I graciously handed over, and I didn’t even have a doggone card for him.  Dirty rotten, I tell ya.

The day of, I slapped together this blog post in honor of him and then after my track practice, we decided to meet up with friends for some ping pong and pizza.  Looks like wild crazy fun, eh?

Truth is, the weather was really mean and the night was low energy because I had a cold and subsequently transformed into a troll. These are not the proper tools for making magical birthday memories.  Not at all.

So that weekend, I declared a Birthday Redo.

It was a nice sunny day, so we biked to Noodles for lunch.  Hubs had a birthday coupon and so his meal was free.  I also seemed to sprout antennas overnight…

I did finally make him a card and wrote mushy stuff on it….

After lunch, we snuggled with this little 8 week old cutie,until he got scared of my moving shadow.  HE WAS SO ADORABLE.

Then, we hit up some shops near by and Hubs picked out new shoes, courtesy of some birthday money from his dear Mom.  They were an awesome score and he loves them – bravo MIL!

Then, we shared an ice cream

and grabbed a movie to watch at home.  It was a really good day.

Hubs, somehow you managed to sneak multiple birthdays out of me again this year and it was a good thing.  Happy, happy birthday (and leap year). Love you long time.