Weekend Things: My Mom’s “Best Birthday Ever”

Oh my god.  Was this weekend real or was it all a perfect perfect dream?

For the past few months, my family has all been in on my aunt, uncle and cousin making a surprise trip to Colorado for my mom’s 60th birthday and it was seriously so hard to keep something that fun and exciting a secret from the person I tell everything to!  I’ve had to be all nonchalant when I was actually bursting with excitement and I’ve had to manage plans behind the back of someone who likes to make plans and it was all 100% worth it.  Warning: I just uploaded 30-some pictures. 

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My mom, sister and I were going to the Shakespeare Festival on Saturday night so I made a plan for the family to do my mom’s birthday dinner that night at The Med in Boulder.  It actually seemed like the natural time to do a birthday dinner so she didn’t suspect a thing.  When she showed up at the restaurant, my Aunt Tricia and Emily were waiting at the table and she literally didn’t even notice them until my aunt turned to her and said “Happy Birthday.”  Her reaction was priceless!

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My uncle drove in from New Orleans so he was a few minutes behind everyone else and after we had successfully convinced my mom that he wasn’t coming, he showed up.  It was a shock-and-teary-eyed situation all over again and it was the cutest thing that’s ever happened.  Seeing my little mama sitting at her favorite restaurant, surrounded by all her loved ones was such a precious life moment.

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The three of us had to tear ourselves away from the table to make our way to CU for the Shakespeare Festival.  I might have been the only one of us who actually wanted to be there… but that might actually always be the case.  Shakespeare Nerd for life!  It was such a beautiful night for some outdoor theater sitting.  Plus third row tickets (oh hello, awkward amount of eye contact with the cast), hilariously talented performances all around and a run in with Hannah’s mom and sister!  We headed back to Pearl Street afterwards to find that my sister’s boyfriend Wayne, Joey and my Uncle Nick had been hanging out together since dinner.  Ugh family bonding at its best!  ‘Twas a perfect night, for real.

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All week my mom’s been sending me birthday plan requests and suggestions and I’ve been all agreeable and saying stuff like “sure, whatever” because I figured things would change once she knew the bigger picture.  It was kind of fun in a sneaky way 🙂  However, MY plan for Saturday was breakfast in Boulder followed by putt putt!  Turns out everyone was on board.  We split into two teams — me, Joey and my parents vs. my sister, aunt, uncle and Emily.

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The skies were generously cloudy, Mom and I got hole-in-ones (or is it holes-in-one??), Joey and I found some gold and after the scores came in, the verdict was that our team killed the other team.  Huzzah!  But all friendly competition aside, this little family activity was so fun!  My mom and uncle have been so into mini golf whenever my mom goes to New Orleans so I figured it was only right to do it on our turf this time around.  More please!

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My uncle is the dog whisperer.

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After a little bit of down time at my parents’ we all headed to Whole Foods to pick up stuff for a little Chautauqua picnic action.  BBQ chicken, potato and pasta salad, chips and guac, roasted veggies and my personal favorite, broccoli crunch salad were all packed up then unloaded at our picnic site so we could dig in.  Also: WINE IN A CAN.  I’ll be real, that’s the only thing I really cared about having at the picnic.  Priorities, people.

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An epic game of four-person Frisbee ensued post-dinner (um no, I was not one of the four) and I was like who are these athletic-looking people running and diving all over?  Joey conned me into playing later on and let it be known that yes, it is possible to be bad at Frisbee.  Afterwards, we packed it up and took a walk about the park.  Those four were totally intrigued by a baby bunny when I took that picture.  When we finally got back home at 9:30 PM Joey and I were like “whoa, we literally hung out all day today!”  And also decided it was the best day ever.

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My mom’s actual birthday was yesterday so everyone met at my house at 10 AM, then present unwrapping — Bean, Joey and I got her a gift card to the Denver Performing Arts Center and a Le Creuset cast-iron skillet — and family photo-taking ensued.  I’d like to point out that all four of those people are the exact same height.  Okay and maybe I’m that exact same height too…  P.S. Please note my new porch swing which I believe officially got approved by the whole group.  I LOVE IT.

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^^^ Um no, I did not know!

We made a very serious attempt at breakfast at Snooze but the wait on a MONDAY was STILL AN HOUR AND A HALF.  Um, no.  Is that place for real?  Since it was already 11 AM, we just did early lunch across the street at Machete.  Taco breakfast is something I can totally get behind.  Also, my mom had a breakfast margarita because it was her birthday and she’ll do what she wants on her birthday!  We spent the rest of the afternoon baking in the sun at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  Sweat mustache aside, I had fun seeing my mom get her plant/flower fix.  Confession: My favorite part may have been the lily pads.

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After everyone had departed and it was back to being just the five of us, we walked to dinner then grabbed ice cream at Little Man for one last birthday hurrah.  I totally regret getting Chocolate Pound Cake over Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Cup, even if it did have sprinkles.  We were graced with this cotton candy sunset on our way home and I felt this overwhelming rush of pure happiness over it being the absolute perfect weekend.  My mom told me it was her best birthday ever and that’s really all I wanted 🙂

P.S. Today, my family is gone, I’m back and work and Tulo got traded, so if you need me I’ll just be crying in my office.

A Weekend in Santa Fe

Girls Trip!

Earlier this year I decided my mom, my sister and I needed a quick girls vacation before things got all kinds of busy this summer and Santa Fe seemed like the perfect destination.  It’s only a six and a half hour drive from Colorado, there’s crazy good food and spending hours browsing jewelry shops and art galleries is really best done with a group of girls.  So, we headed out Friday morning and spent the next few days sipping margaritas, walking till we couldn’t walk no more, ogling over the brightest turquoise jewelry, eating mass amounts of green chile (duh!) and just soaking up some quality girl time in the Land of Enchantment.

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Road trip refreshment (new favorite flavor!)

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Crossing the border

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My two favorite girls before heading into town

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Olive oil & balsamic vinegar tasting — my mom bought a bottle of this one and it was incredible!

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Cheers to the start of vacation — this was my favorite margarita of the trip (jalapeno-infused vodka!) but it was also the most expensive…

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“A Slice of Hefen”

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Blue corn pizza crust!!  When the restaurant you planned on having dinner at doesn’t have a table until 9 PM, you settle for pizza.  For the record, this one was delicious!

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Breakfast at The Pantry never disappoints.  I always order the Buenos Dias with scrambled eggs and red chile.  And then my taste buds die of happiness!

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Marimba concert on our way to the Farmers’ Market.  They were killing it!

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Farmers’ Markets are my happy place ❤

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Why do I not know how to play anything on the piano?

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Don’t ask how I managed to not buy any new jewelry…

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My sister’s response to me telling her we were walking to dinner.

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But the walk was so worth it!  Can’t go to Santa Fe without making a stop at Maria’s.

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Sorry about the poor picture quality here, but are you seeing my mom’s face?!  Perfection!

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Did you know Santa Fe is the second oldest city in the United States and that it has both the oldest church and the oldest house?  Now you know.

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There’s over 100 galleries and art studios on Canyon Road — I think we walked through maybe 20 before art started to burn my eyes.

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Fun spinning yard decorations.

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Another Santa Fe favorite — Kakawa Chocolate House

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Chocolate snack because chocolate > art galleries

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My dear sweet mother.  Who did all the driving and puts up with my sister and I despite all the (loving) jokes we make about her 🙂

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The most amazing table side guac to ever grace my taste buds.  We demolished this plate.

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Except for that one time my sister told me she hated me (sisterly love at its finest :P), it was the perfect vacation and I know I’ll look back on it fondly for the rest of forever 🙂