a morning at echo lake

As I've mentioned before, going "out to the mountains" is a very Coloradan thing to do. Indeed, a huge advantage of living here is all the fantastically beautiful destinations that are just a short drive away. However, we sometimes struggle with just doing it. It always feels like a lot of work to pick a place to go and to pack lunches and to find all the water bottles and to put on sunscreen and to load up the car and to battle the traffic and to convince our kids to put one foot in front of the other...You know. (Or you don't know, and I'm jealous that you feel that way!)

Those are my excuses. You never (or, very rarely) regret just getting in the car and going. Even if you end up at a different hike than you'd intended, it's still going to be enjoyable and memorable. 

Before saying anymore, I must give a shout out to my dear husband Dan. He's wayyyyy better than I am about encouraging us to be outdoorsy (which is a bit ironic, since I'm the one who grew up as more of a "camper"). 

And, so, last Sunday, we loaded up the car and hit the road before 9am for Echo Lake. It wasn't exactly a hike, per se, but instead a nice path around a the lake that gave us a chance to stretch our legs, breathe the fresh air, give Bryna a swim, enjoy a picnic, and listen to few drones being flown overhead (grrr). 

And of course, afterwards, ice cream needed to be had. We headed into Idaho Springs and hit up the Georgetown Valley Candy Company. Their mint chocolate chip was divine. Spearmint, apparently. 

memorial day weekend highlights

// Willa had her last day of her first season of soccer. She did great with all the drills and practice, but had trouble with the scrimmages against other teams. Glad she tried it, but don't think we'll be signing her up for another season for awhile.

// We got bánh mì at Vinh Xuong Bakery 2. So good. I love the spicy tofu with added avocado. I think they're the best in Denver, but please correct me if you know better! Last time we were there the kids didn't love their sandwich, so this time we got them pork egg rolls and sesame balls, which were both a hit. Willa even asked us to order her a second egg roll! Dan also got a quail egg and pork bao from their refrigerator case to eat a couple days later and reported it was delicious. Also, if you go for lunch get their coffee! The best. 

// After Vinh Xuong, we walked across the parking lot to the Pacific Ocean International Marketplace. I was delighted to find frozen radish cake so I can make Char Kuih Kak soon, and then we bought way too many sweet treats. The best thing about Asian cookies, let me tell you, is that even though they have plenty of crap in them, they don't taste super sweet. They're just the right amount of sweet. The kids also loved looking at the live sea creatures for sale. Cam was squealing as he watched the crabs scramble overtop one another.

// On Sunday, we made a cherry galette and lots of other deliciousness for a BBQ with my sister. Dan grilled Colorado trout and corn, and Alison made a fantastic salad. Willa set the table and was very proud of her (plastic) flower arrangement centerpiece. We also made delicious cocktails and mocktails with cherry juice. The kids were floored when I rimmed their mini martini glasses with sugar. Livin' large! 

// On Monday morning we hit up a newish playground which was a ton of fun for all. Then in the afternoon I drove wayyyyy too far to get Willa a bike for her birthday (shhhhhh don't tell!) at REI. 

// 20.5 weeks! Told ya I was ready for maxi dress season ;)

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! 

cameron's second birthday!

As I write this, Cameron is completely and utterly consumed driving a Hot Wheels car carrier around the living room. He recently moved on to that after using his Bruder Loader Backhoe to move around a Thomas the Train engine

He loves toys. Things with wheels, especially. But his love for toys is pretty remarkable (particularly after I'd been used to a first child who was only rarely vaguely amused by something manufactured especially for children). 

Yesterday, we celebrated Cameron. It's always nice when a birthday falls on a weekend day, so we can all be together as a family. 

We started the day with sprinkle waffles and two kids delighted with a ride-in water-spraying fire truck thanks to Grandpa. We attempted to go to the Children's Museum, but didn't realize there was a trick-or-treat event happening (side note: is it just me or do there seem to be an excessive number of opportunities to celebrate an already excessive holiday?) so we enjoyed some fresh air and sunshine at Jefferson Park instead. 

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After Cam's naptime, serious celebrations commenced. More presents (thanks, all!) and then Auntie Al and Uncle "Jay-bit" arrived for a mango lemonade cheers and pasta dinner.

Cam was so enthralled with his new toys, that even shouting "cupcakes!?" elicited no response. So finally we decided to just light the candles and sing "happy birthday." Once he saw a double-decker cupcake coming his way, he knew what was up and wasted no time blowing out the candles ("I blew out candles!"). He put away an impressive amount of cupcakes and ice cream (homemade banana chip!) before diving back into playing. 

I found myself wanting to video the entire evening, because everything that came out of Cameron's mouth made me smile. He excitedly exclaimed "Daddy's pasta!" at dinner. He yelled "boom shaka-laka" at one point; not sure why. He can express himself better and better each day, and it's fantastic to hear his thoughts. He regularly says "thank you, mommy," which totally melts my heart.

He had trouble falling asleep after all the excitement, but had a purple Hot Wheel in one hand and Thomas the Train in the other. He woke up this morning asking for his loader and car carrier. "Keep playing!" is his mantra. We love you Cameron!