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Saturday 28 January 2023

A Look Back at 2022

How is it nearly the end of January 2023 already? Seriously, where has the month gone?

It feels like Christmas was just a few days ago, but it was actually over a month ago already. And that means it's been a month since I posted on here. Oops.

Let's get back to it with a round up of everything that happened in 2022. Just a short post, right? Wrong! You know I couldn't write a short post if my life depended on it - and especially not if it's a round up of a whole year's worth of adventures!

Anyway, enough babbling; let's take a look at 2022 month by month...

January is always our quietest month of the year, so like always, there wasn't an awful lot happening around here. Well, there was, but it was nothing fun. For the most part January 2022 was spent dealing with the direct aftermath of the Marshall Fire which hit our community on December 30th 2021. While we were lucky enough that the fire spared our home, its devastation had such a huge impact on our entire community. I spent my days helping out with donation drives at our elementary school. You can see my post about the Marshall Fire here

February always sneaks up on me and 2022 was no different. Our first birthday of the year comes in early February and this time it was Ava's 15th birthday. She had a party at home with friends, but I have no photos to share from that because mums with cameras aren't welcome at teen parties!

We celebrated Lunar New Year at Stanley Marketplace where we watched a performance by drummers and dancers as well as a lion dance. You can see the action over on Instagram here

Next up was Valentine's Day. Lola and Mathilde celebrated at school with class parties. This year the girls handed out pop rocks to their classmates and we made Valentine's boxes that looked like crystals to stick with the "rock" theme.

Just a few days later we were back at Stanley Marketplace again to check out the fun Selfie at Stanley exhibition. You can see all the pictures from Selfie at Stanley over on this post.

The end of February saw Russia invading Ukraine so we showed our Ukrainian friends support by joining a rally in Denver. 

March saw our first adventure of the year with a road trip to New Mexico and Arizona for Spring Break. We spent the first day driving to Santa Fe where we stayed for two nights. While in Santa Fe we visited Meow Wolf: House of Eternal Return, climbed the cliff dwellings at Bandolier National Monument, ate delicious sopapillas, and explored the cute downtown area. We then spent a day driving to Phoenix where Ava stayed with her best friend Sara who she had gone to school with in Berkeley. While Ava was hanging out with Sara the rest of us took a day trip to Saguaro National Park and Tucson, checked out lots of street art in Phoenix, visited the Desert Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Friendship Gardens. We then spent two days driving back home to Colorado with another overnight stop in Santa Fe on the way.

After Spring Break Lola and Mathilde started their latest activity: rock climbing. They've been taking rock climbing classes at a local gym ever since and they love it. I don't have any pics to share from that though.

Another month filled with celebrations. This time around it was Easter and Mathilde's birthday. We had a pretty quiet Easter at home (as always) but we went all out for Mathilde's 8th birthday. This year she chose a science theme for her party so we had lots of fun (and messy!) science experiments for Mathilde and her friends. They made lots of slime, made a huge mess with elephant toothpaste, created colorful displays with Skittles and warm water, popped smoke filled bubbles, smashed an atom shaped piñata, and ate a beaker shaped birthday cake. You can see all the action from Mathilde's science themed party on Instagram here and in a dedicated blog post (with instructions for all the experiments) here

May was a busy month with the school year coming to an end. Lola graduated from elementary school, but not without a little drama! You see, Kim, Ava, Mathilde and I all came down with covid in the second to last week of school. Ava missed her finals week as well as her end of year dance performance and I was worried that Lola would miss her graduation ceremony too. As it turns out, Lola kept testing negative and the rest of us got the all clear just in time for the last day of school. However, that night Lola's friend who lived next door (and was in her graduating class) started vomiting and tested positive for covid. I tested Lola the next morning and sure enough she was positive too. So we ended up spending the first week of Summer break (and my birthday) quarantining at home again.

Earlier in the month Mathilde had taken part in a fun gymnastics meet. I shared a video of her performing over on Instagram. You can check it out here.

May was a weird month for us weatherwise. As you can see from the pic below it was pretty sunny for much of the month. Warm enough to play in the kiddie pool and set up sprinklers under the trampoline, even. But then we got hit by a late snow storm on May 20th! Unfortunately this wreaked havoc on our newly planted veggie garden, but even more so on our front garden and trees which were already covered in new leaves and flowers. You just never know what you're going to get with Colorado weather! 

We started June the same way we ended May: in quarantine. Once Lola was testing negative again we were fine to head out and fit in a little fun before our big Summer break trip to Australia and Fiji in July. Of course, much of June was also spent preparing for our big trip.

As June is Pride Month went to Pride Festivals in both Boulder and Denver. We also visited Meow Wolf: Convergence Station in Denver for Father's Day. This was the first visit to our local Meow Wolf for Kim and the kids, but the second visit for me.  We rounded out the month with a visit to Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. You can see our visit here.

July was an extra busy and we found ourselves away from home for the entire month! We took a two day road trip to Los Angeles via St George, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada. We didn't make many stops on the way to Los Angeles but we did make sure to stop and check out the Seven Magic Mountains just outside of Las Vegas and the World's Tallest Thermometer in Baker, California. In Los Angeles we stayed in Venice Beach for a day before boarding a flight to Fiji on 4th of July. 

We spent five amazing days in Fiji experiencing so many new things. We went ziplining, bathed in mud baths, treated ourselves to massages, swam under a waterfall, took a day cruise to a private island, went snorkeling, and Mathilde even took a scuba diving class. We haven't included a stop over on our trips back to Australia in the past, but I'm not planning on doing it every time.

From Fiji we headed on to Australia where we spent about two weeks. We started our trip in Adelaide where we caught up with friends and family before taking a road trip to Melbourne. In Melbourne we caught up with more friends and family, went to see Hamilton, hung out on the beach and checked out lots of street art. We then drove along the Great Ocean Road back to Adelaide making stops at the Twelve Apostles and other rock formations. We also stopped in Mount Gambier to see the Blue Lake and the Umpherston Sink Hole.  Back in Adelaide we spent more time with friends and family, ate all our favorite local treats, checked out light displays, took a day trip to Hahndorf, visited to Giant Rocking Horse, and spent a few days at the Murray River with my family. Oh, and the girls all got their ears pierced too.

After a few weeks in Australia we flew back to Los Angeles where we spent a day hanging out at Manhattan Beach before starting our road trip back home. This time we did the road trip over three days and we stopped in Las Vegas to check out the sights. But first we stopped at the site of the original McDonalds. No longer a fast food restaurant, the building is now home to an unofficial McDonald's restaurant. It was really interesting to visit and was filled with so many childhood memories. In Las Vegas we
 visited Meow Wolf: Omega Mart (our third Meow Wolf for the year), ate at the Hello Kitty Cafe, bought candy at Hershey's Chocolate World and the M&Ms Store, swam in our hotel pool, strolled along the Strip, marveled at the Bellagio Fountains and floral displays, and took in the general tackiness that is Las Vegas.

You can see our big trip in more detail here.

August was a fairly quiet month for the most part. We spent the earlier part of the month settling back in after our long trip as well as preparing for back to school. We also spent a day at the Colorado Renaissance Festival which is always a favorite with the kids. You can see all the fun of our visit here.

Later in the month the girls went back to school. 10th grade for Ava, 6th grade for Lola and 3rd grade for Mathilde. Now that Lola is in middle school we have three kids in three different schools! This makes mornings a little hectic, but it works for the most part. 

September was a pretty quiet month with the kids getting back into the swing of the school year. Not much happened apart Ava going to homecoming. Her school's homecoming dance had a carnival theme so I made her this big top inspired skirt. 

Ava also auditioned for her school play in September and was happy to get a small role. She spent much of the month rehearsing after school. 

October is always a busy month with Lola's birthday and Halloween, but this year it was even busier than usual. I started the month with a quick trip to New York for Alt Summit. While I was in New York I caught up with friends, checked out Color Factory (which opened just a week after our last visit!), took in the sights at Little Island, ate lots of yummy food, did a lot of shopping, did a lot of walking around taking in the sights, and made sure to stop by my namesake pub for a drink. It's obviously named after me, right? It felt so good to be back in my favorite city!

While I was away in New York Mathilde started playing soccer for the first time. She joined her best friend's team part way through the season and she has become obsessed with soccer. The season only lasted about a month after she joined but there will be a new season starting in the Spring. 

Also while I was in New York Ava was busy with rehearsals for her school play. The performances took place over three nights just after I got back, which was good timing. 

Then it was time for Lola's 12th birthday. This year she had a Squishmallow themed party. I bought a kiddie pool that we filled up with the girls' Squishmallows as a "Squish Pit", we gave out mini Squishmallows to her guests, and I made a piñata in the shape of her favorite Squishmallow frog. 

Halloween comes right after Lola's birthday so we quickly squeezed in a trip to our local pumpkin patch, decorated the house and I finished up making costumes. This year Ava was Karen from Mean Girls dressed as a mouse, Lola was a pink witch and Mathilde was King from Owl House. I made a half-assed effort for myself and dressed as Eda from Owl House to go with Mathilde's costume.  

November is always a busy month in blogger world in the lead up to the holiday season. We attended quite a few holiday events including The Polar Express at Colorado Railroad Museum, Luminova at Elitch Gardens, the Dr Seuss Experience, and Ice! at Gaylord Rockies. We also checked out the amazing Dali Alive exhibition at Stanley Marketplace. 

I caught up with my friend Hanna, who I hadn't seen in ages, and we spent an afternoon together in Denver including afternoon tea at the beautiful Babe's Tea House

Lola also caught the theatre bug this school year and in November she took part in a 24 hour theatre project, staying overnight at school to work on performances that the kids wrote and directed themselves.

The kids had a week off school for Thanksgiving, but we didn't really get up to too much during this time. Ava spent the first half of the week going to driver's education which ended with her gaining her driving permit! We were able to snag a DMV appointment over Thanksgiving break and by the end of the week she was practicing driving in a nearby parking lot and then eventually out on the snowy streets. She has been driving for a few months now and it still feels so surreal to me that my baby is old enough to drive a car! 

Another month, another theatre project for one of the kids! This time it was ThesCon, a three day high school thespian convention for Colorado high schoolers in Denver for Ava. 

While Ava was busy with ThesCon, Lola, Mathilde and I got into the holiday spirit with our local Parade of Lights which kicked off the start of December.

Much of the month had a holiday theme with a visit to 13th Floor: Fright Before Christmas haunted house, holiday photos with Krampus, gluhwein and pretzels at the Christkindl Market in Denver, checking out all the fun at Camp Christmas, and walks around the city to see all of the holiday lights.

We spent Winter Break at home sledding with friends, drinking lots of hot chocolate and celebrating Christmas. 

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading!

I look forward to seeing what 2023 has in store!

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