Holidays, 2016

Not including Thanksgiving.

We kicked off our holiday season with a brunch at our house. Everyone does cocktail parties, so why not switch it up and do a brunch, right?

12-11party
Desserts.

12-11party2
Muffins and lunch stuff.

12-11party3
Bacon and nog toast. Egg nog french toast – only way to consume egg nog. Trust me on this one.

12-11party6
Drinks. Plus we had coffee.

12-11party7
Brandon’s corner (that is, the stuff he made).

This kind of ended up being an epic disaster, with people RSVPing and then not showing up and … terrible. We’re never hosting anything again.

In our continued adulting quest, we finally gave in and got a membership to the Denver Botanic Gardens (partially because they have a reciprocity program as well!). With this membership, we got free tickets to both Blossoms of Lights (at the main York location) and to the Trail of Lights at the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms. So, off we went to both.

bol3
Blossoms of Light.

bol4
Blossoms of Light.

bol10
Blossoms of Light.

tol2
Trail of Lights.

tol6
Trail of Lights.

tol8
Trail of Lights.

Brandon had to work, but I was able to make the traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my family.

xmas_eve
Trees and presents.

It went about as well as you’d expect holidays with the family to go. My brother put me down, parents mocked me, I hid, I found time to hang out with my niece and nephew, the usual.

I did fly out to Portland on Christmas Day to hang out with B, though, which was nice. The disaster that was getting back home (woo, non-rev travel …), was not.

But I did get to hang out in B’s “office” before he left for NYC on the 26th (well before the flight I was in theory going to take left).

pdx4
Pilot wife life.

Quiet New Year’s in bed, and I am happy the holidays are over.

On The Great Minnesota Get Together

Last year, the husband and I decided to skip Minnesota’s state fair and actually check out Colorado’s. It … was disappointing, to say the least. So, this year, we went back out to Minnesota. Much better.

It was actually a fairly simple trip, as far as fair visits go. Didn’t really try much new (except the apple version of the Minneapple pie), but enjoyed our favorites.

mn_state_fair3
Love the pepper building … even if I’ve never tried their food.

mn_state_fair4
Never ever knew the Fair had a grocery store, but it is a cool little place.

mn_state_fair6
I love cheese curds, but even I don’t think I could eat a family-size bucket of them … *urp*

mn_state_fair7
Scarecrow as part of an exhibit in the Agriculture building.

mn_state_fair9
Agreed.

mn_state_fair13
The fair had these guys around the fairgrounds to take selfies with. We did not.

mn_state_fair14
Because it’s not a fair trip without chickens.

french_meadow_dough-sant2
Mmmm, dough-sant.

fair_corn_dog_smoothie
Tried a smoothie. It was okay. B might be switching up his corn dogs …

mt_cheese_curds2
Not a bucket, but a boat of curds.

fresh_french_fries2
Realized I needed a photo halfway through snarfing these.

fair_fries_shake
Because french fries and chocolate shakes are a fantastic pairing.

minneapple_pie
Our deep-fried pumpkin and apple pies. I loved the pumpkin last time, but having the two together made me like the apple way better.

Pro Bull Riding 2015

Since we so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at PBR at the Stock Show last year, we decided to go again this year. I also learned the lessons of last year and bought better seats.

Continuing on with the “learning from history” theme, we also chose NOT to eat at the Stock Show itself, choosing instead to go to the Stockyard Saloon, which is basically on the grounds, but outside the paid admission area. The place is fairly old school – our beers were in cans! – but it wasn’t bad. We both had salads, I had a bacon cheeseburger and Brandon had a steak sandwich. The only thing that truly disappointed both of us was that the cheese on the cheese fries? Melted cheddar grossness. Like cheddar sauce, not actual shredded and THEN melted cheese. Some people like that … not me. I like my cheese not in liquid form.

After dinner, we headed into the Stock Show itself for a few moments. We were considering going to a PBR 101 thing, but ended up not quite having enough time. As a lot of the stuff is the same year after year (and Brandon’s foot was killing him), we mostly just hung out near the horses and talked to them before heading over to the Denver Coliseum

The bull riding itself (as well as team penning – got to see that again this year!) was awesome and the new seats weren’t bad. I think if we want truly good seats, we’ve got to hop on them as soon as they go on sale …

(Also: I need a better camera or figure out a better way with my point-and-shoot to get action shots …)

pbr3
Yes, the bull is bucking even though it doesn’t look like it here.

pbr4
Team penning.

pbr5

pbr8

On 2015

I did the goals post over at the tri blog, so I figured I may as well do that over here, too …

When it comes down to it, I have one major goal this year:

Embrace my inner awesome.

Simple, but oh so complex at the same time. For the triathlon-side of my life, that means a whole hell of a lot of training (and racing, but mostly training as that’s what I’m focusing on this year).

For this side of my life (so everything else), it means attempting to embrace positivity. It means de-cluttering my life, both figuratively and literally. It means attempting to tap back into my creative side. I painted again recently for the first time in a few years and it felt awesome. I also sewed something (that wasn’t mending); I made Brandon a pillow and I forgot how simple, easy and awesome they are to make.

It also means attempting to blog more here. Get my voice out. Maybe if I do that, I’ll get out of the job rut that I’ve been in for years.

In general, it means fully living life, embracing my fears and realizing that I am worth more than a lot of people think.

That I am worth more than what I even think sometimes.

I’ve never believed my own hype, the compliments from others. I’ve always downplayed them. I don’t want to go 180 degrees and be a cocky douchenozzle, but if I can get to the point where I can simply say, “thank you, I appreciate it,” I’d be content.

Holidays 2014

I’m trying to keep current with this thing for once in my life!

This time of year has been strange ever since I started working (what is essentially) retail. Christmas comes in mid-November and it doesn’t leave until early January. That combined with the fact that I’m the “help” and am not actually a real person in many customers’ eyes … really makes me kind of hate this time of year.

Still doesn’t keep Christmas from coming. If the Grinch can’t steal Christmas, neither can I.

Being an adult doesn’t help either. I’ve heard over the years that Christmas is for kids, and the older I get, the more I start to realize that’s actually pretty true. I realized that even clearer at the family Christmas Eve celebration as my niece (at 16 months) is starting to kind of grasp how this stuff goes.

For the family 24th celebration, we had to bring dessert. I brought my thumbprint cookies, because duh, but I also needed to bring either cake or pie. We’re a bit sick of pie in Casa Dino, so I decided to research Christmas cakes. Not much came up (yes, fruitcake is obvious, but I was NOT making a damn fruitcake) except for a buche de noel, a traditional French log cake. I found a super simple version (one that didn’t require me to make sugar mushrooms) and it actually turned out pretty well:

buche_de_noel4

Time with family is, well, time with family. We were supposed to go to my parents’, but my mom broke her arm on the 23rd, so everything got shifted to my brother’s place. He and Nicole stepped up and did a great job.

xmas_eve
Brandon in his AWESOME dinosaur sweater.

xmas_eve2
The table.

xmas_eve4
Swinging Amelia in my arms.

caprese_salad
Caprese salad. Actually really good.

xmas_eve_feast
The feast.

xmas_eve7
Amelia walking with Uncle Brandon.

xmas_eve9
First present she goes to was actually hers (from us).

xmas_eve11
With her Santa gift. I don’t think she quite understood it.

Christmas morning was rushed with us; Brandon had to go back to work so we had a half hour together, just enough time to make him breakfast. As a result, our present opening got delayed until the 27th. Such is life with two people who work unconventional jobs …

On Miner’s Maze Adventureland

Like I so often do on here, I get so behind in posting. I have been busy this summer and I will do my best to get caught up here in the next few weeks before I make new adventures.

Earlier in the year, I saw a LivingSocial deal for Miner’s Maze Adventureland, a mini-amusement park within Heritage Square in Golden, Colo. It looked like the kind of fun thing that would be a perfect excuse for a date with the hubby, so I bought it.

It ended up being a great deal – I paid $18 and it got us four attractions (a 2-for-1 deal if you buy the pass, or a $72 value if we had paid for each thing separately).

We did the Miner’s Maze itself (beat the clock in finding random things in the maze) as well as the Rocky Mtn. Ropes Course:

heritage_square
(Did not grab a shot while on course. Would have been a bad idea.)

The maze was “meh” while the ropes course was fun. Definitely tested balance, strength and agility.

After that, we channeled our inner hamsters by trying the Water Walkerz – a LOT harder than it looked.

heritage_square2
Brandon getting zipped up.

heritage_square3
Brandon falling after attempting to walk.

Good to try, but after a while, I really wanted out of that ball. Probably will never do that again.

The final activity we tried was the Silver Spring Bungee – get strapped in, hop on a trampoline and flip if you want to.

heritage_square5
Brandon flipping.

heritage_square7
Me bounding (it took a while before I felt comfortable enough to flip. I miss my youth where I would flip with abandon …).

All in all, a good deal and a fun date. Probably better if you know, actually have kids.

National Western Stock Show and PBR

If you recall from last year, we went to the National Western Stock Show last January. This year, however, we decided to go on a night that Pro Bull Riding was in town so I could FINALLY see it live. Brandon was okay with this not only because I really wanted to go, but also because he apparently watched a lot of PBR in college.

I worked that morning; I got off, we went for a quick run, showered and headed up to the NWSS complex. Our first stop was for food; we didn’t like the Feedlot buffet much last year, so this year we decided to try one of the other in-house restaurants.

stock_show

It was okay. I had a mediocre burger and Brandon had pulled pork. It was food, which was all we REALLY wanted.

After we got some food in our bellies, we wandered around a bit at all the exhibits. We went on one of the first days so not everything was there yet – we missed the main poultry, unfortunately – but it was still fun seeing all the animals.

stock_show2
Sheep.

stock_show3
Cows with downtown Denver in the background.

stock_show4
Happy goat.

stock_show5
Longhorn.

stock_show6
Brandon and a horse.

stock_show8
Brandon, turkey whisperer.

stock_show9
Cow sculpture and I.

Soon enough, it was time to head over to the Denver Coliseum for the main reason of the night – PBR! I think next time I’ll definitely splurge on better seats – the seats we had weren’t bad, per se, but we were quite far away from the chutes. In any case, it was a ton of fun. We also highly enjoyed the team penning event they had at one of the “intermissions” – that alone was almost worth the price of admission. I am glad we finally decided to do this, though – we both had a ton of fun.

pbr4
Fire logo in the dirt.

pbr7
Miss Rodeo Colorado and all the cowboys at attention for the National Anthem.

pbr9
Roping a rogue steer.

pbr10
Rodeo clown.

pbr11
pbr12
Ride that bull!

pbr13
Team penning finals.

pbr15
Wells Fargo stagecoach.