An end to childhood at The Broadmoor’s brunch

From the draft folder….

One of my family”s happiest places on earth is AAA Five-Diamond The Broadmoor’s brunch. This elaborate and famed brunch in Colorado Springs has over 150 enticing choices–from crepe and omelet stations to a huge seafood spread to a to-die-for Grand Marnier caramel sauce to gourmet breakfast and lunch items with a meat carving station to sticky buns that magically appear like manna from heaven.

The good: See above.

The bad: No brunch has ever compared to its grandeur and has set us up for a lifetime of disappointment.

Over the years, the kids have fine-tuned their strategy. On our first visit, Jamie made Bode cry after he brought Cheerios to the table, announcing “We do not eat healthy at The Broadmoor brunch.” Jamie introduced him to bananas foster and he never looked back. Related: Bode is famous for later coining the phrase, “I can’t eat anymore. I’m not full but my mouth is tired from having so much delicious food in it.” #FirstWorldProblems

Hadley is a voracious eater of all-things carbs and in the early years she could never make it to past the bread and pastry table. Now, she out-eats us all and made a whopping 10 trips to the buffet line.

Our most recent visit to The Broadmoor for my birthday is one I’ll never forget but for all the wrong reasons. We have been plotting when would be the right time to have the Birds and the Bees Talk with our 9-year-old son but have been stalling. The kid is grossed out during kissing scenes on TV and girls are the last thing on his mind after soccer, skiing, video games and pretty much everything in the entire universe. Several months ago, Jamie announced that before we had The Talk, we needed to tell him about Santa.  I partially agreed but what do the two even have in common? I mean, it’s not like Santa was delivered by the stork, right?

Hadley was doing the rounds at the buffet (as usual) while Bode and I were blissfully chin-deep in cheese blintzes smothered in berry sauce when without provocation, Jamie announced: “Bode, you know Mom and Dad are Santa Claus, right?”

He stopped eating, shocked, while I choked on food. Why was he doing this now?  Did he want the poor boy to have a negative association with one of our favorite places on earth?

Jamie continued. “Well, we are. Did you know that?”

Bode is a sensitive kid and responded with great emotion: “Noooooooo.”

He looked like he was going to cry  but after a pregnant, awkward pause,  he went back to eating and we never spoke of it again.. Maybe Jamie was right–the end of your childhood is less trauamatic when you can drown it in The Broadmoor’s bananas foster.

Hadley made it easy on us for the big reveal. A few years ago we were at the airport flying home from an Easter visit with the grandparents.  She was devouring her stash of candy she’d collected earlier that day and asked, “Mom, are you the Easter Bunny?”

“What do you think?”
“I think you are. No, wait, I think he’s real. Oh, I don’t know.”
“Do you want to know?” “Maybe, I’m not sure. OK, yes I want to know.”

And I told her. Disappointment, then relief flooded her face. She grabbed another handful of candy as she contemplated this new revelation. After a minute, she handed me a Reese’s chocolate egg (sharing is something she never does) and asked: “What about Santa?”

“Do you really want to know?”
“Yes, no, maybe not.”

Learning the truth about Santa was exponentially tougher because there’s a lot more build-up and excitement surrounding him.

Ultimately, she confessed, “Yes, I want to know.”
“It’s Mommy and Daddy.”

There was a flash of sadness but then an appreciative look as she reflected back upon all the gifts we’ve bought her that have been attributed to Kris Kringle. She grabbed another stash of candy, shoved it in my hand and queried.

“So, the Tooth Fairy and leprechauns. Not real, either?”

By now, my mouth was busting with her bribery chocolate and I merely nodded. Once she had digested the new information, she got a twinkle in her eye and started calling me out.

“So, when the Tooth Fairy came when we were evacuated for Hurricane Earl, that was you?”
“Yep, and it was really tough one because we didn’t have any cash and had to borrow from Grandma and Grandpa.”
“And when I leave out those cookies and milk for Santa?”
“Daddy devoured them.”
“What about all those pistachios Elphina ate?” (Elphina was her Elf on the Shelf and one morning, my daughter found her bent over in a drunken-like stupor surrounded by shells).
“Daddy and I ate them.”
“But what about when we found her in the kitchen with all those sugar cookie crumbs? WERE YOU AND DADDY RESPONSIBLE FOR EATING THEM ALL?”

Apparently, our imaginary friends had an eating problem.

The Cookie Monster(s)

The now-extinct carrot cookies

Another one from the draft folder. 

If my family has an achilles heel, it’s my homemade cookies. What can I say? They’re just that good and I have mastered the art of making ‘em in Denver (trust, me, high-altitude baking is an art).

The problem is I can’t ever make enough–they’re gone in record time.

I make everything from gingerbread cookies to oatmeal to sugar to chocolate chip to Scotchies. Recently, I had a craving for my mom’s old-fashioned carrot cookies with orange butter cream so I found a recipe and made them. I was careful not to mention that they had carrots to the kids (you know, the whole cookies + veggies thing might not go over very well) and quite predictably, they ravaged them like wolves.

Not even 24 hours after I made them, the entire batch as gone. As I looked into the empty cookie jar, I dryly observed to Jamie:

“You people have a serious cookie problem.”

“Yeah, the problem is you don’t ever make enough of them.”

The Light, I See the Light!

Here’s another post from January of last year I never published. Our first family newsletter still makes me laugh!

My goal for January was to purge and organize our home and I’m happy to say I have finished this major undertaking except for the garage. THAT is a project unto itself. Though I try to clean it semi-annually, Jamie ALWAYS wreaks havoc after pumpkin season and there are fertilizer spills, tarps and who-knows-what-else.

I had big plans to clean the garage on Saturday but was struck with the plague.

Me: “I have bad news. I’m too sick so we can’t clean the garage today.”

Hadley: “That’s the bad news? What’s the good news?”

“You get to do your regular chores today.”

Compared to cleaning the garage, that is welcome  news.

I’m still under the weather, which is a particular bummer because we’re having OneHeckOfASnowStorm and it’s depressing to be stuck indoors. I did very little adventuring in January but February will be filled with some of my favorites including Glenwood Springs, a family reunion at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center and The Broadmoor for my birthday. Lackluster January 2016 is well beyond me!

When you’ve lived somewhere for 12 years, it’s amazing how much you collect and it’s been fun to stroll down memory lane. One of my favorite things I uncovered was our very first family holiday newsletter that we sent December 2004. I started blogging shortly thereafter and it’s obvious I needed a creative outlet because I. Was. On. One. Do you know those families that sugarcoat tough years? I did the opposite because make no mistake: our transition to parenthood was rough with our sleepless 6-month-old Hurricane Hadley.  I’ll publish it here for your reading enjoyment.

Johnson Family News

For unto us a child is born, Unto us a daughter is given. And the parents shall be at her fingertips. And her name shall be called Wonderful, Crier, The Mighty Hadley, The Insomniac Babe, The Princess of Pandemonium. -James 24:7

We are pleased to announce that we have [barely] survived the first six months of parenthood! Between starting a business, building a home and birthing a child, there is never a dull moment.

Hadley’s Happenings

Hadley loves hiking with the Colorado Mountain Mamas and is very displeased when she is stuck indoors. She is known as the social butterfly of the babies and tackles them upon contact. “Why” is not in her vocabulary “admittedly, her only vocab consists of “Wah, I don’t want to sleep,” and “Wah, I want food NOW.”)

When not hungry and overtired, she is a complete joy and loves to laugh, have food fights, roll over, yank Mommy’s hair out, dance for Daddy, bounce off walls (literally in her Johnny Jumper), take baths, attack her friends and pull all-nighters.

There is little question who she resembles most with her spirited personality and looks; Jamie is just glad she has his brown eyes to verify that she is indeed his offspring.

Amber’s Anarchy

Amber’s transition from Adventure Travel Writer to Adventurous Unraveling Mother was reminiscent of her Murphy’s Law life. Though relieved Hadley was not born a black baby with buck teeth (as her prophetic dreams foretold), Amber became very familiar with the hospital before and after the birth. She had emergency on her finger a week before delivery but was displeased when it did not preclude her from diaper duty. Then, there was the infamous Bleach Incident a few weeks later when Amber made a trip to the ER after dumping a gallon of bleach in her eyes. The ER has since issued her a punch card; one more visit and she wins a free ambulance ride.

When not frequenting the hospital, Amber enjoys hiking several times per week with Hadley in a local hiking club. Amber has met several outdoorsy moms and her social group is now based in Boulder–the Granola Capitol of Colorado. She is proud to say that she is the only non-Vegan in the group and has yet to be force-fed tofu.

Jamie’s Jabber

Jamie continues to manage the operations and meltdowns at the Denver Newspaper Agency. He also launched a wedding website business and has successfully partnered with more than 15 national newspapers. As the helm of Customer Care, he enjoys correspondence with neurotic and emotions brides across the country. He claims it makes his own estrogen-overdosed household seem less neurotic and emotional.

This past summer, Jamie slaved in soil that made the frozen tundra of the Motherland look like the Garden of Eden. He installed a sprinkler system, sod and even single-handled carried one-ton rocks across the yard…just for fun. Publicity Amber claims he accomplished these great feats on a mere five hours of sleep. Five hours over the course of five months, that is. He is also the Ward Mission Leader at church and relishes in his early-morning meets on the lone day he would have been able to sleep in.

When asked what inspires him, Jamie replied, “Fear of Hadley. Must do what Hadley says. Must not anger the Hadley. Must keep Hadley from crying!! Must get Hadley to sleep!!! KEEP THE HADLEY HAPPY! MUST KEEP THE HADLEY HAPPY!!!!”

Couple’s Corner

We feel so blessed this holiday season to celebrate the birth of the Savior with our beautiful baby in our new home. We wish you all the best in 2005 and of course: “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night(‘s sleep!)

A Poor Wayfaring Woman of Grief

My Facebook memories have been focused on the nightmare that was selling our house last summer. You would think that trying to sell in one of Denver’s hottest housing market ever would be a slam-dunk but if God doesn’t want you to sell your house yet, you will not sell your house. It took three buyers to finally close the deal.

I wrote but never published this story last year of when life downright sucked. Our house sale had just fallen through [for the first time], financial stress (hello, $2,000 we dumped into my car) and just really feeling knocked down at every turn. I never really doubted that we were supposed to leave a home and life that we loved–from the get-go, God made that pretty clear– but I felt like we had been left to flounder in the process. Where was He during our hardest times?

On a particularly crummy 95-degrees-with-broken-air-conditioning-day, I was venting on the phone to my friend Lisa and a few minutes later, the doorbell rang. I glimpsed through the peephole and could only make out of the shape of a woman so I figured it was her coming to bring me a tub full of ice in which to soak my sorrows. When I opened the door, there was an African-American gal, early 20s, looking hot and uncomfortable. She started her spiel selling some magazines and really, it was the last thing in the world I wanted to deal with. But I was an LDS missionary once and know what it feels like to be pouring your guts out to a complete stranger on the doorstep and learned that even when you have zero interest, there is always an opportunity to be kind. Jamie, in particular is always so considerate to door-to-door salesmen and cold calls.

So I listened to her and my frustrations left me as I saw that she looked as miserable as I felt. I nicely declined her magazine subscription, pointing to our multiple fans blowing in the house and the missing For Sale sign that had gotten swiped that week. “We’re not really in a position to pick up a magazine subscription but I’ll tell you what. You look hot. May I offer you some ice water?”

She melted. Literally. I thought she would start crying as she gratefully accepted, briefly stating that Colorado had been tough, she was ready to quit but they were moving on to Kansas the next day. And on that doorstep, two strangers on the verge of their own breaking point connected in a way I can’t explain as we both unloaded our trials and frustrations.

We only spent a few minutes together but it was a cut of eternity. I wished her luck and she turned to leave but came back to shake my hand. “Thank you,” she said with great emotion.

A wash of peace came over me. This…she…was my answer. God had not forsaken us. This was all happening in His time and from that moment forward, I never doubted we were in His hands.  The encounter was so powerful and transformative that I felt God himself had been at my doorstep.

I love love love the words to one of my favorite hymns, A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, and cried as I relayed the experience to my kids that evening.


  1. 1. A poor, wayfaring Man of grief
    Hath often crossed me on my way,
    Who sued so humbly for relief
    That I could never answer nay.
    I had not pow’r to ask his name,
    Whereto he went, or whence he came;
    Yet there was something in his eye
    That won my love; I knew not why.
  2. 2. Once, when my scanty meal was spread,
    He entered; not a word he spake,
    Just perishing for want of bread.
    I gave him all; he blessed it, brake,
    And ate, but gave me part again.
    Mine was an angel’s portion then,
    For while I fed with eager haste,
    The crust was manna to my taste.
  3. 3. I spied him where a fountain burst
    Clear from the rock; his strength was gone.
    The heedless water mocked his thirst;
    He heard it, saw it hurrying on.
    I ran and raised the suff’rer up;
    Thrice from the stream he drained my cup,
    Dipped and returned it running o’er;
    I drank and never thirsted more.
  4. 4. ‘Twas night; the floods were out; it blew
    A winter hurricane aloof.
    I heard his voice abroad and flew
    To bid him welcome to my roof.
    I warmed and clothed and cheered my guest
    And laid him on my couch to rest,
    Then made the earth my bed and seemed
    In Eden’s garden while I dreamed.
  5. 5. Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
    I found him by the highway side.
    I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
    Revived his spirit, and supplied
    Wine, oil, refreshment–he was healed.
    I had myself a wound concealed,
    But from that hour forgot the smart,
    And peace bound up my broken heart.
  6. 6. In pris’n I saw him next, condemned
    To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
    The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
    And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
    My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
    He asked if I for him would die.
    The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
    But my free spirit cried, “I will!”
  7. 7. Then in a moment to my view
    The stranger started from disguise.
    The tokens in his hands I knew;
    The Savior stood before mine eyes.
    He spake, and my poor name he named,
    “Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
    These deeds shall thy memorial be;
    Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

That Sunday in church, I commented to Jamie how this hymn had not been sung for several years and lo-and-behold, THAT would be the Sunday that a man performed it. Another confirmation.

It would take another couple of months and floundering for everything to come together. We were at the do-or-die point. We HAD to sell the house, otherwise we would not make it to Utah for the beginning of school. Jamie had asked our home teacher for a Priesthood Blessing and in that blessing, he was told the house sale would happen and that there were reasons for the delay, some of which we knew (the construction of our new house was behind) and some of which would be later revealed.

Two days later, I was walking into Sprouts Farmer’s Market when I received a call from our Stake Public Affairs Director. My calling was as the media specialist for several years and I worked with community leaders on several campaigns. I had been released the previous year to work in Cub Scouts so I was curious about the call. He first requested I write an article for them about Teacher Appreciation Night (a special evening where our graduating seniors celebrate the teacher that has most impacted their education).

I told him I would do it and then he had another request. “Would you be able to help with the media tours for the Fort Collins Temple Open House?” That was where I hesitated. What he was requesting was a great honor. When a new temple is built, a block of time is scheduled for the general public to come through and learn about it. We were remiss to have to miss the open house because school in Utah started one week after the date he was requesting for me to help.

I explained my situation and he was totally understanding. We left our conversation, “I’ll let you know,” regarding helping with the media tour on that Tuesday in August.

I couldn’t get our conversation out of my head all day. Later that night, I shared with Jamie, “What if one of the reasons our house hasn’t sold for all these months is because I am supposed to be here to help with the Open House?”

The next morning, we had another showing. It was a short one–the buyer was in and out of the house in 15 minutes–and from experience, we knew that was a bad sign. I was in my office an hour later when Jamie came in. “I think you’re correct and you’re supposed to help with the Open House. No matter what happens, we need to be here so you can do that.”

We put our faith on the line.

Not even 30 seconds later as he was walking downstairs, our realtor friend Stan called to say that man who had the quick tour that morning was putting in a full offer on the house.

Jamie raced back upstairs, “You’re doing the open house, right?”  ”Yes, that’s what we discussed.” “Well, after we decided that, an offer finally came through.”

And it was the golden offer we needed.

So, we loaded up our moving PODs on a Monday night in August, I helped with the media tours at the temple on Tuesday, that night we finished loading a third POD because everything didn’t fit, Wednesday we were driving to Utah and the kids started school that following week.

I learned a lot of lessons from this move, the most important of which is when God tells you to do something and you delve right in, you also need to trust in His timing.


The real nightmare of showing your kids horror movies

Them gem was written two years ago and still in the draft folder. 

My kiddos are turning 9 and 11 and both have been begging me to watch scarier movies. After all, they’ve overcome the trauma of the Wizard of Oz’s flying monkeys, so they should be ready for The Shinings of the world. Right? Wrong.

Call me an overprotective mom, but I’m appalled I spent my tween years watching Friday the 13th at sleepovers where we’d freak each other out by pretending to bring Jason–the silent, undead and unstoppable killing machine–to life. I still remember my adrenaline-fueled bike ride home from my friend Avril’s in the dark after watching Children of the Corn, certain that didn’t bike fast enough, I’d become part of that  dangerous religious cult of children who believe everyone over the age of 18 must be killed. Fortunately, I was only 12 so I was safe. OR WAS I?

Related: College Humor’s Horror Movie Daycare is a must-see if you’re a child who grew up watching the horrors films of the ’80s and ’90s.

I’ve kept my kids pretty sheltered so I figured I’d ease them into the scary-movie genre with Watcher in the Woods. This 1980 American horror mystery thriller film may be be produced by Walt Disney Productions but the movie–in particular the mirror scene at the carnival–haunted me for years.

They laughed in my face. “Mom, that wasn’t scary at all.”

I decided to up the ante with Signs. If stalker in the woods didn’t freak them out, maybe Mel Gibson as a fallen Reverend coupled with aliens would.

They were definitely freaked out but I talked them through the deeper meaning of the film. We even had a really in really in-depth spiritual discussion about signs that are around us every day and I thought all was well.

Until I went to bed.

In the middle of the night, I felt something pressed up against me and realized I’d been curled up in a ball. I felt a toussle of long hair. Hadley. Then I heard someone else breathing heavily. I reached over her to find her brother nestled up against her.

I’ll take that as a Sign we’re putting a kibosh on scarier movies for a while.



Bode’s first race

Another one from the draft folder, dated Oct. 12, 2015. 

Our elementary school has a cross-country team for grades 4-6. I really wanted my daughter Hadley to join because she’s a talented runner but she was reluctant, citing she’s more of a sprint and middle-distance runner, not long distance.

Fair enough. I’m wisely learning to pick my battle with my tween so made the deal that if she joined, I wouldn’t make her do any of the meets…that she could just do it for the joy of running. I motivated her by promising that her increased fitness and endurance would help her with hiking, something she is passionate about (read about her first 14er she climbed last summer).

Out of nowhere, my son Bode piped up. “I want to join the cross-country team.”

“You know it’s running, right?”

“Yes, I know, Mom.”

Bode is many things but a runner is not one of them. First, he has my side of the family’s build (short and stout), not long and lanky like Hadley from the Johnsons. Second, he jerks his head around like a bobblehead because he thinks it makes him run faster. Third, he’s never shown any interest in running and thinks our longer hikes are downright painful.

To his credit, he has enthusiastically attended all his twice-weekly practices, even during sweltering temperatures. And in typical optimistic Bode fashion, he never complained. Another perk I hadn’t anticipated: he has never been better at soccer. That kid can run faster and for longer, which has increased  his confidence and enthusiasm for the game. It has been a joy to watch him this season.

I kept  my promise to not make my kids actually compete until Bode casually mentioned he wanted to try one of their meets.

“You know it’s running, right?”

“Yes, I know, Mom.”

I picked Bode up early from student council and we tore over to a neighboring school that was hosting. He was delighted that in addition to his own peers, most of his soccer team’s buddies were racing as well.

Denver hadn’t seen rain in what felt like months so, of course, the sky was heavy with dark, drooping clouds. A few raindrops started falling so the organizer made the decision to start the boy’s race a bit early. The 1-mile course covered a series of hills and I quickly lost sight of him.

Enter: the downpour.

And then the hail.

Most of the parents ran for cover but I stubbornly stood out there getting pelted. If my boy was going to run through this weather, I was going to be there to greet him at the finish line.  Besides, if anything, seeking shelter from the hail would just make him fun raster, right?

As Bode rounded the final hill, I shouted, “Run, Forrest, Run!” Of course, he didn’t understand the Forrest Gump reference but I beamed with pride as I watched my “non-runner” run his guts out to the finish line.

Bode was drenched and his skin flaming red from getting pelted by the hail but he was beaming. Out of a field of about 40 boys, he took 12th, narrowing missing the top 10 medals but he didn’t care. His first cross-country race taught me a thing (or 12) about what it  means to be a runner. And it’s not about running.He’d tried something new that was hard for him and he did his very best. For him, that was enough.

Though, unlike Forrest, he unambitiously stopped at the finish line instead of running from coast-to-coast for an additional three years.

Better luck next race.


Love and Marriage: The Laundry Wars

This beauty from my draft folder is from a few years ago. Ahh, the memories!

In most ways, Jamie and I have a very traditional marriage. I take care of most household chores and the children. He works, pays the bills and quarterly taxes and raises freakishly large orange creatures.

Remember, I said MOST WAYS. 

I do the laundry. I hate doing laundry but when we were engaged, I saw how Jamie did laundry and I wanted no part in it (his method involved large heaps of clean clothes that were never put away all week long). Though I don’t claim to be the perfect laundress, my process involves washing, drying, folding and putting away the laundry on the same day. I’m also moderately obsessive about doing laundry when we’re on vacation (if possible) and can’t stand coming home with a suitcase full of dirty clothes.

Jamie, on the other hand, likes to mix his clean clothes with his dirty ones in his suitcase.

It’s like nails on the chalkboard, peeps.

I do laundry a couple of times a week so usually stay on top of things, for which Jamie is openly grateful. But the other day, he made an unusual request.

“Where is my Nike shirt?”

“Which Nike shirt?”

“My grey one. It’s not in my drawer.”

“Then it’s probably in the dirty laundry.”

He proceeded to dig through the laundry basket. “HERE IT IS. Why is it not washed?”

“Let’s see. It’s Thursday and I did the laundry on Monday. That means you must have worn it in the last two days.”

I am the master of deduction.

Jamie is picky about what he wears but for some reason, he was hell-bent on wearing that shirt. And this, my friends, is where another laundry pet peeve comes into play. On the rare occasion he does a load of laundry, he only washes his clothes and nobody else’s.

A few minutes later I walked into the laundry room to see he’d thrown a few of his shirts into the wash (another peeve: not running a full load).

“Jamie, do you see this pile of dirty clothes sitting by the washing machine? It would be swell if you’d put some of these other clothes in to wash as well.”

His response? “I don’t want that dirty stuff touching my stuff.”

Dude needs a lesson in airing dirty laundry.

Utah’s culture club

From the draft folder, October 27, 2016.

I’ll admit that moving back to Utah was never in my game plan. Ever. Though I loved my college experience at BYU and living in Salt Lake City for five years, I’ve never been a huge fan of the culture here. The “are you or aren’t you (Mormon)” issue. This come from both sides. When I started my job at Snowbird, the anti-Mormon marketing staff vetted me to see if I was. And I’ve heard some saddening stories about Mormons not being inclusive to those not of our faith. Frankly, I don’t care what what you are. Can’t we all just get along?!

Utah County is home to many of the orthodox Mormons who live in a “Happy Valley” bubble, Salt Lake City is a mix of those in and not of our faith with a liberal streak, Park City is known to have many anti-Mormons and “Jack Mormons”–those no longer practicing. The high school’s drug problem is exponentially higher than anywhere in Utah.

I wasn’t sure what to expect about the Heber Valley but thus far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Small-town kindness rules over any religions affiliations. You know, the way it should be. I don’t feel like I’m in Utah, just that I’m in a a friendly place where people go above-and-beyond to help one another. We’ll see if/how that opinion chances once we’re more settled.

Before we had even moved into our ward, I randomly had the Teachers (boys ages 14 and 15) call to see if our family was in need of service that night? “Check back in a few weeks for our move, Dude.”

And then the older girls (Mia Maids ages 14 and 15) thoughtfully left this for Hadley. Jamie was offended by its size.

But I’m just grateful for the warm welcome of our beautiful community.

Things I Miss About Colorado

October 8, 2016 was the first night we slept in our new home. Today marks six months since we moved in.

As I was going through my draft folder, I saw that I had started this list “Things I Miss About Colorado” back in October. The longer we’re away, the more I miss Colorado and yet Utah somehow becomes more amenable to me. Every new month brings back Colorado memories and I suspect it will take at least a complete year until I can really move on and be able to truly celebrate the new traditions we’re building.

It’s curious because I really don’t want to move back. I have a firm confirmation this is where we’re supposed to be but I often wish I could go back in time to the way it was when Hadley and Bode would play for hours with their stuffed animals and our world was full of endless days of magic and wonder.

The biggest thing I’ve been mourning is the loss of childhood. Hadley and Bode spent a magical childhood in Colorado and Utah will be their adolescence. My job gave them unprecedented access to grand openings, exclusive previews and travel, travel, travel. I laughed when we returned to the Colorado Springs Grand Opening of Great Wolf Lodge in February. As they gave Hadley her VIP lanyard, she raved, “It’s so good to have something around my neck again!”

Ahhh, the life of a former VIP-turned-regular tween.

Hadley initially adjusted surprisingly well, quickly making friends and landing on the honor roll but has had some heart-wrenching struggles these last two months that have less to do with the move but more to do with toxic middle school. Bode forms much deeper attachments to people and places so the move was harder on him but he is slowly forming deeper connections and is in a happy place with weekly coding classes at the library with his best buddies and spring soccer starting soon.

As for me, I’m still feeling at a loss. Of course, I miss the amazing perks and privileges that came with the life I built in Colorado. But mostly, I miss knowing what new direction I should be taking. I miss being known and needed, and being a builder and connector of people.

Here are other some things from my list of Things I Miss About Colorado:

Our friends. Jamie and I were best friends with the parents of our kids’ best friends. Every time we got together (which was often),  it was a huge party for everyone. We’re making wonderful friends here but it will take years to rebuild. I miss sending an email to see if anyone wants to go for free 7-Eleven Slurpees and a bike ride…and having 30 people show up.

Our house. It had a much better layout and the rooms were more spacious. We’re growing used to some of our frustrations with our new space and will be working a lot to install our yard this spring and summer.

The many wonderful places. Golden. Strolling along Clear Creek. Washington Avenue. The hikes. Chautquaua. YMCA of the Rockies. Playing for hours and biking through Van Bibber Creek.

Target was 2 minutes away, Costco was 10 minutes. Though I’m not a big shopper, I miss the convenience of regular store hours. Small-town living often has shortened hours and the most random closure dates. Yes, Woodland Biscuit Company, I’m talking about the fact that you’re closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays after we drove a half hour for breakfast.

October and April in Denver. Glorious. Mud season in the mountains is not.

Free stuff. Since I’m still running Mile High Mamas, I continue to get invited to a barrage of event, VIP previews and travel invites. It’s depressing not to do any of them (and not be able to afford the ones in Utah!)

Things I don’t miss:

The view behind our fence



The big city and an endless barrage of franchises

Marijuana in the news every day


Of course, I could write a separate list of Things I Love About Midway after just six months and I know it will continue to grow.

To combat our family’s homesickness, we are returning for 10 days of play this summer and I cannot wait to visit our Colorado home again.

A prize-winning cabbage

From the draft folder, April 14, 2015.

“I can win a major award!” My son Bode squealed at me across the field as I picked him up after school.

“A major award” conjured up images of “liquid sex” à la  Christmas Story so I waited until he got closer to expound.

“What are you talking about?” I noticed he was holding a plant.

“This!” He excitedly thrust it into my hand. “Third graders are competing in a contest and the winner will win a $100, no, $1,000…or maybe was it $10,000 scholarship if they grow the biggest cabbage!”

I could see it in his excited little eyes. The kid has been bred to grow giant pumpkins.

But wait there, was a catch and he blurted out:

“Everything is great except for…”


“The part of the scholarship being reward to a random winner.”

He has more of his dad in him than I’d prefer.