The Good: The plane ride to Denver was smooth and Claire was very good. We used the airplane tv, the laptop with her favorite shows (Sid the Science Kid and Sesame Street), along with snacks and coloring books as distractions.

The Bad: We arrived at my mom’s house past Claire’s bedtime so our attempt to put her straight to bed in a new, strange house didn’t go very well and ended up being an hour and a half adventure of holding, reading, and then me sitting near her crib pretending to be asleep as she jumped around and talked to me trying to get my attention. I finally won by boring her to sleep. One for Mom!

The Good: We had a nice dinner with my Mom and Ed that evening – it was the menu I told you about before and was very good. Then we had breakfast with them and my little sister the next morning. We had an afternoon BBQ with Huz’s family (this included all his sibs and their spouses, so there were 9 adults, 3 kids, and 4 dogs there).

The Bad: It was freezing during the BBQ which was held at a park, so there was little relief. Claire donned some slipper socks that were her Nanna’s (Huz’s mom) over her pants since she was only wearing sandals (way to pack for the mountains, Mom!). They looked like cheap Uggs.

The Good: We had breakfast out with my dad and little sister.

The Bad: Claire cried and arched her back through most of it, so Huz had to walk her up and down the sidewalk while his omelet got cold.

The Good: Huz drove a motorcycle for the first time in his life, thanks to my Dad. He said Huz was a natural and now he’s been bitten by the bug and there is talk of him getting a bike when he graduates (and gets a job to pay for said bike). Claire also rode a motorcycle for the first time (between me and my Dad and she said “no ride, no ride” as soon as we started, so we turned around and dropped her back off with her aunt while I rode with my Dad). It was really fun and during the ride I was telling my dad that the Southerners have their ATVs which just sounds so redneck, but if it’s anything like motorcycling it’s probably really fun.

The Good: That afternoon, we had a big family BBQ with my family (12 adults, 3 kids). Then Huz and I went and saw the Terminator that evening, which was chest-rattling loud and entertaining.

The Bad: There wasn’t really any bad that day, but there was the next. Both Huz and my mom got the flu or food poisoning, don’t know which, and were in bed most of the day while I watched Claire, who was cranky and mommy-dependent. Thankfully, the bug they got only lasted 24 hours and, thankfully, Claire and I escaped it.

The Good: The Leonard Cohen concert at Red Rocks that Huz bought expensive tickets for several months ago was amazing. I had never been to Red Rocks before and the view was stunning. I wasn’t even the biggest Cohen fan, but that little man (he’s 75 and skips on and off stage like a little boy – I love him!) made me cry no less than 5 times because of his humility, his powerful words, and his amazing dedication to song and lyric. It was a religious experience and I’ll never forget the benediction he gave at the end: “I know it’s hard and tricky, but try to be kind.”

The Bad/The Ugly: The concert was supposed to be on Tuesday night but because of freezing rain (40s plus rain in an outdoor concert = no good), it was postponed to Thursday night. This happened to be the night that my middle sister had planned for a girl’s night out for her, me, my mom and my littlest sister. Well, she didn’t exactly plan it other than booking a limo for us. We came up with the rest of the evening, which entailed going to a comedy club to see Shane Mauss and then to the Melting Pot afterward for dessert. Long story short, she didn’t take too kindly to me having to mess up her plans and instead of seeing the situation as one out of my control (I didn’t cause the weather and spending $170 on tickets is a lot of money for me to just throw away) and trying to reschedule the limo, she guilt tripped me so much that I cussed at her (saying I can’t control the effing weather and what did she effing want me to do!?) and hung up. I was then berated by a dozen evil text messages about how I’m a gluttonous bitch who doesn’t care what other people do for me or how much time or money they spend. I even offered to split the cost should she not be able to get her money back, but she wouldn’t have it. I’m afraid this fight, which you must know is just a small example of fights I’ve had and many, many others have had with her, might be the end of our relationship. I’ve waited a long time for her to grow up, but if I’m 33 and she’s 26 and we still can’t stand each other, there’s no sense in forcing a relationship that is only there by the institution of family (we share a mother).

The Good: Since our concert was canceled and I had no plans, Huz and I decided (since he was feeling better) to go to Central City and try our hand at gambling for the first time.

The Bad: Pretty much the entire experience. First, I left my purse in the car so I’d have nothing to carry. It was late so after parking we went into the nearest casino that had been recommended and found the buffet. They ask for id’s before you can sit down (not because they serve alcohol, because they don’t at the buffet, but because you’re in a casino). I had forgotten mine in the car and said I’d go get it. The chick was like, “no, I’m sorry, but you can’t go anywhere until security gets here.” I was like, what!? I already felt so worn out and assaulted from fighting with my middle sister that I really didn’t need this. The security guy came and was nice enough to let Huz go get my id out of the car while I stood there with him for 15 minutes. Finally getting the okay from security AND management, we went to the buffet for dinner. It wasn’t very good, but I ate as many crab legs as could fit in my stomach just to get the most out of my $16. Then we tried our hand at the casino. Wandering around like children lost in the mall, we finally got $20 cash and wasted it all on penny slots. We also got yelled at by the bartenders because we weren’t ordering drinks correctly (Huz couldn’t go get both of our drinks – we had to go separately…Huz couldn’t go get a second from the bartender but most order at the machines so that they could time us to see if we were getting more than one drink every 30 minutes). I sucked down my second amaretto sour and we left with no desire to return. It was a depressing place full of old people and rednecks staring blankly into machines that just sucked them dry without them appearing to notice. I felt like I was in a horror film.

The Good: Careening down the foggy mountain away from the casino at 10:00, we decided to make the day a good one by seeing Up at a 10:30 showing. I don’t think I’ve been up that late in a long time, but it was a good movie to brighten my very dreary day.

The Good: I went out for happy hour with an old high school girlfriend who allowed me to vent both about World War III with my middle sister and the casino experience. Then we chatted about our lives, sharing some angst over career paths, children (me: having one and being tired, her: not having any, but feeling the pressure). We got nice and tipsy and then her husband came to join in the fun. We went back to their place for a bit and I almost fell asleep on their couch before they took me home. Huz enjoyed that evening with his little brother who just finished an MA in Philosophy, so they talked shop and future endeavors in the academic field.

The Good: Driving up the mountain as a family (me, Huz and Claire) to see Echo Lake. It was a gorgeous day and Huz felt a wave of emotion as he shared the beauty of his childhood home with his daughter, who was having a great time chasing ducks, looking at all the trees, and climbing rocks. She’s an outdoor girl at heart.

The Good: Going to the Denver Zoo with Huz’s parents. They loved seeing Claire run from animal to animal and saying “bear” like she was from the East Coast (she also started saying her own name a few weeks ago and is sounds like “care” with a Boston accent. ADORABLE.). She was fixated with the tigers and polar bear. She picks up new words every day now and that trip probably resulted in 10 new words for her.

The Bad: I saw an anaconda eat the face off a rabbit. No kidding. Nasty.

The Bad: The temper tantrum Claire threw at the end of the zoo trip (it was dinner time) and my phone ringing at the same time. I thought it sounded like my middle sister, who I am in WWIII with, but it was a friend from Nashville. I emailed her an apology for how mean I’m sure I was until I figured out who it was.

The Good: Visiting my Dad again and going on a drive to see how much the mountain I grew up on has changed.

The Good: My mom took Friday off from work and stayed with Claire while Huz and I drove to Ft. Collins to tour New Belgium brewery. We enjoyed lunch in town and had a good time sampling beer (man, are they generous with their samples! I was drunk before noon!) before the tour. I also took a lot of photos.

The Good: Having girl’s night out (revised) with me, my mom, and my little sister. After I got an hour-long massage which was my overdue Christmas gift from my mom (thanks, mom!), we met at a comedy club and laughed our asses off. Then we enjoyed dessert.

The Good: Breakfast with Mom and Ed on our last morning – I love green chili on my breakfast burritos!

The Bad: The ear-splitting scream that erupted from Claire during the aforementioned breakfast. Girlfriend has no patience for sitting still these days.

The Good: We made it home safely after a 2 hour plane ride that started off with some scary-ass turbulence (I heard a kid say “wee!” during it, but I have long since lost my fearlessness when it comes to things that could potentially kill me).

The Bad (but funny): Closing my eyes on the plane during a rare moment of Claire sitting on Huz’s lap and hearing him say, “Oh my God…Oh my God.” I looked over and immediately decided that the diapers we normally buy are awesome, but the Whole Foods brand works as well as a sheet of Kleenex. Huz was drenched with Claire pee. I couldn’t help but giggle as he ran down the plane to the bathroom with her and then came back even more wet since he had to carry her sopping wet against his shirt.

The Good: We got our bags, got the shuttle to our car ($71 for parking – ouch), got gas, and then to Sonic for our starving toddler.

The Bad: We had to pull over ad I flew around to Claire’s door, ripped her out of her car seat and beat on her back since she was choking on a hamburger bun and couldn’t breath. It was a terrifying couple of minutes on the side of the road. Thank Jesus in heaven she threw it up and was okay. I’m still shaking because of it.

The Good: Claire went right to sleep after finishing dinner (in her high chair where I could safely observe her).

The Bad: Our t.v. won’t turn on. Apparently we had some power outages while we were gone and it absolutely will not work. It is currently face down on the carpet while Huz digs in its electronic guts. Sigh. There goes another $500.

And that, my friends, was the longest post in history. I will post photos later.

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