Visiting Five Parks in and Around Denver

When one of my very good Disney College Program friends got engaged to her very own Prince Charming, I knew I had to be there to help celebrate! When we found out we were pregnant and would have a two month old at the time of their wedding, I was still convinced we needed to make the trip to Denver. My husband agreed, and we decided to enlist help from the grandparents, who eagerly said yes.

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Flash forward to the Wednesday before Memorial Weekend when we met my parents at the airport! Our baby did very well on the flight and slept the majority of the trip. As soon as we arrived and got all of our luggage, we headed straight to Four Friends Kitchen, a Southern-inspired brunch place in Denver. Our friends who had traveled to Denver told us we had to stop here, and it did not disappoint. It was delicious!

Our adventures had only begun! Traveling with a baby certainly changed the trip dynamics. We focused more on experiences and cared much less about restaurants than we had in the past. We stopped more often for diaper changes and nursing sessions. However, we had no shortage of fun times and saw some incredible places in and around the city!

Five Parks Around Denver in Four Days

During our trip, we visited five parks and walked an average of 3 miles a day. Since I had a baby in March, I haven’t been as concerned about my fitness although I do go on daily walk. That, coupled with the altitude difference, had my legs shaking a few times!

1. Garden of The Gods

GOTG

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! We headed to Garden of The Gods in Colorado Springs after leaving Red Rocks, which was about an 1.5 hour drive. Zach’s family used to live out this way (before he was born), so he’d always wanted to come to Colorado Springs. The views at Garden of The Gods were beautiful, and the paved trail was a nice surprise. Hello, stroller! We saw a rattlesnake and a bobcat here.

2. City Park

City Park is next to the Denver Zoo. We stopped here on our way to our hotel from the airport and walked the loop once. It was a great stop to stretch our legs. We had fun trying to see the animals in the zoo and even had an elephant sighting.

3. Rocky Mountain National Park

RMNP

It took about 2 hours to get here from our hotel, and the drive was well worth it. My parents love visiting national parks, and Rocky Mountain National Park was no exception! Since we were traveling with a baby, we primarily saw sights from the car, but still managed to walk over 3 miles. Driving into the tundra was pretty incredible! We even got out and walked in the snow. We visited Bear Lake Trail in the afternoon and easily found a parking spot.We saw a lot of wildlife here. I’d love to return when Samuel is older to do some trails!

4. Red Rocks Park

When I asked my CO friends where we should go, the Red Rock Amphitheater topped their lists! In the morning, the amphitheater was filled with people working out, which was pretty inspiring to see. I’d love to go there and run the stairs one day! There are trails around here, but we stuck to climbing the amphitheater.

5. South Valley Park

SVP

This state park was about 20 minutes away from our hotel, so it made for a perfect morning trip. The views were beautiful, but the shade was limited to the picnic areas. I’d recommend coming here even earlier in the morning. Thank goodness for my babywearing husband. It was hot! We saw more red rock formations here and took a nice hike.

 

Your Turn

Have you been to Colorado? What park was your favorite?

 

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Our Baby We Never Met

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It’s been a while since I last posted. So much has happened in my life since last May, including our very first pregnancy that we found out ended in a miscarriage at 19 weeks, 1 day. On January 13, I had a D&E. I drafted this post on January 16, three days later, as a way to help me begin healing and process my emotions. Since then, I’ve been debating whether or not to hit publish.

This is the first of a series of blog posts that I plan to share on miscarriage, grief and healing.

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January 16, 2017:

It’s been three days since I had surgery to deliver my baby boy. Three days for me to attempt to start to recover physically and emotionally. Only three days. The physical pain from the surgery has diminished greatly. However, the emotional pain feels crushing.

So many people have shared their thoughts and feelings with me, and let me know how I should be feeling. My husband doesn’t understand why I’m having a hard time. 

I feel so alone and misunderstood. Does anyone actually understand what I’m going through? In spite of all my sadness, I have a glimmer of hope. I’m certain that I will get through this, although I will be forever changed. This personal post is about how I’m feeling and how I’m processing my emotions. I hope that someone who reads this will know that they are not alone. 

To start with, the word miscarriage implies that I carried my baby wrong. It implies that my body wasn’t able to support a life. It implies that my body failed. The doctors have told me that isn’t the case in the slightest, but it’s still hard to believe that it’s not my fault. After all, my baby boy was growing inside of me, and he developed incorrectly. I did my very best to take care of him, and I couldn’t do it. I failed. I feel horrible. I feel lost. I feel nothing short of devastated.

When I found out I was pregnant, I cried. Not because I was excited, but because I was afraid. I never imagined becoming a mother so quickly, but it was happening. I was going to be someone’s mommy. I very slowly grew used to the idea, and I was actually able to become excited. After all, babies are a blessing, and I don’t believe they happen on accident. Do you know how much needs to go right for an egg to be fertilized and a baby to start growing? So much needs to happen.

Once the egg is fertilized, so many more things need to go right. Previously, I thought once the baby was conceived and the positive pregnancy test showed up, that meant you were going to have a baby. In my ignorance, I didn’t think anything could go wrong. I knew I would become excited over time; I just needed to get used to the idea of being a mom. In my heart, I always knew that I wanted a baby. I thought I would be a little older and married for at least two years before that happened.

Since my husband and I are young, healthy and have no family history of issues, I had no doubt in my mind that we would have our baby. After all, what could go wrong? The egg was fertilized, and it was a done deal.

We made it to the second trimester, and we were definitely safe at that point. Time to start thinking about whether or not we wanted to have a gender reveal party and how we wanted to announce our pregnancy on social media! My secret boards on Pinterest were filling up with ideas for the nursery, baby products, and other pregnancy survival tips. I invited my mom and my best friend to these secret boards, so they could help me search for ideas.

We took our baby so many places in his short life. Quebec City, Montpelier, Orlando (Universal Studios and Disney World), NYC, Disneyland, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, Antelope Canyon, Phoenix, Illinois. I dreamt of telling him about all the places we traveled while I was carrying him. I dreamt of returning to those places with him and traveling to Ireland with him in a baby wrap. More than anything, I dreamt of keeping him safe and loving him.

All of those hopes and dreams came to a crashing halt on January 11, when we found out there was no hope for our baby boy, and he no longer had a heartbeat.

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