Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Girls Weekend

I went to Colorado over the weekend and met up with five friends for a whirlwind weekend trip to the mountains.

I left Coco overnight (for two nights!) for the first time ever. She did just fine, but she sure was glad to see me! (The feeling was mutual.)

I left Friday morning and got home Sunday at 6pm and it was really the right amount of time--any longer and I would have been missing the girls too much. By Sunday afternoon, I was also missing David!

One unexpected perk is that David really did become the default parent over the weekend. Since I've been home, the girls have been asking him for snacks/activities even when we are both in the room and it. is. awesome.

But back to the girls weekend... Back in January, I got a text from Monica's husband asking about scheduling a trip for Monica and her friends. He wanted to know what weekends everyone would be available and if anyone had suggestions for a location. Amazingly, everything came together quickly and the six of us were able to find a weekend in April--the first weekend Monica didn't have to be at work, and the last weekend that Lindsey was able to fly because of her pregnancy. Amy had a connection to a condo in Keystone, and with Amy and Rachel in Denver and Vail and the rest of us flying in from St. Louis, Kansas City, Little Rock, and Sacramento, we decided that Keystone was the perfect meeting point.

I arrived in Denver on Friday and met up with Monica and Mindy, whose flights got in right around the same time as mine. 

Poor Lindsey was supposed to be there, too, but had to change her flight at the last minute due to her husband's surgery schedule (performing it, not receiving it), so she ended up flying in later and taking a shuttle to meet us in Keystone.

For the first time in my entire life, I talked to the person I sat next to on the plane. It was a guy about my age (married, with kids) who is a journalist and was flying to Denver for research and we had a great conversation for the entire flight. Seriously, that has never happened to me before. I'm usually the person who sticks their nose in a book and doesn't acknowledge the people sitting next to them. And it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't agreed to switch seats with another dude who wanted to sit next to his wife. Since the dude I sat next to is a journalist from St. Louis, I asked him if he'd come talk to a class I'm teaching this fall on creative nonfiction and he agreed. Not quite as thrilling as meeting your future spouse on a plane (that's what happened to my brother!), but still a pleasant way to start my weekend.

(When I mentioned to him that I was going to Denver for a girls weekend, he asked if we were going to smoke weed, but while we saw a couple of dispensaries, we did not partake--though some of us considered the pot gummy bears. I had to laugh when he brought it up, because no one had even discussed this in our group texts about the weekend, though I had requested yogurt and bananas for breakfast. #partyon)

Anyway, after meeting up at the airport, Monica, Mindy, and I headed out to grab lunch, but our plans for an Illegal Pete's burrito were thwarted by insane downtown traffic as there was a Rockies game, so we settled for suburban Chipotle on our way to Keystone. We also made a quick detour to get mani/pedis and let Mindy buy a zillion things with coupons and Gap cash at the Gap outlet and only spend $6.08.

(Side note: I got a gel manicure for the first time ever. I'd never spend the time/money to get one in my real life, but it looks really good!)

We finally made it to Keystone and met Amy at the condo where we were staying. It was a wonderful house with three bedrooms and three full bathrooms. Monica and I got the master bedroom on the top floor and I woke up each morning to the view of snowflakes softly falling on mountain pine trees--amazing!

Rachel and Lindsey arrived Friday afternoon and we celebrated each arrival by taking more group selfies, and also with cheese and sparkling wine. 

The condo was within walking distance of Keystone's little ski village, so we walked up there for a late dinner and wandered around a bit before going back to the condo to talk until we couldn't stop yawning.

Saturday morning we had breakfast in and then went for a walk back to the village and the ski lift area. 

There was some talk of riding the gondolas up to the top just for the view, and a couple people considered tubing, but ultimately we decided to get coffee and just sit around and talk to each other. The mountains were fantastic, but they were really just backdrop for the main event: catching up on everyone's lives and reminiscing.

After coffee and a bit more walking around, we headed out for lunch and then hit the outlets for a bit more shopping. I scored a little pair of running shoes for Zuzu and a pair of shorts for myself. Then we drove into Breckenridge to eat, drink, and wander the shops there.

I was actually not feeling great while we were at the outlets (I think I got carsick sitting in the third row seats, but it also could have been the altitude getting to me), so when we got to the first restaurant in Breckenridge, I skipped the happy hour specials and just had a hot tea. 

Fortunately, the tea was just the thing because I felt much better after and enjoyed browsing the shops and having Monica take covert photos of cute skirts and headbands that were being sold for lots of dollars but that I knew I could recreate at home with scraps.

We stayed in Breckenridge for a late dinner and had small plates and more sparkling wine in honor of Monica's birthday. We were That Table, laughing so hard that our stomach muscles and jaws hurt, and the things we were laughing at weren't really that funny, though they seemed hilarious at the time (Amy's gesture when describing an electric blanket comes to mind). The food was delicious (free chex mix!) and we were grateful to our pregnant designated driver for getting us safely back to Keystone, where we managed to talk some more (mostly about our kids) before heading to bed our final night.

The next day we had nothing on the agenda. We headed back to Keystone village for a stop at our coffee shop (like we were regulars). I had picked up a t-shirt for a souvenir the day before and after I tried it on, I wanted to exchange it for a different size. When I asked the guy at the cash register if that was okay, he said, "How dirty were you when you wore it?"

I assured him I had not worn the t-shirt and he said that was fine, but after I walked away he told Amy that if I'd had dreadlocks, he would have told me no. Made me laugh.

After our final cup of coffee (or Diet Coke, in Mindy's case) and one last walk back from the village to the condo, we gathered our things and said our good byes. My flight left at 3pm and Mindy wanted to get to the airport PLENTY early so she could relax after checking in, so we decided to just do lunch at the airport. It felt like we were getting there crazy early (we left Keystone before 11am!) but it ended up being just the right amount of time to return the rental car, get through security, and have a leisurely lunch before going to our separate gates.

We had less time than we expected because for some reason Monica's directions took us over the mountain instead of through the Eisenhower tunnel. It was definitely the scenic route, so we were pulling over to take pictures (even though I was wearing moccasins for the flight home and we were not dressed for hiking in the snow!). 

We asked one guy to take our picture and he gestured toward the road in the direction we were heading and said, "It's scary as hell up there! No guard rails!"

His warning freaked me out, but Monica and Lindsey scoffed at him and we really did enjoy the wandering road that took us on the Loveland Overpass, giving us the chance to take a photo at the continental divide. 

We also took turns yelling, "It's scary as hell up here!" while driving on smoothly paved, wide roads that were completely clear of snow and ice, despite being very high in altitude.

Once we got to Denver, we had a comedy of errors adventure at an incredibly busy gas station near the airport that had many pumps out of service. When Monica finally found one where she could fill up the car, we noticed a very attractive guy putting gas in his Lexus SUV behind us, and he happened to be wearing a Royals hat. As we, uh, admired him from inside the car, Monica struck up a conversation while pumping gas and asked if he was from Kansas City. Turns out he does live near Kansas City. In fact, that's his permanent address. How do I know this? Because Monica asked, "Did you go to CU?" And he said, "Yeah, I go there. It was Moms' Weekend and I just dropped my mom off at the airport."

Her jaw dropped and we collapsed in giggles inside the car because OMG he was SO CUTE and we were probably closer to his MOM's age than his. (But seriously, he looked much older!) Anyway, I don't think that's what the rental car advertisement on the shuttle had in mind when it read, "Under 25? No problem!" but we appreciated the sentiment anyway as we headed for the airport.

In the end, it was such a fun weekend, and so nice to see these girls. My connection to them is really through Monica--they are all her best friends from college and after--but I like each of them so much and I had such a great time and felt welcome and connected and as we all laughed and talked and ate our way through the weekend. Which is a pretty awesome way to spend two and a half days.

I used the word "restorative" when we were walking around outside the condo. The weather was wonderful--highs in the 50s and mostly sunny, so we needed coats outside but weren't freezing, even near the ski slopes. Part of it was being in such a beautiful place, part of it was being with fun people, and part of it was just having a chance to be without the responsibilities and expectations of parenting and real life. Sure, we talked about our kids, but we also talked about lots of other stuff--jobs, plans, funny memories, TV shows, anxiety, food, clothes, marriages...

I was definitely ready to see my Noodle and Nugget when I got home. By Sunday evening, Coco (the Nugget) seemed to be talking even more clearly than when I left, and Zuzu (my Noodle) looked taller and skinnier than she had on Friday! We had plenty of snuggles and bedtime stories and I felt so grateful and appreciative of the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the beauty of my living room in St. Louis. It was so good to get away, and it was so sweet to be home.


  1. Such a fun weekend, restorative and good for the soul! So fun to see you and everyone!

  2. I'm a bit jealous! I was born and raised in Colorado, and nothing feels like home the way those mountains do!! Haven't been home in almost two years, but I'm planning a trip in June.

    And you know, idk if I've *ever* been up over Loveland Pass! If I was, it was on a trip when I was three weeks old. I'll have to make that a goal for this next trip!

    What a lovely weekend!

  3. I lived in Colorado for 4 years in my mid-20's so I know Silverthorne outlets and Breck and Loveland Pass. Glad you had a great weekend!

  4. What, no details on milk expressing?! 😂

    Glad you had a good weekend! Those are always much needed and much deserved.

  5. Sounds like an awesome weekend, so glad you had fun!

  6. SO fun! Good for you for getting away. Isn't Loveland Pass beautiful? It certainly beats sitting in traffic in the tunnel on a Sunday (when everyone is heading to the airport). It's funny - I live in Colorado and have since 2010 and I've never even set foot in a dispensary!

  7. What a great idea! I used to live in Denver (and other places in CO), and whenever I went to snowboard at Keystone I would take Loveland Pass home instead of the tunnel.

  8. Girls weekends rock -- and it's been WAYYYY too long since I've had one! Glad you had such a good time!