This was a weekend I had been planning for a very long time, and I was really excited it was finally here. It kicked off on Thursday afternoon. At 2pm, I told my mom I was headed to the grocery store, and hopped into the car to take a call while driving… to the airport to pick up my dad! He and I had hatched a plan to fly him to Colorado for the weekend to celebrate my mom’s birthday, and she had no idea. I was nervous for weeks that I was going to accidentally let it slip, but the surprise went off without a hitch.
My mom lost track of time and didn’t notice that I was gone a suspiciously long time for a grocery trip, and when I pulled up to the house, my dad got out of the car and went out the garage to the front door. After I went inside, he rang the doorbell… and my mom was blown away to see him! Meanwhile, although Sadie had never met my dad, she was surprisingly welcoming and excited – running out the door to greet him with her tail wagging furiously. She loved him at first sight, and the two of them were inseparable for the weekend 🙂 Click here to see a video of the moment when my dad walked in 🙂
I had one more call for the day, while my parents caught up, and then we headed to the grocery store together to pick up a few ingredients for a special steak dinner. The steak unfortunately came out overcooked, but my dad made a joke about it and we had a fabulous night anyway. I was just so excited that he was here and my family was finally together again!
(To clarify: my parents separated when I was 10 and formally divorced when I was 17. Even when they first separated, I knew it was the right thing, and I’ve certainly never had any Parent Trap-esque ideas that they might someday get back together. While they aren’t at all a romantic fit for each other, they are very good friends to this day. As an adult, I feel really lucky that we can do holidays and other occasions together with no animosity!)
The next morning, I got up early and took Sadie for a 10 mile run.
I had originally planned to take the day off work, but too many urgent things popped up to do so. Fortunately, my dad slept late so I didn’t have to feel guilty about working! Unfortunately, he got up to some shenanigans while I was doing so…
During my lunch break, I took my parents to downtown Louisville to get my mom’s favorite fresh-baked bread from Moxie, and I also ducked into Button Rock Bakery to pick up a cake for my mom’s birthday. Although her actual birthday was Saturday, we were having my good friends Chris and Mark (and their sons) over to celebrate my mom that evening. Unfortunately, I had completely neglected to special order a cake. But when I got to Button Rock, they had a gorgeous cake in their case that looked custom made for my mom – it was decorated with an entire garden of intricate flowers! I was so excited by my luck, and they were able to write “Happy birthday Susie” on it, which made it look custom 😉
When I got home, my Dad had finished transforming the overcooked steak from the night before into an awesome stew of beef, mushrooms, and onions, and I eagerly ate that with some yummy Moxie bread for lunch. Then, for dinner, I picked up pizzas from the new Superior Boss Lady Pizza – which was awesome. It was my mom’s and my first time having friends over (with all of us except the kids vaccinated), and it was so much fun! I feel so lucky to have such good friends, and it felt like a real birthday celebration, since Chris and Mark and their kids love my mom too.
After dinner, we said our goodbyes, and then Mom and Dad and I got our coats on to head to one more special thing for the night – a one-night-only arts event near Town Hall, Grasso Lights in the Park. The trees all had colored lights that were synced to music from a live DJ, and it was a really beautiful and fun effect!
All in all, it was a great day and night, and mom felt really celebrated for her birthday!
But now, Saturday was my mom’s actual 70th birthday. I had carefully planned to have the festivities on Friday rather than Saturday, because I knew that what my mom would want most was a spontaneous day rather than a day full of plans – so that’s exactly what we did Saturday! We all woke up reasonably early (with my dad still being on east coast time), so I suggested we all quickly change out of our PJs and head back to Moxie Bread for breakfast before it got busy. It was such a gorgeous day out, and it felt so great to sit in the Colorado sunshine and patronize a little local bakery!
I drove the long way home, trying to show Dad around town, and then we stopped home just long enough to pick up Sadie and head to Westminster Hills Dog Park. I’m not sure if I’ve blogged about it before, but this dog park is truly special – rather than being a small fenced in area, it’s 420 acres of trails, so the dogs can just run and play without being all up in each other’s business. It’s been a wonderful place for Sadie to develop her off-leash independence, and also build her confidence around other dogs.
Before I got to adopt Sadie, she was placed for a few days with a family who had a dog that hated Sadie and would attack her, so poor Sadie was initially really scared of other dogs. At Westminster Hills, though, she’s been able to approach dogs with lots of space, and if she doesn’t like a dog, she has plenty of room to run away – and she can outrun pretty much anyone! 😂 She has gotten so much friendlier with other dogs, even approaching them herself, and it was great to show that (and the gorgeous views) off to my dad!
We spent the afternoon relaxing around the house, and my dad got to do his favorite activity when he visits – help me fix stuff around the house! We wall mounted everything from mirrors to curtain rods to solar panels for my deck lights, all of which were good small projects for my dad to help me tackle. (Compare this to the last time he was here, when I left him alone for 10 minutes before we were supposed to meet friends for dinner, and he was measuring the fireplace to see about embarking on retiling project! 😂)
Unfortunately, in the evening, we got into a little bit of a tiff when it came to figuring out what movie to watch for the evening. I ended up giving up and heading into my home office to catch up on some work – which was admittedly overdue, so not necessarily a bad thing (though probably not the ideal Saturday night when my family was there). But while I was doing that, my parents made up with each other, and mutually headed down to the basement gym. I came down to find my mom walking on the treadmill and my dad on the Peloton – I was delighted! We all made up in the end, so in spite of the fight, I count the day as a big success 🙂
The next morning, I woke up determined to get my workout in first thing, since I had mostly missed it the day before. As soon as I got up, I got dressed, grabbed Sadie, and headed to Eldorado Canyon for a trail run. My plan was just to run up to the Continental Divide Overlook and back, but on the way down, I was having so much fun that I made the impromptu decision to add Spring Brook Loop to the end of it – bring us to a total of 10 miles for the morning. Since I hadn’t been very fast on the climb up to the CDO, adding the extra mileage of Spring Brook allowed me to improve my average pace quite a bit. Even though there was an uphill to get to Spring Brook, I was cruising up that (especially compared to the 2,000 foot climb to the CDO), and when I hit it coming back on the downhill, I was flying – Sadie and I ended up doing the last Mile in a 6:40 pace! I was absolutely on a runners high at the finish, and when I passed a couple of hikers, one guy remarked that he thought I was on a bike because of how fast I was going 😂
I called Mom while I was driving back, to let her know that Sadie and I were on our way home and not to worry (since we had been gone so much longer than planned), and arrived home just as my dad was getting up for the day. We relaxed with some coffee, and then I got a text from my friend Kelly asking if she and her family could stop by to leave some birthday flowers for my mom. How sweet of her! I invited them over for scones and coffee on the deck, then got to work making blueberry almond whole wheat scones and cranberry almond white flour scones. They came out delicious, and we had a great time with Kelly and her family! I was really happy we were able to squeeze that visit in.
Afterward, Dad and I took Sadie to Home Depot to grab a few screws, and then we spent the afternoon knocking out more chores around the house. (It is astonishing to realize how many things I had that needed to be hung on the walls – guess that is a task I’ve never felt confident doing on my own!) The afternoon felt really productive, even though there were more chores I wanted to get to that we didn’t have time to do.
But one of the biggest ones – was finally fixing my grill! I bought a beautiful forest green Weber gas grill for $50 from one of my neighbors at a yard sale several years ago, but had to replace the regulator hose because a nest of bees had taken up residence in it. It worked exactly once (to test it, not even to cook anything), but then never would light up again. After my dad inspected it, we realized that maybe the new regulator had gone bad, so on Thursday night, we ordered a new one, and it arrived from Amazon Prime on Saturday. Well, lo and behold, when I hooked it up – it was perfect! I can’t believe that I didn’t think before to try a new regulator – to think it was that easy 🤦
So in the evening, I used my grill for the first time – and made a cocoa-crusted pork tenderloin from this amazing recipe. Unfortunately, meat didn’t seem to be my strong suit this weekend. I stupidly didn’t realize there was a difference between pork loin (which is what I bought) and pork tenderloin (which the recipe called for). Fortunately, this wasn’t an irrecoverable error – it just meant the meat took a lot longer than I anticipated. But paired with roasted butternut squash and broccoli, it was well worth the wait, and was a wonderful last meal with my parents before my dad had to fly home the next day!
Once dinner was done, we all headed down to the basement to settle in for a movie night. No arguments this time – I had us watch The Good Lie, a drama about a group of Sudanese refugees. I saw this in theaters when it first came out, and was mesmerized by the story (which was why I bought the DVD), but never ended up watching it again until now. It was just as good as I remembered it, although also even sadder and more violent than my recollection (I had thought it was more uplifting). All three of us absolutely loved it, but we were also heartbroken at the end, and it put us in a pretty melancholy mood at the end of the night. I headed up to bed, then doubled back down to my dad’s room to hug him and cry and tell him how sad I was that he was leaving. Then, it was on to my mom’s room to hug her and beg her to move Colorado, since she was slated to fly home to Albany in just a week herself. Although I’m so grateful to have my sweet Sadie Bug and not be totally alone, I went to bed in tears that my family would soon be leaving and it would be just me in Colorado once again 🙁