Lisbon
Nov 2016
11

Last Night In Lisbon

Tonight is my last night in Lisbon (technically I am in Sintra right now). I leave for Paris tomorrow and then home Sunday.

I have been here for the Web Summit, with its 53,000 attendees. Sure SXSW is big but this is international big. It was also highly focused on entrepreneurship and trade show displays, which was a bit out of my wheelhouse as a freelance web developer. But I still learned a lot about the state of technology, the world, and myself.

This week certainly was been a roller coaster on many levels. Obviously I am crushed by the election, and to be isolated from my family during this has been strange to say the least. Panic inducing would be another way to phrase it.

I know so many people who travel the world by themselves regularly (bravo you!) and I am quite used to it in the US. But as someone who struggles with anxiety – in the end, I am very proud of all I have seen and done here, all while being sick enough to visit the hospital to boot. (Yes! The curse strikes again. My eye got infected from a cold.)

Everyone told me how amazing Lisbon is and – just WOW. Everything about it makes me want to come back with my boys. The people, the architecture, the food, everything. Amazing.

Being alone in a foreign country gives you lots of time to be inside your own head and I keep reminding myself how lucky I am. My husband and son are the light of my life. We live in a fantastic city and have flexibility to change our circumstances come what may… and we have a strong tribe of smart, thoughtful and fun friends who will get us through the next four years. Thank you for all your friendship and love!

See you from the USA again soon. I have so many photos to share… of course.

Jul 2012
24

YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park

A few weeks ago we headed up to Estes Park. Which is only about an hour and a half away from Denver, but a distance we don’t drive nearly enough. Because Estes Park, the town, is awesome. Quaint, quiet, and filled with taffy.

But this trip was different. We headed up to YMCA of the Rockies (just outside of Estes Park, the town) with several other Denver mom bloggers for a weekend of outdoor activities and watching our children hang out together.

YMCAEstesPark_12.jpgEP_31

I had always meant to stay at the YMCA, everyone we knew said it was awesome – but apparently I need Amber as a ringleader to get these things accomplished.

The first night we sat round the (gas) firepit (remember, fire danger here in Colorado, right) and watched our kids sing along with Cowboy Dan Dave Doug Brad (yes, almost positive his name was Brad) till their vocal chords grew horse.

The next morning, we had early morning soccer, where we got to see team work and then my kid creaming a kid nearly twice his size.

YMCAEstesPark_01.jpgEP_01

YMCAEstesPark_02.jpgEP_09

While Declan and I did some arts and crafts (more my speed) my husband did the zipline (more his speed).

I get nauseous just watching that.

We all were able to have a private archery lesson which was probably good idea since all my arrows went about 20 feet off target. But our guide knew what he was doing. And somehow managed to talk all of us into following the rules.

YMCAEstesPark_05.jpgEP_15

All 10 million of us when you add the kids.

YMCAEstesPark_06.jpgEP_16

But 100%, absolutely, my favorite part was spending time with friends, in our beautiful state, and seeing our kids playing together.

I mean seriously.

Look at them.

YMCAEstesPark_07.jpgEP_17 
 
YMCAEstesPark_09.jpgEP_20 
 
They are NEVER going to forget this weekend.

YMCAEstesPark_08.jpgEP_19 
 
EVER.

YMCAEstesPark_04.jpgEP_14 
 
Many thanks to YMCA of the Rockies for having all of us up for an amazing adventure! 

_______________________________________________________________

Here are posts from other awesome Denver mom bloggers
who were also at the YMCA with us:

Apr 2012
10

March of Dimes National Ambassador Shalini Wittstruck

I don’t talk about it much anymore since Declan is quickly creeping towards ten years old, but he was a preemie. A 32-weeker, who came into this world screaming and fighting, like so many other babies – and we never found out why. At the time, I really didn’t care why, I just wanted him to live. It took six weeks of hard work on his part, but he was released from the hospital around Halloween 2002 – and he has been growing and thriving ever since.

Declan_Preemie
Declan – September 2002

When I chatted on the phone with Shalini Wittstruck last week, and she shared her story with me, I kept nodding my head into the phone. And tearing up a little bit. Shalini, her husband Shane and their son Kieran are the national ambassador family for March of Dimes, and are working to reduce pre-term birth all across the country. The crazy things is, Kieran was born right here in south Denver – so our stories are even more tight-knit.

So many of the details were the same, yet I know we all have such unique birth experiences. Some are joyous, some are tortuous, some are funny… OK, I assume not that many are very, very funny. But the point is, we all come together in the end with one purpose, raising that baby. Making him or her as healthy and happy as possible.

Shalini told me that one-in-eight births are still coming too early – and 40% of those are from unknown causes. We both never found out why our boys were premature, and she used a phrase that hit me hard. “I was grieving the loss of my pregnancy.”

I absolutely did that, for a long time – and had to turn my back on the fact that Declan was a preemie for quite a while. It was all too overwhelming to deal with, that we could have lost him, and me. Yes, yet another time I had a medical emergency. Shocking, I know.

We all know people who lost their fight. Most recently, I think of the lovely Kami Bigler. And of course, Maddie Spohr’s heroic journey for the 17 months she was with us.

Shalini has turned her grief into something positive. They tour the country now, after moving to Seattle – and help spread the word about March of Dimes. Shalini is a Cigna employee and they support her in this quest, and are donating $5 for every like on their Facebook page to support March of Dimes activities.

Shalini and I are lucky. Our boys are strong. Kieran knows he is helping other babies. My family is joining Cigna this year for the Denver March of Dimes WalkAmerica event. I am excited to finally turn over the pain I have buried so long, and channel it in a more positive place.

I would love for you to read more about the amazing Wittruck family, and like the Cigna page (so easy!) to raise money for the March of Dimes.

If you are in Denver, come out and walk with us on April 28th – which is also the day after my birthday. What an awesome present for when I turn 21 for the second time, right? (That would be 42, but who is counting.)

Whether you are a mom, dad, grandparent, or a friend – I am sure we have all known someone personally with a premature baby. The odds tell me you do.

How about we work on fixing that?

March_of_Dimes_Shalini_Whittstruck
Aren’t they like the cutest family EVER?

 ____________________________________________________________________________________

Please note: Cigna arranged for my chat with Shalini and has invited us on to the Cigna Denver March of Dimes team, but this is NOT a paid post. All words and thoughts are mine.

Mar 2011
04

Let’s Panic Winners… and Back to SXSWi!

One thing that stinks about running contests where the comments are the entries is I can’t comment back. I especially wanted to comment on your entries for the Let’s Panic About Babies books. I especially liked how Katie threw up on he sister’s sweater and then her sister accidentally wore it. I also especially liked how we had a few dudes enter and one of them actually won.

CONGRATS:
12 – Shannon
6 – Tarable
25 – Leask

Double congrats to Tara, who is about to give birth, like any minute, but still did very pregnant and very foul-mouthed standup, like last week.

Winners, email me your mailing addresess, por favor.
[aimee at greeblemonkey dot com]

_____________________________________________________

Also, thank you all for the support and love regarding my big news this week. Family and friends have been emailing and calling as well – showing I have a really really really awesome support network. And I really really really appreciate it.

My last day at work is next Wednesday, and almost immediately (like 12 hours later), I fly to Austin for the annual SXSW Interactive conference. I have been attending this conference for many years, and as it’s an amazing combination of learning and fun, part of me can’t wait.

However, part of me wishes I could snuggle up into bed for that week, and just process the enormosity of what I am doing with my career right now. [Yes, I know enormosity is not a word, but if Sarah Palin gets to make up words, SO DO I.]

Are you going to SXSWi? Have you ever been?

Here is a video I made last year that captures the spirit of the event. After watching it, you might want to sleep for a week too.

Jan 2011
14

Delurking Day 2011

It’s that time of year again! DELURKING DAY. Chris from Rude Cactus rounds us up and orders us to make this random day THE day that ask you to come out of hiding and say HI in the comments. I know it may feel weird when you are used to just reading, lurking, passing along, going about your day – but TODAY is YOUR DAY!

Please say hi! And thanks for visiting.