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Mommy, I Want to be with My Brother

My dreams exploded like firecrackers when Josh and Jordan were born in 1996. My expectations were unchecked. My little boy and girl would make me chuckle with their twin-speak. They would crawl together, laugh together, plot together. They would compete athletically, and academically, but never spiritually. Their bond would launch them on a shared trajectory, and they would love and support each other throughout their lives. Their connection was real, and they would never be separated.

Three years later when Josh was diagnosed with severe autism, my dreams vanished as quickly as they had exploded, and my expectations dipped below an invisible nadir. My toddler lost all of his speech as well as other key functions. His autism was insidious, spreading over him like a shadow – but it never passed. And when the behaviors and medical problems fully took hold, Jordan became confused about her twin brother. Sometimes his eyes would lock with hers in a soulful, transcendent way, and sometimes he just didn’t see her at all. His disengagement and aggression troubled me, and I worried about my daughter. But she was loyal to him. She prided herself on being his “therypist.” “It’s good that I talk a lot, Mommy, because Joshie can hear my words.” I wish it hadn’t been necessary to separate them because of his therapies, but I didn’t have a choice. I got used to hearing, “I want my brother to go with me to my school. My teachers can teach him!”

When the kids turned five, my husband and I had to make a decision about our son. He was exhausted all the time. I remember putting him in a plastic pool outside just to keep him awake for his table work. Jeff is a former neurosurgeon. He always suspected Josh was having seizures, even though his EEGs were consistently negative. We finally ended up taking him to Houston for an advanced test, and this time the results were positive. He was having nocturnal seizures, some lasting as long as 20 minutes, which explained the chronic fatigue and brain fog. Jeff said we should operate as soon as possible.

Typically, when we flew Josh around the country to see specialists, we returned home swiftly to keep things ‘normal.’ But in 2002, only one hospital in the country performed the bilateral MST procedure Josh needed, and it was in Omaha. We would be there for almost a month, because the procedure required three different operations. I was terrified about my son having brain surgery, but the idea of separating my twins for a month rattled me almost as much.

But we had no choice. We sent Jordan to Texas to be with her grandparents and cousins. It was a sensible idea, and we were grateful to Jeff’s parents for taking her. Protecting my daughter from potential trauma was wise, wasn’t it? I recorded the following in my journal: “We must be away for a month. I must leave my sweet Jordan. She will fly to Texas and go to school with her cousins. Anxiety I can taste in my mouth. Metallic. “You get to go to Texas! Lucky, lucky girl!” “Mommy, I want to be with my brother! I want to help you!” Anxiety that seeps through my clothes. She sniffs my fear. “Mommy, why do you have to go? Why can’t Daddy fix Joshie’s brain?” I want to take her with me. I need her and she needs to be with her brother. What if we’ve made a mistake? What if something happens to him on the table? Thank God Mom’s coming with me.”

Four weeks and three agonizing operations later, my son was sitting in his hospital bed in Nebraska doing wooden puzzles. He pulled through the surgeries better than I did. And when we spoke to Jordan in Texas, she was happy. She never stopped asking about Josh, though, and could barely wait for our reunion at the airport.

He was alert and sitting in a wheelchair. I’ll never forget how she handled the sight of her brother after his surgeries. He wouldn’t keep his cloth cap on and his swollen head looked like a bloody baseball. He’d also lost weight. When Jordan ran to greet him, her mouth flew open and she cried a little. She wasn’t scared, though, just sad. “Joshie, let me hold your hand. Let me make you feel better!” She gripped him as we wheeled him through the airport. Two parts, one whole. 

This is an excerpt of “Mommy, I Want to be with My Brother” by Shelley Stolaroff Segal from Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Tween Years.  This book will give you a glimpse into the amazing lives of families with children between the age of two to 12. Told from the perspective of 21 parents from all walks of life and at different stages of parenting, you will find yourself feeling less alone on this incredible journey parenting multiples.  The book is available for pre-order for Kindle and other digital devices at https://www.amazon.com/Multiples-Illuminated-Twins-Triplets-Toddler-ebook/dp/B073SLZBDX/ and will be delivered automatically on launch day, August 4.

Denver Bike to Work Day with Allegra® Allergy

This post was sponsored by Allegra® Allergy but all thoughts an opinions are my own.

Did you know that the Denver region’s Bike to Work Day is the second-largest nationwide event of its kind with a whopping 32,000 participants?

On June 28, we were thrilled to team up with Allegra Allergy (Allegra.com), a strong supporter of several Bike to Work Day events across the country, as they made strides to help reduce air pollution and help to get more people outdoors. If you’re an allergy sufferer like myself, you understand the sheer misery that comes with seasonal allergies (who can forget my colossal meltdown in the doctors office? http://www.milehighmamas.com/blog/2015/04/06/denver-allergies/).

My aforementioned meltdown could probably have been prevented with Allegra Allergy, an antihistamine that offers adults fast,* non-drowsy relief from indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms—including itchy and watery eyes and a runny nose.

A recent survey found that a majority of Americans (88%) are concerned about the impact of air pollution on their overall health.** It also found that most Americans (90%) wish there was more they could do to get involved and help reduce air pollution. Riding a bike to work instead of driving is a great place to start.

Last year, Mile High Mamas organized a memorable ride for moms and kids. We met for a free breakfast at one of the many Bike to Work Day stations, scored some free schwag, and plotted a beautiful route along the Ralston Creek rail in Arvada that was replete with playgrounds and creek play.

That said, Bike to Work Day isn’t just for those riding to their jobs. The event is always open for everyone—from the new and seasoned cyclists to kids on training wheels.

To learn more about Bike to Work Day and how to get involved next year, visit https://biketoworkday.us/

Who knows? After taking Allegra Allergy to combat your allergies, you may have such a fun time outdoors that you’ll bike to work (or around your neighborhood) on a more regular basis.

*Starts working in one hour. Use only directed.

 **This survey was conducted online using Toluna’s QuickSurveys methodology between January 22, 2017 and January 24, 2017 among 1,256 adults (ages 18 and over) in the USA. Respondents for Toluna QuickSurveys are selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Toluna surveys.

20+ Affordable Adventures: Explore Colorado on a Shoestring Budget

The thought of a vacation can sometimes be daunting to those not wanting to spend a lot of money, but Colorado is home to many amazing adventures and offerings at a reasonable price, making a Rocky Mountain vacation accessible for everyone. From affordable options in world-class mountain destinations such as Breckenridge and wallet-friendly Denver, to camping in the outdoors surrounded by stunning mountain vistas or lying on the beach at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado is the perfect destination for travelers not wanting to break the bank. 

A Beach Vacation at Great Sand Dunes National Park. From late-May to early-August, Great Sand Dunes National Park, home to the tallest sand dunes in North America, offers a beach vacation unlike any other. When the snow melts every spring, the gentle Medano Creek emerges from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that tower behind the sand dunes to create a true beach oasis. For just $15 per car, travelers can spend the day lying at “the beach,” sledding down the dunes or exploring the park’s numerous hiking and horseback riding trails.
 
Affordable Mountain Bliss in Breckenridge. This iconic mountain town doesn’t just offer great skiing in the winter, but also several wallet-friendly options for a family summer vacation. Breckenridge offers over 50 miles of trails and more than 120 trail access points for unbeatable hiking and biking. Breckenridge Creative Arts offers classes including drawing, dance and hands-on crafts at little to no cost. For lodging, Breckenridge Ski Resort’s summer lodging deal starts at just $119 per night for stays starting June 9 through September 10. This summer, visitors will want to check out the new Epic Discovery featuring zip lines, alpine challenge courses and more.
 
Camping Colorado. There is no better way to experience an affordable Colorado vacation or the great outdoors than camping. The state has upwards of 300 campgrounds offering a variety of surroundings and activities. Visitors can check out the Views RV Park & Campground in Dolores that overlooks incredible vistas and will soon offer glamping tents along with campsites for RV’s and tents, or Aspen Acres Campground in Rye, located in the less traveled San Isabel mountain range for a peaceful camping experience at an elevation of 9,200 feet.
 
Denver on a Dime.  Visitors do not need to break the bank to explore Colorado’s Mile High City. Through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) free days, guests can see many of Denver’s top attractions such as the Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Zoo and many more at no cost on select days of the year. This year, RiNo (River North) Art District and the new Drink RiNo group will sponsor a free bus every First Friday that will have multiple stops at galleries, studios, breweries and eateries throughout RiNo. For frugal foodies visiting the city can try a new chef-driven concept like Avanti F&B – seven different affordable restaurants in one modern food hall, from Japanese to pizza; or Honor Society Handcrafted Eatery – where visitors can get high-quality, healthy, yet craveable dishes at an affordable price.
 
Discover the Outdoors in Montrose. This historic Colorado town on the Western Slope serves as the perfect basecamp to those seeking outdoor adventure. Montrose is home to the stunning Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (only $15 entrance fee per vehicle), which offers amazing views of steep cliffs and spires, hiking, camping and more. The park was also designated as an International Dark Sky Park in 2015 because of its exceptional skies, astronomy education programs, and responsible lighting for supreme stargazing. Montrose offers a variety of trails, Gold Medal fishing opportunities and is located at the center of some of Colorado’s most beautiful scenic drives and byways including the San Juan Skyway, Alpine Loop Back Country Byway and more.
 
Exploring Snowmass with the Mass Pass. For visitors looking to get the most bang for their buck, Snowmass offers the Mass Pass, a three or five day activity pass which includes activities such as rafting, horseback riding, bike trips, sunset dinners and more. The pass allows guests to choose three days of activities for $350/guest or five days of activities for $550/guest. The Mass Pass offers over $250 in savings from booking activities à la carte, ideal for guests looking to get more than one great adventure out of their vacation.
 
Family Adventure at Snow Mountain Ranch. A year-round destination, Snow Mountain Ranch brings families together to explore and enjoy the outdoors. With a huge selection of activities, most included at no cost for overnight guests, everyone in the family will find something to do including soaring down a summer tubing hill, indoor and outdoor archery, climbing walls or even a guided hike with a llama.  Accommodations range from hotel-style lodge rooms, yurts, cozy cabins or mega reunion cabins sleeping up to 44 guests. Rates start at $79/night for lodge rooms.
 
Tiny Homes, Huts and Hostels. Skip the traditional lodging and experience one of the state’s more unique options. Colorado has more huts and yurts than any other state in the U.S. Options include the 10th Mountain Division Hut System, named for the soldiers trained in the area during World War II, the San Juan Hut System, Grand Huts Association and more. Join the tiny home movement and escape to WeeCasa, a new tiny home hotel in Lyons, Colorado. With approximately 135-250 square feet of charm and character, these casas utilize the space in the simplest and most efficient way possible. The state also offers upscale hostels such as The Bivvi in Breckenridge or Hostel Fish in Denver.

Visit a Colorado State Park. A great way to save money, while having an abundance of activities to choose from is to visit one of Colorado’s 41 state parks. The parks vary in surroundings from mountains to rivers to prairies and water. Visit John Martin Reservoir in Hasty, Colorado to experience a mecca for bird watching with over 400 species to see. Visitors can spend their vacation boating, swimming, water skiing and more, while enjoying the evening at one of the park’s campsites (campsite fees start at just $10 per night) sitting around the fire pit, cooking s’mores and telling ghost stories with family and friends.
 
Wine Tasting in Colorado’s Wine Country. Grand Junction is Colorado’s Wine Country featuring 22 wineries with year-round tasting rooms that offer complimentary tastings to visitors. One of the best ways to explore wineries in the Palisade and Grand Junction area is on two wheels and the friendly experts at local bike shops will not only set you up with a reliable ride, but they can also supply guidance on all the best wine-tasting routes. Rapid Creek Cycles in downtown Palisade offers maps highlighting local wineries and orchards, and rents seven-speed cruisers with baskets perfect for hauling goodies like bottles of wine and produce picked up along the way.  Full-day rentals are available for less than $40.
 
For more information, please visit www.colorado.com/articles/12-free-things-do-colorado. 

Dear Diary, I have a daughter with whom you may be acquainted

My oldest daughter is almost 12. She just began keeping a journal.

I had a journal from ages 14-24. It was a three-ring binder filled with hundreds of pages of notebook paper, each covered in blue or black ink scrawl and doodle-littered margins.

Ten years of angst, rants, theories, dreadful poetry, and dreams crumbled into ashes one afternoon when I spontaneously decided to burn the diary in my parents’ fireplace. I fed pages to flames with no regret and with a lot of satisfaction.

There was a brief pause to consider how I was making the job of my future biographers much more difficult. Too bad. I proceeded, slightly less narcissistic than 30 seconds before.

I was 24 years old when I played Fahrenheit 451 and had just finished reading all the entries for the last time. It struck me I didn’t need to see the words on paper to remember who I liked my freshman year of high school until I found out another guy liked me, so then I liked him instead because he liked me, so, like, like, and so, and gaw! my mom! and maybe we’ll go to the Cotton Ball together?

I didn’t need to be reminded how my heart was broken one dewy autumn morning on the school’s lawn during a bomb scare evacuation. The timing was poetic, I mused at age 15. My school wasn’t obliterated, but my heart was. In honor of being dumped, I

Recipe: Flower Pot Dips Healthy Afternoon Snack

Mile High Mamas is excited to share another fun recipe from Lost My Name, an innovative startup that creates personalized children’s books, home décor, games and more that spark imagination, creativity and interactive play for the whole family.

Lost My Name creates unique products and activities that give every grown up creative superpowers to make magical, meaningful connections with children. From recipes to crafts, they are your go-to resource for fun, kid and family-friendly activities.  I’m sharing a few inventive recipes from the Lost My Name Clever Ideas blog that make snack time fun and adventurous for little ones and parents alike. 

Here’s a healthy, playful snack that kids will love: Flower Pots with hummus ‘soil’, sprouting lovely fresh carrots. Perfect for after school, or any time you want to deliver something fun and nutritious.

Flower Pot Dips

You will need:

  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp of tahini paste
  • 17 oz. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 12 oz. of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 17 oz. of water
  • A bundle of parsley (or any herb you like)
  • 15 baby carrots

Makes 5 portions
Takes 20 minutes

Let’s make Flower Pot Dips!

Step 1

Pop the chickpeas, tahini paste and lemon in a blender. 1, 2, 3, whizzz!

Step 2

Peel the garlic clove and add it to the mix along with the olive oil, the cumin and the salt. (Cumin is incredibly fragrant so adjust to your personal taste.)

step1

Step 3

Blend again and add some water to make the mix smoother. Once the blender is off, be sure to scrape the hummus from the sides and bottom to get a more even soil… er… dip.

Step 4

Now scoop the hummus into paper cups, pop into a planter, and get ready to play a little trick. Give the kids some salt and ask them to sprinkle the “seeds” on the soil.step3

Step 5

Time for some magic. Slit the round end of the baby carrots to create an opening and pop a sprig of parsley in there for tops.

Step 6

Pop the carrots in the plant pot as if they grew out of the hummus! You’ve got a fresh, yummy garden.step5

Milk and sugar with your chickpeas?

Did you know that chickpeas can be roasted and brewed as a substitute for coffee? They were grown for this purpose in Europe during World War One and have been used as a substitute since the 18th century. They are still used as a caffeine-free alternative today. (Probably without the carrots.)

Keep the Summer Fun Going: 10 Hidden Gem Day Trips Near Denver

It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Summer may be winding down but to help you power through your final moments of entertaining, camping and exploring, we’ve partnered with Energizer® to bring you 10 Hidden Gem Day Trips Near Denver. 

Ghosts in the Graveyard

Whether you’re using Energizer’s LED headlight for nighttime explorations, or you’re throwing a simple barbecue and lighting the night with Energizer Fusion All-in-One Lights, we’ve got summer fun covered and here’s why:

·         The 3-in-1 flashlight is portable and powerful, making it the perfect accessory for your trips near and far.

·         With the headlamp, you can keep both hands free whether you’re playing a game of a flashlight tag or starting a campfire.

Energizer products can help make summer a breeze as you discover great attractions, authentic Old West experiences, sightseeing opportunities and quaint mountain towns just a short drive from The Mile High City.

Because don’t we all wish we had the longevity of the Energizer Bunny to pack in all this fun before returning to school!?

Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve

Get up close and personal with a herd of buffalo just a short, 20-minute drive from downtown Denver. The Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve is maintained by the city in a natural setting, and the buffalo are direct descendants of the last wild herd in America. It’s also a perfect spot for picnics. Swing by nearby Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave for some fantastic views overlooking the city as well as education.

Mount Goliath 

Maintained by Denver Botanic GardensMount Goliath is a mountain peak section of the Mount Evans area, offering a trail that winds through subalpine and alpine areas. This is a trail of contrasts — awesome Rocky Mountain vistas of Great Divide peaks; delicate floral treasures; wind-sculpted, ancient bristlecone pines; cold summit winds and gentle summer breezes. Be sure to also stroll around nearby Echo Lake Park and grab a slice of pie of a souvenir from the charming Echo Lake Lodge Restaurant. 

NREL

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Speaking of energy, the National Renewable Energy Lab Visitors Center in Golden showcases technologies that can save energy, improve the environment and lower the cost of energy bills. Take a self-guided tour through the interactive exhibit hall and learn about energy from the sun, wind, biomass and other sources of renewable energy.

Georgetown

Georgetown is a delightful Victorian village set in a spectacular mountain valley with 200 restored buildings from the 1870s. The main street is lined with shops and restaurants, and many of the old homes have been turned into antique stores. The Georgetown Loop Railroad takes riders on narrow-gauge steam locomotives curling down a mountain ledge, at one point crossing over a 90-foot-high trestle.

Evergreen

In an easy, 40-minute-or-so drive, you can escape to the pine-scented mountain hamlet of Evergreen. A lovely, trail-ringed alpine lake is located right in town, with excellent paddleboarding and kayaking in the summer and ice skating in the winter. The picturesque downtown is tucked between rocky canyon walls, and offers a promenade of shops, galleries and eateries. Spend the day golfing, hiking beautiful nature trails (our favorites are Alderfer/Three Sisters or Chief Mountain), touring small local museums, relaxing at day spas or catching a local theater performance with Evergreen Players. 

Colorado Railroad Museum

Housed in a replica of a 1880s-style depot, the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden is a delight for train-lovers of all ages. Enjoy thousands of rare photographs, artifacts and documents illustrating the colorful histories of the railroads that have served the state for more than 125 years. Then head outside to explore 15 acres of sprawling grounds with more than 100 narrow- and standard-gauge locomotives, cars and other rolling stock.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most fascinating ecological sites in the country, has made a remarkable transformation from a former site of chemical weapon manufacturing into one of the premier urban national wildlife refuges in the United States. Since the 1990s the site has welcomed visitors who now come to spot 330 species of migratory and resident wildlife and enjoy activities such as wildlife watching, photography, nature programs and fishing.

Lyons/Estes Park

The gateway town to Rocky Mountain National ParkEstes Park is worth a visit on your way to or from the park, thanks to its charming mountain-town Main Street (with dozens of shops and restaurants) and the historic Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for the haunted Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining. When you’re en route to Estes Park, don’t forget to stop in Lyons where you’ll find delicious pies, jams and ciders at Colorado Cherry Company and the Lyons Soda Fountain and Bakery serves up authentic phosphates and malts. 

Boulder

Boulder is one of the best staycations on the Front Range because you feel like you’ve landed on another planet! Take a free tour at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and be sure to follow the adjacent nature trail that will connect with an extensive network leading to the Colorado Chautauqua where you’ll find gorgeous outdoor eating at the Dining Hall and fabulous concerts at the Chautauqua Auditorium, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Don’t forget to take your Energizer handheld light for the walk!) Pearl Street in downtown Boulder is renowned for its eclectic mix of boutiques and people. If you’re visiting on a Saturday, the Boulder Saturday Farmer’s Market is not to be missed. 

Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield

Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is a picturesque nature preserve among the grasslands, ponds and cottonwood banks of Deer Creek. Highlights include nature trails, a wildlife observation area, display gardens, educational exhibits, a historical farm, a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse, working beehives and picnic areas. 

Energizer powers outdoor entertaining throughout the summer—from holidays to family barbecues. How are you keeping the fun going?

In partnership with Energizer®. All opinions are our own. 

10 top things to do in Denver this week

Our 10 top things to do in Denver this week include the Arapahoe County Fair, Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, Cheesman Park Art Fest and more. See our event calendar for additional information. 

Arapahoe County Fair at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds 
July 27 – 30 
The Arapahoe County Fair has something for everyone. Get online DISCOUNT tickets ONLY $10 till 4 pm, July 27. Enjoy UNLIMITED carnival rides, TWO nights of FIREWORKS, the petting farm, two rodeos, concerts, truck and tractor pulls, high-flying dog shows, kids’ corral, homestead activities and more. Kids under 36″ get in FREE. www.arapahoecountyfair.com

Mario the Maker Magician at the Dairy Arts Center 
July 27, 2:00 – 8:00 pm
David Blaine calls him “the best kids magician in the world!!” As seen on Sesame Street and NBCUniversal’s Sprout Channel, NYC’s Mario the “Maker Magician” is making his way to you in his 1971 VW bus!  Ideal for ages 3-10 and their families. Shows at 2 and 7 p.m

Teen Lounge at Denver Museum of Nature and Science 
July 27, 7:00 – 10:00 pm
Teens take over the Museum at this totally free, unique event. Venture through Museum exhibits, get hands-on with entertaining activities, jam to live music, and win awesome giveaways. Chill with friends and eat free snacks after hours in the Museum.

Colorado Music Festival Fresh Fridays “The Planets” at Chautauqua Auditorium 
July 28, 6:30 – 7:30 pm
The CMF Orchestra presents a magical, awe-inspiring and timeless musical portrait brought to life with choreographed, visual animation on the big screen. Plus you still have time for post-concert dinner and drinks – the night is still young.

5th Annual Cheesman Park Art Fest 
July 29 – 30
The Cheesman Park Art Fest features vibrant collections of 130 juried artists and craftsmen from across the nation in one of Denver’s prized historic parks. This two day event takes place on the southwest roads of Cheesman, where patrons can shop the works of potters, painters, jewelers, sculptors, glass artists, and more – in a wide range of prices! Charming & walkable, with work that is top-notch yet attainable, the Cheesman Park Art Fest has you culturally covered from live music beneath the trees to Denver’s best food trucks! 

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival at Sloan’s Lake
July 29 – 30 
The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival in Sloan’s Lake Park is a free family-friendly festival highlighting Colorado’s rich Asian Pacific American heritage. A window to the Pan Asian world, this diverse festival is the only one of its kind in the United States. It showcases an array of traditional and contemporary performing arts, cultural customs, cuisine and a marketplace of unique and hard-to-find arts, crafts and vendors, in addition to two days of action-packed dragon boat racing.

Colorado Renaissance Festival 
July 29 – 30 
Flashback to the 16th Century and journey through a medieval city. Enjoy full-armor jousting, tasty turkey legs, music and a marketplace featuring more than 200 artisans.

Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair at McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts and Venues
July 29 – 30
Come shop over 150 handmade vendors from art and photography, home decor, housewares, fashion and accessory design, kids products, food and more at this free and family friendly indoor/outdoor event. In addition to quality shopping guests will find food trucks, DIY workshops, a full bar and more!

Dinos! Prehistoric Party at the Denver Zoo 
July 29, 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Come celebrate the opening of our newest traveling exhibit, DINOS! Live at Denver Zoo, brought to you by your Hometown Toyota Stores at DINOS! Prehistoric Party, offered every Saturday night in July. Visit these 21 life-size animatronic dinosaurs after the sun goes down while enjoying additional family-friendly entertainment.

Free Day at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
Aug 1, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Butterflies at Chatfield will be open during these Free Days with paid admission for the butterfly house. Audubon Society of Denver is offering free bird tours on Chatfield Farms Free Days, except on July 15 during the Lavender Festival. The tours are from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., leaving every half hour from the Earl J. Sinnamon Visitor Center, and take place on the nature/wetlands trails.

Winning Wednesday: Win tickets to the Denver Botanic Gardens!

Denver Botanic Gardens strives to entertain and delight while spreading the collective wisdom of the Gardens through outreach, collaboration and education. Our conservation programs play a major role in saving species and protecting natural habitats for future generations. We have two locations: 24-acre York St. location in Denver and a 200-acre working farm at Chatfield Farms in Littleton. We also curate a garden and hiking trail at Mt. Goliath on Mt. Evans.
 
What’s fun, new or fabulous this summer?
 
The Gardens’ annual outdoor art exhibition is Calder: Monumental, featuring nine massive sculptures by iconic American artist, Alexander Calder. The exhibition is not traveling so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this collection of sculptures in one place. The abstract metal sculptures are beautiful against the Gardens’ flowers and plants. The exhibition is on view through Sept. 24. The Summer Concert Series takes place June 1 – August 31 and features a dynamic variety of performances by renown musicians including the Gipsy Kings, TajMo, Jose Gonzalez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Buddy Guy and more. 
 
What are the ticket prices? 

General admission to the Gardens’ York St. location is 

  • Members Free
  • $12.50 Adult
  • $9.50 Seniors (65+), Military & Veterans (w/ID)
  • $9 Students (w/ID)
  • $9 Children 3-15
  • Children 2 & Under Free
The Calder: Monumental exhibition is included with admission but concerts and other programs have a separate charge.
 

Contest 

Mile High Mamas is giving away four tickets to the Denver Botanic Gardens. You may enter as many as five times.

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Raised on a Colorado Summer at Copper Mountain

We’ve reached the point in the summer when you feel school standing right behind you. School is tapping its toes. It sends emails reminding you it still exists and it remembers your kids. What can an adventurous and creative Colorado family do to reclaim a bit of summer?

It has to be a close, easy drive. It has to feature cool mountain air and spectacular scenery. It has to be kind to the pocketbook while providing bang for the buck. It has to be doable for one of those spontaneous “I HAVE to get away this weekend or else” moments. Most of all, it has to have a variety of activities sure to inspire fun for all ages.

Copper Mountain to the rescue!

We visited recently and were more than happily surprised by how many adventurous—but still attainable—things there are to do in this picturesque ski village. Many might think of Copper Mountain as a respected, popular winter destination but write it off in the summer. Huge mistake. Huge.

Here is how to have a blast when the snow isn’t flying:

The Wrecktangle is a Ninja-style obstacle course, inspired by many of the tricky challenges seen on TV. It has been shrunk down to a size kids and adults can navigate, including a wall to run up, spinning platforms, nets, beams, and a zipline. It’s delightful to watch kids’ confidence build as they move from one challenge to the next. Mine were beaming, rivaling a mountain sunset.

It’s located in Center Village, handy to all the other featured activities. Park your car and don’t even think about it for the rest of your stay because the shops, restaurants, lodging, and attractions are in easy walking distance.

Now that your family is official a band of superheroes because you’ve conquered The Wrecktangle, what to do next? Prepare to get dizzy.

~ Bungee jumping, bumper boats, water bikes, a zipline that flies across a pretty lake, mini golf, and go-carts are a few of the ways to keep that blood pumping and ensure smiles become permanent.

~ Push their (and your) boundaries by tackling Colorado’s highest man-made outdoor rock climbing wall with a variety of skill levels. Like The Wrecktangle, it’s a wonderful way to inspire each other to strive to overcome physical and mental challenges.

~ Rent or take your own bike up the American Eagle chairlift and ride down snaking trails through fields of wildflowers. Or, ride it to the top and soak in the views, then ride it back down and soak in more views.

~ Coming in late summer/early fall! A mountain coaster! We can’t wait to try it and have no doubt it will be as much fun as the other attractions we enjoyed.

What do you do after the activities are shut down for the day? Copper Mountain has a full schedule of events and festivals extending into mid-September. This upcoming weekend, July 29 -30, is the Mac and Cheese Fest. Imagine, a weekend devoted to pasta covered in cheese!

Here are some highlights for the rest of summer and early fall:

August 5-6 Colorado Days

August 19 -20 Colorado Burger Summit

August 25-26 Cider Circus

September 2-3 Copper Country

Every weekend, in fact, features some sort of themed fun festival to check out.

Copper Mountain is devoted to their theme of “Raised on a Colorado Summer.” They love families and cater to the needs of little kids to big kids like you. Kids eat free every Friday night from 5 to 7pm. The restaurant changes every week. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, they do nature talks at the base of the American Eagle lift. On Saturday nights, there is a communal s’mores roast and singalongs complete with fireworks. Every Copper Mountain employee we encountered was friendly, knowledgeable, and genuine. There isn’t a whiff of pretentiousness to be found.

When parents need some alone time to enjoy Copper Mountain’s wide variety of restaurants and bars (or to soak those tired ninja muscles in a hot tub), they can drop their kids at Kid Night Out. Spend $30 at one of the many restaurants or shops and get three free hours of childcare. It’s on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 to 10:30pm.

For more information and tools to plan your own getaway, whether it’s for a day trip or for a weekend, be sure to visit Copper Colorado (www.coppercolorado.com). Summer activities and events are running until September 17th. There is a nice variety of lodging options for all group sizes and budgets and availability is great right now.

Even after school starts, you can hang on to the fringes of ever-dwindling summer. But why wait? Summer still has a pulse and you should go.

Copper Mountain hosted our family so we could share our honest experience.

Deals: Women’s Adventure Camp, Colorado Day and More!

I was always a little disappointed in my parents. They never sent me away to camp. True – we lived in a camp of our own by living in Steamboat Springs. We had a horse of our own but I felt like I missed out on something. Which is why I’m so in love with Women’s Adventure Camp at Camp Chief Ouray, on the Snow Mountain Ranch property in Granby, Colorado. This year’s camp will be held Thursday, Aug 24 through Sunday, Aug 27, 2017 and the cost is $325  – plus, right now, guests who sign up with 3 friends, will all receive $15 off. So….who’s going to go with me?
 
King Soopers Daily Deal. King Soopers has offered a free coupon download on their website on Fridays for quite some time now. This week they will offer daily deals (Monday’s deal was lemonade); Tuesday Stacy’s pita chips and Wednesday Stur Liquid Water enhancer. All you have to do is download the coupon to your card. If you’ve not registered for an online account at King Soopers (attached to your card) – get to it! You can also load manufacturer coupons onto your card too!
 
Outlets at Castle Rock. Rock Your Runway Model Search. Outlets at Castle Rock will be hosting their annual ‘ROCK Your Runway’ Model Search competition on Saturday, July 29, 2017. The Model Search is a family-friendly event that allows aspiring models ages 5-23 to showcase their talents in front of families and friends while enjoying an exciting day of shopping and live entertainment. Of the contestants, a pool of roughly 20 winners will be selected to appear in future advertisements and fashion shows for three Colorado outlet properties (Outlets at Castle Rock, Outlets at Silverthorne and Outlets at Loveland). Plus, you may *know* one of those judges. 😉
 
History Colorado Center. Free Kid Saturdays. General Admission to the History Colorado Center is FREE for kids 18 and under EVERY SATURDAY during the months of July and August 2017! Plus, other History Colorado Community Museums statewide will be FREE for kids 18 and under every day from Memorial Day – Labor Day.  Kids Free Saturdays at the History Colorado Center are made possible through the generous support of Joan Prusse and Bob Musgraves. 
 
Tiny House Festival.  I’ve seen the shows. I wonder if those places are really as cool as they look on tv. Now is my chance to really check it out…yes, I’m talking about Tiny Houses. The Tiny House Festival is this weekend (July 28-30) at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keensburg. Single day tickets are just $10 for adults when you buy online (coloradotinyhousefestival.com) Children 13-17 are $5 online and kids 12 and under are FREE.
 
Tokyo Joe’s Poke Bowl. What’s better than Shark Week? Not being eaten by a shark. In celebration of Discovery’s Shark Week, when you purchase a Poke (or any entrée) between July 25 and 30th you will get a Buy One Get One Free on your next visit between July 31 and Aug 6. Only catch is that you have to join their FREE Addict Club. Now that’s something to do almost as fast as getting out of water when you hear the music… duh-na, duh-na…
 
Firehouse Subs. When you do good (donate a 24-pack of bottled water – which will be donated to local first responders & community groups to distribute to those in need) you get good…a medium sub. Be an H2O Hero on August 5.
 
Noodles RewardsIntroducing NoodlesREWARDS, their new loyalty program that helps you earn freebies and offers when you scan your phone. Just order your favorite Noodles dishes and you could be rewarded with free shareables, sides, drinks or even entrées. You’ll also receive offers only available to guests with the app. It’s their way of saying “thanks for being awesome.” Download it for free at the iTunes Store or Google Play.
 
Disney’s Frozen. The smash hit makes its pre-Broadway debut in Denver. Be among the first to see it! Inspired by the hit award-winning film, Frozen will feature more music, incredible stagecraft, and the epic story you love — now told as a full-length Broadway musical. Starting August 17 and tickets starting at just $30.
 

Colorado Day! Yes – Colorado has the same birth month as me. Colorado’s birthday August 1 comes with a bit of a celebration. Free entrance to State Parks and join Channel 7 for a pre-party on Friday, July 28 from 2 -8 p.m. at Northfield Stapleton. Plus, you can score a free Colorado T-Shirt. More details:http://www.thedenverchannel.com/community/celebratecolorado

 
Run with Me? I’ve seen pictures of color runs. They look like great fun. You start out with a white shirt/outfit and by the time your 5K is done you are blasted with color! The Color Run is being held on August 26 at Coors Field. Get $5 off your registration and come run with me. Use code MILEHIGHMAMAS.  Plus, youth participants (5 years and under) are just $14.99.
 
JeffCo Fair & Festival. The fun event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds will be back again this August (and makes an awesome gift for dad). Fun concerts all weekend, 4-H exhibits, rodeo, tons of special events and vendors. This is one you don’t want to miss! Get your tickets now. For more information visit:http://www.celebratejeffco.com/
 
Concerts and Movies. Don’t forget to check our listings of free concerts and movies all summer long.
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