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Becoming Mothers: A Halloween Homebirth

At 3:05 a.m., after five hours of contracting every 10 minutes, I finally called my midwife to tell her how I was progressing. By 7 a.m., gap times shortened to six minutes, and by 8 a.m., DeAna and her assistant had arrived.

My husband Steve and I were supposed to have set up the birthing tub in our bedroom during early labor, but we had been so convinced this was not the real deal – until it was too late for me to be of any help at all. Candles were lit by the far side of the tub and a collection of my favorite music played softly across the room. I had the space I needed to focus and breathe. I lived within each contraction, forgetting the previous one, unconcerned with the next, losing all track of time.

I remember the moment I wanted to give up.

Mom Blog: On Being a Good (and Bad) Mother

For the past several years, we have run this article on Being a Good (and Bad) Mother on our mommy blog for Mother’s Day. It is a good reminder of why we’re in this together and you are enough.

Every year, mothers are celebrated on that one special May day (which is not to be confused with “mayday,” another word with which mamas are familiar).

And every year growing up, I remember my mother was consumed with guilt and inadequacy, the very antithesis of what Mother’s Day is supposed to be about. Was she the perfect mom? Of course not. None of us are. But she loved, sacrificed and cared for her children as best she could.

A few years ago, I was at a resale children’s clothing store. As I poked around, the shopkeeper asked the age of my son and she confided she had a boy his same age. At check-out, I grabbed both of my children a free sucker to reward them for their good behavior. She looked at me and distastefully commented,

“I just can’t imagine giving my 21-month-old child a sucker.”

Becoming Mothers: A Journey Begins With Purplish-Blue

A bag was packed and ready, but not in any specific vehicle. After all, who knew which car would feel like the “right” car once the time came. It was 1 a.m. C was just arriving home from a dragging day that turned into an extended night of work. He was exhausted and only looking forward to laying his body down in the warmth of heavy covers only a January night can hold. Nestling his cold limbs against the heat of the woman who carried his child, who would one day be his wife, sleep met him.

C was unaware of the stirring. His baby boy was coming to greet him. Knocking on the walls that held him, preparing his mother for his arrival; she timed him. There had been false knocks before, too soon that medication needed to quiet them. This time was different. The knocks came, rhythmically. The timing was right now…not too soon. His anxiously excited mother measured the minutes, for she knew his father had just laid down his weary body.

She rocks C lightly, his sleep is not deep. “It’s time,” she softly says.

“For what?” the grogginess

25 family fun events for Mother’s Day weekend

It’s Mother’s Day weekend in Denver with the Colorado Chocolate Festival, a Mother’s Day Garden Bazaar, Moms & Mimosas at Outlets at Castle Rock and more. See our event calendar for full listings. 

Free Day at Denver Firefighters Museum
May 9, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free admission to Denver Firefighters Museum!

Mother’s Day Garden Bazaar at The Westwood Food Cooperative 
May 10 – 12 
Mother’s Day is often considered the official kick off for the planting season here in Colorado, and Re:Vision is putting a new twist on that tradition. The Mother’s Day Garden Bazaar will be an opportunity to not only purchase plants and get ready for the season, but also a great way for families to spend quality time together.

Colorado Chocolate Festival at Denver Mart Drive In 
May 10 – May 11 
Sample and buy the finest chocolates in Colorado. Tastings * samples * speakers * cooking demos * wine-tastings * fun contests * food & drink * Mother’s Day gifts * VIPs * Chocolatier Championships * gifts * games * kids’ activities * fun for all!

Queridas Madres Shopping Event at Hijos del Sol 
May 10  – 11 
Hijos del Sol retail store offers a unique assortment of art-infused products including jewelry, home goods, books, clothing, and other delightfully creative gifts. Each piece is masterfully crafted and embedded with history passed down for generations. Every mark, chisel, thread, and stamp ignites an appreciation from their hands to yours. Help us keep culture thriving by supporting artisan communities throughout Latin America.

Longmont Symphony Pops Concert: The LSO IN Space at Vance Brand Civic Auditorium 
May 11, 7:30 – 9:30 am
Join us for a celebration of 60+ years of spaceflight in our auditorium named after local astronaut Vance Brand. This family-friendly program features film music from Star Wars, Star Trek, E.T., Apollo 13, Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra (from 2001: A Space Odyssey), plus selections from Holst’s The Planets, Voyage (a work commemorating the 60th anniversary of NASA), and more!

22nd Annual Airlife Memorial 5K/10K Run at Hudson Gardens & Events Center 
May 11, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
This family-friendly day includes both a USATF certified qualifying 5K and 10K run/walk and a free kids fun run. After the run/walk, enjoy a one-of-a-kind display of emergency response vehicles, including an AirLife helicopter. Other activities include a volleyball tournament, expo and kids fun and games with a bouncy house, trampoline and giant slide.

Free Day at Longmont Museum 
May 11, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Horseshoe Market at Broncos Stadium Parking Lot G, west side of the stadium
May 11 – 12 
Horseshoe Market, Denver’s Best Flea Market, is moving to Broncos Stadium for their Spring Market on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12th! This market will be bigger and better than ever. Over 200 vendors–makers, artists, more vintage and antiques than ever before, food trucks, and FREE creative workshops geared towards home inspiration and home decor.

Moms & Mimosas at Outlets at Castle Rock
May 11, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Make this Mother’s Day memorable when you visit Outlets at Castle Rock on Saturday, May 11th! The center is hosting a special shopping day, including a heavily discounted “paint & sip” session by Painting with a Twist. Your $15 per person ticket includes the canvas, painting materials and instruction from Painting with a Twist, a complimentary mimosa for those over 21 (additional beverages available for purchase to benefit charity), goodie bags, snacks, a complimentary massage, special coupons, giveaways and more!

Museum Takeover: Fabulous Flowers at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
May 11, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

With blossoms in the air and trees blooming everywhere, FCMoD is celebrating flowers! Come learn about spring blooms, and experience the wonders of the plant life cycle. With fun, interactive stations all throughout the museum, you can explore the world of flowers first-hand and learn how they are important for our planet!

Museum Takeover: The Ocean @ Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
May 11, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Ships ahoy! In celebration of National Ocean Month, sail on over to FCMoD! With fun, interactive stations throughout the museum, you can explore the ocean and discover the many creatures that call it home. Learn about why the ocean is so important (even here in landlocked Colorado!), and what you can do to help keep it healthy. 

Sensory-friendly Performance at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
May 11, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Your Colorado Symphony now presents a relaxed, sensory-friendly performance to ensure everyone has access to live, affordable entertainment. Join musicians of the Colorado Symphony for a fun interactive relaxed concert. Hear string instruments playing music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Aaron Copland, John Williams, Johann Pachelbel, and more. Move and dance to the music and get a chance to try conducting. Plus, after the concert, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the musicians and try playing some instruments yourself. 

Low-sensory Morning at Downtown Aquarium 
May 12, 8:30 am – 9:45 am
For our guests that prefer a calmer and more sensory-friendly environment join us for a special morning. We will open early at 8:30 am, turn up the lights and turn down the ambient sounds in the exhibits. Stay as long as you would like.

2019 Mother’s Day Brunch Experience at Ritz-Carlton, Denver, Hotel Plaza Level 
May 12, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Join us in downtown Denver on our re-imagined Plaza Level for our annual Mother’s Day Brunch experience! This fabulous event will showcase an elaborate brunch buffet presentation, mimosa bar and Ritz Kids buffet. Surprises are in store for both children and adults. Families will receive a family portrait to take home, while children can craft a Mother’s Day card and choose a special keepsake for mom. Face painting and a balloon artist will also be available for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Mother’s Day Family Show at Comedy Works South at The Landmark 
May 12, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Celebrate Mother’s Day with national touring headliner Pat McGann performing an ALL AGES family show. Pat McGann is a stand-up comedian and television host. Pat created and hosted the Emmy nominated television show The Chicago Stand Up Project. Pat has also been heard on the nationally syndicated The Bob & Tom Show, as well as seen on AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live. Looking to dine before the show? Visit LucyRestaurant.com

Ongoing General Events

Butterflies at Chatfield Farms
May 25 – September 2
$4, $2 Gardens or Butterfly Pavilion member, free for children 2 and under
This seasonal habitat is home to hundreds of native butterflies such as swallowtails, monarchs, mourning cloaks and painted ladies. The plants in this house are used as a nectar source for butterfly food and designed to create a whimsical atmosphere for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Learn what types of plants you can add to your garden to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Presented with Butterfly Pavilion.

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America at the Denver Art Museum
May 5 –August 25
Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America presents the concept of playfulness in postwar American design as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. This exhibition explores how employing playfulness allowed designers to bring fresh ideas to the American home, children’s toys and play spaces, and corporate identities.  The cost is included in general admission which is free for kids 18 and under every day.

Harry Potter Marathon at Phipps Imax Theater at DMNS
April 4 – June 8, 2019
Back by popular demand, a Harry Potter marathon in Phipps IMAX Theater! Between April 4 and June 8, all eight “Harry Potter” films and two “Fantastic Beast” films will be screened in chronological order as part of Hollywood Favorites. Relive the magic or see the saga unfold for the first time. Previously released cinematic features are included in their IMAX lineup on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. 

Our Senses: Creating Your Reality at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
April 12 – August 4
When it comes to our senses, hasn’t the number five had enough time in the spotlight? Now other sensory heroes get some overdue attention in Our Senses: Creating Your Reality, a new exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for the whole family where you play with color, patterns, sounds, scents, and textures to discover there’s so much more to human senses than just the famous five. www.dmns.org

Denver Art Museum 
Visit the Denver Art Museum this summer where kids receive FREE general admission every day! There is plenty to do during #SummerofPlay2019 at the DAM including family-friendly artmaking in the galleries and in the Paint Studio (opening June 1). Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space (opening June 1) and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition The Light Show. Don’t miss this summer’s main exhibition, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, opening May 5, where children are invited to play in the Free Play Zone at the end of the exhibition where they can try on bold masks and bring them to life in a colorful theater, climb on a wavy playscape by sculptor Isamu Noguchi and creatively combine the pieces of the Tyng Toy.

Once Upon a Playground at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
January 29 – May 26, 2019
In Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s special traveling exhibition, Once Upon a Playground, take an interactive journey from the past to the present… and beyond. Share in the nostalgia for playgrounds form decades past with dozens of historic images while you celebrate playgrounds of Fort Collins present and future. We invite you to touch, to see, to smell, to listen, to climb, to build – and to experience this interactive exhibition that is sure to enliven all of your senses.

Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Got Style? Railroads & Design at the Colorado Railroad Museum
Feb 16 – Jun 10, 2019
Often leading the pack as far as what was “stylish.” railroads have echoed the fashion of their day. From rail cars to benches, dining plates to lamps passengers expected and often got the best. This small exhibit explores the how materials, production technologies and aesthetic trends all affected how the railroads we traveled on looked.

Kids Kabaret Performances at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Feb 20, 2019 – May 24, 2019
Our ‘Kids Kabaret’ shows are designed for children ages 3-12. We take pride in offering live theater for young children; understanding that they will wiggle and move around. Several children are incorporated into the show at each performance.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

Becoming Mothers: The Good, the Bad and the Baby

When my husband and I decided we were ready to become parents, we quickly learned that getting pregnant was the easy part. The pregnancy wasn’t too difficult either.

The worst part was anticipating the birth. Knowing that the baby was going to have to come out somehow. I tried to decide which path would be best. The traditional way didn’t seem like a good time and neither did a C-section. I wanted to reconsider. But there was no going back.

I was due on my 30th birthday.

The day after my birthday, I failed the stress test at a routine checkup.

Motherhood: I Am Death’s Opposition

MOTHERHOOD
My willingness to carry life is the revenge, the antidote, the great rebuttal of every murder, every abortion, and every genocide. I sustain humanity. Deep inside of me, life grows. I am death’s opposition.

I have pushed back the hand of darkness today. I have caused there to be a weakening tremor among the ranks of those set on earth’s destruction. Today a vibration that calls angels to attention echoed throughout time. Our laughter threatened hell today.

I dined with the greats of God’s army. I made their meals, and tied their shoes. Today, I walked with greatness, and when they were tired I carried them. I have poured myself out for the cause today.

It is finally quiet, but life stirs inside of me. Gaining strength, the pulse of life sends a constant reminder to both good and evil that I have yielded myself to Heaven and now carry its dream. No angel has ever had such a privilege, nor any man. I am humbled by the honor. I am great with destiny.

I birth the freedom fighters. In the great war, I am a leader of the underground resistance. I smile at the disguise of my troops, surrounded by a host of warriors, destiny swirling, invisible yet tangible, and the anointing to alter history. Our footsteps marking land for conquest, we move undetected through the common places.

Today I was the barrier between evil and innocence. I was the gatekeeper, watching over the hope of mankind, and no intruder trespassed. There is not an hour of day or night when I turn from my post. The fierceness of my love is unmatched on earth.

And because I smiled instead of frowned the world will know the power of grace. Hope has feet, and it will run to the corners of earth, because I stood up against destruction.

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am the keeper and sustainer of life here on earth. Heaven stands in honor of my mission. No one else can carry my call. I am the daughter of Eve. Eve has been redeemed. I am the opposition of death. I am a woman.

By Christianna Maas. Paintings: 1. Climbing Mountains with Children; 2. Mother Protecting; 3. The Nurturer; 4/5/6: Women and Children; Mothers Teaching; Fighting Demons.

Mother’s Day Contest 2019 ($1,000+ value)

Enter to win a bundle of great prizes! Here’s to all the Mile High Mamas in celebration of Mother’s Day 2019.

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!

Win a Social Membership to RISE Collaborative Workspace/ $480 value

RISE Collaborative Workspace Denver is the second location of its kind, recently opened after a successful launch in St. Louis. There are over 270 members from various industries ranging in age from 24 – 78 and from start-up entrepreneur to CEO of a $500 million company. We pride ourselves on a diverse community made up of small business owners, corporate, nonprofit executives, remote workforce, and entrepreneurs. Women join RISE for a variety of reasons (many have no need for a workspace), but the common thread is they want to be around impressive, dynamic women who are focused on growing personally and professionally.

RISE Collaborative Workspace is giving away a social membership level ($40/month value) that includes a one-day a month workspace access (M-F 8am-6pm), weekly social and educational events, access to member portal and 50% off room rentals. Easily located on the 2nd floor of the Snooze Building on Colorado and 7th (where Little Monkey Business was for us older mamas), there’s plenty of places within walking distance to grocery shop, eat and socialize while in the area.

HAIRCUT FOR TWO

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop product package + 2 complimentary haircuts

$75 value

Spring scissor time! Enter here to win a travel pack with Floyd’s 99 shampoo, conditioner, Refresh and molding cream along with two complimentary haircut cards. Floyd’s 99 does an awesome job with kids’ cuts! Floyd’s 99 is NOT your grandfather’s barbershop. With an old-school new-style mentality, it mixes excellent service with the new style appeal of an experienced and talented staff. They offer a full menu of services for men and women, including cuts, color, straight razor shaves, and signature massage shampoo, finishing every service with a relaxing shoulder massage. We provide a great service, a unique, high-energy vibe, and haircuts with an unbeatable value. On top of that, no two shops are the same – meaning the Floyd’s 99 experience is truly one of a kind. Walk-in service is the norm, but clients can also make a reservation in advance.  Reservations are recommended for those wanting face and head shaves and coloring services. Clients can also check out individual stylist and barber schedules on the website.  

MEAL OUT FOR A FAMILY

$50 Spanky’s Roadhouse gift card

Spanky’s recently launched a new lunch and dinner menu, along with a scavenger hunt kids’ menu! The new menu is jam-packed with amazing burgers and shakes. Adults will love the chef-inspired burgers while the kids will love the fun milkshakes (like the Cinnamon Toast Crunch-themed creation!)  Located in the University of Denver area just off Evans and South Williams Street, Spanky’s is the neighborhood hangout for locals. The welcoming restaurant and bar has a retro-urban look and serves up elevated comfort food for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Spanky’s is known for pub favorites and has some of the best burgers in town with unique and downright delicious takes on the American burger classic. Spanky’s Roadhouse offers a daily Happy Hour draws a crowd from 3-6pm, with local beer specials, and delicious bar snacks like Pretzel Bites & Queso, and don’t forget Spanky’s famous chicken wings.

OUT OF THE TOY BOX CAMP

A camp for motor skills, sensory fun, and creative arts

$200 value

Arts & Minds is partnering up with Honest Tot this summer for a week of meaningful play. Each day, kids will explore a movement theme and take home a box of toys to support their developmental play. Dates for this camp are June 17 through June 21 and the hours are 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm each day.  The location is Kidsense Pediatric Studio 125 Rampart Way Suite 305. This specialized camp is co-lead by Occupational Therapist, Jill Loftus (www.honestot.com/about/) and Rebecca Kanov. Included in the price of camp: 5 TOY BOXES. Each day, kids will bring home a box of activities specifically designed to enhance the movement themes addressed.

EASY DRIVE THROUGH DINNER

$50 gift card to McDonalds

McDonald’s supports education and they’re hiring! Did you know that eligible McDonald’s employees can participate in the Archways to Opportunity program which provides online courses for crew wanting to obtain their high school diploma, tuition assistance for college and English Under the Arches classes to learn English? Stop by any McDonald’s restaurant to apply and find out more about these education programs that help employees get ahead! And, enter here for a $50 gift card to the golden arches!

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Grab your girlfriends: Events and retreats for women in 2019

Throughout Colorado, female makers and shakers create valuable travel experiences for visitors as well as some great goodies to take back home to friends and family. These women are staking a claim in industries as varied as fly fishing and skiing to craft spirits and soul-restoring retreats. They mean business and are a quintessential stop for Colorado adventurers. With the recent announcement that Colorado is raising the bar for pro women’s cycling around the world designating the 2019 Colorado Classic as the only UCI standalone women’s stage race in the Western hemisphere, Colorado is taking the “Year of the Woman” into 2019.
 
The Colorado Classic is shifting gears with an exclusive, women’s only race, August 22-25, 2019
The Colorado Classic announced this week that it will become the only UCI women’s standalone stage race in the Western Hemisphere—fulfilling its mission to create a socially impactful world-class race. Back in 2017, the Colorado Classic was the first major USA cycling race to go without podium hostesses, and just last year it expanded its races to four stages and intentionally designed the male and female routes similarly—showing its commitment and dedication to women since its inauguration. With the elimination of the men’s race, the Colorado Classic now serves women exclusively and has big plans for its 2019 race, including quadrupling its prize purses and team stipends, introducing free live streaming and longer, more challenging routes, thus empowering female athletes on a global stage.
 
Events and retreats solely catered to women held throughout the year:
 
Chicks Climbing and Skiing, Year Round, Ridgway – ‘Chicks’ offers courses for women taught exclusively by female instructors and covers a range of topics including avalanche rescue, backcountry skills, ice and rock climbing, skiing and more. Established with the goal of empowering women through mountain sports, the program will mark its 20th anniversary with a celebration at the 2019 Ouray Ice Festival in January.
 
8th Annual Women’s Weekend of Wellness, March 7-10, 2019, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs – During the 8th Annual Weekend of Wellness, you’ll learn about ways to increase productivity, be more efficient and more effective by focusing in new ways in order to identify your own Superpower. Our speakers KALEY WARNER KLEMP and JACKIE INSINGER are experts in helping explore how you think so you can increase performance and achieve surprising results. 
 
Discover Your Inner Cowgirl, June and September, Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Loveland – This five-day ladies-only retreat offers a restorative getaway with a unique balance of activities. From the start, women are encouraged to bond with their horses in the morning and are later treated to a massage after a long day out on the ranch.
 
Find Your Inner Cowgirl Through Body, Mind, Equine, May 9-12, 2019, C Lazy U Ranch, Granby – This all-inclusive women’s retreat focuses on how to use yoga and yogic practices to improve horsemanship from ground to saddle. The three-day escape begins each morning with a gentle yoga class, followed by workshops on meditation, breath-work and exploring the parallels of yoga and horsemanship.
 
Ladies Day Out!, April through September, Sacred Rides, Boulder – Guided by local professionals, these cycling trips offer women the chance to experience Boulder’s array of mountain bike trails. Fully customizable for first-time riders or experienced pros, this no-pressure environment is the perfect way to connect with other like-minded women as well as a way to learn new skills and brush up on bike knowledge.
 
Leave the Boys Behind, Year Round,  Aspen Alpine Guides, Aspen – After a few conversations that shed light on not-so-great female outdoor experiences, Aspen Alpine Guides set out to create a space where women could experiment freely outdoors–without pressure or intimidation of certain activities. This woman-led guide service feels more like a community and it explores backcountry adventure trips regularly through skiing, backpacking, road biking and more.
 
Ski with a Living Legend: Wendy Fisher, January through March, Crested Butte – Extreme skiing pioneer, Wendy Fisher, has led women – and challenged men to follow – into some of the steepest terrains around the world, hosting special clinics designed to help skiers find their next level of “fearless.”
 
These Boots are Made for Wading, June 21-23, 2019, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs – This three-day women’s only fly fishing retreat serves as an introduction to the sport, and for those who are already acquainted, a space to perfect their form. The hotel partners with Orvis, a leading name in fly fishing, and provides clinics that teach women the basics of the sport. Wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and nightly fireside s’mores allow women to bond over the day’s activities.
 
Timber to Table Guide Service, Seasonal, Hotchkiss – This hunting guide service offers guided experiences specific to women who want to hunt for the first time. Timber to Table educates participants on the basic elements of hunting like tracking and how to move through wooded areas as well as how to prepare and process the meat for your next meal. A variety of guided packages are available and participants are welcome to bring along a family member or two.
 
Women Afield, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Seasonal, Statewide – Women Afield provides seminars and clinics for women to learn the basics of hunting, angling and shooting sports in a comfortable, female-friendly environment. Guided hunting opportunities are offered across the state and applications are accepted from May 1 through July 15 each year.
 
Women’s Winter Ski, Snowshoe and Yoga Wonderfest, Jan. 26, 2019, Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby – Women’s Quest, owned and operated by world champion triathlete Colleen Cannon, will host a two-day retreat slopeside at wintery Snow Mountain Ranch. Designed for every type of skier, from beginner to advanced, this retreat is packed with activities that focus on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The retreat caps off each day with restorative yoga, tea and wine tastings.
-Colorado.com

Rebecca Lukens: The Mom with a Will of Iron

If you’re looking for a unique Mother’s Day gift for the favorite mom in your life, look no further than Tough Mothers!  In concise, deeply researched vignettes, accompanied by charming illustrations,  the author of Rejected Princesses illuminates these fearsome women, explores their lives, and pays tribute to their accomplishments. A celebration of motherhood and female achievement, Tough Mothers reminds us of the power of women to transform our lives and our world.

For Rebecca Lukens, 1825 was a crap year.

In June, her husband suddenly died from fever, joining her father and two of her children, who’d died in the previous year. On his deathbed, her husband made Rebecca promise to continue running the family business, an iron working plant…which was heavily in debt and had a massive order to finish. Rebecca’s mother, Martha, was so dead set against Rebecca running the plant, she began trying to repossess it.

And Rebecca was pregnant. With her sixth child.

In that situation, what’s a woman to do? Well, if you’re Rebecca Lukens, you start kicking butt.

Born Rebecca Webb Pennock, the future Mrs. Lukens was from a well-to-do Quaker family in Pennsylvania. She had a pretty sweet childhood: riding horses, getting an education, and even enjoying a fairytale romance. She and her husband fell for each other hard (he proposed on the second date—bold move!). Her husband integrated himself into the family quickly, going into business with Rebecca’s father. The newlywed couple leased the old Brandywine Iron Works factory from Rebecca’s father and began rebuilding it to get in on the manufacturing boom. It was hard work and a lot of it, but they were happy.

Then, in her words, “in summer of 1825, I lost my dear and excellent husband, and I commenced my hard and weary struggle with life.”

Challenge number one was keeping the employees. According to family lore, many of the workers were packing their things and ready to leave for good when she ran out the door and called them back, one by one. As Rebecca’s granddaughter later put it, Rebecca took some time to brush up on her multiplication tables, and then formally took the reins.[1]

Rebecca not only got the business back on track, she made it boom. Her task was to complete the massive order they’d just undertaken: plates for the Codorus, the first iron-hulled ship in the United States. Over the next 22 years, she established Brandyworks iron as some of the highest quality on the market. When one of their suppliers provided inferior product, she was unafraid to bring them to court. She was not about to let someone walk all over her.

She overcame endless difficulties throughout all this. A financial crisis in 1837 wiped out several iron working plants—but not Rebecca’s. Realizing the massive financial instability afoot, she temporarily shut down the plant and put her employees to work upgrading the facilities. When they ran out of work to do, she put them to work on her estate. Not only did her plant survive, she even retained her workers.

But by far the biggest thorn in her side was her mother, Martha. Feeling that a woman running a business was unfeminine, Martha did everything in her power to screw Rebecca over. Martha kept trying to give the plant to Rebecca’s brothers—despite Rebecca having rebuilt it herself, and having paid her late father money for the privilege. But due to her father’s will being poorly worded and her late husband’s will being nonexistent, Rebecca had to fight her mother in court over the deed for 20 years—and when Martha died, Rebecca had to continue fighting her own brothers.

In the end, Rebecca was victorious, but she had to pay for the property two or three times over.

Rebecca’s true strength in all of this was realizing she could not go it alone and reaching out for help. She folded her family life into her professional one—she brought on her brother-in-law to help manage the plant and her daughter to serve as bookkeeper. Additionally, Rebecca relied on the religious community of Quakers for support, and continually referred to the religion’s Rules of Discipline to conduct business in a moral manner.

After Rebecca spent 22 years hard at work, her health began to decline, and in 1847, she withdrew from running the business. By the end of her life, she’d accumulated over $100,000 in personal property, a far cry from the $15,000 of debt she’d started with. She carefully earmarked much of it for her children—she was intent on not making the same mistakes with her will as had her late father and husband.

After her death, the Brandywine Iron Works was renamed the Lukens Iron Works and later Lukens Steel in her honor. It was a Fortune 500 company for quite some time and was managed for 125 years by her descendants. In 1994, Fortune magazine recognized Rebecca as America’s first female industrialist leader and inducted her into the American National Business Hall of Fame.

Much of the vibrance of Rebecca’s story is due to her being able to tell it in her own words. Her diary, found some 150 years after her death, reveals the personal struggles of a woman trying to move on from tragedy. Of the early days after her husband’s death, she wrote: “With some fear, but more courage, I began to struggle for a livelihood. I think at this period I must have possessed some energy of character, for now I look back and wonder at my daring. I had such strong, such powerful incentives for exertion that I felt I must succeed.”

  • ART NOTES AND TRIVIA •

This is a decently accurate representation of the Brandywine Iron Works. Thankfully, a depiction of it on a bank note survives to current day and serves as excellent reference. The furnace embers are a bit of artistic license. Of course the iron workers would not want embers floating around a wooden building, but they added a bit of wonder to the composition.

[1]          Neither of these anecdotes are historically confirmed, and are likely a bit of hyperbole, but come on. Just go with it.

 

35 fun events for Mother’s Day week

Mother’s Day week is upon us. And yes, I’m calling it a week-long celebration but we’re worth it! If you’re looking for delicious food, don’t miss Mother’s Day Brunches Denver Moms Will Love. If you’re looking for activities, here are Denver’s top events for Mother’s Day weekend. See our event calendar for full listings.

Moms ‘n’ Mimosas at Outlets at Castle Rock
May 12, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
This Mother’s Day weekend, Outlets at Castle Rock is celebrating all loving and hardworking moms with a one-of-a-kind ‘Moms ‘n’ Mimosas’ event. On Saturday, May 12 from 11AM – 5PM, moms can treat themselves to a day of fun and relaxing activities that will include sip and paint classes, a massage lounge, bath bomb decorating and access to exclusive Mother’s Day discounts at top name brand stores.

Aurora Mama Summit
May 7, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Moms Clean Air Force and Colorado Moms Know Best are inviting moms, families and our local elected officials to come together on May 7th for our first ever city-wide Mama Summit.  The Aurora Mama Summit will feature food, music, children’s activities, special giveaways and a tour of city hall. There will also be the opportunity to meet Aurora city council members and learn about how to engage for change at the local level.

Mother’s Day Weekend Plant & Garden Sale
May 11 – 12
Join us for EarthLinks’ Plant & Garden Sale! Shop for organically grown flowers, herb, and vegetable seedlings. Pick up beautiful flowers, veggies, herbs, and other plants for you garden, all grown by participants and volunteers of the EarthLinks Workshop Program.

Four Mile Free Day at Four Mile Historic Park
May 11, 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Travel back to 1859… for free! Enjoy historic demonstrations, a tour of the Four Mile House Museum—a Denver landmark!—and meeting our many farm animals. Our Hay Bales & Tall Tales story and activity time will also be offered from 12-1 pm.

Furry Friends Pet Adoption Event at Larry H. Miller Nissan 104th
May 11, 1:00 – 6:00 pm
To celebrate National Pet Week, Larry H. Miller Nissan 104th has partnered with the Adams County Animal Shelter to host a pet adoption event on Friday, May 11. We encourage you to come take a look at some of the shelters’ cutest adoptables and possibly drive away with a new pet. Joining us on this day will be the voice of the Colorado Avalanche, Mark Moser, and his team who will be conducting an onsite live radio remote. National Pet Week is dedicated to celebrating America’s more than 200 million pets that enrich lives each and every day, and to create awareness of the numerous animals that are available in our community who need a home.

Koboldcon Gaming Convention
May 12 – 13
KoboldCon is the premiere tabletop gaming convention in Colorado Springs, presenting a huge variety of gaming opportunities and geekery right along the Front Range. KoboldCon’s second annual event, we will be located in the new (and huge) Chapel Hills Event Center!

Free Day at Longmont Museum
May 12, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
The second Saturday of each month is a Free Day. The Longmont Museum, housed in a distinctive contemporary building, features changing exhibits in history, art, and science, as well as the award-winning Front Range Rising, a long-term exhibit on the history and culture of this region. The Museum recently opened an expansion, featuring the 250-seat Stewart Auditorium and Cone-Shortall stage, the Swan Atrium, and the Kaiser Permanente Education Center.

First Annual Garden Bazaar at RISE Westwood
May 12 – 13
Re:Vision, a nonprofit in Southwest Denver announced its first annual garden bazaar. The bazaar will take place on Saturday May 12, and Sunday May 13 from 10am – 3pm at RISE Westwood (3738 Morrison Rd. Denver, CO 80219). Mother’s Day is  often considered the official kick off for the planting season here in Colorado, and Re:Vision is putting a new twist on that tradition.

Hilltop Annual Garage Sale 2018
May 12, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Hilltop Garage Sale is a neighborhood-event where local residents put their unique and one-of-a-kind items out for sale whilst connecting with the local community. This widely-successful and well-known garage sale has previously been featured in local news, such as 9NEWS, and well-regarded publications such as The Denver Post.

Steampunk at the Station at the Colorado Railroad Museum
May 12, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Our steam engines create the perfect backdrop for the popular genre of “science fiction meets the 19th century Industrial Age” found in music, clothing, art and lifestyle. With a nod to Steampunk icon, Tesla, we invite guests to arrive in their finest Steampunk attire and/or with their Steampunk gadget to enjoy a day full of entertainment, train rides, craft beer, vendors and more.

Hands On History Family Fun Days at the History Colorado Center
May 12, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Join us for our Hands on History Family Fun Days! On the second Saturday of each month, families have the opportunity to explore and create their own history, art, and culture through hands-on, immersive activities like adobe brick making, building log cabins, live performances, and role playing in our exhibits.

Mother’s Day Scented Journey at Scented Studio
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May 12, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Treat your mom to a unique and personal experience this Mother’s Day. She deserves a special celebration and a thoughtful gift for all the love she’s given you.  Our Mother’s Day Scented Journey®  will take place on May 12th at 11am. It is roughly a 2-hour of DIY fragrance workshop. For just $80 per person, your mom will be welcomed into our class, where she will learn about fragrance throughout history and the art of perfumery, while enjoying our special Mother’s Day Lunch with wine, mimosas and more! She will be guided through our 24 signature Scented Journey® fragrances, out of which she will be able to create her 100mL custom signature perfume.

Mother’s Day Eve–Ultimate Night Out with Pump and Dump Show at The Paramount Theatre
May 12, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Mother’s Day Eve with The Pump and Dump Show has become a Denver tradition and epic yearly event for moms across Colorado. Audience members can look forward to music, comedy, drinking, games, prizes and a DANCE PARTY, because . . . well . . . someone else can get up with the kids this Mother’s Day morning.  This year’s show is part of Shayna and Tracey’s 2018 “Parentally Incorrect” tour, running in tandem with the national release of their highly-anticipated book (also titled Parentally Incorrect). This special event features an after-show DJ dance party, special comedy and musical guests, a photo booth, awesome prizes, plus live streaming and other surprises from the tour’s presenting sponsor, AwestruckTV.

Moms Ride Free at the Carousel of Happiness
May 13, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Moms ride free at the Carousel of Happiness on Mothers Day.

Strolling Thunder Colorado at the Colorado State Capitol
May 8, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
Decisions that affect babies and families happen at all levels of government, not only in Washington, D.C. That’s why Clayton Early Learning and Colorado Children’s Campaign have partnered with ZERO TO THREE to bring Strolling Thunder™ to Colorado!  Pack up your strollers and join us on May 8 for a stroll around the Capitol followed by a huge play date for babies, toddlers and families. Strolling Thunder is a fun, family friendly rally to encourage policymakers to Think Babies™ in support of stronger families, vibrant communities and prosperity across the country.

Create Playdate at the Denver Art Museum
May 9, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Drop in with your little ones, aged 3 to 5, and meet up with other tots and their grownups for story time, art-making, and more! Create Playdates are included with general admission, which is free for kids 18 and younger. No reservations are required. Meet in the Hamilton Building atrium for program location (Hamilton Building, Level 1).

National Get Outdoors Day at Sloan’s Lake Park
May 9, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
A fun, FREE, active day with plenty of things for everyone to do! Visit our interactive event where you can fish, bike, jump, garden, climb, paint, build, paddle, learn, dance, jump, eat, explore, and play! Select adaptive recreation activities are available for people of all backgrounds and abilities. This event is accessible. We’ll also host multiple stage activities and live music throughout the day.

Joy Park – Parachute Games at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
May 9, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Guests can craft with items found in nature, track bugs, make a sun catcher or a snowman in this year-round outdoor adventure. Programs vary.

Foxy and Shmoxy: Art Detectives at the Denver Art Museum
May 13, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Foxy and Shmoxy—two smart and hilarious foxes—are ready to solve art mysteries in the galleries. On the second Sunday of the month from September through May, bring the whole family to help Foxy and Shmoxy sniff out clues and unseen treasures in the museum. There are two chances to see the foxes in action: 10:30 am and 11:30 am.

Open Adventure Day at Colorado Adventure Point
May 13, 1:00 pm
Come see what Colorado Adventure Point is all about! And what better way to do that than by coming to Open Adventure Day! Start your day on the Rock Climbing wall as your plan your trek up the wall to ring the bell at the top. Then spend some time at the Archery Range where you’ll keep the target in your sights. How about some Leatherworking or Blacksmithing? This is your opportunity to try something new.

Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour at Paramount Theatre
May 15, 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Are you ready to DANCE?!? Disney Junior Dance Party On Tour is an ALL NEW interactive live concert experience. Sing along to Disney Junior’s greatest hits with your favorite characters: Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sofia The First, Puppy Dog Pals, Elena of Avalor, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, The Lion Guard and more! Preschoolers and their families are invited to get up and dance, play games and join the biggest dance party around!

Ongoing Events and Exhibits

Play Ball! at the History Colorado Center
April 7-September 30, 2018
See classic baseball artifacts—from Babe Ruth to the Blake Street Bombers. Treasured memorabilia and iconic photographs bring the past to life through stories that begin on the ball field and echo through American history. Size up your hand against Babe Ruth’s. Find the nails Ty Cobb used to hold his favorite bat together, and admire the glove flashed by Willie Mays to make some of the game’s most memorable catches. See the uniform Joe DiMaggio wore in his final World Series and a receipt for roses he sent to Marilyn Monroe.  historycolorado.org/exhibit/play-ball

Dead Sea Scrolls at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
March 16-Sept. 3
Dead Sea Scrolls is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see authentic Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient manuscripts that include the oldest known biblical documents dating back over 2,000 years. The scrolls will be dramatically presented within a massive exhibit case featuring carefully regulated individual chambers, along with the full English translation. dmns.org/dead-sea-scrolls

Becoming Butterflies at CU South Denver
Now through June 2, 2018, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: CU South Denver
Becoming Butterflies is a fascinating look at some of the world’s most captivating insects throughout their entire life cycle. A successful journey means overcoming natural enemies, evading predators and transforming from a tiny egg to creeping caterpillar to delicate winged flyer. Learn how butterflies impact our lives and the role we play in their survival. http://southdenver.cu.edu/events/event/becoming-butterflies/

Denver Puzzling Adventure at Civic Center Park
Puzzling Adventures™ are a cross between a scavenger hunt, an informative self-guided tour, and The Amazing Race®. Each adventure consists of a series of locations that you are guided to where you are required to answer questions or solve puzzles to receive your next instruction. http://puzzlingadventures.com

Eyes On at Denver Art Museum
December 3, 2017 – July 8, 2018, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Xiaoze Xie has a lifelong passion for books. In his worldview, books are conveyers of prestige and signifiers of collective cultural knowledge: repositories of historical meaning, cultural conflict, and political strife. For Eyes On: Xiaoze Xie, the artist has created still-life paintings of books, videos, and installations based on banned and forbidden books in China. http://denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions/eyes-on-xiaoze-xie

Past the Tangled Present at the Denver Art Museum
November 14, 2017 – October 28, 2018, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
This interactive and immersive installation by Denver artist Jaime Molina was born of imagination and the joy of discovery. Step into a different world where the paintings on the wall flow into 3-D objects that Molina created for the space. Sit on boxes painted with faces and play in a garden of fabricated cacti. http://denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions/past-tangled-present

Creatures of Light at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science 
February 23- June 10, 2018
They light up our lives, but have you ever wondered how? Delve into the world of living things that blink, glow, flash, and flicker, from tiny fireflies to strange creatures in the ocean depths. The new exhibition Creatures of Light explores the mysterious world of bioluminescence and biofluorescence, visible light emitted by living things. This enlightening experience features larger-than-life models, engaging immersive environments, fun activities, and real animals, fungi, and minerals that get their glow on. http://www.dmns.org

Colors of East Africa
Jan. 20-May 19, 2018
Colors of East Africa, an exceptional showcase of eight countries along the Great Rift Valley, continues through May 19 at the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures. The exhibit features art and artifacts on loan from over 40 collectors and international travelers in Northern Colorado. Many items reflect the intersection between the wildlife and the indigenous cultures, such as a loin cloth fashioned from fish vertebrae and a Maasai shield & weaponry. http://globalvillagemuseum.org/upcoming-main-gallery/

Animals in Art
 Sept. 10, 2017–May 19, 2019
Whether depicted as faithful companions or threatening adversaries, animals have been the subjects of human art for centuries. Stampede at the Denver Art Museum allows visitors to consider the roles animals play in our lives and in our art through more than 300 paintings, sculptures and more. https://denverartmuseum.org/exhibitions/stampede

AI Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
Oct. 18, 2017–Oct. 17, 2018
The 12 bronze heads of Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals represent the 12 animals of the traditional Chinese zodiac. See it for free at Civic Center Park! https://www.denver.org

Zoom In: The Centennial State in 100 Objects
Nov. 21, 2017–Dec. 31, 2018
History Colorado created a brand-new space, the Tim Schultz Gallery, to house this 3,700-square-foot exhibit of 100 objects, each of which had a role in shaping the history and culture of Colorado. https://www.historycolorado.org/venue/history-colorado-center

Pixelated: Sculpture by Mike Whiting
April 28–Sept. 23, 2018
Mike Whiting’s geometric sculptures at the Denver Botanic Gardens also represent the intersection of two distinct visual styles: 8-bit pixel graphics—which have enjoyed a recent resurgence in games like Minecraft—and minimalist sculpture. Technological limitations in early video games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders reduced the graphics to simplified shapes, while the minimalist art movement created artworks that purposely lacked detail. Pixelated investigates the opposite intents of these two artistic approaches that result in a strikingly similar visual outcome. https://www.botanicgardens.org/exhibits/pixelated-sculpture-mike-whiting