Aunt Kristy

I just spent the past 5 days or so in Denver.  I realized I hadn’t been there to visit in WAY too long–so this felt way overdue.  I love Denver in the summer.  Yes, it’s hot–but I like hot & apparently I came during a “cold spell” (which was still hotter than the temps in L.A., but I pretended to be cold).  Well, actually, I mostly like summer ANYWHERE & the idea of hanging out with 5 and unders & watching cartoons in the morning.

So, I woke up at around 3am Saturday to catch my morning flight & as soon as I landed in Denver, I was whisked away to the largest water park in America–Water World (imagine the world’s largest water park on about 3 hours of sleep).  Luckily, they let me get some coffee first & I was good to go for the rest of the day.  You are never too old for water rides & this park is super nice and clean.  A great way to start the vacation!

Sunday was a little more laid back–John’s friend’s girlfriend (got that?) was sweet enough to let me borrow her road bike, so I went on a nice 20 mile ride from Denver to Golden (the home of the Coors Brewery).  It was great because the roads weren’t crowded at all & the drivers weren’t scary like in L.A.  Luckily there weren’t any terrible hills (only some small rolling ones, which I enjoy), so I made it out alive.

In the afternoon, we had a play date at Lakeside Amusement Park, which has been around since 1908 & was once declared the “Coney Island of the West.”  Why anyone would want to advertise that, I’m not sure–but I agree with the comparison.  It was so retro that it came off as more “movie set” than “amusement park.”  Me and Sam made our way on 6 or so rides, most of them making my stomach churn & testing my ability to be a *fun aunt who rides all the rides*.  I drew the line at the tilt-a-whirl.

Monday the parents and Sophie were gone for the day, so it was just myself and my nephew.  What else were we going to do but compete in the mini-Olympics?  We took our cones and soccer ball out to the park & competed in a variety of events.  Sadly, I only won one: the Soccer Kick Event.  I then put him in the “bike trailer” & attempted to bike my way to the library (that boy is heavy…but of course I love a good leg workout!) & the park–followed by a healthy meal at KFC.  Man those mashed potatoes are awesome.  We watched a movie, he napped for over an hour & then more play time until Mom came home.  We had swim lessons that night (well, I swam  laps while the kids had lessons) & passed out after that.

Tuesday we dropped my brother off at work & headed over to Boondocks, the local mini-golf-go-kart-arcade-laser tag place.  We stayed there for 4 hours, which is a long time–but we were both troopers (until that girl started squirting us non-stop on the bumper boats…not cool! soaked for another hour after that!).  We then went to see Despicable Me.  I was so exhausted I passed out for 30 minutes in the middle & by the time the movie was over, it was time to pick John up and head home.  Did we just make it through an 8 hour day of non-stop activity?  Amazing.

Wednesday I had both of the kids (Sam and Sophie), but by this time–I think the novelty of Aunt Kristy was wearing off (don’t overstay your welcome).   We had another round of mini-Olympics, a picnic, acting time (I AM a drama teacher), water hose fun, etc–and of course neither of them were interested in a nap (but trying to get them to take one killed a good hour or so of our day).  Finally, we turned on the TV and watched some Hannah Montana, & ended the day with a dance party with itunes blaring through the house.  And then of course, more swim lessons.

So, I wouldn’t call it a “relaxing vacation”–but it was an awesome time to get to spend so much time with my brother and his family.  I love being an aunt.  The kids both have such a hilarious sense of humor that we continually crack each other up.  They always seem one step away from either crying or laughing, and I can totally relate.  I got to take Sam to his first day of 1st grade yesterday, and he was playing it so cool.  The other kids were hugging on him & I think he rolled his eyes a little.  His teacher seemed so sweet (I guess 1st grade teachers are by definition sweet?) & though I was ready to get back to L.A., at that moment–dropping him off in the classroom– I wanted just one more day at some cheesy amusement park with him.

Every time I visit Denver I think about moving there.  This usually happens in Texas, too.  Maybe I’m just easily swayed by a wide variety of lifestyles.  I imagine myself ending up in a community that places a priority on outdoor activities, while still having major movie/music/restaurants/etc. to balance it out with.  I want to live in a town with crazy amazing bike paths, and my ultimate dream is to ride my bike to work (without fear of death).  I would like to live in a city that isn’t quite as crowded as L.A., yet I’d still like to be able to get lost once in awhile.

So, I’m willing to pick up and move if an opportunity comes around, but I also have to say that L.A. is still a great place for me to be.  I loved getting off the airplane & feeling the breeze & driving around in my Mustang on a 405 that happened to be, for a moment anyway, traffic-free.  The triathlon community here is huge, as is every community because the city is just so big.  I love that I have a history here–friends that have been my friends since I moved here (or before, Chuck!, Kendra!), but I also love the possibility of still meeting new and incredible people (like the work friends I’ve made in the past few years).

All this to say, I still love my commitment-free life.  I know I’m supposed to want to “settle down,” to marry, to have kids, to do whatever you do after you have kids (find other people who also have kids and hang out with them?).  I just feel like there are so many paths out there for people to take these days and thank goodness for that.  It’s no secret I AM interested in finding a good man (always!), but beyond that–I don’t really have a plan.  But TIME feels like the most precious thing, and I feel great when I choose to spend it in a way that feels right.  I could have gone on some exotic solo trip to Hawaii for some surfing lessons, but none of that could compare to time spent with my nephew and niece.  Well, maybe a tropical drink & the sunset might come close–but not really.  No contest.

The beauty of my Denver vacation being over is that I still have a 4 day weekend & no plans!  Well, besides the workouts–which are so much more fun when you don’t have to squeeze them into already jam-packed days.  I plan on seeing at least 2 movies this weekend–I’ve only seen 3 or so movies the entire summer, which is very unusual for me.

So, that’s my Denver trip.  Have a great weekend!