Gramma goes tubing

Gramma goes tubing

Despite having been born in Minnesota and living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes the first decade of my life, I'm not big on water sports. To any degree. I still don't know how to swim... even after having swim lessons as a child and again at 40 years old.

I'm not deathly afraid of water, but I certainly don't seek out splishy-splashy fun in water over my head. Not even water up to my chest, to be honest.

So it should come as no surprise that I've never whiled away hours in an inner tube on a lake. Nor have I engaged in tubing…

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Cruisin' Colorado in the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek

Cruisin' Colorado in the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek

Last month, I had the opportunity to drive a vehicle for review unlike any test drive auto I'd driven before: the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium.

Now, I have previously driven Subarus. And I've taken plenty of SUVs (small, large, crossover, mini and more) for spins for review. The novel aspect of this auto, though, was the color.

It was orange.

Sunshine Orange, to be exact.

Which threw me a bit at first, I must admit. But the sunny, sporty hue...

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Word of the Day: Jubilation

Word of the Day: Jubilation

Today's word is... JUBILATION!

Definition of jubilation (per Merriam-Webster):

1an act of rejoicing the state of being jubilant 

2an expression of great joy

Jubilation on display:

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The difference one hundred ninety-nine days makes

The difference one hundred ninety-nine days makes

Up until this past weekend, my husband and I last saw our three desert-dwelling grandsons one hundred and ninety-nine days ago. At that time, we flew to their house to celebrate their birthdays — all of which are in June — a few weeks early. At that time, they looked like this:

Last weekend Jim and I flew to their house to celebrate Christmas with them — a few weeks early. In the one hundred and ninety-nine days since our visit in May, Brayden, Camden, and Declan have grown by leaps and bounds — in stature, maturity, conversational prowess, game-playing ability, and more.

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My week in a 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4X4: Where I went, what I loved, what I learned

Jeep Compass Trailhawk test drive

The Thursday before Labor Day, Rocky Mountain Redline fleet company provided me a 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4X4 for a week long test drive. Which meant I had the fun ride for the long holiday weekend... plus some.

In the seven days I had the pleasure of driving the well-appointed, hardy and handsome (Laser Blue Pearl exterior) 4X4, I put it to the test on the road, at a reservoir, and running the everyday errands that make up the grandma lifestyle.

Take a look:

WHERE I WENT (plus a closer look at...

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Lions and tigers and bears and more: The Wild Animal Sanctuary

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

In January of 2014, I published a movie review of the film LION ARK, which I saw as part of the 2013 STARZ Denver Film Festival. The riveting documentary tells the true story of the dogged efforts of Animal Defenders International and other compassionate folks as they rescued twenty-five African lions from deplorable, inhumane conditions in Bolivian circuses and transported them across the world to a safe haven in Colorado.

I found the feat and the film heartbreaking, humbling, inspiring, amazing. I was doubly delighted by the fact the forever home where the egregiously mistreated animals would now roam was mere hours north of me. It warmed my heart that my forever home state was now their forever home, despite the assumption I'd never actually meet my big-cat neighbors.

Fast forward to June of 2017, just a few weeks ago. I was invited to attend a Nissan event highlighting the fun and feisty Nissan Rogue Sport. The day would include time to go wild at the wheel of the crossover vehicle as well as the opportunity to witness the truly wild at The Wild Animal Sanctuary located 30 miles northeast of Denver. I immediately...

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Wild triple treat: The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Platte River Fort, plus the Nissan Rogue Sport

nissan rogue sport event

When it comes to brands hosting interesting, exciting, and informative events to introduce bloggers and media folks of varied sorts to their goods, automakers tend to be among the best of the best. Nissan recently significantly raised the bar on outstanding activities that encourage movers and shakers to plug and promote a product with a wild adventure in honor of the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport. And I was delighted to participate in the program.

Nissan, in partnership with Rocky Mountain Redline, invited members of the media to an overnight escape to experience the Rogue Sport, with wild being the theme from beginning to end.

A wild west flavor marked the start as...

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Camping on the Arkansas River: The truth about our 35th anniversary adventure

Arkansas River

My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary over Father's Day weekend. Because 35 years together seemed quite a milestone, especially considering I was a week shy of 18 when we wed and he was just 21 — plus marital, financial, and medical BS throughout the entire year of 2016 that threatened us surviving to the milestone — we wanted to mark the occasion in some extra special way.

So for months we considered this and that, here and there, seeking sites and such we'd never experienced before. Then reality set in. Limited finances and limited paid time off for Jim — who started a new job not long ago — limited our options. Being residents of Colorado, though, a state folks come from around the world to see, there were plenty of touristy things nearby to choose from.

None felt right, none felt celebratory and special enough.

We soon found ourselves on deadline for making a decision and reservations. For some crazy reason, I suggested camping. In the wild. In a tent. Like we used to when our daughters were young. We hadn't gone in and we had never camped just the two of us, sans kids.

The idea of setting up camp for two, spending evenings under the stars, making s'mores for us — and sharing a marshmallow or two with Mickey (our dog) who we'd bring along, too — immediately felt right. Felt fun.

It was settled. I sought a site, made reservations. We pulled camping gear from the garage rafters, all stored since camping adventures with our kids. We added to the pile to pack in the car assorted leisurely pursuits. Games to play, the telescope for stargazing, binoculars for Big Horn Sheep searching, Jim's guitar for him to play, a couple books for me to read. We were stoked!

So my husband and I marked our milestone wedding anniversary by camping. And we hated it. Worst. Time. Ever...

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Denver must-do: Water World water park

Water World Denver

Last week when middle daughter Megan and I discussed the fun my husband, Brianna, Patrick, James and I had at Water World in Denver the day before — courtesy free passes from the park to experience "unlimited fun in the sun" — desert-dwelling Megan told me how much she loves Water World. Her pronouncement was based on our (limited) family visits to the massive water park near downtown Denver when she was a kid and visits she made with friends as a teen.

"Preston loves it, too," she said. Which surprised me. Because Preston never lived near Denver and Water World as Megan did growing up. He grew up in another state, in fact.

"Oh, yeah," Megan said. "Preston and his family used to go to Water World all the time when he was a kid. They loved it."

The Water World love from out-of-staters confirmed for me that Water World is indeed a must-see Denver attraction not only for folks who live in Colorado but for visitors from afar, as well.

And how could the massive outdoor play area — a Denver icon since 1979 — not be...

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Summer vacation: Four must-do multigenerational trips

summer vacation ideas

Now that we're well into March, planning summer trips tops the to-do list of many a mama, grand or otherwise.

For your consideration, here are four of my favorite trips of the past couple years — all ideal for enjoying with multiple generations. Meaning, they're perfect places to gather together loved ones young and not-so-young plus everyone in between for an unforgettable summertime celebration.

The following trips cover far-reaching regions of the country — California, Colorado, Michigan, Florida — so there's surely one...

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Get wet and wild with the grands at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs

A wet and wild weekend designed for grandparents and grandkids? I recently experienced exactly that — without my grandkids.

The story: I was invited to the grand opening celebration of Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs and encouraged to bring along my grandsons and husband. But my grandsons couldn't make the 800+ mile trip to spend the weekend with me. My stepgrandson — my only local grandkiddo — couldn't come either. My husband did get to attend with me, though. And even without our favorite boys in tow, our free weekend adventure left no question that the expansive indoor water park resort offers a great, nay, grand getaway destination for grandparents and grandchildren.

Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs — the fourteenth location of the family-friendly indoor water park resort — has all the first-class entertainment and accomodation amenities of its sister spots across the U.S., plus a few goodies only guests of the brand-new resort on the north end of Colorado Springs get to enjoy.

The incredible view of Pikes Peak to the west is a perfect example of what sets the Colorado Springs location apart from other Great Wolf Lodge locations. This early morning shot was taken from the balcony of my room for the weekend:

pikes peak 

Breathtaking, right?

The majority of what my husband and I experienced at Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs, though, was similar to signature features, fun, food and such found...

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