Halloween 2011 – Ralphie, the University of Colorado Buffalo
Since this was our first year hosting trick-or-treaters, we wanted to embrace Boulder with Parker’s Halloween costume. While P wasn’t the biggest fan, everyone that saw him immediately fell in love….no exaggeration. And in a blatant effort to be the “good house”, we went all out with not only full-sized candy bars, but I also created costumes for the Hershey Bars to give them that little something extra…I think it worked.
Fall in Boulder – October 2011
Autumn in Boulder does not disappoint; the trees lining Spruce were beautiful, and we even had quite the show-stopper in our own yard. Unfortunately, our first big snowfall of the year resulted in leaves….lots and lots of leaves. Parker was ever the helper and insisted on helping his Mom rake them all up though.
Andrew was in Denver for the Colorado Mitchell 20 premier and we convinced him to stay with us up in Boulder; it was a full house, as Pete and Shannon were also in town, visiting from Alaska. The weekend weather could not have been more perfect, and we made the most of it Andrew’s last day in town with brunch at the Boulderado and margs at the Rio with the whole gang plus Saul, Vanessa, and baby Tristan.
Los Cabos, Mexico – August 16, 2011
Bart’s surprise 32nd birthday party was in Cabo! We invited a few close friends (The Meads’, The Coopers’, The Seglies’, Ken Yuasa, and Michael Pottern) and stayed at the Esperanza Resort just outside downtown Los Cabos.
TechStars Demo Day – August 4, 2011
Bart and the FullContact team started TechStars in May 2011 and ended their summer at the Boulder Theatre for Demo Day, where potential investors and the Denver/Boulder Tech Community watched to see how much each team had accomplished in three short months. Bart anchored the event (he was the last of 12 teams to present) and brought down the house.
University of Denver Executive MBA Graduation – June 3, 2011
While school actually finished in March, our graduation ceremony was held a few months later. Bart and I made a last minute decision to skip the commencement, but not before posing in our robes in the parking lot to get our money’s worth from the rental fee. We also picked up our Beta Gamma Sigma ropes that day – we were two of just a handful of our classmates to receive the recognition.
Bolder Boulder – May 28, 2011
Bart and I decided to run our first race together and kick off our summer in Boulder with an epic Boulder race – the Bolder Boulder 10k. We had a great time (we thoroughly enjoyed the people watching) and will likely be making this an annual tradition.
Costa Rica – May 2011
Bart and I stayed at the JW Marriott in Guanacaste for four days before we met up with the rest of the group (Andrew Benson and Ben and Marianne Deda) at the Exclusive Resorts residences on Peninsula Papagayo, where we stayed for another six days. We didn’t do a lot (which is certainly a theme among all of our vacations), but we did do what we like to call the “Rap Star Video Tour” one day – we took wave runners across the bay, picked up ATVs that we rode for 90 minutes in the Costa Rican backcountry to a zip lining adventure, zip lined for an hour or so, then took the ATVs back, had lunch at a resort, then hopped on our wave runners back to the beach near our house. There were also many monkey sightings from our patio, including a monkey fight or two, which added a little excitement to our afternoons.
Washington, DC – April 2011
With Kate doing her US tour for her birthday, I thought this was the perfect opportunity for Bart to finally meet my two best friends: Will Emslie and Kate Woolridge. I also attempted to win over Bart on the idea of someday relocating to DC, but I think I lost that battle – he did, however, love my BFFs as much as I do.
This might forever be known as the Christmas filled with glitter – due to my poor wrapping paper choice. I managed to spread glitter into at least two countries and four states…and we’re still finding it everywhere. Lesson learned.
Phoenix, Arizona – December 2010
Since we were in Paris longer than expected, we ended up flying directly to Phoenix to spend Christmas with the Benson Family. The weather was a pleasant change (temps were in the mid-seventies), but with our change in flights we had all snow-friendly clothes so a last minute shopping trip was squeezed in once we arrived. Christmas is certainly more enjoyable, and a wildly different experience, when you get to see it through the eyes of a child. This was my first Christmas with my nephew Logan (who is nearly three) which made the holiday that much better.
Paris, France – December 2010
While we didn’t get snowed in at our Casali, we did get snowed in at the Pisa airport for our trip to Paris. After a long night of train-hopping, we finally arrived to Hotel Raphael in Paris where we were upgraded to a three-story Presidential Suite with 360 degree views of Paris. This was my first time in the City of Lights, so we hit most of the major tourist spots – the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre Dame, the Louvre, etc. When it came time to leave, CDG airport was shut down and we ended up staying in Paris two more days – a nice surprise, especially considering we were able to check back into our complimentary 4100 Euro per night suite again.
Tuscany, Italy – December 2010
Returning to the scene of the crime. Bart and I decided to spend our first anniversary where it all started, then explore something new while we were at it (Paris). Since we weren’t snowed in this time, we opted to give the pizza forno a whirl (a success!) and use the cooking skills we acquired earlier in the year.
Or friends-giving as I like to call it; Bart and I spent the bulk of the day at the Sewells’ Country Club Thanksgiving. The Country Club refers to wine pours, not location. We had a great time, with great friends, and played some great games to top it all off (Apples to Apples and my favorite, the Purity Test).
Halloween 2010 – Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nugget
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – November 2010
By the time winter break rolled around, our EMBA Study Group (Team Hanson’s) was in dire need of some relaxation. Most of the group (the Dedas, the Funks, and an honorary member, Andrew Benson) were able to join us on a trip down to Mexico at an Exclusive Resorts residence. With nightly private chefs, breakfast made for us daily, and some mid-afternoon whale watching from our pool, the trip was exactly what we all needed.
Telluride, Colorado – September 2010
Just a couple of weeks after our three-week Middle Eastern and European vacation, Bart and I drove down to Telluride for Cliff and Kena’s wedding. The ceremony was at the top of the mountain and could not have been more perfect. Also, note the mountain behind us – it is Mt. Wilson, which is the mountain featured on every bottle of my favorite beer: Coors Light. And yes, I just admitted in print that I love Coors Light.
Greek Islands – September 2010
Bart and I, along with two of our classmates and their wives (the Diexlers’ and the Evans’) chartered a catamaran through the Greek Islands for seven days. We stopped at a different island each night, and each island had its own special feel. My favorite was Hydra, where motorized vehicles are not allowed so everything is transported by donkey.
Athens, Greece – September 2010
We only stayed in Athens a short time, but we managed to squeeze in the important sights. My favorite night was watching the sunset from the top of Lycabettus Hill – the view (and the colors!) were amazing.
Istanbul, Turkey – August 2010
Istanbul was a breath of fresh air after spending more than a week in Cairo during Ramadan. The weather was amazing, the food delicious, and the city itself was vibrant and fun. While everything was beautiful, the highlight was chartering a private yacht one night to take a small group of us on a tour down the Bosphorous.
Cairo, Egypt - August 2010
Cairo kicked off our Summer 2010 travels (we even celebrated Bart’s 31st birthday on a boat ride down the Nile). We were in Egypt for 8 days, which might have been a hair too long, but it was certainly a great adventure. Our weak American stomachs struggled to handle the food, but thankfully our travel companions included a couple of doctors who were prepared with some much-needed Cipro.
Parker’s 5th Birthday Party – April 2010
Parker loves a party, so he decided to ring in his 5th birthday with a dog prom for all of his friends. No detail was missed from the souvenir prom photos, spiked punch, personalized dog bowls, and prom-tastic party gifts for each of Parker’s friends. The event was such a hit that he even garnered some national media attention, which was of no help to Parker’s already enormous ego.
Milan, Italy - December 18, 2009
This is where it all started for the Benson-Lorang union; Bart decided to make his move to get out of the ‘friend zone’ and surprised me in Italy, where I was staying for a week on a business trip. I was slow to catch on to his plan, but after being stuck in a car for 10 hours from Milan to Castello di Casole in a snow storm, then snowed into a villa for a few days, I eventually caught on and we started dating shortly thereafter.
Parker’s first visit with Santa was a success; Santa was a bit on the young side, but Parker didn’t seem to notice.
Halloween 2009 – Elvis
Parker’s 4th Birthday Party – April 2009
While Parker’s actual birthday is a mystery, I decided that the one-year anniversary of his adoption would be his 4th birthday (he was ‘approximately 3′ when I adopted him) and that a party was warranted. About 15 of his friends came over and enjoyed some cake, received personalized dog bowls, and played in the rain. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate for Parker’s big day.
Halloween 2008 – Michael Phelps (8-Time Olympic Gold Medalist)
Halloween 2008 was Parker’s first brush with fame; he won a costume contest on Denver’s Channel 2 News. He went to the Howl-O-Ween costume contest with his BFF Valle, who dressed as Dara Torres, a 3-time Olympic Silver Medalist in the 2008 Summer Olympics.