April 2012

Sarah Gets a New J-O-B – April 2, 2012

Well, it is about time.  After many months of searching, interviewing, and networking I finally found a position that is juuuuust right – you can call me Goldilocks.  I start my new position as Director of Customer Experience at Name.com on May 1st – obviously, my husband-to-be loves the idea of me moving into Tech, but let me assure you that this was my decision and I am thrilled about transitioning into a new industry.  That is, after all, why I went to graduate school in the first place.  I can’t wait for my new adventure – and 2012 seems to be full of them!

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March 2012

We’re Engaged! – March 5, 2012

I have to admit that I really didn’t see this one coming.  When I got home from work, Bart said he was just getting ready to take Parker for a walk and asked if I wanted to join – since walking Parker (especially with Bart) is one of my absolute favorite activities, I obviously said yes.  As we approached the end of our street where the road turns to cobblestone and it backs up to the foothills, Bart got down on one knee in the middle of the road and asked me to marry him.  It was perfect.  🙂

As for wedding details, we haven’t gotten too far on that subject yet – we’re thinking Fall 2012 and having it somewhere in the Colorado Mountains.  The niece and nephews (Maya, Ty, and Logan) will all have assignments since they are the PERFECT ages for the needed cuteness at a wedding (and they are all so stinkin’ cute!) – we’re thinking flower girl, ring bearer, and a Parker-walker.   That’s about all we’ve got so far – we’re just enjoying the moment!

 

February 2012

Cake Pop Extravaganza – February 9, 2012

Have I said how much I love these kids?!  When Michelle told Maya and Ty that my birthday was coming up, they insisted on helping pick out my present.  Apparently they are obsessed with Starbucks’ cake pops, so Maya really wanted to get me a book and supplies so I could make my very own.  Naturally, they insisted on helping me make said cake pops – I had to laugh when they suggested that they come over the next evening to make them though.

The cake pop design of choice was Pandas – kind of a complex choice for a first go, but they turned out cute.  Maya and Ty are naturals!  I also have to note that Uncle Bart bought Maya and Ty panda hats and mittens to wear while eating their panda pops – utter cuteness.  🙂

     

January 2012

The Blog That Went Viral – January 28-31, 2012

In other strange and interesting news, I started a new hobby in early January after making a New Year’s resolution to “cook more”, since most of you know I don’t cook.  At all.  My hobby is to simply maintain a blog about my cooking adventures. The strange part? Said blog received over 180,000 unique visitors in one week.  So here it is: www.domesticdilettante.com

While up until this point everything on the site was 100% made/managed/controlled by me (since I know you’re all thinking, “did Bart help you?”), I did enlist Bart’s help after he pointed out that I could actually be making money with that kind of traffic.  It took him a few hours, but I think we’re up and running now so I can earn some advertising dollars – fingers crossed!  I must say that it is quite nice having my very own mathlete and computer nerd extraordinaire at home.  🙂

My 32nd Birthday Weekend – January 27-30, 2012

Bart (aka The-Best-BF-Ever) took Parker and I back up to the mountains for my birthday since I still had not gotten around to spending any time up there…in my four years in CO.  We stayed at the Lodge and Spa and Cordillera, which was just outside Beaver Creek in Edwards, CO.  It was perfect – we didn’t do a ton, but went snowmobiling on Saturday followed by spa treatments, hung out in Vail on Sunday, and otherwise just relaxed.  We had an actual fireplace in our room, which was a nice touch.  We kept catching Parker lost in thought staring at the flames, so we think he liked it too.

 

 

Maya’s Chinese Cultural Night – January 20, 2012

Maya is in Kindergarten this year and attends a full-immersion Mandarin program – awesome, right?! – for Chinese New Year, her school planned a cultural night full of performances by all of the kids.  It was adorable, and while I might be bias, I think Maya totally stole the show!

 

I apologize for the lack of attention on my camera, but there was a lot going on – just had to  add in a couple of pictures of sibling love and the flowers that Uncle Bart gave to Maya after her performance (a week later, she still had them in a vase in her room and was so excited she made a point to take me upstairs to see them – adorable).

 

Breckenridge, CO – January 6-7, 2012

One of Bart’s investors invited us up to Breck for a First Tracks event to kick off the new year; there was a group of 50 or so people that we joined which made it a lot like a frat party…in a good way.  Nancy took very good care of all of us by putting us up in 2 to 4 bedroom residences at One Ski Hill Place, and our rooms had views right over the slopes – it was certainly a great way to experience Breck for the first time!  I obviously don’t ski, so First Tracks was lost on me, but I know Bart had a great time.  Some of our favorites, Yoav and Lana, stayed with us so Lana and I stayed behind and played the lodge bunny role quite well.

 

December 2011

Exploring Golden – December 27, 2011

While Bart was home battling the flu, Matt, Andrew, and I decided to get out of the house and head over to Golden for lunch.  At least one tourist shot was totally called for.

Christmas in Boulder – 2011

Most of the Benson Clan made it to Boulder for the holiday – specifically, my Mom Susan and my two brothers, Matt and Andrew.  I was excited to show off my cooking skills for everyone as well as introduce them to the Lorang Family; the long weekend provided many opportunities for both.  While I slacked in the picture department, we spent Christmas Eve at Bart’s parents’ home with Mike, Dianne, Bart’s sister Liz, and Liz’s husband Randy.  Christmas Day, we all re-convened at Paul and Michelle’s home (Michelle is Bart’s older sister) where we watched Maya and Ty do some sledding (some brave souls even joined), opened more gifts, and had a late lunch.

Below are some highlights of the few photos I did take – Parker was clearly very spoiled this year in the gift department.  He received three bones, some holiday rawhides, a bag of treats, four toys, a Furminator, and a new Broncos collar.  It’s amazing that Santa gave him anything, especially because he broke into one of his presents under the tree just two days before Christmas.  Apparently Santa didn’t get word of his mischief until it was too late.

      

Other Holiday Fun – December 22, 2011

I’m really getting into the Christmas Spirit, or at least the decoration part.  Bart and I have a new addition to the family, we call him “The Rudy”.  He keeps guard over the presents under our tree.  We also received the sweetest gift from Pete and Shannon after they stayed with us in October – they sent a Paperwhite Flower Kit.  I’ve never had a green thumb, so this has been so much fun to play with.  Well, that and it grows about an inch each day so I feel like I am an actual gardender (which I am not).  I can’t wait until it fully blooms!

 

Our First Christmas Tree – December 11, 2011

Bart and I picked out our first Christmas Tree together today; true to form, we bought an artificial tree that was pre-lit.  Don’t judge.  This was, however, unusually exciting for me as this is my first Christmas Tree as an adult – despite my general love of crafts, decorating and gift giving, I’ve always been quite the grinch when it comes to Christmas decorations of any kind.  With that said, I love our tree – I think it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to our already-festive exterior.  I suppose people can change after all; still working on my hatred of Christmas music though.

 

After a day filled with Christmas tree shopping and decorating, an emotional Broncos win, and Sunday night pizza, Bart and Parker cuddled up with one another to watch a little more football before heading to bed.  Love my boys.

It’s Santa! – December 10, 2011

Parker went to visit Santa today and had a great time; he wore his new striped scarf and matching hat as he insisted on looking his best for the Big Guy.  While P wouldn’t spill the beans on what he asked Santa for, I suspect that it might have been an absurdly large bone.

 

Getting Into the Christmas Spirit – December 6, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Benson-Lorang household – you can just call us the Griswolds’.  We *might* have cheated a bit by hiring someone to do the dirty work, but they did a pretty amazing job.  In addition to the impressive lights on the front of the house and on one of our trees, they wrapped lights all around our fence and garage.  Also, our neighbor just informed us that said lights kicked off some ‘intense competition’ within the neighborhood.  Game on!

  

Fun with Maya and Ty – December 4, 2011

Maya and Ty (Bart’s Niece and Nephew for those not in the know), came over for a day of fun so their parents could get some Christmas shopping done.  We had a jam-packed day filled with painting (canvases), cookie decorating, and painting pottery.  Bart and I had a blast; Maya and Ty are two of the funniest and best-behaved kids we know.

 

November 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Bart and I went to the Sewells’ house again this year for Friendsgiving (his second, my third year); I was excited to continue my quest in domesticity by preparing the apps and dessert, and I think I did a pretty great job if I must say so myself.  To start, I made a pumpkin dip (made with pumpkin puree, cool whip, greek yogurt, and spices) and my now-famous baked brie (which, incidentally, debuted at last year’s Thanksgiving).  For dessert, I made the turkey cookies that I practiced making last month (although they had improved ‘feathers’ and eyes this go-round), puff pastry caramel cookies (filled with chopped apples, walnuts, and cinnamon), and apple pie baked in the apples with a lattice top.  And just because I know you are thinking it, yes, it all tasted as good as it sounds – just call me Martha.  Lastly, any special occasion wouldn’t be complete without a Parker photo; his toy-of-choice to carry around (appropriately) was his turkey on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Group Photo (Clockwise): Bart, Moi, Erin, Christopher, Courtney, and Chris.

      

Parker Photo Ops – November 2011

With Christmas right around the corner, I am trying to find the perfect Christmas Card-worthy photo of Parker.  While both of these were nice attempts, I don’t think either will make the cut.

PS – Bart thought my Christmas light photos below were cruel and unusual punishment.  I respectfully disagreed, and I think Parker did too.  He did, after all, get about 15 treats out of the experiment.

 

Pre-Thanksgiving Projects 2011

Since I have been in a particularly crafty mood, I was super excited about the upcoming holidays; so much, in fact, that I even got a jump start on Christmas decorations with a wreath for our front door.  (L to R) Turkey cookies for Thanksgiving, a candy corn candle centerpiece for the entry (note how Parker works his way into the vast majority of photos), personalized dish towels made with stamps and fabric paint (for hostess gifts), and a front door wreath made with berries and moss.  While I didn’t make the actual wreath, I did cut the styrofoam ‘L’ and break out the hot glue gun to put moss on it, then wired it to the wreath – I think it turned out nice!

     

Holy Snow! – November 2011

While I am obviously loving our decision to move to Boulder, I wasn’t quite prepared for how much more snow we get…especially since I am the designated snow shoveler and we live on a corner, which means A LOT of sidewalk real estate to shovel.  Our first storm left 14″ and the second (a week later) left a still-impressive 9″.

Folsom Field – November 2011

After talking about it all season, Bart and I finally made it to a CU football game – my first!  It was also my first-ever tailgate, so it was a very exciting night. Sadly, CU was slaughtered by USC.

 

October 2011

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.

 

Christmas 2010

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.

 

Thanksgiving 2010

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.

Christmas 2009

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.

 

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