walking RiNo + the source (in instagram)

Nothing really prepares you for the role of motherhood. In almost every aspect of daily living, you, as the mother, come second (or third or fourth). It's the hardest role I've had to fill, but it's something I've always wanted. The sounds of high-pitched squealing and laughter are incredible. The energy, enthusiasm, joy and curiosity of young children amazes me. But having two kids, 22 months apart, means that there are tough days too. That is pretty much a given. Mixed in with love and affection are tears and frustrations, temper-tantrums and meltdowns, refusals to eat food I've cooked and sibling rivalry. I assume that most mothers struggle with all of this so I don't think I'm going through anything unusual. 

Recently I've been feeling the need to carve out alone time- which is a bit odd considering I'm an extrovert by nature who craves company (most of the time).  I can probably count the number of times I've been alone in the past four years (i.e. no husband, no children, no friends- just me) on one hand.
For the past four years my life has been shared- completely-with two little people, whom I love dearly, more than anything in fact. They have taught me to be more patient, to love deeply, to burst into laughter, to beam with pride, to watch and listen...and all that good stuff. I enjoy it all. This role of being a mother. But I needed a little bit of space to think, without distractions. Maybe even wander new streets and get lost a little bit...

I was a stay-at-home mother for the first 3 years of Otis's life, right up until he began preschool last January- part time. Theodore remained by my side. We walked the city (got the lay of the land), borrowed books from the library, cooked together and shopped for herbs and fresh tofu at H-Mart. But 5 weeks ago something happened. For the first time both of my boys were enrolled in the same pre-school on overlapping days. After I dropped them off for their first day of preschool, I walked out of the building completely alone. 
So I decided to walk.
I took myself on a little tour of RiNo, the River North Art District in Denver. Itโ€™s a really awesome part of the city where creative people are doing their thing...

The RiNo Arts District is home to some incredible restaurants, breweries, urban wineries, coffee shops, galleries, bars and street art (normally I would call it graffiti, but it's more than just tags- there are some really great works of public art in the alleys and on the buildings). 
I walked. And it was wonderful. I got lost in thought, took pictures on my phone, drank an iced coffee and soaked in the sun. The time flew by and before I knew it I had to pick my boys up from school. Otis told me how great his day was and introduced me to his new friend Tony. Theodore showed me his cubby and the place where he likes to play. 
The time apart was great, but when I went back to RiNo the following week...I brought my kids.

The Source is an example of brilliant urban renewal. The former 1880s ironworks warehouse, which stood vacant for many years I'm told, has been re-designed, re-purposed and re-conceptualized. Inside there's a cheese shop, a bakery, a butcher, a provisions shop (with lots of seasonal local vegetables), two restaurants (Acorn and Comida), a flower shop, a brewery and tap room  and a bar. There's an art gallery opening soon too. Anyway, it's beautiful and well-conceived- and there's even an old graffiti wall that's remained in tact. The Source has become my new addiction and should you find yourself in Denver, check it out. (Bike lanes might be coming soon!) 

Credits (to the best of my ability): The New Belgium Murual by Pedro Barrios Art, Joseph Martinez, CuttyUp; CannonDill and Brett Flanigan; Infinite Monkey Theorem: An Urban Winery by Hollis + LanaOur Mutual Friend Malt & Brew; Crema Coffee House; at Crema- Pedro Barrios, CuttyUp, Mountains vs. Plains, Mike Roane; Michael Ortiz at Like Minded Productions; The Source, featuring: Babetteโ€™s Bread, Acorn, CapRock Farm Bar (bar by Where Wood Meets Steel), Comida, Boxcar Coffee Roasters, Beet & Yarrow, Mondo Market (cheese and spices), DeVries Chocolate Nib Clusters. More vendors are opening soon, including Super Ordinary Gallery + a brewery and tap room. For more Denver feed (and more Source/RiNo photos) check out my instagram feed: www.instagram.com/sparrowsspatulas