A love of fitness and adventure bring au pair and host mom together

May 9, 2016

Rikke Lytsen was an au pair for the Slocum/Hayes family of Boulder, Colorado for the past year-and-a-half. (She returned home to Denmark earlier this year.) Not only was she an amazing au pair to her three host children, Rikke developed a very special relationship with her host mom during her time in America’s Rocky Mountain state. This dynamic duo’s mutual love of the outdoors and physical fitness made for many adventures together and a bond that will stand the test of time.


A selfie taken when Rikke and her host mom were halfway up the First Flatiron in Boulder, CO.

I think my host family was a good match for me because we instantly got along well and shared many interests. Sara and Cary are not only my host parents but also some of my best friends. It didn’t take many days for me to get comfortable with them, and I think that was because we are all very open-minded and positive. We also share an interest in the outdoors which I think was one of the main reasons we were such a good match. They included me as part of their family from day one and I feel so lucky to have a second family in the U.S.

Rikke is such a positive and fun girl. Her laid back easy going and friendly nature was a perfect fit for us. She also loved nature and was always up for adventure, just like us!. She made it possible to even go climbing outdoors with the whole family ( 3 little kids can be challenging). We would take turns helping kids as we climbed and even helped them to climb too. We even went on camping climbing trips with her, one to Shelf Road with the kids and multiple families. This would not have been possible without her! She helped us have those adventures we were missing since we had children.


Rikke and Sara ran a 1/3 marathon together on 4th of July in Crested Butte.

Sara and I did many activities together. We went for countless runs and mountain bike rides in Crested Butte. Together we ran the BolderBoulder, 1/3 of a marathon on 4th of July in Crested Butte and she even talked me into running the Denver Half marathon with her, which I am very proud of. Also, shortly after I arrived in Colorado, Sara introduced me to climbing in the local gym and I liked it immediately. Sometimes when the kids were in school we would go climbing and after a while Sara took me to climb outdoors for the first time. My biggest climbing accomplishment was a 1000+ feet climb with Sara on the face of the 1st Flatiron. It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies and the further up we climbed the more stunning the views of Boulder became. I’m so grateful that I got to share such an amazing experience with Sara and I will never forget that day.

It’s multiple pitches of climbing to get to the top and she was smiling the entire time! It also gives me hope I can have these kind of adventures with my own children when they are old enough. I can’t wait!


The duo’s enjoys one last day of skiing at Copper Mountain a week before Rikke went home.

I usually describe the Hayes family as “my second family” and I will always consider them all a part of my closest family. I miss Sara, Cary and the kids every single day and I often find my self looking at pictures and wishing myself back home to Boulder. Luckily, thanks to Skype, staying in touch is relatively easy. Sara and her family will always mean a great deal to me and I can’t wait until summer when I will be visiting them for 3 weeks.

I think having such a positive person around the family was great for us all. She made everything fun. The kids loved her and really listened to her. She taught my children a lot and explained things to them in ways they would understand. She is a natural with the kids. I never had to worry about anything with her. She had my total trust. I even learned from her patience and ways she dealt with the kids when they acted out. She will be coming back for 3 weeks this summer. I’m excited to have my play partner back and the kids will love having her here again. They miss her a lot and still talk about her often. We also hope to all go to Europe next summer to visit both our Danish au pairs and hopefully our current German au pair too. We have been fortunate to have three great girls become part of our family. Rikke will always have a special place in our family.

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