Sunday, April 29, 2012

Red Rocks

Yesterday was so much fun. We slept in (much needed!) and then went to Red Rocks.  Wow, it was so beautiful. I have always wanted to go to Red Rocks since Dave Matthews made their Live CD from 2005 (oh my gosh, I feel really really old realizing how long ago that was!!!) I have listened to that CD probably 150 times. (I'm not kidding). I imagined the venue being so much bigger but can only imagine how awesome that night was.  (I'm not gonna lie, the whole time I was at the amphitheater I was picturing Dave singing..I even went and stood on the stage where he stood at one time.) Okay so getting back to Red Rocks as most (normal) people would have envisioned it...it was beautiful!  Everyone who was there was either a tourist or working out. So many people were there running up and down the seats which really motivated me; I love how active everyone here is!  After almost kissing the ground where Dave once stood, we went hiking.

The trail was about a mile and a half around.  I spent most of the time taking pictures.  I am so in awe of the beauty here! We had such a great hike, we decided to go around the loop twice, the second time picking up the pace with no stopping.  It felt like the second way was much more uphill than downhill, we were both huffing and puffing once we were done.  It felt great and was just a beautiful day!



the amphitheater







beauty!

ROCKIES

Friday night we went to our first Rockies game!  We decided we would try out the Light Rail for transportation and that may be the last time we ever do that.  I'm just not a public transportation kinda girl...I'm never going to change!  LOL, but in all seriousness it was fun and frustrating being that tourist trying to figure it all.  Seriously, why would the parking meter take credit cards but the machine for our Light Rail ticket not take credit cards?  Just a mental note to make for anyone reading this and wants to go for a ride sometime...bring cash.

Anyway, back to the game. We met up with a former colleague/friend of mine from my ACS days, Sara, and her fiance, Dan.  They got us tickets for the Rockpile (bleacher tickets for only $5!) and we had a blast.! We got there a little later than planned (all part of the transportation issues we experienced) but still met them at a bar for a pre-game drink then headed into the stadium.  The stadium is great, so many food and drink choices and things to do. By the end of the 8th inning we were all freezing and had had a fun enough time (the score was 18-9...talk about a lot of hits!) that we called it a night.  We'll definitely be going back this season, I'm really looking forward to many more games!

*I am so mad we didn't get any pictures of us at the game!!  But just another reason to go to another game really soon! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday



Happy Friday!  Woo hoo!! 

1.  When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is,   turn over to see if Jason's there and then check my phone for the time/messages   .

2.   I can hardly wait for    tonight to begin!  We're going to the Rockies game then tomorrow we're going hiking or some other "fun" Colorado-y thing    .

3.  The quickest way to my heart is     a night out for dinner        because     I love talking and sharing with people and it's an hour of uninterrupted chatter and catching up   .

4. A little known fact about me is that       I always have to have my toe nails painted.  Always   .

5. The best part about my job is     what job?...sore subject.  But when I do have one, I'd say the best part would be that I know I'm doing what I am called to do and love helping people    .

6. Something I just couldn't live without is     my car. I love it...even if Jason does call it a go-cart    .

7.  Something useful that I wish I knew how to do is   play the piano or guitar.   .

Happy Friday, hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Comments :)

As anyone who has a blog can attest...it's great when people post a comment.  It helps us to know who is reading (so who our "audience" is) and also encourages us to write more. (at least for me it does!)  I have this blog so I can keep in touch with everyone back in Chicago and also for myself so I can have a journal of my (our) life. Writing is very therapeutic for me so sometimes these posts really won't interest anyone at all but I write them so I can come back and read them and reminisce in the good times and the bad.

I learned yesterday that my comments setting was turned off so only bloggers could post comments.  I fixed that so please comment every now and then.  Even if it is just to say hi. I'd also love to hear from you what you want to hear or read about. This blog is mostly about our own adventures but if you have other ideas please share. :)  Thanks and have a great week!

Monday, April 23, 2012

eMeals

About three months ago I found a Groupon for eMeals. Basically it's a website that you register for (at about $5 a month) and you're supplied with a weekly shopping list and recipes for each day of the week.  It is so simple and since I got it with a Groupon it was half the price and so far we've loved the recipes!  For the first time ever, I'm making complete dinners with an entree and side dishes.  The recipes are so simple and tasty, plus with the grocery lists already created I'm pretty sure I'm saving a lot of money and definitely not wasting meats, veggies and other perishables.  You can adjust it accordingly too so if you're not going to cook seven dinners you just take those ingredients off your shopping list.  In addition, you can adjust your plan according to your dietary needs.  For example, we're registered for the low-fat dinners for two, but you could register for a family size gluten-free, low-carb or organic menu (just to name a few). There are so many different options to choose from, you're certain to find one that fits your family needs. The grocery shopping list also lets you choose from different grocery stores and gives you an average price of what you should expect to spend for the week's groceries.  Brilliant! I'm so excited, cooking is so much more fun and I feel like we're eating much healthier and saving a lot of money!

*while looking through the website just now, I realized that if anyone signs up I could get a small commission...so if this sold you at all, please click the banner (I heart emeals) to the right! :) Regardless of the commission...I really do recommend it, especially for all you busy moms or those who are like me...still learning how to cook!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First Colorado Hike

Today we went up to Longmont to see Jason's step sister, Jenny's, house and her dog, Penny. She also took us on our first hike!  It was a pretty easy trail (for us Chicagoans used to flat and not in the best shape ever!) but we hiked about 5 miles. It was absolutely gorgeous; blue skies, pine trees and the trail running alongside of a creek. I found myself taking pictures every 4 minutes but looking at them now, they didn't even begin to capture the view.  I am so excited to live here and be able to go hiking whenever we want!


The drive to Jenny's! Beautiful!


The dogs waiting to get out..they were so cute! (love our reflection too)


the trail


so pretty and peaceful


Jenny and Jason and the dogs :)


Me and Jenny


love


They were sooooo cute (not patiently) waiting while we were taking a picture!


I need to bring a different camera to capture the views better!


Cooper found a patch of snow and was having a blast sticking his nose in and jumping around...here he is rolling around in it :)


the family 


This was at lunch after our hike...pretty sure Jason and I felt the same way! (ohhh we have a long way to go before we can hike up the mountains.) For now, we'll blame it on the altitude!

I can't wait to go again!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday


1.  Today is a great day because  I got to sleep in, I worked out AND it's date night!  .

2.   Tomorrow I will       continue to unpack and see Jason's step sister so we can maybe introduce the dogs and go for a hike     .

3.  My favorite time of day is     dinner time       because    it means I am either with Jason or a friend    .

4. Sometimes you just have to      power through and make yourself do what you know needs to be done .

5. A song that I just can't get enough of lately is    Overcome by Jeremy Camp, I could sing it over and over and over and We are Young by Fun..I've woken up twice this week with this song playing in my head .

6. My favorite accessory is    necklaces, usually simple ones but I never leave the house without earrings on...EVER.  .

7.  My favorite thing about this week was   that I am eating better and working out   .

Happy Friday! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! xoxo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Can't Keep me away from Horses!

I went to a different barn and volunteered yesterday.  It was a lot more of what I had in mind when I pictured therapeutic riding. I've decided that I am going to get certified to be an instructor for therapeutic horse back riding. I've been praying about what I am supposed to do here in Colorado and have been asking for clear direction on what I'm supposed to do for a job over the summer and/or part time should I find a teacher aide position rather than teaching. This whole thing has fallen in my lap and been so easy.  Both places I've volunteered they have encouraged me to get certified. At the second barn I didn't have to say much and the volunteer coordinator was asking me about pursuing certification and offering to help in a number of ways including being my mentor (which is part of the process of certification.).  While I'm not completely sold on the idea, I really feel like if I walked away from this I would be walking away from Gods plan for me.  I really have nothing to lose but am pretty sure this is the path I need to follow and trust in Him.

The certification can be done pretty fast but is very time consuming.  I've been doing a lot of researching and from what I understand I have a few tests to take after studying a few books, then have to be mentored for many hours, teach about 25 group lessons, go to a 2-3 day workshop and then a 2-3 day certification day.  The workshop and certification days are not being offered here in Colorado but are being offered the weekend after I plan to be back in Chicago and if I don't find a job, was planning on spending some extra time in Chicago to see friends and family, so it's pretty perfect! I'm excited for yet another venture in my life...along with applying for the million teaching jobs...which is soooooo time consuming! While I don't really know anyone or have much responsibility yet, I'm keeping pretty busy here in Colorado!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One Day with Women of Faith

Today I went to a conference for women called "One Day" with Women of Faith. I had heard about it on the radio but wasn't sure if I wanted to go because I'd (obviously) be going alone, it was kinda pricey and it was in Loveland, so it was 70 miles away! Plus, we'd already been invited to a BBQ. But after talking to Jason and praying about it, I decided I should go and am so glad I did!  It was so motivating and refreshing; lots of laughter, some tears and lots of time worshiping our Lord. It was just what I needed and I highly recommend you going if it's in your area.  Chicagoans...It's coming to Hoffman Estates (Sears Center) on June 23rd, it isn't the same speakers as I saw today but I'm sure it's just as great, definitely check it out!

Suburb Living

Well it's only been about two weeks and I'm already really missing the city.  I love where we live, we have just about every store and/or restaurant you could want within just a few miles of us, but it's not the city.  I think this is probably the biggest adjustment I'm having to make.  

Last night I was so bored with our options for date night.  I wanted entertainment. A show or game or some form of entertainment but couldn't find anything. I'm sure once we are more settled we'll get to know the area better or feel like driving into Denver but last night we didn't have many options.  Because I felt like we didn't really have many options, I wanted it even more.  

I'm sure everyone who moves from the city to the suburbs (without kids) goes through this but it's kind of depressing. Especially since we moved to the suburbs for more space (aka a house, a back yard, a basement, a garage, etc...which we don't have yet) but we do have a lot of advantages which I need to remember.  Parking is free. Everywhere. Our apartment is much bigger. The suburbs here aren't corrupt like Chicago. The dog park is in our backyard. There's no traffic. The lines at the grocery store are non-existent, even on a Saturday afternoon! It's so much cheaper (remember the beer for $3.89!?!) It's so much quieter...the list goes on.  So I need to focus on that while I adjust to a much slower pace with a lot less options of "fun" things to do on a Friday night (or any night for that matter!)  I'ts all about adjusting...and it's going to take some time.  For those of you in Chicago, please hit up all my favorite hot spots for me, I'll live through you for a little while!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Weather here...

One of the many reasons we wanted to move here was for the weather...the much milder winters than Chicago and the sun that shines over 300 days a year here.  (as opposed to about 80-90 in Chicago.) This winter I've been watching Denver temps almost every single day and comparing them to Chicago but it really wasn't the year to compare.  This past year was the most amazing winter in Chicago, I mean most of the month of March Jason and I were dining outside at restaurant/bar patios.  We wore short sleeved shirts outside on St. Patrick Day!  Its been nuts, and I feel it's been similar in Colorado as well.

Well when we got here the first two days it was very cold windy and even got a few inches of snow.  Which is pretty typical of Colorado...sunny and warm one day and then cold and snowing the next. But with that it also means snowing and cold one day and sunny (snow melts) and warm the next, which we did get to see.  I can honestly say that since last Tuesday (the past 10 days) the sun has shown every single day.  The past two nights we've had some really weird storms at night, which causes it to get cloudy and much colder a little earlier in the day but other than that its been all sunshine!

With the sun shining all the time, there's some adjustments to be made.  In the sun, it's HOT.  In the shade I'm freezing!  The mornings when I've been out of the house by 9:00 I need a jacket because it's so cold but by afternoon if I have anything more than a t-shirt I'm really hot but then by sunset I need a jacket!

I'm learning that Colorado is all about layering, and for a girl like me who gets cold really really easily I need a lot of different jackets to be worn throughout the entire day.  If my cars been parked in the sun its boiling when I get in...I'm pealing off the layers, but if it's been in the shade it is freezing and I'll be cranking the heat for a while.  It's crazy!  I love it though...it is just as I imagined with the weather.  It's hard to sit inside and do nothing when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping outside my window.  So so thankful for the sun! (and jackets!!)

Horses in Colorado

I was able to start volunteering on Wednesday at the therapeutic horse back riding barn.  I was to check in at 9:00 and they kept me there until 6:15 when the barn closed. (long first day of volunteering!) It was a lot of fun being around horses and since I have experience with them the instructors were very excited to have me so they had me jump right in.  For now I am going to volunteer every Wednesday afternoon when they have their greatest need for volunteers.

I'm looking into getting certified to be an instructor but before I do that I want to check out how it is at different barns. I am set up for Monday to begin training as a volunteer at another local barn. I'm hoping to know by the end of the week if I want to pursue certification. But just like everything in life it costs money and a lot of time, so I want to make sure it will be worth the money (after I just spent how much money on my graduate degree and without a job at this current day).  I'm excited for this opportunity, especially for as quickly as I was able to get involved and also for the need that there seems to be.  I am so happy to be around horses again, my love for horses is in my blood and not going anywhere! Combine that with helping those with special needs...win-win! :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Meanderings

It's been a while since I've done this and lots has happened in the past week so I thought this was the best way to capture it all!

Monday Meanderings...

On Adjusting -- We've both been adjusting well to Colorado.  Its like I keep telling everyone, there's a lot of adjustments to be made here.  Not only are we adjusting to a new state there's many other things that go with that.  Jason and I have both been living in the city for many many years, so we're having to adjust to suburban life from city life, which in itself is a big change.  Plus Chicago was a big city...love Denver and all but it's not a big city so things are just a little slower here and Chicago is a little more "ahead of the times" than here.  (I've noticed that a lot with the trends...just being honest.)  Plus obviously it's going from the Midwest to the West which is a cultural change in itself...can't wait to get me some cowboy boots!  The prices here are a lot cheaper than in Chicago, we notice it in everything from dining out, Coopers vet, gas (woohoo!) taxes, and just everything.  We ordered a beer with our dinner on Friday night and it was $3.89. Are you kidding me?!  So while it's an adjustment in a lot of ways, it's really been a lot of fun taking it all in.

On our Apartment -- We just love it!  It's so spacious and new.  The view behind our place is amazing, all open land with the mountains to the west (if you really look).  We have an L shaped balcony which we love (already grilled out twice!). There is a pool, hot tub, fitness center and fire pit that we still have to check out. At night we hear owls "whoo-ing"  and coyotes howling. We still have a lot of unpacking/settling in to do but it's getting there.  Very very pleased with our home!


Our apartment from the back while we were walking on the trails.


Our view to our "backyard"


another view


View to the west...you can see the mountains but this picture doesn't capture it.

On The Views - The views are amazing.  I can't capture them in pictures, they just don't do it justice. I keep saying, just as I never got sick of the Chicago skyline every time I drove into the city, I don't ever see getting sick of the mountains.  They're just gorgeous...can't want to get out there and do some hiking!

On Weather -- The weather here the first two days were pretty awful, especially on Monday.  It was so cold, gloomy and windy.  I shared on an earlier post that I needed gloves to move all our boxes and didn't have any unpacked.  It was pretty awful and not a very warm welcome to our new home!  Tuesday was freezing but at least it snowed.  I love snow, so while it was gloomy and cold at least it was pretty!  I put my cactus outside on Sunday when it was 70 and sunny and forgot about it.  Oops...but it seems to be doing okay now. :) Ever since Wednesday it's been sunny and warm every day!  The sun makes all the difference! (a big reason why we wanted to move out here!) We are on day 6 of sunshine and blue skies all day long.


my cactus outside last Tuesday...oops.

On Cooper and Sam -- They're both doing so well!  Cooper barks a lot, but it's because this is his 3rd home in 5 months!  There are so many other dogs walking the trails behind our apartment and all around.  He doesn't know what is his yard and what's not.  We're working on that. Other than the barking, he is doing great.  Sam has been fine since we got here.  He's made himself quite comfortable and loves all the windows!

the boys :)

On our New Couch -- We had to leave our couch in Chicago..which wasn't a terrible thing since it was in really bad shape but it was hard coming here and not having anywhere to sit.  So I was searching Craigslist every day, responding to many many ads per day and driving all around the area checking out different couches. (it was a good way to see the different suburbs, that's for sure!) Finally by Thursday, we found the perfect one. I have been wanting a sectional, its in great shape and should last a few years.  Love!!


On our Dog Park (and other dogs) -- We have a huge dog park here, but no one goes!  And no one lets their dogs socialize.  There are so many dogs here at our apartment complex and no one lets Cooper near them.  Even on the trails, people hold their dogs back.  It is so weird!  Cooper did meet one other dog on Saturday (a Goldendoodle) who was the same age as him and they played for a long time.  So we hope to see him often, but they're moving out in June.  Poor Cooper needs some dog friends!


Cooper loves to run at his new park! 


Cooper first (and only) friend!

On Running -- I went for my first run on Friday.  Okay, I know I'm in bad shape...I really haven't been for many runs this year but it was bad.  Really bad.  Where I ran it wasn't even hilly but when you compare it to Chicago...it was hilly!  Plus the altitude hasn't been bothering me nearly as bad when I was here last May and January but I sure felt it when I was running.  Cooper wasn't bothered by either and made me feel like a fool, but it's definitely a whole different experience running here.  I think I'll stick with the treadmill for a while until I get back in shape, then can attack the hills.  And in the meantime, my shins will thank me....OUCH shin splints!


On a job/Volunteering -- Last night I was pretty down...the weekend was over and Jason goes back to work today.  While I still have a lot of unpacking to do and tons of errands (Cooper groomed, to the vet, Dr. appointment for me, etc.) I really need/want to find a job!  It's been 3 years and 3 months since I have had a real job, I just graduated and am ready!!  But the school year doesn't start until August and I haven't been able to find any job listings in (low-incidence disabilities)...plus I keep hearing the district here is hard to get into and the other district is having financial problems so isn't hiring right now. But as of this morning, I am very excited because I start volunteering on Wednesday at a therapeutic horse back riding barn.  I've been researching places for the past couple months to possibly make a career out of this. (It's been something I've wanted to do since I went to Mexico on my mission trip) so am excited to get the ball rolling!  I have no idea what to expect but am excited and praying!


On Church -- We are taking Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" for the next 13 weeks at a non-denominational church in Parker so we decided to check that church our first. We decided it wasn't for us. We think we'll give it another shot...you can't judge a church from just one try, especially on Easter Sunday but there are so many churches to choose from we'll continue our search (probably for a long time!).



the view as we were leaving church...

On Easter -- Easter Sunday was different but as the day went on I was trying to figure out what I was comparing it to.  Easter has always been different for me because my parents had a time-share in Cancun that would sometimes fall on Easter.  So there were times I was in Cancun or others when they were in Cancun and I was home.  Plus it wasn't until about 6 years ago that I started celebrating Easter for what it really is.  It's one of my favorite weekends, beginning with Good Friday and finishing up with Easter.  But we didn't go to church on Friday...I didn't even realize it was Good Friday until my mom texted me about it.  (shows you how disconnected I am here the past week). As I said, I wasn't into the service we attended at all. I was missing Willow Creek and other churches I have attended on Easter, but we still had a nice day.  We tried to get reservations at a country club out here for brunch but couldn't.  So we went to PF Chang's and then went for a walk with Cooper on the trails behind our house.  It was a new way of celebrating Easter. :)

Happy Monday! Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Final Day of Moving

Monday was what I considered to be the final day of moving.  We still had to unload the entire truck, get a storage area and return the truck in the town over.

We woke up early because it was an uncomfortable night on the air mattress...we both decided we're not fans of them unless we're camping! (which we've never even done together!) We had two guys coming to help us unload our truck. We hired help...AKA these guys were being paid (a lot of money in my opinion) to help us unload the truck.  From the very beginning we realized they were not the kind of help we had in mind.  The guy spent 35 minutes going over all the details of payment and time allotted and started billing us after only 15 minutes.  Then they were soooo lazy.  They had to be told what went upstairs and then took long breaks between each load.  They would try to "one-up" the other guy with who could carry heavier loads which meant there was a lot of stopping along the way and at one point the guy dropped three of our boxes down 18 stairs.  Not only did he not apologize for it but he broke some decorations.  When their two hours were up they told us they had to leave. (even though they told us they would stay an extra (paid) hour if we needed them to.)

So while it was great that they got our TV's and a few other heavy items up that I wouldn't be able to get up here on my own, for the amount of money we paid we should have gotten a lot more of our stuff up here. And certainly without them breaking anything and without us having to tell them to keep moving.  Very frustrating.

The rest of the afternoon was spent getting the rest of our stuff upstairs and into our new storage unit. It was bitterly cold on Monday with strong winds.  Definitely not ideal weather to be outside without gloves and moving stuff around.  We were both tired from the days before and quite honestly, just done with the truck, boxes and moving furniture.  Once the truck was finally emptied we still have to get it back to Budget and with a full tank of gas.  Getting diesel gas into a truck pulling a trailer in the suburbs isn't quite as easy as pulling off the expressway.  Somehow Jason managed again to impress me and drive the truck all through town and into a gas station.  I was beyond excited to have that truck dropped off and not have to deal with it anymore and I never even had to ride in it, let alone drive it!

That afternoon while I was unpacking I got pretty sad.  I can't really explain it. The weather was so cold and gloomy and nothing was in it's place. The night before when we were out in town it didn't feel right like what I had remembered, I was really tired and I just felt really far away from home.  I wouldn't say I was doubting moving but I was just sad and wanted some normalcy. By the time we got dinner that night I was feeling better.  Jason was teasing me that all I needed was some food, but I was sad for about 24 hours.

By nighttime I was feeling much better and was so glad to have our bed put together.  We both passed out by about 9:30.  We blamed it on being on mountain time...so technically it was already 10:30. :)  We made it, our bed was in place and things it was really starting to feel like home...our home!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Days 3 & 4 of Driving, Driving, Driving...

Friday night neither one of us got a good nights rest because Sam thought he was training for the Olympics or something and was doing acrobats all night long over Jason and I.  We woke up bright and early to meet my parents in town for breakfast and to say our goodbyes.  It was not easy seeing my parents upset. It made me feel so guilty.  I know I haven't chosen this path myself and that it is God leading us to Colorado but when I see how sad it's making my parents I feel extremely selfish in this decision.  I pray so hard that they will be okay as time goes on and I know they will be but for that morning and what time will follow after, I feel guilty and selfish.  As I told them, I know God would not choose this path for us if it meant that they would continue to hurt.  Something must come of this down the road for them as well and we just don't know what it is right now. And they both agree.

After we said our goodbyes, we hit the road.  Jason went ahead while I ran to Walgreens and got gas which was perfect.  I was very worried about Sam and how quickly he'd lose control of his bowels/bladder but he never did.  From the second I put him in the crate he just laid down and chilled...for the entire ride. My sunroof was open so when the sun was shining on him, he'd sun himself or clean himself.  If I talked to him, he'd meow happily back.  He was so content.  Besides safety, it was the biggest thing I had been praying about. I was losing sleep over bringing Sam in the car with me over that long of a trip and here he was as happy as a clam just sitting next to me sunning himself or sometimes curling up into a ball and sleeping.  Only God could have done that!  I did give him "calming aid treats" from PetCo which may have been the key but he was more than calm!

As for Jason, he obviously had to go slower than my car and with the hills his truck wouldn't go as fast as 50 mph sometimes.  We used "Find your Friends" app to locate each other and checked in on our phones  every once in a while.  I met up with him along the way at a couple different gas stations or rest stops.  We made a stop at his brother and sister-in-law's new home in Des Moines and got a tour of the new house and visited with them for a while then said our goodbyes.  We still had another 4-5 hours left before our final destination but it went quick.  Driving through Iowa was beautiful; so hilly, windy and green.  Plus it was 70 mph then 75 in Nebraska!! Wow, I don't remember that from my last drive through there!  We decided I'd keep going and not wait for Jason so I could get settled into the hotel with Sam.  We got Subway when we got there and then both pretty much passed out...both pets included!

I was extremely excited when we woke up on Sunday.  We had about 420 miles left so about 6 1/2 hours (plus stops) and I couldn't wait to get to our final destination.  Off we went and again Sam was calm as a could be!  Every stop I made, I'd get out of the car and come back in and I swear it looked as if he was smiling at me!  Jason and I met up at a gas station along the way as I was starving and it seemed like we drove miles and miles before really finding anywhere to eat.  Have I mentioned how hot Jason looked driving the truck?  I was so impressed.  That beast of a truck and Jason drove it like it was nothing.  In and out of gas stations, around turns, eventually through neighborhoods.  So impressive.  One more reason I fell more in love with him.

I was watching my map like crazy so I could see the "Welcome to Colorado" sign. (I had missed it entering Nebraska! Once I did, I lost it with emotions.  I was sobbing like a baby...mostly good tears but just "oh my gosh, I just moved all I know across the country" tears.  It felt so great to finally be feeling something.  I kept telling everyone it would hit me once I was done student teaching and only had two weeks left in Chicago, then I thought at the going-away party, or when I pulled out of Chicago...but I never really felt like it was real.  Well crossing over the state boarder and reading, "Welcome to Colorful Colorado!" it hit me hard! I can't really explain how I felt but it was partly relief and excitement.  It wasn't really sadness of any kind, just new feelings.  I was homesick going to college just two hours away so I will still never understand how I could move across the country but can really only say it's God who prompted me and will (hopefully) carry me through.  It was a very emotional and joyous feeling to be in Colorado.  The scenery changed immediately from when I crossed state lines, just beautiful!

At this point, I was just ready to be "home." We'd been driving a long time, my CD's/playlists had run out and all the emotions I had been waiting to feel were felt.  But we still had another three hours.  Those were the longest three hours ever.  Jason was pretty far behind me and the longer we drove the further he was behind me.  We again agreed for me to keep going and get to our apartment so I could get the keys before the office closed.  I needed gas so got off at some exit that I thought said was gas and realized that was just another expressway. (There were two Exit B's or something...it was weird and dumb.)  Well by the time I was able to turn around and get back onto the road I was supposed to be on, it only allowed me to go East.  So then by the time I was able to turn back around (again, no exits) I was basically back to where Jason was!  So we both stopped for gas for the last time and were able to share in our Colorado excitement of being able to see the mountains and how close we were!  It actually worked out well that we got to see each other before actually getting "home."

The rest of the drive was still painful...I just wanted to be there!  But once we did finally get there and got our keys, it was beautiful! I just love our apartment, much more spacious than Chicago (we're in the suburbs now) we have a pantry, lots of storage and our view is amazing!  If we try really hard we can see the mountains to the west and our "back yard" is a swampy area with a bike trail running through and huge park directly behind us.  It's so peaceful!

I brought Cooper to his new dog park...I'll have to post pictures later.  Its on a HUGE hill with like a 90 degree angle straight up.  (exaggerating a bit, but not much!) Jason hadn't seen the area yet except for online so he was checking everything out.  We decided to just sleep on an air mattress that night since we had hired help for Monday.  We went to dinner at Olive Garden and then ran to Target for some basic supplies/necessities.  I was feeling all sorts of emotions but was mostly so glad to be "home."  It had been a long four days and I was glad to have arrived safe and sound!


Heading out of DeKalb..already so good. :)


Welcome to Iowa!


Jason in the truck ahead leaving Des Moines


Welcome to Omaha!


At a rest stop...such a great road tripper!


at our second hotel...just 5 minutes of getting there.  I'd say he adjusted quite well!


Nebraska! (Day 2)


Denver - Straight ahead!!


The sign where I lost it :)


The last stop before seeing our new "home" he looks excited doesn't he?


Our exit!! Only 1.5 miles from HOME! 


One more day of unpacking the monstrous truck...to be continued...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Moving Day 2

Cooper was dropped off at Daycare for the day... brilliant idea by me, if I must say so myself. We had two movers coming at 10:00 to help us with the big furniture and boxes. I went downstairs to help Jason position the truck so we could get it all loaded.  When he opened the back I saw how full it already was and immediately panicked.  From the looks of it, it seemed that 2/3 of the truck was already full and we still had a lot of furniture and boxes that needed to fit in there!  I started telling him my concerns so we started brainstorming and the best we came up with for a last minute effort would be for us to rent another trailer and then we'd pull my car and I'd drive Jason's SUV withe the trailer behind it.  I would have no problem doing this for 30-40 miles but to drive 1,000 miles as emotional as I may end up being plus having a cat who I thought would be crying the whole time.  It was just not what I had in mind for our drive out to our new home.

We decided we'd just see how much we got into the truck then figure out a plan if it didn't all fit...so I was praying like crazy.  I still had to do my devotion so turned to that the devotion spoke to me and said to trust Jesus and in all circumstances so I said just that out loud and was praying that if it was His will that I'd be able to drive my own car out to CO.

The movers came and were amazing.  They knew just how to maneuver each big and small box with each large and small piece of furniture in just the right way to use up every square inch of the truck.  They admitted though that there was no way every piece of furniture and/or box was going to fit.  Jason and I started going through all the pieces of furniture that we could leave behind and came up with our IKEA dresser, night stand, a glass/metal TV/book stand, a few other smaller pieces (laundry baskets, litter box, all our food, cleaning supplies, some clothes, etc.) and the biggest item that had to be left behind was our couch.  (But it was bought used and was in really bad shape..but at the same time it's hard to move knowing we aren't going to have a couch to sit on at the other end. But by the end of the day, we were both just thankful to not have to pull another trailer and just be done with it. Yay for just getting as much in as possible and not having to pull a trailer!

The movers had the truck loaded by around 1:30 but we still had so much stuff to bring out to the trash, fit into our cars and then still clean the condo.  My goal was to be out by 5:00 to head to my brothers and say bye to them then meet my parents in DeKalb where we would have pizza at the hotel, then get a good nights rest for the next day of driving.  Ha!  How quickly I learned that was just a faint dream!

We had SO MUCH stuff and every load we brought down we found ourselves coming back up to more stuff.  Then at around 4:30 we learned that the trailer we would use to pull Jason's SUV wouldn't be ready until the NEXT MORNING! After we cursed Budget Truck Rental, panicked and said some prayers we both started calling every moving truck place in Chicago trying to get a trailer to pull the SUV behind the truck. As you can imagine, Budget isn't compatible with UHaul and there were no trailers in Chicago at this late of an hour.  After about 60-70 minutes of making phone calls we finally got a trailer 8 miles south (45 minutes each way) that would pull my car...which meant I was driving Jason's SUV to Colorado and we weren't heading out of the city anytime soon.  (mind you...we're getting really hungry at this point and Cooper is still at daycare and needs a ride home! Plus Comast never showed up to get our cable boxes and of course wouldn't answer our calls).

Plan was now in motion and about an hour later, we were finishing up loading up all our stuff when we got a call from Budget...our original trailer had arrived!  Praise God!  So we figured out how to get Jason to the truck rental place and for me to pick up Cooper by 7:00 and would meet back at home in the end.  I swear when we got back to our place, stuff had multiplied while we were gone.  We still had so much stuff to get packed into our cars and so much left to throw away!  Meanwhile it's getting really late, my parents are no longer meeting us in DeKalb for dinner and my brothers not sure he can wait up anymore to say goodbye as we drove through and I had most certainly missed my window of opportunity to say goodbye to my niece, Kaylee.  But Jason and I kept plugging through and load after load we finally had the place cleaned up well enough to clean.  We spent some time getting the trailer loaded onto the truck and the SUV up on the trailer (all on Irving Park on  Friday night with cars zipping by at 40 mph...real safe.) But we were finally on the road at 9:00 and headed to my brothers house!

As most know, I was very worried about my cat Sam traveling in the car.  He gets very nervous and usually poops and pees within about 5 minutes of the trip and with the day I had had, of course this trip would be no different.  So the 55 minute drive out to Naperville was a rather stinky one!  Poor Sammie...and poor me! We pulled into my brothers at about 9:55.  We went in, cleaned out Sams crate and said our goodbyes.  I was able to say goodbye to Kaylee as she slept and printed a map of our route to Colorado so I could track on paper how far we were each day.  Shawn fueled us up with some crackers and waters and we were back on the road at 10:30.

We then drove our way to DeKalb and arrived around midnight both completely exhausted and drained but ready to conquer the next two days of driving.  Sam adjusted very quickly to the hotel room and Cooper passed out immediately (have I said how much I love bringing him to daycare!?)

Which brings us to Days 3-4 of the move...to be continued!

Moving Day 1

Okay, I started this post this morning and just don't even know where to begin. So what I've decided is that I'll do this in several chunks and hopefully I can get across my emotions and all else that's happened on the fun little journey we've been on the last week.

Logistically the original plan was that we would rent a 24 ft truck that would pull a rented trailer that would carry Jason's SUV and I would drive my car to Colorado.  Cooper would go with Jason in the big truck and Sam would go with me. We'd pick up the truck on Friday, load up all our stuff in the city then drive out to the burbs and load up all we had in storage (from staging the condo). We'd then head out of the city Friday night to avoid any traffic and make sure everything was out and place was cleaned and head to a hotel in Naperville where my brother's family would meet us for pizza.  We'd get a good nights sleep and then head out early in the morning after having breakfast with my parents.  Along the way we'd stop in Des Moines to see Jason's family, drive another 4-5 hours to spend the night somewhere in Nebraska then drive the rest of the way to arrive in our new home on Sunday night.

While I like a plan (and especially like a plan when it's something as big as moving across the country with a cat who can't travel in a car without whining like an ambulance and pooping and peeing within 3-5 minutes of our departure) my husband decided to switch things up on me.  (okay to defend him a little...in the end his new plan may have saved us about a day's worth of travel but at this point in the journey I didn't know that yet. ;-)   So basically Jason found out he was able to get the truck and trailer a day early so decided to pick them up and came up with a new plan for the two days of packing the trucks. To make a really long story short, when we got to Budget only the truck was available that day, so our plan got way shifted. For the most part there wasn't too much of a glitch though and our biggest concern was that he'd have to park the (half loaded) truck in the city and we were afraid of it being broken into. We said we'd pray and hope that nothing would get stolen...especially parking it on a major street.  Jason went to the burbs on Thursday and my brother and dad along with a few of my dad's friend's workers had the truck loaded in about an hour and a half.  Jason was back to the city by about 8:00.  We were half loaded...and I hadn't lifted a box yet!  Woo hoo!! :)

Okay so we get the great idea to park my car directly behind the truck which would hopefully prevent anyone from breaking into the truck.  So after a few hours Jason went outside on the balcony to check on the truck and saw this...

Take a look at the truck.  Do you see a car parked behind it?  My Honda Accord...do you see it? Neither did we, so we of course freaked out cursing the city of Chicago for towing our car when it was legally parked (or so we both thought since we had checked the signs).  We called the city of Chicago...they had no record of anything.  We called the auto pound who also had no record of it.  We were both really really upset with the city and really happy to be moving out not having to deal with this kind of city stuff.  We went down to check the signs once again and as we walked out...there was my car!  It had been there all along.  I took this picture to  prove to you all and myself that we weren't going crazy.  Sorry city of Chicago for cursing you in such a way...we know you'd never ticket people or tow them when not necessarily. ;-)

What a relief to not have to deal with finding my car in the morning. All we had to do was get up, bring Cooper to day care and get the truck loaded before headed out for the long drive!

to be continued...

Welcome to my new blog!

Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by...probably from my last blog, "meanderings from the 3rd floor balcony" or from Facebook.  I assume most of you know me in some way, but regardless I hope to be able to use this space to share my adventures and journeys of my life as it is now that I've moved from the only state I've ever lived, Illinois...to Colorado where the air is a lot thinner and drier but has the most beautiful scenery and the sun shines over 300 days a year!  Welcome welcome...put your feet up and enjoy riding along side.  And please please leave comments if you're reading.  It helps encourage me to write more and also helps me to know who my audience is.  Love to you all!  Happy reading!