Courage {Day 25}

OK, this post is a little different from the usual fare around here! We’re talking about some personal and deep stuff today, so consider yourself warned, mm’kay?

You know how some people choose a word that defines them for a year? Well, I have never intentionally done that, but for the last few years I have found that all of the lessons God has been teaching me run together into one word that defines that year. A few years ago that was Contentment, and then after that it was Joy. When 2014 began, I started trying to figure out what my “word” was that God was going to instill into my life. To be honest, the year started out really, really badly.

I struggled more with depression than I ever have in my life in the first four months of 2014. I was home every day with my kids, adjusting to life with two little ones. Keilana had terrible reflux, which made her both understandably grumpy and understandably demanding. Which meant that I was understandably tired. I was so frustrated feeling like I wasn’t bonding with my little girl at all, because she was so unhappy so often. The weather was horrific, and we were stuck at home day after day with freezing cold temperatures and gray, cloudy days.

There was one day I was so desperate for sunshine that when the sun peeked through the clouds for a few hours I bundled up the kids even though it was nearly 0 degrees. They didn’t last long, so we came back inside, but I actually went out for a walk while they napped a couple of hours later. I just walked up and down our little dead end part of our street so I was close enough to the house to feel comfortable, but I was so desperate for fresh air and sunshine I just had to be outside.

Lover was traveling and working lots during that time. There were so many times that something would go wrong, and he would either be gone or just unavailable at work because things were so busy. I handled bedtimes, nighttime wakings, sickness, and on and on by myself. We went on vacation in February and his back went out at the end of our trip. I had to care for him and the kids, navigate doctors appointments and everything else in a new city and then drive us home to NY..it was scary. It took him a long time to recover, and I had to handle a lot by myself while he healed.  I’ve always relied so heavily on him, but for one reason or another I kept finding myself without him, unable to lean on his strength, and feeling so completely alone.

To make matters worse, I started to hear these thoughts in my head that terrified me. A voice would tell me, over and over, that I was completely alone. That I had to handle things all by myself because there was no one who would be there for me. In retrospect, I think I was very clearly under the worst spiritual attack I have ever experienced. I have never before experienced the feeling of something literally hanging over my head, breathing terrible, lonely, depressing thoughts down onto me. I was terrified. I thought I was going crazy, that the stress had just broken me down into some shell of the person I had been.

I continued to do all the things we normally did – church, family events, etc. but I felt disconnected and removed from them – like I was watching things happen around me but still felt completely alone. I concluded, based on the first four months of that year, that my word for the year was “Alone.” 

I talked to Lover about all of this, especially about the voices telling me that I was alone. He encouraged me to start praying, out loud, for Jesus’ protection whenever I started hearing that. It took several times of desperately praying, claiming the power of Christ in me, my protected status as God’s daughter, and telling whoever or whatever that was that it was not welcome to speak to me that way. And it worked. The voice stopped talking to me.

As Lover and I talked more, and I confessed to him that I thought my word for the year was ALONE, he encouraged me to keep looking. That I wasn’t alone, I had Lover and my family and God and my friends, and that there was a different lesson that I was learning. So I kept looking.

May and June were so, so, SO much better than the beginning of the year. I had terrible hormone swings with Keilana’s pregnancy, and I think that it took about six months for everything to even out after she was born, so that was part of what I was experiencing. The weather was also a factor, along with that scary spiritual stuff that was also going on. But as the weather improved, my hormones stabilized and I was making time in prayer a huge priority, life started to feel more normal. We had some more really difficult weeks in May – Javi had croup, Keilana cut more teeth, I was sick – sometimes it seemed like the hits just kept on coming, but I was starting to have hope again. We had another week of vacation at the end of May, for my birthday, and this time it was truly restful. By the end of that week I was re energized, Lover and I had time together, the kids were doing well – we were much improved.

courage

Around that time is when I realized that my word for the year was not, in fact, ALONE, but rather COURAGE. So much of the year had brought unknowns and challenges that I had never faced before. So much of it had been scary and intimidating. In fact, the definition of courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one.” Had I been frightened a lot lately? Heck, yes! But with this different perspective, that I needed to have COURAGE, I started to find the challenges much more surmountable.

Of course, you know where this is going now, right? We are in the middle of one of our biggest adventures to date, starting a new life in a new city. Boy, oh, boy have I needed courage lately! Courage to sell our stuff, pack up our life and set up a new home. Courage to say goodbye to friends, family and loved ones, and courage to put myself out there to make new friends here. Courage to experience all sorts of new things – a new church, a new home, new driving routes and routines and weather patterns.

God knew that I would need to break with my patterns of living in fear, of letting fear control me. And honestly, I’ve worked so hard on that in previous years. I’ve refused to be defined or held back by my fears. But He knew that this experience would stretch me in ways that I couldn’t even fathom, and so I would need to step up my game.

I mentioned a while ago how important Psalm 46 has become to me. The verses in this Psalm? Courage filling. God is our fortress -God is our refuge and strength -God will help her - God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved – The Lord of hosts is with us – Therefore we will not fear.

I can’t say that I’m 100% thankful for those dark days that I went through this year. But seeing it in perspective really helps me. And as I think about our future here in Colorado, in which we still have so many unknowns, know that I will be doing my best to face them with courage.

jenny

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Getting Crafty {Day 24}

One of the ways I make a house feel like a home is by getting crafty. It’s in my blood. I sold most of my craft stuff when we moved, but I’m just not physically able to stop crafting. It’s who I am folks. :)

So – we have a nice big front door, and I wanted to spruce it up a bit for the season. I had lots of ideas, but some would have taken a long time and others would have been very expensivo. Instead, I challenged myself to come up with some front door decorations with things I could procure at the Dollar Tree. Here’s what I came home with:

Five dollars worth of supplies, which included a large felt leaf shape, a package of “table scatter” leaves, a “paper picture craft kit”, a set of magnet clips and a package of colored raffia. Here’s what I did with them:

Inside of that paper picture craft kit was a cardboard square and a bunch of tissue paper. I used the cardboard square for my craft, and kept the tissue paper for another project.

I found a font I liked (called Wolf in the City from dafont.com) and printed out the words GIVE THANKS onto regular computer paper. Then I layered the paper over the cardboard, and used a regular pen to outline the words, pressing firmly so the design would transfer to the cardboard. Once it was transfered, I carefully traced the imprint with a sharpie, resulting in this – sorry about the blur.

Then I just used a bigger Sharpie to color in the letters and give it all a uniform look. The kids colored with crayons on some paper while I did this – that kept them pretty entertained until we got to the really interesting parts like gluing. :) Fancy pajama pant wearing is optional for this craft. :)

Javi's Folder

Next up, break out the glue gun and get it heating up. Keep your toddler busy by asking him to pull the magnets off of the clips that you purchased. He’ll give it a valiant attempt, but will ultimately defer to your strength and muscle. #ibringthebrawn Flip your leaf and your cardboard square over, and slap some magnets on those babies. (Spoiler alert, these magnets are not strong enough to hold up the cardboard. They will however, help to stabilize it on your door. )

Javi's Folder1

Flip the square back over, and glue on as many little leaves as your heart desires. In my case, my heart apparently desired four leaves.

You’re done! Walk downstairs and hang up your masterpieces. I blurred out my apartment number because I know y’all are creepers and will totally stalk me. Just kidding. But seriously, posting your address on the interwebs is never a good idea. The leaf hung just fine with the magnets, but the square kept falling down, so I stuck a command hook right on the door and hung it on that. Feel free to do the same, especially if your door is not metal.

Javi's Folder2

A bright and cheerful doormat is optional but definitely recommended. :) and there you have it! A simple, seasonal touch that will brighten your day and make you smile. At least it works for me. :) Five bucks, half an hour, and loads of fun! Make one too and tell me all about it. :) Oh! And you may notice that I didn’t use the raffia – I’ll show you what I did with that tomorrow. You’ll never guess. (It’s a garland. :)

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jenny

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Boulder {Day 23}

A few weekends ago we drove up to Boulder, CO. We’re only about 45 minutes away, which makes it an easy drive to spend the day up there. It’s been so much fun exploring things little by little here. For now we are just driving to wherever sounds fun and checking it out, making note of things we would like to come back and explore some more. So this time in Boulder we drove into downtown, found the Pearl Street Mall, and spent the morning shopping, playing and enjoying the sights.

This feel like a great time to tell you a funny story. When I still lived in Spain, my family and I came back for a mini furlough over Christmas break for three weeks. I was a junior at the time. We took advantage of being in the States and toured three colleges while we were in town. We went to the University of Rochester where I met the smartest girl I’ve ever encountered. She had spent her summer working with NASA to improve the rubber coating on the space shuttle to better insulate the shuttle as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere. I felt a *little* inferior. :) Then, we toured Nazareth college, a delightful private school with an excellent foreign language program that cost an arm and a leg. And finally, we visited SUNY Brockport, a state school. Our tour guide was a happy go lucky sorority sister who encouraged us all to “definitely come to brockport because it’s way fun here.” I asked her how many students attended, she had no idea. I asked about different programs and her answers were vague at best. Brockport is a very spread out campus, and our tour took us from building to building, each of which our guide dutifully named and pointed out some interesting fact. Then, walking through the frigid NY air as we crossed through the Mall, she mentioned that “now we are walking through the mall,  although I have no idea why it is called that, since we are outside and there are no stores here.” This girl clearly had no idea that an alternate definition of “mall” is sheltered walk or promenade. I think of that girl every time I’m at an outdoor “mall” or a road is named a mall. Even if there are no shops! :)

Anyways. So, we went to Boulder and we walked around a lot. Sadly, we did not sample any coffee. We did however, rock the town as we sauntered around in our matching striped shirts. Our friends back in NY gifted them to us. We loved to kid them about the fact that they are often wearing stripes, and so our going away present from them was a family set of striped shirts for our very own! So funny.

We explored an adorable little shop filled with olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Spain, and then next to it was a spice shop that was absolutely awesome. It had every spice you could think of and dozens more. Stuff I had never heard of and lots of things I would love to try out. I bought a little bag of Black Onyx Cocoa Powder to try out. They had a recipe for Chocolate Avocado Pudding which I made last week and it was really good! It was made with the black onyx cocoa, coconut milk, avocado, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Very different (at least for us) and quite yummy.

The kids did really well and enjoyed all of the street performers. We saw a drum guy in a wild African mask, a truly horrible magician, a living statue, a young violinist, and two folk bands that were really good.

We hung out at the little kids’ play place for a bit and people watched. The weather was fantastic and the town just had this laid back, super easygoing vibe. We liked it. The kids loved the big rocks – excuse me, boulders – in the play area, and tried to climb every single one.

Photos (2)

All in all it was a really nice morning. We’re planning to go back again to scope out their Farmer’s Market, and something called a Banjo Billy bus tour that promises to be hokey and fun. :) As well as lots more exploring and walking and of course eating. :)

jenny

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Be Careful of the what? {Day 22}

It’s so funny to me the things people say. When I was pregnant, people would say the most bizarre, and often completely contradictory, things to me. I was too big, too small, too early, too late… random strangers wanted to know personal details… it was just weird. When Lover and I were dating, it was even stranger. I remember someone telling us “Puppy love leaves you in the dog house.” Whatever that meant.  People are funny. Anyways. When we told people we were moving to Colorado, one of the first things they would bring up was “but marijuana is legal there!”

In fact, most people would say something more like “be careful – marijuana is legal there!” which just entertained me to no end. We laughed for days about the idea that we would suddenly look down and find ourselves unexpectedly with pot in our hands, as if it would just *poof* materialize out of no where. Kind of like in Cinderella with the fairy godmother and Cinderella’s dress, except that it would be a joint.

So after just over a month here in Denver, I am happy to report that no unexpected, unintentional pot smoking has gone on. We’re discovering all sorts of fun things about this state, but recreational drugs has not been one of them. You can all rest easier now, I’m sure. Until next time,

jenny

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Our New Apartment {Day 21}

So – are you ready to see our new apartment? It’s totes awesome. :) We picked up the keys at about 1pm on Saturday, three days after we arrived in Denver. Remember how in my last post I talked about how I was a ball of nerves from not having a house? In retrospect, we were homeless for less than 72 hours. God was and always is in control, and was so preparing the way for us. Note to self: Trust God! He’s earned it!

Ready to see our new home?

We opted for a second floor apartment for better views, light and security, and of course that comes with stairs. When you open up that door behind our crazy faces, you are greeted with a set of about six stairs. The next pic is standing on the landing looking back towards the front (and only) door.

Parkfield

 

Then, it’s a whole nother set of stairs, which lead right up into the great room. And here is the first feature I’m stoked about: a coat closet!! Our 1928 home in Rochester had no such thing, so I’m am loving this little closet. It’s the little things, right?

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Come up the stairs and turn right slightly, and you are in the great room. Two things to notice right away – vaulted ceilings and a fireplace! Both awesome. The higher ceilings really make it feel a lot bigger in here. The fireplace is awesomely cozy and warm, and I’ve been chomping at the bit for some cooler weather to really soak it up. It’s gas, and turns on with the flick of a switch. Luxury, I tell ya.

 

Lover is demonstrating how excited we are about the dining area. That door leads to the balcony, and here’s the other view of the living area, standing in the dining area. Those doors lead to our bedroom and bathroom.

 

Parkfield2

The kitchen is a really nice size, and the fact that it is open to the main area means whoever is cooking (*cough* Lover *cough*) gets to still be a part of the action going on. But – the high counter shields the mess, which I couldn’t be more grateful for. We’re working on not using that top counter as a landing zone, which so far is not working at all. :)

A view from the kitchen, and notice what lifechanging appliance resides in my kitchen?? That’s right – it’s a DISHWASHER! It works really well, even if it does sound like an airplane is in the house while it’s running. I love to get laundry going and the dishwasher rumbling and sit on the couch while my machines do all my work for me. This is the life I tell you. Also, can I just point out that I have three outlets on this part of the counter alone? It’s like the people who built this place understand that we live in an era with electricity. I love it.

From the opposite direction, standing by the dishwasher. The door on the left is a little laundry room, with a full washer and dryer. They both work fantastically. The little door on the right is a pantry, yet another unheard of luxury for the Kodankos. :)

So, off of the main area on the right hand side are a set of double doors which lead to the first bedroom suite. This is the one we claimed, the room is nice and large and sunny, the ceiling fan is not hideous, and we’re loving it overall. The sun does beat in here in the afternoons if I forget to close the blinds, which is like every day. :)

 

Parkfield7

 

From the window, looking back at the opposite wall. Huge closet on the left, it’s a walkin with a light and everything. On the right, if you walk back through the door and straight ahead, is our bathroom.

The bathrooms are almost exactly the same, with the exception that we have a tall cabinet in ours, and the kids have a full linen closet in theirs. Nice and spacious, fairly new and in good condition – can’t complain.

Parkfield6

On the other side of the apartment, off of the dining room, is the kids’ shared bedroom. We went back and forth about them sharing a room, and finally decided in favor. So far they love it. I separate them for naptime, since that rarely works, but other than that they love being together. This room is technically the master, so the ceiling is vaulted, the closet can literally hold a twin bed, and there is even a little desk area that is working out really well as the diaper changing station.

Parkfield4Parkfield5

 

Their bathroom is directly off the bedroom, and you can just see the linen closet door inside the bathroom. That’s where we have stored all their clothes since this happened. It’s working out really well.

Parkfield8

Last up is our skinny little balcony – there is a small storage room off the balcony which is slightly terrifying but nice to have, and then from the opposite direction is where you can see the mountains. Gorgeousness. Parkfield9 So that’s it! 1200 square feet of our nice bright, white, happy little space. It’s everything I was hoping for, and I am so happy God provided it for us. :)

jenny

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In which we find a Home {Day 20}

Friday we woke up early, and ate breakfast leisurely in our little hotel suite. We stayed at Candlewood Suites for our first week in Denver and it was really nice. We had a full kitchen, a spacious room and two comfy queen beds. KK’s pack n play fit nicely without taking up all of the floor space, and they even offered free laundry down by the main lobby!

As we drove to our first appointment, we resolved to let go of the disappointment of Thursday and just be open to whatever God had for us today. As we drove up the highway, the mountains stood up tall in the West and I thought, man, they are so beautiful, and so reassuring! Everything is going to be ok!

As we pulled into the main entrance of the latest complex, my heart sank a little. It was so beautiful I was sure it was going to be completely out of our price range. We pulled in and parked, and headed into the office with the kiddos. Our leasing agent was incredibly friendly, and after taking our driver’s license, we headed out the door and onto the golf cart. Apparently that’s standard procedure here in Colorado to take your license, so that if anything were to happen to the leasing agent the police know exactly who they were with. Interesting, right?

Mountain Views

We visited a 1st floor 2 bedroom to start off, and it was really nice. The price was right too. Looking around, I thought, the only thing that would make this thing better is if I could see the mountains from the patio! I looked out but no dice. So I randomly asked the agent if there were any second floor apartments available. And – YES! We all hopped in the golf cart again (the kids loved that) and zoomed over to the next apartment.

We walked up into the apartment, and I LOVED it. The great room was flooded with light, the kitchen was a great size and open to the great room, the bedrooms were very large with HUGE closets, and yes, when I looked out the balcony, there were the mountains! The kids ran around exploring while we talked details with the agent. The price was right, the lease was only seven months, and we could move in… immediately! We were shocked. :) We went to go collect the kids and found Javi bouncing around in the closet, shoes off and already at home.

We loaded the kids back into the van and drove away, and I told Lover “I could totally live there.” I loved it. He had really liked it too, but wanted to see if we could find anywhere that was just a little closer to work (it was about a 25min drive to work). So we found a park to let the kids play for a bit since our next appointment wasn’t until 1pm.

KK mostly tried to get into my purse, while Javi dominated this backhoe. Does it get any better than your own personal backhoe when you are two? It does not.

Rec Center

So – after park time and lunch, we headed out to another appointment, this one very close to work. We pulled in, and I thought – hmm, probably not. You know how you just get a vibe right away? It just seemed huge and dark and depressing. The girl took us up to model (on the sixth floor, this place was huge) and although nicely decorated, even the model looked worn and had some maintenance issues. She took us back down the hallway  – there were maybe 20 apts to a floor? and cheerfully pointed out the single washer and dryer that were available for the entire floor. All I could picture was my kids’ latest escapade leaving me with loads of laundry that were piling up in the corner because those machines would never be free. Downstairs she showed us the pool, outdoor fire pit area and mentioned that they had a fitness center and racquetball, squash and tennis courts as well. The whole place kind of reminded me of a rec center that they had built apartments on top of.

Turns out that although the rent was very low, the mandatory utility fee was hundreds of dollars a month which made it no cheaper than the first apt we had looked at that morning. So we were happily able to cross that one off the list.

We headed back to the hotel to try to put the kids down for naps. KK slept a bit, my little boy who never needs sleep did not, and we discovered that the property we looked at in the morning was owned by a huge apartment company that had 10 other properties here in Denver. We found one that was much closer to work, and headed over there to check out our options.

The Girl who Hated her Job

This sister property to Mountain Views was shown to us by a very nice girl who very strongly disliked her job. Apparently her husband had been ready for a change and got a job in Denver, so they moved out here. She apparently was much more of a California beach girl at heart. She showed us the 2 bedroom they had available, and it was very nice. The layout wasted a little bit more space than Mountain Views apartment, and the kitchen was not open to the main rooms. Also, no mountain views. It was also a 3rd floor apartment and those stairs were killing me! I’m still adjusting to the altitude here, and stairs really leave me breathless.

California girl told us about one last property that was almost next door, also a sister property. So we headed over there to look around because these were townhouses (more space!) They actually didn’t have any apartments available to show, but showed us some pictures and invited us to come back the next day for a viewing.

In which we make a decision

So  we headed back to the hotel for the evening, to discuss our options. And – we picked the Mountain Views! Hurray! We immediately started the lease/background check/application process which went very smoothly and takes less than 24 hours. Which meant – Saturday was move-in day!

jenny

 

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Apartment Hunting {Day 19}

First of all – we have officially been in Denver for one month! Happy one month-iversary to us! Hurray! 

So – we are in Denver, staying in a hotel, and the first thing on our docket was to find a place to live! Cuz, you know, we’re demanding like that. We had emailed lots of apartment complexes (so very many) and heard back from only a few, and only three had availability that would work for us (i.e. not staying in a hotel for two months until their next apartment opened up.) SO. We started out Thursday with 3 appointments and that was it. Those were our options.

Here is where I would like to launch into a sweet story about how I totally was just trusting God to lead us to the right place, and how I knew He would provide and it was all amazing. HOWEVER. The reality was that once we got to Denver, and that long trip was over, and I sat down in the hotel room, I was more like “Oh my gosh, we do not have a home! All of our stuff is in the van and we will be living out of our van forever and we will never find an affordable place! Panic!”

PAINT COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS

Anyways, so we headed out to our first appointment. I won’t mention actual names here, but the first place sounded like it had a great view and other awesome things. I’ll call it Paint Covers a Multitude of Sins for the blog’s purposes. We arrived, were promptly ignored for fifteen minutes while the leasing agent chatted with maintenance, then gushed to us about how we would LOVE this place and sent a minion with us to show the apt.

Totally misleading photo, btw. So the very nice minion took us to the available apartment. We got into the elevator and it heaved its way up to the fourth floor, creaked, groaned and freaked me out, and then reluctantly opened the doors. VNMinion assured us that the elevator had been checked several times and everything was fine. OF COURSE IT WAS. We entered the apartment and I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that Paint Covers a Multitude of Sins. Everything looked fine, but you could just tell that things were lurking beneath the surface, waiting to pop through the freshly painted veneer. It kinda just gave me the heebie jeebies, and the fact that the staff had already ignored us told me how they would be if we had any issues there. So – NO.

ARTISTE PROFESH

Next up? A trendy, lovely little complex shown to us by a super pretty lady in a killer leather dress. Seriously, this girl was hot. We’ll call this one Artiste Profesh. Gorgeous clubhouse/leasing office. Impeccable design. The apartment was very nice, and the complex was pet friendly. I have learned, after much apartment searching, that “pet friendly” in an upscale complex means “people here have pets instead of kids. Honestly, there was nothing wrong with this very nice, very clean, very modern gated facility except for the price. Oh, and the fact that I knew neighbors would be complaining up a storm about my kids’ noise, mess, exuberance and joy for life. :) So – NO.

LOVED BY ME

Last up for the morning appointments was a beautiful complex that we’ll call Loved By Me. Everything about this place was great, the leasing agent was friendly and professional. The apartments were flooded with light with lovely kitchens and spacious bedrooms. Amenities included, wait for it, pool, spa, 24 hour fitness center, a movie theater you could rent out, garbage pickup service at your door, full washer and dryer in your unit, a TANNING BOOTH and I think a playground. The bummer? Far (very far) from where Lover would be working and very, very expensive. Like $500 more a month than we were hoping to pay. so – Maybe? But probably not.

So we left to grab lunch and put the kids down for naps, a little discouraged. We spent naptime perusing craigslist for options and set three more appointments for that evening. They were much more abbreviated appointments since by now we were more sure of what we wanted. I’ll give you the brief version.

BRAND BRAND BRAND NEW

This complex was literally being built while we toured the apartment. In fact I think this picture is of the only finished building on the property we toured. Our conversation with the leasing agent went something like – Do you have a pool? Well, yes, they just put one in yesterday! Oh, and look the crew is rolling out sod as we speak! I’m not sure whether we have that amenity yet, it will probably be available tomorrow though! Garbage pickup? Well, we are negotiations for that right now.” The agent was very nice, and helpful, and the complex seemed like it would be nice, but living inside a construction zone didn’t seem like a ton of fun. Plus it was very, very, VERY far from work. So – NO.

1953 BUNGALOW

This was the only freestanding house that we looked at. And we looked quickly and then tried not to run away. Things of note – tenants were present and EATING DINNER while we toured for the open house. Can you say awkward? The place was tiny, only qualifying as a 3BD because there was a “finished” space in the basement. Which smelled musty. A roofing crew was there while we toured, redoing the roof. Which, yay for no leaks, but didn’t help the appeal at all. Anyways, tiny, yucky kitchen, musty basement – NO.

GINGERBREAD TOWNHOUSE

Honestly? I wanted to love this one. The design of the exterior of this townhouse community was adorable. This picture doesn’t do it justice but each townhouse was like a little gingerbread house. I loved it. I was hoping against hope that the inside of the place was just as adorable. Nope. Nothing too bad, but the layout wasted a lot of space, there were some maintenance problems already and the kitchen was dismal. So – NO.

So that’s where we were on Thursday. Sad, tired and infinitely discouraged at the prospect of finding an affordable place in Denver available before the New Year. But – Friday was much, much better!! Stay tuned,

jenny

 

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Infographs for the win! {Day 18}

This post has quite possibly been the longest post to prepare that I’ve ever written, but it was so much fun! When we started out on our trip I kept close track of some different stats that I knew I would want to immortalize in a few fun graphics afterwards. So, without further ado I bring you: Rochester to Denver in eight fun graphics. Enjoy!

1740 miles

coffee

bathroom

 

states

 

burger

license plates

 

dvd

tolls

 

Gotta love how New York stuck it to us one more time before we left town. :) Anyways, super fun right? I’m only five days behind! :) I’m working on getting caught up, so stay tuned!jenny

 

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Road Tripping – Day 4 {Day 17}


After all our fun in St Louis, we packed up the van one last time and headed out of town. Today was our longest day – 11 hours of driving, most of them through Kansas. :)

From time to time I would give Javi my phone so he could take pictures. This helped pass the time and I love to see what he takes pictures of. I love looking through them when he is done – this one I thought was quite funny.

It took a little while getting into Kansas for things to really flatten out and open up, but once it did, man you could see for miles.

We passed the time playing the alphabet game, and I trounced Lover THREE times. This never happens. It must have been a sign of good things to come. :) The kids mostly played with their toys, snoozed in their seats and munched on snacks. They were such troopers on this trip. See what I mean about seeing for miles? I loved the openness. Although I would imagine that you would wish for shade if you lived there.

This picture is hard to see, but it was indicative of how absolutely empty Kansas can be. It says “Colby Oasis, Exit 53 3 HOURS AHEAD” You know it’s bad when they are advertising something three hours down the road.

As the sun came down from behind the clouds overhead, the land got really, really pretty. We got to the last third of Kansas and the landscape started to change from farms, farms and more farms to much more wild, rugged landscape. That was our first clue that we were getting close to Colorado!

So, we were heading west. Obviously. And, the sun sets in the west, we all know that. What we didn’t know is that it apparently sets at the end of the highway. :) We were traveling about 80 miles an hour, so as the sun set, it seemed like it hung indefinitely in the sky, just at the horizon – longest sunset I’ve ever experienced. I think Lover’s retinas are still a little singed from driving into that ball of fire for so long.

In the last remaining light, as the landscape around us changed, we both commented on how it looked so much like Spain. I commented to Lover, “it feels like we’re coming home.” We may have both welled up a little.From the moment we got here, it has felt like home. Yes, there have been ups and downs, but we are so thankful to be here.

jenny

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Meet Me In St Louis {Day 16}

So our third day of our road trip was spent in St Louis. The whole day! We planned to spend a day mostly out of the car and just exploring. Our first order of business was, of course, the Arch. We had to officially cross over into the West, you know? We climbed the enormous set of stairs and then ceremoniously walked through the Arch. Hurray!

The Arch is kind of all by itself in terms of things to see. There was an old church that we ducked into – very unimpressive. And there was the capitol building, but most of it was under construction so we skipped it. We ended up just walking around the area, and stumbled onto the City Park. It’s a cool park right in the middle of a bunch of buildings, with a ton of sculptures hidden in among the gardens. We checked out a few of them, along with the fun fountains they had. The kids took a few minutes to get the hang of it, and then Javi had lots of fun running through them. He ran most of the way through with his eyes closed though!

We grabbed lunch at Hardee’s and then headed back to the hotel for nap time. After naps we googled a fun place for dinner, and found a place called Lewis & Clark’s. Appropriate, right? So we headed out there and – surprise! Ended up in the historic Main St of St Charles and I nearly died from all the cuteness. Everything was a photo op. It was all obviously tourist oriented, but my goodness was there some beauty! I loved it all and couldn’t stop snapping pics. After a busy few weeks, taking some time to create something pretty again filled up my soul. So needed.


After we walked Main St a bit we grabbed dinner at Louis & Clark’s, up on their balcony. It was a lovely night, the kids behaved really well, and it was a really nice time. After such a fun evening we headed back to our hotel to get a good night’s sleep for our last leg – 11 hours left to Denver!

jenny

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