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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Road tripping – Day 2 {Day 15}

The next leg of our journey took us from Columbus, Ohio to St Louis, Missouri. We didn’t really stop anywhere interesting on the way, just little rest stops and fast food joints for the necessary meals and bathroom breaks.

So we spent all of Monday traveling, passing fascinating signs like “Thanks for visiting Ohio!” and “Welcome to Indiana!”

I will say though, the soybean crops in Indiana were very pretty in the sunshine. How’s that for a phone camera photo snapped from a moving car?

Then, we crossed the Mississippi River, and officially entered the west! I thought a lot about Laura Ingalls on this trip, and I was very thankful that we had a bridge to drive easily over the river instead of floating in a covered wagon pulled by swimming oxen. ;-)

And then, finally, after about seven hours of driving, we were welcomed into Missouri. Fun fact, did you know that Panera Bread Co. started in St Louis as the St Louis Bread Co, and changed their name when they expanded into the rest of the country? Neither did I.

We took our time heading out in the morning, so by the time we got to Missouri the sun was setting and we were thinking about bedtimes for the kids. (Not that they went to sleep by anything close to their normal bedtimes!) Lover booked us a fabulous room at Staybridge Suites – we love them and have stayed there before, always a great experience. We had to make an emergency trip to CVS though, after a certain toddler discovered my nail polish and experimented with painting it all over the hotel room wall! I would have taken a picture but I was too busy scrubbing. Thankfully about half a bottle of nail polish remover did the trick. Also, this happened. Cuteness.

jenny

 

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Road tripping – The First Day {Day 14}

Sunday the 21st we went to our church one last time, said goodbye to our pastor, and headed out to the van. Some of Lover’s family was there to hug and kiss us one more time, and then we loaded up and headed out. There were a few tears but mostly we were excited to get started on our trip! I’ll never forget the way Javi would say “we moo-fing to Den-Ber!” Melted my heart every time.

Our plan was to make it to Columbus, Ohio on this first day. It was just over six hours, and we knew we didn’t have much more in us than after the month we had had (our original plan was to drive all the way to St Louis, MO that first day, thankfully we realized that was a terrible idea!) The kids conked out shortly after leaving Rochester, so we had a couple of hours of quiet as we started out.

Road trip

We made it about four hours, and then stopped at a little gas station to fuel up and stretch our legs. We were in Nowheresville, OH, but they had this awesome steam engine and diner car at the top of the hill. So naturally we climbed up the hill to check it out!

Peanut had a bit of trouble climbing such a mountain (to her!) so she and Lover lagged behind a bit. Javi charged up that hill, anxious to see the train, of course. A while ago I asked Lover to take more pictures of me with the kids, and he’s been awesome at that. I particularly liked this one he got of my little guy and I while we waited for them to catch up.

From up top the view was incredible. We got to see the train, and look out at the awesome sunset. It was a nice way to get out some wiggles and have some freedom from the car before finishing the rest of that leg to Columbus.

Road trip1 Road trip2

jenny

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Saying Goodbye {Day 13}

A few people have asked us how we could possibly leave our family, friends and church family behind. I will tell you this, it hasn’t been easy. I’m a lover by nature. I love people, love to feel connected and like I belong. Starting over in a new city has its benefits, but it is definitely hard to feel unattached and without a support system.

My adorable grandparents

The Wednesday before we left town, I went over to my grandparents to say goodbye. I love them dearly, and they have been especially important to me since I lived with them when I was in college. My grandma became my friend, which I know is such a rare gift. We said our goodbyes with the full knowledge that it may be our last time together. I plan on visiting, obviously, but the reality is that they are older, and their health is not what it used to be. It was hard knowing it might be my last time to see them in this life.

But what I always come back to is the fact that it is not truly goodbye if we are a part of the family of God. Yes, I may not see you again in this life, but we get to spend all of eternity together!

We sing songs about the family of God, and we talk about it routinely, but I truly believe that my “family” is sprinkled around the globe, and I was so excited to move out here and meet some new family members. Of course I miss the depth of friendship and familiarity that I had in New York, but I’m also excited for the new friends we’ll make here!

jenny

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Beauty Around Us {Day 12}

We’re living in a beautiful little area of Denver, and since we only have the one car, three days a week I’m home with kids car-less. So we’ve been taking a lot of walks – to the park, to the playground, to the library, to the store. Last Monday we walked to the library, which is about two miles away. This is what I love about Denver, as we walked down a totally normal street we passed dozens of prairie dog colonies, found a hidden herd of horses, checked out the wildflowers and got a sunburn. You know, just walking to the library.

Javi took this next picture, I am so proud of my budding photographer!

The sky here is an unreal shade of blue. Like bluest of bluey blues. It’s so bright and saturated that it kind of leaves me breathless.

We walk through the park, around this little pond, all the way up to the playground. It’s a nice, calm walk that we always enjoy. It allows the boy to burn off some energy, and the girl to practice her walking. And the momma to take some deep breaths and snap some pretty pictures.

Not even big sky and horses compare to these two though. Have you ever seen anything cuter? :)

jenny

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The Mountains {Day 11}

Last Saturday, after all that fun at the festival, we loaded up the kids in the van, handed out binkies and made a beeline for the mountains. We had been admiring these gorgeous Rockies from a distance, and I was absolutely dying to get up there with my camera and see them in person. They did not disappoint!


The view from Overlook Mountain. Pretty sure we could see all the way back to NY.


Some big eared Mule Deer checked out us from the side of the road. I was ecstatic but they were not impressed. I want to see elk and big horn sheep and whatever else these mountains are hiding – maybe a mountain lion? From the safety of my car of course. :)

It’s only kind of pretty up here. You know. Average stuff.

I’ve been meditating a lot on the fact that God has always descended on a mountain, shown his glory on a mountain, drew all men to Him while lifted up on a mountain… So many references and I need to do a study on it. It seems these beautiful, wild, exquisite creations of His are quite important to him.

I think we’ll be headed back up into the mountains today. I’ve been struggling a lot this week and being surrounded by this absolute beauty and wildness that God created is so soothing to me. I’m doing my best to remember to “lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help!”

jenny

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The Most Epic of Moving Sales – Part 2 {Day 10}

So last time I talked about the Epic Moving Sale, I gave you my three rules for a successful sale. Today I want to just talk about my sale in general, some anecdotes, and a few things I want to remember.

 

Papa’s first selfie! 

I couldn’t have done this sale on my own. Thankfully I have an awesome father in law who came over bright and early Thursday morning to help with set up (I think he made three dozen trips down from the attic!), sisters in law who are always up for helping out, a husband who worked from home so I wouldn’t be alone with the creepers, and a sweet best friend who took time out of her day to come help out at my sale.

We met some really, truly interesting characters. Some of my favorites were the Irishman who chided me for carrying a heavy box – “why are you carrying that all by yourself, ye bonnie lass?”, his partner in crime Luigi who was an absolute riot, the people who spent two hours in my house only to spend 50 cents, and the lady who nearly had a heart attack because her little dog ate something off the ground in my yard. “What did you eat? Do you know what he ate? If you die, I am not going to be able to help you!” All of this after she threw her just purchased wine glasses on the ground trying to “rescue” her dog.

We also had a really fun guy we dubbed Superman who bought a ton of our stuff and was a real riot. He bought things one at a time, a picture frame, then some boots, then maybe I’m interested in the computer, oh, and I’ll take these 30lb weights, but my hands are full, so let me stack both weights (60lbs) and carry them with one hand out to the car! He also bought all of my vintage sheet music for his daughter, and came back the next day with his wife to buy even more stuff.

I’m glad we set up indoors, because we had really chilly, rainy weather for most of the weekend. I had already packed up our winter stuff, so it was a cold couple of days! But we survived and we had a good time, and the kids thought it was a blast to run around the yard playing with all of the stuff we were trying to sell.

I thought it was really interesting that a few friends came to our sale as a show of their support. They bought quite a bit of stuff to help us out, so that we could move! It wasn’t something I would have thought of, but I appreciated them coming, having a chance to visit with them, and then of course, getting rid of more of our things!

So that wraps up our little moving sale recap. It was fun, and exhausting, and a part of me never wants to do it again. :)

jenny

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