Monday, September 22, 2014

Welcome Home

I am have been dragging my feet when it came to updating the blog because I have been wanting to post pictures of our new house. Yes, we are officially homeowners now! We absolutely love our house and the neighborhood. We even had a neighbor bring us flowers to welcome us! Alas, the house is a disaster zone despite our daily trips to home depot so there are no pictures to prove its beauty.
But doesn't the front look good?! 
We are truly jumping for joy over the dreams of our "forever" home.

We are completely embracing Colorado life and that means becoming Bronco fans! Well I am all in, but Joel wants to make it clear that his allegiance still lies with the Patriots.

Now that our Best Western residency is over we are trying to function normally again. We were overjoyed to be reunited with our dog Finn last week. He was staying with my parents until we were settled and had a long day in a crate on a plane to make it to us. I think he was overjoyed too!

We are slowly settling into a routine. All the kids have their activities: Asher is swimming with The Rock swim team, Anna is on a competition dance team, Josie is taking a cute little ballet class, and Jesse is taking some swimming lessons with the hope of getting on the year round team next year. Asher actually swims in the mornings so he was the first to experience our first snow! Yes, already. It was crazy (and beautiful) and this week it is 80 degrees again. Everyone tells us here "If you don't like the weather in Colorado, just wait 10 minutes!". We have found that to be true and I always keep a sweater handy. Normalcy has been wonderful and the kids seem unbelievably happy. We have even found a church that we all love and already have joined a small group. Now if only I could get the hang of cooking again...

Our other big news is the decision to add another dog to our household. This was not a decision we took lightly. In fact we think we are nuts! But I have been hitting the trails hard here, which I won't give up despite numerous animal encounters. I have made a good running friend here who always has her trail dog on hand, and after picking her brain Joel and I have decided it would be good for me to have a running partner of my very own. It is a safety thing (and also a love thing-I have a heart for bigger dogs). After many many hours of research we decided on a Vizsla and found a local litter excellently priced with a loving family. The pup in my arms is only 8 days old! We will get to bring our new darling home in 7 weeks and then let the puppy training begin! I think Finn will be joining us in some obedience classes.

The Lord has already blessed us abundantly in our short time here. Of all our moves, the adjustment here has come so much quicker than before. I am usually very slow in bonding with others (my introverted self) but have fallen in love with a local running group and 2 other running gals that I have clicked with. A relationship is also blooming with another mom from the school who has taken me under her wing and opened her arms to my family. Finding a church normally takes us months and here...2 weeks. Our neighbors have been so lovely and truly our family already seems so happy. Joel started work this week: his drive is beautiful and non congested, and he seems excited about the job. God is so good and we have so much more to look forward too. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Going on a Bear Hunt...

...I'm not afraid! Well actually we have been a little bit. We have spent every free moment over the past few weeks hiking all the touristy trails and parks. As for my running, the Colorado trails just keep getting better and better but I have encountered 2 rattlesnakes already-yikes! (but we will get to those stories in a bit)

The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is an amazing place for running, hiking, climbing, and just plain exploring. The red rock formations, views, and colors are out of this world!

 Joel and Josie below the "kissing camels". 
We even saw rock climbers all the way up there!

 We can't keep the kids off the rocks!

Perfect kids sizes.

I have been able to go the the Garden of the Gods for a few runs now. Here I am next to the "siamese twins" and Pikes Peak is behind me (to the right in the picture). This is also where I encountered my first rattlesnake after being told by numerous people that I would NEVER see one. I should have known better since I tend to run in places that snakes like. It was stretched out all the way across the trail. I did a double take, slid in the dirt, fell on my rear end, and turned around pronto. My thoughts "OK, I saw one and survived. I saw one where most people never see them so now my quota is met for the rest of my time in Colorado"...I mean right, RIGHT?! Food for thought.

Meanwhile, amongst all this fun, we are still in a hotel. The staff has now learned our names and leave us special gifts (even making us bacon for breakfast one morning after learning how much we love it!). Still we can't wait to get into our house and start making a home. Josie has been a trooper. We try to do fun stuff with her every day (she calls it her "party"..."Mommy, where is the party today?".
Joel happened to catch a special moment for us on one of our many playground trips.

An old boss of Joel's invited us over for an afternoon of lunch (YAY-REAL food!) and horse back riding on their land. Anna was in heaven on her cowgirl day.

This past weekend, we hiked the infamous "Castle Rock" which is where our town earned its name. Just a big hill with a huge rock on the top. It does look like a castle from afar. It was an easy .6 mile hike with some rock climbing to the top. The kids had a blast.
 Jesse always finds these spaces for just him.

 Asher was fearless and unstoppable.

The view from the top.

Then Joel just up and decided to hike Pikes Peak while he wasn't working and had free time. I was a bit worried for him but he was very determined and excited. I think that after being in a hotel with 6 people for 5 weeks he just needed some alone time...hehe. It is a 12 mile hike up and he called to book a train ride down. According to the train schedule he planned to start at 2am and hike the first half in the dark. The train lady on the phone said "Aren't you worried about the animals...I would be!"...Joel's response "Well, I am now! I will call you back". HA, we had no clue about the mountain lions and bears and every other scary nocturnal thing. So he altered his plans a bit so that he was "only" hiking 2 hours in the dark. Thankfully the only animals he encountered were 5 big horn sheep. He had a amazing soul searching time hiking his first "14-ner". It took him 7.5 hours but he did it!! I definitely have the Pikes Peak Marathon in my future!

And I can't complete a blog entry without talking about my passion of running. I have been so blessed here with making quick trail running friends that are introducing me to all Colorado has to offer for trail running. The elevation is still a factor. I started taking iron supplements (which supposedly helps with the adjustment). Slowly but surely the runs are getting better. Either I have to take less walking breaks or I notice my breathing is more even or have a run where my pace is consistent. Some runs have felt great only for the next run to kick me over...I hear this is common as it is a slow process. Progress is still progress! I plan on just focusing on getting the miles in no matter the pace, enjoying the exploration time, and making friends. I was with one of these friends when I encountered my SECOND (yes 2 in one week) rattlesnake, even bigger than the first. And this one was moving. It curled up in the grass next to the trail and shook that rattle. I was ready to turn around and backtrack 6 miles but my running partner shielded me as we tiptoed around the opposite edge of the trail (me shaking like a leaf). She totally passed the running partner test...I will run with her anytime! Maybe one day I will conquer this snake fear. Rattlesnakes aside, I am feeling more confident about my mileage now and signed up for a trail half marathon (The Bear Chase) at the end of September...this one will be for fun and experience as I am not up for racing or getting any PRs in the mile high city yet. My time will come!