For the first time in years, I have purposefully avoided my blog. Why? Because so much “life” has happened, it’s hard to slow down. The last post was written mere days after we moved–so tediously last night, I retraced my digital footsteps (in my phone) to determine how to pick up where I left off.

So, since we moved to Colorado, I’ve traveled to Estes Park three times. And we’re celebrating our wedding with a getaway vacation soon. I reserved a cabin tucked away near the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance and hope to find a bird watching book in the meantime.

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I’ve traveled often while unemployed, so Buddy and I visited Loveland’s Sculpture Garden, the Annual Flower Trial Gardens at Colorado State University and several trails at Devil’s Backbone and Horsetooth Reservoir.

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And on a side note, we’re making friends! We’ve come across some genuine, authentic souls. And Keegan’s coworkers invited us over a few weeks ago, so it was nice to meet another teacher’s social worker wife, another ally in the field. We also managed to go tubing before the water turned chilly. Thanks to our new-found friends, we joined the bike-in/drive-in movie night at New Belgium for only two bucks, laughed hysterically as our friends successfully conquered the hot-wing challenge at Canyon Grill and peddled our way to five different bars on one of those awkwardly shaped extended bikes that allows 15+ bikers to share in the fun. And thanks to relocating to a predominately Democrat community, we enjoyed a very entertaining Republican Debate at our friend’s house on the east side. They know how to throw a party or two. The Women’s Suffrage Event has been my favorite thus far.

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Besides exploring the FoCo social scene, it’s truly been a pleasure to have Keegan’s family live nearby. We hang with Katie and Ben fairly often, from our trip to see Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires at the Bluebird Theater to backpacking Flattops Wilderness-quite the remote Labor Day experience. And if we’re in Denver, sometimes Katie and Ben drive up and treat us to ceviche. Or South Dakota road trips. Whatever the case may be, I’ve always wanted a sister, and having an accessible sister-in-law makes me feel especially grateful and happy.

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This past weekend, we drove up together to hike the Mickelson Trail with Keegan’s extended family. We hiked about 8 miles beginning at the Mystic Trailhead tucked away in the Black Hills. Then, Keegan’s parents served smoked brisket from the Green Egg, along with hor d’oeuvres and the best wine South Dakota has to offer. Keegan’s aunt and uncle traveled from the other side of the state to retrieve their new puppy, Liberty. Libby followed Buddy like a literal lost pup–he has a new girlfriend whether he likes it or not.

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Hmm…what else? The pets are fine and well since they acclimated to the elevation, finally. We took Buddy to the peach festival but left him at home to climb Arthur’s Rock and stroll the East Valley Shoreline at Lory State Park. As if he doesn’t hike often enough.

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And I can’t even begin to recall all the marvelous restaurants we have tried so far, but I like to review each one on Facebook. Road 34 is just down the street, and their cheap drinks with perfect music leads me to believe we’ll be going back soon. Cheba Hut’s Toasted Subs taste SO good. How lucky are we to walk to such a tasty establishment?! That shit is off the chain.

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Mandatory PSL
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We made creamy tortellini soup
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And chickpea tikka masala

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And last but not least, I found Nashville’s Cafe Cocoa equivalent in Old Town (downtown FoCo) called Alley Cat Cafe. It’s open 24/7, and they serve the best and strongest coffee ever. I felt like I’d been there before as an overbearing sense of homesickness washed over me. The sounds of Bonobo and Tame Impala only made it worse.

One of my favorite adventures so far was definitely retracing my 2013 vacation steps in Boulder. I’ve driven to Boulder before, but this trip was special. We located the coffee shop near the Chautaqua Trailhead I hiked on the day I single-handedly blame for causing me to want to move out here in the first place. To return to The Hill in Boulder and rediscover the area I fell in love with felt very surreal and empowering.

“I’m returning to this place as a wife and a student with a dog“, I thought to myself. Funny how everything changes in a few short years.

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January 2013
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September 2015

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I’m checking to-dos off my meager Colorado bucket list before my job begins on Monday. Earlier this week, I met with HR to complete some paperwork, then stumbled across a Steak-n-Shake–quite possibly the highlight of the day. Now that the job hunt is finally over, I can appreciate my new desktop for what it really is: An excellent custom-built piece of machinery that is SUCH a step-up from my old POS laptop.

Now, I have a huge monitor, a CD drive that actually works and like 12 USB ports. Josh described all the special, internal features, but I honestly can’t remember them. All I know for sure is that this computer is hella fast with endless space for storage. My home office looks totes legit, and I’ve really come to appreciate this intimate, personal space equipped with bookshelves, candles and a new-to-me vintage desk from the 70’s .

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But anyways, I’m checking off to-dos and for some reason, I was just dying to go to Wyoming. So my friend and I hiked this trail called Turtle Rock Trail, about 40 miles past the border. We were lost for about an hour but eventually found the way out of Medicine-Bow National Forest. What was meant to be a 2.9 mile hike turned into about 4.5.

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Something else I’m doing this week is spending time with the Vitamix. Keegan’s mom bought us one for the wedding, and we tried it out recently. This blender from the Culinary Institute of America isn’t just any ‘ole blender: They can blend, puree, chop, juice and grind to your heart’s content. And the CIA Professional Series comes with a hefty recipe book that sort of looks like this. After several years as a dedicated Pinterest fanatic, I’m not sure I’ll ever trust random bloggers and their food posts ever again. (Just kidding, we all know I could never quit Pinterest.)

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This is where the magic happens with our Vitamix…+ drink station/coffee bar

The possibilities are apparently endless. My first attempt with the Vitamix was Apple Harvest Cheddar Bread (first blended, then distributed into a loaf pan and popped in the oven for over an hour) with Cheddar Harvest Soup. Both turned out incredibly well, and it’s not so difficult to bake at a higher altitude after all.

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I placed the soup in a pot expecting to warm it up, but the Vitamix is so powerful that it heats the soup as it purees. Absolutely amazing.

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And last but not least, I’ve been canning and working on these sort of “self-exploration activities”, if you will. I had this vague personal goal, “When I move to Colorado, I want to become healthier and practice self-reflection more often.” What does that even mean? So far, I’m hiking more often with Buddy, and I’m signing up for a library membership tomorrow, but how does one “self-reflect” more often? This has yet to be determined. I’m looking for something, but I don’t know what it is.