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A New Home on the Western Slope

With great excitement, Ryan and I are pleased to have moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. After two long-winded years in South Denver, Ryan was hired as the new Mechanical Engineer with Xcel Energy. With thoughtful deliberation, we agreed the Western Slope is where we felt we would both thrive, closer to Meeker and a smaller community of creative, outdoor enthusiasts. Located just above Old Town, we were able to secure a lease with a wonderful landlord in walking distance to the quaint yet lively downtown area. To our surprise, the duplex unit is located directly across the street from the owner of Yampa Sandwich Co. and my good friend, Dave. Choosing to rent the unit unseen was a risk we were willing to take in an in-demand rental market, and it ended up being perfect. Packing up our U-Haul and moving our belongings from Lone Tree tested our wits, but we made it with all of our belongings in two trips with dry roads nonetheless - moving to the mountains in January is not for the faint.

The new move has allowed us to spend more time together, as Ryan's work schedule is more favorable, and I continue with my business. Ryan typically works from 7 am to 3 pm, leaving us with time to explore during the afternoon. Steamboat is a stunning, rustic town within the Yampa Valley. One of my main hesitations regarding moving was making sure that my mom was comfortable with us leaving the front range and how I would face my fears of living in a significantly snowy area. My mom was very supportive of the decision and thrilled for the new opportunity for Ryan and me. She advocated for the change and emphasized how living in this mountain town is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I felt at ease knowing she was supportive and interested in visiting us whenever she can. As a kid, we spent a lot of time up here visiting her sister's family––my godparents and best cousins, Sedona and Lex––who grew up just outside of town. Some of my most prominent memories happened here, like learning how to sled off the roof, my dad throwing me into a ceiling fan, and my first time flipping over my handlebars, haha, all pretty major.

My second hesitation was my looming fear of driving in the snow, which stemmed from a severe car accident when I was in as a child - coincidentally happening in Steamboat. I needed to bid sweet Betsy the 2WD Civic adieu and find a vehicle capable of making it in and out of the driveway. I power searched and landed myself with Colorado's stereotypical granola gal's Subaru Forester––pearly white; I named him Olaf, my snowy savior. After a lot of snowfall in February, ya girl can say she is confident. In other news, I'm also becoming a seasoned shoveler, and I now understand the value of a snowblower and want to throw a parade for snowplow drivers, except for when they barricade us in.

Since living in Steamboat, we have been soaking up access to world-class hiking, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing. If you know me, I avoid going full send; I like to take the slow road. Ryan and I spent a couple of days learning the ropes of skinning and backcountry skiing; I'm pretty sure I corrupted the ears of anyone in the immediate proximity - f-bombs galore. Alternatively, Ryan attempts just about anything new and is ready to enter himself in the Olympic trials. Me, eh, not so much. Beyond enjoying the thrill of snowy living, I have been royally jazzed by the critters that share this home. I kid you not, the grass beside our house is a conduit for several moose friends. Few regulars feast on our budding bushes. I have a new awareness of looking both ways because, quite frankly, the demeanor of moose is unpredictable and something to be wary of. This morning, I was boiling water, turned around to our ground-level window, and what do I see… a bear just strolling by. I'm still kicking myself because guess who didn't get a photo. Me, you guessed it! Anyhow, I am feeling blessed to be surrounded by such life. It doesn't get much neater than sharing your morning hours with Yogi Bear.

Morning sunrises aren't too bad either...

Living closer to Meeker is also a huge blessing - no longer sitting in four and a half hours of traffic to visit. We can make it back in an hour and a half. This Winter, John underwent three separate surgeries, and Michelle has gone back to flying with the airlines, so it's been great to go and help them get a few things done and spend time with them.

My mom has also been able to spend time with her parents down South. So, all is well. Next month, we will celebrate our first anniversary (what the heck) and my dad's first heavenly birthday! Not a day goes by where he isn't still present, and I know he would be excited by how much time we're spending outside, the unmatched strength of my mom, time spent together, and my new skillset of drifting in a parking lot. There is no doubt the man, the dude, the legend, is watching out for us all.

I spy a heart in the clouds.


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