Where in the world ARE we?

Never fear, family and friends, Jason and I are alive and well!  I’m sorry that it has taken me so long to get an update to you.  The last three weeks have been all manner of chaos.  But I promise that this post will be long enough to make up for all the time we’ve been missing! 

So, back to where we left off.  Our last day of work was December 9th, and our plan was to leave Knoxville on the 14th.  Leading up to our last day of work and for several days after, we spent most of our evenings trying to say goodbye to amazing friends.  This was one of the hardest things to do! 

Goodbye Party from my Sunrise Family

Beautiful Goodbye cake

Jason and his lovely work ladies

On December 10th, we had a going away party at a bar practically next door to our house– lots of amazing people showed up, thanks guys!  We had a total blast, as you’ll be able to see from these photos:

John, Jason and Karrie

Ashlee and Jennie

Jessica, Cheryl and Will

The gang

Jason, Blake and I, having too much fun

I did do other things besides take shots.  I swear.
We clearly had a slow packing day on Sunday, but the next three days were intense.  10-12 hour days of packing, cleaning, and loading our moving truck (which in the old city, is no mean feat).  We had intended to leave Wednesday morning, but we weren’t even close to done.  Finally, at 5pm on Wednesday, we had our landlord review the apartment, had one last dinner with amigos, and passed out before a huge drive to Kansas.
Check out our setup.  Whew.  It was like driving a semi.
We headed out Thursday morning, after loading the PASSAT! onto the hauler, we drove off into the sunset.  Not really.  Into the longest drive of the trip.  It was pretty intense– with the car on the back and in a 22′ van, the ride was BOUNCY.  For hours.  And the truck was pretty crazy to drive, so it was exhausting.  By the end of that day, after so many days of moving and packing, I was beginning to wonder if Jason and I were crazy.  You’re probably thinking, ‘You were just BEGINNING to wonder?!’  I know.  It’s just a little harder to see crazy looking from the inside out.  🙂
We arrived in Kansas at Jason’s sister Kari’s house just before midnight, and passed out.  Kari had a friend from Guatemala visiting for several weeks, so we had an amazing time taking Gaby and the kids out to do a ton of fun events.  We went ice skating, and rock climbing, and I got to practice my spanish!  It was awesome to see Kari and the kids, as well.  
Jaden, Andy, me and Jaxen

Jason’s mom, Gaby, Jason, Jaden, and Josie

There was some falling.

Gaby, me and Jaden
After a few days in Kansas, we headed out to Boulder, CO.  We stopped by Jason’s grandpa’s house on the way out to visit his grandpa and his uncle Bob.  After a short visit, we got back on the road and headed west.  I caught  a cold somewhere along the way, and by the time we made it to Boulder, I was miserable.  Luckily, Kimberly Perez is awesome and wanted to help take care of me!  
Jason, Ted and Kim at dinner
It was a short one day stay in Boulder, and the next day was the trek to Salt Lake City.  After that, to Portland.  We arrived in Portland on the night of the 20th, and had to unload our truck and return it by 11am the next day.  Needless to say, we were pooped, but we were really excited to get rid of that dang truck!  So we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, and finally accomplished the feat!
Woohoo!  Finally DONE!
My brain sort of shut off for a bit after that, but the next few days were awesome– shopping, hanging out with friends and babies, staying at my sister’s house… it was great.  
Jason, Angela and Nicky

Allison and baby Willa

This child is adorable.  I may have been hogging the baby time.

Christmas Eve playing Apples to Apples.

Merry Christmas Bryan Caldwell!

I put Willa in Dad’s stocking.  I don’t think she liked it, but I thought it was cute.

So Christmas was amazing.  Adding Willa and Brad and Allison to the event made it so much more fun!  My family is now officially baby crazy.  🙂  Bryan Caldwell came over, and all the family was at Nicky’s house for both breakfast and dinner!  It was awesome.  I am so looking forward to actually living there.  Spending time with my family was amazing.
After that, I stopped taking pictures.  The next week was another blur.  After Christmas, we climbed at my friend Mike’s gym: www.sourceclimbing.com.  It’s freaking awesome.  We hung out with several AMAZING friends Monday night: Rayne Zaughsome, the legend that officiated at our wedding, as well as his little brother Tyson, and my wonderful friend Dusty Hoesly and his awesome girlfriend.  We hung out at my sister’s house, and my abs hurt the next day from the laughing.  Tuesday we headed up to Washington to see my older brother, his wife Sarah, my nephews and my mom.  We played Apples to Apples (it was Sarah’s first time!), ate at a Japanese steakhouse, cracked jokes and generally had an amazing time.  Wednesday we took those adorable nephews rock climbing at a gym in Tacoma.  Alex, 11, loved it, and Matthew, 5, had a good time, but wasn’t as sure.  He wouldn’t go to the top, saying, “I don’t want to use up all my ninja powers.”  Hilarious.  
After that, we went to Jason’s middle sister Jami’s house, to visit with her and her children.  Her kids are GREAT.  Jaycee is turning 14, Hunter is 11, and Landon is 5.  So we hung out at their house for a day and a half, and then visited my grandma in Tumwater.  So we basically drove the length of Washington heading up and back, as Jami lives up past Arlington, WA, about 120 miles from Vancouver.  Hanging out with my grandma was great– she is adorable.  Then, back to Portland Friday afternoon.  More rock climbing with another friend Stephen Meinhold (AKA Mind-bomb, Mind-meld, Mine-field), and then back to my sister’s house to hang out with more friends!  
New Year’s Eve we had breakfast with Brad and Allison and Willa and my dad, went shopping with Allison, took Brad to dinner with Karen and Ian, two of my most amazing friends, and then went to two New Year’s Eve parties.  We got up Sunday, packed our car, took more stuff to storage with my dad’s help, and headed out for New Mexico.
Whew.  After all this, I’m almost looking forward to being in the middle of nowhere.  We did have an epic camping experience Sunday night– we made it to Twin Falls, Idaho, and after all the chaos of Portland, wanted to save money, so we set up our tent at a KOA around midnight and passed out.  It was 28 degrees, with tons of cold wind, so it was probably in the teens!  The campground was open, but no one was around… and there were no envelopes for payment… so we had to guerrilla pay for our camping.  We put it in a mail slot that was blocked by a refrigerator, so they may discover our payment in a decade when our $10 isn’t worth anything anymore.  🙂
We made it to Albuquerque last night. Our first goal of the day today: Frontier!  Best breakfast burrito EVER.
Green chile breakfast burrito.  YUM.

Miranda and Larry, Jason’s sister and dad.
In the last three weeks, we’ve probably driven over 4,300 miles.  I’m tired of driving!  We head to Hueco Tanks, TX, tomorrow, and meet up with the epic other half of Can-Am Flight 5.14 to begin the awesomeness.  I’m not leaving Hueco.  I swear it.  No more driving unless I absolutely have to.  Oh man.  
Anyway!  So that’s what our last few weeks have been filled with!  I still don’t really feel unemployed, but I think that’s because I haven’t even had a free second to think about what being unemployed is like!  I’m hoping our rest days in Hueco will be full of nothing but reading, board games, and awesome chilling. 
More to come!  This is barely the beginning.  Knoxville folks, we miss you.  Portland folks, I swear we’re coming back.  But not before Spain!
Posted in