Green Bluff 2014

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

I cannot begin to explain how excited I am to have my hometown traditions back, including one of my all-time favorites for Autumn…Green Bluff farms! Maybe you remember last year’s search for a pumpkin patch while living in Denver. It didn’t go so well, and I was left without a pumpkin or caramel apple and really without any kind of experience at all. Since moving back, I have been looking forward to this day to revisit my favorite farms on the bluff, Siemer’s and Harvest House. How I missed the expansive rolling hills that look out to the mountains and over the valleys, the live music and people-watching, the sweet smells of warm pumpkin donuts and caramel apples. Autumn never feels complete without a trip to Green Bluff with out family. In fact, I feel like our family photos taken there each year show our growth the best from little kids to adults.

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

Soon we will be carving our pumpkins and this year we will be trying to use the pumpkin seeds to bake and eat as a snack! It seems crazy that we have never tried that, but it will be a new and fun experience to actually use all of those pumpkin guts. :)

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

 

Bowl & Pitcher Hike

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

I was super excited when one of my best friends asked me if I wanted to go on a hike and have a picnic at the Bowl and Pitcher, a popular spot along the Spokane river for camping and trails for walking and biking. It is a place I have visited many times before, but never really explored the paths to realize how large it is. We started wandering just around lunchtime, and after choosing some random paths, we were on our way. There were large rock mountains everywhere, and we got curious about how high they went and what was up before. So, we started climbing. At the top, we ran across an open space and a road that we saw a couple bikers riding along.

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

We figured we should follow them and see what they were heading toward. But, it turned out that the road they were traveling was a bit long and we had no idea where we were. We kept walking at this point because there were no signs or trails to navigate. After walking further up hill for a few more miles, we came across a scenic viewpoint, looking over the river, the forests, and the city in the distance.

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

Here, at the viewpoint, was a map. It appeared that we had walked several miles already, and the next closest thing was an equestrian center, a mile away. I remember my mother-in-law telling me about the paths of the Bowl and Pitcher — the one on the right (which we took) went into the woods, and the one on the left took you to the equestrian center. I figured, then, we must be close. So we continued down the road to the equestrian center, catching up on life and talking about future events. It felt like we were walking forever, but we saw a lot of pretty areas along the way.

When we finally reached the equestrian center, we were starving, but we found another map. We thought we had to be getting close back to the wooden bridge that would get us across the river and to the parking lot (where our food was waiting for us in the car). But after viewing the map, we had totally overshot the bridge and had a long hike back to the park. We memorized the trail we would need to take — two intersections where we would turn left on both — and headed off back into the woods. The trails seemed hardly used, and it turns out, there was more than just the two intersections the map had shown. We kept taking lefts anyway, and we got lucky enough to end back up on the right path, following the curves of the river. By the time we got back to the wood bridge, we had probably walked a total of at least 6 miles (which was more than either of us had anticipated), but it was a fun adventure nevertheless. We had built up an appetite and enjoyed the rest of our afternoon dipping our feet in the river and munching on picnic-y snacks.

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

Bowl and Pitcher | The Urban Pig

How I love taking adventures and chatting with good friends! And how I love being back within nature’s reach!

The Road Home

The Road Home | The Urban Pig

While I love the idea of settling down, there is always something exhilarating about a change of place. Connor and I made the decision to move to Colorado in a matter of days. We were flying by the seat of our pants and it worked out well. We were incredibly blessed to have the support that we did, but people did think we were crazy when we told them the story of our courageous trip here with just one suitcase and a toolbox. I loved that adventure of the unknown, despite that I am usually a person who likes to feel in control of life. But, after four years of being disciplined in school, I guess it was only right for me to need such a drastic change of pace.

The story of us choosing to leave Colorado to move back to our hometown happened as quickly as it did when we chose to move here in the first place. I guess it was one of those things that you get a seed planted in your head and all of a sudden it is blooming. I wonder if maybe subconsciously I was thinking of another adventure the whole time. Or maybe, as much as I wanted to settle down in Colorado, I never felt like there was such a thing as settling down without being near family. It had been a hard realization to come to, but it made me that much more excited to be on my way to see them.

The Road Home | The Urban Pig

The Road Home | The Urban Pig

The Road Home | The Urban Pig

Last Thursday, we signed the closing papers to sell our house, packed the moving truck, and began the long drive back to Washington. We never stopped driving except to fill up the gas tank, buy snacks, and use the restroom. In a regular car, the drive is about 18 hours, but with the moving truck and our car in tow, it took about 21 hours. We drove the whole time, no stopping at hotels. We were hoping to stop in the northern part of Wyoming around midnight, but all of the hotels were booked (this happened when Connor and I came to Colorado!). We had no choice but to keep driving. I am so thankful Connor’s step dad came with us; him and Connor were able to switch off driving and taking broken, crappy-car-ride naps. Still, I was so nervous to keep driving, as we saw about 6 dead deer on the road, and I counted at least another 4 running near the road. In fact, we ran over one that was already dead, and it tore off the back bumper of my car.

I finally fell asleep around 3 in the morning, for about an hour or two, and then woke up to the most beautiful sunrise. The sky and mountains and fields were blurred shapes of pastel colors. It was the most amazing, peaceful way to wake up, despite being cramped and sleep-deprived. I loved watching the landscape change, throughout the time we were driving from sunset to sunrise and through each state. We saw rolling fields of green, mountains, and then we knew we were getting close to home as we began to see pine trees so tall they seemed to touch the sky. It has been so long since we have seen those and smelled the scent of the forest. I remember laughing at my friend who moved to Colorado from Spokane, saying she missed the trees. I didn’t think that could be possible or that big of a deal. It is. I am a woman of the woods.

The Road Home | The Urban Pig

The Road Home | The Urban Pig

The Road Home | The Urban Pig

Pretty dramatic change of scenery, right? I kept thinking to myself, how could I have ever taken this beautiful land for granted? How did I ever get tired of seeing the forests and the mountains and the blue skies? The only way I can describe my experiences is just saying it feels like a time warp. It feels like spending a year in Colorado was a small blip, or hiccup in time. It feels like I was there, but it also feels like I wasn’t. It feels like I have been here in Washington all along, despite having some memory of what it was like in Colorado. It feels like I am home again, and although it has taken a couple of days to feel that, I can say that with confidence now. I am so happy to be breathing this air full of pine and dirt, hearing the birds outside my window, and having my family in my arms and giving my sweet little nephew a million kisses and hugs. Those simple little moments mean the world and I am so happy to have them back.

Professional Movers

Professional Movers | The Urban Pig

Connor and I have had our fair share of moving in the last two years, between moving to Pullman for my last year of school, moving back to Spokane after finishing school, moving to Colorado and living with our friends, and then moving into our very own first home. We also have a fair amount of upcoming moves ahead of us, too, such as moving in with family until we can move into our own place again. I must admit, I enjoy the process of moving. Not the stressful part of selling/buying a house , but more of the I’m feeling organized by labeling all of these boxes and getting rid of junk part. Anyway, I wanted to share a few tips that have made our moving process especially good this time around.

  • Use large plastic storage containers for bathroom toiletries (shampoo, soap) and household cleaners (windex, bleach) in case anything decides to spill and/or explode. This one is especially important for us when moving to/from Colorado because of a huge change in altitude and pressure.
  • Thanks to Pinterest, I found the idea to use Styrofoam plates in between each of your fragile plates. I think that is way better than getting your plates all newspaper-y gross, and I imagine it will save some time packing those boxes, too.
  • I had a giant collection of magazines that for some reason started getting sent to me in my mailbox; ones that I would never read. Instead of paying for newspaper and bubble wrap, I used the magazines to pack fragile items, and it was a good way to re-use something that would otherwise be thrown out. Besides, who doesn’t want to pack their precious items with Miley Cyrus fashion spreads? (The person unpacking these items may be surprised by the risque photographs, but oh well).
  • The last thing I want to do when moving is spend more money on moving supplies (already dropping over $1000 for a moving truck!), so I pretty much refuse to pay for cardboard boxes. Connor and I always make it an adventure to do some dumpster diving to pick up some perfectly good boxes. This time around, we had really good luck with places like Ross and Party City. In the past, it has been craft and liquor stores.

Professional Movers | The Urban Pig

Professional Movers | The Urban Pig

  • This is a big one for those moves that you are going to be in a “temporary” place for kind of a long time—separate boxes by what you will need (Even just maybe need) from the boxes that have items that can be stored for long-term and you will never miss or need anything from. Keep this in mind while packing, too. Labeling boxes is not enough, they still always get lost in the piles! Keep the boxes separate in the moving truck, too, especially if some items will be dropped off in one location and the others in a different location. Believe me, we have had way too many experiences of unpacking an entire storage unit to find one box that we didn’t think we needed but then realized there was ONE item somewhere in there that we did need. This is why I say, set aside things that you maybe will want out. This move has been a bit easier to separate things then the last time we moved. In the past, we ended up staying somewhere longer than expected, and it caused us some grief with the storage unit (like not having a coat available when all of a sudden it was fall/winter). For us moving back to Washington, we know we won’t be having our own place for a while, so we are preparing for the long-term box-living.
  • Donate, sell, give away, and garbage. Consider your move as a fresh start, I mean, it usually is, right? I’m a bit of a pack-rat though and this part can be hard for me, as I always base something on “well, I MIGHT like/use/want this again someday.” It’s a hard mentality to overcome. One thing that has helped me get through that thought this time is having a vision of what I want our next home to look and feel. Because of this, I have been able to part with more than I would have ever expected. Craigslist, Goodwill, and the trash can have been a good friend over the last few weeks. I’ve sold a ton of stuff that now felt worthless to me, donated the stuff I couldn’t sell, and threw away so much junk that I never even realized I had. Thankfully, we have had to pack a lot less boxes and hopefully saved some space on the moving truck for things we really love and need.

Professional Movers | The Urban Pig

Professional Movers | The Urban Pig

  • Last of all, and most importantly, plan for an adventure along the way. Moving can be stressful, with all of those thoughts of the future and what’s to come. Take a moment to live in the present. If you are moving long-distance, try to plan for a little detour (“little” because we all know the gas-guzzling truck we will be driving), especially if you will be passing by something that you otherwise would not come back for. I am so looking forward to our big drive home beginning tomorrow. The roadtrip is always the thing that makes the surreal feel real and it is often times the mental transition you need to get from one place to the next.

Professional Movers | The Urban Pig

Professional Movers | The Urban Pig

Wish us safe travels back home!

Heading Back to the PNW

Processed with Rookie

Well everyone, big news lately in our house. We are moving back to Washington. It’s been an easy decision, but at the same time, really tough. We are going back because we miss our family so so so much, but it is definitely hard for me to leave my amazing job that I love every day. It’s just one of those things though where once you come to the realization of something, it opens up the flood gates and you can’t get it out of your head. In fact, the feelings and thoughts come harder and stronger. That’s how it happened for Connor and I when we started talking about it. It turns out, we both had been thinking about moving back for a long time before we said anything to each other. When the discussion began, both of our minds were already made back and we realized it had to be done. Months and months ago, I wrote something about it. I was scared to even admit it to myself…

Processed with Rookie

Processed with Rookie

“It’s time to speak truth and to face my fears of saying it. I feel if I say it out loud it will become reality and truth. But how is it not, even if it is only in my head? The truth — homesickness and nostalgia. I miss the northwest. I miss my family. I miss the trees, the rivers, the lakes, the forests. I miss the escape I had from the city. I don’t wan’t to go back to that city, but I want to go back to the escape.

I miss the smell of the leaves and pine needles in the fall. It was a smell I had forgotten, until I recently ran across a bag of pine needles. It brought me back to that place. I miss the quiet of the forests. I feel so far away from that now. And I am.

I often dream of living in the forest or countryside someday. I don’t know if that exists here. I thought I was a city girl until I came to the city and had nowhere to run. There is no escape, no place of peace, at least not one I have found.

Am I happy here? I think so. I only feel nostalgia for something I once had. But it breaks my heart to think I may never have those things again. I am trying to find here in Colorado what I want back from there. There are so many things I love about this place, but the forests and water are something I never realized was such a big part of me. How did I not know that before?”

Processed with Rookie

Processed with Rookie

It is crazy what you take for granted sometimes. I am very happy to be going back to Washington, the place I once called home, and still feel in my heart that it is my home. I will definitely miss what I have grown to love here in Colorado, but after a lot of thinking, I know what I am doing is the right choice. I have been so blessed with the experiences and opportunities I have had during my time here. Connor and I bought our first house, we both had amazing jobs, I had a boss who truly took me under his wing and taught me so much, along with some awesome co-workers and neighbors who were great friends. We have been able to see and do so much, some of my favorites being Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Rock Park and the antique stores in Castle Rock, the Reservoir, and of course the amazing Park Meadows mall and IKEA.

I definitely look forward to spending time with our families, holidays, being at the lake, Greenbluff, and crinkle-cut fries with fry sauce (why does no one have that here!?). But until next week when we pack up the moving truck and head back to the Pacific northwest, I will be savoring the last of our time here in Colorado.

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