Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CO trip--Highlands Ranch and random musings

Monday morning (August 6th) we headed up to Kevin's cousin's home in Highlands Ranch. We had such a wonderful time with Tanya, Woody, and their girls Megan and Zoe--who were so sweet with Kaitlyn! (I even overheard Megan telling Kaitlyn that she had "pretty hair" at one point...I think that's the only time Kaitlyn's EVER heard that! Thanks Megan!)

I had never really gotten the chance to know the Anderson family very well, and it was really awesome to get to spend some time with them. (I think Megan will be a photographer when she grows up--she kept setting up these shots she wanted me to take of Kaitlyn--with her, assorted stuffed animals, etc. SO ADORABLE!)


As many of you know, part of the impetus for our trip to Colorado was to see if it's somewhere we'd like to live someday. Santa Maria has always been a temporary home for us--we lived in Santa Barbara for a year when we first got married (where Kevin works), but moved up here so we could buy a decent-sized home while I finished up school in SLO. God had other plans for me on the school front, and we've always been wondering where we'd go from here, knowing that we wanted to leave before Anna would start kindergarten.


So just to educate ourselves, we spent some time with a realtor checking out Denver-area neighborhoods, towns, and homes. We saw houses in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Parker, Lakewood, and Denver. (Ever since our trip I've been whining about how I didn't get to visit Boulder, but we ran out of time.)


We were really impressed with Colorado--it was so beautiful! Overall Highlands Ranch was our favorite suburb that we saw by far--great homes, lots of trails, awesome rec centers, and Cold Stone Ice Cream. :) Parker was pretty, and more affordable, but farther from the city than we'd like. (The Ken Caryl area was gorgeous too, but again, a little remote for us.) We passed through Colorado Springs at one point, and it was so pretty, but we're really interested in the Denver area.


We've been tossing around ideas of places to move for years. (Ruled out California relatively early on.) We considered Portland, Seattle, Denver, and the East Coast. Sadly we ruled out the entire Pacific Northwest because the thought of nine straight months of clouds and rain did not appeal to us Californians. (Bummer, because the Seattle area would be ideal for several reasons, but I'm afraid the weather is a deal killer for us.) I've always dreamed of living on the East Coast, but we're not too familiar with it and it's really far away, so hard to really look into it, plus with traffic there's the potential for a long commute, and it's less affordable. That leaves Denver, which has some major advantages for us. I guess our list of things we'd love to find in a place, for anyone who's curious enough to still be reading, is (not really in order):


  • no commute for kevin
  • proximity to good schools
  • big city/close to a big city
  • racially diverse
  • large Ethiopian population (restaurants, churches, cultural opportunities)
  • tolerant/relatively liberal (basically just not ultra-conservative)
  • lots of stuff for us to do
  • somewhere we can use our gifts/passions to serve the Lord
  • seasons (no, we're not scared off by the snow)


It's really crazy how our values/priorities have evolved and changed over the past four years or so (that's a blog in and of itself I guess). We can't know what God has for our future but it was nice to visit a place and see that it could probably work for us. We also felt really excited about the prospect of living near family and having our kids near two sets of cousins!


Anyhow, we're remaining open to what God has for us. All of that to say our exploratory trip was successful, Colorado was beautiful, we had a blast with Woody, Tanya and family, and Mike, Rachel and family, and at some point in the next few years we'll probably move somewhere. :)



19 comments:

lindsey cheney said...

so excited for you guys, so sad for all of us!

Tanya said...

We had a great time getting to know you guys better too! I only wish the other three kiddos could have been there too. We hope you guys end up out here!!

Rachel said...

Boulder is also beautiful, and if you move out here, I guarentee you will have time to see it. You've also overlooked the most beautiful place in Colorado, Castle Rock! I'm a little bias, but wouldn't pick anywhere else. Of course I don't have to drive to work in the mornings either.

Brianna Heldt said...

Tanya I know, I kept thinking how much fun our oldest 3 would have been having! (I hope we end up there also. That mall was rather enticing! My recent excursion to the Santa Maria Town Center was just not the same...)

Rachel, Castle Rock WAS really pretty (and the little downtown was so cute), but farther from the city than we'd like, and had more of a remote feel than we'd want. However you DO have those castle-looking rocks up on the hills, which can't be said about Highlands Ranch. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello there...
Have you thought about Oregon? I'm a Canadian and fell in love with Oregon on a visit! If I were an American, I would certainly consider this State to live. Beautiful! And the weather was awesome...I was there in October! Warm, sunny...beautiful beaches...WOW! Hope to go again someday! Good luck with your search!
P.S. Colorado has always intrigued me as well!

Brianna Heldt said...

anon, we did consider portland, but most of the year it's not too sunny. :)

shell said...

i will not try to convince you to move to south bend.
how about we meet you in denver in two years? :) it has not been marked off our list either!

Samantha said...

You can still consider WA. East of the Cascades is nothing like Seattle. It is sunny most of the year, with snow in the winter and all 4 seasons. We have rivers and lakes and mountains and we are here! We are 3 hours from Portland or Seattle. Our area has a population of about 150,000 and lots of good engineering jobs. You should DEFINITELY visit us sometime!

Rachel said...

hmmm... remote feeling, too fasr from the city. It is like you are reading the list of things we were looking for. I'd love to visit you in Highland's Ranch... or wherever you end up!

Jacquelyn said...

FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING SACRED AND HOLY!!!! Seattle doesn't rain 9 months of the year!!! I grew up there and can testify that when it is cloudy all week, rains for 5 min on a couple of days everyone (that is not a native) complains about it raining all week. It doesn't rain in Washington the way it does here (ie: in buckets, for hours). In Washington it rains "here a little there a little" for 7-9 months. Which is way more practical than all at once. There is a reason it is called the Evergreen State. Seriously, I'm not really mad but I miss WA so much sometimes I get frustrated at the misconception. Another bonus up there, about 2 more hours of daylight than we have down here.

Kevin Heldt said...

Easy, EASY! How does what you describe contradict "nine straight months of clouds and rain"? Brianna didn't say it rains nonstop; she said it's nine straight months of clouds and rain.

Check out the "Sunshine" and "Cloudy Days" graph at:

http://www.city-data.com/city/Seattle-Washington.html

That's pretty hardcore if you ask me!

We do really like the show Frasier, however, so we can still get our Seattle fix that way...

And it IS more practical to get rain like that...IF YOU'RE A TREE!

Brianna Heldt said...

i never said seattle has torrents of rain pouring from the sky 24/7, so i'm not sure what my misconceptions were. i'm well aware that's why it's so green and beautiful--i was just sharing that we are not big fans of constant clouds and rain (whether it's buckets or sprinkles). just like some people don't like snow, or heat. everyone has personal preferences and you have to narrow it down somehow. we like the sun!

Rachel said...

Douglas County boasts 300 days of sun a year (not straight sun of course, 60 inches of snow, and 16 inches of rain (on average). It is actually a dessert climate with drought conditions existing.

My best friend recently moved to Tacoma, WA and she does like it, but her hair gets a lot more frizzy. AND, that is where tons of her husbands family is so that is a huge plus too.

Brianna Heldt said...

rachel how do they plan to deal w/ the drought? (and it sure is prettier than the desert!)

andy gibson said...

I would live in NorCal (Like, way norcal, not Sacramento/Bay Area) or south Oregon. Once you start getting north, there is too much RAIN! How do you keep a car clean with little bits of rain here and there for 9 months straight. Forget that. I had a business partner that spent 4 months north of Seattle, and he thought the gloom sucked. If I recall, he came back all Emo. I happen to like the sun, so the Washington coast will never happen for me, unless we got some KILLER deal to work with Boeing up there, and I mean, they would need to buy ESAero to the tune of at least 8 digits.

So yeah, I'm never moving there.

Brenda Williams said...

Denver is an outstanding choice, and Highlands Ranch is a great suburb! As I recall, it is close to the lovely Park Meadows Mall... :)
The front range in Colorado is my second choice of place to live, San Luis being the first. The seasons there are all pronounced but none are too intense. Summers aren't overly hot and not humid, and winters are actually fairly mild with lots of 50 degree days. The scenery is wonderful and I think the people are great. Probably more ethnic diversity than here, but I have no idea about Ethiopian restaurants.
I lived in Colorado Springs for 15 years before moving here, and it was a wonderful area. Sad to see you go, but you couldn't be moving to a better part of the country!

Kristen Borland said...

first of all, i love the rain and would love to live where there's more of it. second, i have to say a friend of mine from high school says it really, honestly doesn't rain that much i seattle! she jokes that they just let everyone believe that so it won't become overly populate! so i have to say i take jacquelyn's word for it!

Anonymous said...

The place you are looking for is Maryland! Affordable houses close to DC- big, liberal, very diverse city, good schools,beautiful seasons, more to do (especially with kids) than you could ever get to in one lifetime, and a HUGE Ethiopian community. You can even take Amharic/Ethiopian cooking/hair braiding classes at local community churches. There are Ethiopian dance and culture programs for kids, too. And if you live outside DC in Maryland, there is lots of hiking and nature and countryside, even though you are a short drive (or subway ride) into the city. It's perfect!

Brianna Heldt said...

anonymous, isn't the traffic pretty bad tho??? (it's all relative i'm sure.) the east coast is beautiful, i've been there in the fall and it is just gorgeous! you are blessed to live there!

 

Blog Template by YummyLolly.com