Category Archives: estes park


Woah, I am so behind.

The Bean turned 5 months a couple weeks ago and I still haven’t had time to write that update. I haven’t had time for anything! Since the beginning of the month, I got sick, Cameron got sick, we signed a lease on a townhouse in Denver, I got sick again, the baby got sick, we’ve been trying to pack up the house and make some minor repairs, prepare for renters, and moving day is Saturday and the house is still in shambles.

I need a drink.

Please accept these pictures as compensation.






Denver Bound

Last Friday, we signed a lease on our new place in Denver. We get the keys on the 11th and will probably be moving in over the weekend of the 18th, though that still has to be locked down for sure.


We were fairly sure we’d end up with an apartment, mainly because that’s about all we could afford in lower Denver, but we got extremely lucky and ended up signing a townhouse in the same complex that was our favorite on the list. It was in the perfect area, only about 10 minutes from Cameron’s new store and in a safe location with lots of stores and activities/parks nearby, and when we called to schedule a tour, the price we were quoted on a 2 bed 2 bath apartment on the 7th floor overlooking the city was out of this world perfect. So when we showed up, the leasing agent took us up to the unit and it was great. Perfect size, nice open layout, fireplace, GIANT balcony, amazing view. When we got back to the leasing office and he looked up the rates, though, it was about $300 more a month than we had initially been quoted over the phone, which put us just out of reach of our budget. I mean, we probably could have done it, but I hate the idea of stretching every month. We were both visibly bummed, and a little annoyed that the price was so different. He explained that their prices change daily based on supply and demand of units and residents, and the price we were quoted over the phone was only locked in for 3 days. (This was never pointed out to us.) So we figured, we’ll still fill out the application anyway and go to the other tours we had booked later that afternoon and see if any work out. While we were sitting there filling out the application, the leasing agent started poking around on his system looking for other units (I think he could see we were about to walk out and not come back) and he said, “Have you guys considered a townhouse?” And I said no, because the prices we’d seen online were a little too high. Well, he says, I have a 2 bed 2 bath that just came open yesterday and it’s currently being offered at cheaper than the price I quoted you for the apartment. It was also about 400 square feet larger than the apartment and had a washer and dryer in the unit (the apartments only had laundry on each floor), so I said, done and done. We ran to the bank to get a money order for our application fee and when we came back he said he couldn’t show us the actual unit because it wasn’t clean yet, but the one right next door is about the same (except it was a 3 bed) so we can go see it and possibly peek in the windows of the unit. We head over there and toured the 3 bedroom, and noticed that the maintenance guy was in the other unit painting, so the leasing agent poked his head in the door and asked if we’d be a bother if we walked through really quick. (He wasn’t supposed to do that, but I think at this point he was trying to make up for us being so pissed about the other agent not divulging the info about the quoted price.) So we walked through, went back to the office, and submitted the application and all the other paperwork. Done! We never even went to the other tours we had booked that afternoon.

I’m really pleased with the place. It’s 3 floors with a finished basement that has a wood-burning fireplace in it. It also has a utility room with a washer and dryer in it which will come in handy for storing stuff (and it means we won’t have to get a storage unit). There’s a small fenced patio area out back big enough for our grill and our patio furniture and the front looks across the complex’s courtyard with a nice pond/fountain. It’s also on the back side of the complex, which means it’s about as far away from city traffic as it could be, so very quiet. We’re only losing about 150 square feet altogether, which is not bad considering our third floor we only use as storage anyway and our 3rd bathroom is pretty much negligible anyway. The rent we’ll be paying is still less than what we’ll be getting from the renters moving in here, so we won’t be stretching ourselves too thin.

The only downside of it all is that we won’t be able to bring Brody with us. The complex has a 2-pet limit and we have the two cats. I hate feeling like I’m picking between my favorite children, but the fact is that my parents, who offered to take him, have a big back yard and a dog of their own, so he’ll be better off there anyway. They also have two cats who are pretty territorial, so it just wasn’t an option to have one of the cats go live with them. (Cats are snippier than dogs when introducing them to new animals, I’ve found) Anyway, at least this way we’ll be able to see him whenever we want, they can bring him to visit, and it won’t be forever. When we are able to buy a place in a little bit, the Brodes can come back to us.

So, the countdown is on…under 20 days till we get keys and move. Urp.

The Bean got to hang out with Meme and Papi while we apartment searched. Days at grandma and grandpa’s are exhausting!

The Bean Family is On the Move



We finally have a date and location for our big move back to civilization. Before the end of April we’ll be back in Denver. A little farther south than we’d originally anticipated, so we’re looking for places in the Cherry Creek area, instead of the north metro suburbs, but I’m still super excited. We’ll only be about a half hour from my parents and right next to downtown and all it offers. Hooray!

Now, who wants to help me pack? The baby is cute but she doesn’t work too fast.


Snow Day

To start off with, I am thinking about the folks down in the Atlanta/Birmingham area and their winter woes right about now. I am pretty stunned at all the video and pictures I am seeing and I can’t stop thinking about the stories of parents trapped for hours with infants in the car and no way to feed them. Ugh, it just gives me the shivers. Pretty sure I will be packing up an emergency kit with water and extra formula in the back of my car post-haste!

As it happens, we are also in the middle of wintry weather here, but thankfully we are used to this kind of stuff and are prepared! Unfortunately, the traction control system seems to have gone out on Cameron’s car this morning while we were pushing it out of the driveway (stupid ice!), so for the time being we are a one-car family. I’m hoping the problem is related to ice or rocks stuck up in the wheel shaft, but I guess we’ll have to see what happens when the snow melts down enough to get some traction on bare pavement. Unfortunately I don’t think that will be happening any time soon, since we are apparently in for another round of snow starting tonight that some reports are saying could bring us 16 inches or more. I’m never one to complain about the snow because we really need the moisture, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t ready for spring so I can get the baby out of the house once in a while. (Also ready for spring so that we can get out of wind season! Yesterday we had 50+mph gusts and it was just wretched. When I was trying to put groceries in my car last night the wind grabbed the car door and pulled it right out of my hand and now I have a horrible pulled muscle in my back. No thank you!)

Anyway, the other day we got about 7 inches (we were only predicted 2-4, murr) and the next day it was warm enough (relatively speaking of course) to bundle up the Bean and take her out for her first time in the snow! As you can see, she was a little less than thrilled.

It was a little too close to nap time I think so she wasn’t really having it. We put her down for a nap and tried again a little later that afternoon. She tolerated it a bit better and she even got to go on her first sled ride!

As you can see, she was so excited. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt of only being 3 months old and hope that next winter she might be a little more interested.

In any case, we are just waiting for this next round of snow to hit. I have a chicken in the slow cooker and don’t have to be at rehearsal for the rest of the week so I am happy to sit tight and watch the snow from the inside. I am crossing my fingers that the roads will be okay by Sunday so that we can get to my mom’s for Superbowl Sunday (WOO BRONCOS!!!), otherwise I will be one slightly unhappy camper.

By the way, this little girl is 3 months old next week! When did this happen??

Some Changes

You might have noticed that this blog looks a little different…different theme, different title, different address! Well, it felt necessary to introduce some changes since this blog will, very soon, no longer be broadcast from High Elevation. (I mean, still pretty high elevation, all things considered, but not 7,522 feet.)

In a short while, I’m excited to say, Cameron and the Bean and I will be moving back down the hill to live closer to my parents. The time has come for us to depart Estes Park, and we’ll be moving somewhere into the north Denver suburbs hopefully near to where I lived since I was a kid. We are currently waiting to find out where Cameron will be transferring to, and when. It’s going to be a bit of a rocky transition at first, since I have no idea when we are going (it could be next week and it could be in 4 months) and where. The good thing about that area, though, is that it’s fairly well condensed and there are many Starbucks stores in a small area, so we can probably plan to move close to where my parents live and not have a huge commute for Cameron. Our original plan was to immediately buy another house and rent out our house in Estes, but since we are looking at such a short timeline, we are now anticipating renting an apartment for at least six months while we get settled and then buy a new house. We’re still renting out our place here, and are pretty sure we have a great set of tenants, it’s all about the timing now. I’m not really looking forward to making two moves in one year, but we’ll do what we have to do and it will all work out in the long run.

The truth of the matter is, I have been wanting to leave Estes for some time. I was excited when we got here over 2 years ago and I did feel lucky to be here. But as time went on it became clear that it wasn’t for me–and, now, isn’t for us. We had planned on being here for a good 5-10 years in the beginning, and that timeline got shorter and shorter the longer we were here. It never felt like home to me. I kept waiting for it, and it never happened. After the flood, I knew we couldn’t stay here much longer than another year or two. And after the Bean was born, I knew the time was up. I just couldn’t deal with having a new baby and postpartum depression and being so far away from anyone or anything. It used to be that an hour away from civilization wasn’t a big deal, but it is when you have a cranky baby who cries the whole time you’re in the car.

There are some things I will miss about Estes. I will miss the quiet, the clear starry night skies, the wildlife, the cool summer evenings, being close enough to the National Park to just go off on a hike whenever. I’ll miss the people. I met some great, kind, generous people here. But unfortunately there’s an even longer list of things I will not miss about Estes. The isolation, the tourists, the tourist traffic, the wind. The small-town politics and everyone knowing everyone’s business. There’s a lot of things. Estes is great as a place to visit, and for some people it’s a good place to call home, but we’re just not in that group. Frankly, I’m looking forward to coming back to visit and actually enjoy it the way it’s meant to be enjoyed, because right now I just resent it, and I hate that.

So that’s that. I am ready to embrace the new, and so far our new year is full of newness and change and I am trying my best to remain positive and present. So of course I will continue to update this blog with all things Bean-related! I am not really ready to start packing up this house and figuring out what to do with all of our crap, but the end result will be worth it. Estes Park will always be here (floods be damned) and once I don’t live here anymore I can actually enjoy it again. And who knows…maybe I will actually be able to find the television remote that has been missing since a week before Christmas….

Goodbye, 2013.

It’s sort of difficult to look back and reflect on this year. It seems to have been impossibly long and impossibly full of both good and bad. I’ve heard from many people that 2013 lived up to its reputation of being bad luck and ended up being the worst year in memory. Not many people seemed to have enjoyed this year, and I can’t particularly say that I blame them. Obviously, this year brought us amazing goodness, but it was unbelievably hard, too. Cameron, his father, and both my parents spent time in the hospital. I seem to have lost touch with most of my friends. The flood. Oh, the flood. What happened in September this year put a huge crack in me that has forever altered the way I see the place I live–through no fault of its own–and I don’t think it will ever be fixed. I spent more time this year battling my depression and anxiety than probably ever before. Not to diminish the beauty that is my daughter, but her arrival brought with it almost 5 weeks of daily crying and some of the worst self-doubt I’ve ever had.

But there was beauty and wonderful moments this year, too. I celebrated my 25th birthday and Cameron turned 30. We spent three whole weeks in Hawaii, something I think about almost daily. We traveled to North Carolina to witness the union of two of our most wonderful family members. I started working on a new book with my agent, which was exciting despite how challenging it was. And, even though many of my friends seem to have fallen away from me, I grew closer than ever before to my best friend–my husband–and to my parents. Of course, most beautiful of all, my little girl. I cannot wait to see what this year brings us and I am so excited to watch her begin to learn and grow. I know 2014 will bring new challenges but it will bring new opportunities too, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m eager to see 2013 go into the record books and hopefully 2014 will not be repeating any of its bad habits.

Happy 2014, everybody.

Merry Christmas

We had an excellent Christmas week with Caroline. On Sunday, we went to my parent’s house to watch football and finish our shopping. Monday, they took us to dinner at HuHot Mongolian Grill for Cameron’s birthday, and then they got us a hotel room to spend a nice baby-free mommy daddy night, also for Cameron’s birthday. (He turned 30 on the 20th!) The hotel was AWESOME and Caroline had a sleepover with MeMe and Papi while we enjoyed nearly 12 hours of continuous sleep. Ahh. We went out to breakfast the next morning (Christmas Eve) and then went back to my parent’s house to help them set up for my mom’s party. That night some of our family and close friends came to visit and spread some holiday cheer. The next day we got up early to open presents, had breakfast, and hung out until Cameron’s family arrived. After a casual dinner with them we headed back up the hill and the next morning had Christmas round 2 with his family. So many fun presents! Caroline made out like a bandit in the toy department. Cam’s family heads off to visit with some other friends and family later this afternoon, so it was a short visit but really fun. Needless to say I am looking forward to just relaxing again…it has been a busy week! Caroline has her 2 month appointment and vaccinations on Monday, and Cameron returns to work on Wednesday, so we have a big week of transition ahead of us. Anyway, in lieu of a blow-by-blow of our Christmas week, enjoy some photos instead. I hope you had a fantastic week and were able to enjoy fun times with your family and friends. 🙂

Meeting her Grandpa Bruce for the first time

My new espresso machine