So considering the monumental events of the last two days, it's ironic that I've ignored the blog. Suffice it to say that Garry, Gavin and I are having a marvelous time in Colorado Springs! I don't know if I'll be able to post pictures until we get back, but then I'm sure we'll have a ton to share.
Here's the lowdown on our journey so far.
We flew to Denver early Saturday morning. Getting up at 4;30 wasn't cool, but we survived. It was weird moving through the Portland and Denver airports without any hassle. No children to chase, enough hands for all our bags, a happy baby, pleasant conversation...wow! Our flight was 1/3 full and left 15 minutes early. I read about 100 pages of a great book. Garry slept. Gavin slept. Ahh... Our car rental happened without a hitch, and we enjoyed the nice 50-mile drive to Colorado Springs.
Along the way, we were just amazed at the open space and bright sunshine. The freeways are so wide here. The landscape isn't as green as we were expecting, but the area is just coming out of winter, so maybe that will improve. I had been concerned about adjusting to the altitude, but I quickly found that the dry weather has more of an impact on my body than the thinner air. Overall, our initial impressions of Colorado Springs are very positive. We feel surprisingly comfortable here. I especially enjoyed getting a feel for the city and recognizing street names and landmarks from the maps I have studied.
We met with Tony Clement, our real estate agent, at 2:00 at his office. He is great. He even installed Gavin's car seat base in his SUV before we started touring! We saw nine houses together on Saturday. Things got out to a rough start, with the first three homes being in fairly poor condition. We were surprised at how different the listings were on paper and in person!
By the end of the day, however, we saw three homes that made our "maybe" list. Two are still serious contenders, and they are SO different from each other! One is pretty new, has lots of upgrades, and a decent yard. There are a couple things I don't really like, but overall it's just super cute and move-in ready. The other one was built in 1968. It has a huge, gorgeous yard and the outside has been recently painted (red!) and re-roofed. The inside, though very clean, is extremely dated. We would like to do a complete overhaul. With this house, we would be investing in a prime location -- excellent schools, three minutes from work, great freeway access to Denver and the temple, good shopping -- and the chance to make a ton of equity down the road if we decided to sell.
This morning we drove around lots of neighborhoods, ruling out some and feeling great about others. We attended two different Sacrament Meetings to check out the wards in different parts of town. Both seemed great. Tomorrow we'll have a full day of touring homes, and hopefully on Tuesday we can start narrowing down the prospects, visiting schools, and maybe making an offer. Wow. Big stuff.
Another great part of our stay so far has been the hospitality of our friends, Jon and Kym Harvey. We met in our first married-student ward at BYU back in 1998. They were newlyweds, too, and we enjoyed a couple of years together before going our separate ways. But we kept in touch and are now excited to live near each other again! We have been so grateful for a comfortable bed, meals, and great company this weekend. Jon blessed their new baby, Savannah, at church today. Maybe Gavin and Savannah can be buddies as they grow up.
Meanwhile, back in Beaverton, Grandma Bartle and the big boys are having all kinds of adventures. We've heard tales of baseball and bowling and park play and new clothes and lost coats and pudding ice cream...and they've only had two days together! We'll have to have a giant blog post dedicated to their fun when we get back, too. We're just grateful that Zach and Ty are in such good hands. They don't even miss us yet!