Making People Cry

Saying goodbye to friends and family was a high priority for our last few weeks in Illinois. It felt like slowly – very slowly – pulling off a band-aid over several weeks. Then with one final tug we drove away and the pain was real. The emotion was hurt mixed with excitement.

We are so thankful for the special connections and farewells in the last few weeks at “home”. The words of encouragement, embraces and tears shared made us so thankful to be loved, made us realize the blessing it is to miss and be missed and even gave us the confidence that IF this trek turns out to be a big disaster, there are many people we could run back to!

We hope to make some people cry when we inevitably leave this town someday too!


1,100 Miles In 3 Days

Our plan was to separate the road trip into 3 days to make it easier on everyone.

Day 1 involved driving through Illinois and Iowa stopping in Omaha, a unique, fun-size city that Ryan really loves for whatever reason. Mistake #1 was trying to sleep our youngest, Lexi, in a bed for the first time in her life. Let’s just say it didn’t go well. There were a lot of threats, jumping, tears (mostly mine), and yelling until finally around 11:30pm we decided to go grab the pack-n-play from our car. She still cried for a while but eventually fell asleep.

Mistake #2 was checking out the Omaha Zoo Saturday before hitting the road. In theory, this was a grand idea. In reality, it was 95 degrees and we were running light on sleep and heavy on waffles from the continental breakfast at the hotel.  About 20 steps from the car, Elliot began complaining about her legs being too tired to walk. This should have been our cue but we pressed on with fervor that would make Clark Griswold proud.

We made it about through about 60 minutes and it was somewhere between the greenhouse jam-packed with people and 8th time that Lexi and Elliot were fighting over the stroller that we decided to call it. We grabbed a healthy lunch and headed out early to our next stop in North Platte, Nebraska. No room for mistakes in North Platte because there is absolutely nothing to do there!

The anticipation of arrival and the changing landscape made day 3 much easier. Instead of fields and cows, we starting to see rolling hills, then larger rocks, and finally a glorious glimpse of the mountains.

We arrived in Steamboat Springs in the afternoon, checked out a few houses where are realtor had lined up showings and checked in to our condo that we’ll call home for the next couple months.

Disappointment in Week 1?

I’ll admit I (Ryan) was a little worried that something would happen the first few days and expose this whole move as a gigantic mistake. But… so far – so good. Everything has been better than expected. The sky is a little bit bluer than we dreamed and the mountains are more beautiful in summer than the usual snow cover we’re used to seeing.

The condo we’re staying in is more than adequate in a great location, furnished so we didn’t have to mess with furniture, and has FAST internet! Everything we need to survive and thrive!

Here are a few highlights of week 1:

  • Elliot and Lexi are enjoying the pool right outside our building
  • The weather is a breath of fresh air. It’s been 70-80 during the day with low humidity and it cools down to 30-40 degrees at night.
  • Hardly any mosquitos! (but there are bears and mountain lions so we’re watching out for larger bites)
  • Activities galore – Since we have an Enneagram 7 (Elliot) and Enneagram 3 (Kathi) in the family, the amount of STUFF to do nearly induced panic-attacks, but Lexi and Ryan were able to hold the family together

So while we check the boxes of all the summer activities here, we’ve also been house-hunting, and after looking at about 14 homes in the past week we are under contract on a house we love for many reasons. Stay tuned for more on the house in future posts.

A lot of people ask what we are doing with all our stuff so here’s a quick logistics update for inquiring minds. We used U-pack to move our stuff in a truck and it arrived about 1 week after our arrival (we planned for that). We moved all our stuff into a local storage unit for now and moved a few things into the condo where we’re living.  We have significantly reduced our belongings so that will make the multiple moves much more doable.

We’re looking forward to getting more settled and sharing more in future posts!


We discovered we have about 1,000 cubic feet of stuff to our name. That’s about 14 ft of a semi-trailer. That’s ridiculously high by world standards obviously but pretty low for a family of 4 in the US. Most of the credit goes to Kathi’s months of purging our house in Hoffman Estates and Ryan’s deep and enduring love for getting rid of stuff. How many cubic feet of stuff do you think you own?

Never heard of the Enneagram? It’s an ancient personality typing system that we’ve found to be super helpful in the last couple years. Check out this podcast and then comment below and tell us your number. Or just have your spouse or mom read the descriptions and they will happily tell you what number you are!