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Welcome To Arizona!

We left Colorado Springs and headed south, stopping for two nights in Santa Fe, New Mexico before our final landing place for the next 4 months: Cave Creek, AZ. Christmas happened since we last chatted, and what a whirlwind that was as well! We're finally taking the time to settle in and relax before we're back to work here.

The very first memory I have of wanting to visit a particular city traces back to Santa Fe, NM. My young, impressionable mind was convinced that this was THE place to be after Jack Kelly risked it all to get there in Newsies. Christian Bale portrays it as this fairytale location and for some reason, I've never been able to shake that. So, we went! Although it was not what I imagined whatsoever, we made the best of it and explored what we could with our time there. Did you know that Santa Fe sits at 7,000ft elevation? Because I didn't. It was colder than Colorado Springs AND Wisconsin while we were there. It was freezing! We learned that Santa Fe is known for it's art; we walked through blocks and blocks filled with fancy art galleries and crafting boutiques. There's also a very large train presence in Santa Fe, so that was neat to see and made you feel like you were taking a step back in time.

One of our Uber drivers recommended we check out "Meow Wolf". She couldn't really explain the concept but said it was a MUST-SEE. Dave and I are usually up for anything so we booked our tickets during the Uber ride and that was our next stop. There are locations in Denver and Las Vegas as well, as far as I understand (with more to come) but Santa Fe was the original. If you ever have the chance, you should go... It's essentially a very large museum with all black lights, trap/hidden doors, neon colors, etc. It's described as: "unique and immersive art". I honestly don't know how to explain it either, but check it out if you ever have the chance! Definitely something to experience.

That night we went to a local sports bar for the big Bears vs. Packers game and were pleasantly surprised with the amount of fun we had there. Neither of us expected much out of a sports bar in New Mexico, it was Sunday night and New Mexico doesn't have a football team, but we were not disappointed! Seated directly next to us, we made friends with some Packer fans that had just moved there from Milwaukee! Another Packer fan came over and bought us a shot, everyone loved that we were on opposite ends of the football spectrum. The next morning we packed up the boys and hit the road for Arizona at 4:30am.

We arrived the afternoon of the 13th, got everything in the apartment and settled over the next few days, found a dog-sitter for the boys, I was able to have dinner with my aunt and her family, we did some ice skating, threw in an ugly sweater party for good measure, then flew back to Wisconsin... all within a week.

Story Time! Ice skating with Amanda and Blake was fun! I got the hang of it pretty quick being that it was only my second time ever ice skating and of course Dave picked it up flawlessly even though it was his first time....*insert eye roll here* It was going so well, until Dave asked if I wanted to race. I'm not sure what happened after this, I think I blacked out. The competitive drive in me lit up like the Christmas tree we were skating around and I took off. I'd learn later that during my "blackout" I had zoomed by and cut off an older couple that gave me a very deserving nasty glance, so I'm sure they enjoyed what shortly followed. Dave forfeited the race by this point due to my reckless behavior, so when I made it around the rink to the "finish line" and Dave was nowhere to be seen, I had turned my head to look for him too far by the time I realized I was still going 175mph. This then swiftly knocked me off balance and directly on to my knee with a pretty significant amount of g-force. Anyway, it hurt and I limped off the rink learning my lesson the hard way... But most importantly, I won.

Christmas back home was a blast, but of course too short. We both struggled again finding time and managing seeing all our loved ones. I had no idea how hard it would be to see everyone when I started this journey and am reminded of the level of difficulty it provides every time we're home. I don't think it'll ever be possible to leave feeling like we've done all we wanted to do and seen everyone we had hoped to see, but we do the best we can.

We were able to spend time with both our families, attend our annual "Lost Family" gathering, and go to Lambeau for a game over our short 4 days home. We were EXTREMELY fortunate to not hit any snags during our holiday travel whatsoever, all I've read about are flight delays and cancellations over this holiday season. We also used Rover for the first time, an app that provides dog sitters/walkers/boarding/etc. We met with Katie and her girl Josey before we left and she stayed at our apartment to take care of the boys. This could not have gone more perfect, I highly recommend it if you ever need a dog sitter. The boys had so much fun with Katie and Josey but were absolutely ecstatic to welcome us back.

We're back in Cave Creek now, looking forward to settling in to the desert for a few months and exploring all it has to offer. Dave started work this week, my start date got pushed back a week so I start on Monday, the 10th now. I'm so excited to work alongside one of my besties again!

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you to all who've followed along and supported us along the way, I hope 2022 brings you health, happiness, and adventure!

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