[Kaiya in all her cuteness at the playground at Brandan's work - a daily occurrence]
Well, we're moving to Tillamook, OR!!! Yes, the place where the Tillamook dairy products come from (best cheese!!!)! It has been a crazy past few weeks getting through Brandan's internship in Spokane, driving to Oregon for job interviews, then making our way slowly back to Iowa for graduation week.
[10 minute drive from Tillamook :) Mountainous coastline :):)]
Beginning a few months ago, Brandan searched for and applied for any job he could find available. We thought it should be simple since physical therapy jobs are needed just about everywhere, but no one told us how difficult it would be to find a position for a NEW graduate with no experience or specialty. Well, after several jobs fell through, we took a little break from searching over the Easter holidays and Brandan's preparation for his licensure exam. During this little break, we had an angel of a recruiter fall into our lap and help us job hunt. He basically searched for and set up job interviews, giving us options and taking our desires for location or job site into account. We ended up deciding to focus our search in Oregon. We had such a great experience living there last summer and knew we couldn't be happier surrounded by green mountains, flowing rivers and the coast close by. So anyway, Brandan took an interview in Tillamook and Newport that both went well and we left Oregon feeling really good about Tillamook!
During the interviews, we were set up in nice hotels, given a welcome basket, and fed fancy lunches (we should have taken on MORE interviews just for the benefits! haha). Tillamook had such a more family-oriented feel to it and is set amid mountains with some of the best fishing, hiking and hunting in the state (and country!) PLUS the coast is 8 minutes out of town! The coworkers Brandan will have are awesome and care so much about not only him, but also Kaiya and I. The ward is helpful and anxious for us to move and the only two PA schools in Oregon are close enough for me to commute to if I get into them! Anyway, Newport was also great - the ocean was gorgeous there and the coworkers seemed nice enough, but even before we got to that interview, we knew that Tillamook was where we should go. Sooooo Tillamook it is!
[Kaiya and I waiting to meet Brandan's future coworkers]
[On the deck of our hotel room in Newport - awesome view, eh?]
[Playing at the beach - Kaiya is going to LOVE being right by the ocean!]
[Daddy and Kaiya played in the ocean after our morning run along the beach]
After traveling from Spokane to the coast of Oregon for a few days of interviewing, we made our long journey back to Iowa for graduation week. With all the hours driving and making pit-stops at the homes of some family and friends, it took use many days. We honestly lived out of our car and on the road for 9 days! But it was good. It was good to see those who we don't have as easy an excuse to visit in the Midwest and it felt great to know that this was the last cross-country road trip we would have to make in a very long time.
[Kaiya had her first Happy Meal on our long drive back east - we were probably more excited than she was (hence the photos) but we rarely go there so I thought I'd better document it!]
[AND SHE LOVED IT!!! this is now her happy/cheese face for photos all the time, haha]
[Kaiya with our friends' son Logan, a potential future boyfriend/husband - he's one of the few kids she really gets along with and likes to chase around, and it helped that he loved pushing her in the swing and going in for a kiss on the cheek when she'd swing back to him!]
I know that I will really miss it here - despite the humidity, it is such a great community to grow up in and through yourself into and I find so much beauty in the rolling corn and soy fields and in the way that storms (tornado-y or not) roll right over you. But I am ready to move on, shut this door and start somewhere new with a new, not-so-poor, student-family lifestyle. We get to grow up even more and own a house and more than one vehicle, to get a continual salary and budget money that we haven't borrowed but that we have earned! All of this can happen as soon as Brandan graduates this weekend and we get all our stuff moved out to Oregon and into a home :). SO EXCITING!!!
[The drive over to Portland/Tillamook area is BEAUTIFUL for those of you debating coming to visit us!!! ;)]