Happy New Year!

Here's To Wishing You A Happy 2016

Chapman/Stephenson 2015 Adventures

Well, 2015 turned out to be the year we decided to mix it up a bit and leave our home of the past 10 years. And truth be told, it wasn't easy. Life in a small town is different- you know just about everyone, and leaving funky Paonia, Colorado, was like leaving a huge, crazy, extended family.

For Leo, it also meant leaving the friends he had since kindergarten, while Kit left a great job, and Russ said goodbye to the house he spend way too much time building. There must have been a good reason to leave, right? Or a least some kind of great plan in the works. Ummm...not really. We sold the house, packed the car and hit the road.

Dazed and excited, homeless and free, we headed west. With the promise of endless possibilities before us, and against the backdrop of Utah's Great Basin, Leo broke a long silence with, 'Hey...so....I think I'd like to find a place, so I can go to school and try and make new friends.' Ummm.....so much for endless possibilities (and Russ's dream of a family circus)- I guess we're looking for a new home.

We went to Bend, OR (we have friends there). A place so well put together that you could end each mountain bike ride at a different brewery. There's so much to like about Bend, but it was kind of expensive, and we were jobless. Let's put it on the list and move on. We hit the coast. We camped, we adventured, we explored.

Up to Bozeman, MT (more friends). Cool town, not quite as dialed in as Bend, but a bit more relaxed. Shesh- it's not the funnest thing- testing towns on their potential to be 'home.' Like Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." So with that in mind, we let go of the idea of searching for a new home for a little bit, and went to see the Grateful Dead.

It was Leo's first (and last) Dead show. To say that he saw a lot of interesting things, would be an understatement. With the afterglow of Jerry's rainbow fresh in our minds, we headed south to San Luis Obispo, visiting Kit's family and trying on the central coast. It was a pretty good fit, but again, pricey and not the best place for a jobless family. But man, it was nice.

Then up the coast we went. Weaving in and out of the redwoods, winding along the pacific highway. Great country. We hunted for crabs, dove into icy waters and saw some big ass trees.

OK, now the memories get kind of foggy. I mean, it only just happened this past summer, but I don't think any of us can remember how many times we looped from Colorado to Oregon to Montana and back and back again. It was like a mental-mountain-vortex that could only be broken by one thing: a trip to Buffalo.

Buffalo's actually pretty cool. We visited Russ's Mom, went to a big wedding and ventured into the mist of Niagara Falls. And yes, we ate plenty of chicken wings.

Time was marching on, and we started thinking that we should put a little more effort into this search for a place to land. Job opportunities were beginning to materialize, and with that, a list of places: Crested Butte, Bend and Bozeman. Yea, I know, it looks like a list that you might see on the cover of Outside Magazine. But what they don't tell you is that those magazine 'covertowns' can be a real challenge for those of us that are not making $100k a year. Seriously.

Crested Butte seemed like the obvious choice- what an awesome town, and all of our stuff was just over the hill- easy move. But maybe we needed more of a change from the 'funky little Colorado town' thing, that we were so used to. Oh, and houses are about $2,500 a month- if you can find one to rent. Besides, they hadn't offered Kit a job, yet.

With September looming, and school on the horizon, we were waiting on a Job offer. Bend had just listed 2 great paying jobs, but it would be a real risk moving there in hopes that one of the jobs would come through. Ugh. Then out of the blue, Bozeman called and offered Kit a job. Cool library, friends, mountains, rivers, grizzlies and wolves, there wasn't much discussion, we just packed up a truck and headed north.

And so that's where we are. Kit loves her job, Leo is doing great making new friends and working on his freestyle skiing, and Russ is playing plenty of music. Transitions are hard though. There's plenty of times where the concept of 'home' gets discussed in one form or another. And with all (but a few) cliches aside, I think we've decided that you just gotta take it one day at a time and be happy with what you have. It's not a new concept, but it kind of works.

And with that, we wish you all a very happy new year.

Love- The Chapman's, featuring Kit Stephenson.

It's been a big year for our clan! After leaving the lovely town of Paonia, CO after nine years, we set off to find our new home. Bend, Bozeman, Crested Butte, the coast of California and Oregon and even Buffalo. We saw some family, great friends and some beautiful sites. Leo got to spend time with friends he hadn't seen in a long time (as did Russ and I) and he also got to spend a lot of time with us in the car. We survived! It actually was wonderful to spend the summer just the three of us traipsing here and there. Lots of biking in the mountains and swimming in the ocean.

And now we are happy in Bozeman. After driving through three times, an opportunity materialized and things happened quickly. With the help of friends, we made it happen and here we are. Leo started high school and has made many friends already. I love my new job at the Bozeman Public Library and Russ is playing his music to Bozeman's delight. Lucy is happy with her daily walk on Peet's Hill which is only two blocks from our house.

We miss Paonia and our many friends from all over (Montana does feel a little far north). But, change is good and we love new adventures.


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