Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Weekend 2016

Another holiday in the books.  In the last five months we have celebrated Thanksgiving, Tanner's birthday, Christmas, Dillan's birthday,  little holidays like Valentine's and St. Patricks Day and now Easter, all without Brandon.  It's hard.  I'm doing my best to make great memories for the boys.  I am trying so hard to stand in as both mom and dad.  I'm growing weary; mentally and physically.  I lose my temper and have very little patience a lot of the time.  I sometimes wonder how this year away from Brandon will affect the boys.  

On Saturday morning we dyed some eggs.  I put the eggs on to boil and forgot about them.  By the time I remembered them, the water had evaporated leaving two of the eggs broken and the others just slightly browned.  They still dyed just fine.  After dying eggs, we went and picked up our Bountiful Basket.  It was a great one.  Heavy on the veggies, the way I like it. 
They were so excited to dye eggs! After the eggs dried the boys used markers to further decorate them.

Patiently waiting.

All of this for $15.00 plus a $5.50 handling fee. 

Our little buddy, Ethan came to spend a few hours with us, Saturday evening.  The boys had a good time entertaining company.  Having another kid over ensures that all the toys in the play room get rediscovered.  Ethan also had dinner with us, which was a fun treat as well.

Goofy boys.  

On Easter morning they boys were up by 6:00am. They scoured the whole house in search off Easter Eggs.  They kept asking me where I hid them. I gave them one clue, "Go find your flashlights.".  I'm sure they woke the neighbors up as they searched the yard and fought over who found each egg first!

We have been attending West Minot Church of God since November.  We enjoy the small size of the congregation. The boys like their church. They learn a lot and enjoy doing the crafts that are provided.  I like Pastor Jeff's style of preaching and the messages that he shares.  On Easter the boys did an Easter egg hunt and a small craft with the poem;

Bunnies, eggs and jellybeans, 
Thant's not all that Easter means.
There is another message too...
Jesus died for me and you.

The message that I listened too was titled The Case for Easter.  It's main scripture focus was 1 Corinthians 15:17-20.  We the audience were the "jury" while Pastor Jeff presented the Case.
The basic outline of the sermon was as follows; 

Exhibit A:  "They execution of Christ."
Simple logic tells us that people, once dead, do not come back to life!
Exhibit B:  The Empty Tomb
In spite of all these precautions-The Tomb was empty that first Easter morning.
Exhibit C:  Eyewitnesses
"After his suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about Experiencing the Resurrection for themselves!" (Acts 1:3, NIV)
Exhibit D:  Changed Lives
The Resurrection is validated by the changed lives of His followers.
"Their lives were changed, the message could not be contained."

All weekend I was brought to tears at the thought of the man that was Jesus, and the physical pain that He endured in his last days on Earth.  The sacrifice that was made, all for me and my sins.  The great love and compassion that God has for me is more than I can fathom, it's overwhelming at times.
Easter gifts.

The most handsome boys.

My loves.

Easter Breakfast
After church, the boys and I stopped at the super market.  I grabbed a rotisserie chicken and a few other odds and ends.  I fueled up the Tahoe and we went home to pack up for a little road trip to Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge.  It was a little over an hour drive to the refuge.  When we got there we were met with a locked gate.  The boys thought it was awesome that we were climbing over the gate, the start to a great adventure.  We hiked around, watched ducks fly over, geese swim in the ponds and investigated different kids of animal poop on the road.  Of course the poop was super fascinating and we had to study it to figure out what kind of animal had been eaten to make poop look like that!
Locked gates don't scare us!

Such a goof.

Momma and sons

A handful of rocks.

Selfie Sunday. 

What kind of animal made this poop? Is there rabbit in this poop?!? 
Writing his name in the road.

Nature, it's where God speaks to me.
 We drove back to Minot and had a picnic dinner at Oak Park.  The boys ate more chips and cookies than I would have liked, but I let it happen and kept my mouth shut, allowing them to just enjoy the meal.  Dillan shared some of his meal with a curious squirrel.  Tanner kept saying, "It's creeping me out!" when the creature would venture a little too close for his comfort.  Tanner isn't the animal lover that Dillan is.
He kept piling more Oreo's onto his plate.

All day long this little boy asked to go on a picnic. 

"Scardy" Squirrel eating Dorritos

At bedtime I asked each boy what his favorite part of the day had been.  
Tanner; "Mostly just walking outside and eating Oreos at our picnic."
Dillan;  "Finding the Easter eggs and feeding that cute squirrel.  Being with you!"
Me;  "My favorite part of today was spending it with you boys.  Worshiping our Lord and giving thanks for His sacrifice.  Spending time in nature. Being lucky enough to tuck you into bed, each and every night."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2015 in Review

People always say that as you age the years slip by faster.  I distinctly remember my grandma Bernadette sitting in her beloved glider saying those words to me.  It's true.  This year has been a beautifully, messy blur of core memories.

Buying a home.
We started the process of buying a home, in Minot, in September of 2015.  When Brandon returned from Guam we starting looking around in neighborhoods that we knew we would want to live.  We decided to go with a home that hadn't been built yet.  The floor plan was predetermined and we were got to pick out wall colors, light fixtures, redesign our bathroom and front entry way, etc.  We moved in in February of 2015.  We did our own landscaping in the spring and summer.  We really enjoy the location and our home.  We will make so many great memories here in the years to come.

I had been contemplating getting baptized for years.  In 2015 I felt the time was right. I wanted to do it while Brandon was home to watch.  I was in a great bible study and felt supported.  The more I read the bible and grow in my faith I now this was a necessary step for me.  I was baptized on Easter morning in front of a large crowd.  It was scary and thrilling.  I have a heart of learning the bible and studying our hebraic roots.  I want to learn to hear God's voice.  I changed churches after Brandon left.  I'm still not 100% certain that I want to make this church our home, but I'm patiently listening and learning.

Our sweet black lab, Maggie, passed away on April 16th.  It's taken me a while to be able to process and accept that she is no longer with us.  She was apart of our family for nearly 14 years.  Brandon and I got her before we were married. I was still living in my parents home and Brandon was doing boiler work, and never home.  She slept in my bed and would ride to college with me and hang out in the car while I'd go to my classes. She traveled by car and airplane to be with us always.  She survived the boys' toddler years and never once bit their little hands. She allowed Duckie, our pug, to boss her around for year and years.  She loved playing hide and seek with the family, and was notorious for telling us all where Brandon was hiding.  She loved the woods. She knew that when we turned onto a dirt road, good things were in store for her. She was the sweetest dog that anyone could ever dream of. She is so missed.

Tanner in School.
Tanner started Kindergarten on August 25th.  We were all excited to start this chapter.  Tanner has always been a very social kid that loves to learn.  He is thriving at school.  At his first parent teacher conference his teacher described him as a gem.  Tanner brings a lunch to school every day, unless there is something AMAZING on the menu for lunch that day.  There are many kids that he talks about playing with at recess.  I'm glad to hear that it's not always the same kids, but a wide variety.  He usually has a page of homework today each day, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays he has a reading assignment that he has to do.

When an airman, especially in the maintenance field it seems, decides to make the a career out of the Air Force, it is almost inevitable that he/she will do a tour over in Korea.  The stars finally aligned and Brandon got orders to Korea in February.  He left for Osan November 8th and will spend a year there.  We are hoping that he is home before Thanksgiving of 2016.  We see Brandon, on FaceTime, nearly every morning, and often times in the afternoon as well.  We correspond through Facebook messenger, mostly.  This year apart will not be the best year of our life, but we are still thriving.

Christmas Vacation

My goal this year was to have all Christmas shopping done by the end of November so that December wouldn't have any form shopper's anxiety going on.  I did all of my shopping online except for one gift for Brandon and then a few stocking stuffers.  This holiday season was the easiest one yet.  I sent Brandon's gift out on December 8th.  Here it is January 18th, and it still has not arrived.  Booooo.

Tanner's Christmas vacation started December 22nd and my parents arrived late on the 23rd.  My mom and dad celebrated their 36th anniversary on the 24th.  I made them Italian baked shrimp and cheese fondue for dinner.  After dinner we took a drive through Oak Park to see all of the light displays.  After that we drove through a few neighborhoods to look at more Christmas lights.

Dillan cuddled with Beeba

Reading with Meema

Popping Champagne 

Anniversary Fondue

Cheers to 36 years

Christmas Eve
My mom took these Christmas pictures because my phone was being used to FaceTime with Brandon.  The boys got so many fun toys.  More toys than they will probably ever play with.

Dillan had to try on his new undies over his shorts, he was so excited about them.

Duckie with her Christmas loot

For Christmas dinner we cooked up a prime rib, made rolls, had bacon wrapped asparagus and twice baked potatoes.

The days following Christmas were filled with making ginger bread houses with meema and beeba.  Meema and Beeba also took them to the theater to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks.

After my parents left we spent the remainder of vacation playing outside, crafting, visiting friends, going to the library, and drinking cocoa.
Dillan wanted marshmallows in his cocoa

They used their own money to buy this paint kit.

Tanner loves playing Sorry.

Jael has an awesome slide in her house.

Grace made us a yummy breakfast.

Playing on the computer at the library.

Do you want to build a snowman?!?