Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dear Tanner

Dear Tanner,

Things I want to remember and want you to know.


You are four. Finally four. You have been looking forward to turning four for months now. You walked into my room this morning and said Look, I'm big now! You are, baby. You are getting so big, right before my eyes.

When I asked you what you wanted to do on your special day you said Play with kids, eat tacos and birthday cake. Unwrap presents too. So that's what we did.

The day began with balloon play and cartoons. We made a yellow cake with chocolate whipped cream frosting. Lots of family Facetimed you. When daddy called, from Louisiana, you yelled at him to come home and pleaded with him to get on a jet. He was able to sing happy birthday to you, though you covered your face and ears. We were all sad for a little while after his call.

You told me you would not be napping today. While Dillan napped we cuddled on the couch while watching cartoons. We put batteries in some of your old toys. This makes me so happy! You told me. We went to Lil' Riders and played with Bella and Calli for a while after Dillan woke up. You ran and played and expended a lot of energy.

Having Morgan, Bella and Calli here to celebrate your birthday, after dinner, was so much fun. You got excited about EVERY gift, especially the r/c 4-wheeler the girls got you! You only ate the ice cream and the whipped cream off your cake.

Each year I ask you the same questions. Here you will find your three year old answers.


How old are you? Four!

Favorite color? Blue

Favorite toy? Jets and planes

Favorite food? Cheesy noodles, salad, and pickles

Best friend? Bella and Calli

Favorite thing to do outside? Shovel snow

Favorite drink? Smoothies

Take to bed at night? My pillow

What do you want to be when you grow up? Like you, momma

Favorite animal? My dogs

We had such a great day, Tanner. Happy Birthday to you. I love, love, love you!

Love, your momma


Wednesday, December 4, 2013


This year we decided to start the tradition of Elf on the Shelf. The story behind the elf is that Santa sends the elf to a family to observe and report back the actions of the family he is assigned to. You can not touch the elf or he loses his magic. Each morning the elf returns to a different location in the house. 
We named our elf Ralphy, though Tanner kept insisting Santa and Puppy were great names. 
The first few days the boys didn't seem too interested. As the month wore on the boys excitedly looked for him in the morning. Tanner would greet him with a "High Ralphy!" I overheard Dillan talking to him once saying, "Hi! Hi baby boy!" 

I missed one day. Ralphy was in the Tahoe under the visor. 
This year The Elf on the Shelf had no more meaning than a fun game of hide and seek. I liked it. I don't know if Ralphy will ever tattle to Santa. 


Settling In

We've now been living in North Dakota for three months and everything feels like home. 

One of our weekly routines is to go to the library, here on base, on Wednesday for story time. There we listen to three books and do a craft. The boys love going and being around other kids. They aren't super great about sitting still and listening to the stories, but they do love doing the crafts. 

Something that I'd heard about and then dreamed about, while in Alaska, was participating in Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op. They distribute produce baskets, breads, and other items. When we first got here I discovered that Minot has two sites that are extremely busy. I gave up on it after reading that it was hard to get a basket at these places due to so many participants. Later I learned that there is a site close to base. I've gone twice to get baskets now and have never been disappointed. I love getting new produce to experiment with. 

We also got an extra basket, last time, called a hostess pack. It was great to have the herbs, cranberries and potatoes for Thanksgiving. 

We had not wanted to live on base when we got here. The housing market is crazy right now though.  Most houses were priced at well over $300,00. We opted to live on base. It's convienent living on base. Brandon is able to come home for lunch everyday.  We have easy access to the library, the commissary, and lots of parks. The one factor that makes living on base appealing to me is the sense of community. I like privacy, and not having to see people when I walk out my front door. We defenitely don't have that here, but what we do have are friends. We have made really good friends with the family on the other half if our duplex. They have two little girls about the same age as our boys. They play together a few times a week, and I always find myself over there visiting in the evenings. 

Our neighbor-friends have watched the boys so that Brandon and I could have a date night, and we have watched their girls. I feel so lucky to have been planted next to people that I trust and enjoy being with. 

We are now close enough to home that family can drive or hop on a train and be here in a day. My parents rode the train here for a Thanksgiving visit. We had a lovely turkey dinner. My mom and I went to Catching Fire at the theater. We took a few site seeing road trips, went shopping, but mostly just spent time enjoying each other's company. 

Dropping my parents off at the train depot, theboys waved and waved saying "Bye Meema and Beeba!"

The winter season is upon us. Even though we're no stranger to harsh winter conditions, this cold is different. The wind just makes the cold seep in. We still try to get out everyday, even though it's usually the last thing I want to do. 

Even though we haven't been here in North Dakota for long, it already feels like home and a place that I'm not going to leave any time soon.