New Video Game and New Couch

We bought a Nintendo Switch game called Ring Fit Adventure because Scott thought it might be a good motivator for him to workout. One controller is placed in this flexible ring that you hold and the other controller goes on a leg strap. You move, pull, and push the ring as well as other exercises throughout each level. I tried it too and thought it was okay. It would be nice if I thought exercising was enjoyable.

Scott testing out the game
Damien’s turn playing

I feel like I keep saying “this is the LAST big purchase for a while” right before making another big purchase. We took advantage of some Veteran’s Day deals and bought ourselves a new couch for the upstairs living room. Prior to this, we only had the one couch in the family room downstairs so this room was just sitting empty looking sad. It’s SOOOOO hard finding a couch because you want it to look good AND be super comfortable. We ended up picking a couch where you could pick each individual piece and they fit together. Scott wanted a sectional which would have worked well in the space, but it’s more expensive and at least some of the seats would never be used. I’ve been excited to try a chaise lounge so we picked that and two more power recliners with dividers in-between. The dividers are more for Scott who really values his own personal space. I do like the cup holders and a place to set things so it works for everyone.

Testing out the new couch right after delivery.
Here’s its true color. And I also got some new throw pillows!

So after having the new couch for almost a week, I like it. It’s not as comfortable as it was in the store and the seats seem WAY bigger too. To counter that, I have to use the pillows to make the space smaller. The chaise is DEFINITELY the most comfortable spot so I think that was a good choice.

Damien getting comfy to do his nightly reading

A Visit Home and Halloween

Only a month behind on my posts!

So mid-October Damien had a random Thursday and Friday off from school so we used that opportunity to visit my family. It worked out perfectly because the weather was still nice and there wasn’t any holiday traffic. Scott packed up his whole computer so he could still work which ended up working out well. We played lots of poker, had an excellent Thanksgiving meal, and Damien and his uncle David created comics together. Such a great trip!

Ready for the 5-hour drive!
Scott and Damien spray-painting pumpkins in the backyard
Scott and Damien decorating their pumpkins
Damien decorated two pumpkins this year–a demon with a crown and a ninja. I think the ninja is super cute!
Our pumpkins on display. I tried to make a cat, but it looked more like a mouse and Scott made a green spider.
Our neighbor gave us a ton of apples from her apple tree so we made an apple pie. It looks a little “rustic” but it tasted good.

This was our first year trick-or-treating in Grand Forks so I took Damien up to the local mall to check out indoor trick-or-treating while Scott stayed home and passed out candy. We weren’t impressed so we came home and Scott took Damien trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and Damien had a much better time.

Damien chose a Halo costume this year. He LOVES the mask.
Assassin Damien. Should I be worried?
Scott and Damien came home from trick-or-treating a little bit early because Damien can’t see very well in the dark without his glasses. He was running, tripped, and tore a hole in his costume. Some nice people helped pick up Damien’s candy that spilled on the ground. He was fine.

Winter Already?

North eastern ND got hit with some bad weather this past weekend. Highways and interstates were closed due to icy roads and low visibility. Oh and flooding! I’m definitely looking forward to some warmer temperatures this upcoming week to melt all this snow.

Damien and I had a snow day on Friday, woot!
Damien was SOOOOO happy to go play in the snow
We decided that we wanted a snowblower now instead of waiting a winter to purchase one. We just happen to get it home the night before the snowfall. It worked like a champ, even in the wet, slushy snow.
Putting Damien to work clearing off the car
This was taken Thursday evening to document the first bit of snow accumulation where we live. Note the lush, green tree.
This is now Saturday morning and that tree is not looking too good.
Saturday afternoon and upon further investigation we found that a large portion of our tree broke off at the base. I guess all of that heavy, wet snow and wind was just too much. 🙁
The base of the tree
And lastly, Damien made a birthday card for Scott. It’s soooo Damien lol with gold bars, gold coins, and gold columns. I love it!

A Kid With Many Talents

This post is all about Damien and his many interests and talents.

Damien working on his muscles. It’s important to him to be strong!
And don’t forget about cardio! Damien got this Jump-O-Lene as a present years ago from Julie, but we never had room for it in the old house. It works out better than jumping on the beds.
Damien is now fully ready for a North Dakotan winter!

Earlier this month we went in for parent/teacher conferences. So far I really love the school and Damien’s teacher. She’s very kind and patient and I think Damien is really thriving in that environment. Damien is doing very well in math and needs to work on his reading, which we’ve been doing every school night at home. This is turning out to be a great school year!

Damien on his chromebook at school before conferences.
Damien made some interesting artistic choices with this piece lol
Damien’s classroom

Damien made his first comic book! He created it in class during his free time and he had the chance to present it to his classmates which was well-received so he’s already working on a second issue. I love it because it motivates him to try to spell words correctly and it gives him the confidence to try new things.

Damien’s comic book, Attack of the Poopa King
Scott and Damien horsing around

Damien’s Birthday Celebration

Damien turned 9, what?! We celebrated on the Saturday over Labor Day weekend. We kept it simple this year and decided not to invite any of his classmates. But I think it was still a super great day.

Damien’s cake pick
Damien and Scott baking the cake in the morning before the day’s activities. Note Scott’s hair/beard.
We went to a place called Northern Air which has trampolines, inflatables, laser tag, and virtual reality gaming.
Scott was VERY tired after this lol. Also, he shaved his hair and beard off! He startled Damien LOL
Damien and Scott playing VR
Here is Damien playing the VR game again. The monitor above displays what he’s doing in the game.
Next it’s time for presents!
From Mom & Dad – Pizza PJs, two bath fizzies, candy, Dog Man 7 book, and two video games that we bought on clearance probably over a year ago that we found during the move lol (Recore and Battle Chasers)
From Grandma and Grandpa Hanks – A color changing alarm clock, Risk board game, and an emoji catch game
From Great Grandma and Tom – A very sweet birthday card and money which is going to go towards winter gear like snow pants and gloves, and maybe a treat too 🙂
Thanks to all!
Decorating the cake
Damien picked colorful candles this year instead of his usual number candle. The flames are supposed to match the color of the wax.
The birthday boy!
Blowing out the candles
Yummy cake 😀
Learning how to play and getting my butt kicked in Risk

End of Summer Break

I believe we are finally at the point where we can start slowing down and start getting into a nice routine. So far we like the vibes here in Grand Forks. It seems like a nice, friendly community. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any activities in the local area to explore. There was a Corn Feed event in Emerado (right outside of Grand Forks AFB) that featured all-you-can-eat corn, a car show, and inflatables. We also scoped out the weekly Farmer’s Market today in downtown Grand Forks.

I had Damien take pictures at the car show for his Grandpa 🙂
Damien’s favorite car at the show
I’m not going to pretend I know the year of any of these lol
I think Damien likes the stripes
Now this is the type of car that makes me think of my Dad
A nice bright green color
Getting snow cones at the Corn Feed. Damien is all red and sweaty from jumping in the inflatables.
The sporting goods store has this cool game where you pick a gun and the targets move or make a noise when “hit”.
We FINALLY received our belongings after living in the house for about three weeks.
We think everything made it and we had a few damaged items. I’m not moving again for a LOOOOOONG time! We still have a few things to unpack and set up.
I bought myself a cute mug for my tea. I like the colors for the kitchen.
Back to school shopping time! We have a Five Nights at Freddy’s, Roblox, and Black Panther shirt. Damien was very excited about them.
Back to school haircut time!
Damien’s first day of 4th Grade! OMG I can’t believe it!!!
Damien going to bed after a wonderful first day of school.

Damien has been in school for two weeks now and everything is going so well. Damien said that he likes the variety of school lunches better at his new school. He also has made some friends and he likes his teacher. I would say that the biggest improvement is the fact that the teacher doesn’t assign homework, only reading. THIS HAS BEEN AMAZING. So much fighting and screaming and crying over homework these past school years and we finally have a little bit of relief.

We moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota!

It’s been a very busy (and expensive) two months for us as we’ve relocated to Grand Forks, ND.

It took two full days for the movers to pack all of our belongings and load it up on a truck. About 7,600 lbs worth of stuff!
We spent our last week in Virginia with the Millikens who are always excellent hosts. JR only seems to do all position with Scott, haha.
Scott and I took the full 5 days authorized to drive from Virginia to North Dakota. I’m glad we had the time because it was exhausting. But overall it couldn’t have gone any better. Scott did most of the driving.

Damien spent two months of the summer with my parents. He learned how to ride his bike without training wheels, went fishing, and learned countless other things. Damien is very quick to let me know when he already knows something lol. Scott and I are really grateful to have had the time to pack and travel while Damien was having a great time with his grandparents. It was a long time apart, but it worked out so well.

Now that the three of us are back together again, we’ve been busy being new homeowners, buying a new-to-us older vehicle, registering Damien for school, and trying to keep Damien entertained. That last one isn’t working out so well. He HATES going to stores, even if it’s to look at something for him. And our household goods won’t be delivered for another week! I’ve also been trying to wrap my head around my new job at work. My team seems great, but I’m not as familiar with the technical side as I’d like to be. SOOOOO much to learn.

We stayed in a hotel upon arrival to Grand Forks until the house was good to go. Here’s Damien enjoying the hotel pool. I had to take him every night!
Damien made a friend who threw the football to him as he jumped in. Must have done this a thousand times lol
Our new home!!!
Getting Damien set up on my Surface Pro to play Roblox lol
Living room setup until our belongings arrive
Scott and Damien play fighting in the basement living area. We haven’t figured out what to call it yet. Basement living room? Second living room? Den? Bonus room? Family Room?
Damien’s new school looks amazing!
The three of us explored the paths next to our neighborhood and found this nice pond with ducks and fish. And Damien rode his bike. I love how they have nice, wide sidewalks here for walking and bike riding.

We’re still settling into the new area, but so far we really like it. I think we will be happy here. I can’t wait until the next time I get to see my parents. They’re both the best!

Summertime Activities

Two weekends ago, Scott and I babysat our niece, Sarah. I can’t believe she’ll be five this year!

Scott “babysitting” with JR lol
While Scott was outside with JR, he noticed little bit of white smoke coming from the back of the neighbor’s house. Could have been a grill or something. Once he saw the black smoke and a family (a man and four children) exit the front door, he rushed over to see if he could help.
This photo was taken about 15 min after the one above. It happened so quickly! It’s rumored to be an electrical fire, but we really don’t know.

June has gone by so slowly. After Scott returned from ND, we were both working hard to prepare for the move. Well about a week before the movers were projected to come, we found out that none of the companies were accepting offers until mid-July so we had to push back our move date by three full weeks. Thankfully I was able to get everything rescheduled.

Since we’ll be in Virginia a little while longer, we decided to add a couple more things to do. We already hit up our number one priority–eating at Ruth Chris Steakhouse. We ate there once before for an anniversary and we just had to have their lobster mac & cheese again. And of course their steak is very good too. Last weekend we spent a very hot day in Colonial Williamsburg. We’ve been there before, but didn’t have tickets to go into the buildings. Scott went because I really wanted to go, but I think he had a good time too.

Our first (and best) tour was of the Peyton Randolph house. He lived there with his wife, Elizabeth. As a sign of their wealth, they owned a lot of land and slaves.
The wife’s office as head of the household. She distributed the spices to the kitchen staff. The keys were used to lock up their property (aka slaves).
The fireplace in the parlor. Since they were wealthy, they burned coal.
Our tour guide. He said that the more colors used in the wallpaper, likely the more expensive it was.
I believe this was Peyton Randolph’s bedroom. Complete with wigs!
The dining room which was very luxurious for its time. The men would discuss business here.
Outside of the main house, these small buildings were where the staff lived/worked.
Inside one of the small buildings
The public gaol (jail)
Scott inside one of the jail cells
Scott outside one of the jail cells
The blacksmith shop. It strangely reminded me of my Dad’s workshop lol
Forging metal
Piles of coal outside
The tin shop. These types of cups, pans, etc. were made for/used by the military.
The magazine
Lots of guns, cannons and accessories
The museum had a “Public Hospital” exhibit. This was called a Tranquilizer chair. Yikes…
A good, old-fashioned strait jacket
Various tools used in mental health. Opium and electric shocks apparently.
I guess this was the pastime? Still holds up!
This is called a Utica Crib. It was used when patients were violent or unruly.
A hospital “cell” from 1773. The residents had a straw bed, blanket, and chamber pot. They even ate meals in here.
Hospital accommodations improved! Much nicer to be a patient in 1845.
This little guy stopped by during a water break.
Next we walked around the Governor’s Palace. Of course you need a garden maze. Why not?
It was a self guided tour so we didn’t get a lot of background for the rooms. I just thought they looked neat.
A lot of big rooms. Probably multi-functional.
Is this supposed to be a storage area?
A very ornate wood stove
So much detail in every single object in these old homes.
One of the bedrooms
Creepy crib
The last stop on our way out was the plantation.
The tobacco house
Where the enslaved lived. On smalls plantations the slaves had a little bit more privacy compared to the cities where they lived closer to their masters.
Kitchen, Smokehouse, and Corn House

Not pictured, but we also went inside the Courthouse to watch some mock trials. They used real court cases and real names from during that era with some audience participation. It highlighted that women weren’t allowed to represent themselves unless they were unmarried and how slaves weren’t allowed to be witnesses. Oh and how you had to attend church once a month, or be fined. Overall, Colonial Williamsburg was a really nice place to visit. Would recommend!

Damien’s Final Days in Virginia

We’re getting closer and closer to our move date! It’s so exciting, but there’s still so much to do. Damien has finished the Third Grade. I don’t have his final report card yet, but I’m pretty sure he dropped down to a C in Reading. He’s been so excited about summer vacation that it was hard for him to continue to focus on his schoolwork. Plus, reading has always been a struggle for him. It was hard for me too!

The awesome shark shirt from Aunt Danielle!
Still working away on one of Damien’s Christmas presents
Finally finished! Katrina should be a cat model lol

Since we’re moving away from the coast, we figured it would be nice to get in a couple of beach days!

We went to Grandview beach for Memorial Day weekend with Damien’s friend, Brom, and his family.
Damien always wants to build a sandcastle, but never has the focus to build more than a couple of towers before destroying it. And by destroying it I mean punching it.
Brom and Damien
Last weekend we all went to Ft Monroe beach with the Millikens. Scott is resting lol
Damien and Sarah playing
Digging a big hole to bury Damien
Here’s me relaxing while the others dig the hole 🙂
My happy boy!
Damien helping bury Sarah in the sand
Damien was happily throwing wet sand in his face…repeatedly…*sigh*

Birthday Adventure

I decided I wanted to try indoor skydiving for my birthday this year. It seemed relatively safe since children as young as 3 years old are allowed to do it. Plus, I don’t think ND has anything like it so I had to fit it in before we move. Scott and I did two flights each. My first flight was a little rough because I was so overwhelmed and focused on keeping my body in the correct position. My second flight (the high flight) was much better and I was more comfortable. I liked our instructor who I felt made for a positive experience. The conclusion: We are happy we tried it, but don’t feel the need to do it again.

Pre-flight excitement
My unphotogenicness includes wind-tunnels. I couldn’t find a single picture where I was smiling. At least my eyes are open in this one lol
Scott’s awesome pic!