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!

Easter, Swim Lessons, And A Fun Day Out

We’ve had a nice April so far. Scott made an impromptu trip to Maine to visit family. With the pending assignment, it’s way easier and cheaper for Scott to drive up there. He had such a great time 🙂

Damien’s on the A-B Honor Roll for 3rd Quarter! Woot!
Damien was quite spoiled this Easter. The basket on the right is a very thoughtful gift from his Aunt Danielle, complete with a joke book, a bath bomb, and some new clothes! And of course the traditional card and money from Great Grandma and Tom. Thanks!
Damien reading me some jokes lol
We got a late start on Easter this year so we didn’t dye eggs until Easter afternoon.
So sparkly!!!
Easter must have been exhausting because this is the first nap I’ve seen in YEARS.
Damien just finished his 6-session Level 2 swim lessons! He’s gained so much confidence.
He’s having so much fun 🙂
Since we haven’t been out and about for a while, we decided to hit up Dave and Busters in Virginia Beach today.
Damien and Scott battling it out in Connect Four
So many fun games!

After Dave and Busters, we went to check out the new Ikea that just opened in Norfolk. COMPLETE. CHAOS. lol It had it’s own dedicated parking garage and we ended up having to drive to the roof where there was only a couple of spots left to park. You can only imagine how many people were inside shopping. Overall it was a good time. Sometimes you just need a day out of the house.

Entering into Spring with an Assignment

Since my last post, we’ve received some exciting news. I have an assignment to Grand Forks AFB! My supervisor made a few phone calls and spoke with the right people and it happened very quickly. I need to report by the end of August. I already have all the paperwork submitted and now is the long process of getting everything signed and approved so I can get my orders. I need orders for anything important like scheduling my household goods shipment. In the meantime it’s hard to contain our excitement. We’re looking at houses and researching the area. So much to do!

Aside from the assignment, there’s nothing significant to report. Work feels busier than ever preparing for an inspection and we’ve pretty much just been staying home this winter.

Damien spent his Valentine’s Day money from Great Grandma and Tom on another treasure dig thing.
This time he found some sort of sea captain. Damien added the Roblox character’s head for the pic.
Damien and I waiting in the car for Scott. We keep a small blanket or towel in our cars so he can put it over his head to sleep.
Damien wanted to help make dinner! He’s very carefully cutting up green onion for me.
Everything is a bed to a cat
Damien’s Spring Concert. It was uneventful. Damien didn’t even really sing.
Last week, Damien lost another tooth!
Katrina seems like to Damien’s tunnel 🙂

Winter Months

It looks like the blog site has updated and changed a bunch of options, but I’m figuring it out. Not sure how different it’s going to look on the site itself.

Nothing terribly exciting has happened since Christmas. I applied for a special duty position in Minot, ND, but it was denied. I didn’t know at the time I applied that the Career Field Manager just isn’t releasing anyone from my career field due to low manning and retention issues. Such a let down. I’m still looking into options, but it’s not looking good.

Experimenting with the perler beads
Damien is scoping out my laughing/crying “frog” while making Pikachu wearing a hat.
The final products!
Damien LOVES the various dig kits so he wanted to do it right away.
At least he’s old enough to do most of the digging himself.
This particular kit came with a little figure to assemble and hidden treasure. It was pretty neat.
After New Year’s I had some time off of work so Scott and I got haircuts and mani/pedis together.
Apparently Damien still fits in his Pikachu pajamas from a couple years ago.
Getting some fresh air and exercise at Huntington Park
Scott and I needed some exercise too so we brought a Frisbee and soccer ball.
Nice throw!
Scott was able to score us tickets to see How to Train Your Dragon 3 in theater three whole weeks before release. Damien is a big fan of the series.
My attempt at meal prepping my lunches for the week. So I cooked up everything on a Sunday and added lettuce and salsa later. It felt like a lot of work, but it’s an option I guess.
Damien received all As and Bs for the second quarter of the school year! He also passed both CSAs (96% on the Math one) and had perfect attendance. He’s doing so well!
Scott moved around furniture in the living room the other day and apparently that ignited something in Katrina. She was so playful and energetic. I wish I got a video.
Damien’s first pair of slippers. He’s busy watching TV…

Merry Christmas!!!

We had a very nice Christmas this year. Scott got an electric beard trimmer and I got a little TV for the bedroom. I’d been fighting it for the last 13 years saying it would interfere with my sleep at night, but I also needed a quiet place to shut the door and watch some TV once in a while. We opted not to record Damien opening his Christmas presents this year, but I took pictures.

On Christmas Eve, Damien with his new Christmas pillow

Trying out Damien’s new board game, Splendor. It was pretty fun!

All the presents under the tree ready for Christmas morning

Damien opening a gem dig kit

Maybe he’ll find gold!

A watch that also tracks steps/movement

Let’s Go Pikachu video game for the Switch

Opening up a NERF gun

He got TWO NERF guns! Now Scott and Damien can shot each other

Opening a gold squishy ball kit

A Pikachu carrying case for his Switch

Getting more gifts!

So wild!

The new Mario Party for the Switch

Perler beads. I’m excited to use this gift! Damien is sticking tape to his face…

A decorative screen protector for the Switch. Definitely needs this!

A sparkly gold bath bomb

A graphic novel

Monopoly chocolates

A strategy guide for the Let’s Go Pikachu game

A Kinex roller coaster construction set

All the presents from Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. If it wasn’t posted above, it’s because the picture was too blurry.

Here’s the breakdown for gifts:

  • From Grandpa and Grandma Hanks: Light-up snowman pillow and Splendor board game
  • From Great Grandma and Tom: Activity watch, gold squishy ball kit and gold bath bomb (as of this post he’s used the bath bomb and loved it!)
  • From Grandpa Whitehill: Kinex roller coaster set, NERF guns and ammo, Mario Party game
  • From Great Grampy and Great Grammy Whitehill: Perler beads, Switch carry case, Switch screen protector, and Monopoly chocolates
  • From Mom and Dad: Headphones, graphic novel, gem dig kit, Let’s Go Pikachu game with pokeball and strategy guide

Thank you so much for everyone who sent gifts/money for Christmas this year. Not only were we able to get Damien and ourselves some very nice items, but we also went to Christmas Town (which turns out is not free entry for military like it is during the summer). So thank you!

For Christmas dinner, we made a couple of casseroles and went over to the Millikens’ house who provided an excellent meal. They prepared one of their backyard-raised turkeys with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, two types of pies…EVERYTHING was so good! It was nice to spend time with family and catch up.

From Uncle Robbie and Aunt Naomi: a drone and gift card to the Nintendo eShop–thanks!

I can’t remember the last time we actually had a family photo taken so I figured it was time.

Scott and I doing test shots. I like this one!

The whole family 😀 (well minus Katrina)

A very rare sight–Katrina is actually sitting on Damien’s lap! So cute 🙂

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Town

The Friday before Christmas, we made it out to Busch Garden’s Christmas Town. A lot of the rides are closed for the season, but they decorate and open for both Halloween and Christmas. I love the Christmas vibe so I’m so happy we were able to make it out this year. We couldn’t have picked a better time too because the weather was a wonderful low 60s/high 50s and it wasn’t terribly crowded. We ate some BBQ, had some delicious peppermint hot chocolate, visited Santa, and rode the train around the park.

Damien and I with Frosty the Snowman

Moving through England

Entering France

The Gingerbread house in Germany

Outside Santa’a Workshop

Lots to look at while we wait to see Santa

Damien writing down what he wants from Santa. He wrote down “water gun”.

Damien and Santa 🙂 Or as Damien would put it “not the REAL Santa”.

Playing some carnival games. No prizes were won.

An attempt to get a pic together

Scott eating his apple pie a la mode funnel cake

Damien and I shared a hot fudge sundae funnel cake

On the train–choo choo!

Riding around the park

One of the closed water rides decked out in lights

The lighted tunnels made for the coolest pics

Selfie time on the Express Train

Time to head home

Damien said he didn’t have a good time. I don’t know why because the only thing that wasn’t great was the long wait in line for the train. Otherwise, I don’t know what he has to complain about! I loved it. If we ever go again, I’d like to see one of the Christmas shows.