Picking up where I left off yesterday brings us to the frantic week before Christmas. Oh was that a mad dash! Fortunately we no longer lived in the land of desperation and nothingness....North Dakota. We have so many choices here from grocery stores to tack stores to department stores. St. Paul and Minneapolis have it all. It feels so good to be back among a population of diversity and choices.
I frantically dashed through stores to get the things the kids had asked for and was pleased to have more than one Target and Walmart in which to shop. We are 33 miles from the Mall of America and it offers just about anything anyone could ever want. Of course my favorite store there is Nordstrom and it was like the Mother Ship had called me home.
After Christmas, I rang in the New Year with Influenza A. Oh was that a special treat. I had a 104 degree temp for 2 days and then it began to drop. I went to our local hospital/clinic which is a Mayo Clinic and they were nice enough to prescribe Tamiflu for everyone else in the family which I know prevented them from getting it too. The end of January Marc left for two weeks to go to Washington D.C. Naturally, we had an ice storm which meant Madison had several snow days from school and that left me with 4 arguing kids at home. UGH
February was Jerome's birthday and Marc's and for Jerome's bday, Victoria joined us from UND. My PEO friend, Bonnie and her daughter, Hallie joined us from Bismarck. Jerome had never been to a Chuck E. Cheese so we indulged him and tortured ourselves and took everyone to a chaotic, filthy, over-crowded pizzeria where a large mouse leads children around like the pied piper. Victoria ended up getting sick from the disgusting place and after taking her to the doctor, she had Strep. She left our place after staying a week and still was not feeling well, but headed back to UND. Once there she discovered she still had Strep and in addition, Mono.
My birthday rolled around in March and I was somewhat indulgent with myself. I went with Marc to Sears so he could get a $10 part for the snow blower, and while he was getting that, I wandered over to the large appliances. While he was buying that, I bought a new fridge. It was a really good deal and the French doors function much better in this kitchen than the other fridge. Then we went to the auto show and I kind of liked a couple of cars. I came home and researched them and lo and behold, we ended up buying a new car on my birthday. I love my new Durango and it too seats 7 so there is room for our newest family member, Victoria.
April saw Madison turn 16. While she has had a valid North Dakota driver's license since she was 15, Minnesota does not license persons under 16 so as soon as she was 16 we went in to take our driver's tests here. Seems Minnesota has a weirdo rule that licensed drivers from other states must take a written knowledge test to get a license. I'm happy to report that Marc and I got 94% and our smarty pants kid got a 99%.
Madison also has a new boyfriend. He seems like a nice young man and always picks her up and drops her off without being late. He's polite and respectful and she enjoys spending the afternoons at his house after school. I like that his dad is home while they are there and he seems to be a plugged-in kind of dad. I like that.
May brings up the end of the school year for Madison who started public school in January here in Cannon Falls. She's doing VERY well. I'm so proud of her being on the honor roll and for taking her AP and honor's classes. My baby is even getting an A- in algebra. Tomorrow we head back to Mayo which is 40 miles south of us so she can have her two impacted wisdom teeth removed. I'm so glad we are so close to Mayo for all of our healthcare needs. After living in North Dakota where the medical care left something to be desired, we are ecstatic to be so near world class healthcare.
The horses are out in the fields grazing happily. Madison has enjoyed having an indoor riding arena and still uses it even in the nicer weather since two sides of the arena slide open. The dogs love the huge fenced in dog area and the kids have enjoyed exploring the woods that surround our house. We have confirmed that there are indeed two mountain lions that live in the woods surrounding us, a den of wolves, badgers in our field and the most annoying of all....a woodchuck. He's eating the beautiful aspens and his little whistle like chirping is my morning wake up call. I really hate that large rodent. The bald eagles are abundant here and sitting on the front porch is such a treat watching them soar on the wind.
This is our new life here in Minnesota. Marc LOVES, LOVES, LOVES his new office and all the people he works with in the office here. He's a happy camper. We are working on letting the wounds and hurt feelings we experienced at church in ND scab over and begin their migration to the back of our minds. The kids are still too scared to attend church here for fear of experiencing bullying, racism and a weak pastor, but I think we might be on the track to finding a church that feels right. I think in time, Madison and Thomas will come around.
We look forward to June with lots of excitement. We have a large group of friends coming who have all adopted kids from the same orphanage that our little boys came from and all 40 of us will be doing fun things like a Twin's baseball game, Mississippi River boat trip, the Spam museuem and other 'normal' things. Who knows? Maybe we'll head to another historic brothel. Ah memories.
Life in Minnesota for us, has been good. It's like slipping on an old shoe that you forgot you had and finding it still fits great and feels good.