Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

For some reason Christmas morning pictures are few and far between.
But I think we all remember this as the Christmas of the 12 foot caterpillar.
Seriously how did Santa get that thing down the chimney.
Noah was excited about his legos and wii games
Ella Joy loved her pink unicorn and heart shaped ear muffs.
JuJu put on her Snow White dress and wore it for a wee straight.
Georgia got a new baby.
David got a new pair of jeans, finally. He has been wearing old school Old Navy jeans for a decade and I got him a nice pair of Eddie Bauer jeans that fit nicely in all the right places. Why did I wait so long! I'll try to snap a picture of that cuteness another time.
And I received some oh so beautiful jewelry picked out by Ella Joy, let's just say when it comes to her taste the bigger, the sparklier, the better.
It was a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Young Women

I recently got called to be president of the Young Womens organization in our ward.
Here we at our Christmas party at my house.
We had a Miss Merry Christmas Contest, white elephant gift exchange, and drank frothy hot cocoa from my new cocoa machine. I figure it is a necessary kitchen item living in ND.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday JuJu!

JuJu arrived home from her adventures in SC.
She came back talking, counting, knowing her colors and with a better attitude.
Grandma Christie's private school education was well worth the expensive plane ticket.
We are so happy to have her home.
We celebrated her belated birthday with a pink cake at her request.
Everyone is so happy to have her home.
Thanks to Genean who brought her back on the 3 planes it takes to get from Columbia to Minot.
We were so glad to have you visit.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


In September I started teaching yoga at the Y.
I love it!
I teach on Tuesday and Thursday from 9-10.
I love doing yoga but I think the best part is how calm and relaxed I feel afterwards.
My body feels good and mind is really at peace.
I feel that I am a better mom and wife.
On yoga days I deal better with whatever comes my way with added measure of patience.
Very nice!
So glad to be back teaching!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Washington Elementary School

I love the kids school.
They love it too.
Everyone is friendly, happy, and enthusiastic about being there.
This morning I went to drop off gifts for the teacher and there was someone playing Christmas songs on the piano in the middle of the cafeteria. The kids were gathered around singing then the bell rang and they all ran to class. It really put me in the Christmas spirit!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Grateful for good friends.
Who moved to Minot for the same reason we did.
To work for Trinity.
They too have lots of kids and lots of loans and are just finishing training.
With not too many places to go in our little town, it is good to have fun friends!
Here we are all dressed up for the Trinity Christmas Party.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Close and Quick

Everything is close here.
The school is 2 minutes by car.
The grocery store is 5 minutes by car.
The YMCA/mall/ Target is 8 minutes.
The Church is 10 minutes up the hill.
I can run my errands quick--in and out.
Love it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Church and lots of Children

We love our new ward here--the Minot 2nd Ward.
This summer our ward almost doubled in size.
There are over 100 kids in Primary.
Sacrament meeting kind of reminds me of Winston-Salem days.
You hear the speaker over the sounds of many children.
Kind of nice because you don't worry as when your own children make noise..

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bismark Temple

The Bismark Temple is less than 2 hours from our house.
It is an easy drive.
Turn left out of our neighborhood and drive 100 or so miles.
We had a great day visiting the temple.
It was beautiful with all the snow around it.
Afterwards we met up with Lindsey and Matt, friends from residency, who are looking at a job in Bismark. I hope they move there!

Santa's find of the day: Giant stuffed caterpillar at Sam's. Talk about having to be creative in hiding a 12 foot long stuffed animal from EJ after our super duper Sam's trip. I stuffed it into 2 large black trashbags and pushed it behind her seat then covered it with all my food from Sam's. Ohh how I love Christmas surprises!
Managed to get it home without anyone discovering it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter Wardrobe

I love winter clothes.
I love the boots!
Ohh how fun to slip in giant comfy boots.
I also love all my new fleece and puffy down coats.
While I am inside I just wear jeans and a long sleeve t. And then I put on my ultra warm boots and my -30 degree coat and I can take on the winter weather.
I have to say I really think a lot less about what I don't like about my body.
How freeing!
I just get dressed and feel cozy and warm, instead of ohh poochy tummy or hello teeny and tiny.

Silly I know but it is definitely a perk to just be happy with my body and feel cozy and warm.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kind People

Okay I know I posted yesterday about nice neighbors and maybe after being in Miami where people will run you over and not look back I am overwhelmed with the kind people here but let me tell you what happened tonight that would never happen in Miami and maybe not even in the sweet old south.

My friends son had double ear infections.
Dr. called in prescriptions to CVS which closes at 10 pm.
We arrive at 10:05.
Drive thru window is shut.
Door is locked.
Lights are dim.
She runs to the door. The kind lady unlocks the automatic door.
My friend pleas her cause.
The lady lets her in.
5 minutes later she comes out with her prescription.

Just kind, considerate people.
If only the rest of the world could have a little bit of this, right.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nice Neighbors

Minot is abundant with nice neighbors.
Last night our neighbor Steve called David over to school him on the varieties of snowblowers. He also told him about the different kinds of snow. Evidently our recent snow was a light 6 inch snow. There is 12 inch wet snow that is much more difficult to shovel. I guess David and Noah will both be getting buff out on our driveway.
Our other neighbor David lent me his sprinklers because he wanted to make sure our sod got watered well.
I am so grateful for a cul de sac full of nice neighbors who look out for us. I think they are all worried that the new folk from Miami could freeze and they feel it is their responsibility to help us get through our first winter.

In general there is just a feeling of people looking out for each other.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Georgia is 1!

Happy Birthday to the most precious girl around.
I love this little sweetie!
She is such a good baby.
Not walking quite yet but close. She finds her way around. She recently learned how to crawl up and down the stairs. She loves to go find the kids downstairs. I will tell Noah to call her name and then she goes and looks for him. After she finds them she crawls back up the stairs so proud of herself.
I love her happy noises.
She is such a joy to have in our family. I can always count on her to get any of the kids out of a funk. Whenever they see her she smiles then they smile and everyone is happy!

Happy First Birthday Georgia May! Not her real name but what we all call her.

Hardy North Dakotians

When I told people I was moving to ND most gave me a look of complete disbelief.
Why would anyone in their right mind move to ND.
I must admit before visiting last January for the first time I had a hard time imagining how people lived here. I thought perhaps we would stay in doors all the time curled around the fire and never leave the house. I was happily surprised to see how active the people are here. Life continues as usual during the winter months--just with added clothing. I thought some of my family and friends in warmer climates would appreciate this memo I got from the kids school:

"Now that snow has arrived, please send your child to school with a warm coat, mittens, cap, snow boots, etc...We go outside two times a day unless the temperature is -5 F or colder or the windchill is -15 F or colder."

So just know if you here that the weather is -4 or higher in Minot, little 34 pound Ella Joy will be outside at recess.

Happy Birthday Pat!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cozy by the Fire

Nothing like getting cozy by the fire with some hot cocoa.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why l love Minot:

In the spirit of the season I thought I would post each day something I love about our new town.
It is a wonderful quirky little town.
A town that used to be small but is growing rapidly because of oil.
It is a unique place and we love it.
We definitely feel we are where we are supposed to be at this time.
Like everywhere there is good and not so good.
But I would like to focus on the good so here we go....

Things I love about our Life in Minot:
Papa can come home for lunch.
So nice.
I love seeing David in the middle of the day.
His office is 5 minutes away, so is just about everything else.
And its wonderful. If he only has 30 minutes he can home for a quick bite and we can chat with only 2 interruptions instead of 4. And if he has an hour he can come eat and have a little siesta.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

JuJu is 3!

Here is Juju right before leaving on her trip to Christie's house.
She has been awaiting her trip to go to SC since my mom came to visit in August.
Every time we go to the airport she wants to get out and go on a plane.
She finally got her turn.

Happy Birthday to my little wild one who makes us laugh everyday!
We love you!!

A few of her favorite things:
Changing outfits
The rockwall
Going to the Y
Chocolate milk
Hide and seek
Homemade granola

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Lots of sleep in the Hilton!
Last night without children.

We went out to La Mitad del Mundo--the middle of the earth, which is where the equator runs through Ecuador. It was lots of fun. They do several different experiments along the equator--walking the line, balancing the egg, and swirling water.

More later. We will be leaving in a few hours for home. Had a wonderful time, met wonderful people. I will always remember this trip and I hope to come back here with the kids some time.

So excited to kiss the kids--especially nibble on Georgia's ears, so delicious.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Portoviejo Day 5

Our last day in Portoviejo we went to a free maternity hospital to drop off some newborn kits donated by the Church. It was old and very run down. Interesting to see the huge difference between this free clinic run by the government and the foundation that was run by an individual that really cared about her cause.

We visited the cathedral in downtown Portoviejo and I climbed to the top.

We closed the week with a ceremony where the Church officially donated the wheelchairs, a microscope, and recognized the training that had been done by David. There were 3 televisions stations and 2 newspapers there. It was fun to see David in the center of the long table being interviewed by the press. He did a great job answering questions. Papa Dean would have been really proud!

Then we flew back to Quito for an wonderful night it the super soft white beds of the Hilton.
Absolutely love the Hilton!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Portoviejo Day 4

So you may be wondering why day 4 is 2 days late.
It is because at the end of day 4 David was in the hospital with food poisoning.
I suppose no visit to South America is complete without it.

The day started out great. Yolanda wanted David to get a chance to see some of the province.
So instead of going to the clinic he toured around a little bit with us.
First we went to visit a man named Pastor who became blind 9 years ago. He was only 30 years old. Prior to his blindness he didn't have much of a job. Once he became blind the foundation worked with him teaching him basic business skill, gave him a small loan to start a business, and continue to support him along with his family and friends. He had a successful business in his home along with a small futbol field along side his home which draws people there and then after their game they buy from his store. He had a very nice home, a wife who adored him, and a mother who adored him even more. It was awesome to see someone being so successful in his circumstance. The volunteers told me that the key to a blind person being successful in their program is the support of a spouse. It was so neat to see how much Pastor's wife loved and adored him.

Drove a long the coast. Saw a mule. Stopped and had a ride.

Next we visited a camaroneras--a shrimp farm. It was owned by Magdalena, one of Yolanda's friends. After we got a lesson on how a shrimp farm works and ate some fresh ceviche de camarones.

Continued along the coast and visited probably the poorest school we have seen so far--dirt floors, open classrooms with only 3 walls. There we went to visit a 10 year old girl named Evelyn who is blind. We got to see how she writes and reads braile. She didn't have a braile machine so did it all using a special metal tool. It was amazing to see how quickly she could write. I was impressed with what level of math they were doing.

Then we went to visit a private school funded by a man that is a good friend of Yolanda's. It is a montesorrie type school. It was beautiful. They had built one of their cabana out of old soda bottles. We visited the 4 year old class. They sang for us and did some recitations with hand motions and enthusiasm--super cute.

Last we visited the beach and went to eat more camorones at a little restaurant on the beach.
Then we had a long, hot ride home. I went back to the hotel to rest. David went back to the clinic to do some lasering. Then I got the call from Yolanda that David was sick and she had just dropped him at the hospital. She came to pick me up. Lots of puke, lots of diarrhea, lots of visitors (a latino thing), Yolanda even left one of her nurses to stay with us for the night. By the next morning he was better but it was a rough 12 hours. The good thing was that as fast as it came it left.

We thought it was all the camarones that he had eaten but then we came to find out that all the people we had eaten dinner with the night before were also sick. Yolanda, her son, and I were the only people out about 12 of us who did not get sick. Like I said the trip would not have been complete without a little or a lot of diarrhea.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Portoviejo Day 3

We started today at the foundation watching David teach the other ophthalmologist. I am so impressed with how well he can speak medical Spanish. I really did not know he could speak Spanish so well. I guess he learned some things during his 2 years in Miami.

Today we did tourist things. We visited the city of Monticristi where there is a museum dedicated to the revolutionario Eloy Alfaro Delgado. We learned a lot of history, visited his tomb, and met with the head of the museum. I bought souvenirs for the kids--bracelets, tiny baskets, wood animals. Monticristi is where Panama hats are made so I bought one. The city of Monticristi is about to have a festival so merchants are coming from all over and setting up tents in the streets. It was like a big fair but down the streets of this very old town.

Ate the most delicious fish.

Delivered wheelchairs to the foundation.

Tonight we had a wonderful dinner at Yolandas house. She has a beautiful home with mango and banana trees right in the middle of town. I met her son, his wife, their daughter, and her pet chicken, Angie who sleeps inside the house. There was a pianist, a waiter, and a cook all at her house. We sat outside for an houring talking, then moved inside for another hour talking, waiting for David to finish the laser. About nine oclock we started dinner. During the prayer there was an earthquake for about a minute, kind of scary. Ate a 3 course meal--delicious!

Another nice day. Yolanda is an amazing woman. I will write more about her work later but right now I am so tired and we are meeting at 7:30 to tour more of the province.

Buenas noches.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Portoviejo Day 2

Another great day. We spent most of the day touring the province so we can see how the foundation is helping different people throughout the community. They have programs in schools as well as programs to help adults who are blind learn to live with their disability.

First we visited Fernanda in her school. She is a 17 year old girl who is blind and deaf in one ear. We saw her use her braile machine which was amazing to see how quickly she could type and then read back what she had written. During our visit to the school their was a futbol game going on in the middle of the school. All the schools are set up the same, kind of like a plaza with the classrooms surrounding the center play yard. There was a little boy with a microphone who was the commentator for all the games and he was amazing. He commented on every move, named every player, really brought the game to life. He was so quick and witty, if ESPN could hear him they would hire him on the spot. It is something I will always remember.

Next we drove up the road a ways to visit a man named Sandy who is completely blind. He has a bicycle repair shop. It was so interesing to see his home and work space and how well he is doing. He built a bike for 4 people, 2 bikes side by side added a seat on each, then connected with a wooden board that could hold a few more people. Their main form of transportation is bikes and donkeys. Bikes are way faster so that seems to be a little more popular.

We stopped in the little pueblo of Chirijos. We saw their church, plaza, and met some of the people who live in the houses that surround the plaza. One family invited us in, we rested on their hammock, ate some mango, and bought some papaya which is their business.

Next we visited a man whose name I can not remember but who had the most beautiful green eyed daughter named Antonella. He is blind in one eye and has bad vision in the other but runs a very successful limon farm. He has a yard full of limon trees. He also has a little store in the front of his house. He has done so well with his business that he was able to buy a washing machine for his wife which is a very big deal in this area. Most people do their wash by hand. Before we left he cut some cocos from a tree and opened them with a machete. Miriam, from the foundation, was very nervous as the mostly blind man chopped the tops off the cocos so we could drink coco water.

Last we visited little Jesus who was born without eyes. He was such a sweet boy and so excited to have visitors. His mothers name was Jenny and she had 3 other children about the same age as our family. She was a very happy mom and there was such a sweet feeling in their home.

After all of our visits we went to eat at La Granda which was a restaurant in someones backyard. They were a very well to do family for the area. They had hammocks hanging, Christmas decorations up, and delicious food. For lunch we had baked platanos con salprieta, which is crushed peanuts and corn meal. There is a saying here that once you have eaten salprieta you will have to return. I guess we will see. We also had a delicious bean soup and then a plate of rice, chicken, and vegetables. When we finished our meal we went to visit their animals outback. They have 2 mama pigs that are due any day. I told them to call us if the little piggies are born this week because I would love to see them. They were the biggest pigs I have ever seen.

Later, after we had a siesta in our hotel, we went to Magdalenas house where I taught Sister Yost, Magdalena, and Yolanda yoga. We laughed and had a great time.

I am really loving my time. here. It is amazing to see these people who according to our standards have so little but are truly happy. They love sitting around with their families, eating together, having visitors. They really seem to live in the present. They seem to go about their day taking care of the things that need to be done, wash some clothes, fix a meal, sell a few papayas. They always have time for others. As we have visited it is apparent that they have all that they need and live beautiful simple lives and they are happy. It is wonderful to feel of their happiness.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Portoviejo, Ecuador Day 1

So I think I will try and write each day what we did then add all my pictures once I get home. I am sitting in our hotel lobby using their computer. In front of me is an armed guard. He is protecting the hotel. I do not feel in danger (sorry can not find the apostrophe on this spanish keyboard and i think it might be from 1999 because the buttons are really hard to push) anyways I was saying I do not feel in danger but evidently someone thinks its a good idea for him to have a gun and walk around the front of the hotel so that is fine with me.

Today was amazing. We started it at the foundation which provides eye care for the people of the province of Manabi. David stayed there to see patients and train 3 ophthamologists on using the laser while I visited 2 schools, 1 home, and a water reserve.

I loved visiting the schools. They are all behind locked walls--again a safety thing. The children were so cute and excited see americanos. The classrooms were very simple--desks, chalkboard, and the teacher. Some of the classes have up to 40 students per class. I asked about disciplining so many children and she said that was not a problem. The children behave and if they get out of line the teacher speaks very sternly to them and that is enough.

We visited a little girl named Samantha in her home. She is blind and can no longer attend school so the foundation helped her mother open a small store in their home so she could care for her and have a way to make some money to support her daughter. They lived in very humble home with the store on the bottom and their home above. The laundry hung along lines in the front of the house. Before we left they gave us a bag of her homemade candies.

After a nice lunch of encebollada (onion soup with fish and shrimp) we drove through the countryside to the water reserve. I loved seeing all the different homes. They were small and simple, many made of bamboo. Most of them did not have windows. There were tables and chairs outside with people eating and playing cards, clothes hanging on lines from the trees, chickens in little pens. ( I was told today the chicken that you eat here is tougher because they are muscular, they run around--have normal chicken lives unlike american chickens that are pumped full of hormones and get to fat to walk). It really was amazing to see such a different way of life.

We drove back to the foundation where David was still working. I got to see him using the laser which was fun for me because I never see him at work. It made me appreciate his work and when he tells me he has had a hard day I can understand a little better what that means.

Awesome day, looking forward to another.

Adios for now!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Just got back from Ryan's wedding in Jamaica.
Everyone had a great time.
Haley was a beautiful brids-her dress was amazing!
I will post pictures when I get them from Alyssa--the other Stier sister.

My mom arrived yesterday
David and I are leaving this Saturday for Ecuador.
David is doing a humanitarian trip for our Church.
He is going to teach some ophthalmologist how to use a laser that the Church is donating.
I will post pictures and more details when we return.
Right now I have lots to do to get ready.
Everyone can think of my mom next week as she stays here with all the children.
Ohhh she is the best grandma ever!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Where did October go?

Martina McBride in concert at Host Fest.

Walking tree at the Host Fest

Trolls and all things Scandinavian--every year the Host Fest comes to Minot. It is the largest Scandinavian festival in the world, Wow! Right here in Minot.

At the rodeo.

The kids loved watching the barrel races, calf roping, and bullriding...

We are really becoming North Dakotians.

After Church without shoes, of course.

Decked out with silly bands, bead neclaces, makeup, and hair clip

Flying unicorn, Stitch, Sleeping Beauty, and Black Spiderman

Running away from home with all her favorite toys wrapped up in her scratchy.

She told me she was running away so I said you might want to put on your coat and maybe your boots too. She thought that seemed like a good idea. Then I asked her if she would be back by Christmas and she said no she would be back by the holiday before Christmas, the one where you eat turkey. Okay, sounds good I said. Can I take a pictures so I will remember what you look like. Sure she said. Alright I said be careful go wherever you like but just don't leave the front yard. Okay. So she walked aimlessly around the front yard til she decided that home wasn't so bad.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy 35th Birthday, David!

Happy Birthday to my super handsome husband who brushes his teeth while gasing up the car.
Can anyone else say, gross!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oh so brave

I took all the kids to get their shots.

It was a circus but I thought it best to get it over with all at once.

Noah went first--cried anticipating the pain that he never felt.

The girls listened from outside the door and then both ran in saying, me next, me next.

Juju jumped on the table oh so brave and then big tears fell once she felt the pinch.

A lollipop made it all better.

EJ wasn't due for any.

Then it was sweet Georgia's turn.

We all stood around her as she got 123 shots.

Her lip quivered, she cried and then Noah made her happy by sharing his pop.

She didn't make another sound.

Amazing what a lollipop can do.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

Doesn't everyone looked excited?

So that's a little better.

The kids love their new school.

It is about 5 blocks away, a one minute drive.

They both love their teachers.

Noah's teacher is a friend of mine that I met at the Y.

It is her first year teaching and she is very enthusiastic and kind.

Ella Joy seems to love her teacher. After the second week she proudly announced, "This was the best day ever, I didn't even go to time out once." Good job, EJ.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Black Eyed Peas

Minot is small. And one wouldn't expect a world famous band like the Black Eyed Peas to stop by for a concert unless the only female in the band (Fergie) happened to be married to a certain boy (Josh Duhamel) who happened to grow up in Minot, a city that experienced a 500 year flood leaving thousands of people without homes so in attempts to help with recovery they decided to do a benefit concert right in our backyard. David burned me a CD, the kids and I learned all the top hits (radio versions, of course) and man was I ready. Honestly did not think I would have so much fun! It was a great concert and really cool to see people giving of their time/talents to help the community here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Visited Temple Square

At the Temple doors

4 thrilled children

Visited Maria at her amazing home on the side of the mountain, so good to see her!

All the kiddies together

Visiting Grandma Jacobs!!!

Ohh the mountains

Dropped by the oh so romantic spot where David proposed at 7 am on the way to an exam

What I saw and heard for 90% of the trip

Also what I saw for 90% of the trip

I have really been wanting to visit Grandma Jacobs the last couple of years but we were always so far. Now that we are in North Dakota it seems like a hop, skip and a jump to Utah (really 1000 miles, but who is counting). After they extended summer vacation for 2 weeks because of the flood, I was ready for a "break" and decided we would hop in the van and drive to see Grandma. David took off work, I packed the van with clothes, food, and entertainment and a way we went. On the way we took 2 days, stopping half way in Bozeman, Montana to stay with friends. On the way home we were ambitious or maybe just desperate to end the misery of being in the car with #3 so we drove straight for 17 hours. I will just say that we made it and everyone is alive and that is what counts, right?

Highlights from our trip:

Visiting grandma and her cute little duck pond

Touring BYU, visiting the Bean Museum--EJ cried the whole time because she felt sad for all the dead animals, buying BYU parafernalia--EJ and JuJu found the tackiest hats in the store

Visiting friends from David's mission

Visiting the places we lived when we were first married

Park City--went down the Alpine slide and coaster, the coaster is so much fun! Imagine a one cart rollercoaster on tracks, super fun!!

Lunch with Maria at a delicious little cafe across from the temple--I am still thinking of that

salmon burger and the ginger carrot soup, so delicious.

Visiting the Cope's little farm and eating amazing Indian food!

Finally seeing the last Harry Potter movie.

It was a great trip. A lot of work, but worth it.