Father and Sons Camp-In

Our ward Fathers and Sons camp-out was canceled because it had been raining so much that the campground was under water. The boys had been really excited about it so Sam decided to "camp in" with them instead.

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They set up the tent together, ate s'mores, and then watched a movie while eating popcorn. Alex said, "It's the funnest, funnest camp-out ever."

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Declan fell asleep around 8pm and I had the whole night to myself. Alex and Edison finally fell asleep around 10:30pm. They were a little sad from being overtired.

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Just after midnight, I was arranging Declan in his bedroom and was walking by the tent when I heard throw up sounds. Edison. He had thrown up a few days before but was acting fine and I really hoped it wouldn't happen again. I am glad it happened at home where I could start laundry and clean it up instead of Sam having to deal with it alone in the dark tent somewhere. Meanwhile, we had a mandatory water conservation order. Oops: 11 loads of laundry in four days.

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Sam is such an awesome dad. I am so glad he thought to do his own thing. The boys loved it.


Declan's Baby Blessing

Sam's parents were the only ones who were able to make it to Williston for Declan's blessing. Luckily we have some great friends here who gladly accepted Sam's invitation to be in the blessing circle. Sam gave Declan a beautiful blessing. He asked Heavenly Father to bless Declan with health and strength, the spirit of discernment, a strong testimony of the gospel, a love for the Book of Mormon, and to be a peacemaker in our home. I get really nervous speaking in front of the whole ward even when I am reading a talk that I have written beforehand. Sam is able to stand in front of the ward and use the Priesthood to give our children blessings. Amazing.

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That night, we had everyone come over for dessert. I made Russian Cream and Strawberry Trifle. Carissa brought delicious cheesecake. I ate way too much dessert and it was great! I am so grateful for the incredible friends we have here in Williston.

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Dave Merkley, Tanner Niederhauser, Mike Althoff, Sam, Declan, and Sam Andelin


Dave and Marian's Visit to Williston

Just three days after Emily Sarah flew home, Dave and Marian drove into town. They got here on May 31st just before dinner. We ate dinner, played, put the boys to bed, then stayed up talking until midnight. That was a bad idea as I was feeling a little iffy that day.

I woke up the next morning thinking that I may be getting the flu which seemed weird because is it possible to get the flu in June? I went to a garden demonstration class at the church while everyone else played at the park.

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Later that day we went to the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. When we first got there, Sam found a coin on the road. That was the first coin he had found since I made the little fish killer give away all of his money. I think it became the happiest day of his life. Then Sam found a frog. Life: complete.

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During the drive to the confluence, I started feeling even worse. Chills, fever, headache, blech. I also had a very tender and sore breast. That was when I first started thinking that it might be mastitis.

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After we finished looking at the exhibits in the Confluence Center, I went and slept in the truck while they walked around some more.

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I went to bed that night at 8pm and didn't wake up the next morning until 9am. I sent Sam to the grocery store to get the ingredients I would need for the next day. Because after 36 months of nursing, my body decided that the day before Declan's blessing and the weekend we had guests staying at our house would be a great time to fall apart. I felt better the next morning and we had a great day at church and spent the evening with friends (more on that at a later date).

Sam and his dad went on bike rides every morning. It was still really cold though. It was also ridiculously rainy. We've decided that if there is ever a drought in Williston, we just need to have family come to town and there will be rain for days.

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Sam came home from work a little early and we went bowling. I really love bowling.

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After bowling, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. It just barely opened in Williston and Sam was so happy.

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Sam stayed home all day the next day. They wanted to go see Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I stayed home for my Relief Society presidency meeting, which got canceled about 30 minutes after they left. That was disappointing. But they said it was beautiful. It was kind of nice to have a quiet day at home with Declan.

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As they were pulling into the garage, Edison started throwing up. He threw up several more times that day and night. I still wasn't feeling all better so that was not very awesome. I think I did more than 10 loads of laundry that day.

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Dave and Marian got Alex and Edison a special gift before heading home. They both got to be Super! The capes make them run even faster.

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I tried to take a picture of Edison being super but he was only being a super punk so then Declan got to be super.

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We are so glad Dave and Marian could come see our home in Williston. I think they were very curious to see the place they had been hearing about for a year. And the party continued with even more visitors in the next month!


Emily Sarah's Visit to Williston

Sam's sister came to visit us in May. She wanted to come out to meet Declan baby (it sounds backwards, but I call him that a lot) and so she decided to come over Memorial Day weekend so Sam would have an extra day home with her.

Emily Sarah has made a blanket for each of the boys when they were born. Alex and Edison liked Declan's new blanket.

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The boys loved having someone around who could endlessly play Duplos and read books to them.

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Aunt Emily also let Alex use her camera. He took hundreds of pictures of everything in the house. He was running around like a mad man with the camera.

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Each night ended with games.

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The boys made themselves at home on Emily Sarah's bed.

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We went to the park by our house. The boys would live at the park if they could.

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This might be the last picture we have of our hoop with a net. Someone stole our net. That's right, just the net. I know I shouldn't be surprised because this is Williston. But that one surprised me.

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We attempted to go to the races but they were expensive and loud so then we tried to go see a movie. But I didn't have enough cash (that's right, the theater only takes cash) and the movie was about to start and it was in 3D. So instead we got frozen yogurt then played at the park.

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On Memorial Day, we went to Minot. It was such a rainy day though so a lot of our plans got foiled. We saw a movie and then shopped. Not very exciting.

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On Emily Sarah's last day, we walked down Main Street. There isn't a lot to see on Main Street but it was fun to walk around and not have anything we needed to be doing.

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My Sociopath

Our friends, the Andelins, invited us over for dinner once upon a time. We were having a great time talking.

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Alex and Edison were off somewhere playing with the other kids. Then Alex came upstairs and whispered to Sam, "Don't go downstairs." That's curious. Sam went downstairs with Alex and then came back upstairs and got paper towels then went downstairs again. Alex had an accident while over there a few weeks earlier so I suspected that happened again. Sam came back upstairs and I said, "Did he wet his pants?" Sam said, "No, worse." I said, "He pooped?" If only I had known.

Alex had gone fishing.

He pulled out all of their fish from their fish tank. I was mortified. I wanted to cry. I did cry. Sam had scooped up the fish from the desk and thrown them back into the tank. A few of them were still trying to swim around. I didn't know how to go upstairs and tell the Andelins what had happened. Although Sam and Amy were good friends in high school, I had only met them a few times and I was so unsure of how to tell them that my son had killed their fish. I figured it would be best to make Alex do it. He was so scared. After several attempts to make him say it louder, I eventually told Amy. She started laughing. She was trying to be serious so Alex would understand that it was serious, but she was laughing so much. The fish tank was a birthday gift for her daughter and they had only had it for a few days and had already been through multiple batches of fish. One of her kids started crying. I felt terrible. It was such a bad situation. Alex later told us that he wanted to touch the fish. But it was just too creepy. Too future-serial-killer-esque.

This was new parenting territory for us. We had no idea what to do. Before we left the Andelin's, I offered to pay them for the fish and Amy refused because they weren't exotic fish or anything expensive. After we got home, we discussed it with Alex and then Sam and I tried to figure out what we should do.

Alex has a jar where he collects coins. He saves all of the pennies he finds on the sidewalk or road and puts them in this jar. I told him he would need 100 pennies and then he could get a candy at the store. I wanted him to come to the conclusion to give the Andelins his money so they could buy new fish. He is still working on the concept that things cost money so he needed some help coming up with the idea to give them his money.
Emily: Did you know that fish cost money?
Alex: Yeah.
Emily: Do you have any money?
Alex: Yeah! In my jar!
Emily: The Andelins are so sad that you killed their fish. How do you think we could help them feel better?
Alex: I think Band-Aids would help them feel better!
Emily: Can you think of anything else?
Alex: No, only Band-Aids.
Emily: I think you should give them some money so they could get new fish.
Alex: Okay. I can share one or three or seven or eight.
Emily: I think you should give them all of your money.

And then this happened:

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"But I want to get toys and candy!" He started crying. It was only 70 cents but that was all the money he had in the whole world. It broke my heart.

Alex helped me make cookies and then the two of us drove to the Andelins and Alex happily but shyly gave Amy the cookies, all of his money, and some Band-Aids to help them feel better. I was proud of him. But it was a painful proud. This will probably be a funny story one day. Or it will be the "that was the day we knew Alex would turn into a sociopath" story. Time will tell.

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Fargo Marathon

Sam has long had the dream to run the Boston Marathon. In order to qualify, he would have to run another marathon under three hours and five minutes. He registered for the Fargo Marathon last September and it seemed so far away. I still had to get through an entire pregnancy. Running through the winter was really difficult and his only option was to run in the cold, dark nights or to go to the gym. Treadmill running is not great for training for marathons. Eventually the weather warmed up and he was able to get a few good, long runs done outside.

The day before the marathon, Sam took the day off of work. We were on the road by 10am. It is a six hour drive to Fargo. But that does not account for three kids, one of whom was only a month old. We only had to pull over once for Declan. Sam played with Alex and Edison while Declan nursed. Driving with these kids can be pretty entertaining. As we drove through Velva, ND, Alex said, "Is this Hong Kong?"

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When we got to the Fargodome, Sam got his packet, bought some Gu, and then we wandered around.

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There were port-a-potties everywhere!

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We eventually left the Fargodome and went to Olive Garden so Sam could carbo-load. It was packed with people getting ready for the race. We had to wait for almost an hour and we didn't sit down until 8pm. The boys kept it together for the most part though. I think they were just happy to be out of the car.

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We went to the hotel and got the boys in bed by 10pm. I planned to stay up and shower but I accidentally fell asleep while I was trying to pretend I was sleeping so the boys would go to sleep. Declan had been asleep in his carseat all except for the three times he woke up to eat. I missed him so much so I snuggled with him all night.

Marathon day! Our alarms went off at 6:30am, we hurried to get dressed, eat breakfast, then drive to the Fargodome. I dropped off Sam at the door and then parked far, far away.

There wasn't anywhere to go in the Fargodome with the stroller. They had every area blocked off. They told me to leave the stroller and go sit down. But I hadn't brought anything else to carry Declan in. After 30 minutes of blocking the stairs, I finally got permission to sit in the ADA section. I was feeling handicapped, so it ended up being perfect. The boys weren't behaving but they were more contained.

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I should have brought the marker because I wanted to make a new poster that said, "Let's trade. Next time you watch the kids."

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There were 6,000 half marathoners. I watched most of them finish. There were quite a few half marathoners who ended after the leading marathoners. Even though they started 45 minutes earlier and were running half the distance. Once again, I was totally impressed by these marathoners. There has got to be something wrong with these peoples' heads.

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Sam started off strong. He was on pace to finish around three hours. I was so thrilled. I couldn't believe when they announced that the leading marathoner was at mile 17 and Sam was at 13.5. It is insane how fast people can run!

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We were able to track Sam's progress on my phone. I knew he was getting close to finish, and the Boston Qualifying time had passed. I teared up a little bit because it had been such a long road for Sam and I really wanted this to work out for him. But it didn't. As Sam got closer, Edison was about to pass out. He was so tired. I finally got him to go to sleep but then I tried to set him down. He was hysterical. Poor kid.

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Alex was very excited. He was holding the sign for 15 minutes and kept cheering for every person wearing green shorts.

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I wanted to travel to different points to cheer on Sam but it just seemed so difficult to move around with three kids. So I just stole pictures. Yep.

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Although Sam had realized around mile 18 that he wasn't going to qualify for Boston, he still came in strong at the end! He has decided that this was his last marathon. Training for them is too time consuming and he doesn't like running enough to put that much time or effort into it. Sam still does not consider himself a runner.

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It took a while for us to meet up because Sam's phone had died at 24.5 miles. Once we did find each other, we hung out for a little while I fed Declan and the boys took turns wearing Daddy's medal.

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We started the drive home at 2pm. I drove from Fargo to Minot because Sam's "feet hurt." Edison didn't want to hear his excuses.

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We ate dinner in Minot, and were home by 8pm.

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