Seaside Dinner

Seaside Dinner

Well, it’s over.  At least for Andi, Tanner and I.

And compared to how it all started on December 31st of 2011 with our grand entrance, our exodus form the island (which is taking place in stages), is feeling a bit anticlimactic.

But let’s not dwell on that!  I just enjoyed a fantastic eight days on the island with the girls, and I want to focus on that instead.

On Sunday, June 16th, I flew down to St. Martin for what would be my last and final trip to the island (at least as a semi-resident).  Andi had finished school at Learning Unlimited and was ready to come back home, but she didn’t want to fly internationally alone.  She’d done that once already for a medical trips, and did NOT want to do it again.  I don’t blame her.

I was there for 8 days, and to maximize the time with the girls, I took vacation days from work so we could play, relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Tanner opted out of this trip. In his own words, “I’m done with the island.”  Plus, it was right smack in the middle of little league season, and he would have missed six games had he come with.  MANY thanks to the Anderson’s, the Beard’s and Coach Todd for all the help while I was gone.

The trip was a splendid success in every way possible way.  But instead of boring you with lots of talk, I’ll let the photos do most of the sharing. Read the rest of this entry »

Breakfast at Ocean Beach Club

Breakfast at Ocean Beach Club

When we all arrived on the island of St. Martin sixteen months ago, the stress of relocation, of being jobless, of being in a strange place, and of med school all made it a challenge to really feel like this island was “home”.  After the last two months Tanner and I spent down there, however, my feelings for this place have changed completely.

I love this island.  I wish I was still there, and I hope I get to go back again before Carina is done in August.  I’m also a little sad it took me so long to feel this way about it.  I’m not saying I didn’t like the island at first… I guess I’m saying that it just took a while to be able to honestly say, “I LOVE it here!” Read the rest of this entry »

Josh Willingham autogrphs Tanner's Baseball

Josh Willingham autographs Tanner’s Baseball


We have a tradition in our family: When our kids turn twelve, we take them on a trip of their choice… anywhere they want to go (within reason).  Two years ago Andi opted for a cruise to the Bahamas, and Tanner decided he wanted to go to Fort Myers, Florida and watch the Minnesota Twins at their spring training.

It was SO!  MUCH!  FUN! Read the rest of this entry »

Written on March 24th, 2013 , St. Martin Activities

Carina, holding Piper, volunteering at the tie-die event with at-risk kids.

Yesterday I received the following Facebook message from my sister, Rebecca:  “I’m trying to figure out where you live right now.  Did you get a job that lets you live in St Martin’s? Or are you just visiting? What are school plans for Cari? And how is Andi doing? I guess I’m hoping for an all-around update on life.”

And Rebecca isn’t the only one who has asked us the same thing, so I figured I’d set the record straight.

Yes, I have a fantastic job (with great people) that is 100% remote, meaning I can literally work from anyplace that has a solid and reliable internet connection. I’ve had this job since the end of October, 2012.  So, the obvious question is: Why have Tanner and I not been on the island since I’ve had this job?   Read the rest of this entry »

The ‘Welcome to St. Maartin” sign by which tourists love to take their photos.

It’s good to be back!

Hey, I’ll be honest… I wasn’t at all sad to leave winter behind and come down here with Tanner to spend two months in the Caribbean with the girls!

In the months that I’ve been away, I’ve fielded a lot of comments and questions from people back at home about the island.  As a result it made me realize that I’ve not done a very good job of documenting in this blog what the island of St. Martin is really like.  I vowed that as soon as I got back here, I would take some time to drive around and photograph the inside of the island, away from the beautiful beaches, to show the parts of the island that you’ll never see on postcards and tourist brochures. Read the rest of this entry »

Andi and Tanner taking off on a para-saling adventure

What a trip!

It is now Sunday, December 2nd, 2012.  Tanner and I got back to MN a week ago today.  The time we spent with the girls down in St. Martin was fantastic, and I was profoundly grateful to be back with my wife and two daughters.

Little Piper is growing up so fast it’s scary.  She talks incessantly and acts more like an adult than a two year old.  Andi is doing remarkably well considering all that life is putting her through, and I am deeply impressed with her resilience.  Carina is happily slogging along, and despite the pace at which new material comes at her, she still seems to be enjoying this whole med school thing.  (Thank goodness!)  The first weekend I was there was block weekend so I didn’t really get to spend any time with her for the first couple of days, but after blocks her schedule slacked off a little and we had some good, quality time with each other and the kids. Read the rest of this entry »

Two of Five is Almost Half Done

Trail marker at the head of the path to Happy Bay

It’s Sunday June 10th, and tomorrow Carina heads into the second block week of her second semester.  This means we literally won’t see her all week.  And, as there are four blocks per semester, it also means her second semester is almost half over.



Okay, now that I’ve gotten the “wows” out of the way, I do also have to say that it’s nice not having Cari being in her first semester any more, for a couple of reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Grandma, Grandpa, Andi, Piper and Tanner down on the beach below our condo

Well, tomorrow morning life is going to change dramatically. Again.  Cari goes back to school, and I go back to work.

For Cari, it’s been a fantastic, relaxing, rejuvenating and much needed three week break. For me, it’s been a… (searching for just the right words…) a … an unexpected  but inspired four month weekend.

Just today I got word that tomorrow I will start a short-term contract for a company in Minneapolis to code a new web-based application for them. It’s not a long term gig, but it’s work. And I’m grateful.  On one hand I never thought it would take this long to find a company that would let me work entirely from a remote location, but on the other hand, not working the first semester of Cari’s schooling is exactly what our family needed while we all settled in to this strange new land.

But more on this later.  Right now I want to focus on my Mom & Dad’s visit and on Cari’s break. Happily, my parents were able to arrange there visit to coincide with Cari’s freedom so we could all spend time together.  And we had so much fun!  I’m not even sure where to begin, so, let’s start with Cari’s birthday. Read the rest of this entry »

My mom and dad on the beach down below our condo

A group we stumbled upon playing steel drums in a warehouse in Grand Case

Carina is on break right now between her first and second semester at AUC, and much to our delight, my Mom and Dad were able to schedule a trip down here during her break.  They like to travel and were excited when we announced we were moving to a Caribbean island.  We’ve been looking forward to their visit and were happy that it could coincide with Cari’s break.  I’ll compose a better post soon with fun details of their trip, but right now I just wanted to share a highlight.

Yesterday evening we drove out to Grand Case, a fun little village over on the French side that is well known for it’s cute shops and yummy restaurants.  (Andi, Tanner and I went there a while back and we recorded our trip here.)

As we were walking down the main street we heard the melodic and distinct sounds of steel drums, so we followed our ears.  We ended up in an otherwise unassuming warehouse where we found a group of young twenty-something islanders playing their hearts out on an impressive array of drums.

At first I just took a few pictures, and as I did so I was thinking to myself, “I wish I could record this… it sounds so fun and beautiful.”  And then it occurred to me, “Wait!  I can record this!”  I borrowed my dad’s iPhone (I no longer carry mine with me), put the camera on video mode, and after asking their permission, I started to record.  Here’s a short clip of them as they were finishing up a song. Read the rest of this entry »

Once a year in March, Heineken sponsors a sailboat race around the island that draws crowds and boats from all over the world.

This morning Carina, Tanner and I went to the back of our complex armed with my tripod and camera to catch a few pics of the boats as they began the Saturday morning stretch of the three day race.

I thought I’d share of few of the photos.


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