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 »

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 »

Ribs and Chicken on the Barbie.... Sea Side. Mmmm!

One of the great things about being on the island with the American University of the Caribbean and as Mormons is that we get to know people in both communities.  In only a few months we’ve met some wonderful people through AUC who will no doubt be friends for many years to come, if not for life.  And through the LDS branch here on the island we’ve also met some local islanders who are fantastic people and who we never would have met had it not been for the Mormon church.

(Quick vocab update for non-Mormons:  Mormon congregations come in two types: wards and branches.  Wards are big, branches are small.  The congregation on St. Martin is too small to be a ward, so we’re a branch.)

This past Easter weekend the branch sponsored two activities: A beach side BBQ on Friday and an Easter Egg hunt on Monday.  I didn’t make it to the egg hunt, but all the kids and Michelle went and the report was tremendously positive.  I did, however, make it to the BBQ with Andi, Tanner and Piper.  And wow!  What a treat!  The chicken and ribs flowed endlessly, the company was terrific, the weather was beautiful, and the beach (which we hadn’t been to before) was beautiful.    But most of all, the chicken and ribs flowed endlessly and the company was terrific!

I thought I’d share a few photos of both events. Read the rest of this entry »

In another week we will have been on the island for 3 months. Time is going both fast and slow, if that makes sense.  And while we still miss so much about St. Cloud, we are finally starting to feel as if this new life is settling down.  We’re learning the island, developing routines, and meeting new people.  There are still the occasional tears over missed friends, and while I’d stop short of saying that we feel like this is “home” we are at least headed in that direction.

Home School

Andi and Tanner enjoying an apple sauce while taking a study break.

Where to begin…

I am learning so much about Andi and Tanner that I never knew before, and I’m also beginning to grasp the holes that exist in public education.  If I could go back in time, I would involve myself to a much greater level with their schooling and homework.

I’m not implying they are deficient, but I am saying they both have strengths and weaknesses I didn’t know about.  With more careful scrutiny and one-on-one attention, I think their strengths could be more developed and their weaknesses less pronounced.  Out of fairness to them I won’t go into details, other than to say I hope this home schooling stint will help in both areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Cari and Piper enjoying the sites and sounds of the beach.

Last Saturday, the 18th of February, we were planning an entire day outing to the Marigot Market in the morning and then back to Guana Beach in the afternoon.  Matt and Cecily Lew instigated the outing, and at first Cari was planning to sit this one out to study (again) but the rest of the family would have absolutely none of that.  Saturday marked eight weeks since we’d been on the island, and she had yet to ever see anything past the walk from our condo to the school.  We literally dragged her away from her books and kidnapped her into our outing.

We’re happy to report that at the end of the day, she declared she was thrilled to have come with us and delighted that we talked her into it! I’ll let the photographs do most the talking. Read the rest of this entry »

Andi and Tanner with their body boards

In the past week or so we’ve been able to get out a little more and enjoy St. Martin’s most beautiful and bounteous resource: it’s many beaches.

There are so many beaches on this island, and each of them are unique in their own way.  We’ve only seen a few of them but we look forward to enjoying more now that we have a car.  And in the mean time I’ll share some of the fun we’ve been having at the beaches we have been to.

Also, I’d like to let Andi do some of the talking.  For a home school assignment she wrote up a short report on Guana Bay, and she agreed to let me post it on the blog.  You’ll find it below. Read the rest of this entry »

Plum Bay - Most of the Gang

I thought I’d just share a fun and eclectic collection of photographs that represent some of the things we’ve been doing and discovering since we’ve come to St. Martin.  I’ll let the pictures tell the story.  I still have no way to charge the batteries on my camera, so I don’t have as many photos to share as I’d like.  But this will get us started for now.

Plum Bay

On Friday afternoon we were picked up by Cecily Lew, Cheyenne McGlue, and Cheyenne’s two boys Dillon and Ronan.  They took us to one of their favorite beaches, Plum Bay. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on January 14th, 2012 , St. Maarten Beaches

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