Monday, June 6, 2016

The Next Chapter Begins: Choteau, Montana

I must say, we are all loving life up here in Choteau, Montana. It's a great little town in an absolutely beautiful part of the country. The weather is gorgeous! Most days it doesn't get hotter than the mid-70's; some days it doesn't get past the high 60's. It actually feels quite a bit like an Alaskan summer, but with less mosquitoes! Two years ago, moving from Alaska to southeast Kansas while rather pregnant made for what felt like the hottest summer of my life. Moving from that hot Kansas humidity up to this dry, fresh, cool air while rather pregnant has been bliss! Aaron loves it no less than I do. For, him, just breathing the air up here feels like home. He is one happy, thoroughly contented man!

During the first week here, we were blessed to have my parents around to help us unpack and settle in. Grandpa made sure to include a little exploring to keep things interesting. He took Xander fishing at the nearby river, but all Xander caught were 4 crawdads, 3 of which were smart enough to escape. The remaining poor little fellow had the privilege of amazing a crowd with the fact that he turned from muddy brown to bright red when boiled. Xander and Grandpa thought the tiny morsels were delicious.

While Grandma and Grandpa were here, we discovered a few other things, as well. For one, that we were blessed to move into a wonderfully welcoming ward. With open arms, meals, treats, and people dropping by to introduce themselves, they welcomed us days before we even got to go to Church to meet everyone. It's so nice to feel wanted and needed! While it's not quite literally true that our family doubled the primary, it's pretty close, at least on weeks like today when some regulars are on vacation and no visitors are there. Today we had 9 kids in all of primary, junior and senior meeting together, and 4 of them were Dahles (plus, out of the 2 Nursery kids there today, one was a little Dahle). Aaron was substituting for the regular senior primary teacher (yes, all of senior primary meets together in one Valiant class) today and the only kids in class were Xander and Elodie! I happen to know these specifics because I was called a couple weeks ago to the same calling I had in our last ward: Second Counselor in the Primary Presidency! Primary is such a fun place to be. And as an added bonus, since junior and senior meet together during the second block, primary leaders get to go to Relief Society!


We also discovered how nice and generous our neighbors are when they offered us their lawn furniture and folding table and chairs while we waited for our furniture to arrive. And we discovered our cozy little library that kept the kids in books while they awaited their personal collection.

On the day the moving truck arrived and the crew unloaded our truck, it was so nice to have Grandma and Grandpa off entertaining the kids as they explored the Dinosaur Museum, library, park, and ice cream parlor! I tried to figure out where everything from our 4-level house with lots of storage would go in this little house with limited storage. By using up every bit of room in our allotted half of the detached garage and utilizing the second kitchen in the basement as our food storage room, we were able to fit everything in fairly well. In fact, I'd say we fit pretty cozily in here. The tightest fit is our dining room table in the little kitchen eating area, but as long as the person sitting in front of the fridge is flexible about moving if you forgot the salad dressing and the skinny little kids are in the back by the wall, we discovered that we can fit our family and two guests around the table. "A house filled with love has elastic walls," as a wise woman once said.

I'm so grateful that we found this affordable house that is big enough for our family and stuff (over 21,000 pounds of stuff!! Unbelievable!). We can stay here as long as we need to while we save up and look for just the right house for our family to settle in to for the long haul. My favorite part about the house is that it's right in town, close enough to walk or ride bikes to the library, school, pool, grocery store, church, scout hall, tire shop, and most everywhere. The town has such a great, safe, family-friendly feel that after only being here a week, I felt just fine about having Xander bike himself to and from basketball camp at the school 3 blocks away. He bikes himself to scouts on Tuesdays, he and Elodie bike together to swim team daily, and they biked together to Church one week. It simplifies my life so nicely to have them transporting themselves to activities, and they've taken the responsibility on beautifully! Speaking of beautiful, check out how clear this water is!

Aaron, Grandpa, and most of the kids went out fishing and exploring the beautiful reservoirs around us while my mom and I unpacked and turned the heap of boxes and furniture into a cozy home. We are all feeling settled and happy here in rural Montana!


(Written on July 17 in an attempt to catch up!)

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