Friday, September 30, 2011

What is essential is invisible to the eye

This is from the Stone house Preschool newsletter. I thought it was so great that I want to document for my further reference. As I walk through the door of our West center, there are several children sitting together playing toys, looking at books. Kennedy has a baby doll in a crib. She covers it with a blanket. Osten sits on Miss Athena's lap. Miss Athena sings a song from our circle time "If I had a windmill, a windmill...". Some of the children join in the singing quietly, all the while continuing their play. Wilma is stacking blocks. Tyler and Jordanna are conversing about pictures in a book, sharing a special bond like a brother and sister as they have been at the Stone House together for two years. Miss Ishana holds Riley and they watch the fish swimming in the tank. And Miss Victoria is in the kitchen, preparing the ingredients for baking the snack. This Monday morning has a certain calmness about it.

As I walk through the door, I go unnoticed and I am grateful for that,as it reflects that the children are engaged in their play.

This is our ongoing work, creating this atmosphere of peace and harmony. The caregivers are constantly reminded to talk less- so as not to clutter the air with words and words and words. To many words can confuse children. The caregivers are also reminded to use a voice that is light and an articulation that is correct (not at all about the dialects of the island) but about right speech, which is part of the Life-ways training in Milwaukee. Having beautiful posture and beautiful gestures is also important as young children absorb everything mourned them. They are sensitive in such a way that the gestures, speech and the environment that is created actually permeates their whole being.

A morning at the storehouse part 1:

Each child brings a different disposition to the start of their morning. Some children enjoy swinging; while other children prefer to cuddle and listen to a story. So,e hildren are comfortable interacting right away with singing and baking, while others enjoy quietly observing. The caregivers keep in tune with these moods and respect the children's individual needs.

After the snack as been prepared, children engage in creative play. At 10:00, all the children are called with the ringing of a chime to wash their hands.

If little feet are muddy, a warm lavender foot bath is prepared. Each child is attended to in a careful, gentle manner. The mood is never rush. Sometimes a little song is made up on the spot to accompany washing all the mud away. This is truly a connecting point between caregiver and child. Sometimes the child will point out a scrape or boo-boo in a knee or toe and the caregiver will ask to hear a story of what happened there. The caregiver listens intently before engaging the next child who is patiently waiting.

After the children have had their foot bath,they proceed to wash their hand at the little sink. A caregiver may sing a song for hand washing too. We are now ready for snack together.

napolean's pizza

Good evening.  It's Friday in St. Croix and our family enjoyed our 2nd consecutive Friday night at Napolean's Pizza.  This time we checked out the Frederiksted location.  For $21 we each got a huge slice of pizza--Brad seafood, Osten and I chicken and brocolli, Kathryn cheese & Anders pepperoni, 3 small drinks and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean.  We saw 2 fellow GHS teachers on their way to feed their family.  Also met one of Osten's peers fromStonehouse and his Mom, Laurie.I'm thinking a tradition may be developing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

new student?

Last night after Anders had his school pictures captured, Brad worked his magic on Anders head and he received a high and tight haircut. Several students and faculty did not recognize him this morning. In fact, Anders haircut was a topic of conversation at our lunchtime meal.

We eat snack and lunch right in our classroom and many of our class members know Anders from after school care. I think it's amusing as now Anders knows what it's like to live in a small town.

rainbow connection

I have neglected to report that almost daily our family sees a rainbow on our drive either to or from Good Hope. Quite a sight to see.

Another bright spot is when Osten sees me after a wonderful day a Stonehouse, his face lights up like a Christmas tree. Charming boy.

not an artificial backdrop

Today Our lovely kindergarten class had their individual photos taken with a backdrop of the Carribean sea. I decided to purchase a small package to commemorate my 2nd go round with Kindergarten.

Unfortunately in my focus to get photos, I forgot Katie's swimming suit and she had to sit out PE class as they were swimming. All was not lost as 2 other Moms (bot GHS staff members) forgot to pack suits. Katie had fun drawing poolside with Charlie and Giselle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Last night, I hosted a Zumba dance party in my classroom. It was small, but fun. I did hear from others of places here on St Croix where I could take real lessons. That would be fun if I can fit it into our budget.

School pictures tomorrow

Tomorrow I will have my first school pictures taken in many years. It should be fun, butI have a gigantic pimple brewing on my cheek. Not much different from 1988, the last time I remember getting school photos taken.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tooth fairy visiting

We had another tooth loss in our classroom. So far we've had 21 days of school and 3 missing teeth. Bethany, Kai and Giselle all have received or will be expecting a visit from the tooth fairy very soon.

How refreshing

This evening after a dinner of five way chili, we took a dip in our pool. Now the kids are ready for bed and hopefully I will be there shortly. It was a really not day today, so it's nice to take a dip.

Monday, September 26, 2011

painting tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon I plan on introducing tempra painting to a crew of 12 kindergarteners--should be lots of fun and a learning experience for all ;)

We're moving along nicely in kindergarten.  Lots of learning and growing.  Today dress up clothes were introduced in our dramatic play area which was a big hit especially with Sean!  He wore all sorts of crazy combinations.  Having a blast with the kiddos and am very happy to report we now have two clean, large carpets in our work space.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to our wonderful maintenance staff. Spirits are soaring across campus.

Another week of swimming and this week we get our photos taken for the year book.  I am letting the kids get hair cuts AFTER their photos are taken.

That's it for now...

Happy Birthday Mr. Fifteen Year Old

Happy Birthday Handsome Thomas Matthew Blomgren.  15 is a wonderful age and we know that you will wear it well.

side view of Thomas in Door County August 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

outdoor lover

Osten definitely loves to be outside. When we got back from our scuba day, he played outside in the driveway and kicked and screamed when I brought him back inside. He loved rocks and dirt and bugs.

Our sweet Osten.

Sunday scuba

Today Anders, Brad and Karen attended a discover scuba class at N2 the Blue with diver Jenny. What an incredible experience! My teaching assistant, Haley watched the younger kiddos while we were outfitted, watched a video and were instructed on the finer elements of scuba.

Some of the things we saw were West Indian Sea Egg, spaghetti Worm, arrow crab, barrel sponge, lobster, 3 different schools of fish, Lizard fish, blue striped snapper, lizard sand fish, zebra fish, Bar jack fish, Christmas Tree worms, huge angel fish, brain coral, tons of different coral and the list goes on. We had a terrific time down below, but I got sick when we surfaced, which put a bit of damper on the afternoon, but I Quickly recovered.

We are researching getting our diving certification so we can go on our own in the future. Tons of fun and an excellent workout.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

first communion instruction

Is also on our list of to-do today.  Anders will be taking instruction for first communion at Holy Trinity Lutheran church in Frederiksted.  I will be with him and we will learn together.  Here is some information about the church we have been attending since being on island:

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

This simple church was built in 1792 to replace an earlier wood structure built in 1766. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is located on Hospital and Hill Street in Frederiksted. 340-772-3658.

whim museum

is on our list of to do today.  A former sugar plantation, there is potential to see things we have never before experienced.  I will do my best to document with photos and share so check back to this blog post in the future.

walking up to the great house

the center room

one of the end rooms

cellar of the great house

checking out the sugar mill

lawn mower

Anders is now officially matured into a lawn mower.  We have a substantial yard here in Grange Gardens--several hours are dedicated toward manicuring.  Anders was introduced to a whole new world and I believe thouroughly enjoys his new found responsibility. 

I fully believe he is using his imagination--which is pretty cool as long as he is paying attention to what he's doing.


The Olsons of St. Croix are now Toyota drivers.  I have been meaning to post a photo of our new minivan for a while now, but am getting around to it today...

So far so good.  Brad took it into a mechanic on Thursday and there were some tie rods? that were not in good repair, so they were replaced.  The tires were rotated, oil changed and the bill wasn't too bad--about $350.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Osten has an affinity for the dishwasher.  He likes to open the dishwasher and play with the dishes that are ready to be washed.  He especially likes to play with the silverware.  Several times we have caught him sneaking off with a random spoon, fork or knife.  Last night, I caught him sneaking a toddler spoon off to the living room.  He heard Brad call his name, but he kept on walking--avoiding eye contact. 

the little things

I have been wanting a carpet in my classroom for the past several weeks and have been told repeatedly that the carpets are being cleaned.  Yesterday, one of the offices on campus encouraged me to take one of their rugs from their office to use in my classroom.  Today I took them up on the offer and with the help of Kathryn and Joshua installed the carpet in our classroom.  I think it will be a comfortable landing spot for 12 little bodies in the upcoming months of kindergarten.

yoga = center

Today after school, Ms. Phillips led me on a journey towards inner peace and being centered.  She is a fantastic teacher who is very encouraging.  I kept thinking of my lovely momma and wishing she could take these classes with me.



Last night I was unable to post to the blog as the computer was being used to download Avatar season one. Anders and Katie are two happy children this morning. A great day to all!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Love from home

What to my wondering eyes should appear but the Butterfield paper, a box and letter from home in my school mailbox. About two weeks ago, Katie wrote letters to several cousins and yesterday we received a care package from Cory, Joan, Thomas, Evan and Trenton. New shirts and shorts for Osten, swim trunks for Anders, a cover up for Katie, books for all and a pack of baseball cards for Anders accompanied photos and a nice note. Kim, Liana and Ryan also wrote us a wonderful letter. It is so nice to feel connected to home.

Caribbean snow day

Today our family is enjoying a day in the house together. We arrived at Good Hope this morning as usual at approximately 7:15am. There were very few people on campus and at 7:40 when I called the students in from Ms Bicette's room, there were only 6 of a probable 11 students. Shortly after I called the children in, Bethany's Mom stopped by and said she was taking her home as the roads were not good. Then Sean's Mom came by to pick him up. Maddox was a little late, but we started with our morning meeting where Miss Haley shared some really cool West Indian Sea Eggs that she found on a dive at the Frederiksted Pier last night. She captured them for the fish tank where Ditty Layton has been dedicating her time.

Anyway, shortly after our meeting started, school was canceled due to the weather. I waited in the room until everyone was collected and then we went to the supermarket to get ingredients for making cookies.

Mom!  Look at the Rainbow!

the rainbow that Kathryn was spying
A new stove was delivered today so it has been well used already.

Shortly we will be taking a dip in the pool to cool off.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

21 gongolas

Last night after I finished posting, I found 21 gongolas lurking in our home...kind of creepy.  I much prefer them to centipedes though.

guineas and mongoose

This morning as Osten and I were enjoying our breakfast of cinnamon toast, we heard a commotion outdoors.  Three guineas were battling two mongoose.  The guineas were clucking away and the mongoose were holding their own.  I ran to grab a camera and the scuffle disbanded.  The guineas were seen walking away and I didn't see the mongoose.  I'm thinking noise scared them away. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

bee day

On our way to Rainbow beach today, we stopped by Kmart West and attended a bee-keeping exhibition.  Bruce's friend Wanda had wanted him to stop by and visit/taste some mead she had brewed---DELICIOUS.  I purchased some hand milled honey soap and Anders took a whirl at a game where he won a honey straw. 

Anders was very interested in the honey making process and as he was asking questions of a man who gave a great demonstration, The St. Croix Source took some fun pictures of Anders and the demonstrator.  We will have to check out the to see if Anders' photo is posted. 

rainbow beach

fantastic beach experience today.  Bruce took us to Rainbow beach which is the best beach we've been at to date on the island.  Several of kids in our class have talked about Rainbow beach and now I know why.  It was also just a perfect day to be out.  The water was warm, it rained on us a little and Brad saw a sea turtle and two stingrays while snorkling.  I saw some BIG fish, but nothing too crazy on my snorkling expedition. 

I love Rainbow beach.

It was funny because we caught numerous glimpses of Haley today...driving around in her little red jeep.  That still is in my dreams to own a little red jeep...could still happen!

Katie getting ready to take a plunge

The boys enjoying the warm swim


Kathryn after enjoying some Armstrong's chocolate icecream and healing her sore ear

cheeseburgers in paradise

Last night, Anders and I drove to Cheeseburgers in Paradise, a restaurant here close to the East tip of the island.  My friend and co-worker, Linn, was playing with her music group, Just Plain Folk and had invited our family out for the evening.  Kathryn was suffering again from swimmers ear, so Brad stayed home with her and Osten while Anders and I ventured out in our Toyota minivan.

Soon after arriving, we were greeted by Linn who was very happy to see us.  Bruce also joined us bringing his friends Tanya and Chris and two other couples.  We had quite a table of people listening to Linn play.  My friend Rita also came with her family to celebrate her birthday.  Anders played basketball, fought the noseums and enjoyed a dinner of nachos.  I had a great blue cheese burger and tortilla chips.  It was fun to get out and spend some time with number one son exclusively. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ice-cream Thursday

Tonight's a scorcher, so much so that I made a batch of ice-cream and before too long, I will be tasting of the wonderful flavors. Today after school, I gave yoga a whirl. It was super fun to flex and breathe and it was super hot in the studio so we were working up quite a sweat. I think I may have found another new exercise.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Calcutta cocktail party

This evening I went to my first fundraiser for Good Hope School. It was a cocktail party for a tennis tournament that will be taking place this weekend. It was fun to see some talented tennis persons and to enjoy an evening at the Bucaneer hotel. Very interesting and I believe there were some good funds raised.

from 8 tooth to 12

Osten has been sprouting teeth like crazy--his messy diapers and fevers now have an explanation.  He has been working hard on four molars in the past few days.  He is a major trooper for sure!

Monday, September 12, 2011

raining in the classroom

Today, we did have some great winds off the Caribbean and a fair amount of rain that made its way into the classroom.  Inside recess was barely perceived by the kids, but I was pretty tired after a full day of kindergartners in the room.  Brad made a great stirfry tonight and Bruce was our guest at dinner.  It was delightful, but I'm ready to head to bed shortly.

Over and out!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chocolate chip cookie day

Today, I am going to attempt chocolate chip cookies. We stopped by cost u less on our way home from church to pick up sugar. I just have to remember what Great Grandma Grace's recipe includes. I believe it is as follows:

1 1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup crisco
1 tblsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour
18 ounces chocolate chips

I've made these so many times, I should be able to mix in my sleep, but we do have company coming in Uncle Bruce and this is his Mom's recipe, so I want to make sure they are right.

With reverence, I am trying to observe the horrific acts of September 11, 2001. It's hard to believe that happened 10 years ago. Anders was just a little shaver at his 2nd day of daycare. Norma, one his care providers was unconcerned regarding the events, but it is a day that will be forever etched in my mind.

Here are some photos from CCC day:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wish granted

It seems as if my wish for Maria to stay away has been granted. I just checked NOAA, and there is 100 percent chance of rain, but that is so much better than rain/high winds.

Friday, September 9, 2011

how do you solve a problem like Maria?

Tropical storm Maria is on her way to St.Croix. Brad has installed the hurricane shutters and I pulled everything away from my classroom walls in preparation for the big storm. I'm hoping that the prediction is incorrect, but I'm sure we will be safe.


Anders and Katie have discovered the world of Avatar, the last air bender. I have to admit, it has a great plot and is fun to watch.

meeting the parents

Last night, I got to meet all of my students' parents sans two. Charlie's folks are teachers and Isabella's parents weren't able to make it. I think it went really well and I'm thankful that it's over. After the open house, our family hit the local McD's. A different menu, but still quite good. now it's Friday night, Brad is making pizza and I'm catching up with some down time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

eye on the tropics

For the first time, we are watching the weather off the horn of Africa very closely.  There are so many great blogs out there that chronicle the weather underground. 

Fascinating and a little scary at the same time.  When tucking in Katie tonight, she asked if we were in for another tropical storm and it is likely we will have another in the near future.  We decided that we should hold each other and have some alone time if we happen to get hit again.

Maybe we should just do that without a tropical storm?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How much is that froggie in the window

The past two evenings, I have done the evening dishes with a lovely toad or frog perched on the kitchen window. In Wisconsin, we would never see a sight as this, but here in st croix, it is an everyday occurance. Had a great day in school. Poor Osten was not doing well this afternoon. He has 4 molars surfacing so is running a low grade temp. I love that little monkey! Anders forgot his homework at aftercare this afternoon. I'm hoping that his forgetfulness doesn't extend into his 30s like his Mom's affliction.

On my iPad, so can't post a photo of my froggie friend, but I will when I have opportunity.

Monday, September 5, 2011

fun in the sun on Saturday

at Point Udall (eastern most part of US Territories)

big surf in background (at Point Udall)

A cactus from our hike to the beach

Jack and Issac's beach (lovely with great hike)

what we hiked down to get to the beach
We found a great beach on the east end very close to Point Udall.  Very secluded with white white sand beach.  AHHHHH.

tickles, cars and grins

Osten has become more and more mobile and really does a nice job of entertaining himself for longer periods of time.  Today, Brad, Anders and Katie went over to C & E's to help fix a table and to say hello.  Osten and I are here at our home.  I just finished balancing our checkbook (food is expensive here) and am getting ready to do some lesson planning.  Osten has been playing with various soft toys and saying "ticka ticka ticka", playing with cars and now as I'm writing moved onto my calculator that I was just using to balance the checkbook.

The sneezle has naturally taken over when we mugs for the camera.  I love the toddler that baby Smokey is becoming:

osten taking over entertainment center storage

Saturday, September 3, 2011

our new house

We have been home at Caren's for a week now and here are some photos of our lovely abode:

view from the gallery

Osten dining in the dining room

Katie and Osten's room

Anders room

Brad and Karen's room

Kitchen with signage from Caren

Another dining room view

kitchen into dining room

Caren's tortoise's that we are caring for Tina and Toby

View from swimming pool

Anders enjoying the pool

happy birthday, Ibby Gina!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, dear Ibby.  Happy birthday to you.

Ibby with her look alike daughter, Dehlia Grace

Friday, September 2, 2011

long weekend ahead

We had a great first week of school, but I'm pretty excited to head for the weekend.  We are planning on heading to Sandy Point and some other beach haunts throughout the weekend.  Some good swells are expected to hit us with another tropical storm heading east of us.

My teaching assistant, Haley is a certified scuba diver and we are hoping to take her up on her invitation to teach us scuba while we are here.  She is a great helper and has a natural teaching style. 

Great week and I promise to have photos soon of all our adventures.

swimming in Lindstrom

Last night, Osten, Brad and I drove to Lindstrom, Minnesota to see the River Falls Wildcats face Spring Lake Park and the Wildcats of Chisag...