Tuesday, January 31, 2012

realities of teaching kindergarten

Today brought teaching into perspective...it can be a CRAZY day.

First--Shenell announced "there's a dead rat in the bathroom" upon inspection, there was a newly dead mouse--very healthy looking, but dead none the less.  Who was bleeding on our bathroom floor.  I quickly swept up the mouse and threw him/her in the bush.  I emailed the secretary to send someone down to deal with the blood.

Next--a student was having a rough morning and was "taking a break"  I had a little visit with her and she burst into tears saying she was "very sad".  I held her for several minutes as she wanted to be held and rocked.  I haven't written about this in our blog, but St. Croix is dealing with some very heavy issues with the closing of our oil refinery.  THE LARGEST EMPLOYER in the territory.  This student has a parent working at the refinery and I don't know if it is directly related, but would not be surprised as this student is extremely intuitive.

Next--playground duty, going beautifully, on duty with amazing woman, Ditty Layton.  report "M>>>> has blood on his face"  turn to look at M>>>> and he is covered in blood.  He had been playing on a piece of equipment and cut his head open.  I ran with him to the nurses office (was covered in blood myself) and helped for a short time.  As far as I know, he is doing very well and went to his doctor to get stitches.  A wonderful woman in Development was able to lend me a clean shirt and I will be washing my bloody shirt shortly.

Lastly--our kids made the most incredible bulletin board EVER!  I can't wait to post pictures. 

I love teaching and can't believe how many adventures can be lived in just one day. 

sorrell making

Brad with Sorrell flowers

pot of water

ingredients for Sorrell--ginger, cinnamon, cloves, sorrell

flower petals

Brad pitting the flowers

cooking the sorrell on the stovetop

budding photographer

centered and willing partcipant
Kathryn is becoming quite a little photographer.  Being a busy Mom, I don't always get to be a part of the photo opportunities that I see, so here are a few that have been captured by a new 6 year old.
pretty accuriate photo as I was starting my fever on this picture...not quite centered

Sunday, January 29, 2012

clint eastwood movie madness

For the Olson exchange at Christmas this year, Brad scored a bunch of Clint Eastwood movies. In the land of plenty, I probably would not be watching this, but it's entertaining here in the tropics.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

party rockers in the house today...

Great birthday party for Miss Kathryn Grace Olson.

Guests:  Sean and Loreen Paul, Vanessa, Otis & Nini Forrester, Jenny, Shane, Mikayla, Rachel & Brittney Wiest, Aaron & Kai Hutchins, Kaden, Kristen & Kaela Deller, Joshua, Leah & Crystal Rodgers, Justin, Giselle, Pamela & Jillian Guye, Menova & Bethany Lansiquot, Isabella & Emily Lopez.

Totally fantastic.  Kids and parents did not want to leave.  It WAS GREAT.

Happy belated to handsome Kyle Jr. and Adam

Kyle Jr. and Adam entertaining at Kathryn's 5th birthday party in 2011

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Blomgrens are coming the Blomgrens are coming!

Cory and Joan just called to say they are heading to St. Croix from February 15-22. It will be so great to spend time with them and show them some cool stuff from around the island. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Swedish movies

I have started watching the Girl With A Dragon Tattoo movie series, the Swedish version. It is mesmerizing to listen to the sing song and think of my dear Momma and her lovely scandanavian lilt to her voice. The movies are very dark, but extremely well done. Bravo.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

farewell Etta

You are a legend and your music will live forever.

full of opportunities

We are here again facing a glorious weekend in St Croix. What to do? I am going to take it a little easier than last weekend as I'm recovering from a nasty cold that sidelined me from a day of school. My boss, Jean told me to stay home as she could hear me hacking away in the classroom. It was just what the doctor ordered. Anyway, I will be taking it easy but not too easy as our days are numbered and fresh with opportunity.

Friday, January 20, 2012

fever in the tropics

Having a fever in a temperate climate such as St. Croix is much less appealing than fevering in a climate where you can find a cool spot of pillow to rest your head such as Wisconsin or Minnesota. I am feeling much better, but the negative temperatures currently posting in that region are certainly appealing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

our Kathryn Grace is 6

Our sweet, dynamic, thoughtful and intelligent girl is now 6 years old. 

Kathryn as a 2 year old

Kathryn at her 3rd birthday party

Kathryn at her 4th birthday party at Chuck E Cheese
Kathryn popping corn on her 5th birthday

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

6 years ago tonight

We were still a family of 3. Grandma Betty came to spend the night as I was scheduled to be admitted into Woodwinds to be induced. Magically, early in the morning, Kathryn decided it was her day to make an entrance. I was at 38 weeks and was attempting to have her naturally, not via c- section. Well, she decided that she should come into this world surgically. 6 years ago we didn't know that one little girl could have so much influence on any room she entered. She is our precious girl and we couldn't dream of a more perfect daughter.

Monday, January 16, 2012

hike to the tide pools

This morning our family embarked on a fun adventure to the north shore of St. Croix to the tide pools.  We drove and parked and started down the trail.  We found out after hiking about 30 minutes that we were going the wrong direction.  We started back down the hill and met up with a man who also missed his turn.  So we guided him to the correct turn and parted ways.  Kathryn, Anders, Brad and myself were hoofing it while Osten was riding in style on Brad's back. 

The hike itself was about 45 minutes one way.  We got to the rocky beach and Anders and I went first.  We had to take our shoes off because it was right on the shore that we were climbing rocks and would have gotten our sneakers wet.  Next time, we will bring hiking sandals.  Anyway, we got to the pools and it was pretty amazing.  I didn't bring my camera as I thought it would get wet.  The water was very warm in the tide pool.  We saw Nancy from Good Hope there...it was fun to see a friendly and familiar face.  There were lots of people there which is atypical according to a man I met who was visiting from DC. 

Anders and I hiked back and Brad then went to see the pool and do a little swimming.  He had his turn and we headed back.  The hike back seemed a lot shorter, probably because we knew where we were going.  Brad worked his tail off lugging Osten around, so he was pretty beat.  We ended up going to Rowdy Joe's for icecream and stayed for dinner.  YUM.  Very nice setting. 

Excellent day and nice end to a long weekend. 

on our way to Carambola, we spied this group of people riding horses in the ocean...really cool

Osten and Brad starting their journey

A lovely butterfly very close to the ocean

Osten trying his hand at hiking while waiting for Dad to return from his turn at the tide pools

The hikers consulting

A view of the Atlantic from the trail

Our place for nourishment after the big hike--best icecream ever.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Happy 33rd Molly Kathleen

lovely Molly with newborn Ivan George in November 2008
sweet. intelligent and beautiful Molly Kathleen Olson is celebrating her 33rd birthday today.  Happy Birthday!

reef at Cane Bay

Today our family again hit Cane Bay for afternoon of sun and surf.  On our way from Good Hope to Cane Bay, we took some roads that we have never traveled and saw some really cool vegetation and drove near the rainforest area.  We also drove past the petting zoo and domino club (where the famous beer drinking pigs entertain tourists).

Osten, Brad and Anders in the water

photo from first time at Cane Bay when Kathryn was able to swim

Anders enjoying the surf

peacock at Spratt Hall

flowers from a woman at Spratt Hall

When we arrived at Cane Bay, Anders tried his new boogie board, Brad and Karen took turns snorkling, Osten took a swim with Dad and Kathryn just played in the sand as she had a tough time listening during church today and needed a consequence for her actions. 

The reef was incredibly cool.  We saw some rather large tropical fish, tube sponges, coral, sea fans and a couple of different schools of fish.  We would love to dive the wall in the future, but we need to get certified before we can do that. 

We saw the Hutchins family and Kathryn was able to run around with Kai.  It was a fun day.

Tomorrow we plan on hitting the tide pools by Carambola resort.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


the farenheit degree difference between Christiansted, VI and River Falls, WI at this time.  79 in Christiansted 9 in River Falls. 

Today's sunrise/sunset
Christiansted:  6:55am/6:03pm solar noon at 12:29pm
River Falls:  7:47am/4:54 pm solar noon at 12:20pm

Daylight hours on June 21 in both locations
Christiansted:  13hour 13 min 58 seconds
River Falls:  15 hours 37 minutes 5 seconds

Daylight hours on Dec 21 in both locations
Christiansted: 11 hours 1 minute 47 seconds
River Falls:  8 hours 45minutes and 58 seconds

distance between two locations 2453 miles or 2131 nautical miles

all this information was found at timeanddate.com

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy 40th my lovely Julie

Julie and Libby Thibodeau--Libby was Julie's 34th birthday gift one day early

19 years ago my very special Julie Annette Anderson and I bonded over her 21st birthday celebration.  I was her RA in Crawford D Hall at then Mankato State University.  As a program option, I took her out on the town.

  I can't even believe that we've known each other for nearly 1/2 of our lives. 

Much love and admiration...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Libby Tibby

One of my nearest and dearest friends, Julie Anderson Thibodeau and I were expecting children at the same time 6 years ago.  Neither of us were certain as to the gender of our unborn children.  As fate would have it, Libby was born today--6 years ago and Kathryn was born six days from today (six years ago).  They are also good giggly friends. 

Here's to you Libby Thibodeau and to many more happy birthdays...
together as 3 year olds celebrating Kathryn's birthday (exchanged identical gifts)

giggling at apple orchard outing as robust 3 1/2 year olds

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

nice jog

So I have been lamenting the fact that I have not been running since we moved to St. Croix. On Monday and today I have jogged from our house to south shore and then onto the hapenny beach access road. Great little jaunt and really gets the heart going. No more lamenting and a lot more moving.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


So normally I'm not a resolution sort of gal, but this year, I'm planning on the following resolutions: brush my teeth twice a day every day, 1 minute of the plank position in yoga per day, swim 10 laps in our pool daily and jog for at least 30 minutes every other day. So far, I'm doing well and I plan to stick to my guns.

Monday, January 9, 2012

why didn't I listen?

We arrived back in St. Croix on Friday mid afternoon. Haley told us to go to Christmas Village and ordered us to attend the Adult Parade on Saturday. Did I listen, NO and today I was filled in by the entire school about how cool this event was and it the must not miss event on St. Croix each year. Man was I silly. A couple fellow teachers from Good Hope were dancing. It would have been a sight to see and experience. A side note not related to this, I just hung my sheets out, after 2 days of no rain, it is pouring. The clothesline that is under the carport was completely filled with laundry and diapers,goes to show, I should have listened to Haley and attended Festival activities.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

it's a small world after all

Today was a day of small world realizations.  We went to church this morning and were overwhelmed by friends asking where we had been for so long.  They all missed Osten wandering around during the service.  Ms. Hector also gave the kids wonderful Christmas gifts--Anders a belt and a watch, Kathryn a sundress and Osten 2 new Sunday shirts.  She is so thoughtful.  During the sharing of the peace, a man remarked that he remembered seeing us on the airplane on Friday--he is a visitor from Denmark and we realized this when the rest of his group also greeted us in broken English.  Tourist season is upon us for sure.

We then went to Good Hope so we could change into beach attire, I could prep my classroom for tomorrow and we could eat lunch.  My sweet Charlie stopped by to say hello...so great to see her!  We then went to Cane Bay where the tourists were out in force and a cool reggae band was playing--I think I'm going to like the tourist season.  Anyway, another man that we met on our flight named Russ from Renville, MN saw us and came over for a visit.  He bought a condo in Christiansted and will be spending his winters on island.  We also saw two teachers from Good Hope there...the Cannings.  It just seemed like such a small world today.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

full moon rising

This evening, right after a refreshing swim in our pool, the moon was rising right over the back hill.  Pretty incredible.

in the pool on January 7, 2012

Toby eating papaya and tina feasting on leaves

The sky over Hovensa

full moon rising

Friday, January 6, 2012

Great Grandma Grace

Yesterday Brad and I went in to visit Grandma Grace. She was so happy to see us and Brad did a great job of writing post it notes to help with the communication. There is very little that Grandma can now hear and she often asks who we are. She kept saying that we looked really good, so I think she does recognize us, but doesn't necessarily know who we are. She is in excellent spirits and did at times have a facial tick, but otherwise is doing very well for being a spritely 92 year old.

10 1/2 hour journey

From Grantsburg to St. Croix, we left the warm north woods and deplaned on the tropical island of St.Croix in a mere 10 1/2 hours. Check-in at MSP was relatively painless. Osten was not the best traveller on our journey to Miami, but we didn't have any overtly rude remarks or looks. Our gate in Miami was just four down from our arrival gate which was so helpful for us. We met a nice family who was traveling from Connecticut to Jamaica for a family funeral. Osten was very friendly at the airport and garnered a fair amount of attention. Our flight to St. Croix was much better. Haley came to pick us up and we dropped her off at BBC. We then went to napoleons for dinner and home to santa gifts. Kathryn had some knitting supplies, Osten a Bilbo and Anders Ninjago. I can't believe how quickly our trip went and how quickly our journey home to St. Croix was...time flies....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

crash day

Today was a bit of a crash day for me. I rested and relaxed a fair share and we also went to get the kids their passports. Julie, Libby & Abby came over for dinner which was lots of fun.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

adventure day

I am on adventures today. Drove down to Ellworth, paid property taxes, onto to River Falls to deposit Christmas gifts, coffee with Sharyl, Kim and Michelle, visited the University and visit with Nate, to Woodbury for eye exam and new glasses at the public library using wifi and waiting for Julie and my new glasses. I hope to get to Target today and fully enjoy the land of plenty. I miss my little creature(Osten)& brother and sissy and hope they are having lots of fun with Grandma and Grandpa. The wind is chilly today...the air temp was a brisk 5 degrees when I started the day. The sun was up at about 8am and will be setting shortly 4:30 pm.

Monday, January 2, 2012

mi casa

Today we stopped by our humble abode in River Falls as we were driving from Mt. Lake to Grantsburg. I knew our home in the Virgin Islands is quite large but our little home looked even smaller when we stopped by for a visit. Vicky and the girls are taking excellent care of our home and have made some decorating choices that will work really well for us. One of them is sheets on the basement bedroom walls and ceiling. Makes it a lot more cozy and welcoming. River Falls definitely feels like home. Tomorrow I'm venturing down to Ellsworth and River Falls for some errand running and may have coffee with some of may buddies. Tomorrow afternoon I'm meeting Julie and the girls in St. Paul which should be very entertaining. Need to squeeze some exercise in there too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


We made it. We ushered in a new year in Mountain Lake Minnesota. I woke up last night at about 11:55pm and went upstairs to see if Kent, Abby, Anna and Anders were still up watching and I could see the ball drop. We didn't see the festivities, but we did do a mock countdown And observed the New Year very quietly. I resolve to take care my self and my family in the New Year. I would like to exercise and be well. happy New Year!

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...