Saturday, June 30, 2012


What a wonderful adventure at the Minnesota Zoo today.  We (Grandma Betty, Anders, Kathryn, Osten, Ryan and myself) left the house at 7:45 and arrived at the Minnesota Zoo at approximately 9:45am.  We met the Blomgren's and had a wonderful time touring the grounds.

Some of our favorites were dolphin training and shark tank at Discovery Bay, The Tropics Trail, Russia's Grizzly Coast--leopard, sea otters, brown bear, wild boar and the illusive tiger.  Osten kept calling everything monkey and had a delightful time. 

Kim packed a yummy lunch and shared with all.  I had been planing on leaving earlier as I thought 3 hours at the zoo would be too much, but we wanted to stay for more and we still didn't see everything. Next time, we would like to hit the farm, spy a tiger, perhaps bring a swimsuit and enjoy the central plaza, watch the bird show and see the outlying exhibits.  So much to see and do. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

give me an l, give me an a, give me a k, give me an e

We have been enjoying ourselves today at the lovley Big Wood Lake.
Ryan Edward has stolen away with us to enjoy some time in the great sunfish lake of the north.

Anders floating on inner tube

Kathryn attempting to resurrect a flat tube

Ryan adding propulsion to the bullet float with his snorkel fins

The supervisor, little O

Thursday, June 28, 2012

jogging day

Yesterday was my first day of being reintroduced to jogging since mid-January. I walked/ jogged in 5 minute intervals for 35 minutes ending up with 17.5 minutes each. I feel great today so will give it another try tomorrow. Osten is down for a nap so I plan on sneaking out for a quick bike ride in a few minutes. Love physical activities!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Can go a long way at a 2nd hand store. Kathryn and I went shopping today while Grandma B worked at Care and Share and walked away with Kathryn's first day of first grade outfit, a dress, a short sleeved sweatshirt, sparkly shirt, zip up sweatshirt, red tank top, long sleeved purple shirt and a Nike shirt for Anders. Yesterday we dropped $3 for a pair of boots for Kathryn, Nike tennis shoes for Osten and a Hollister shirt for Anders. Thrift stores ROCK.

Happy 19 on the 25th

Happy anniversary to my wonderful brother and sister in law, Mr. And Mrs. Kyle and Kim Blomgren. We are blessed to have you in our family.

baseball fever

Thanks for the Blomgrens for including Anders in the little league baseball adventures!

Liana's team won the championship and Ryan's team placed 3rd at the Mountain Lake little league playoffs this evening. It was hot, but the baseball kept us there. Little miss Liana was also recognized for her hustle by receiving the Miss Hustle Award. Tons of fun to experience.
Osten making a friend at the game

Champion Miss Hustle..LMB!

Tomorrow morning, Anders will be heading to the ballpark to participate in the last meetings of the teams...I know he's so happy to be back and playing ball.


The past week has been flying past quite quickly.

On Sunday, we met as family at the Pierson Reunion, Leo's visitation and dinner at the Wilderness Restaurant.

On Monday, 15 of 22 Pierson cousins (4 of the missing 7 had been at the visitation on Sunday evening) attended a lovely funeral for our humble and nature loving uncle Leo. The service was great and his son, Randy brought Leo in his casket to the gravesite on his wagon behind his tractor.
Leo and Loie at the 2008 Pierson Rebellion

Tuesday and Wednesday have brought Ryan and Anders ever closer with sleepovers and baseball games.

Anders, Kathryn, Osten and I went to Lamberton on Tuesday to visit with Cory, Joan, Thomas, Evan and Trenton. What a nice visit and time at their picturesque farm. The Virgin Islands were great, but family trumps.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Last night we drove into my parents driveway. It is so nice to be home. Shortly after our arrival, Kim, Kyle, Adam, Liana & Ryan dropped by for a brief visit. I have never seen Anders so happy to see anyone in his life. They are outside playing ball right now.

Friday, June 22, 2012

katie haircut

 Kathryn finally had her dream of a short haircut come true this morning.  Here is the photo documentation:

seasonal summer

After living in the land of perpetual summer for the past nine months, it is nice to be experiencing the real thing...seasonal summer.  Long daylight hours, mosquito repellant, crisp mornings, dew, thunderstorms, fresh strawberries. 

Really loving the season we are experiencing.

Leo Arnold

Uncle Leo passed away on Wednesday.  He waged a battle against cancer and was so strong, but finally his body gave way and he is now watching us from above in his heavenly home. 

Mom told me that shortly after he died, there was a brilliant rainbow painting the sky which gave his family comfort in knowing he was in a better place. 

This is from his daughter, Tammi's Facebook page:

I've had the honor and privilege to be at my father's bed side as his journey here on earth ended and his new life in Heaven began. I've had this privilege many times through my job, but each experience confirms that there is a better place to go when we leave here. My dad taught me lessons not by his words, but by his deeds and I hope I can pass those lessons to my children. At times like this, I value the friends and family the Lord has blessed me with. Until we meet again Dad!

de plane de plane

On Monday afternoon we boarded an American Airlines flight from St. Croix to Miami.  What to our wondering eyes did appear?  Our neighbor, John Cassidy who was to board the same flight to Minneapolis.  We ate dinner together and then arrived safely in Minneapolis together. 

After our excellent flights, we were picked up by Bud and chauffeured directly to his home where we will be spending the next few weeks before our house is ready to be moved into.  It's great to be home!

nutritious lunch at the St. Croix airport, pate and Cheetos

very close to Miami


back in the midwest! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

slow mon

On our way home from our adventure on Saturday to watch the sunrise, we came upon a favorite sign and a Senepol bull heeding the sign's advice...

here comes the sun...

Daddy and daughter with just a slip of a moon

The grass, the cactus, the ocean and a peek of the sun

Just down the road from Udall, another cool shot of the sunrise at Split Cove (great snorkeling)

my Jeep guy

a windswept view of Buck Island
We made it!  We woke up nice and early and witnessed the sunrise at Udall.  It was cloudy, but still pretty spectacular. 

happy birthday, Kyle Sr.

Wishing you a wonderful #48!

one year ago the 5K in Duluth--freeeeeeezing cold temperatures

Friday, June 15, 2012

In just 72 hours...

We will be on an airplane bound for Minneapolis St Paul! Excitement tempered with a little sadness. Brad and the kids are very excited and it will be really great once we get back home, but I'm just a little sad to leave our little piece of paradise.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

check please

Today we accomplished a few checks on our bucket list and a few we didn't originally earmark. Sunrise would have been cloudy so we went to the Lawaetz Musuem, ate at Turtle's Deli, didn't pier jump because a NOAA vessel was docked at the pier and snorkle Rainbow. We also snuck a little Haley time in at Rainbow. Then we got home and Caren came over to watch the kids while Brad and I had dinner at Savant, had a DRAFT Guinness at a pub (draft is very uncommon here) and a wine at Kendrick's. We then drove home to the kids playing pachisi with Caren and O sound asleep. We are going to attempt sunrise tomorrow morning, but won't push it too hard if it's going to be overcast.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Anders and I had a wonderful adventure this evening. We rented a see- through kayak and toured salt river bay to view the bioluminescence. Jellyfish and organisms that light up at was incredible. One of the last on our St. Croix bucket list. Tomorrow, we plan on sunrise, pier jumping, Lawetz Museum and snorkeling at Rainbow. Better get to bed to wake at 4am. Lata...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

oh mon

Osten is a man of few words, but one of his most current sayings is "oh mon".  Another sign of living island life.
waves crashing on north shore near tide pools

Monday, June 11, 2012

north shore afternoon

After church yesterday, the Hutchin's family invited us over for a BBQ at their super cool north shore home.  It is just a stone's throw from the Atlantic, from Rowdy Joe's and from the lovely orange home right on the shore.

Beautiful and spacious back yard with a tire swing, tree house and the sound of waves crashing on the shore.  Anders and Kathryn played with my former Kindergarten student, Kai while Osten played with 14 month old Nicolas.

We intended to leave at 3pm, but lingered until 4:30pm.  Nice conversations with Mom, Dad and elder sister.  They are a really neat family and it was so nice to hang out with them in our closing week on the island.  Aaron is a native islander and suggested some activities for our family during our final week here.

Here are some views from their neighborhood:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

send off from Holy Trinity

We had a lovely send off from HTLC today. Gretchen and Charlie took our photo and sent it right away. Gretchen grew up in Hudson, WI and attended UWRF for her education degree. She has lived in St. Croix for the past 42 years. She is right behind us in the photo. She is a lovely lovely person.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Hanging at the pool, working on our tans, taking our weekly pictures.  That's what summertime is ALL about.

Friday, June 8, 2012

saharan dust

The past week or so, my eyes have been itching, I've been coughing and there has been a fine layer of dust over everything.  I have just recently learned there is dust from the Sahara Desert depositing on the island of St. learn something NEW every day.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

let summer begin!

I am checked out of my classroom and am ready for summer vacation to commence!  We are in the midst of packing and finding boxes, saying goodbye to lovely friends, planning dinner dates, snorkeling, kayaking, diving, beach days and lots of time in the pool.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

class photo

Lovely Sarah from the Stonehouse brought this to me at work yesterday--it is O's class with all his little friends and caregivers...I love how he's putting his hand on his buddy Jack's leg. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

pool fun

We have definitely enjoyed having a pool while staying here on St. Croix--it is so much fun to have friends over and cool off while enjoying company.

Monday, June 4, 2012

la cucaracha

One of the sights/sounds we will not miss is the scampering of cock roachs.  CREEPY.  Osten has a special name for them, that sounds like "botboach".  When we repeat the word to him, he says "no, botboach".  He is funny.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

it's a Jeep thing

It's official--we have sold our Toyota Sienna and are now borrowing a Jeep Wrangler from Ellie and Chris for the remainder of our time here on island.  It is so fun! 

This morning, Kathryn and Osten spent time driving to San Antonio and beeping the horn.  Brad and Anders are currently on a real drive to the grocery store to drop the last large $ amount in our stay here on St. Croix. 

I love Jeeps...I think my family also loves them.  When I grow up, I want to own a Jeep.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

last day at Good Hope

Yesterday was a whirlwind.  Kathryn wrapped up her first year of formal education, Anders his fourth grade year and myself an outstanding first year of teaching.

We made mortarboards in class, went to the theater for an impromptu ceremony where Raquel, the head of school recited poetry.  We then went back to the classroom and cleaned the class, had a small party and took lots of photos, shed some tears, and experienced some excellent hugs.

O and the edible arrangement from K&J
My sweet kiddos shared photos, an edible fruit arrangement, books, handbags, chocolate, serving ware, candles, body wash and lotion.  It was a great day. 

Kindergarten commencement--B, J, S, C, K & K

cupcakes on bottom-- BL brought this cool cake

proud graduate

Kathryn under the spider with L, K & S

one last swing on the playground

I unfortunately had lost my voice and feeling a little under the weather so didn't think to take a photo of my lovely daughter and myself to commemorate our year together in the classroom.  It will be a memory cherished by me forever.

thank you Veterans!

Huge thank you to all the Veterans who have made our freedom possible. Thank you Clarence Jr., Chuck, Bud, Brad, Brent and Stuart. We salute...