Monday, January 28, 2019

3 phone calls

The first phone call was at 5am from Superintendent Jamie Benson. The School District of River Falls cancelled for Monday, January 28.

The second phone call while I was at school (teacher's are required to come in for the day). The School District of River Falls will have a 2 hour early release on Tuesday, January 29, all day off on Wednesday, January 30 and a 2 hour late start on Thursday, January 31. That boils down to--I will dismiss my students at 1:35 on Tuesday and welcome them back to the classroom at 10:45am on Thursday.

The final phone call came about 2 hours ago. The School District of River Falls will be closed Tuesday, January 29th and Wednesday, January 30th with a 2 hour late start on Thursday, January 31st.

I'm thinking I will be bringing Osten to my school to run off some steam tomorrow. I may also need to run off some steam...

I just looked up the weather pattern on and it's calling the storm Winter Storm Jayden.

This is the most current weather forecast:


.Wind chills are expected to fall to 25 below to 35 below zero
tonight and Tuesday morning. Dangerous wind chills of 45 below to
65 below zero are expected for most of the period from Tuesday
night through Thursday morning. This is a life-threatening
situation for those spending any prolonged period outdoors
without proper clothing. A Wind Chill Warning is in effect from
Tuesday through Thursday morning area wide.
Record low temperatures are possible in the Twin Cities Wednesday
morning and Thursday morning. The record for Wednesday is
30 below and the record for Thursday is 27 below.
In addition, gusty winds Tuesday will lead to areas of blowing
snow across western and southern Minnesota. A Winter Weather
Advisory is in effect in these areas from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday.



* WHAT...Dangerously cold wind chills expected. Wind chills as
low as 35 below are expected tonight and Tuesday morning, and
55 below zero by late Tuesday night.

* WHERE...Portions of northwest and west central Wisconsin and
east central and southeast Minnesota.

* WHEN...For the Wind Chill Warning, from noon Tuesday to 9 AM
CST Thursday. For the Wind Chill Advisory, from 3 AM to noon
CST Tuesday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The dangerously cold wind chills could
cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 5 minutes.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

baby it's cold outside

that is a BIG understatement. The current air temperature is -5 degrees. When Osten and I went to church this morning, the temperature was -11 degrees.

We are currently hunkering down and making sure our wood stove is working as the furnace isn't warming up right now that is why just Osten and I went to church. Brad is currently at church and then I will join him for the congregational potluck and annual meeting while Katie and Anders stay home to tend the fire. So thankful Brad has been so good at keeping us stocked with wood.

The forecast is for a winter storm warning starting at 3pm today and extending through noon tomorrow. We shall see if we have school.

the first and the last

Saturday morning dawned and shortly after that, the phone rang. "Would Katie be in a tournament today? A team didn't show up and we are trying to forge a team." I agreed to Katie's playing and THEN woke her up to let her know what I had planned. At first she was pretty upset with me because she wanted to have a relaxing day at home. Then she complied and got her basketball gear together.

The first game was at 10am versus the Hudson Raiders B team. Katie had a great game with scoring the first basket and making her first free throw in a game. The Wildcats won the game.

Their second game was again the Magic and was played at noon. Once again, Katie made a free throw and the Wildcats won the game. It ended up that Katie's team won their division of the tournament.

Anders also had a sports day where he and his team swam at the Tartan Invite in St. Paul. Osten and Brad were there to cheer him on and see him do well in his events--the 200 Medley relay, the 100 Individual Medley, the 200 Freestyle relay and the 100 breaststroke. One of their strongest swimmers, Seth Larson was out with the flu so the relays weren't as spectacular as they could have been, but Anders had some good times in his events.

The Wildcats swim team ended up finishing in last place yet their spirits are not dampened.

Friday, January 25, 2019

the Mustangs edged the Wildcats

Last night, Brad, Osten and I traveled to Menomonie to watch our wonderful swimmer swim 4 events. In all four events, he and his team placed 2nd. The 200 Medley Relay, the 100 Individual Medley Relay, the 200 Freestyle Relay (where he had a split of 24 seconds!) and his 100 breaststroke --time was 1:11--the winning time was 1:05 so he has a little work to do to catch that swimmer.

Tomorrow he has a swim meet at Tartan which we plan on going to tomorrow afternoon.

Keep swimming awesome Anders!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

today expect a low of -10

I just asked Alexa this question and her response was the title of my post. YIKES. If you are wondering "who's Alexa?" She is a companion of Osten as he often asks her questions about sporting events. According to google,  Alexa can help you listen to tracks on Spotify, create to-do lists, shop, and even control your smart home products, like Google's Nest thermostat or the Philips Hue. Alexa was popularized by the Amazon Echo, a device that acts both as a speaker and a smart-home hub, but also works on many other devices.

Most mornings, I play trivia games on Alexa--games like question of the day and Jeopardy. I've enjoyed her residence at our house. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

training for a half

My friend, Kim texted a photo of the two of us heading to the finish line of the Eau Claire Half Marathon in 2009. She asked if I was interested in signing up for the 2019. I am planning starting my training plan in the next week...I'm pretty excited for the prospect.

Watch out May 5, I come!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

7th grade girls basketball

Brad, Osten and I got a chance to see Katie's 7th grade team defeat Osceola 35-25 in their home 7th grade basketball game. Katie played a little bit and it was good to see her out on the court. They have about 20 girls on the team and I hope that enthusiasm continues through the years. I know they will cull, but it's nice to see them working together right now.


Osten has gotten some good lessons in school about Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and we watched a video that his class watched. He insisted that we sit down as a family and watch the movie. He had a lot of good things to share about Dr. King and also worked with a buddy in school today to create a comic book where Dr. King came back to life.

I think it's pretty neat how impassioned he is.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

filled with potential

and now I'm sitting on the couch with a slumbering 13 year old, our energetic 8 year old is running around the living room and our giant 17 year old is sleeping downstairs in his lair. Our 46 year old is at church preparing for his final financial presentation before the annual meeting next week and this 47 year old is updating our blog and planning a day of cleaning, cooking and planning Katie's family celebration (just the 5 of us).

The sun is shining on a very very cold day (-5). Stay warm and stay busy Olson family!

boogieing with my bestie

After delivering all those lovely girls to their doorsteps on Saturday, I got home, Katie so graciously made me a yummy lunch of grilled cheese and tea and then I spent time folding laundry, watching a scary movie called Before I Wake, and decompressing after a busy day.

After that I hopped into the tub for a candlelit soak and then met up with my dear Julie and her lovely daughter, Libby for dinner at the Brookside in Marine and then onto Stillwater to watch a band and do a little jigging. Both Julie and I weren't at our required steps for the day, so we easily made our goal and enjoyed our time together.

the magic of being 13

Our amazing Katie Grace is now 13. What an exciting time of life. To celebrate, I met six energized girls at Meyer Middle School and first drove them to Applebees for dinner and then to the Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington for an evening of water slides and laughter.

Up the next morning for Dunkin Donuts and more sliding. I delivered them all safely to their doorsteps on Saturday afternoon. A wonderful way to celebrate one of my favorite people in the world.

Happy birthday Katie.

Maggie, Katie, Stella, Mya, Quinn and Lily in the front

Thursday, January 17, 2019

empires in the sun

On Tuesday night, Katie's 7th grade band had a really nice concert. It's amazing the music program we have here in River Falls. We are certainly blessed.

The director, Mike Fuller, wrote a grant proposal to have an original piece of music written for the 7th grade band. The composer came to MMS last spring and found the students were studying Mayan culture so wrote a 3 part piece.

this is written by my friend Lisa--photo by her too
This is Mile Fuller and he works hard with all the kids in band and jazz band at MMS. He announced that tonight’s Winter Band Concert featured the world premier performance by our 7th Grade Band of the commissioned work Empires in the Sun by Thomas Root. It was amazing and made possible by a music education grant from the St. Croix Valley Foundation that he wrote. Thank you Mike and to all the MMS staff for all you do to support our children’s musical endeavors.

and this was from Mr. Fuller:

I thought I'd share with you what I'll be saying to the 7th grade band when I see them again tomorrow.

Congratulations on a very successful performance last night.  I felt they played extremely well and know that Dr. Root was extremely pleased with their performance of his composition Empires In The Sun.  One of his concerns after writing it was that it was going to be too difficult of a piece for 7th graders but I assured him that we could handle it and the students pulled through in a big way.  The other two pieces also went very well so the students should feel very good about the evening.  Congratulations as well to the jazz band - students who are experiencing and learning that genre for the first time.  I appreciate the extra time they put in at before school rehearsals as well as the additional work needed on their own for those pieces.  

Finally, thank you also as parents for supporting your child in their band experience.  Your support is a critical part of the success of our program and is very much appreciated.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

121 years ago today...

It was a Sunday in Sweden and my grandpa Nels Edwin Pierson was born. The world looks a little different that's for sure and now one of your grandsons is a representative in the MN State House of Representatives. Thanks grandpa for the mark you have made.

This photo was taken 47 years ago today on my baptism day and on grandpa's 74th birthday

Here's Nels the III's view from the MN State House floor

and now she's 40!

Happy 40th birthday dear Molly Kathleen Sullivan Olson!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

welcome to 47 and to 13!

To my delightful and lifelong friend, Julie T and her daughter Libby...happy happy birthday.

shopping for a soon to be teen

Today Katie had basketball practice and as I picked her up, I asked if she could go anywhere in the world, where would she go. She chose Target in Hudson. We bought her a couple new sweaters and a new pair of jeans. We also got her a new basketball and some shampoo and conditioner.

Our Katie Grace is soon to be 13 and I'm enjoying this fun time of spending time together.

lost and found

Rejoice! An area 13 year old who was abducted from her home in October was found. I know her life is far from normal, but now at least she is surrounded by people who love and care for her.

conference time

On Friday night after school, 6 Montessori staff drove down to LaCrosse to attend the 2019 conference. We heard an amazing Neuropsychologist teach about working with children how are affected by ADHD and how we really need to help them develop their concentration. Also attended a nice presentation on using the decanomial material to teach binomial and trinomials. I plan hitting the area model with my third graders in our next math lesson.

So invigorating!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2007 Dodge Grand Caravan

We are back in the van business! Our truck looked like it needed a little work, so Brad the amazing vehicle shopper found a used van that looks almost identical to the van we bought from Mom and Dad--our 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan sport.

Mom and Dad's van was a lot more premium with direction indicator--temperature, power doors and trunk and a console to put treasures, but I think it will be a really nice way to get around and it will be a lot earlier to get around with three drivers and three vehicles.
the body has had some dings, so it doesn't look exactly like this model, but it looks pretty close.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

a winter band concert

Last night, Osten, Brad and I attended a lovely concert.

our favorite euphonium player was there making beautiful music
he's on the end on row 4.

The three bands were in top form last night with some memorable pieces in each group. 

The 9th grade band played three songs including a fun song that featured 3 movements of Simple Gifts by Frank Tichell.

The Symphonic band--grades 10-12 non auditioned, played four songs, but my favorite was a cool song called Foundry by John Mackey. That featured instruments that were unconventional found percussion instruments. 

The Wind Symphony--grades 11-12 auditioned, played four great songs, but the last two were pretty superior. The first was Shine of the Fallen by Brian Balmages. I'm copying a description of the piece from FJH music:

Written in response to the tragic events in Kiev in 2014, this music draws on the old Ukrainian folk song Plyve Kacha, which became an anthem for many protesters as a symbol of national pride while also mourning the fallen. Described by the composer as Arabian Dances meets Moscow, 1941, the music is incredibly powerful yet introspective. Quotes of the Ukrainian National Anthem add to the intensity of the music, which features the instrumentalists singing in 4-part harmony at the very end of the piece. Absolutely stunning. (7:30).

Anders was one of the singers during the very end of the piece. It WAS stunning. 

Amparito Roca by J. Texidor arr. A. Winter was the final piece. It was a Spanish march and was really bass heavy in the beginning and featured our absolutely outstanding mallets in percussion during a major portion of the piece. The director mentioned he has always wanted to do this piece with a band and this band was the one he was finally able to do this with. It was magical. 

The Olsons were impressed for sure! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Last night, Osten started a new sport, wrestling. I've been trying to get him signed up for over a year and I finally figured it out! I think he enjoyed the rough housing and did a really great job following directions. After practice I was telling him we should go see a high school wrestling meet. I don't know if I have him sold, but we will see. 

boy on far left playing tug of war

his official wrestling athlete membership

On a different note, the Clemson Tigers are the National Champions of College football. Osten hasn't risen for the day yet, but I know he will be pretty excited to see the result. They dominated the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16.
image found

Monday, January 7, 2019


In these long winter nights/mornings, the glow of Brad's hard word cutting, splitting, stacking, curing, loading, hauling, stacking, hauling, stacking and loading the stove is very much appreciated. The dry, intense heat warms the soul and the soles.

another welcome sight is a lovely oil lamp that Grace and Clarence Swanson used to have on their farm...a great way to start the day.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

new venture

Brad, Bruce, Julie and I are in in the process of purchasing a property to be an office for Portfolio Design Services. It is a beautiful property located just 1/4 mile from our home and will be a place for Bruce and Julie to live in their transition to the Midwest. Here are some photos taken by the realtor:

I'm pretty excited for this venture and prospect of owning a lovely well preserved real estate.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

you win some, you lose some

Last night our family + Emma watched the River Falls Wildcats face the Hudson Raiders and the Superior Spartans in the pool at Hudson. Anders swam 4 races--the 100 IM, the 200 Medley relay, the 100 breast stroke and the last leg of the 400 freestyle relay. Overall, he added time to every event. I'm not sure if it is related to his recent surgery and missing some practices, or if his body is getting ready to peak at some point. It's challenging to see the frustration on his face... On to the next meet next Saturday in St. Paul.

Friday, January 4, 2019

so far so good

Yesterday, Anders got his wisdom teeth procedure/healing checked and it sounds like he is doing a good job. Tonight we will be heading to Hudson to watch him swim in his first meet of 2019. Swim Anders swim!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

slow moving vehicle

The Olson clan in pretty slow moving today. I wasn't able to make it up for my workout this morning, Osten is snuggled into the couch, Katie just left for middle school and Anders will be leaving shortly for his day as a Junior at RFHS. Today after school he will be getting his mouth assessed to see if he is healing well.

I need to get ready for the day and then make my walk to RFPME.

Brad is the lone mover in the family as he's been up, made corn bread, started a fire and is working away in his little office downstairs. Way to go, Brad!

The high is projected to be 20 degrees and the low is projected to be 20. Not a lot of variance in the temperature for sure--even the temperature is slow moving!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

back 2 school

The alarm sounded VERY early this morning. I'm currently eating my yogurt, blueberries and granola in front of a cozy fireplace and happy I got up to do my workout. Brad made some yummy muffins so the air smells great. Anders is at weight lifting. Katie and Osten are snuggled on the couch catching a few more zzzs before I awaken them to get going for the day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

good day sunshine

The first day of 2019 has been sunny and lovely. We arrived back home, I have some laundry going, I have uploaded photos to Shutterfly, ordered our 2018 blog book and will shortly head to Anytime to get my Tuesday workout. After that, I plan on heading into my classroom to do a little prep for our short week and then head home and make dinner/fold and put away laundry.

2019, looking good so far ;)

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...