Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Neil's Birthday/Week of June 29th

We came home from Island Park Monday afternoon. I made a quick trip to the store for barbecue supplies and baked two cakes for Neil's birthday. He turned 55 this year. The picture is Aisha giving her Papa a birthday kiss. The love of grandchildren is one major compensation for all the other negatives of aging. We love our children Ryan, Ashley (through marriage), Tyson, and Natalie, and grandchildren Benjamin, Aisha, and Keeley. Amazing things happen when two people fall in love! We had a nice family party; it was great to be able to visit with family. I went to lunch with mom, and we did some shopping. She has her foot surgery on Monday the 6th. Tomorrow I need to buckle down and do homework for my online class. Our friend Duane is coming to stay with us on the 4th, which will be fun. We've enjoyed spending time with him and Rudy (his dog child) at his cabin. We drove up to the top of Sawtelle Peak with him last weekend. It is absolutely beautiful there. Lindsey and Klay came over for some editing advice. I edited a cover letter and resume and then got to hold their little baby Boston Jay--he is almost two weeks--perfect in every way! I got him a little outfit, but he will definitely have to grow to fit into it. They told me he is happy baby, and Avery is not even jealous--yeah!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time with Aisha and Ben

One of the best parts about being a teacher is having some time off in the summer. Ashley has had a hurt neck/arm, so I had Benjanin and Aisha come over Monday and Tuesday. We went to McD's and did the Happy Meal routine. Next, we went shopping and bought some new sleepover pajamas. Aisha chose a princess nightgown complete with magic wand; Benjamin picked out some x-box pajamas. He was happy to show them to Tyson, but definitely wanted to take them home today. Aisha said she wanted to leave her attire at "Gamas"--probably because I let her live in it for two days. The last weeks I've changed from Ama to Gama! We read books, watched Disney movies, played crouquet [no RAIN today], built with Legos and did the usual sleepover fun stuff. They are really sweet kids--so happy Neil and I can spend time with them. I gave Keeley loves and fed her a jar of sweet potatoes when we delivered her siblings. I unintentionally decorated her with these also...face, hands etc. She is really growing. Ryan says she has just really started to notice when one of her parents leaves the room--does not make her happy. She has the cutest little baby-doll face. I need to get a current picture and post. Tonight I've worked for four hours on my online class assignments. It's 1:00...time to head to bed and finish in the morning. This homework stuff is not part of summer relaxation, but I am started to feel more confident about facilitating an online class--lots to learn. A power-steering unit broke on our truck, so we are getting it fixed, lawn mowing, grocery shopping, and then heading up to our "pretend cabin" for a few days. Duane called and send he was heading to his "real cabin" today. It will be nice to spend some time visiting with him. Natalie said her neck has been bothering her the last week...when we started this blog we had the shoulder contagion..now it has moved to necks! Hopefully, everyone will get better this week. I know neck pain is NO fun!! :(

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Week of June 15th--to Nampa and Home

This has been a busy week so far. At the beginning of the week I traveled to Nampa/NNU (the small picture is of Fairfield Inn in Nampa) for a class/conference on online learning. We received instruction from our curriculum directors and were given a demo class to practice using a software program called Blackboard. The class will continue with an eight-week online extension; this is VERY good--I feel like I know just enough to be dangerous! I played some with this program tonight--wrote my instructor bio/introduction and practiced with setting dates on units. During the conference I also took a class on using a Wimba, a virtual classroom where you can do synchronous learning without being in the same space geographically via the wonders of technology. Also, we received a nice (noise canceling) microphone to use in our "Idaho Live" classroom. I think it will be an interesting way to teach, but there is quite a bit to learn just on the logistics of the technology. I'm teaching one class this fall along with my regular Skyline job and seeing what I think. We also had a neat speaker Dr. Mark David Milliron at the conference who is "an award-winning leader, author, speaker, and consultant" on learning and technology. He was a professor at Arizona State for awhile, which I found interesting because my sister and family live in Arizona. Some of my instructors at this conference were stressing the importance of developing the habit of logging in daily and checking on students--I told them (only half-jokingly) that the Farming application on Facebook was good prep for this. Onions wilting from not being harvested would be like neglected on-line students. I think I'll write a paper with this metaphorical comparison and see if I can get it published. The opening line will be "It all started when Kristi, my niece, sent me a lonely digital cow..." :) Today I was just tired--even took a nap. Tomorrow I take mom to the foot doctor and then I think we'll head up to Island Park for awhile and relax. Lindsey should be having her little baby boy soon, which is exciting--another baby in the family!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Cleaning

Saturday was cleaning day at the Christensen house. Neil is finishing reorganizing the garage; everything is getting a precise home. I think he needs to get his own show on HGTV and do this for people who need help organizing their garage space. He gave a pontoon boat, tile, tennis racket, skis, etc. to Ryan and Ashley. I now have a "grandchild corner" that has every age of carseat and outside toys. Inside, I vacuumed, dusted, and did laundry. I tried to make our spare room nice for when mom is staying here after foot surgery. Natalie went camping after school with some girlfriends. It has rained all evening; I hope they did not get too wet. I think they were planning on moving inside to the grandparents of one of the girls who live near Heise if it got too bad. I head to Nampa tomorrow for the start of an NNU/IDLA class on using Blackboard software to teach online--should be interesting. Aisha is doing well after surgery; I played with her, Benjamin, and Keeley briefly today while Neil and Ryan unloaded our truck.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting Settled at Island Park

Neil and I spent an interesting day on Wednesday getting our trailer parked. The campground where we rented the lot for the summer has these narrow, windy roads edged with trees. Our truck is a Dodge four-door long box and is about 22 feet long--our trailer is 34 feet. It was scary to try to get it backed into our lot. I drove, and Neil gave minute backing instructions and some how we managed to get it parked without taking out any trees. I love it there--so peaceful. Neil and I went for a long walk Wednesday night and met some nice people that were traveling from their Southern California home to their Montana home. They were just camping for one night. One site that we saw on our walk had firewood piled up six feet, a clotheline, a barbecue, a boat, a Post-Register box, and their name on a wooden plaque nailed to a tree. They were obviously long-termers. We went and visited our good friend Duane at his cabin at Shotgun. He has a beautiful hand-hewn log cabin that he built years ago. He fed us some of his delicious homemade chili. He had his sister Andra, her husband Stephen, and their kids Morgan, Matt, and Emily there visiting from Nevada. They had gone through Yellowstone Park that day, and Emily was excited to tell us about all the animals they had seen. I had the pool to myself today, swam laps for awhile for exercise, and then lazily backfloated. We are going to make sure Aisha comes through surgery OK and then head back up for a couple of days before I have to go to my college class at NNU next week. I also need to take mom to the foot doctor next Thursday; she is thinking of having her feet operated on and just staying with us for the summer and recuperating.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I'm heading to bed in a few minutes. I've been e-mailing, facebooking, farming, and now blogging to wind down from a busy two days teaching an ISU workshop on teaching writing. I had to organize so much information for every hour--made for two busy days. I spent the early evening reading lesson plans and creating a grade spreadsheet for ISU. Neil stained our hot tub and its stairs today; both look very nice. We took Ryan's old golf clubs and little red case over for Benjamin to have and use. Neil also gave Ryan all his skis. With two bad shoulders, back, and one knee not working, Neil is too decrepit for the slopes and hasn't skiied in five years. This week has been sooooooooo rainy; we had a huge storm this afternoon. We are heading to Island Park tomorrow but will be back Friday to be here for Aisha's surgery.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

First Weekend in June

I thought I'd log some notes on the weekend. I spent all day Friday at ISU at a required meeting for adjunct instructors with "fascinating" workshops on Moodle online learning and syllabus requirements. Happily, I did make it home from Pocatello about 6:00 before the big storm with forty-mile-an-hour winds, rain, and hail hit IF --you have to love Idaho weather. I called Lynn and wished him a happy birthday. He had gone to dinner at Texas RH with Renae, Lynn is my oldest brother. He has four children Nick, Jill. Lindsey, and Andrea. I taught all his daughters English at SHS; I did not officially teach Nick, but he came down to my room for English paper advice occasionally. Lynn and I used to play board games for hours when we were young. We built forts at Ucon and even camped out together at Beaver Creek for three days. We had some adventures there; someday I'll write an entire blog on Beaver Creek Camping and Fishing. Saturday I played with mom in the morning--went and bought some more flowers for her yard at Town and Country Gardens and then went to lunch. Later Saturday Benjamin got a one-on-one movie date with his parents for kindergarten graduation; I slipped him some cash for a treat! Neil and I watched Aisha and Keeley. Aisha had her usual fun--Pooh Bear video watching, play dough playing, teasing Papa, dragging around the alphabet centipede Papa bought her, and having Grandma read her twenty books. Keeley liked her new toy with musical sounds and songs. Eventually, it can be a walker toy for her. Aisha did some demonstrating for her, but at running speeds. Keeley fell asleep in my arms after her bottle. There is no sweeter feeling than an innocent grandbaby in your arms. I love being a grandmother; it is absolutely the world's best job!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I snapped this picture of Natalie about an hour before her Skyline graduation. She actually had enough credits to graduate early in February (we are on trimesters at SHS), so she wasn't sure about wanting to do the May graduation. I'm glad she did, and I think she was happy afterwards. I think it is always nice to celebrate significant achievements in life including graduation from high school. She should graduate from Vogue in August; we'll celebrate again!!


This is Benjamin, my oldest grandchild. He looks very happy on his graduation from kindergarten day. He is smart and really good to his two little sisters, Aisha and Keeley. He came into my world about four years ago when I became "Grandma Mickie." I love Menjin!