Peace Like A River

It was a wide river, mistakable for a lake or even an ocean unless you'd been wading and knew its current. Somehow I'd crossed it... Now I saw the stream regrouped below, flowing on through what might've been vineyards, pastures, orhards... It flowed between and alongside the rivers of people; from here it was no more than a silver wire winding toward the city. - Leif Enger, Peace Like A River

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Mom said Joan is home now. That is good news! Hopefully now she'll get stronger each day and be back to normal very soon.

Talked to Mom and Dad a bit last night. The kids enjoyed saying hi. Hanna is going to be a phone talker. She'll pick up most any toy and hold it to her ear and pretend to talk, and she likes talking on the real phone, and hearing voices in her ear.

Dropped the kids off at Sue's house this morning. Hopefully it will be a better day than last time!

Was asking the John the other day if he likes to go swimming in the lake, and he said something to the effect "water scare you." He still remembers his little scare when he went under the water. I suppose having a respect for the water is a healthy thing. It'll be better once they learn how to swim and he is more confident again.

Hanna will say "nooooo" now if you give her something to eat that she doesn't want. Yesterdat John was on the couch and had his toe in his mouth, and Hanna was on the couch with him, and she saw that and then stuck her toe in her mouth and kept an eye on John. She is such an imitator and loves to do what he does. At the park last night John climbed up this curly-Q ladder, and Hanna saw that and of course wanted me to help her up the ladder. I always tell John he is a big boy to go up that tough ladder, and that Hanna is too little, so now when John is climbing it he'll often say "Hanna is too little to climb".

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Well, John had a not so fun experience yesterday. He and Hanna had a great time at Sue's house yesterday. One thing they did was Sue put a slip n' slide at the bottom of their slide, so John just loved going down the slide and sliding along the slip n' slide.

When Rhonda came to get them, she went in the house to write a check, and John stayed outside. A short time later they heard him crying, and found him with a very bloody nose.

Apparently a couple of 5-yr old twins next door and wandered over and one of them had punched John in the nose. I don't know if John was kinda pushing at them like he can do sometimes, but there wasn't any indication of that. I guess that's a troubled household, and those kids have some problems. Sue doesn't let her kids alone outside if those boys are around, but Sue is always outside with the kids anyway when John and Hanna are there.

Sue said she was going to talk to those parents, but anyway. Is it illegal for me to go beat up a 5-yr old?

John didn't seem too adversely affected. I mean, he wasn't too wild or acting out in the evening, so hopefully it won't upset him too much.

We turned on the sprinklers for them last night, but they didn't want to run through them too much. The mosquitos were just awful back there. John rode his trike out front a bit. He is able to pedal the little white bike now too. He's growing! He couldn't reach the pedals when we first got that.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Another busy weekend. On Saturday morning, Hanna needed a shot, so we stopped by the clinic at Unity Hospital, where Rhonda works. I stayed outside with John and walked around with him while we waited. By all accounts, Hanna wasn't pleased about getting stabbed with a needle. She had stopped crying by the time she came out, but when she saw me, she started crying again and told me all about it.

From there, we went down to Abbot Northwestern Hospital to see Joan. Glenn was there, along with Mark and Myndi. Was nice to see all of them again, if only for a short time. Joan appeared to be doing better. She was up and around with a walker. Keple's stopped by too while we were there. Of course, all John wanted to do was go on the elevators. But, we got him to play with LeapPad for awhile, and told him we'd be going on the elevators when we left.

After they got up from their nap, I got out the pool and the slip n'slide. John just loved the slip n' slide. I had to help him slide though. I'd slide him along a ways and then let go, and he'd slide all the way to end. I think I didn't have it watered down enough at first, cuz it looks like he scraped his back in a spot on the plastic. I held Hanna by the hands and slid her all the way to the end. They laughed and laughed.

Our new neighbors were moving in on Saturday. Haven't talked to them yet though. It was very humid and hot on Saturday, so that must have been fun. It was enough for me just to mow the lawn. We'll miss Mark though. He was so nice.

On Sunday, we went to first service, and then out to Lake George. I think John remembered his scare from last week when he hit a deep spot and couldn't get his head above water, so he wasn't as eager to go out in the water. We helped him though, and played with him, and he seemed to improve a bit. There was no one there when we got there about 10, but more had arrived by noon when we left. I don't know why it wasn't packed. It was a nice warm day, summers don't last forever around here.

At home John was playing with a TweetyBird stuffed toy we have. He was pretending to play with Tweety and his trains. He brought Tweety over to the trains and said "hmm, about this one?" and give Tweety the Percy train.

In the evening I went to the church annual business meeting. I'm a deacon now. So, I'm sure that will involve some time, but I'm eager to see what the experience is like. The church also voted to separate the school from the church, starting a year from now.

Friday, July 25, 2003

If you ask Hanna what sound a train makes, she'll say "dew dewwww". Ha. She knows that from being around John's Thomas stuff. She knows lots of animal sounds too. She understands more and more, and is trying to say some words.

Supposed to be near 90 today. I'm sure the kids will be in the pool today. I have yet to see them go down their little slide into the pool. I'm looking forward to that.

Our next-door neighbor is moving I think this weekend. There is a u-haul truck in the driveway. I think the new neighbor brought some stuff over last night.

Didn't get home till 8 last night, as was working to finish up part of a project we're working on.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Last night when I was putting John to bed, he told me a story. He said "The train crashed into the happy joy joy trees. Oh dear! It fell over. It was broken." Ha! He's been doing that a little more, using his imagination and making things up.

This morning he was out on the driveway, and he was saying "I want to help you." I didn't clue in at first that he was really saying "help you", which is what he says when he means "help *me*". So I said you're a good helper, but then he said "help me", which is the first time I've heard him say me. He wanted me to help him get his trike out of the garage.

When I put the trike down, it started to roll down the driveway, and John said "come back!"

He went to Bible Academy last night. They made rocketships from plastic cups and streamer paper.

Lately Hanna has just cried and sobbed a couple times when we've said no, you can't do something. Don't know if it's just normal toddler behavior, or if she is going through some kind of grieving process. She'll be fine after awhile though.

Yesterday the kids were in the pool, and they put that new little tikes slide Rhonda got into the pool, and had a blast sliding down it into the pool.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Been quite busy at work lately, haven't had much time to update here. Been enjoying the Wickers company this week. John and Hanna like the extra attention too. So have we! Brenda has been cooking us some yummy meals and cookies!

I wonder if all the excitement gets John revved up a bit though. He's been a bit frisky at times. I think that's one thing we need to watch with John and Hanna, is be careful about how much stimulation they get, as they can get overstimualated.

Yesterday was a bit cool around here so the kids didn't go to the lake. Went to the park instead.

Rhonda got a new slip n' slide at ToysRUs. Don't think they've tried it out yet, though. Today is a bit warmer, mid 70s, so might get it out. I know John will love it, as it involves all his favorite things! Like running, water, flinging himself to the ground, sliding, etc...

I think there are still a couple of weeks left in Bible Academy, so John will probably go tonight.

Next Sunday night I believe is the business meeting at church where they'll vote on the deacons, so I should show up. The way they do it is, they don't nominate more than the number of positions and then vote in only some. They only nominate enough for each position, and everyone nominated pretty much gets voted in.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Yesterday started out kinda crummy, but by the afternoon had warmed up, and the sun was up. So, after everybody napped, we quick loaded up the van and headed over to the beach. Rhonda's dad, Brenda and Cody are here this week (to watch the kids since Sue is on vacation), so they came to.

When we first got there, John and I went to the water first. We went, and John walked a ways out with me, but headed off away from me. He must have hit a low spot cuz he went under and couldn't get his head above water. I was just a couple steps away, but I think it scared him, as he started crying. (Scared me too even though I was right there.) After that, he didn't seem to want to play in the lake as much. He played with a little water toy that is set up there, or went to the playground. I wonder if he got lake water in his eyes as his eyes were a bit red and puffy, like an allergy or stink or something. He might have got sand in there too.

Hanna played in the sand a lot. She was loving it.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Last night John says "what a pickle". Ha! Where did he get that?

Rhonda was getting the kids up this morning, so I went into Hanna's room, and John was there too, and he wanted to get into Hanna's crib. He likes playing in there. So I put him in, and he started jumping. Of course as soon as Hanna sees that she wants to get in too, and soon they were both jumping and giggling. It was cute.

Rhonda's dad and family are coming this weekend. Not sure what we'll all do. I suppose we'll maybe try and go to one of these beaches if it is warm. Supposedly it is going to be slightly cooler than normal. Great. The steenking winters never end, and when they do, the summer isn't even hot. Bah.

That's what I liked about NC. It was actually warm!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

While John was at Bible Academy last night (I think that was the last one, but they have a VBS coming up first week in August), Hanna and I had some time together. I took for a long walk, I thought we could try going all the way around the block for the first time. She enjoyed it, she saw a couple of doggies, and she'd point and say "dahgnnnnnn" and then "wff wff". She also saw some sprinklers going, and just jabbered away about those. Don't know what she was saying.

However, that's a long walk for those little legs, and about halfway up Isanti on the way back, she stopped and wanted to be picked up, and I carried her the rest of the way home. It was a gorgeous evening though, nice and warm. Today is more overcast. We just can't get two sunny rainless days in a row.

The construction silly season is here. Just assume that wherever you want to go, you won't be able to get there. The roads will be all tore up. And if you have a nice alternate route, forget it. They'll find it and destroy that too. That yearly huge kid soccer fest is going on right now at the Sports Center in Blaine, so that is bringing traffic up Radisson, which is being turned into a 4-lane. They took the light away at 105th weeks ago, so there's always a hold up there, but with the extra traffic, the backup on Radisson can go back a mile or more. So this week, when I go home I go up to Lexington then back over on 109th.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Well, we found another gem last night. I was poking around the Anoka County Parks site, looking for one that might be closer than Lake George. The Lake George is a great place, but it is nearly twenty miles from us.

Lo and behold, I found one that is only 11 miles from us, with a beach area and everything. We packed up the kids and went to check it out last night. The beach just opened in 2000, so it is great shape, there's a playground, concession area, bathrooms that are incredibly clean for a park. We let the kids go swimming last night, not many people there (it was a weeknight after all), but it will be a great place to go.

It's straight down Main Street, and there aren't many traffic lights that way, so didn't take long to get there. It's part of a larger park, reserve area. There are several lakes in the area, and there are biking and hiking trails too. There's some kind of Nature Center we'll check out, maybe it's something the kids would enjoy.

That's one thing about this area, they make an effort to have lots of quality parks.

Lately John has been laughing in this deeper voice "ha ha haaaa". I wasn't sure what he was doing, till yesterday he said something about the Count, and laughed like that. He is laughing like Count on Sesame Street! Like he counts, "one apple, two apple, ha ha haaa". Funny boy.

Last night I was changing his diaper, and he wanted to play with Scoopy (a little tractor.) He said "Hello, Scoopy", and then did something funny, and John said "silly old bear". (From Pooh!)

Rhonda had the kids out playing with the snap pops yesterday. Hanna likes to step on them to make them pop, and she didn't want them to pop when she'd drop them. She'd drop them and go to step on them, but sometimes they would pop first, so she figured out that if she bent over, they wouldn't drop from as high, and wouldn't pop. She's a sharp gal!

Turned out to be a pretty good All-Star game last night. The AL came back and won. Lots of home runs.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Got some interesting news yesterday. I got a letter in the mail saying my entry was selected as a winner in the Iowa Alumni Magazine nonfiction writing contest! I submitted it last February, and it will be published online next month.

I think they originally intended to have one winner, but in their words, they liked the quality of the entries (there were over 80) so much, they decided to have 3 winners. I was in essence the "third place" winner, as the feature winner will get $500, the "In My Experience" winner will get $250, and I will get $100. They also sent along a pen/pencil set. (I assume the other two winners will be published in the magazine itself.)

So, that made my day. First time I've gotten money for something I've written!

The kids were having breakfast when I left today. John was in a lovey mood this morning. Twice he came and gave me a hug and said I love you! Hanna was bright and bubbly too, she wanted me to wind up the Big Bird tricycle toy and make it zoom across the floor.

Monday, July 14, 2003

history nugget of the day:

In 1839, an opportunistic Swiss merchant named John Sutter successfully petitioned the Mexican governor of San Francisco for a land grant of nearly 50,000 acres in the San Joachin Valley at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. His intention was to found a colony based on farming and trade, and, for nearly a decade, he was successful. Sutter's luck ran out, however, on January 24, 1848, when John Marshall, a contractor building a mill for Sutter, pulled a few nuggets out of the stream, turned to his workers, and said: "Boys, I believe I've found a gold mine."

More interested in farming and in running his colony than in gold, Sutter was at first put out by the find. He anticipated trouble if the word got out, but gradually warmed to the idea of having wealth that wasn't counted as land or goods. Sutter and Marshall became partners in a mining operation and asked their men to keep the gold a secret. For the better part of a year, they did. Even the few newspapers that got the story in 1848 dismissed it at first as the propaganda of speculators.

But by the end of 1848, the word of California gold had spread across the country. Newspapers in the east were trumpeting the story, and even President James K. Polk acknowledged the discovery in an address to Congress. The year 1849 quickly became synonymous with gold fever, and before it was over, more than 80,000 "'49ers" had arrived in California in search of gold, swelling the territory's population to 100,000.

Sutter eventually was overwhelmed by the tide he had released. Workers consumed by "gold fever" abandoned his fields in droves, leaving his crops to rot. Newcomers trampled his land and stole his cattle and timber. Sutter petitioned the American government for restitution, but received very little money because his original land grant had come through the Mexican government. His plans and his farming colony ruined, Sutter moved east, ending his days in a small town in Pennsylvania.
Ah, Monday. Grrr. Got the kiddies up, fed and out the door to Sue's house this morning. Hanna didn't protest quite as vociferously this time when Sue took her. Hopefully that is a sign that she is getting used to being there. Although, she always settles down and ends up having a good time there.

Last night we had nursery duty. We did end up having a few customers, so rode herd over them for awhile. Then, stopped by that new grocery store just down the street from the church.

Rhonda still isn't feeling well, but went to work today anyway.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Oh what a glorious morning we had. We went to the early service (well, got there a little late), and then from there, we took the kids up to the Anoka County Park at Lake George. It's about 11 miles straight north on Round Lake Blvd.

We got there about 10, not too many other people there at that time. Just beautiful weather, nice and warm and the water was perfect. John just loves it there. He walks around in the water, messes around in the sand. Hanna is not so bold, she usually likes to be held, or at least have someone holding her hand. She doesn't want to go out in the water as much as John does.

We stayed till about 12:30 or so. By then it was getting pretty busy. We'll have to do that a lot more this summer while the weather is nice. They both just have a ball.

Hanna fell asleep on the way home. She'll do that way more than John does, nodding off in the car when she's tired. But we woke her up when we got home, gave them some more food, they played for a bit, and I just laid them down for their nap.

Hanna went and got her snow boots. She likes to walk around in them. I was sitting on the steps and she came up to me when she had her boots on and she kinda waved and bye-bye and I said bye-bye, and she walked over to the door to the garage. She did that a few times. She's also saying more words. John was playing with his Thomas leappad, and Hanna saw that and she said "choo-choo". One day on the cd player the Old Macdonald song came on, and I could tell Hanna was singing along with it. Just now when I put her down, it was like she started singing the Brahms lullaby tune, because that is the first tune on the cd we usually play in her room, even though I hadn't turned it on yet. She's pretty sharp!

So, I'm going to go enjoy some quiet time on the patio, read the paper, etc... We have nursery duty at church tonight. Not sure what the service is, maybe we won't have any customers.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

The kids are enjoying their naps. Rhonda is too. She is feeling a bit run down. I woke up this morning too with an upset stomach. Hmmm.

Beautiful day today, nice and sunny and warm. Will probably throw the kids in the pool later today. I mowed the yard and just got back from taking the grass to the compost heap.

Last night had a little potluck at a neighbor's down the street for our next door neighbor who is moving. Was nice to talk to some people we really hadn't talked to much since moving here. Had some good food. But, I spent most of the time outside with John. He wasn't keen on just sitting and talking, and they didn't have any little kid toys.

I took them to Bumpy Slide Park this morning. John had fun going up and down the big metal slide. He spent most of his time there.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Yesterday John was a bit out of sorts at times. Rhonda said she took them to Macdonalds, and John was hitting a girl in that play climbing area. That continues to be a problem with him, although I don't know if the girl did something. But from what I've seen at times, I don't think other kids have to do something to do John before he starts hitting.

When I got home, he was saying things like "make feel better", and I'd give him a hug, and he'd say "feel better", and he'd also mention going on an airplane, etc... so I wonder if my being gone last weekend really upset him, and he doesn't know how to express himself.

The last couple nights when putting him to bed, Rhonda says he's punishing me, cuz he'll want Mommy to hold him, and last night when he wanted to play Ring Around The Rosey, he said to me "go away", but then wanted me to hold his hand too. But otherwise, he's wanted me to play with him and be around him. We had fun jumping on the bed yesterday when I got home.

So, hard to tell what's going through his little mind. He's been abandoned before, so maybe my being away affected him in ways he's not really conscious of, it's so hard to tell.

I'll just contine to reassure him that I'm home, I don't have to go on an airplane again, etc... I don't think I'll do orchestra in the fall again, so we can all go to church together.

Hanna didn't want me to leave her at Sue's house again this morning. When Sue walked over to us, Hanna buried herself in my shoulder and hung on tight when Sue reached for her. Apparently Hanna really attached to Sarah, so hopefully they had fun together again today, and Hanna will get used to being there. I guess Sarah will be gone next week and expressed concern about Hanna!

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Been cooler and rainy again the last couple days. Yikes, the storms just won't quit. There were some strong storms overnight in parts of MN.

John enjoyed Bible Academy again, as always. He looks forward to the cookies, too. Hanna and I stayed home and puttered around. She had fun walking around in Rhonda's shoes.

I took an online IQ test, I have no idea how it compares to clinical tests, but it said I got 135.

Sounds like some of us in the neighborhood will have a little potluck supper Friday night for the family next door to us that is moving.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Another near-perfect evening last night. It was playing with the kiddies again, so I packed them into the little cart and took them for a bike ride. We stopped by London Park for awhile as well. The had fun as always. Then, home for some snacks. They really wolfed down the watermelon.

I gave them the floppy keyboard thingie, and John and Hanna had a ball stepping on it and making the sound with their feet. When I got them up this morning John went right to it, and when Hanna heard it, she came a-running too. When I got John up, the first thing he said was "I want to play with toys."

Rhonda went back to work today, so I got the kids up and fed and over to Sue's house. Her girls were excited about the return of John and Hanna. Hanna was not so excited about being there. She cried when it was time for me to go. She's more like that, John just says see ya as he goes off running to look for toys. Hanna is not as willing to be in strange places with unfamiliar people. She'd rather stay with Mommy and Daddy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Well, here I am back at work. Yay. Am still having trouble remembering what day it is. We had a very nice time in North Carolina this weekend. Was fun to spend time with family and friends, see a beautiful part of the country, and help celebrate Brian and Nassim's special day.

Getting there was a chore. I used frequent flier miles for my ticket, and I had originally booked the direct Northwest flight from Minneapolis to Raleigh/Durham, but in April they bumped me to stop in Detroit. Who knows why. How dare I actually use my miles. Well, I knew right away I was in for a day. When I got to the gate at the Minneapolis airport, they say they are waiting for the plane to arrive from the airport, as there were some mechanical problems. After awhile of that, they decided they were going to use another plane, so that showed up, etc... and by the time we actually took off the flight was 40 minutes late or so. Then, when we got to Detroit, there were storms passing over the airport, so we had to circle for awhile till we got to land, and by that time I had missed my connecting flight to NC. Fortunately there was another flight, but had to sit and wait for three hours.

Bill and Mom and come up to pick up Mike and Joni who were also arriving. They made it on time, but then stayed to wait for me. They went over to a nice new mall and hung out. I finally got there and we headed out to Beaufort. Distance-wise it's not terribly far, but there are no freeways that go out there, so you go through towns, have to stop at traffic lights, etc... We didn't get to the bed and breakfast till 10:30 or so. The others were there just chatting on the porch. They had had supper already.

The bed and breakfast was a great place for all of us to stay. It used to be a county house for poor people, and apparently was in bad shape, but the owners have done a wonderful job fixing it up. The rooms were so nice and comfortable.

Saturday then, the wedding as at 10:30, on the lawn behind the B and B. It was starting to get a mite warm. It was a short but enjoyable ceremony. They did this Persian custom of putting a veil over their heads and grating sugar on it, to symolize sweetness in the relationship. After that was picture taking time, then we all piled into cars and headed over to the boat where we took a reception cruise. That was most enjoyable. There was a nice breeze on the water that felt great in the heat. Had a nice time making our way through the waters around Beaufort, went by the town, etc... enjoyed good food. It was fun getting to know Nassim's family. They are all very nice. Nassim's mom even gave me a haircut.

When we got back, I took about a two hour nap. I was fairly tired. Others did the same, and when we got up we went to downtown Beaufort to look around for awhile. I saw a keyboard-type toy that lays flat on the floor, has big keys, makes a variety of sounds, that I ended getting for the kids.

Then for the evening we just hung out on the porch and had supper and played games. I played three games of chess, won one and lost two, both because I made horrible blunders and overlooked moves that did me in.

On Sunday, we got packed up, etc... watched some of Wimbledon. Roger Federer won handily. We left the B and B around 11:30 am, went to check on the photos, went to Macdonalds where it took awhile to get the food, then drove back to Fayetteville. Another long drive back because there are no direct fast freeways.

Sunday evening we spent hanging around Brian and Nassim's apartment. Went swimming and then went to eat at Olive Garden.

Monday morning Brian took some of us onto Ft. Bragg and showed us around. Besides the Special Forces operations, it is home to the 82nd Airborne Division.

Then, Mike and Joni's flight out was early afternoon so we took them up there, then headed over to that same mall for a bit, then Brian and Nassim dropped me off at the airport for my 5:30 flight. Which ended up leaving closer to 6. At least it was a direct flight back to MSP.

Rhonda picked me up and voila, I was home again. John and Hanna (and Ellie) were excited to see me. Rhonda said John was affected a bit by my being away. He wasn't quite his usual self, perhaps didn't know how to express himself over my being gone.

But they had fun. They went to the lake, which John just loves. He was in the water two hours Rhonda said. They also some fireworks. I asked John about it, and he said "pop pop pop!" Then he said "sometimes, make scared..." Some of the louder ones scared him and he wanted to go in the house.

So, a very nice time. Now have to get back in the swing of things at work.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

And the lovely evenings continue. Rhonda went to Walmart last night, so I tossed the kidlings into the pool again. They had a good time. Hanna this thing lately where she'll go get rocks and bring them over to me. I'll say go put them back, and she'll take them and put them back, and then she'll come over again, and my hand is empty, and she'll pretend to take something out of my hand and go all the way back and pretend to drop rocks again. Funny. She'll now say a few animal sounds. If you ask what does a kitty say, or what does a doggie say, she'll say what clearly is meant to be meow and woof woof.

John always asks if he can go to Bible Academy, he really likes it there. So, since it is Wednesday, he'll get to go tonight. I'll take him, as Rhonda is going somewhere.

Been quite busy in my new job, but it's been fun. It's the kind of programming I like to do, and it's a chance to learn some valuable, marketable skills, so can't complain.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Just a gorgeous evening last night, so had the pool out, and John and Hanna enjoyed swimming and splashing around. Rhonda went around back to fiddle with flowers, and Hanna wanted to go back there too, she usually wants to follow Rhonda around. Well, Rhonda brought her back out front and Hanna fussed and cried about that. Hanna went back there again, and I think after awhile figured out that it wasn't too much fun being back there, so she was willing to come back out front with me, and after that she stayed in the pool for quite awhile.

It is supposed to be hot again today, so I'm sure they'll get in the pool again.

Wow, the trip to NC is coming up so fast. Time just flies.