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

Monday, December 29, 2003

About time for the kids to nap. After they ate a good lunch, I took them over to Burger King. They have a little slide setup there too, so I thought I'd take them there for something different. Well, something about it scared John. He cried, didn't want to go up in it, wanted to go home. Don't know what it was. It is different than the one at Macdonalds. To get up in it, there are these ledges they have to climb up on. So, we went home and they messed around outside for a bit while I shoveled the driveway. We got some snow today, and it is still coming down lightly. I might have to shovel again later.

Rhonda is at work, so I have the kids again. Tomorrow I might go and see the latest Lord of the Rings movie.

Well, if you look at yesterday's entry, you'll see that I predicted it. Everything was set up for it. The Vikes lost in horrific fashion to the Cardinals. One the last play of the game, a scrambling td pass to the corner. Too many stupid plays and penalties during the game to recount, but it is a very typical Vikings loss. Bah. Oh well, they wouldn't have done anything in the playoffs anyway. At least way maybe the owner (who is no prize himself) will get rid of Tice, who in no way was ready to be a head coach.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Hanna is napping. John is watching Baby Galileo. Hopefully he'll be ready to sleep soon.

Seems like Hanna is rapidly turning into a little person. She seems more grownup. Sometimes. She is doing more pretend things with her dolls. Like, she'll take one of them and say "Nap!" and she'll go lay it down on the couch, and then say "ssh", then she'll wait a second or two and go get the doll and say "good morning!" Today I said is it time for breakfast, are you going to feed the baby?, and she went upstairs and got a little cup and toy spoon and pretended to feed the doll!

The other day I was in the kitchen, and she was going to go somewhere, so she waved and said "bye-bye", which she often does, but then she said "see ya later!" ha.

John got a number of new Thomas train pieces, and we put some in the Christmas stockings. We just got those out today, and John formed a big long train with them and was driving them around the kitchen.

I took them to Macdonalds last night, to play on the slides. They liked that.

Vikings, if they win today, are in the playoffs. They could still miss the playoffs though if they lose, and they play a bad team, so that means...the Vikes will lose today. Bah.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Enjoying a quiet day after Christmas. Rhonda is at work again, and the kids are watching Dora. When that it is over, I'll take them outside. They've been cooped up for a couple of days.

Word has it a storm is blowing in tomorrow. Maybe not quite a blizzard, but should be very windy.

The kids watched a Thomas video earlier, and Hanna was kind of naming the characters they show in between stories! When Sir Topham Hatt was one of them, she said Hat!

Had a nice dinner last night with Kyle and his mom and dad. John really enjoyed playing with Kyle, and was sad when Kyle had to go home. All the kids had fun playing with toys and chasing each other around.

The travellers called from Washburn, on their way to SD. We talked to Mom, Grandma, Brian and Nassim.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Our Christmas Eve is winding down. The kids are watching the new Baby Beethoven dvd they got from Grandma. (Or, as John calls it, Baby Toben)

We starting opening presents around 4:30. We divied up presents, then talked about the Christmas Story, and then the kids had fun diving into their loot. They both got some neat stuff from the various grandparents and aunts and uncles. John got a new LeapPad, and he had fun exploring that one. Hanna got a new JayJay book for the first LeapPad, and John liked trying that out too. John got several other books for the new LeapPad too, so he wanted to try out the Thomas one, and liked paging through that, and doing the new games and whatnot.

Hanna got a new talking doll, and she got such a look of delight on her face when she opened it up. The thing was practically welded to the box, and it took me awhile to get it out, and all the while she was standing next to me reaching up trying to grab it and saying "nhhh nnhh". When I finally got it out, she held it so proudly and walked around with it. She also got a little stroller, and she's been pushing it around.

The kids also got some neat stuffed animals. I had gotten some orca bath toys, and the kids were playing with them in the sink. Well, Hanna was then by herself at the sink at one point, and we took our eyes off of her for about 2 seconds, and that little minx went and got the stuffed bear and came back and dunked it in the sink. It got quite soggy, and is now drying out.

John got some lego-like trucks from Brian and Nassim, and had lots of fun stacking those and playing with them.

The kids got some flashlights from Tuckers and were waving those around. John got a Dora game from Wickers and liked the games that it plays. He liked pushing the buttons and hearing the characters talk.

We had a supper of German pizza, and will get them a snack in a bit. John didn't sleep again at naptime, so he'll be ready for bed a bit earlier.

Hope you all are having a Merry Christmas whereever you are!
A pleasant beginning to another Christmas Eve. Rhonda is at work, so I'm home with the kids. They are watching Baby Galileo right now. It's a bit chilly here today, temps might only make it to 27, but we might go outside later. Maybe I'll run them over to the park again.

There's a program on public radio right now that I'm taping. It's from Kings College in Cambridge, a boys choir and a men's choir, some beautiful music. That's one of my favorite things about Christmas, all the wonderful music on radio and tv.

I've heard Hanna even say three words in a row now. Often she'll grab me by the hand and pull me over to the couch, cuz she wants me to read her books, and when we get to the couch she'll slap it with her hand and say "sit!" Well, lately she's been saying "sit down!", but once in awhile now she'll say "sit down here!"

And she just came up to me and informed me her diaper needs to be changed. Yay.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Should be a fairly quiet day at work today. Lots of people already gone. Ahhhh.

Lately John has been saying "I love my daddy boy". Awww. Often I'll say to him "I love my John boy", which is where I'm sure he gets it from.

Hanna is saying more and more words. Starting to string two words together. And, she'll often sing along with songs. For instance, in the car, playing the Bible tape she "sings" along with some of the songs. Or, if I sing her some songs like Lullaby and Rocjk-a-bye or Jesus loves me or Jesus loves the little children, she'll sing along. She doesn't formulate a lot of words, but she's obviously singing along, and will usually say the last words in a line.

Sometimes Hanna will shake her head from side to side really fast, and she'll laugh and say "silly!" (Though it sounds more like lilly). She's a giggly girl, likes to laugh and have fun.

I finally resolved the marble problem in the Calculatrivia quiz. I had written a computer program to simulate the problem numerically, and I was getting an answer of 15/32, which I knew was wrong. I got a different answer when I do the math. Well, I finally figured out there was a flaw in my program's logic, so when I fixed that, my program settled on the right answer. That's the beauty of math, the numbers always work out.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Yesterday we did something a bit different. As soon as the kids were up from their nap (John didn't sleep again) I took them over to the park. Yes, London Park, in the dead of winter! They loved it. Well, John especially. He went down the slides, he laughed when I slid snowballs down the slide. Hanna just kinda stood there and nibbled on her snowball. But they both liked going on the swings. It was a bit difficult getting them in and out of the seats with their snow pants and boots, but they loved it.

John is much more adventurous in the snow. I've noticed Hanna is not real brave about walking through snow on her own. When it gets to be more than ankle high, she tends to stand there and she wants help walking through the snow. John of course just goes anywhere.

I think I forgot to mention here, a week ago or so Hanna had a tooth come in, and it bothered her a lot. She'd cry and kinda tap her cheek. Cold things and hard food really seemed to bother her, so we'd do things like warm up yogurt. That only lasted a couple days or so.

Lo and behold this morning, there was a garbage can in our driveway this morning. Don't know how they noticed they had missed us, but at least I don't have to make a call now.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Another sunny day, temps probably above freezing again. Was a nice service at church this morning. The choir had the whole service, did quite a few numbers, finished with the Hallelujah Chorus.

On the way home, went through the car wash. John enjoyed that again.

When we got home, we saw the new garbage service had been delivering the new garbage cans. Except we didn't get one. We had the recycling can up by the house, so maybe the geniuses thought we already had one. The cans look the same, except the recycling one has a yellow top. Presumably so geniuses can TELL THEM APART! And if they were the ones delivering in the this neighborhood, why would we already have one? Sigh. So, will probably have to call them and have them bring one.

About time to get John to his nap. Hanna has already laid down.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Had a busy morning. I took John with me to run some errands. First went to the gas station, was running on empty and needed a car wash. But, there was a long line so just got the gas and paid for the car wash. Then, went by the church. I picked up a food basket for a family in the church. Then, went by Kohl's and got a gift certificate for Sue. Then, stopped by Dinos and got a couple of sandwiches. Then, dropped off the food basket. Then, went to Cub Foods. John need to go to the bathroom, and I picked up some diet lemonade and a turkey. Then, finally went back to the car wash. There was still a long line, but it didn't take too long to get through. John sat on my lap while we went through, and he just loved it. We got home a little after one. Rhonda and Hanna had gone to Target. Just got the kids down. Since it was a little past her naptime, Hanna was getting a little unravelled, and she wailed for a bit in bed, but she's quiet now. John is still clinking around up there, but I think he's tired and he'll sleep.

The reason the car was lines are so long is the temps are going to get 33 or 34 degrees today. When the kids get up, we'll go outside and build the snowfort again.

I have my writing group meeting tonight.

The Vikes play at 4 this afternoon. A tough task, they play Kansas City. If the Vikes win their next two games, they'll be in the playoffs, but I don't see them winning today. So, making the playoffs, even though they started 6-0, is iffy. What else is new for the Vikes?

Friday, December 19, 2003

Supposed to get a tad warmer this weekend, temps up to 30 or a titch higher.... but then, snow is supposedly arriving after that...

When I got home from work last night (and only had a few minutes to eat and head out again for the deacons meeting), John was excited to see me, and wanted to "jump higher" on the tramp. I hold onto his hands and kinda help him jump higher than he could on his own. He likes that. Then, he wanted to "chase chickens" too. In the Fox and the Hound, there's a scene where Tod disturbs Chief, who starts chasing Tod and in the commotion they scatter the chickens. So, I suggested doing that once, and now John thinks that is great fun. We hold hands and run around the house clucking like chickens. Ha. He didn't want to let me eat, and I wanted to play with him a little bit as I'd be gone for the evening too, so I got to the church barely in time.

Only got a couple of answers left in the Calculatrivia, and a couple three more to really nail down. There's some question marks about the answers we've arrived at.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Had a nice little potluck lunch here at work. had meatballs, couple of salads, shrimp, bbq beef, brownies, olives, bread, chips. Mmmm. Will have to do more grazing throughout the afternoon.

Still a bit chilly today. Got a bit of snow overnight, just enough to shovel off the driveway.

Mom said that Brian has finished with SERE school, and is now a full-fledged member of the Special Forces. A hearty congratulations to Brian. Can only imagine how tough the school was, and will probably take awhile to recover. But we're lucky to have such dedicated people defending our country, so hats off to Brian.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

A bit chilly today. Was 11 degrees when I was driving to work this morning.

I'll pick up the kids after work today. Rhonda has an appt to go to.

Tomorrow night have a deacons meeting. Then, I don't think I have any meetings for the remainder of the year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The roads weren't too bad this morning, considering the snow we got. At least traffic was moving. The side streets still needed to be plowed.

I got a new laptop at work, in addition to my desktop machine. Probably could've lived without it, but I'll take it. I've spent most of today getting stuff set up on it. One nice thing, it has a DVD CD drive in it. So, I could take it with me whereever and watch dvd movies!

My little group at work here is going to have a little potluck dinner Thursday. I'm going to make that tortellini salad Mom helped make at Thanksgiving. I'll have to make a run to the store tonight to get ingredients.

John was a bit testy last night. Wasn't wild or anything, just didn't want to eat supper, kept wanting to take off his socks and pants, etc... He was understandably hungry later, so ate a lot at snacktime.

Don't know where it came from, maybe he just made it up, but lately when he wants me throw him in the air, to the moon, he's started talking about moonbugs. So we've been making up more stuff about moonbugs. I think they would make a good story.

Hanna continues to jabber away, learning more words, and saying them.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Argh. Another snowstorm is predicted for tonight and into tomorrow. Sounds like tomorrow will be another nasty day for driving around town. Sigh.

The kids did very good in their little Christmas program last night. John wasn't too terribly antsy. One of the gals on stage with the kids held him, and he only tried to escape a couple times. Otherwise, John sang the songs and did the actions. He was so cute. Hanna didn't sing too much. She did a few of the actions here and there, but she was content to stand there and watch the teachers. Both she and John were "snowflakes", so we dressed them in white, and they had this little paper plates drawn up to be snowflakes.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Well, some good news today. Saddam Hussein was captured alive in Iraq by US forces. Yay! Hopefully this will be another important step towards peace in that region. And make no mistake, if it weren't for one person, George W. Bush, Hussein would still be in power today.

Played for orchestra today, so was at the church at 7:30. The others came from Sunday School. I saw John walking to the sanctuary for practice for their program, which is tonight. He was keeping up with the others, but Rhonda said she heard Sandra say "John Kouba, you need to take your seat." Oops, he must have been up and about. Hopefully they will both do well tonight!

I think they have to be at the church at 5:30. We'll be sure to bring the video camera, and will leave when they are done.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Went and helped with this move this morning. It was a single mom, two kids, I guess she's been going to Meadow Creek for a year or so. She was in an apt. managed by someone in the church, and is now renting a house from the same person. There were 6 guys or so, I had my minivan, the others had trucks and a big van. Many hands make quick work. It didn't take long at all. We got to the place about quarter to nine, and I was home about quarter to 11. There weren't any appliances, just a couple larger pieces of furniture.

One nervous moment, at the house, one guy was backing up his truck and was going a bit too fast, there was a guy behind the truck up by the garage and he stopped just in time, was inches from pinning him up against the garage. Eek.

Just about nap time for the kids. They are getting in some last minute playing. Actually, I'm letting them so they get good and worn out and tired.

I play for orchestra tomorrow, so have to be at the church about 7:30 or so. Ick. Tomorrow is the last week of the sunday school quarter, too, so the last class of the interesting Tabernacle class. Starting in January then, I'll do a 5 week class on Leviticus.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Brrr shiver, was wicked cold this morning. At least felt that way. Got down to about 4 below over night, the coldest temp since it was 8 below last March 10. (Ahem, another reason I get tired of the long winters. Two weeks from the spring solstice and it was 8 below! It gets really old when it doesn't warm up around here till June.)

Should be another cold night tonight, and then will warm up to the 30s through most of next week. Will feel like a heat wave! Our snow fort is looking pretty forelorn out there, will have to rebuild it.
Lately, if we're sitting on the couch downstairs, John has liked fiddling around with a doctor set they have, and he'll take the syringe, and he'll come to me and give me a shot. Then he says "Cry, Daddy". So I'll cry and he'll say "Do you want a lollipop?" and he'll pretend to go get and unwrap a lollipop, and I'll say "thank you, now I feel better." And he'll say in a sympathetic voice, "Let's go home now". ha. I think he gets that from the time he went to the doctor a few weeks ago and had a flu shot. He got a lollipop. Hanna, being the great imitator, will also come give me a shot, and she'll say "ouch!"

Last night at supper John said "Daddy, you're my best friend." Awwww. But, I think he was thinking of the Fox and the Hound, where Tod says "Copper, you're my best friend" and Copper says "And you're mine too, Tod."

When they were having their snack last night, John wanted to pretend we were going through a car wash. Ha. The van looks somewhat clean, so Rhonda must have gone through the wash recently with them or something. So, we pretended the garage door went up, and that things were swishing back and forth, and spraying, etc... Then, when we came out of the wash, John said "Thank you, Mr. Daddy!" Ha! Where did he get that?

He didn't have a nap again yesterday. He just doesn't seem to need them some days. Although, when he doesn't have naps he can be more easily irritated and owly in the evening. I put him to bed about 9, and he was asleep by 9:15.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

The kids must have been tired, they were still asleep when I left this morning. I had orchestra practice last night (we play this Sunday) and they were asleep when I came home too.

Their Christmas program is this Sunday evening. Will have to warm up the video camera! Will see how they do in the standing still dept.

There was some kind of accident on 35 this morning not far from downtown, and apparently it caused delays for a long time. Traffic is just jampacked and crawling again, so I took other roads in again today. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Another longish drive in this morning, even though the roads on the freeway were just fine. Hmmm. The official amount of snow is over 10 inches, the largest December snowfall in about 20 years I heard. I don't think we got quite that much at the house. The snow came from the SW to the NE, with the larger amounts the further to the SE you go. So, just past Albertville, and St. Cloud, they got almost no snow up there, and that's not too far away. I did the driveway twice last night, and it needs it again today.

John doesn't have a fever anymore, but he's had a bit of a cough the last day or two. Last night he woke up twice between 10 and 11 or so, I think his coughing woke him up. He cried a bit, but went back to sleep. The second time I had gone to get him a Benadryl and some water, but he was asleep again by the time I got back.

Hanna has been saying "Mommy" and "Daddy" very clearly lately. Sometimes she'll say it just to say it. I think she likes saying it because she gets a response!

When I dropped the kids off this morning, John said something about playing Jack and Jill. I guess he and Julie have been doing something. Maybe tumbling down the hill or something.

Got a call from another deacon that a single mother had contacted the church about needing help with a move. He asked if I could help out on Saturday morning with that, so will probably do that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I see in the news there was an apparent suicide bombing in Moscow, right near the National Hotel. That is right down close to the Kremlin, we would have been in that general vicinity a number of times. Yikes, kinda scary for those people there, I'm sure. I'll bet parents travelling there for adoptions will think a second or two more about what they do for sight-seeing.
Well, that was not fun. Only took me an hour to get to work this morning. Snow started coming down early this morning, and is still coming down. Hence, the roads were an absolute mess. I ended up just weaving back and forth in the area between 65 and 35W, working my way south on back streets. I ended up on 35W just north of 694, and from there things were at least moving. But, it took me nearly 40 minutes just to get that far. And tonight doesn't promise to be any better. Snow will probably keep falling, and we might end up with 3-5 inches.

So, the kids should have fun today out in the snow. Hopefully it will be a little sticky so I can rebuild our snow fort.

I had a missions board meeting last night. (I'm the deacon rep (non-voting) on the board.) So, didn't get to see the kids a whole lot last night. When I came home they were baking cookies. As I was getting Hanna to bed, John listened to the Fox and Hound tape 3 times. (I'll blast him!)

Monday, December 08, 2003

Last night when I was playing with John (I played quite a bit yesterday just John and I, seems like a long time since I'd had that much time with him) and I forget what we were talking about, but John said "Daddy and John are boys, Hanna and Mommy are girls", and I said "yes, and we're a family!" And when I said that he got this nice big smile on his face. He looked so sweet. Hard to say what his little mind was thinking.

Then, when I was putting him to bed we did that again, and he smiled again. Yes sweetie, you have a family now!

I'll always remember when we went to the orphanage to get him on our second trip, after our court hearing, it was the first time we'd seen him then after the court date, and they had him in a playpen by himself. There was business in the room, people going back and forth etc..., the other family and their twins were in there too, and John was just busy playing by himself with some little toy that was in the pen with him. I always think of that, how he no longer is just part of the scenery, having to entertain himself, etc... he's part of a family now!
Last night John wanted to read one of his Thomas books, the one about the cow on the line. There is a story where James can't stop so Edward catches up with him, they throw a rope around Edward and slow him down. John knows the story cuz he was sort of reciting the lines, but there was one line where it says "Caught him!" and when I said that John just giggled and giggled. He wanted me to do that again and again. Then, we pretended to do that ourselves. I'd make my arms a circle like a rope, and throw it around John and say "Caught him!" and he would just laugh and laugh.

Hanna had originally brought the book over but she wanted to read Food is Fun, and she was playing with the LeapPad when John said he wanted to read the Thomas book. As soon as she heard that she came running over and jumped up on the couch with me. She is so funny about not wanting to miss out on attention, and kinda horns in on John so I'll pay attention to her. Ha. She wasn't too happy when I said I was going to read with John.

John has listened to the Fox and the Hound book tape so often he knows a lot of it by heart. He'll recite scenes from it, it's so cute.

John has had a fever over the weekend. So, Rhonda stayed home from work today with them. I guess Sue's kids are a little sick as well anyway. But, John being John, you'd hardly know he was sick. Still plays hard, didn't sleep during his nap yesterday. He doesn't complain about feeling sick. Sometimes he'll say he's tired, but he just takes everything in stride.

I grilled a salmon fillet last night for supper, and John just gobbled it down. He ate a sizeable portion of it all by himself.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

The Christmas concert at St. Olaf last night was wonderful as always. Such pretty music. The orchestra was excellent was well. The last two numbers they did a capella, with all the choirs lined up all around the hall, sounded very nice.

We had supper at a new Indian restaurant in Northfield. It is in that whole building where the Archer Hotel is. Yummy food.

Lately John was been saying "Hmm, I don't know about this.." ha, where did he get that? This morning I asked if he wanted breakfast, and he said "just a minute", then he stood for moment "hmm, let me think..." ha

Have my writing group tonight. I'll be getting Chapter 3 back. Although, I still have large chunks in it to finish. But, I can come back to those. I need to dive into Chapter 4 soon.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Had a dentist appt this morning to get a little filling. They gassed me. I wonder what it is. It didn't put me all the way under, and I still felt like I was reasonably conscious, but I could feel its effects. It must numb you enough so that the drilling isn't too bad. I did feel a twinge here and there, but survived.

Had orchestra practice last night. We'll play Dec 14. Then sounds like on the 21st there will be a large music element in the service, with all of the different parts of the music ministry, so we'll probably then as well.

Sounds like Rhonda might go to a movie tonight. I will ride herd on the kids.

Hanna has seemed heavier lately, more solid. You pick her up and she is a chunk. John still is a little wiry.

I had breakfast at the kitchen table with the kids before leaving this morning. A little chickadee or something was hopping around in the bush right outside the window. Hanna thought that was pretty neat.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I took John to the grocery store with me last night, and Rhonda took Hanna to Target. Hanna was extra fussy yesterday. John went to the potty twice while we were at the store. (I just parked the cart outside the restroom door.)

Both kids were sleeping when I went to get them up this morning.

I have 5 clues left on the Calculatrivia quiz. Two of them will probably require a trip to the library. Another two are dependant on values not yet determined, leaving one that I can work on for now. I actually took a crack at it already. It involved filling in squares in a grid, and that is supposed to represent some era, but it doesn't look like anything to me, so will have to give it some thought.

I have orchestra practice tonight. We'll work on Christmas music for Dec 14. Friday I'll be going to the St. Olaf Choir Concert. And Saturday is our writing group.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Last night Santa came down the street on a firetruck. It was just after supper, and I heard the siren, so we all went out to the driveway to watch them come by. They were passing out candy. (Boy, there are lots of kids in our neighborhood! They were coming out of the woodwork.) But poor John. When the firetruck was just about in front of our house, it let loose with the siren. It was quite loud. And it scared John. He started crying and ran and jumped into my arms and said he wanted to go in the house. When we got in the door he reached for the door and closed it.

When I got home from work last night Hanna was rather fussy. So, I brought her up with me while I changed clothes. She bounced around on the bed while I changed. I had left my glasses on the dresser, and when I went back out to get her, she pointed and said "glasses!" She knew I was supposed to put them back on.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Another enjoyable holiday has past.
My, it went so fast.
Seems like just a minute ago I was sitting here on Wednesday
looking forward to the Thanksgiving repast.

We had a nice time with visiting family. The kids sure enjoyed seeing Grandpa and Grandma and Oma! Last night as we were putting John to bed, he said "I want to see Grandpa and Grandma."

On Friday, we took the kids to the Children's Museum in St. Paul. They sure had fun crawling around on everything, exploring, fiddling with things.

Last night I got out the video we first got from the agency of John. Hadn't seen it for awhile. Boy he was so small. It was fun to watch again, and I could recognize facial expressions that he still has now.

Had a dental appt this morning. I was late as I thought they were in a different building. They were in the building I thought was just a bank. And to make things worse, I gotta go back on Thursday to have a little filling. That's like two or three now I've need. I'm getting old. My teeth are rotting.