December 31, 2003

Here we are at the end of another year. I'm writing on my web page, taking a break from working on grad application stuff. You know, I really hate doing this stuff, even as I'm getting better at it. I just want to be in school and be done with it all. Oh, well. Let me pick up where I left off.

In October, "Papa" (that's Kari's father, for those who don't know, while I'm "Dada") taught Elijah how to say the words "Trick or Treat." We got him a Spiderman costume and a spiderman-looking bucket to carry his treats in. The closest he got was "Treat Treat," which he still says when he really wants something sweet. That's my boy. On Halloween (or maybe the day before), it snowed, making the night a little chilly. First, Kari and I took him to Walmart, where they were giving out candy at various stations. Then we went around the neighborhood, trudging in the snow. He enjoyed himself, but never once said "Trick or treat" when he was supposed to (and by that, I mean when someone is there at the door, giving him candy). Oh, well. He had fun. Afterwards, Kari and I put him to bed, let someone else watch him and went to get something to eat. As we drove back, our windshield wipers died. Thank goodness we were close to home, because it was snowing pretty hard and got difficult to see. Well, stuck without a usable car (when it's snowing, not having wipers is dangerous, to say the least), I got to borrow my mother-in-law's car. We got our car fixed later that week, but that was not an expense we wanted. Is there ever a sudden expense that someone wants? Anyway, our car works fine again.

November started the downhill slide toward Christmas and the New Year. Work was very busy. Kari started working at Hickory Farms. We started saving up for various things we wanted (like a digital video camera and a DVD burner). Oh yeah. Saving up for grad school applications, too. Kari was good and got most Christmas presents purchased or made early. Kari ended up throwing a Discovery Toy party and made some good money (ok, she got free toys off the people who purchased during her party). Elijah, as a result, ended up with tons of toys for Christmas. We also got Elijah into a regular bed, giving up the crib for good. He is good at making transitions like that. He is ready to grow up. Even more recently, he gave up the high chair and is using a booster seat. Ah, progress. He can also open up doors and keeps his mom and dad on a steady diet of the Wiggles.

Kerstin ended up moving in right before Thanksgiving, so this house is almost full. The good news it that Kerstin met a guy who seems to actually fulfill her needs. They met in September, but didn't start dating until she moved here. They are looking for a ring. Whew! All I can say is, it's about time for that girl. Anyway, the garage is full of her stuff (sounds like when we first moved here) and it took her time to arrange the room in which she's staying. Speaking of rooms, the room Kari and I have as an office will disappear when Christian comes home from his mission. That will be a full house.

Thanksgiving was the busy Olson day that I've come to expect. Lots of cooking and cleaning, lots of people (mostly Olson relatives, but a stray neighbor came over too) come over and stay to talk for a while, then a rest at the end. I ate but did not stuff myself. Jen Johnson and her daughter Anya came to eat also. Anya is under a year old, is just walking and such, but seems to like Elijah. Of course, Elijah likes her too. He calls every baby he sees "Anya." Alan, Jen's husband, couldn't come because he was out training for a job thing. I'm not sure what, at this point. He's been good to have here. He and I have had lan parties together. I still don't have many friends here in Utah. The day after, we briefly got to see Debbie and Gary Griffin, who were visiting with his family. It was a good but too short visit.

December flew by fast. Busy at work, still. Then the phone system died on us. I did a lot of the work to get that fixed. Seems there always has to be a crisis. Kari, Elijah and I got sick with the fun flu that's been going around. We all had high fevers, although I got mine first. Kari was about 3 days pregnant, but her fever got high enough that she lost it. Elijah got to 104.5 or so. We had to cool him down with cold baths. He did not like that. It was a miserable time. Little sleep, body aches, sore throat, severe congestion. I gave a blessing to Kari, and dang it if it didn't work. She got healthy faster than I did (by a lot). And I was using essential oils. All of us are still slightly sick, mostly residual sickness, but nothing like before. Heck, I got pneumonia after getting the flu. I didn't even have a voice for a while (terribly annoying when you are supposed to talk on the phone at work).

Kari and I went to the Young Living Christmas party. This year was much better than last year. Sure, I was just starting to get sick that night, but all I had to do was sit down. The food was decent. We didn't win anything this year, but that's ok. The highlight was a hypnotist act. This one was entertaining and much more original than most I've seen. He had a sci-fi type setting to his narration (the story of what the hypnotized people were seeing). He also gave them good tasks that kept the audience entertained. I also got to meet my coworker's (Rich) fiance. She seemed really nice.

Christmas was fun. I got Kari a special something from Frederick's of Hollywood. We both got the digital video camera (at a great price off the web) and the DVD burner (at the day-after-Thanksgiving sale price). Kerstin and Brent (her guy) were there. We talked to Christian (Kari's brother) the afternoon before. Then, later that evening, I spoke with Jonathan. He has matured a lot. I got to talk to him about his post-mission plans. He pointed out that Kari forgot to put me in the family calendar twice, while everyone else had at least two pictures in there. Ah, well. It was good talking to both of them. On Christmas morning, I got to film Elijah helping everyone with their presents and playing with the wrapping paper. That was really fun.

Well, now that Christmas is over, I've had a week off of work (we are closed) and I haven't done much. Debbie and Gary offered to let us come visit them, but another trip sounded horrible right now. I think we are both too tired (and still sick) to travel, plus we did too much for this year already. Perhaps later, but I think we both needed a rest. I have been slacking a bit, but I needed that. Now, I'm working again (and actively) toward grad applications again. Oh, I'm growing a beard for the week I'm off, because I can. Kari complains, but only because my beard is sharp to the touch, not because she dislikes how I look. Even trade-off for a temporary project. Elijah is talking in complete (but small) sentences now. He stands on a small stool to "brush his teeth" while playing with the water. We have taken him outside to play with the snow, which has been accumulating off and on since Christmas. It has been nice, especially after a disappointing last year winter. I am even able to use some of my cold weather clothing again. Fun. Well, the new year is approaching and I should do other things. It has been a good year. Let's hope the next one is even better.

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