May 07, 2005

Well, the year 2005 has been so far pretty neglected on my website. I need to make amends here. So much has been happening. Among other things, another semester has gone by. I took four classes this semester, five if you count the one I dropped right away. The classes were: Family Counseling, Career Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling and Psychological Testing and Measurement. The class I dropped was the thesis and dissertation preparation class. Yes, I decided that I was not going to write a thesis. I don't have to, and my program isn't making it any easier. They almost don't tell you what to do to take that option. However, a few weeks into the class, I realized that the time committment would not allow me to ever see my family. That was unacceptable to me, and I know my wife didn't want me to disappear, either. So . . . I dropped the class and gave up my dream of being a world-class psychological researcher. Um, yeah. As for the other classes, Family and Substance Abuse were great classes, taught by the same professor, while Measurement was difficult and Career was downright miserable. I don't think anyone in that class enjoyed it or thought we had a good professor. I won't name any names, but . . . it was obvious our professor had not taught in years. Ugh! Glad that is over. I got a B in that class, A's in the Family and Substance classes, and still waiting for the last grade to be posted. Hopefully soon.

In January, we went to Salt Lake to see Elijah's friend Anya for her birthday. Of course, it helps her parents are our friends. It was a fun occasion, and of course, Elijah ran all over and acted like a little boy. Gotta love my little guy.

It started last year, in October, but it wasn't really until this year that potty training began in earnest. Elijah fought, and there were many bitter conflicts between mother and son over the issue, but now, Elijah is happy to go pee pee in the potty. Well, if not happy, at least willing. Usually. Stickers didn't work. Rewards didn't work. Promises of the moon (or at least trips to Disney Land) didn't work. What worked was when he decided, on his own, that he was a "guy" if he went pee pee in the potty, and a "baby" if he wore a diaper during the day. It helped that there was a stipulation for wearing a diaper. On those days where he wears a diaper, he cannot play on the computer, play with play-dough or paint, his three favorite activities. It worked. He wears a diaper for nap time and for bed time, and we can go out (with back up pants and underwear, of course) without too much worry. There are accidents, but things are much better.He's gotten very good. Poo poo in to potty still doesn't happen, but we are working on that.

Oh, as for the computer, he loves to play on the Playhouse Disney or Wiggles web pages, because they have little games on them that are perfect for toddlers. He's gotten very good at using the mouse to play the games and clicks around like a busy little guy.

In January and February, Heather's then boyfriend Mike decided to help Chris and do some repair-work around the house. The brick fireplace that Chris and I started taking out last fall needed to be completely removed, and some major holes in the ceiling were patched up (holes were ductwork was placed in). It was very nice of him. He also got Kari and me into the series Smallville. We are still stuck on the 2nd season, but we will keep watching. Oh, Ally loved to be held by Mike. He could always get her to sleep. Sadly, now that Mike and Heather broke up, she barely remembers Mike any more. Ah, well.

Allison started eating solid food in late January. I think she likes it, but she still prefers Mommy for her food source. Solid food is a distant second place. She now recognizes her name. For the last month or so, she can sit up fairly well on her own. She has started grabbing this as much as possible. She likes to sit on my lap and grab at my laptop keys. She can get on her hands and knees and rock a little, but no crawling yet. I don't think I'm ready for her to crawl, yet. What she really likes is standing, but she's not quite ready for it, yet. So, she just complains at the adults holding her until they help her stand. She knows how to let others know what she wants. She also likes to jump, another feat that requires adult help. And for a girl with no teeth yet, she has sure developed a sweet tooth. She loves ice cream, cake, cookies and any other sweet things we let her try.

In March, Karyn came with some friends of hers in Thatcher up here to see us during her spring break. Well, her friends had others they wanted to see, and it was convenient for them to stay here, but we were happy to let them so we could see Karyn. It was good to have her around. Sadly, I had work and school. My spring break was the next week. So, I spent what time I could with her. She even came with me up to Salt Lake to attend one of my classes and check out the campus. She's thinking of attending at some point to go into speech pathology (they have a good program there). Karyn's visit was not long enough for me, but I guess that's a good thing. Otherwise, I would be waiting for her to just leave! No, we love having Karyn here, and I'd like to think she enjoyed spending time with my little family. They are such a cute family, if I do say so myself.

Twice now, Kari has enrolled Elijah in a tumbling class for toddlers. It is a pretty neat class and he seems to like it a lot. He is one of the most energetic there. Of course, now, he is the oldest, as well. He can't sign up again for this class, now that he's three. While there, he jumps on the trampoline, dives into the foam pit, and does all kinds of tricks. I went with Kari, Elijah and Ally a few times, but usually Grandma goes with them, to keep Ally company.

For my spring break, in mid-March, well, let's just say it came at a good time. I was stressed and tired from midterms and such, and got a little sick. Just then, my back went out, as it sometimes does when I'm stressed, tired and unable to exercize for a while. I have a slipped disk that occasionally bothers me, ever since early 2002. Anyway, that kind of ruined the first half of my spring break. But it would have been murder if I had that bad a back during school. Then, as it got better, we started doing things. As a family, we went to take Trax, the lightrail train, up to Salt Lake, and spent time up there, visited the temple visitor center and went shopping. Elijah loved it (because he has this fixation with trains), but decided to lick the windows and seats, and rub his eyes after touching dirty things. Yes, he got pink eye. He also got sick. He gave both to his parents. It must have been some nasty virus, because I spent the next two months sick. Two months! Blah! The trip on the train was fun, though. We got back pretty late at night, but it was worth it for the time together.

Easter time was very nice. Elijah was able to decorate eggs for the first time. He loved that. I knew he wouldn't eat any of them, because he doesn't like eggs, but we boiled a second dozen eggs, just because he wanted to decorate more. Kari and I spent our money on toys, while Grandma and Grandpa Olson spent money on candy for him. Worked for us. The next day, Elijah zoomed around the room, finding the barely concealed eggs and enjoying his candy and toys. Ally looked confused, but was fine in Mommy's lap while Daddy followed Elijah around with a camera. Then we dressed them in the Easter clothes. Elijah did not want to wear his new clothes, saying his old ones were just fine. The pictures we took, well, he looks like he has brown teeth, but it's just the Easter candy.

Oh, last fall, after Kari and I were finally released from our callings in nursery (let's just say that Ally was about to come out when they finally released us, and I was in the nursery with 12 or more kids by myself a couple times; I wasn't happy), I was called to teach the 16 year old class for Sunday school. I actually liked this calling a lot and enjoyed having every other week off. Kari and I could attend the geneology class every other week (she still doesn't have a calling). Well, at the beginning of the new year, I got the new class and started getting to know them. Good group of kids, just like the last group. Well, then in March or so, I was reassigned to the 14 year olds. Now, I have nothing against the age or the kids, but I don't like having to get to know a new group just as I had established myself with the other group. I don't like a few of the things that have happened with the new Sunday School presidency, but I'm trying to do my best for the kids in my class. In fact, I should be working on a lesson right now. Maybe in a little while. Anyway, one thing that bothers me is that there are no team teachers any more. It's just one teacher for one class. Well, due to school and being sick a lot, not to mention General and stake conference, I actually haven't taught my class many times yet. At any rate, I'm trying to have a good attitude.

I can't recall if it was in January or February, but Christian got engaged to Denise. They are getting late in May. He knows he is a BYU statistic ("we met our first semester at the Y, right after his mission"), but he seems very happy with her. Denise seems to fit in the family well and likes my children (that's a sign to me that she's OK). So, preparations have been going on with that, and as we get closer, things get busier. Kari has been helping a bit with the wedding preparations.

April was a busy month for me. The last month of the semester kept me very tied up. I tried to see my family, but it didn't happen as much as I would have liked. I know Kari was sad. She was preparing for Elijah's birthday party while helping with wedding stuff. Oh, and potty training has been a big issue. And being sick while having sick children. April was not an easy month for any of us. Kari has taken to cooking, something she used to never do. It keeps her from getting bored. My poor wife is getting domesticated. Well, it helps that last fall she put together another cookbook, as one of her mom's "projects" (the kind of project that she comes up with and has Kari finish).

Up until the last month of school, I had been writing a little bit every week. It has been difficult to get back in that habit. I used to write every day, back in the old days. My productivity in that regard has changed. Have to be responsible, and all that. However, the one useful thing I got out of my Career counseling class was the results to two personality/interest tests, the MBTI and the Strong Interest Inventory. Both pretty much told me I should go into creative endeavors. Psychology is a mere second place, and while the scores were still high, they paled compared to the extreme scores for creativity. In other words, I need to keep up my creative outlet somehow.

Well, the semester came to a close. I had a group project, a test, then a paper and a test, then a paper and a presentation, and finally a test, all in the last week. It was stressful, and drove Kari crazy, but it wasn't as bad as my midterms, oddly enough. Despite only barely caring (and barely studying) in Career, I still got a B, as I said before. Worse than just the amount of work I had, I ended up getting strep throat halfway through my finals week. I was just barely almost over the viral infection (worst sore throats EVER) that Elijah gave me from our little train ride, when he got strep and passed it on to Kari and me. We had fevers and chills and coughing fits and blowing noses and UGH! Nights of no sleep when children were crying and needed attention. The timing was awful. However, we survived. Then we had Elijah's birthday party. Well, we had a small party a week earlier, for just close family. It was just a couple days before his actual birthday. That went well, largely because we were more healthy, but Kari did drop his cake on the floor after the candles were lit. We . . . um, we turned it over, relit the candles and sang happy birthday. At first, Elijah reacted with a "My birthday is ruined!" We eventually showed him it would be all right and we all choked down some dirty cake. He was happy. This second party was for his little friends. It had a Wiggles theme. Kari and I were dizzy as we put the decorations up the night before and had just started antibiotics. Elijah was grumpy for his party, but ultimately, I think everyone had fun.

Oh, the week before Elijah's party, we went to his second cousin, Daniel's party. He and Daniel are a year apart and usually get along very well. That party was at Chuck E Cheese. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the food at Chuck E Cheese? It is just terrible, and way overpriced. Bleah! But other than that, Elijah had fun. Ally got to be held by several of Kari's cousins and their spouses. Daniel's parents just had a baby girl, Emma, and we attended her baby blessing recently, and the family luncheon afterwards. Most everyone has a luncheon afterwards, just so the family can all see one another. They all seem to like each other, which is a good thing.

Allison is growing a lot. She has never liked a bottle, so we give her cups instead. She does not like to be alone at all, and is sometimes very clingy, but she loves her mommy and daddy. We love to have her around. She is almost always good for a big, beautiful toothless grin. Such a happy little girl. She can't crawl yet, but she can scoot around backwards, and when she's in a walker, she can push herself backwards, also. She can roll from her back to her stomach, and only once, she has rolled the opposite way, but is still not very good at that, yet. She imitates sounds, like coughing (sadly, she has heard a lot of that in recent weeks).

We are all just recuperating from the difficult semester and being sick. Elijah is a little stir crazy, struck with spring fever, but his parents have been sick. Then it started raining a lot, so we still can't go outside much. He's a good boy, and very patient, but this has been difficult for his three year old mind. Once he turned three, we made the rule that he could only have his pacifier while in bed. Hopefully soon we can phase out the pacifier altogether. That, in addition to his potty training, has helped to shape him into a little boy instead of just a toddler. It helps his personality has changed and he's become much more reasonable. They aren't kidding when they call it the "terrible twos." We also just gave him a bed without railings. At first, he told us it was too "dangerous," but I think he has adjusted now. Well, I've said enough for now. Hopefully, wading through all this has been worthwhile. Hey, it's my family, I can gush and brag about them if I want to.

Addendum 5/13/2005
I finally found out my last grade, an A minus. Not too shabby. So, the final score is two A's, an A minus and a B. Not to shabby. Good, solid grades. I'm still in the clear, don't have to retake anything.

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