May 28, 2010

Springville Playground and Picnic

My cousin Jessica told Michelle about this great park in Springville. It was a park where the path made a circle around the playground and you could sit in the middle and watch the boys cruise with their bikes or scooters without having to chase them! What a concept…

So Michelle found this park and took the boys there to play. They had such a good time that they have been asking to go back. If it was closer we would have been back sooner. But today was the day and I took my boys there to play and to have a picnic. The weather wasn’t cooperating because it was overcast and windy which lead to cooler conditions during this cooler spring. But the boys were too excited to notice. David and Donovan had their bikes and they spent hours circling the park, especially to ride down the “hill” and go extra fast. Michael and Aleky had their toys and they rode around the park numerous times.

The playground really didn’t see much of my boys and the path was the excitement for today. Everything was going great until Michael took the hill a little too fast and skinned his knee. After that he wasn’t interested in doing much of anything. He decided he wanted to wait in the car. When the rest of us didn’t follow he eventually came back to eat our picnic lunch. While we were eating the sun came out and that must have been a signal because the boys were off again (except Michael). Michael went back to the car and fell asleep.

With Michael not having fun I felt it was a good time to head home. So we rounded up the boys, put their toys in the back and came home. Once we unloaded the toys at home they boys headed straight through the yard, out the back gate and started riding the path in the park behind our house! The freedom of the bicycle cannot be denied. I’m just excited that David and Donovan can now go riding together.

Feeding the Ducks

The boys have been asking (daily) to go feed the ducks. Several weeks ago, when it had first warmed up and the trees were all in bloom, Michelle took the boys down by the Novell building (in south Provo) and fed some ducks that live on the little stream there. It was a hit and the boys have been so excited to go back and feed the ducks again. So we decided that it was time to go back.

Michelle had some work that she needed to get done and figured that she would work much faster without the boys around so I got to take the boys on a father and sons outing. We headed right to the spot (I wasn’t sure where it was since I didn’t go on the first trip) and the boys were off. They found the ducks and came back to hurry me along (so they could get the bread for the ducks).

It was the cutest thing to watch my boys feeding the ducks. Every one of them was having a marvelous time and the ducks got full before we were out of bread (guess that means we can do it again). The boys were up and down the bank of that little stream, throwing bread to all of the ducks so no duck went hungry. Ahhh, the memories!

Donovan Learns To Ride His Bike

Now that school is out there has been increasing pressure on me to get Donovan’s bike into working order so that he can learn to ride it with his brother David. So I spent some time this morning working on getting his bike operational. The hand brake doesn’t work right but the pedal brake is definitely functional so I figured he’d be okay.

Michelle was so excited that the bike was working that she didn’t hesitate to help Donovan with his first bike lesson. He picked things up pretty quickly. We went to the park behind our house and put him on the bike; we believe in “on the job” training. Next he was instructed to pedal and steer (simple and straight-forward instructions). It took about 3 trips up and down the park path before Donovan really had the hang of it. A few more trips and Donovan was able to start and stop on his own! So it took about 30 minutes for him to learn how to ride a bike! Good job Donovan!

Thanks for the bike riding lessons mommy!

May 24, 2010

Snow in May

Apparently our winter is not done yet. According to the news, we have just experience the latest season snow fall since 1978! I’m not really excited about setting this arbitrary record and would be happy with some spring weather.

On a positive note, our garden has survived this late season freeze and looks to be well on its way.

May 21, 2010

Father and Sons Campout

I’m not sure how I missed this memo about the Father and Sons annual camp-out. After all my years as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I didn’t realize that every May we have a Father and sons campout to commemorate the restoration of the Priesthood.

This year our ward had to cancel our campout due to a lack of participation. But my brother-in-law’s ward didn’t cancel their campout. In fact, their entire stake went to the same camping area for their annual campout! Actually, I think there were about 4 stakes that all went to the same camping spot! Once we actually arrived it was quite crazy with the number of trucks, suburbans, campers and trailers that were caravanning the single lane, unpaved, windy road to this church sponsored campground (we know it was church sponsored because there were senior missionaries guarding the entrance where everyone checked in).

Well, Michelle “just happened” to be talking to her brother and discovered that their campout was this weekend. That’s when the idea starting brewing in her head and the conspiracy developed. As it turned out, Dad Petersen was going to attend this father and sons campout with Jared (Michelle’s brother) and his boys. So Michelle deduced that Mom would be there with Tosha & Melissa in Logan while all the boys would be camping: Girls Night!

So the next thing I know, we are packing our suburban with all of our camping gear in preparation for a father and sons campout. Yes, that means that I would be taking 4 of my 5 boys camping by myself!!! How hard could that be???

Michelle armed us with plenty of hot dogs for dinner (the stake was providing breakfast for everyone!). And with our tent, sleeping bags and a change of clothes we were ready to go.

RAIN! While we acknowledged that rain was in the forecast I wasn’t expecting 12 solid hours of rain during our 12 hours of campout. It started raining from the moment we arrived at camp around 5:30 pm and didn’t stop raining until about 5:30 am! So we set up the tent in the rain, built a fire in the rain, cooked and ate dinner in the rain, roasted marshmallows and had smores in the rain, found lost boys in the rain, got ready for bed in the rain and the retired for the evening in the rain.

But one thing is for sure, it takes more than cold rain to dampen the spirits of 4 young boys in the wilderness with a live campfire! My boys unloaded half a mountain of rocks into the nearby river (there is something about a splash) while I set up camp. These same boys delighted in igniting wet wood in the fire to watch it burn or smoke (we probably should have been more strict about playing with fire but we figured everything was wet so what’s the harm). And the boys were with their cousins so that is always a treat.

The rain did give us a small reprieve, just about long enough to eat our dinner and roast some marshmallows.

The rain turned to snow around 3:00 am (or so I’m told). Aleky and Michael both woke up in the middle of the night with concerns that I was able to resolve (after which they were tucked by snuggly in their sleeping bags). We had trace snow on our tent and were about 75 feet below the snow line in the morning.

Apparently wet wood doesn't burn very well and it was quite a feat getting the fire started in the morning.

With so many people to feed in the damp, cold morning, breakfast didn’t turn out quite like we planned. But with a break in the rain we quickly packed up all the wet gear and “packed” the suburban for the return trip home. We are still recovering for the wetness of this trip but it was a good experience. I suspect that the rain and cool weather helped me keep track of my boys because they were never too far away from the fire. Had everything been “ideal” I may have lost a boy or two before the camping was finished. (just sayin’)

We returned to Jared’s house and the boys immediately found the toys and the movie (I think my boys are addicted to video stimulation, any video and they get sucked in). But we had a good visit and then it was time to head home. Kyle had to get back to school work and other obligations.

May 18, 2010

Farewell Party – Small Weather Miracle

With the ending of the school year we know we are going to be saying good-bye to many wonderful friends. Several of our friends have been our neighbors for more than one school year. Before they all head away to more grand adventures we wanted to have one last get-together.

We thought it would be fun to have a BBQ, since everyone still has to eat, even when they’re moving, packing, studying, etc. Having heard rumors of the incredible hamburger creations of Geneene Jacobson, we enlisted her help in providing the food. The other friends were asked to bring a side dish to complement the hamburgers.

With many departing friends invited and confirmed we began to grow a little concerned as the dark grey clouds swelled through the skies bringing plenty of rain in their wakes. With a few small prayers we hoped that the rain would break by 3:30 pm in order to dry out enough for our little party. Almost on cue, the rain stopped and patches of blue sky could be seen! I took advantage of the break in the rain to get the fire started.

Almost like a celestial practical joke, as the first guests arrived the rain started again! As the rain continued to fall additional guests arrived and we were not quite sure how to fit everyone into our living room. While it is a decent sized living room it still isn’t quite big enough for 30 people to sit down and eat comfortably; but don’t tell Michelle, she won’t listen to you. So we rolled up the area rug, pushed the couches to the walls and really opening up the living room.

The ladies happily pitched in to put the food all together while the guys talked shop, mostly about legal issues facing America (at least that’s what I heard as I went back and forth setting up chairs and tables). I guess you can’t blame them; recently graduated attorneys tend to talk about that kind of stuff.

In spite of the amazing arrangements, the kids could not be contained and they began escaping into the yard in spite of the rain. The crazy part was that the rain began to let up! By the time we were ready to say a blessing on the food there was no more rain! Completely stopped!

So we moved outside where the kids could eat without worries of food spilling on the floors. Geneene made some awesome hamburgers and there was plenty of other food: salads, chips, dips, veggies, etc. With the fire going we had marshmallow roasting and just great visiting with some very awesome people.

Obviously we will miss these dear friends, at least the ones who are actually moving. We are still holding out for some of these families to get jobs here in the area and stick around a little bit longer. Who knows? I guess we’ll see.

May 14, 2010

Sisters Visit

Every since my sister Trista moved up to Salt Lake City we haven’t seen her much. Admittedly, we don’t travel up there very often but the net result is that we don’t see her as much as we want.

As fate would have it, Trista had a friend getting married and various aspects of that celebration were occurring here in the area so we were able to have her come over to visit. When we first found out she was going to be here we wanted to have a whole party. But the people we wanted to invite (several single adults) were otherwise previously engaged (in other activities). So we invited another sister (Larisa) to come over and we just had a chance to visit.

It was great to have them over. We did go bowling (on the Wii). This game belongs to Michelle, who completely dominated the game and scored a personal best 213! (Yes, she definitely broke 100.)

May 11, 2010

Hair cut

Michelle decided that she wanted to get her hair cut. Normally that has meant that she needs to cut off the split ends, maybe cut off a few inches to keep her hair healthy and beautiful. Apparently I missed those subtle mental cues when she said she wanted a “hair cut”. This time she meant a real hair cut, cut above her shoulders! I’ve never known Michelle with hair above her shoulders.

I fully support my wife in any decision she makes; this is usually because any decision she makes has had so much time and analysis put into it that it is difficult for her to go wrong. So, with my full support, and with some trepidation, she headed off to the salon. I had some idea of what she wanted her hair to look like when she was done but I lack that ability to make a clear picture in my head of what is “supposed to happen”. So I just waited to see the final result.

When Michelle walked through the door she wasn’t quite as excited as I expected her to be. After all, she looked amazing! Upon very close inspection she did notice a few things that needed to be “touched up”. She actually went back to the stylist for the touch-ups. She also used the opportunity to get a little more educated about hair styles and cuts.

I don’t know about you but I think she looks fabulous!

I love you sweetheart!

May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Mothers Day has been a great experience for our family this year.

This morning I woke up to get a head start on the day. I whipped up a little breakfast for Michelle. Before I brought it to her in bed I had the boys all run in a give her a kiss and wish her a “Happy Mother’s Day!”

The boys quickly ate their breakfasts and then got ready for church. We made it to church on time which is always a great way to start the day. Things were going pretty good until we looked at the program…and began to notice something very peculiar. The primary children were NOT on the program! How can you celebrate mothers without having the kids involved? A question we are still pondering…

The talks were about women and both speakers did a good job of extolling the virtues of womanhood. The boys were remarkably reverent which made things so nice. After Sacrament meeting was over the boys are quickly headed up to primary on their own. There were not flowers and acknowledgements to all the mothers…just a little strange. However, before the end of the meeting block the women were given a (No, it wasn’t a flower or even a chocolate bar) tomato plant! I guess nothing says mom like a tomato plant (which should have already been planted if you want a good harvest of tomatoes). At least they did something. I was getting al little worried there.

Michelle has, once again, gone above and beyond the call of duty. Yesterday she made several batches of bread. Oh no, not for our family…these special loaves were to be given several of the special women in the ward who have been of particular inspiration to Michelle as mothers (or mother figures). Michelle spent the next couple of hours delivering these loaves and visiting with several of our senior sister neighbors. As it turns out, a couple of these visits were very well timed and needed. I am always so amazed at Michelle’s sensitivity to the Spirit.

Already considered a successful day we are finishing our preparations for a fabulous Sunday dinner of roast, mashed potatoes and corn when we get a call; Michelle’s parents are going to stop by and visit! How amazing cool is that and what an unexpected surprise! Could our day be any better?

I made a quick trip to visit my mother and to wish her a happy mother’s day. I headed back home once she began to receive phone calls from the other siblings who also wanted to wish her a happy mother’s day. I arrived home to discover Michelle’s parents who had just arrived. The boys were all over this visit from Grandma and Grandpa Petersen (mostly Grandpa Petersen).

We are so blessed! Happy Mother’s Day Michelle! We all love you.

May 8, 2010

Dinner Outside

Today’s just been one of “those” days. So what do you eat for dinner on one of “those” days? We don’t know but hot dogs sound good. So we decided to have a campfire and roast hot dogs. It’s quick and easy and the boys will love it.

It didn’t take much to get the fire started and the boys were instantly attracted like moths to the flame. That is, until Uncle Kyle arrived with his championship football kicker contraption (a contraption he built to win the engineering clubs football kicker contest last month). The boys thought it was great and were excited to be the one who retrieved the football after it was booted into the park.

After the excitement subsided we settled down to roasting hotdogs and eating dinner.

May 7, 2010

Flooded Basement

When we put our sprinkler system in we had the ingenious idea of connecting our garden to the sprinkling system and then the garden would get watered automatically. Since it’s that time of year, we hooked up the various hoses, laid out the garden and planted a whole variety of vegetables. Then we turned on the watering system to let it soak for an hour.

With that job under control I headed off to do some errands and get some homework taken care of. Michelle decided to use her time to exercise, get ready for the day and other tasks related to the care of our children. However, upon completing her exercise program she went into our storage/toy room and noticed the distinct sound of running water, kind of like the sound of a small fountain or water fall. As she moved closer toward the sound she squooshed through a soaked carpet. With a hastiness in her stride she moved closer toward the two shelves of storage against the north wall only to notice that water was pouring in through that window!

Her quick reactions are nothing short of a miracle as she located a water pump from one neighbor, assembled a quick bail-out contraption for the flooded strip of land immediately on our north and removed all storage and shelving from the flooded section of the basement!

Apparently the pvc pipe connection to the garden water system popped/blew/disconnected and had been pouring full blast for a full hour. It had literally filled up the strip of land just north of our house. The short cement divider held the water so that the water was beginning to fill the window wells. The level of water had reached high enough to beginning pouring into the house!

Needless to say, everything in that corner of the basement was soaked. However, because of Michelle’s quick thinking the flooding was limited to the north east corner of that one room only! I had the pleasure of repairing the disconnected system. This, as it turns out, is no easy feat (for me).

Because the pvc pipe cement causes a chemical reaction that essentially melts the pipes together, once the connection is broken it really can’t be glued back together. We discovered this after 2 tries at reconnecting the pipes. So I had to rebuild the entire connection which doesn’t just feed the garden but also feeds the front and back shrub beds.

Let’s just say that after 4 days of fans and heaters, the carpet is now dry (and clean due to the convenient use of my parent’s carpet cleaner). And the carpet was dry before the pipe was finally fixed (for sure). We are still going to run the garden through a complete watering cycle before we fill in the whole and pronounce this project officially complete.

May 5, 2010

Starting Another Semester

I have started yet another semester of school in a desperate attempt to finish my pre-reqs for PA school. Once these classes are done I can finally start submitting applications. Ideally I'll be accepted into the program at the U but last year they had over 700 applicants for their 40 openings so I can't hold my breath for that one. But their are other school and I'm just 4 chemistry credits away from starting the process. So I have started what should be my last semester of pre-req classes.

I am happy to say (for the most part) that I am pleased that this last semester is in the books. The grades came out (online) today. Here is how I fared:
Psychology: A
Anatomy: A
Physiology: A
Microbiology: B+

CNA Skills Exam

In December I took a CNA course offered through OrchardCNA in Orem. The class wasn't very informative but it is a state requirement to take a class somewhere. I completed the class but didn't receive my testing vouchers until after school had started at UVU. Due to my heavy course load I didn't feel I had time to worry about taking the certification exams at that time. Now that the semester is over I figured I would take advantage of my "free time" to finish taking the certification exams.

Yesterday I headed up to Salt Lake City to take my skills portion of the CNA exam. I was nervous heading into the exam not knowing how the exam was going to be administered and how picky the examiner would be. However, once we got started I realized that the exam wasn't going to be difficult and the examiner was very amiable. I went first (we test is pairs) and very quickly completed my list of skills except for the vital signs, which should have been the easiest part of the exam since that is the only real thing we worked on in my CNA class. However, while doing the blood pressure the examiner had to explain to me that I was incorrectly interpreting the results! Not exactly reassuring words to this examinee. She explained that when you're taking a blood pressure, the first sound you hear may not be the sound you record. You have to wait for the the first sound of the regular pulsing of the heart. The other sounds, she expained, were simply background noise and was to be disregarded.

She indicated that I should try one more time. This time I listened very carefully for the first sound of the regular heart beat. The examiner seemed pleased with this new assessment and I breathed a sign of relief. However, I must still wait 7-10 days to receive my results (whether I passed of failed this portion of the exam). Now I just need a quick review and I can take the written portion of the exam (which I'll probably do on Wednesday). I don't anticipate any problems with passing that portion of the exam so I should be a certified CNA by next weekend (officially).