June 27, 2011

Foam Swords

David came home from Cub Scout Day Camp with a cool foam noodle sword. Michelle liked the idea so much that she create a whole set of swords for the family. This is a video of their first use.

(Posted 1/23/12)

June 25, 2011

What a Productive Day

Yesterday started off pretty normal as I headed off to work at 6:30 am. In fact, the day was going pretty normal until Michelle sent me a text message telling my that Grandma and Grandpa Petersen were coming down to help us with work around the house. I had just signed up to work a double when I received this text message so I quickly called back and removed my self from the work schedule. That's when the day went into overdrive.

Michelle had already been busy chopping down the sucker branches and cleaning up the lilac bushes in the back yard. I went up on the roof and fixed the swamp cooler pads so that it wouldn't leak into our house. Next was work on the new bicycles we found at the DI. I still need a tire for Michael's bike but we'll try to find one off another bike at DI.

Michelle was prepared with a list of tasks and jobs for us to accomplish during this work spree. After fixing the bikes I checked the list for the next job. The Petersens arrived and went straight to work. Grandma Petersen started with (finishing) painting the kitchen while Grandpa Petersen started on the vehicle maintenance. We replaced the gas filter on the suburban and the oil filter and a windshield wiper blade on the Geo. Next we did a quick adjustment on the lawnmower, planned a small electrical upgrade for the basement and evaluated needs for several other projects. Of course we had to make the obligatory trip to the store to get needed parts for the afore mentioned tasks. Michelle keep the family running while Grandma finished the painting in the kitchen. We had a dinner break for spaghetti, green beans and orange jello.

Grandma and Grandpa Petersen had to head back home before it got too late but we were able to take advantage of the extra help to get a lot of small tasks completed. After they left I was still able to get in a small exercise session. After a quick shower we were able to go to bed feeling very good about the tasks we were able to accomplish yesterday.

Grandma and Grandpa Petersen, thank you so much for your help!

June 22, 2011

Fun Summer Day

This has been quite the day!

This morning I didn't have to go to work so I was able to be home for our morning scripture reading and family prayer. I love being able to participate with the boys as they read from the Book of Mormon. It brings such a wonderful spirit into our home and things just go much better.

After scriptures and family prayer Michelle prepared a hot breakfast of oatmeal cereal. Then the boys finished their morning ADLs and David and Donovan get ready for school. We picked up Braxton and Brinley and I took them all to summer school for the morning.

The rest of the family ran some errands and did some shopping at the DI. First we dropped of some unneeded items and then swung around to see if we could spot any deals. We were lucky today because we found a small bicycle that appears to be just the right size for Aleky (who has been extremely jealous since we found a bicycle for Michael just a few days ago).

We raced home and managed to meet David and Donovan just coming home from summer school and we were able to go in and have some lunch. I decided that the day might get a little carried away so I took the opportunity to get a little exercise in before I ate my sandwich (that makes two days this week that I have exercised; up from 0 times in the previous few months!). Before i could make it downstairs to exercise the boys all began pleading with me to take them to 7-peaks water park. You can't really blame them since the temperature is rising and we haven't made it once this year. So I told them that if they got their chores done I would take them to the water park.

When I finally came up to eat lunch the boys were busily engaged in chores around the house. David mowed the front and backyard lawns; Donovan cleaned the kitchen sinks and washed windows; Michael was cleaning door knobs and spreading mowed grass in the garden; Aleky was helping spread grass too; and all the boys had helped collect and sort the laundry. The boys had also written in their gratitude journals. I didn't have any more excuses...it was time to take them to the water park.

We got our swimsuits on and started with the sunscreen. I was a little apprehensive about taking the boys since Michelle didn't want to go with us (due to the increasingly uncomfortable feeling of being 9 months pregnant). But taking 4 active little boys to a crowed water park was still a little unsettling. Fortunately I got back-up. Amelia and Eleanor were able to join us and Aleky just had to wait for them to show up to take him; I took the three older boys and I left Quinten home asleep.

The boys had a blast and the lines were far too long for them to adequately enjoy all of the attractions. David was fearless, Donovan followed and Michael tried to back out. We worked on the buddy system so the boys had to stick together but it stretched their mental acuity to the limits! We rode a half dozen slides and then hit the lazy river.

Things were going pretty good. Donovan could bob up and down in the river most of the way. There are a few drop-offs that caught him by surprise the first time around and he discovered at least 3 or 4 ways to prevent drowning in such circumstances. David was trying to race Donovan around the river. Michael was holding on to me for dear life.

As Michael and I floated around the lazy river, dodging tubes and swimmers, we came upon David sitting on the side of the river crying. He was holding his bloody foot. Somehow he had managed to slice his foot open while running in the river and was sitting on the side of the river in pain and agony.

I wasn't quite sure how to proceed. I couldn't leave Michael in the river, Donovan had already floated away and was long gone, and there was no life guard in sight to get a band-aid of even directions to the first aid station. So Michael held on to my neck as I carried David out of the water and in the general direction of help (once out of the water Michael had to walk). Fortunately a couple of the park guests could see our predicament and pointed us in the right direction.

It was at the first aid station that Amelia, Eleanor and Aleky caught up to us. Since I was still missing Donovan I sent Amelia on a search and recover mission while I kept the rest of the little ones. The EMT/First Aid guy bandaged David's foot and we gave them a quick report of what had happened. That was it, no glory or glamour. Just a large purple wrapped bandage on his foot.

Amelia found Donovan clinging to the side trying to get out at the next exit to the lazy river. I sent Michael with Eleanor and Aleky to the kiddy pool where he would be happier. David and Donovan were not done playing so they went back to the lazy river for more racing fun. Eventually we got all of the boys in the kiddy pool were we could keep an eye on them and we stayed at the park for a couple of hours.

Of course the boys were disappointed when it was time to go. When we got home we discovered that Michelle had arranged a dinner party (cook out/BBQ)! I had to run to the store to get a few missing ingredients and then chop the wood to get the fire started. We were eating with the Anderson because Richard didn't have to go to work (had the night off) and we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to visit with them.

The boys loved the fire (as always) and burned just about everything they could get to the fire pit. We had hamburgers and hot dogs, potato chips, fruit salad, bean salad, fruit juice and roasted marshmallows for dessert. We had to slowly extract the boys from the fun so they could bathe and clean themselves from the day, but it was a process that didn't even start until about 8:30 pm. Needless to say, the boys were finally in bed by 9:30 pm and went right to sleep.

Once the boys were in bed and the Andersons had gone home we quickly cleaned up the kitchen and headed to the shower so we could clean up from the day. After our showers we watched our Netflix DVD on the TV series Quantum Leap (Netflix didn't stream the first few episodes so we requested the DVD).

I had an absolutely wonderful day with my family. The funny part about this day was that virtually none of it was actually planned; it just kind of happened. Some of our best planned days haven't worked out quite so well but today worked out great. I spent time with my family, had a blast, got some work done around the house and even found a great treasure at the DI. It's almost a shame that I have to go back to work because I could get used to doing something like this every day.

June 21, 2011

Pack Meeting at Bridal Veil Falls

We had David's pack meeting tonight and the pack decided to have their pack meeting up near Bridal Veil Falls.  We almost forgot about cub scout but managed to make it just in time to going the pack and their families as they started hiking up to the falls.  My boys head out at the head of the pack.  Michelle and I play catch-up with the babies.

We arrive to discover the boys already having a blast in the pool at the bottom of the falls.  Donovan and Michael have taken off their shoes and are walking across the log bridge to get to the other side and to get closer to the falls.  David is already half way up the falls with some of his friends.

We figured that this was the quickest way to transport Quinten and the best way to make sure he didn't wander off without our knowledge. He was okay with the ride up and back but didn't like being confined with so much fun right at hand.
Donovan and Michael try to follow David up the falls but they hit the first big climb/drop and decide it best to turn back to more familiar territory.
David forges ahead and ends up at the mid-point of the falls and the top of the walking trail.  Obviously too far away from vocal interventions, David enjoys the freedom of throwing rocks down the falls!  (I thought we had taught him better.)
David finally makes it back down from the falls (barefoot).  We make it back to the ceremony part of the pack meeting late because we had to wait for David to descend.  That worked out okay; David didn't have any awards at this pack meeting.
Our family enjoyed the outing to Bridal Veil Falls.  All our boys returned safely and no one was injured by falling/thrown rocks.  All's well that ends well.
(Finally posted 9/6/11)

New Chores

We changed up our chore requirements a little to encourage our boys to want to help more around the house.  In order for the boys to play the Wii or any computer games they have to do 3 chores, write in their gratitude journal, and read for at least 10 minutes.  However, we also made a change that the boys had to do minimum level of work (based on their age; each kid must earn their age in chore money).

David, wanting to minimize the amount of work involved, has an entrepreneurial spirit and found a new chore that pays more than the others.  He can water all of the flowers in the front yard for $0.10.  Not only that but he's allowed in the front yard (without a chaperon)!  He thinks that's pretty cool.  He's been very diligent in keeping up with his new chore.

(Finally posted 9/6/11)

June 16, 2011

Cleaning the House is Fun to Do

The house was a disaster! There were dirty dishes piled in the sink, laundry strewn about the house, toys scattered to the four winds, etc. Not only that but with kids running through the house to use the bathroom after playing in the swimming pool, wood chips, grass and dirt the house was beginning to look just a little messy and it was beginning to wear on Michelle. The rest of us boys were taking things in stride; probably not the best sign.

Anyway, since I had stolen an entire afternoon from Michelle with her ultrasound and birthday date I felt like I should help repair the damage that time had inflicted on us. So I didn't work the extra shift that we had planned and we put the entire family to work. I did the dishes while Michelle sorted laundry. The boys had to pick up the toys in their room, front room, toy room and back yard. Then we converged on the kitchen and the boys got their first lesson in hand scrubbing the floor clean.

The boys thought this was the best part of the clean-up process. With the wet soapy water the floor turned into a skating rink. All it took was a little momentum and they could almost slide across the floor. We're working on getting them to wring out the rags before trying scrub the dirt from the floor. But they had a blast and the floor is clean at last!

June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Michelle

These flowers came from our dear friend Amelia. And they certainly brightened Michelle's day! Thank you Amelia!

I took Michelle out on a date for her birthday. She didn't really plan on doing much since there were several things that were going on (like cub scouts for David) and we were going to celebrate here birthday this weekend when we could do so as a family.

Last week I had arranged for my sister Cheyenne to babysit the boys so we could escape for a few hours but Michelle had no knowledge of these plans. I wanted to surprise Michelle. However, I've learned that I don't do surprised very well and that women like anticipation over complete surprise. So I dropped Michelle a subtle hint by facebook.

She never got the message!!! In fact, Amelia was the one to spill the beans when she brought over the flowers and asked what we had planned for tonight. When I came home for my lunch break and took the opportunity to elaborate just a little bit more so that the excitement and anticipation could build.

Normally this would have worked like magic but I had a few obstacle to overcome before our magnificent date could even begin. First, Michelle's ultrasound had been rescheduled to today (everything checks out normal, in every respect and measurement). The appointment ran late and Cheyenne was waiting at the house for us to return. David's cub scouts; he had to attend since he passed off several more requirements this week and needed to get them recorded. And then being pregnant doesn't put anyone I know of in good spirits (the baby does but not being pregnant).

Michelle was excited to go when we finally got out of the house around 6:30 pm (which was only 90 minutes behind my planned schedule). We headed off knowing our children were in good hands and we could have some time to ourselves. We enjoyed a nice quite steak dinner at the Outback Steak House. There were only a few other customers there so we had excellent service and were out of there in a jiffy. We made it to the 7:55 showing of X-men: First Class and ran into some old friends from the ballroom dance team (watching the same movie). After the movie we headed home.

It wasn't the most fancy date ever but it was a break from the boys. That was the biggest present of all! We still have a small celebration this weekend but I was able to surprise Michelle with a simple birthday date and some time to ourselves.

I love you sweetheart, Happy Birthday!

June 13, 2011

Miniature Golfing at Trafalga

Today was a beautiful spring day and the boys were anxious to get out of the house. Michelle had a doctor's appointment so I got to take the boys miniature golfing. The 4 oldest boys came with me and Michelle took Quinten with her.

Since it was nice outside the boys unanimously choose to do an outside course and the majority chose to go to the north course. (I guess next time we'll go south.) The boys were off and running and not really interested in miniature golf lessons. They knew that the ball goes in the hole and you want to put the ball into any cool thing along the way because that is better. I did manage to get a tip or two across but I don't know if they were really paying attention.

In the end it doesn't really matter. We had a blast. The boys were temporarily distracted by the cute teenage girls in the group in front of us but mostly they just slowed us down. The boys can't wait for the next round of golf.

June 11, 2011

First Campfire Cook-out of the Year

In a way it's kind of sad that we are just barely having our first campfire of this year. In years past we've had campfires in March but this year we have started in June! Oh well, we do what we can.

The boys were so excited to have a campfire and roast hot dogs. All five of them we're on site to help get wood ready, split logs, get newspaper for kindling and fire up the matches. Even though we've had this wood for a while now it was still quite difficult to get burning. (We haven't had such a smokey fire in quite some time.)

But all's well that ends well. The wood burnt down to some good roasting coals. The boys did a great job roasting their own hot dogs (except for Aleky who gave a valiant effort and then let me take over).

It was perfect weather and we enjoyed our dinner on the patio. After eating the required amount of food (they didn't necessarily eat all of their dinner) the boys roasted marshmallows. Aleky is still perfecting his technique but at least he did it all by himself.

Quinten finally started getting tired and just wanted to go to bed. Even though the sun was still up it was an hour past his bedtime and he was done for the evening. The other boys, however, thought it was absolutely fabulous that they were able to stay up. The night was extended by showers to wash away the smoke smell. So the boys didn't get to bed until after 9:00 pm! But that's summer for ya.

June 10, 2011

Tomato Tree Production Commencing

Tonight we worked together in the garden. The tomatoes exploded out of the top of the walls of water and needed space to grow. Last year we had phenomenal success growing tomato trees using a trellis fencing system. So we've decided to try that method again and see if we have repeated success. The three older boys were charged with holding the tomato plants once the walls of water were removed (as the tomato plants lacked the strength to hold themselves up) and until Michelle could get the plants tied to the trellis we had created.

The boys could hardly stand still that long but after a lengthy 5 minutes all of the boys were relieved of duty and were off playing in the water (slide and wading pool). Michelle finished tying and pruning the tomato plants to give them the maximum growth potential. We'll see how well we do this year.

While the boys cleaned up the yard from their home water park play day Michelle methodically continues to prune the tomato plants.

Michelle finished before the boys could completely clean up the yard. As you can tell by the shadows, it was nearly 7:30 pm before we starting thinking about dinner! The boys started getting pretty ornery but we had them all in bed before 9:30 with showers and bathes. Ok, not a world record but it's summer, right?!

June 6, 2011

Dewinterizing the Swamp Cooler

After a prolonged and quite rainy spring there have been definite signs that summer may soon be here. While is the first week in June it has actually been hot enough to want the air conditioning as a working option. So the older boys got a lesson in swamp cooler management tonight.

David and Donovan got to climb up on the roof to help me get the swamp cooler running. They could hardly contain their excitement and had to be reminded repeatedly that they had to wait for me to be on the roof before they scrambled up there (we didn't want them having too much fun on their own).

The boys were big helper doing just about everything that needed to be done with a little coaching from dad.

Before long we'll have these boys trained and then watch out world!

We now have a functioning swamp cooler! Thanks for your help boys.

June 2, 2011

Angels in the Flower Beds

This morning we had a wonderful surprise. While I was at work, and before the rest of the household woke up, we had a visit from some angels. They weeded the flowerbeds in our front yard and planted some beautiful flowers. When Michelle discovered these flowers it brought a smile to her face that lasted the whole day.

In her own words:
"I had some Angels working overtime in my front yard!!! I woke up to freshly planted and weeded flower beds. :) I can't stop smiling :) Best morning ever, and perfect timing too. I can't thank you enough Angels!!!"

We have not discovered who these angel were. However, one angel was caught red-handed (or should I say muddy gloved?). David woke up and was shocked when he discovered the angels in action. When questioned about these circumstances he was only able to reveal one of the angels. The other angels have remained anonymous but there actions have certainly blessed our lives.

Thank you!