December 8, 2012

Christmas Tree Hunting

We have upheld the family tradition of going Christmas tree hunting for a live Christmas tree.  It has been a fun experience and is building some great memories.  This year we still made it out for the hunt but it was postponed until almost the middle of December!  So we haven't had the Christmas tree and lights with all the other decorations to really make the holidays bright. 

This is actually our second trip out to search for a Christmas tree.  Our first expedition didn't go so well even though we got some good hiking in.  Unfortunately we ran out of daylight and had to abandoned the search.  This is trip two and, with a little help from the Petersens, we were able to find our Christmas tree with very little trouble.

The return trip turned into something a little more unusual, at least compared to other similar expeditions.  David decided that he wanted to run down the mountain instead of riding in the suburban.  That seemed like a reasonable request and he took off ahead of us.  Michael decided he wanted to take advantage of the open space and headed off after David.  We caught up to Michael who, after a little jaunt, decided that he wanted to ride instead of run.  When David didn't stop running Michael decided he wanted to join in the run again. 

We stopped the suburban and let Michael out to run.  David never seemed to tire but Michael, once again, ran out of energy and jumped in the suburban for good.  However, Michelle took over the relay for Michael and she got out and started running after David.  After some distance Michelle's turn to run ended and I took over, trying to keep up and even overtake David.  It wasn't really fair since I had driven the first 3 miles or so but I did finally out distance David.  He ran all they way down the mountain and to the main gravel road which was about 5 miles!

Everyone got in the suburban once on the main road and we drove the rest of the way home.  We all felt like we had our exercise for the day and enjoyed the ride back to Provo.  Once back in Provo we brought the tree in.  With help from David we quickly had our tree planted in our front room in front of our main picture window.  Now we just need to actually decorate the tree!

(This is our only recent family picture so we're going to use it for our Christmas cards this year!)

(published 3/14/13)

November 24, 2012

Suburban is now "mature"

When we talk about people we don't like to say their getting "old".  So we talk about our "mature" population.  I guess the same can be said for cars, right?  So our suburban is now officially "mature".  Today we hit 200,000 miles!  Now, for complete disclosure, we didn't drive all 200,000.  We inherited many of those miles when we bought the truck.  But we were there as a family when the odometer rolled over!

November 13, 2012

Sledding Alternative

We just had a snow storm over the weekend.  I'm lucky I didn't have to drive very far to get to work.  However, our boys wanted to take advantage of the new snow.  We had a snowball fight last night with the four older boys.  I don't know if that was the best Sunday activity but it was a family experience and I didn't want to miss it.

The boys excited for the snow was not abated when they woke up this morning.  Donovan, Michael and Aleky decided that they wanted to go sledding.  Not having a hill in our back yard they came up with an alternative option.  I thought it was awesome to see them sledding across the yard and having a blast.  I caught a little bit on camera to share:

November 3, 2012

Family Bowling 2012

Our family went bowling tonight as a reward for getting the playroom cleaned up today.  The playroom had become a disaster area and needed a concentrated effort.  The boys worked hard all morning and had the room cleaned up by the time I returned home from my interview at the U of U (for the PA program).

We arrived at the bowling alley on BYU campus a little later than we had originally anticipated but there were no lines and we were able to walk right in and start bowling.  It was great because we had plenty of room for our family to have fun without running into (or bothering) any other group of bowlers.  The boys had fun cheering for each other as they launched the balls down the alley.  We had a few strikes and several spares sprinkled throughout the games.  That made things even more exciting for everyone.

It was a close game and Donovan showed the most concern over the scores.  He looked to be the winner until David came up with a spare in the final frame giving him the extra points needed to pull into the lead.  But you have to be impressed with Quinten's high score!!!

October 31, 2012

Halloween at BYU

Halloween snuck up on us fast this year but I think we managed to pull things together just in the nick of time.    We found out about a spooktacular event being held on BYU campus so we thought that would be fun.  So we loaded up the boys and went to explore the fun.  

The event at BYU was okay.  The best part of the event was the face painting and the large inflatable toys that the boys could jump on.  So we did that and then we left for some trick or treating.

Gidean, the pirate!

Aleky, superman with a spider?

The other boys follow their younger brother's examples. 

Michael, the batman

Donovan, the ghost

David, the batman

After the spooktacular we went trick or treating in our neighborhood.  Mostly we just wanted to show off our costumes to our friends and neighbors.  The problem is that whenever you knock on a door on Halloween, our friendly neighbors insist on giving the boys candy!  We had a lot of fun and stayed out much too late, returning home with way too much candy!  Happy Halloween!!!

October 29, 2012


We have been very busy and want to spend some quality time with our boys.  We decided that on Sunday evening we would take time to carve our jack-o-laterns before we run out of Halloween holiday time.  Overall, the boys had a great time.  The younger boys still struggle with the slimy pumpkin guts but they are getting better at cleaning out their pumpkins.  David is getting to be a real pro, finishing his jack-o-latern before the other boys had their pumpkins cleaned out.

In the end, I think we turned out a great group of jack-o-lanterns.  Aleky was the only injury.  While trying to carve his own pumpkin he carved a little chunk of his finger!  Unfortunately, due to the large number of bleeding injuries recently, our essential oil supply was depleted   So we found a neighbor with some super glue and put Aleky back together again.

October 21, 2012

Dedicated Hometeachers

Our boys love it when our home teachers come over.  It doesn't seem to matter how we arrange the furniture our boys surround the home teachers with love!  We are certainly grateful for the continued dedication of Brother Thurston and Brother Pulsipher and the wonderful lessons and sweet spirit they bring.  (The boys will sit still for most of the lesson if we keep it to under 30 minutes!  Just a minor miracle, a tender mercy, in our lives each month.)

October 9, 2012

Aleky's Birthday Party

It's hard to believe that another year had already passed and Aleky is a whopping 5 years old already.  In preparation for the birthday party Michelle wanted to know what kind of cake he would want.  Aleky really had some random ideas for a cake so we had to make an executive decision and opted for the Captain America shield cake.

Once Aleky actually saw his cake he was completely thrilled with our decision.  Of course he was just excited he was going to get to eat cake and ice cream.

Our first activity was to pin the eyes on the ghost.  The kids had to cut out their own eyes and mouth for the ghost.  Then they taped the eyes and mouth to the big ghost but they had to do it blindfolded.  Everyone thought that was great and no one was really able to hit the "right" spot.

Michelle wanted to do homemade ice cream, partly as an activity and partly because it just tastes better.  However, Brother Hoffman ended up doing most of the work while the kids were playing and doing other activities.

Michelle coordinated the balloon stomp.  Each kid had a balloon tied to his ankle and then tried to stomp on everyone else's balloon before someone stomped on their balloon.  We had enough balloons for two games!

In spite of the planning, the cake and ice cream was the hit of the party.  It was great to see all of the little kids sitting around the little kid table being completely sociable with each other.

Some of the older kids just hung out on the grass so they could get back to playing as quickly as possible.

The parents just sat on the patio observing the goings-on and catching up on each other's lives.

The older kids loved the trampoline and playing a "tag" in which they tried to avoid being hit by the balls thrown from the grounded kids.  When the balls got too big we had to step in and calm the game down a bit.

Finally, Aleky got to open his presents.  He received a couple of different costumes, including and iron man and two captain america's!  He has been so thrilled that he's wearing the iron man costume everywhere, except to bed (because we made him change into pajamas).

(posted 11/15/12)

September 3, 2012

Labor Day Camping Trip

We have been planning to go camping all summer and finally decided to just go somewhere close.  Past Labor Day Holidays we've gone up to Hourglass Lake but this year there were to many extenuating circumstances to make that happen.  Our plans to go north with Melissa's family fell threw.  But we didn't want to allow the entire summer to go by without a camping trip.

So Sunday afternoon we decided to take what we had and just go up into the mountains overnight.  That way the boys would have the experience of sleeping overnight in the tent and we could check it off our to-do list.

We didn't get out of town until after 7:00 pm once we finally decided to go.  That put us in the mountain to set up in the dark (this is a Petersen Family tradition, to set up camp in the dark).  However, due to the holiday weekend we ended up going much further than originally anticipated to find an acceptable camping spot.

Once we had arrived we set about to establish camp.  Me and Michelle unloaded the suburban to get the tent and bags set up.  The boys were on fire duty.

It seems that the boys were having a little difficulty getting the fire started, most likely due to the recent rains and the lack of appropriate tinder (paper).  We had brought Aleky's birthday present along because we needed the use of a sixth sleeping bag for the boys.  Ironically, the wrapping paper proved to be the "fire paper" needed to get the camp fire going.

We did a quick little celebration by singing to Aleky and letting him open his birthday present early and then we went back to work establishing camp.

Once camp was set up Michelle got dinner ready.  This year we did green smoothies.  We felt that it would be easier and more convenient to bring them along rather than try and prepare a dinner at the late hour of the night.  Plus, we haven't actually had green smoothies in a couple of days and we can feel the difference.

We all sat around the camp fire and drank our smoothies.  The four older boys were having fun lighting sticks on fire and then watching them smoke, writing their names in the air or just waving them to watch the ember tracks in the sky.

We finally called it a night and put the boys in bed.  However, due to a recent change in privileges, our boys decided to stay up and read.  When we're at home the boys use their headlamps as reading lights and they may stay up past their 8:00 pm bedtimes if they are quietly readying.  Tonight was no different.  The boys read until they were tired and fell asleep.  David read until after midnight (at least until after Michelle and I were safely tucked in bed and trying to sleep).

 Monday morning we woke up.  The boys got a lesson in fire starting to try and improve their skills.  David was the only one interested enough to complete the lesson.  He was able to get the fire started without any "fire paper" but it took until breakfast time to do it.  Fortunately it was warm enough that it didn't really matter to anyone, just the fact that we finally had a fire was good enough for the family.

Michelle made us her special hot cereal for breakfast.  The boys all lined up for chow and at very politely.  This is the best table manners they've exhibited during breakfast and we didn't even eat at a table.  However, the great outdoors was too great a distraction and the boys didn't eat nearly as heartily as they normally do.

We don't have the cool guns that the Petersens do but we brought the BB gun and the pellet pistol and had some fun shooting some plastic bottles for targets.  Donovan, Aleky and Quinten each had a turn but the lack of the semi-automatic guns with the associated "pop" of the bullets shooting drained their excitement very quickly.  David and Michael, however, seem to have a never ending fascination with shooting and they kept at it until it was time to pack up camp.

While the boys were shooting Donovan decided to head off and do a little exploring.  He didn't go far but it was interesting to see him leave the shooting range to explore the landscape.

 Michael, before he got started with the guns, spent the morning drawing pictures.  He was able to draw our complete campsite along with two other colorful pictures.

Aleky found it very difficult to follow directions and was breaking most of our camp rules.  He finally ended up in timeout to rethink his actions.

After packing up camp we drove through the area to see if there were better camp sites available.  At one point we almost got stuck in a mud puddle but fortunately we were able to slide out with just enough traction to escape.  Otherwise, we had a pleasant drive through the mountain backroads, found a couple more camping spots for future adventures and returned home without further incident.

We're glad we went and were glad were back.  Our family may be built for these quick little excursions for the time being.

September 2, 2012

Fall From the Highest Bunk

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I heard a very loud thud and knew that something large had been dropped from a significant height.  Michelle and I went to the boys room to discover what was going on.  When we got there we discovered Donovan on the floor in a heap, just a lump on the floor not moving at all.  There was no crying or screaming.  We tried to talk to Donovan but he was unresponsive.
The unresponsiveness was quite alarming!  We brought him out to the living room for a more thorough examination to determine if advanced medical attention would be required.  Once in the light we noticed a huge contusion on his right temple and so we concluded that he must have fell off the top bunk and landed right on his head.  We tried to rouse the sleeping child for a good minute and we were about to rush him to the hospital when he started to respond to us.  He was very confused and couldn't remember anyone's name or even where he was.
I checked his pulse and it was slow and steady, about 80 bpm.  His respirations were normal and neither eye was dilated.  When we shined a light in his eye his pupil reflex was normal.  Michelle quickly put some essential oils on his temple to reduce the swelling and then she put a covered ice pack over the bruise.  Once Donovan had finally woke up he started crying mostly because he was so tired.  Since all of his vital signs seemed normal we decided to let him sleep on the couch so that we could check on him through the rest of the night.
Except for a headache he still seems to be doing just fine.  His head has a slight bruise over that right eye but that's about it.  If his headache persists then we'll have him checked out.  However, I think we need to rearrange the bunk beds to additional safety.  We don't need boys doing head dives onto the wood floor in the middle of the night.  It doesn't prove to be a restful night for us when they do.

August 29, 2012

Gidean's Climbing

I'm not ready for this!!!

Gidean is really starting to move and he does his best to follow his brothers.  After following his brothers up into the playhouse he realized a new sense of freedom.  Climbing has become a hobby for him and it's really making us nervous.

(posted 11/15/12)

The Jones Soccer Team

David has been participating in our city soccer program.  The rest of the boys have been wanting to get into the action.  With just a little assistance from our good friend Starr, our boys are now prepared to play, practice and spending the rest of the summer in intense training!

(posted 11/15/12)

August 19, 2012

Green Smoothie Moustache

How can you help but take a picture of this supper "Green Smoothie Mustache".  It's too cute for words.

August 16, 2012

Boys Play in the Stake Soccer Tournament

Our Stake has started an annual soccer tournament that is held toward the end of summer.  It has been held the past couple of years and has grown in popularity.  This year they lowered the age for the youth participants so that both David and Donovan are able to participate.  This year, instead of doing ward vs ward teams they have taken the boys and split them between all the teams so that the kids get to meet some kids from the other wards in the stake.  It also helps to reduce the competitive nature of some kids (and their parents).  After all, since this is church ball we want it to be a great experience for everyone.
David turned out to be the star of his team.  He scored all eight points in the first three soccer games.  However, that burst of energy drained him for the championship game.  Fortunately, his teammates stepped up to score their four points to win the tournament.

Donovan was instrumental in his team's victories.  His coach called him "stonewall" because no one could get past him.  Wherever the ball went Donovan was there to stop them.  He seems to have a natural ability to sense where the ball is head and to meet the ball there on defense.

As luck would have it, David and Donovan played on the same team so they were champions together.  I was pleased with their sportsmanship and soccer skills.  They may both have a future playing soccer.

August 15, 2012

Bunk House

Early in the spring of 2012 six young men were anticipating a move out of state and sold their bunk beds at the family yard sale.  Unbeknownest to them, the move out of state was never to happen.  Several months ensued with sleeping on the floor around the house.  And then a wonderful grandmother came to their rescue.  The bunk beds were restored and the boys rejoiced!
These are not the original bunk beds.  Two of the bunk beds were were used by Michelle and her family as she grew up.  The third bunk bed was one that I and my family used as I was growing up.  Now our boys get to used them as they are growing up.  So were all using the same bunk beds as we're growing up.

We've actually switched bedrooms.  The six boys are now in our room since it is the larger of the two bedrooms.  We have moved into their room since there are only two of us.  The beds just fit, end to end, around the room.  It's going to be an adventure!!!

August 14, 2012

Painting the Boy's Room

We have landed into a fortuitous set of circumstances.  We are getting two bunk beds for our boys.  This great change in our fortunes brings with it a certain amount of work.  The bunk beds won't fit into the boys room but they will fit into our room.  And if we're going to switch bedrooms with the boys, now would be the best time to get the bedroom painted.  It's been on our to-do list since we bought the home six years ago but we're just getting around to painting the bedroom. 
We want to paint the ceiling a flat white and the walls our signature tan.  In order to do it right we are cleaning and sanding the walls so that the latex paint will actually stick to the walls.  This project is turning out to be bigger than I remember!

Since we haven't actually switched rooms yet were are living in the construction zone...not the most pleasant of circumstances I can assure you.  But if we keep everything covered while we work it should keep things clean.

Now that the ceiling is done we are getting the walls painted.  The painting isn't hard by itself but having to maneuver around everything adds an element of challenge.

And we can't forget all the corners in the closet.  Not only that but Michelle has decided that she wants a semi-gloss white on the top half of the closet because boys will be storing their stuff up there and the white will help the closets seem brighter.

We just need to finish this coat and apply a second coat and we'll be done with this room.  I don't know if we're going to have the energy to paint the other room now that we're moving to that one!  This is just a lot of work.