Monday, July 28, 2014

First Day of School! First Day of School!

First day of second grade.  Last night he couldn't sleep and needed to lay in bed with me and have me rub his back and whisper Stuart Smalley  affirmations to him.  It made my night.  This morning, when every single kid seemingly had  parents walking them

Today was the first day of second grade.  Last night he couldn't sleep and needed to lay in bed with me and have me rub his back and whisper Stuart Smalley affirmations to him.  It made my night.  This morning, when every single kid seemingly had  parents walking them to their classes, he just wanted to be dropped off and do it all by himself.  I asked him if he was sure and he said yes, that he could figure it out.  I was proud, but it broke my heart a little.  He and I have been in a tug of war for months - he needs me, he wants nothing to do with me.  The first day of second grade was a perfect example of that.  This kid is growing up, and I am now on standby.  Hoping maybe, just maybe, I can get a hug every once in a while.  Or maybe we can go for a drive and get a diet coke and a slurpee.

When we got in the car this morning to head to school I said to him, "So, are you excited?  Or, are you nervous?"

He looked at me, grinning from ear to ear and said, "Well, actually, I'm both!"

Me too, kid.  Me too.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Vacation, Week Three

Seriously Folks, minus a trip to Disneyland, it feels like we crammed two months worth of activities into three weeks in July.  Phew.  I'm pretty exhausted.

And, I took pretty much zero pictures to prove we did anything.


Anyway, here's a quick breakdown.

We swam 5 times.  Three times at great grandpa's house and two times for swimming lessons.  Quinn is completely fearless in the water, and I have some video to prove it.  The video however, is on my phone and I haven't the gumption to bother getting it off my phone and onto this blog at this very moment, maybe later.  But trust me.  He's fearless.

Today has been particularly stressful.   It is 104 degrees outside after all.  But this little suntan boy is quite handsome and I like sweating at swimming lessons with him.

Update - I uploaded one of the swimming videos.  Obviously.

We went to the Museum of Natural Curiosity with some cousins and then to lunch at Cubbys.  We were behind schedule (not because of me) and we didn't eat lunch until 2:00.  That caused for some meltdowns (not me).

We celebrated Pioneer day by polishing the silverware of our ancestors.  Well, Elliott polished it, supervised by me, for $20 dollars.  He's earning money to buy his own ipod touch and he's over half way there and mom is being a little too generous donating to the cause, but I really want him to reach his goal and figure the sooner he does it, the better.

What seven year old wouldn't polish his great great grandmothers silver for $20 on pioneer day?  Exactly.   #goodwin #lovehim

Then, we celebrated our Pioneer heritage with a bbq at great grandpa's and even more swimming and eating and bravery in the water.  I wore my bathing suit much more than I was comfortable with this week, but I was told by a certain boy that I'm married to that in spite of the flab, it was a good thing.  At least he didn't mind.

Our dad was at scout camp on this third week of our summer vacation and his truck died.  It is currently sitting at a Ford dealership in Logan, Utah awaiting diagnosis and we are hoping (fingers crossed) that it doesn't need a brand new transmission.  That maybe it just needs a hug and some kisses instead.  I also got a new windshield on Saturday and in the process, some cosmetic parts of my car were broken and now I'm driving the white trash griswold mobile.

On Saturday, we hosted the 4th annual Petersen Family 24th-ish of July BBQ.  It was a great party with yummy food.  This was the first time in four years that we had nearly every single family member attend, and were only missing four.  Ross and I really like to host parties and had a great time having everyone over to play.  Ross borrowed from a lady at work a "candy cannon" and as the grand finale of the party, we shot candy at the kids and into the road for them to catch.  It was pretty fun to watch.

Brownies with chocolate malt frosting.  Time for another party!   #saturdayispartyday


On Sunday, we headed up to Smithfield, Utah, to listen to the homecoming report of a certain Elder Marshall.  He was Willie's trainer for his first few months in Lithuania and we felt pretty lucky to be able to attend the meeting.  He humored my mom and told her about his plans for the future and took a picture with us before we headed out.  It was a pretty uplifting meeting and anything that can help us feel closer to that big iggy is worth a four hour round trip drive.  And it may be the closest I get to a "summer vacation" so I'll take it.

This is Elder Marshall.  My brother's trainer in Lithuania.   He came home on Thursday from his 2 year mission and we went to hear him speak in church.   He spoke about the "light of Christ" and it was most excellent.   He is a smart kids with a bright fu

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Vacation, Week Two

Well, this week was pretty jam packed with stuff, too even though right now, as I am sitting here to write about it, I cannot remember much of the week.  Rats!  Let's see, what did we do.

We went swimming at great grandpa's on Monday during the day and on Friday night.  On Monday, I didn't wear any sun screen, except on my face, as per usual, and paid for it.  I sort of wish my skin always had that glow of a bright pink sunburn.  I also sometimes wish that I could wear clothes that showed it off a little but alas - neither is possible.  But, we had fun swimming and perhaps the best part, is that everyone came home so exhausted that we just got to spend the rest of the day hanging out in the air conditioned house chillaxin and relaxin.

I may have been at the pool too long today.  #nosunscreenonmyshoulders #onlyonmyface #dontwantwrinkles #prettyinpink

On Tuesday, the boys and I hung out at home during the day, did swimming lessons in the afternoon and then the big boys had a sleep over at Ross' parents house on Tuesday night.  It was a little strange to wake up on a Wednesday morning with only one kid at home, but Quinn and I made do with our quiet morning at home and a nice walk to the 7-11 for a Slurpee and a coke before the boys got home.

You'd never know from the pictures  that boy one and boy two just finisbed being in the most trouble they been in, in over a week. #whenbrothersattack #nuts

Wednesday was play with friends day and the big boys each spent the day hanging out with their best buddies - Wyatt with AJ and Elliott with Owen.  Owen ended up spending the whole evening at our house to avoid going to his older brother's baseball game and ate dinner with us, too.  Made Elliott's day and luckily, Owen is pretty much the best kid around so it's pretty easy to have him hang out.

My boys and me....a little blurry at the bean museum in poovo

Thursday was a pretty long, fun, sweaty, mildly annoying and disastrous day but in the end it all worked out.  We headed down south to Provo on a cousin adventure to the Bean Museum at BYU to see us some taxidermy animals  It was cool and the boys had fun.  When they weren't fighting and yelling and screaming and attacking each other.  Then we got lunch.  Then we headed home and I had a major mom melt down yelling and screaming at my children in the car.  Sometimes I just can't handle boys.  This was one of those times.  I'd just had enough and I was done and forbade them from making any noise until we got home.  They made it to Lehi before it all started again.  But, I got my Karmic retribution on the way home when my oil light came on, my brakes started squeaking and a huge tanker semi shot a giant rock at me and cracked my windshield with a foot long crack.  Blah!  It wasn't our best day, but we tried hard to have fun.

Friday was grandma camp and the big boys spend the day with my mom - they went to a movie with grandma and molly, ran some errands and hung out until dinner time.  Quinn and I came home, Quinn had a nap and my visiting teachers came, then we ate a late lunch, got gas, got the oil changed, went to the grocery store, and headed out to great grandpas' for a night of dinner and swimming.

It' was a pretty good week two of summer.  And another exhausting one at that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

sort of really just only for me...

Antelope island,  last night.   From Magna, utah. #igutah #mygrandpaishome #whereigrewup

I've never been a fan of the word "fault'. defines fault as:

1.  a defect or imperfection; flaw; failing: a fault in the brakes; a fault in one's character.
2.  responsibility for failure or a wrongful act: It is my fault that we have not finished
3.  an error or mistake: a fault in addition.
4.  a misdeed or transgression: to confess one's faults.
Looking at these definitions, fault generally implies that something has gone wrong, or someone has done something wrong.  But fault also looks for someone, or something to blame for a situation that has headed south, ended poorly, or hurt another person.
Like I said, I'm not a big believer in fault.  Because with fault, there is always blame.  And blame? Blame doesn't really get you anywhere very fast does it?  All blame gets you, generally speaking, is anger and resentment, and that icky taste in your mouth like you get after you've thrown-up but before you've had the chance to brush your teeth. 
Rather than think in terms of fault and blame, I like to think in terms of responsibility and ownership.  You see, in fault, you are always looking for someone to blame for what has happened to you, or for what you did to someone else.  With responsibility, you are accepting ownership of your actions and preparing to take the necessary steps to right a wrong, march on a new path, start a new day.
It's sort of like that poem by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken"
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;       
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,       
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.       
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
I had to memorize this poem in junior high and the last stanza often makes it's way from the murky depths of my memory to the forefront of my mind.  I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference... There has to be something said for learning to leave fault and blame aside for responsibility and ownership, right?  As hard as those life lessons were (and are!), we take them, suck them in, and spit them out, better on the other side.  I can think of several experiences from when I was in school, when I was a teacher, and my life as an adult and parent, where those life lessons have chewed me up and I had two roads to travel on - two paths to take.  The path where I could blame someone else for my mistakes, or the path where I could take responsibility and fix the wrong.

Henry David Thoreau said, when he was living at Walden Pond, in Connecticut, that he wanted to live deep, and suck out all the marrow of life.  And not when he had come to die, discover that he had not lived.  How do we do that?  How do we live deep and suck out all that our lives have to offer?  For some of us, it's our family and maybe for others it's our work.  Whatever it is, we have to find it and do it to our best ability, because who wants to be that person on their death bed saying, "I wish I had spent more time with my kids and grandchildren!"  or "I wish I would have stayed by his bedside instead of going to work!"  Whatever it is, we don't want to be that person.  We don't want blame to follow us.  

Maybe that brings a new word to the table.  Opportunity.

We don't have opportunity if we have faulty and blame.  But we do have opportunity with responsibility and ownership.  It abounds with the latter.  Our lives are up to us, and the choices that we make.  Some of those choices bring us joy, others heartache.  Sometimes, we make dastardly choices and manage to get through by the skin of our teeth and other times, we make choices with a conscious that is so in tune, that miraculous things happen.  I'd like to be abounding with the latter on this one as well.

Our world, especially for those of us with faith, regardless of all the bad that exists, is full of justice and mercy and understanding.  Those were gifts to us from Christ, that we can have every day, even if we don't deserve them.  The kindness of strangers gives this to us, as do our families and friends, our communities, and even our legal system.  It's our job, to take these things, and do the best we can in our own lives with them, and in turn, try to better the lives of others.

I want to be one of those people who tries to see the good, to see the small miracles, the tender mercies, if you will, in my every day life and be thankful and grateful for those blessings and joys.  I want to know that good or bad, things happen for a reason and have the faith and understanding in mercy and justice to realize that there is a light and a goodness on the other side of heartache and sadness, but that it may take a long time to find it.  I hope to be one of those people that can always try to see the good in someone, even if it doesn't feel like there is any good to be seen.  

I want to always seek opportunity.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quinner :: 22 Months


As always, I'm days late and dollars short, but probably shouldn't let too much more time go by without your monthly update happening.

You run, jump, hop, skip, dance, dare to let go of the netting around the trampoline, water the flowers, squash bugs, ride a scooter by yourself, walk around the lake, love gorillas, and take good naps.

Some little boys are into cars.  Your brothers currently are into Pokemon.  You are only into animals.  It is very rare to find you without a gorilla or a baby giraffe, or a rhino or a penguin or a lion in at least one of your hands.  You take animals to bed, to the bathtub, in the car.  The focus of nearly every single one of your lengthy conversations is animals, usually gorillas at the zoo, and it's pretty fun to listen to you talk about them.

In the last month we've been to the zoo three times I think.  You love the zoo!  You could probably go to the zoo every single day.  You keep a zoo map in the car and look at it every time we are driving around.  I think that when both of your brothers are in school, we'll be headed up there on a few adventures, just the two of us so you can explore at your pace, not at the super speedy pace of tweedle dee and tweedle dumb.

Your vocabulary continues to expand by leaps and bounds.  At this stage you are an excellent mimic and the boys can get you to say pretty much anything.  In the car, Wyatt will say, "Quinn, say, 'purple fart machine" and you'll do your best to say it.  Or, you'll hear him say, "mom, that car has a Seattle sea hawks sticker on it" and then you'll say, "seawle sewaks."

You love to swim.  Wednesday nights at great grandpas might be your best night of the week because no matter how cold, you stay in that water after dinner longer than anyone else.  We put you in your little spider man inner tube and you float around the pool and smile from ear to ear.  You are brave and fearless when it comes to the water and that's pretty cool.

Watching swimming lessons #lovehim

You throw temper tantrums like any almost two year old, but most of the time you are pretty cool and calm.  You get mad, mostly at Wyatt.  You love to tease and torture your brothers a little.  But they've taught you how to do it so you've learned from the best.

You also love bugs.  Especially ants.  You could lay on the ground and watch ants for hours...well, maybe not hours but definitely longer than I think you could.  You just love to explore, especially on your own.  It's so fun to watch you experience new and exciting things.  And take you on walks.  Lately, since you realized you can get out of the stroller whenever you want, it's amazing to see what draws your interest and gets you up and out and moving around.

My buddy

You are my best buddy and favorite almost two year old on the planet and I love you lots.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Vacation, Week One

Let's face it.  In a lot of ways, year round school is the pits.  We go to school all the time, and have really short vacations that do not coincide with any of our cousins or grandparents.  Honestly though, it's really only a bummer in the summer I guess.

Elliott's last day of first grade was July 3.  His first day of second grade is July 28.  Wyatt starts kindergarten on August 4.  That means we get exactly three weeks and one day for summer vacation, including two holidays (the 4th and 24th).  What it really means is that we have to cram an entire three months of summer fun with our cousins and grandma and everyone else into  21-ish days.

Week one is wrapping up and it's been a whirlwind I tell ya.  Here's a recap of some of the stuff we've been squeezing in (a few of the things happening before Elliott got out of school!)

We've had lots of cousins (all boys, except dear sweet Ashlyn, the only girl in a sea of boys!) visiting us from Arizona.  It's been awesome.
First, it was Tyler and Aiden and baby Bryce.  We went with them to the zoo (without Elliott because he was in school) and then they came to our house for dinner on a rainy night and ran around the house with guns and cars and Pokemon cards and played and laughed and had so much fun.  It was the best.

Had a most excellent morning sweating it out at the zoo this morning with some Arizona cousins.   Thanks @azktal for inviting us!

Then, we had more Arizona cousins come and visit, who are exactly the ages of my boys and it was like Forest Gump says, "we were like peas and carrots". These boys got along better than brothers (brothers that don't fight) and had so much fun. We got to play with Ashlyn, Hazen, Rigden, and baby Brock twice - once on their way through town to a family reunion and once on their way through town on their way home through the family reunion. It was so much fun to watch them play and run around the lake and just have a great time.

More arizona cousins stopped by for a visit.  These boys, I tell you what,  are like peas and carrots. They are mirror images of each other and were so fun to watch play. #bestnightallsummermaybe

Dad took the boys fishing at a little pond. It was unsuccessful.....and I tagged along so it was ornery night as well. But, Quinn kept trying to fall in the stinky, dirty pond water and I was panicking so it wasn't all my fault. My boys do all have cute butts though.

Fishing, is the name of the game, if you dont want to have any fun and get really stressed out at your demanding hook in algae catching children!  Yeah!  They all have cute butts though.

We have visited cousin Natalie's classroom where she will be teaching special education in the fall.

We went back to high school this morning and it made me way too nostalgic.   I really miss being a teacher....I dont miss all the crap that goes along with it.  I was a good teacher!

We spent the 4th of July swimming and barbecuing and swimming and falling asleep in the car and crying and lighting off fireworks and playing soccer at 11:00pm at night because our neighborhood was so bright with fireworks that there was enough light to play soccer. This year, Ross let Elliott light fireworks. Welcome firebug #2 to the family. The kid already has a thing for knives, and now we're letting him add fire to his repertoire. Yeah! Grandma Judy and Grandpa Karl came out to "Little Baghdad" (aka our neighborhood) to light some fireworks and watch the entire valley be light up...and of course they brought milk shakes as well.

Party time.

They got new red white and blue shirts.  It's 7:30 and they are all asleep.  #badtiming #ourneighborhoodturnsintobaghdadattenpm

Whether we want to our not, we are experiencing world cup fever in our house, as this week, Argentina advanced to the final game. Quinn unfortunately doesn't have his own jersey, but the boys and their dad have been in full regalia for every game.

Ole ole ole ole ole! #imgoingtobuyflowers #canthandlethepressuee

This week, knowing that I did not want to hear the word "bored" on our short summer break, the big boys participated in the local small farm's "FARM CAMP". Monday - Thursday from 9:00 - Noon they got the dirtiest they've ever been in their lives and had maybe the time of their lives. They played with chickens and goats and pigs and bunnies and a blind sheep named scooter. They planted pumpkins, rode on tractors, jumped in pits of corn, saw a cat catch and eat a mouse, learned about vegetables and animal husbandry, and that when a chicken dies you can just throw it into the corn field. They got to see 10 hour old baby goats that had been born during the night and on the last day, took me and Quinn and my mom on a 30 minute tour of all their adventures. It was money well spent and I think that they'd even be willing to do it again next summer. And, they came home so hot and thirsty and hungry and TIRED, I might even be willing to do it again next summer.

Sending my big boys to farm camp for four days this week may have been the best thing I've ever done. #tired #dirty #happydance

We also started the second round of swimming lessons for Wyatt and the first for Elliott for the summer. In the afternoon, when the air at the pool is so humid it's hotter than the surface of the sun. Quinn and I roasted a bit too much yesterday so I'll need to figure out a way to cool us of for the remaining weeks. This is probably where year round school sucks the most - we have to do indoor swimming in the afternoon instead of outdoor in the morning because we just don't have enough time. Oh well, such is life. I'm just happy Wyatt finally advanced classes after 4 tries in the same group. Yeah, Wyatt!

Swimming lessons today is one million degrees hotter than the sun.   #justsayin  #boobsweat

Last night was Members Only Open Late Night at the Zoo, so as if we don't already spend enough time together, we all met up at Crown Burgers and then caravaned up to the zoo. It was cloudy and cool and getting ready to storm and a great night. Not all the animals were out, but the kids seem to be more interested in the statues anyway. And me? I really am fascinated by the lions. Particularly the female lions. They are just beautiful creatures. Wyatt always says, when we ask him what animal he would want to be, that he'd be a big cat....I think that even though I always want to be a Moose, there might be a pull to be a lioness, too.

Members only cousin night at the zoo was a Success!   It being cooled to the 70's with storm clouds and an amazing breeze didn't hurt either.

And finally, to wrap up the first week of summer, we had our first GRANDMA CAMP. All the kiddos went - even the babies (I think that Quinn and I will skip the next outing though - my boys prefer their grandma without their mom) and we ventured out on a goose chase of sorts, all 8 of us crammed into the Grandmaflex, to gather tags for our unplugged summer lanyards. We didn't make it to far because the 2 and under crew weren't so keen on the car, but we still had a great time. And the boys have a great grandma who loves to take them on grand adventures and buy them crap, like little plastic chickens that shoot gumballs out their butts.

Grandma camp goose chasing

She is always buying them crap in the strangest of places. ...just like my grandma did.

Phew! I'm exhausted. Did we really do all this crap this week? Apparently, I've set the bar to high and have a lot to live up to next week.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Healthy Living Challenge

On Sunday, I finished 12 weeks of a Healthy Living Challenge with a group of 15 people.  For three months, I did the following:
Exercised at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Ate no sweets or sugar six days per week (Sunday was my sugar day)
Ate two servings of fruit per day
Ate three servings of vegetables per day
Kept a food journal (used my fitness pal app)
Stopped eating every day before 9:00 pm
Drank 64 oz. of water per day
Got 7 hours of sleep per night
Worked on a personal goal each day
Had contact with a teammate daily

As part of the challenge, each of the 10 items was worth a certain amount of points each week and you got extra points for losing weight.  I don't know the final results of the challenge, but I think I ended up in about fifth or sixth place overall.  I lost about 10 pounds in 12 weeks and though I'm very competitive in nature, there was no way that I could beat the people at the top, who obviously lost a ton of weight because after the first week, when I was in third place, they blew me out of the water.  To be honest, I was super discouraged through the whole competition that weight loss was the key to winning when I turned in almost perfect score cards each week, largely because I'm on so much medication that makes weight loss almost completely impossible, but I persevered and fought through all my discouragement and am proud of myself for sticking it out until the end.

And a lot has happened in the three months I was doing this healthy living challenge.  I've learned that there are a lot of foods that in the past I've eaten that now, make me really sick like pizza and pasta and tortilla chips and anything else super carbohydrate heavy.  I'm not a huge fast food eater, but in the last three months, the only "fast food" I can even stand the smell of, let alone eat is In-n-Out.  Everything else just makes me gag and sick to my stomach.  I've cut 90% of the sugar out of my diet, as well as 95% of the diary and have no plans on adding them back to my diet in any regular rotation.  I can barely finish a 12 oz. diet coke and don't even come close to finishing a 32 oz. from the gas station or McDonalds.  It lasts me all day and then ends up just going down the drain.

I've realized that my biggest food weakness is bread.  My goal for the next few weeks is to figure out how to eliminate most of the bread from my diet and see what kind of changes that makes to my waistline and my health.

Throughout the last 12 weeks I've been sick quite a lot.  In the beginning, I had horrible stomach aches and felt queasy and nauseous a lot.  Then, as I added more and more fruit and vegetables to my diet, I got more stomach aches as my body adjusted to all the healthy stuff.  I've had monstrous headaches throughout the experience - every time I veer off the path and eat something I shouldn't, I get a mild migraine - food related - reminding me to stay on track.

Overall though, I feel so much better.  My skin is more clear.  The blackheads that have always hung out on my nose are almost completely gone.  My hair is thicker and growing faster and falling out less.  I fall asleep fast and hard and sleep deeply.  All my exercise has revived the muscles in my arms and all the crunches I do at the gym on a balance ball are really starting to give me some definition in my abs that I haven't seen since I was maybe in high school.  Flabby abby's, but still...there's something there.

Now, the challenge is over.  Yesterday, my first free day, I didn't go to the gym and I didn't track anything that I ate.  I did okay food wise except that I ate a little less than half of a dunford donut in the afternoon, just because I could.  And, I felt sick for the rest of the day, and couldn't even finish my dinner at night I was still feeling sick.

Lesson learned.

I've trained my body and my mind.

I've got about 15 pounds to go until I reach the goal weight I set for myself last October.  Hopefully I'll get to that goal weight by this October.  Weight loss is slow going for me.  Very slow going!  But, I've lost 20 pounds and they seem to be gone for good and I don't want them to ever come back.  I like the way things are turning out.  I like the way my clothes fit.  I like that I feel healthier.

Finally, I'm headed in the right direction.

Here's to the next "healthy living challenge."

Anyone want to join me?


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