Saturday, July 26, 2008


I’ve been told that when you try something new you have to do it three times before you know if you like it or not. The Spudman triathlon was my third triathlon and I loved it! I enjoyed it much more than the first two, which is weird because it is double the distance, (0.9 mile down stream swim, 24-mile bike ride, and 6 mile run). Driving to the race this morning I was not excited and wondered if triathlons were really my thing…I think they might be! The Spudman was so much more fun than I thought it would be. I really had a good time. My body wasn’t shocked by the activity and time seemed to go by very fast.

The 18 min swim down the snake river wasn’t bad at all. I owe it all to my buoyant, warm wetsuit and the river current.

The 1 hour 16 min bike ride was a mostly flat loop around Idaho potato farmland. I’m so happy I didn’t fall or get my first flat tire.

The 58 min run was on an enjoyable course and surprisingly my favorite part of the race. Half of it was on a little dirt road and half was on paved country roads. Some of the locals were so kind as to have their sprinklers on to run through. One girl had her hose on spraying eager runners as they went by. They even had an old fire truck spraying creek water in the air.

My favorite part about racing was seeing how excited Jason was for me. He was so supportive and proud of me for just doing it. It was so comforting having him there when I started the swim. While I was swimming he walk to where I got out of the river and watched me get on my bike. When I was done biking he was at the transitional area as I got my running shoes on and cheered as I left. And of course he was waiting eagerly at the finish line.

My brother Jared was at each transition as well, supporting me and his wife Nanette. Jason had a great time hanging with Jared and they both made it clear that, while we were racing, it was tough work being out in the sun, walking around, sitting in lawn chairs, drinking cold water, and taking pictures. Next year they might step it up a little bit and be just like this guy: click on the picture if you want a better look :)

I rocked it with my four very cool neighbors. Rosanne, Jess, Jeana, and Nanette.



Thanks Jen for babysitting my kids. We had a great time and I hope to do it again next year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

They're Family

Almost 16 years ago my sister Jen had a beautiful, healthy baby boy named Kevin. She made the ultimate sacrifice. Jen lovingly and unselfishly gave her baby up for adoption. Thoughtfully and with inspiration Jen chose to give her baby to a wonderful couple named Christian and Maude. From the very beginning Christian and Maude wanted an open adoption. Though LDS family services did not provide this option they were able to get through some loop holes and get connected with Jen. From that time on they have been family.

Christian and Maude are from Austria and at the time were living in Salt Lake City. Two years after adopting Kevin they adopted another boy, Jeffery. Thirteen months after Jeffery was born, Maude gave birth to a little girl, Sophia. When Kevin was three years old the family moved back to Austria where Christain and Maude have been raising their children.

There obviously has always been a strong connection between Jen and the Hoeferl family. At the very beginning Jen and my family went to the temple to support Christian and Maude when my Grandpa sealed Kevin to them. Each time Jen or any of my other siblings go to Europe they always stop in Austria to visit. From time to time Christian and Maude bring their family to the US and make an effort to stay in Salt Lake for awhile.

This past week they were in Salt Lake City and we enjoyed seeing them so much! They did many activities involving all or some of my family members. Jen was consistent at being at every event. Some of the activities included Lagoon, rock climbing twice, boating at Jordanelle, Boondocks, and a wonderful family dinner at Wendy’s house. One evening they came to my house so my kids could play the piano for them. My piano is sentimental to me because Christian hooked us up with one of his Brodmann pianos, a piano company he owns in Austria.

Kevin’s primary language is German and though he speaks English pretty well he is quite shy verbally. We haven’t spoken many words to each other but there’s really no need. I love him and I know he feels a deep connection to his family in the US. He has always had a strong need to know where he came from and his heritage. I know he loves being a part of his family in Utah and it means a lot to him that he has two families that really love him.

I like this song by Michael McLean (I can’t get it on my playlist, bummer). I think these may have been some of the thoughts and feelings Jen had at the age of 18 when faced with the decision to give Kevin to Christian and Maude.

From God's Arms, To My Arms, To Yours:

So many wrong decisions in my past, I'm not quite sure
If I can ever hope to trust my judgement anymore.
But lately I've been thinking,
Cause it's all I've had to do.
And in my heart I feel that I
Should give this child to you.
And maybe, you could tell your baby,
When you love him so, that he's been loved before,
By someone, who delivered your son,
From God's arms, to my arms, to yours.

If you choose to tell him,
If he wants to know,
How the one who gave him life
Could bear to let him go.
Just tell him there were sleepless nights,
I prayed and paced the floors,
And knew the only peace I'd find
Was if this child was yours.
And maybe, you could tell your baby,
When you love him so, that he's been loved before,
By someone, who delivered your son,
From God's arms, to my arms, to yours.

This may not be the answer,
For another girl like me.
But I'm not on a soapbox,
Saying how we all should be.
I'm just trusting in my feelings,
And I'm trusting God above,
And I'm trusting you can give this baby
Both his mothers' love.
And maybe, you could tell your baby,
When you love him so, that he's been loved before,
By someone, who delivered your son,
From God's arms, to my arms, to yours.

I have no doubt that Kevin knows Jen loves him, and our entire family does as well. I really feel blessed to have such a wonderful family, and as far as I am concerned the Hosenfelds and Hoeferls are one and the same.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Well that was nostalgic

As a child, from the time I can remember, I worked at the Château Après Lodge ( ) as a maid. My parents own the lodge and it is a family run business. I learned in the very early years of elementary school how to vacuum stairs, rooms, halls, and the lobby. As I got into the later years of elementary school I made beds (army style), dusted, did dishes, swept floors, cleaned windows, and folded towels. The final initiation to becoming a full-blown maid was in middle school when I learned the art of cleaning the bathrooms (shower, sink, toilet, and floor).

Throughout the years my maid service hours were mostly obtained in the summer, which continued on even through college. Jason was recruited to the business the day we got home from our honeymoon. We spent our first four summers together living and working at the lodge.

Growing up, we did have a house but my siblings and I spent most of our time at the lodge. During the school year the bus would drop us off at the lodge where we would eat dinner and get home just in time to go to bed. In the summer we spent all our time at the lodge. After our work was done we spent much of the days swimming at the lodge pool, roaming around Main Street and the Park City Resort, playing at the city park, or riding bikes among the historical houses which are all nearby.

“Living” and working at the lodge was just part of life. One of the greatest lessons I learned as a child was how to work. I learned it from watching my parents work hard. There has never been a job too menial for them. My dad was and still is the chief maid who probably doesn’t go a day without cleaning a bathroom (even at the young age of 69). My mom has always put in her fair share of dirty work on top of correspondence. Watching them work and also being expected to pull my own weight has probably been the biggest influence on who I am today.

Friday and Saturday was very nostalgic for me. It was the yearly “spring” cleaning where everyone in my family (brothers, sisters, in-laws) who can make it to Park City work together and we clean the lodge top to bottom. This year was the first year my three oldest kids were given the chance to help. I watched as Morgan was dedicated to her responsibilities of putting pillow covers on every single pillow, putting soap and toilet paper in the bathrooms, and putting cups in the rooms.

Ashtyn was focused on putting pillowcases on every single pillow and trash bags in the garbage cans. She helped me make beds and put cups in the rooms.

Chandler did awesome with all his responsibilities. He distributed the correct sheets and bed spreads to each room. He helped put mattress pads on the beds and vacuumed stairs.

Ethan kept me multitasking. While I was dusting and making beds I always had an ear and eye out making sure he wasn't doing anything too unsafe.

After the two days of work my dad sat them down on the couch and explained the importance of working. “I want you to know that when you work sometimes you get money and sometimes you don’t. Today I’m going to give you money.” They each walked out with $10.

I’ve always struggled with trying to figure out how to teach my kids the value of work. Since Jason and I don’t own a business I think it’s going to be hard. If anyone has any suggestions I would really appreciate it, but at least for this week I am grateful they were able to learn a little something about work and they were proud of their accomplishments.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Week We've Been Waiting For

Wow! Where do I start?

First off, let me be clear about the fact that Suzanne is the blogger in our family, and I have no intentions of taking over that role.

This post will tell you about the amazing week I just had with Suzanne. Other than my honeymoon it was easily the best week of my life. It is going to be long, so if you are not into reading long posts, move along. Otherwise, here it goes.

Suzanne and I just completed what has been a very long, hard, fun, miserable, and exciting time in our lives. Last Monday at 3 pm I went to the Graduate Medical Education office and turned in my name badge and pager, then walked out of the hospital a free man! Residency is over!

I got home about an hour and a half before I was supposed to take Chandler to hockey practice (I help coach his team) and Suzanne suggested we go get something to eat to celebrate. It sounded fine to me so I jumped in the car knowing we needed to hurry so we could make it back in time. Suz suggested we get something “just south of 106th south.” That turned out to be In-n-Out Burger in St. George because Suzanne had planned a surprise for me! She knows I love surprises (as much as she hates them!) and she surprised me big time. I had no idea what was going on, and I loved it! She just told me to keep driving which I happily did (realized we weren’t going to make it for hockey when we were passing through Provo) until we ended up in the parking lot of what is probably my favorite restaurant :) I enjoyed sitting with Suzanne eating way too much food and thinking this was a very nice surprise. By this time it was getting a little late (9pm) and I figured we would be spending the night in St. George and then driving back home in the morning. Nothing cooler than a roadie just for a Double Double with grilled onions!

Instead, Suzanne directed me south on I-15 and we went right on past St. George. At this point I was sure where we were going. For those of you who don’t know a lot about my parents and siblings, Mesquite Nevada to us was exactly like Hawaii or Cancun is to normal people. I am sure I have made more trips to Mesquite for family vacations than anybody else I know, including a lot of blue hairs who play nickel slots. I knew we would be staying in Mesquite, the only question was which cheap hotel would be ours? We got to Mesquite and Suzanne was on the phone. I told her I needed directions to the hotel or gas in the tank, and she said I should get some gas and get back on the road heading south.

There isn’t much on the road south of Mesquite before Las Vegas, and I was sure we were not going to be staying in sunny Carp or Elgin Nevada. I spent the next hour wondering if we were going to Vegas or Southern Cal. I couldn’t think of anything in So. Cal that we would do without the kids, but at the same time we have never taken a trip to Las Vegas. I was confused but still excited, especially when Suzanne told me to exit the freeway and turn into the parking lot at the Venetian. When she opened the back of the van and pulled out a suitcase I couldn’t believe it. We were going to stay the night at this place? Wow we are high rollers! At the check in desk I gave the lady my ID and she said “Okay Mr. Poulsen, I have you staying for three nights and checking out on Thursday.” WHAT????? THREE NIGHTS IN VEGAS AT THE VENETIAN WITH SUZANNE AND NO CHILDREN???? I couldn’t believe it wasn’t just one night and suddenly all the nights up late studying for exams or taking care of patients in the OR became worth it. Honestly for me it was that moment standing there when I truly felt like we were done. There have been few times in my life where I can honestly say I didn’t have a care at all, but that moment was one of those times.

Suzanne and I absolutely enjoyed Vegas. The room was unbelievably nice. I am sure most of us have wished we could watch TV while taking a shower or make a phone call while using the restroom, and the Venetian provides necessities just like these. By far the nicest hotel room either of us have ever stayed in.

We spent the next day at the pool all day enjoying the sunshine and warmth (111 degrees) and good food. The afternoon was spent visiting one of Suzanne's best friends Angie and her husband Pascal at their home, getting caught up on everything that is going on with them. At about 5:30 Suzanne said “We have to go Jason.” Like an idiot I didn’t pick up on the fact it was weird Suzanne did not want to spend all night talking with Angie, but we hopped back in our car heading back to our hotel on the strip. When we got to our hotel I was ready to turn in but Suzanne said “Lets go over and valet park at the Treasure Island.” That is DIRECTLY across the street from the Venetian, why in the world wouldn’t we just park at our hotel and walk over there if we wanted to see that hotel? There is absolutely NO REASON to valet park across the street from your own hotel. Again, I am an idiot and didn’t think anything was up. I missed the turn off for the valet parking and told Suzanne I would just head a little south and valet at the Mirage. “I really want to valet park at the Treasure Island, just go around the block and turn in the right place.” What?
Side note: I know most of you reading this blog are females married to males, and I don’t want to give away any secrets I have learned over the years about marriage (so I can write a book someday about all I know) but I do want to tell you just one thing. Sometimes women have suggestions about where to park or eat that make absolutely no sense to her significant other. This happens frequently and the man has a couple options when such an event occurs. Some (initials D.S.E.) might suggest informing your wife of the obvious error of her ways and then indicate to her she is crazy, maybe even spinning your finger around your ear. I do not suggest such a tactic, as it is fraught with danger and has very little chance of turning out well. A well placed “Sounds fine to me honey” usually does the trick. I used just such a technique in this instance and I pulled it off like a champ.

After handing the keys to our dirty MiniVan with bird poop on the driver’s side window to the guy who normally parks Porsches we walked in to the casino. I have always had a strange attraction to felt, and casinos have plenty of felt to check out so I told Suzanne we should go look at the tables and watch some gaming. She said she would rather walk over to the left and further into the casino. I know when you read this it is clear to all of you she was up to something, but I aint too gud wit smart stuffs. We walked around the corner and right into the line for Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere” show. Unbelievable! Suzanne had already bought awesome seats for the show and we had a great time. Suzanne commented how the body tone of the acrobats was very similar to mine, which isn't true but made me feel great :) We were both blown away by what those performers can do.

After the show we walked over to the Bellagio for dinner at the buffet. It is an expensive buffet but worth every penny if you ask me. They practically spoon feed you Alaskan king crab, and I walked out of there completely stuffed. We picked up our car from the valet at Treasure Island and drove it the 50 yards to our hotel.

The next day we spent all day at a hotel pool that is separate and quieter than all of the other pools, with plenty of shade. We spent our time lounging around reading all afternoon. The funny thing is we used to make fun of old people sitting by a pool reading instead of swimming around, and now we have become those people. We didn’t know what we were missing! It was fun to just read without interruption. We even had about an hour when my dad stopped by to visit because he was in Vegas for business and had a few minutes to kill before his plane took off. That evening we went to a really cool restaurant “Café Ba ba re ba” and had dinner with the Shumways, two great friends we met in Spokane. We always love hanging out with the Shumways. It isn’t too often you have couple friends where all four get along, but Aaron and Janet are just like that for us. Suzanne and I would have spent all night talking to them getting caught up on all of the stuff in their life, but they had to get back to their babysitter. By the way, congrats to Aaron for passing his bar exam and getting a good job. Law school seemed brutal watching it from the sidelines. Not only would you have to study all the time, but also you would have to hang out with lawyers every day!

After some gelato and a good night’s sleep we checked out of our hotel and headed back home, stopping of course in St. George for another burger! We had to get back just in time to head up to the Oakley Rodeo with our kids for my family’s annual 4th of July week tradition of watching crazy people ride even crazier animals.

We slept in on the fourth, took the kids to the pool in the afternoon, and took a bucket of KFC to Sugarhouse park for dinner and fireworks. A great day with my family enjoying this amazing country of ours.

The next morning (Saturday) I had planned to go golfing with a couple of friends. Dave (Big) Nish texted me in the beginning of the week and told me he had a tee time at Wasatch close to noon and wanted to know if I could go. Suzanne said yes and I was planning on that. (Again, HUGE red flag if a Nish had the foresight to make a tee time on a Saturday on a holiday weekend on a normally busy course. I should have known something was fishy.) I called my brother in law Dave Erickson to see if he wanted to go because there was room, and he said fine. As far as I knew it was going to be me, Dave, his brother Bob, Big, Jumbo, Juan, and Z. (Please excuse all the nicknames, it is just what we do.) I met Dave and his brother in the morning and we carpooled up to the course. When we came around the corner at the golf course we saw my Dad with Matt and Ryan, my two brothers in law from my side of the family. What???? Suzanne had planned all of this too?

More people started showing up at the course, and the final tally was me, my dad, Dave, Bob, Matt, Ryan, Deardy, Jason H., Z, Juan, Big, and Jumbo. Talk about three dream foursomes! We had a great time on a beautiful course. Lots of laughs, some S#*t talking, and even a few tears (due to poor play) were had by all. After receiving green pieces of paper with pictures of past presidents on them from some of the people I beat I gave them all a hug goodbye, thanked them for coming, and felt like I had just enjoyed a wonderful end to my already perfect week.

On the way out of the parking lot Dave said “I have to stop at the homestead to pick something up for work, is that okay?” Dave is a big shot real estate developer, and so I was not at all surprised he would need to stop at the homestead for something. He is a guy who meets with city councils and gets old people to sell him property so he can put up old people condos. He is what all liberals hate (evil business man using the free market system to ruin the lives of people everywhere, preferably minorities and poor children) and I love him. He pulled in to the lot and asked if I wanted to come inside while he picked it up. I said “I’ll just stay here.” I was busy counting my money and making sure the scorecards were correct. He and Bob went inside, Jared and I got out of the truck and just were standing by the tailgate. Then Jumbo Nish came around the corner and said hi. Why was he there? He was in a different car and should have been heading to SLC by now. RED FLAG, IDIOT JASON. I thought maybe he was just following us in his car because he didn’t know how to get back to SLC, they had gotten lost on the way to the golf course, why not get lost on the way back too just for good measure. I went back to my scorecard. Then Dave came back and said “Lets go get some fudge and check out the scuba diving place.” Jared agreed, which was weird because he had just said his wife wanted him to hurry home. RED FLAG, IDIOT JASON. I said fine lets go look for fudge, but I brought my scorecard with me. I was following them along, head down, buried in my score when I rounded a corner and a huge group of people yelled “SURPRISE!!!!!!!!” I couldn’t believe it, but nearly everyone I know was up there waiting for me to help me celebrate finishing residency. Everyone in both sides of our family (except Martell off fighting forest fires) was there. My mission president and his wife were there. Brooks and Lisa Harbertson with their kids. Big, Juan, Jumbo, Ferd, C-Fa, Z, Gooch, Monkey, Tex, Hakub, and all the associated wives and kids were there. What a party! There were a few people missing for various reasons, but in general everyone I could possibly think of to celebrate with was there.

The patio where we had the party was perfect, the food was great, and the company was even better. Each and every person there had a hand in helping Suzanne and I get through school and residency. I was trying hard to keep my emotions in check because I knew there was a good chance I would be crying if I weren’t careful. I would have liked to sit down with each person and tell them how they helped us, but that would have made for a loooooong party! I was absolutely enjoying myself, trying hard not to look directly at Suzanne because I knew it would make me cry, but trying to get a chance to talk to everyone there. Then Suzanne dropped the big bomb on me that was bigger than everything else during the week.

There was a large TV on the patio, which I thought might have been there to put on a movie to keep the kids quiet. RED FLAG, IDIOT JASON. Suzanne got everyone’s attention and then said she had a video she wanted to show everyone. There is no way I can describe to you how that video made me feel. It was a slide show of pictures of our family put to music and showing how and why we made it to where we are today. She had a ton of pictures starting from June 6, 1996 (The best day of my life) all the way down to the present. I loved all the pictures but the ones I loved most were the ones that showed our family and friends, people who have helped us accomplish so much. The picture that I think best summed up that fact was the one of Suzanne’s brother Jason working to install the doors in our house when we first moved in. Suzanne and I have talked about how much we love that picture. It really shows his love and sacrifice for us, and although it just shows him, it really does remind us of all the things the people in our life have done to help us. It would be impossible to list them or mention people by name. Please know however that we talk about each of them often and recognize the service given to our family. I tried to share some of those feelings with those who were there when the video was over, but I don’t think I was as clear about how I felt as I would have liked to be.

It was the PERFECT end to a PERFECT week given to me by my PERFECT wife who has also given me my PERFECT life. I don’t know how else to say it. Suzanne will just have to bear with me a bit while I tell her how grateful I am and how unworthy I feel to be her husband. They should include her name on every one of my diplomas and on my medical license because she did just as much work as I did to get here. And she did it all while continuing to be faithful to the gospel, a loving mother, and a patient wife.

So how does it feel to be done? GREAT!!! How does it feel to have a wonderful wife, family and friends who care about us and have helped us so much? EVEN BETTER. What we have in our life is so much more meaningful than a job or an education. If I had to choose between my career or my family and friends it would be the easiest decision I have ever had to make. I know what is important to me, and it has NOTHING to do with anesthesia whatsoever. It reminds me of the line from Jerry Maguire: "I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I've succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. I wish you my kind of success.”