13 is Woo's Lucky Number!

Moses stayed home one day this week after throwing up a few times in the morning. He was quite pleasant after that, lying peacefully on the couch all day. I read him some Harry Potter, but he was really excited to be off to school the next morning. So, I did do some laundry this week. I did it for him in the morning and all the kids wanted the extra $$ to do a load in the afternoon, but Linus is the one who ended up doing it, and he did a great job.

A few things I've noticed since we've started Moneypants, or maybe it's just lately, Moses often says something like, "and thanks that we could have a... pretty good day." Last year at night he'd be tired and cranky and often say, "today was a bad day and help us to not have a bad day tomorrow."

Also, Linus comes home from school and immediately does his homework. Immediately. (And I don't even endorse that busywork homework in elementary school, half my kids are not doing it at all... Then he organizes his backpack and puts it away and then he does his chore (even though it's not quite time yet). THEN he goes out to play.

Ruby is having the hardest time. Not with the work, she's a good worker, but with the money. She has lost her free money for three weeks in a row. Like it falls out of her pocket or something within half an hour of giving it to her. Before that she paid Herbie a dollar to let her use one of his shirts for dress up. It's good we're learning this now and not when she's 20. She has some time to hopefully learn some things.

Every holiday the scouts come around and put flags in our yard. We had one for Columbus Day that somehow got knocked to the ground and the flag detached from the pole. None of the kids had done it, of course, but they were forgetting Woo has 10 million surveillance cameras set up around the house. He found the culprit in 5 minutes: Herbie. We reattached the flag with an elastic band and Herbie wrote an apology note and then had to call around the YM Presidency when they apparently picked up flags while he was doing that and missed ours.

Linus (on a cranky day, after whining about this and that): Mom!!! The pine nuts are too... tasty!
Penelope (playing pretend with Archie): I used to have a name when I was a kid, but now I don't. Just call me Mom.
Archie (pointing to one of his scribbles): Mom! Look right here!
Me: Oh, that's my favorite line on your pumpkin.
Archie: Yep. That's the mustache.
Which he later changed to mouth.
Archie: Mom! It's almost my birthday.
Me (holding up four fingers): In three months you'll be four!
Nellpea: And almost a WHOLE hand!!

Woo and I had our 13th anniversary. We celebrated by going to Vivintcon (Vivint's annual meeting where they reveal new products, report numbers, pump up the sales reps, etc.) in the Vivint Smart Home Arena. You might not know that Vivint's leadership is LDS. Luckily, they threw out a few key phrases in their presentations to tip us off...
  • ... we talk in our correlation meetings...
  • ... and in closing I'd like to say that I know... 
  • ... I'm grateful to be here tonight... 
  • ... I feel so grateful to belong to this company... 
  • ... And please! I implore you... 
  • ... to help bless their (the customers') lives...
  • ... we think about you; we talk about you ... (he stopped short of praying)
I didn't write down the very last words the President said (I was excited to get out of there), but I'm pretty sure he said some closing prayer type phrases, like "get home safe."

And I have to say, I went in with my eyes rolling, but there was mostly a good feeling to the thing for me. The President is definitely an engaging speaker. Too bad he's so scripted in all their promo videos. He's much better off the cuff. 

Oh, also, I finished painting the back bath.

Well, that's it for the week.



For the last month I have not done one load of laundry; I have not ever loaded or unloaded the dishwasher; I haven't swept the floor or wiped off any counters or tables; I haven't done any vacuuming (except for my own bedroom); I haven't mopped any floors and I haven't cleaned any bathrooms. I never, ever thought this would happen to me in my lifetime. It's been pretty great and the house is much cleaner than it was before. I can finally understand how people had more kids to get more work done.

I did almost finish caulking and painting the back bathroom, but I took a day off to help at the cannery (home storage center). Woo had originally signed up for himself, but we decided it would be best for me to go. So he saw Penelope off to school after making lunch, then hung out with Archie. He made them some pretty fancy stuff that they'd have no chance of eating with me: bagel, cream cheese and salmon sandwiches.

Ruby told me she thought we should move to a bigger house.
Me: You'd have to clean more bathrooms. Do you think you could do it? 
Ruby: Yeah! I could clean a bathroom for every person in the family!
And I think she probably could. She's got those bathrooms all wiped down and disinfected in about 7 minutes each.

Herbie and Woo mountain biking for Herbie's daddy day.

Moses (before falling asleep): Mom, it's hard to go to sleep when your toe hurts and your shoulder hurts and your (something else) hurts. 
Me: Mmhmm. 
Moses: At least my mouth doesn't hurt anymore! (He had a bunch of cankers last week.)
I'm going to say a prayer to say thank you!
Now I'm going to say a prayer for my toe and my shoulder and my (something else, I can't remember) 
Me: Sounds good.
And that's the last I heard from him.

Linus loves, loves anything to do with firemen and fire trucks, so he was completely in his element when we had our biennial fire safety and home evacuation FHE. He knows a surprising amount about fire safety and has a great army crawl (for avoiding smoke). Woo finally convinced him to start reading the Book of Mormon straight through (instead of just memorizing a few of his favorites) in the morning and his reading has improved quite a bit.

The Book of Mormon's better with sunglasses.

Penelope had quite the heady walk down the hall in church today. She saw a friend from school, "Penelope! I'm SO glad to see you here! Penelope, HI! Mom, there's Penelope!" We turned the corner and saw a little girl who sometimes visits our ward and loves Penelope (her mom tells me she talks about Penelope every day) "Penelope! Hi, Penelope!" It was like she was some sort of celebrity.

The beginning of the week was cold and grey and rainy. By the second day I was ready to lie on the bean bag under a blanket, if only I had some treat in the house to eat while I was there... And then there was a knock at the door. Kurt had sent us about 8 boxes of cookies. The timing couldn't have been any better.

Archie was the lone, lucky kid at home who got to sample all the cookies his parents decided to open first. The Cadbury fingers were the first to go. When the other kids came home and saw the empty box they were mad they hadn't gotten any.

Herbie: But those are my favorites! 
Me: You've had those before? 
Herbie: No, but I can tell!

And then he was even more mad when he heard that Archie had gotten some. I can remember us being mad when Lyndy got to go out to lunch with Mom while we were in school.

Woo's sister Becky and some friends came up to mountain bike. Woo went to show them around and also took Ruby and Herbie. They had fun.

My testimony today was kind of a confusing experience. I usually receive a prompting some time in the week before of what I should say. This week I received two, and neither of them were super strong. Neither was wrong, either. I couldn't ever get a clear answer on which one after several prayers, so I vacillated once or twice during the meeting and finally stood up and said one that seemed to be on theme with other testimonies already said. Then I though maybe I'd made a mistake. I don't know. Maybe it didn't matter which. Woo was the star in the other one. (I'm sure everyone's tired of hearing about me.) Maybe next time.

That's all. Hope your week was great!

Testimony Below:

When I started reading the Book of Mormon as a kid, I loved it.

I can remember taking my Book of Mormon with me to karate and reading while my younger brothers and sister had their class. Because I felt great. I felt my Heavenly Father loved me and was happy I was reading it.

I had been taught by my parents and teachers to pray about the Book of Mormon to ask a God for a special answer that it was true. I remember my Dad asking me if I had prayed, and I had, and what my answer was. But I was embarrassed and didn't want to talk about it. Because I didn't know if I had gotten an answer. I didn't know what an answer felt like, plus I was kind of afraid that maybe God would answer everyone's prayers, but mine. Maybe it wouldn't work with me or maybe He didn't really love me as much as I'd hoped or as much as he loved everyone else and this would be the proof.

So I quit praying to know if it was true, but I kept reading the Book of Mormon. I learned that my days went better when I had read, and worse if I had not, even if I had read other scripture.

Testimony meetings in young women's and seminary were an awkward time for me because I'd never received that special answer to prayer, and I wasn't sure I could really say the Book of Mormon was true.

But when I entered the MTC everyone made such a big deal of praying and really, truly knowing for yourself that the Book of Mormon is true that I did it again. This time I got a clear answer: you already know it's true.

It took me years to realize I'd been receiving a witness from the Holy Ghost that the book was true the whole time. Every single time I had opened the book I had received a witness. Those wonderful feelings I felt were a witness from the Holy Ghost. I knew the Book of Mormon was true from the first time I read it. And I still know it's true.

I know the Book of Mormon is a gift from our Heavenly Father for our happiness. I love my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Haircuts, Conference and Rings of Fire

In the haircutting arena Penelope and Archie are the only ones still content to just let me do what I want. Ruby wants to keep her hair long (easy). Linus wanted a mohawk (also easy). Herbie and Moses wanted that haircut everyone has, but I don't know the name of. I practiced on Archie first, and it was... okay.

Herbie wanted me to do his real fast before scouts, so I did. It looked ridiculous, by far my worst
one--a mushroom top. He left for scouts without the slightest clue, and returned home still not having a clue. I was able to fix it after having learned a thing or two cutting Moses'. "Third time's the charm" is still true.

The kids have stopped blowing their free (to spend on whatever, not given free) money on Pokemon cards. They've discovered they can get them for free and then keep trading up for better cards. More than a few of them have just handed over their free cash to save for a bigger, better toy. Linus, Ruby and Moses were almost just as pleased with their own homemade ones.

Saturday was a busy day--regular chores (twice), Saturday chores, baths, payday, a special breakfast, and two sessions of General Conference. In their spare time the kids chose to rake up leaves. What??? Turns out they wanted a big pile to jump in, and then to make thinner, spaceship-shaped outlines.

Archie had a bloody nose.
Penelope: Mom! Archie ate some blood. 
Me (not really listening): Yeah? 
Penelope: But he ate some blood! 
(turns from me to Archie) 
Penelope: What did it taste like Archie? 
Archie (not skipping a beat): Cookies. 
Penelope: Not hotdogs?

Pushing a hoop with a stick: still popular with the kids.

And now we present the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, talented, daring, tongue-wagging-in-the-face-of-danger Penelope, riding her bike one-footed through a ring of fire!!!

Unfortunately fire restrictions were in force so the ring was fireless this time.

Hope your week was great!


Moneypants Miracle?

I've had a really amazing week in a lot of ways. Woo found this Moneypants Solution that we've been doing for two weeks now and our house is a different place. The kids leave for school and... the dishes are done, counters and tables all wiped and sanitized, bathrooms cleaned, floors all swept, laundry done and put away, bedrooms cleaned, beds made, bedrooms vacuumed, dining room tables wiped off, garbages emptied... in short, they leave a completely clean house. Also, except for Sunday (which is chore free for us), they go to bed leaving a completely clean house.

And the kids are happy to do the work because we're paying them (so they can buy everything we'd already been buying for them before).

I've not lived in this clean of a house since we moved here. It's pretty amazing and really nice. My entire morning has opened up. Penelope and Archie play and I've dejunked, washed walls and now I'm up for painting the back bathroom.

Things are not perfect. We have a few kinks to iron out still, but the whole thing is really encouraging.

After Penelope goes to school, Archie and I go for a run. We still have the single stroller I haven't used since Herbie was a newborn and it still works great (after Woo put a hot wheels dirt bike tire on the front). Archie really liked our runs until he started to fall asleep during every single one. Now he associates them with napping, but I still take him because he needs a nap and this is an easy way to get him to sleep.

Archie whispering to himself while paging through a Book of Mormon in the morning:
The lamanites don't want us to go to church. Jesus wants us to go to the football game. Jesus wants us to go to church. 

Penelope loves school. She has lots of friends (she says everyone in the class is her friend), and is learning.
Penelope: Mom, do you know what I learned? 
Me: What? 
Penelope: I learned that years are longer than months. Because before I always thought months were longer.
(And it's true. She used to get in arguments with her brothers about which was longer. Sometimes it doesn't matter what your parents or siblings tell you; you'll only believe your teacher. Grrr... )

Penelope bought her own journal and colored pencil with some of her earnings, and it's her favorite at home activity (besides riding her bike). She likes to sing while "writing" in her journal.
Songs like:
Whenever I hear the song of a bird (from "I know Heavenly Father Loves Me"),
I run outside and catch the bird! (NOT from "I know Heavenly Father Loves Me.")
Linus is a natural at this Moneypants thing. He seems to already know everything we're trying to teach the other kids. He always does his best job on his chore. He always finishes before the timer goes off, in fact he loves doing it and sometimes starts early. He doesn't want to spend his free money on anything; he wants to save it to buy something bigger. He knows how to keep things (like his bed and room) clean so he has less work later. And he's the only kid who's never had anything collected by me for being left around the house that he has to buy back later.

Moses is doing all of our laundry. The entire family's laundry, and he's going to do it for a year. He's really gotten the hang of folding blankets. They look fantastic up there in their shelves. Socks though, he doesn't seem to see socks. This is something we need to improve. He's been spending his free money on Pokemon cards. He carries his money and cards around with him constantly and he's very attached to both of them.

Herbie has always loved work, but he feels more responsible being in charge of everything to do with the dishes, and the counters, stoves and small appliances. The home teachers brought over a microwave today as part of an object lesson and Herbie immediately jumped up to clean it because "cleaning the microwave is my job!" He wiped the whole outside and got something unstuck from off the top, but we stopped him before he went to work on the inside. The home teachers will have to do that themselves.

Ruby came home very excited one day because she'd been chosen to be on the school's Leadership Council. This is something she had carefully filled out an application for, submitted with her transcript and prayed that she'd be able to do. I said a few prayers for her as well, since it seemed like a great opportunity for her to build on her talents.  They had me at the duty--welcoming new kids to school and helping them feel comfortable at lunch and recess.

Also Ruby sure loved President Uchtdorf's talk last night. First off, it was President Uchtdorf, secondly, he talked about meeting Harriet, thirdly, missionaries were involved.

Woo got us all out for a fall hike to look at the leaves. The kids HATED it... they were so cranky, until we stopped by a wash full of rocks. Suddenly, everyone had their favorites, that they never wanted to leave, or must take home, or must visit again soon. Woo took a few pictures for memories, but the rocks had to stay.

Also, Woo was thrilled to have our first bumper apple crop--a whole box!

That is all!