Field Trips, Programs and Visas

Another crazy week. Next week *might* be a bit better, and then school is out!!

  • We got sent detailed information about schools in two cities from a very thorough Senior Sister. It was pretty much already clear, but we prayed and picked one.
  • Ruby got a cavity filled.
  • Archie and I met Lyndy, Mom, Tracy, Rachel and Ryssa for a birthday lunch, then we went grocery shopping in the most mind-bogglingly large Costco I've ever been in.
  • By some miracle Herbie earned his Arrow of Light. We didn't believe it was possible when he told us, but I guess he did it?? We certainly weren't on top of things. We were getting ready to read scriptures before leaving when Grandpa Earl walked in the door. Another big surprise for most of us. Woo neglected to tell us he'd invited his parents.
  • Herbie got a cavity filled.
  • I'd planned to have Linus' birthday party this day, but luckily his teacher never got the invites, because it snowed. I sent more invites to school with Linus; his teacher handed them out, and we're good to go for next week.
  • The school double booked us: Herbie's field trip and Moses' patriotic program. Woo: Why do they do that??? Me: I know! It's like they're not expecting anyone to have a kid in every grade...
  • Herbie's practically ready to surf and Moses' program made me a tiny bit sad we'll be missing the Fourth of July.
  • Ruby, Woo and I went to the temple (Ruby did baptisms; we did sealings). The sealer had two sheets of names from the Czech Republic I'd sent into the temple a year ago, so it was cool be able to participate in some of those, as well as our own names. (Which reminds me... on my birthday I also sat next to a woman who was doing a temple name I'd sent in. Too many coincidences to be accidents :)
  • Woo was definitely happy leaving the temple. He skipped, then insisted we stop for ice cream, then danced in the aisle while he picked what he wanted. Ruby gradually got over her embarrassment.
  • We're double booked again! Woo accompanies Moses on his field trip and Archie and I eat lunch with Penelope in the park for hers.
  • We got Woo's visa in the mail! Woo was in Rancho Markets when he got my text and said, "Moses! I got my visa!" The mexican woman nearby smiled, then later asked Woo something about the checkers in Spanish. He said, "No sé."
  • Ruby helped with the Young Women's spaghetti dinner and auction (to raise money for camp). Ruby loves young women's.
  • Woo discovered DELICIOUS sweet corn at Rancho Markets. Quite the surprise this early in the year. This is a blessing for him, because it's his favorite vegetable and pickings will be slim where we're headed.
  • Woo spent Saturday morning speaking only Portuguese. Herbie and I understood a lot. The other kids understood some.
  • Woo and Herbie started another fire in the back yard... I guess it's their goal to burn down all of the old shed before we go? Woo also helped all the kids roast hot dogs over the fire for lunch (I'm vehemently opposed to helping with hot dogs.)

That's it. Hope your week was great!



Wow! What a week! At one point, I was like, "Was my birthday really only a week ago? It feels like a month!"

Maybe I'll just do a list...
  • I invited people over for dinner on one of the busiest weeks of our year... what was I thinking? Actually it went well, wasn't a burden at all because the kids do so much work now, and we all had fun.
  • We got eight people in to see the dentist. (Only two cavities, yay! But unfortunately two more appointments, boo!)
  • Ruby and Herbie competed in the Science Olympiad down at the county fair grounds. Ruby did pattern blocks, Herbie did the egg drop. They both took second place.
  • Afterwards, Woo took Archie (I was sitting in the dentist's chair) to Rancho Markets--our new favorite produce place--and Archie found these "burnt peas."
  • Ruby's Young Women's activity was a special Mother's Day activity, so I got to go with her. We seemed to have bonded over it, because for the day or two afterwards, she was really attached to me and affectionate (for Ruby).
  • One night I was getting the kids settled in bed when it sounded like a helicopter was trying to land on our house. That's because a helicopter was trying to land on our house. Or nearby it. It parked itself two houses down, for an unfortunate incident of domestic violence that ended in a death. We were completely surprised and saddened, of course.
  • We did hear from the Mission President. He didn't recommend a city, but instead told us he was going to immediately dispatch a (native speaking) couple to check out the schools and find a few apartments in the areas to help us make our decision. They'll help us with the deposit, etc. since it's nearly impossible to do without a tax number, which we can't get until we get there.
  • Linus had his Show-n-Teach. He taught his class a few Portuguese phrases, including "Sou canguru!" (I'm a kangaroo!) Then did "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" with them in Portuguese.
  • Woo and I went to the temple. Halfway through the session I looked over at him and he gave me a huge open-mouthed smile. Then he did it again several minutes later. Turns out he'd received some clear revelation: You need to decide to be happy. Walking out of the temple, he gave several, hearty and jovial chuckles, clicked his heels past the fountain and skipped to the car. Me: Well, now you've seen your weakness. In a year or two, it'll be a strength.
  • Penelope had her kindergarten program. She was the best January-sign-holder there! She was so proud... She'd warned us several times beforehand that she would wave to us, but then she was going to keep all her attention on her teacher. Instead, she looked at us with a pleased smile several times, and those were my favorite parts.
  • The kids discovered hole digging. Moses (giving me a hug): I really like to dig holes, Mom. And boy did he ever dig some. He was the main digger, and the deepest (he wanted the spend the night in his biggest hole), but Herbie dug a nice fire pit so he could complete his Arrow of Light. He wrapped a hamburger in tinfoil, stuck it in the coals and voila! he'd cooked something over a fire. Ruby was extremely tired from not sleeping well (end of school excitement?). She was the only one who didn't dig, but stayed in the house and read a book.
  • First thing this morning I told all the kids and Woo, "Happy Mothers Day! Thank you for making me a mother--I love it and I love you!" I got some chocolates (which I shared), some cards, some plants, some clean up after dinner, and a lot of hugs and I love yous.
I think I've hit all the main points. Hope your week was great and Happy Mothers Day!



Yay! I turned 40! And it feels a lot like every other age I've ever been. I spent the day in the temple which was at once wonderful, exhausting and humbling. I brought home some dinner and ice cream to celebrate with the family and that was about it.

I do love how excited the kids get for my birthday and how truly happy they are for me. It is sweet. In fact, my most memorable Ruby moment from our week was the giant hug she gave me for my birthday. I haven't had a giant hug from Ruby since, well, ever? She just has never been a hugger. In fact, she told me that exact thing last week and I told her it was a myth. Anyone can be a hugger if they decide to be. I guess she believed me?

Moses gave such a sweet testimony today of how Archie was crying about not getting more soda on my birthday and Moses stood up and gave him some of his, then he said, "I know that's what Jesus would've done."

Moses has truly been absolutely fantastic this entire month. I think he really has had a change of heart and is being filled with the pure love of Christ. When Ruby and Herbie were talking politics (which they sometimes think they're knowledgable about, and are ridiculous), Moses said, "He's not perfect, but he's the president." in his sweet little voice.
Linus (praying): And please bless Moses and his niceness. And help that his niceness can... can keep on going.

Poor Linus has a mom who just isn't that into making apple costumes for the 1st grade opera. I told him I was not going to sew a giant apple. I offered up a few ideas involving paper, but he was not happy with them. Instead, he came up with his own costume, which performed very well for the ten minutes he needed it. See that kid to Linus' left in the yellow? That's Linus' best friend.

Nellpea: Remember? You used to like princesses back then! 
Archie: Yeah, I'm a tomgirl.
While I was gone for my birthday, Woo taught Archie to ride a pedal bike. I still haven't seen it, but yay! I was wondering when he was ever going to learn with us leaving bikeless for Portugal.

Penelope kept talking about some person named "Cherry," who I had never heard of, until I realized she was talking about our neighbor "Barry." I remember that name being so confusing to me as a kid too.

We received some elk from Woo's parents (who got it from a friend) that I cooked one time and refused to make again. I even tried to pawn it off on some neighbors, but they planted in our minds that jerky was the way to go. So we bought a jerky making kit which sat in our cupboard for a looooong time, and I guess moving to Portugal was finally the impetus Steven needed to pull out the elk and make some jerky.

Ruby and Linus were super excited and helped a lot, and when it was all done we found that it was very good. Even I would eat it. But, Ruby loooooved it. She asked for some several times a day.

We have one very cute clip of Woo talking to Linus when he was just learning to talk. Linus is being very careful with his words and trying to get it exactly right, even though he does things like call flip flops, plip-plops.

Woo and the kids have watched it several times recently and one night after they'd gone to bed, Woo sighed, "I wish I had an entire hour of Linus when he was learning to talk. That four minutes just isn't enough for me any more."

Our church in St. Louis had a garage and every time we would ride our bikes to church, we would park our bikes there. Also living in the garage was this Little Tikes tractor. It was Herbie's soulmate. He was drawn to it like nothing ever before (except maybe a lawn mower). So when the church had a garage sale the week we left for Utah, I showed up an half hour early to buy this tractor. And it has been a favorite toy of all the kids; although, Herbie has definitely dominated it.

Woo got it out of winter storage this week, with the express rule that no one over the age of seven was allowed to ride it. And things started out well with Linus pedaling his little heart out and Herbie pushing from behind, but the next time Woo checked, there Herbie was again---he'd kicked Linus off and was madly pedaling his beloved tractor himself.

The kids were super hot on our walk today and Herbie tucked his pants into the top of his socks. It made for a nice knicker look, but I'm not sure it was cooler.

Well, that's it. Hope your week was great!


Testimony Below:

Today I'd like to share an example of the Holy Ghost bringing all things to your memory.

One night, a few years ago, I can't remember why, but I was upset with Steven and praying and this memory entered my mind.

We were in the hospital in labor with Ruby. At this point, I was doing all the work, and Steven was doing all the handholding. Nurses were constantly coming in and offering him fruit juices, crackers and cookies and he was taking ALL them and eating ALL of them. Because I was not allowed to eat anything. Hospital rules.

Anyways, Ruby was not coming. After an hour of pushing the doctor came in and basically said, "This baby isn't moving. We need to start thinking about our options like a c-section or forceps or vacuum extraction... "

And then the doctors and nurses left us alone to make this important decision in privacy. Steven and I looked at each other and we're like, "What are they talking about? It's only been an hour. We're going to keep pushing."

And then Steven said, "Here, have this grape juice."

He handed me the cup he was holding and I drank it all.

The doctors and nurses came back (none the wiser) and a little while later we had a Ruby. Because of the grape juice. The grape juice gave me that extra boost of energy I needed after laboring all night. 

So, the night I was praying, the Holy Ghost reminded me of how Steven had been the one to give me the grape juice and how it had saved Ruby and me from a riskier delivery. The Holy Ghost also helped me to understand that Steven had been prompted to give me the grape juice and that he had been obedient to that prompting.

And I was humbled and grateful that I had a husband who listened to the Holy Ghost over people. And I knew it was blessing the lives of me and my children, and I repented.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is one of my most precious possessions and I wouldn't trade it for anything. This gift is made available to us through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that it increases love and peace within families and that following it leads us to Jesus Christ and eternal life.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Herbie's Week

Well, Herbie had an awesome week. His birthday was made extra special by winning the egg drop for the whole grade and his teacher going into labor for her first baby--her mom and sister running in with updates and finally, the announcement that the baby had been born. On Herbie's birthday, just like he'd predicted from the first.

Later in the week he got his birthday story night, birthday blessing, watched old movies and pictures of himself and went shopping with Grandma, where he finally got that Steven Curry jersey he's wanted for a long time.

All the kids' birthday blessings since we've bought tickets to Portugal have talked about the missionary work they'll do there. I'm excited.

(The rubix cube is not a birthday present, but try not to be too disturbed at the depths my present wrapping has stooped to...)

A few months ago we had Stake Conference. The Stake President asked us to pray to repent, for a change of heart, to be filled with the pure love of Christ, for angels to help us, and then to do it every day.  (I promise this is going somewhere...)

This week I asked the kids if they were still doing it. Several of them were. Then I asked if any had seen any blessings from those prayers. Herbie said he had. "Yeah, change of heart. I haven't been arguing with you anymore." And you know, he hadn't been. I unfortunately hadn't even noticed until that moment.

What was even better, was that his answer seemed to have influenced Ruby as well. Almost from that moment she quit arguing with me over every little thing.

I finally cut Ruby's hair this week. She was ready for a change, and I was happy to do it. Teaching the kids Portuguese and family history has allowed our kids to now get some time with the iPads, instead of no time.

One of our neighbors substitutes at the school and gives us little tidbits of what's going on. She was amazed at Linus and thought it was so funny that he's the smallest in his class and by far the fastest. She said it is so fun to watch him sprinting away from all those bigger kids. Laughing the entire time, I'm sure.

She's also subbing Herbie's class while his teacher is out with the new baby. He's apparently been a big help to her. She had Herbie come to the front of the class and read the book she was reading while she spent time out in the hall speaking with a student.
Woo (laughing): And did that make you more popular, Herbie? 
Herbie: No! Less! 
Woo (putting his arm around him): That's okay, Herbie. Doing good is better than being popular. And some people will get mad when you do good. Like Jesus, some people were mad. Even to the point of killing him.
Linus doesn't wear his pajamas all the time anymore, but he still sometimes goes upstairs and puts them on after a long day at school.

Linus had a rough afternoon with lots of crying. Finally I pulled him on my lap and asked him,  "What would help you feel better?"
Linus: Nothing! 
Me: "Lying down, reading a book, reading your scriptures, saying a prayer, putting on your jammies-- 
Linus: I want my jammies on right now! 
He ran upstairs and when he came down wearing footy pajamas and a spiderman bathrobe, he was happy. They are still comforting to him.

The kids had fun for awhile talking about how old they'll be in 10 years.

Nellpea: Oh, I get it! We'll be our same age, but a "teen" after it!

Moses said he'd be on a mission; I told Penelope she'd be getting ready to get her drivers license. She opened her eyes really big and gasped. I told Linus he'd be blessing the sacrament and his first reaction was a proud smile that he quickly tried to hide, as if it was a dream of his he wished to keep secret. The same reaction he had when he was told in his birthday blessing two years ago that he would "grow into a strong man."

Grandma was early to take Herbie shopping and came in before the bus had come. Archie whispered to me that he had something to say, so I announced it and Woo and Grandma looked at him.
Archie: I almost didn't get ice cream. (for Herbie's birthday)
Grandma assumed he didn't want any, but it finally came out that he wasn't allowed any.
Grandma: Oh, what did you do? 
Archie: Um, uh, a, I hit Nellpea. 
Grandma: But then you got some, what happened?
(Long pause)
Archie: Um, uh, my dad taught me not to hit.
Which was true and a much shorter answer than I was expecting.

Here's Moses going home teaching with Woo. Woo even let him drive the tandem at one point, but I don't think it went too well. Moses had the lucky privilege of sitting between both his parents in sacrament meeting today. I know he put his arm around me and told me he loved me several times. I'm sure he did the same to Woo.

Once this week I was thinking of my dad as a missionary for some reason. I was seeing him being obedient and working hard every day even in a tough mission. Then I realized I had that image of my dad as a missionary in large part because that is what my grandma had always told me. When she had visited the Schmidts they had told Grandma about my dad and she told me. I have always been proud of my dad as a missionary, and I'm sure it had a huge influence on how I behaved on my own mission. Thanks Grandma (and Dad :).

Well, that's it for the week.