There's a story about me that the kids like. One time I went to Arctic Circle on a kindergarten field trip, and because it was my first time ever being at a restaurant without my parents, I ordered a coke (which was verboten). The coke was delicious, but when I came home, I found that some mother on the field trip had called Mom and told her that I had ordered a coke (would that even happen today??).

When Dad got home, he made me brush my teeth for like half an hour. Then he brushed my teeth himself for another half an hour, and told me that all my teeth were going to rot and fall out (2 down, 28 to go ... ) Anyways, Ruby told that story to her class in church today, except that instead of ordering a coke, I ordered some alcohol.

Much better story, I'll give her that.

Linus really loves swatting at flies with the fly swatter.
Linus (to me): I killed a bee!
Penelope (from clear in the bathroom): Oh! You killed a bee?!
I'm in the bathroom!
Linus (very proud): Yeah, I'm good at killing. 

One evening after dinner we went out to rake some leaves. Within seconds we lost all the kids to the neighbors. After a few minutes Moses came back to help.
Moses: You know why I'm over here helping you guys? Cause I wanted to help my family more than play basketball. 
And I believe that was the moment when he realized what he was missing, because the second the words were out of his mouth, he sprinted back over to the basketball hoop.

Moses (eyeing the rotisserie chicken): I want a feather!
Me: You mean a wing?
Moses: Yes!!

Herbie gave a talk in Primary today that he wrote himself. It was on the family being ordained of God. Herbie talked about how a mom and a dad are important and then shared a story of Woo pulling a wheelie on his bike that was fun and cool, and then a story about a time when there were no clean dishes in the house and I washed them all so we could eat.
Woo: I like how it sounds like I'm the one that's tons of fun and has everything together and you can barely keep on top of the dishes.
The Bishop tells us that when he asked Herbie why he wanted to be baptized Herbie said, "Because it's a commandment." Not what the Bishop was expecting.

Woo and I got invited to a tour of the Bishop's Central Storehouse and a luncheon by LDS Philantropies this week. I spent the entire time wondering what we were doing there, and finally concluded that they'd accidentally invited the wrong Woo. The right Woo is forty years older and much richer than mine.

Here we are riding a golf cart through the freezer (-10 degrees).

Anyways, the highlight of the trip was riding the elevator down from the top floor of the the Joseph Smith Memorial Building during the lunch hour. The elevator stopped on every single floor and at one point a couple got on in the middle of a very intense conversation about "the Spirit of Elijah." The woman kept looking down at a clipboard and shaking her head. I thought they were married until the next floor when the man walked out of the elevator, turned around, gave the woman meaningful look and just said, "Think about it."

We couldn't help but laugh as soon as she hopped off. Where else in the world would you ever hear anything like that in an elevator?

When some other kid is hitting or not sharing, Penelope likes to say, "What would Jesus do, Moses? Jesus would share." or "What would Jesus do, Linus? Jesus would not hit." But if she's ever hitting or not sharing and anyone asks her what Jesus would do, she sticks her lip out, puts her chin down on her chest and says, "Nothing."

P.S. In case you were wondering, asking someone who is mad what Jesus would do, often makes them more mad.

I'm gearing up to get Archie potty trained. Which means I'm setting him on the potty regularly. He has had some success and has not been opposed (other than bursting into tears at our applause for his first poop), so the next step is getting him to prefer the potty to anything else. Which means treats and several weeks (months?) of practice.

For the first time ever Woo and I made a list of questions that we would like answered the night before conference. Two of mine were: What is something I should be doing to strengthen my family? And are there any opportunities I should be giving the kids?

My answer was in President Eyring's talk on leaving an inheritance of hope and was not what I was expecting:
There are things you can do early, when those you love are young. Remember that daily family prayer, family scripture study, and sharing our testimony in sacrament meeting are easier and more effective when children are young. Young children are often more sensitive to the Spirit than we realize.
I started today, and Woo wonders if I'm now going to become an every-monther. I don't know. That's a lot of testimonies until Archie's out of the house. But it's worth it, probably. I'll try the next couple of months in a row, and see if I'm driving myself crazy.

Anyways, that's all I have for now. I hope you all had a great week!



I fear that the school doesn't get the best picture of us...

Ruby told me one day last week that her teacher didn't think she had enough lunch and should get school lunch. Ruby said, "No I can't, my mom will get really mad!" So her teacher gave her a package of cookies. I asked Ruby what she had. A sandwich. And an orange in her backpack. That she didn't show her teacher.

Then she told me about another time she had chips and a sandwich and her teacher didn't think that was enough, but she told her teacher we didn't have any more food. And that I would get really mad if she got school lunch.

CPS headed over here any day now ... but if there's one thing they'll find, it's a lot of food.

The teacher is probably only concerned because Ruby usually packs a giant lunch and still eats discarded treats from her friends (no treats going to waste over here), but sometimes I feel like I'm the only kid in the world that managed to stay alive and alert in school by packing a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a fruit juice to lunch all through grade school. And junior high. 

I'm glad that Herbie's teacher this year is way more relaxed about his lunches. I can not convince him to take anything more than a couple pieces of plain rye bread and a carrot.

I pulled about 10-15 slivers out of Ruby this week. She didn't know what the first two were, just thought they were funny bumps that hurt, but I was able to get the slivers out pretty easily. Then every few hours she'd come and ask me to remove a few more. I don't know why she didn't tell me about them all at once.
Moses: I wish this motorcycle could see itself!  
Woo: Why?  
Moses: Cause it's cool
Woo leaves his seat for a second to find it taken over by Moses' bodyguards.

Linus said some stuff that I'm not going to post here.

We had a typical conference weekend. Everyone but Ruby and I got a haircut.

Moses stuffed a blanket in his pants.

Kids spent periods of time paying attention.

Other times we listened very carefully for the word of the talk around the candy bowl. (Penelope's combing a knot in my hair.)

Of course, first we had to buy some candy.
Me (to Woo): Aren't you going to get a cart too?  
Woo: No. We're not going to need it. We're getting hardly anything. 

No one was happier than Herbie to get his hair cut. I'm realizing now that he doesn't think that long hair and a name starting with the word "her" are a good mix for his social life.

This is one of Archie's favorite games -- being pulled around the living room on a blanket by one of his big brothers or his dad. He's still not sure what to think of Woo and his new haircut. He doesn't say, "DAD!" anymore or give him smiles or look him in the eye very often.

For the first time in my life, I have someone pretending to be me. Linus and Penelope often run around saying that Penelope is the mom and Linus is the baby, which is not new from any of the kids. But, every so often, Penelope will announce that she's Schelsey.

The biggest fiasco of the week is when I looked at the large pile of avocados, realized that Woo's the only one in the family who will eat gallons of guacamole and decided to try something new. A quick internet search brought up avocado fries, which I thought sounded OK. Or at least worth trying once. Long story short: a 20 minute recipe ended up taking me 2 hrs, and (to no one's surprise?) they weren't that good. Woo came into the kitchen in the middle of it all to tell me he loved me. He had heard me getting frustrated and telling one of the kids that I was in the middle of a huge mistake. "I don't need love. I need help!" I said, and he put cheese on the burgers, got them off the grill, assembled them for kids, etc. While I wrestled with the avocado fries. Anyway, I won't be making them ever again. The end.

Hope you had a great week!



Last week I got to substitute Linus' Primary class. I found the lesson (thank you, Gospel Library App!) and Woo got Linus in the mood for the lesson by taking his picture and annoying him.

The lesson was called Being Grateful For Fish, which seemed kind of ridiculous until I got into it, and realized it was really a lesson on the creation and the beauty and diversity on earth. Linus ended up enjoying it.

Archie was a good student too.

We played Mother May I one evening. Linus did great when I was calling the shots, but when it was Herbie's turn he got kind of confused.

Before Herbie could even said anything Linus asked, "Brother? May me?"

And then he said, "May I, brother?" to Ruby.

The world would be a much better place if there were more robots.
Moses: I wish we had robots to clean all this mess! 
I'm going to invent robots, and they could clean super fast!
And even better if all parents were robots.
Moses: And they could let us sleep in and not make us miss the bus! 
Woo: Why couldn't you just be raised completely by robots?  
I bet those robots give nice warm hugs.  
Moses: And when we were super bad they'd give us tons of candy!!  
AND when we were good!!!
A boy can dream, I guess. In the meantime we'll be stocking up on Kit-Kats. I wouldn't want anyone to be allergic to anything.
Moses: I'm allergic to chocolate. The only chocolate I'm not allergic to is Kit-Kats.

Penelope is still ridiculous.
Woo: Penelope, go give yourself three spankings! 
Penelope: No! I not! 
Woo: Ok, Penelope, go take yourself upstairs! 
Penelope: No! I not! 
Woo: Ok, Penelope, go eat a cookie! 
Penelope: No! I not!
I can barely leave the house, or take Archie upstairs for a nap, she has to give us so many hugs. This is the message  I got from Woo, the last time I left the house:
Did you hear Penelope run for one more hug and burst into tears when you left? Apparently the 3 right before weren't enough ...
Here's Penelope carrying her baby in the baby carrier. She almost tipped over backwards a couple of times.

Woo worked some, and he snowboarded some.

Herbie is really, really into all the Frozen songs (like every other kid/person in America?). He sings them all the time, and corrects any of the rest of the kids who don't know the words exactly. The songs alone were the best part of the movie for him. I think he might be our most musical kid, actually.

Ruby got a keyboard to practice her new piano skills on. Woo originally thought he would take her over to the church to practice, but that lasted once. Maybe twice. 

I don't know if you can tell from the picture above, but she snipped another chunk out of her bangs on a dare from some kids in school. That's three times for her.

Well, that's all. Hope you have a great week!


KIDS ...

You probably can't tell from this picture, but Ruby is wearing two pillow cases over her feet, and she's pulled the tops clear up to her waist so that they poke out of her pants. This was her ingenious solution to keep her legs from aching, and I think it worked, because she kicked them all over while I was trying to take a picture, and we never heard about the aches again.

Ruby had two piano lessons this week, which she loved, and she also started doing something strange. She spent about 5 minutes carefully combing her hair in front of the mirror before going each time. This is the only time she has ever cared about tangles being in her hair.

Here's Herbie with his homemade kendama, which, according to Ruby, qualifies him to roam around with the kendama gang at recess. It's made from a broken piece of a snowball shooter, and a plastic ball from one of Archie's toys. Woo is thrilled with his creativity, but we're still planning on getting him a real kendama for his birthday soon (unless they're already out of style or outlawed by the school and he changes his mind).

I got to sit with the kids in Primary on Sunday. The teacher held up a picture of the Salt Lake temple and asked why temples were such sacred places.

There were a few other (more accurate answers; although, his wasn't completely wrong) before Herbie raised his hand.

Herbie: Because the pioneers built it.
Teacher: Yes. And I think it even took them sixty years to build it --
Herbie (interrupting in his know-it-all voice): No, it was forty.

And he was right. He'd read it somewhere.

I also forgot to mention that Herbie likes to rake leaves for fun. When the kids are out playing, he'll get the rakes out and enlist Moses or Linus into helping him rake up a pile or two.

Moses: I know where earthquakes come from.  
Us: Where?  
Moses: The right! 
Cuz meteorite--right!  
Woo: I can't wait to see your science fair entries...

Linus was super excited to teach his first Family Home Evening, which was on Jesus loving children.

On another day he asked me:
Linus: Mom, how old was Etchie when he was one?

Ever since we prayed for our hurt neighbor and for the doctors attending him, Penelope has added a "Please help doctors feel better," to her prayers.

Which is ridiculous because everyone knows doctors don't need to feel better.

Here's Archie performing the all important job of pulling all of the dirty laundry out of the basket and onto the floor.

He also does good work for us pulling all of his clothes out of the drawer. Or all of the toys out of the cupboard. Or all of the rags out from under the sink ...

Anyway, that's it for the week. Hope you had a good one!



This weather this week was cold every morning, and lovely every afternoon and evening. One evening the kids talked me into eating dinner outside. Another we all went for a bike ride to the beach. The temperature was in the 50s, I think, which is of course warm enough to tear off of your shoes, socks and shirts and wade in melted ice water.

There was a lot of good rock throwing going on. I think kids (and men?) could throw rocks into water for hours. Moses told us this was the best day ever. He and Herbie asked me every day about getting the shorts out, but it's too soon. It'll snow again.

Around here kids sometimes have to wait for the things they want.
Moses: Mom! Can you take my temperature yet? You said you would do it last week!
It was just as I suspected -- normal.

I held my hand up to give Moses high five after he finished unloading the dishwasher, but he wanted to knock knuckles first. We missed. Then we tried like five times to slap each other's hands without any success.
Woo (watching us): You guys are really cool. I can tell.
Herbie (rubbing his knee or something): Mom, I'm hurt.
Me: What's wrong?
Woo: Arthritis.
Herbie just looks at him confused.
Woo: Menopause, right Herbie?
Menopause got you down?
Herbie hops on his bike and sprints away, not that hurt after all.

Linus has taken the time change the hardest. He's been super mad, even going so far as to call me, "You ... MISTER!!" and having scary dreams that he likes to brag about in the morning.
Linus: Mom! The first scary thing I saw was a tiger-snake!
Also, he got into his head that we had made some sort of deal that I have no memory of and am pretty sure never happened.
Linus: Mom! Remember to buy me a snowmobile when you go shopping!

Getting Penelope to clean her plate continues to be a challenge, but Woo's had some success creating counting games for her. "Eat three more bites, NellPea! Now one!"

She's a pretty good little counter. Today during church she sat with a book in her lap counting the letters in the title. She got up to 10 correctly, did some number in the teens for the next 5, and then alternated between 16 and 18 for the next 20 letters.

Ruby did end up being the first girl in her class to pass off her multiplication tables. She was really excited. She also wrote a limerick that I thought was quite clever, but didn't write down. The rhyming words were trumpkin, pumpkin and bumpkin, I believe.

Archie thinks we can understand every word he says, and we act like we can. Sometimes he's pretty close. If we ask him something that requires just a yes or no answer, he'll often respond with a one syllable word. Today he rode on Woo's back during our walk. Woo asked him if he'd had fun looking around. Archie pointed into the distance and said, "Gah."

Hope you had a great week!