Woo made a lot of purchases this week. He bought Settlers, Seafarers, Cities and Knights and their 6 player extensions from Amazon Germany. Moses couldn’t sleep the night Woo announced that. 

Yes, they’re in German, which is fun for us because Woo reads everything out loud and giggles to himself. He remembers an amazing amount from his jr high German class. The kids enjoy trying to decipher things themselves, sometimes with the help of Google translate.

The games were much less expensive in the original German.

Woo: Everyone’s going to be planning a trip to Portugal to buy their Catan games when they 
learn how much I paid!

Moses beat Woo at Settlers for the first time ever on the first game they played. Woo wondered if he could use his second vaccination a few hours earlier as an excuse. It was the only adverse reaction he experienced.

Woo also bought a croquet set. We bought two tents and two camp chairs at Lidl (the camp chairs are for the living room :) and lastly, he bought a slack line.

There was one thing he did not buy: tickets to Utah. We were interested to see that the day Woo had been seriously considering (he had the dates already entered, only waiting to hit buy), ended up being during the 48hrs of a huge baggage workers strike. Over 300 flights were cancelled, the ones we would’ve been on included.

I’m sure if it had been right to fly, we would’ve been directed to a different day, but instead we experienced something that was the perfect definition of a “stupor of thought.”

We were immensely relieved and grateful to have avoided that hassle which quite possibly would’ve involved another round of covid testing (and another $1000+); rescheduling flights for who knows when; indefinite time in the airport with a bunch of tired, hungry, grouchy kids; possibly arriving in the US without luggage, etc.

Another strike is scheduled in another two weeks, and it looks like there was a strike with airport immigration officers the week before this, so I’m happy to have no reason to go there for now.

Woo spent a lot of time talking passionately to the kids on Tuesday. A friend died of an overdose, which prompted a lot of teaching on drugs (in all forms). Then at dinner, for some reason, the kids were really fascinated by how prisons and the justice system works.

Woo: It’s clear to me that you guys have never had the Cub Scout field trip to the police station…

This made me laugh because I remember going on that field trip myself a couple of times.

It was enough for Archie to remember in his prayer that night.

“Thank you that we could learn how to not take drugs and about consequences and not going 
to prison.”

I hit 100 letters (and beyond) on Tuesday which was a relief because I can relax now. I’m handing them out now at a more sustainable rate, like two a day. Also, I’m starting to forget to whom I’ve already given one. On Friday, I handed one to a lady who told me I’d already given her one at the beach, but it was okay, she wanted another. Which I guess is a good sign??

Penelope bought some rollerblades with the rest of her birthday money. They are adjustable, and Penelope was very kind to make sure everyone got a chance to try her new rollerblades, even Woo and I (we didn’t last long).

Ruby went in on them with her, so the price was halved. Then Herbie and I made a quick run to Aldi for him to buy his own pair.

Monday was a lot of work. Herbie defrosted the freezer, which had had a problem and was full of ice. Ruby gladly and willingly stepped in when he was tired of chipping and clearing out ice and needed a break. I think it helped Ruby be so generous that I’d found her favorite outfit (polo shirt, jean shorts) for her at Lidl, and in her favorite colors too (red, white and blue).

Then Woo took Moses and Herbie to a branch member’s house to help finish tiling a floor and prep for painting. Ruby went along too to hang out.

Linus, Penelope, and Archie got their faces painted (face paints was the surprise for the week).

Moses organized a huge lego build/game that lasted several days. The first game was “city.” It involved some of the things Woo had been talking about (a prison, court house, police station, etc.) They also played “airport.” Possibly prompted by the strike. At times Ruby played too, and at times Penelope took reading breaks, but the four boys played it together always.

Linus made a lot of progress on his crocheted lion, but isn’t finished yet. He got distracted by Moses’ lego games. When we went to the park, he perfected his backwards bike riding. He can ride for long swathes of time around a loop of the walking path.

Herbie continues to be my proofreader. He corrected the Portuguese in my letter that I hand out. This week he corrected the Portuguese in my lesson handout, and then the first 11 chapters of my book. (This is the book everyone’s always thought I should write, but I never have. Basically, the highlights of three years of emails—2013-2016–in a narrative. The kids love it. And they should. It’s about them and for them.)

FYI no one’s proofreading skills can be judged by my emails… no one proofreads those :).

Archie got to do a special presentation in our EnglishConnect class—he told us what he does everyday.


Penelope repented as Yoda.

Woo took Ruby, Herbie and Moses camping Friday night. There was a lot of angst about where would be legal to camp. Well, angst for Woo. The kids didn’t care. But he finally picked a place and went, and I guess they probably had fun? It was cute how excited the kids were before they left.

Moses (super excited): I have a flashlight if we need one! It’s not what you think!
And then he pulled out the string of lights we had on the Christmas tree, which is stored in his room.

And that’s our week. I hope yours was great!



This week started out great! We had some fun stuff, some relaxing stuff, some birthdays… 

Penelope turned 10 and Woo turned 42. Penelope was very happy with her girly gifts, a bag of spinach and a jar of green olives for her treat.

They played a little “birthday ball” at the park, now that Nelpea’s taken up basketball. I heard a rumor that she made some 3-pointers, but I’ve never seen it. I have seen her enthusiastically bounce and shoot the ball over and over again, whether anyone else is playing with her or not.

Woo also got in a surf and a nap, and ate a delicious strawberry/blueberry shortcake for dessert. What more could you want?

Linus crocheted a bunny for Woo and a bracelet for Nelpea. Both he and Nelpea crocheted the heart keychain for Woo (he taught Nelpea how to crochet last week when we were at the temple), and he wrote a lovely card for both of them.

Ruby burned through several books. She read a lot of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Gene Stratton-Porter, Susan Coolidge and several other odds and ends that we found on lists of highly recommended public domain books. Thank goodness for the Internet.

Woo has been listening to a lot of Truman G Madsen lectures and books. At his suggestion, I got permission to print the Joseph Smith lectures for the kids. Those have definitely strengthened Ruby and Herbie’s faith in the restoration. I don’t think any other kids have read them yet.

We had our treasure hunt this week. Woo instituted a couple of rules at the beginning to give everyone a chance and to cut down on arguing. Ruby decided she didn’t want to participate, but I think she secretly regretted that, as she tried to yell a few hints to clues from her bedroom.

Thank goodness for the Internet again. I easily copied and pasted 42 riddle clues from someone else’s brainwork and hid them around the house.

The treasure was a knock off Jenga game, which we at first thought the kids weren’t that excited about because they played two games, and then left for the park.

However, Woo and I were struck with a sudden desire to play, and played three games as soon as they’d left.

It brought back all sorts of memories for me. Mostly of Dad studying the blocks very closely, and even thinking about making a knock off game for cheaper (which is what we bought).

The kids left for the park because they’d already made plans for a big soccer game with a bunch of other kids.

This happened a couple of times the week before, and I would look out the window to see Archie, the youngest kid, Ruby and Penelope, the only girls, our three other boys, and 10-12 other kids playing a game of soccer.

Moses loved, loved, loved this. He was feeling deprived after not being allowed to play soccer during breaks most of the school, so this alone was making his summer.

But it’s already over. The kids have already disappeared, like they do every summer a week or two in. The park is usually deserted. I think some kids come in the late evening when it’s starting to get dark, and the beaches (which we largely avoid, but can see from the surf cams) are extremely crowded now. Other than that, I don’t know where all the other kids go during the summer.

Moses tried to invite his friends over for a nerf war in the basement and stairwell, but it sounds like his friends aren’t allowed out of the house without a parent. I think this is new since covid.

Herbie was also surprisingly really into the pick up soccer matches. It was surprising because the last PE class of the year they were playing soccer. Herbie had a clear goal, no one anywhere around him, and when he went to shoot, instead of kicking the ball, he stepped on it instead. Of course, he fell and got all scraped up.

His PE teacher jokingly said he’d planned on giving Herbie an A in the class (Herbie was the only kid in his PE class to get an A), but after that fiasco, he was going to have to reconsider. Herbie had been telling it far and wide that he didn’t like soccer and was terrible at it since then. But he’s reconsidered now.

Linus was also having a good time at the park, but he’s under strict orders to come home at 4PM. It’s almost like clockwork. That’s the hour he starts to get angry if still at the park, and then his whole evening is ruined.

Linus was fantastic Sunday and Monday all day, and we thought we could lift the 4PM curfew, but he started to wake up early to crochet like mad for birthday deadlines and work on his precious stuffed lion, and we had to reinstate it for the rest of the week.

Our new Jenga game did regain the attention it deserved once the kids were home again.

Archie, as the youngest and clumsiest, was not a popular opponent, but he eventually became included. I was happy to walk in one morning to see Moses playing a serious one-on-one game with him, and another afternoon to see that he and Ruby had built castles with the blocks and were playing in them with their lego guys.

He also likes to set them up like dominoes. He does this sometimes alone and sometimes with an older brother or two.  

Woo and I were able to do sealings on a weekday morning this week. We got a personal escort from the front desk, through a completely empty temple, to the dressing rooms.

Woo: We have this place to ourselves!

It appears my fears of being a temple hog were unfounded. When I told the temple president and matron (who were our witnesses for the sealings) that I was afraid of making too many appointments and being selfish, they just laughed and told me to make appointments.

We saw seven people the entire time we were there, and they were all temple workers who came in to help or ask a question at one point or another.

I’m still handing out letters, but far fewer than before. I don’t leave the house as often now that I don’t have to go to the school 8 times a day, and when I do leave the house I usually have some kids with me. Their presence is not always conducive to handing out letters, but sometimes it is. I’m up to 94.

I’ve also been trying to get the Relief Society organized now that I’m RS President. Remarkably, I’ve had a sister who hasn’t come in 3 1/2 years agree to be a ministering sister (Woo suggested I ask someone who may or may not do it to minister to me); and another, who hasn’t come in much longer, agree to be ministered to; and I found and conversed with two sisters whom I have never before found or conversed with. One wants me to leave her alone, the other wants help.

Ruby had a fantastic Sunday. We had a surprise visit from a woman who Woo invited into the church off the street a long time ago. She came every Sunday for about a year, went to the temple open house, and then stopped coming soon afterwards.

Anyway, Ruby was playing prelude music, but got the impression to stop and go talk to her. The woman left soon after that because she’d planned to go to the beach, but halfway through sacrament meeting she returned and stayed the rest of the meeting.

She felt very warmly towards Ruby, called her dear, and spoke with her more after church.

Ruby also bore her testimony and felt she’d helped the other young woman with her media choices, and then went on to speak to lift all the other women in the branch.

Moses has become the memorization example to the other kids. He finished D&C 4 and is farther along than anyone else on D&C 1. He patiently coached Linus on a difficult verse during our Sunday walk, and inspired Herbie to get started, even though Herbie swore many times he was not going to start until the week before recital.

We did go to the beach once this week, in the morning, before it got crowded, when it was still largely just old people out walking, and Woo and I went to a branch meeting one evening. He surprisingly wore a button up shirt and khakis. The meeting accomplished what it was supposed to, but it wiped me out. Woo said it was the best meeting he's ever had in the branch, so by some super-herculean effort, he's survived hundreds of these.

And that’s our week! Hope yours was great!