10.20.2014

ELEVEN BEAUTIFUL YEARS


Woo and I reached our 11 year anniversary this week. I kind of wanted to take a picture of us kissing and all the kids running around like crazies to show our 11 year results, but that never happened. Maybe next week. (I know you can't wait.)

We made no plans for our anniversary until the very last minute, when we decided to do sealings and go to lunch. I had a devil of a time finding a sitter, since it was UEA, and eventually just gave up. Woo called his mom, who lives close to a temple and had said she wanted to see the kids. We dropped by Lyndy's on the way home for a short visit. Sorry we didn't catch everyone, we didn't really plan it very well.


We spent the last day of UEA hanging out in the living room. Woo and I laid on the couch and the kids played with a pile of dolls and clothes that a neighbor had dumped off at the house this week. Sometimes it's nice to just lie around and do nothing.


Herbie came home from scouts all excited to tell me that he was the only one to get 500. (We'd talked about my glory days playing 500 in grade school during his last story night.) It turns out that he was the only one to get 500, but some other kids got things like 550, 675, and 7,200.

Woo and I figured out Grandma Marva's age.
Woo: Wow! Are you going to live that long? 
You're going to live 20 years longer than me! 
Moses (nodding in agreement): You eat too many potato chips.

Me: I think you're stinky, NellPea. 
Nellpea: No! Liney is stinky! I can hear him from here!!
Even after I explained that smells are something we experience through our noses and sounds are things we hear through our ears, she still insisted that she could hear how stinky Linus was.

Moses got his cast off this week, but it wasn't healed. Another three weeks in a new cast :(.


Death by pumpkin.


Linus in his car.


Just a few math equations for the road.


Oh, another thing that happened this week is that the kids had parent teacher conferences. Woo had to go into work that day for a meeting. He took the car, so the kids and I rode our bikes. It took an hour. Penelope or Archie or Linus cried almost the entire way there. Ruby did a lot of complaining that we had to go the speed of the slowest rider. Moses and Herbie were great.

When we got to the school and I got kids out of the trailer, there was a huge pile of Penelope's hair in Archie's hand. Later, while crying down the hall on the way to the next teacher, Penelope walked straight into a corner. Let's just say that conferences with Ruby and Herbie's teachers were less than ideal. Moses' went pretty well, mostly because the playground was just out the door and I sent everyone but Archie out there.


Well, that's our week. Hope yours was great!

10.13.2014

THE WORST TALK-GIVER


I made the kids memorize their talks for the Primary Program today, which Herbie thought was "stupid." I launched into a long tale about how my dad had taken a public speaking course at BYU, where he learned that memorizing talks leads to better delivery (do I have that right?) and that I'd had to memorize all my talks as a kid.
Woo: And now you can see where your mother is today.
There was a pause as Woo and I both did some thinking about what benefits from it I could see today.
Me: Um, and now I'm the best talk-giver ever ... 
Moses: No she's not. She's the worst! 

Moses had a field trip this week. When I asked him about it, he said it wasn't that good. When I asked him how his school lunch was, he said, "bad."
Me: Really? You didn't like anything in your lunch? 
Moses: Well, I liked the apples. I ate them. And the carrots, I ate all the carrots. I liked 
the sandwich. But I did NOT like the thing that you eat with peanut butter. 
Me: Um, celery? 
Moses: I did NOT like the celery. 
Me: So you liked everything in your lunch, except the celery? 
Moses (smiling sheepishly): Yeah.
Could've ruined a whole lunch for anybody.


Maybe I shouldn't admit that I haven't done this myself, but Moses taught Linus the Alphabet Song. It doesn't sound like it took long, though.
Me: When did he teach you? 
Linus: Um, when I was in the bath and Moses was on the potty.
Linus is a very neat child. I think he's the only one that cares whether his socks match or not, and was very excited for the pack of new "matching" socks that he got this week. He folds his clothes when he cleans his room. He keeps track of his special possessions like his darth vader slippers. He's a very neat eater and rarely makes a mess. I think so far, with the four oldest kids, we're about 2 for 2 in that area.

Ruby (running to Moses aid): Herbie!! God did not say an eye for an eye! 
He said cheek for a cheek
Just because Moses did something, does NOT mean ... 
Sounds like a little clarification is needed there ...


Ruby loves Archie and is always a big help with him. She loves to just hang out and play besides dress him, get his milk or food, keep him out of the road while playing outside, push his stroller, etc.

This week Penelope learned to ride her bike REALLY fast. No more walking while sitting on a bike.


When Penelope wakes up from her nap, she likes to "read" a book. She doesn't even bother to open the curtains. She can tell the story and even turn the pages in the dark.


We got a cub scout merchandise catalog in the mail, and I made the mistake of letting Herbie look at it instead of just tossing it. He's made a huge Christmas list now including: the official cub scout watch, cub scout hoodie, several pocketknives, and the most enthralling of all: earbuds and portable speaker with the official cub scout insignia.


I broke down the crib this week and put Archie on the bottom bunk. If I stay in his room to supervise, he'll constantly crawl out of bed, and even break through baby gates. If I stay away, he'll play around a little in bed like he's in his crib, and then fall asleep.

Woo opted to stay in the car while we ran into Walmart, which took longer than I had anticipated.
Woo: That was the most horrible hour of my life! 
The only way it could've possibly been any worse is if I'd been inside the Walmart!
Hear, hear. Woo and I feel like our life is draining away every time we go in, mostly because it takes so long to get anything out of there.

After conducting several experiments, it's been determined that Woo can get the kids to snack on fruits and vegetables like no other human on the planet. It works like this:
Kids: We're hungry.
Me: Eat a cucumber.
Kids: No.
Woo (washing a cucumber and taking a loud, crunchy bite out of it): Mmmmm! Who wants a cucumber?
Kids: ME!!!
Woo (slicing an entire plate of apples, and then stuffing his mouth): These taste just like candy! Does anyone want an apple slice?
Kids: ME!!!
I got a cell phone this week. Yes, a real one. The first cell phone I've had in 10 1/2 years. Woo is jealous because I got the easiest number in the world (he says).

My favorite talks from Conference might have actually been from the General Woman's session this year. I loved Sister Marriot's talk. Sister Burton's talk was not my favorite, but in rereading it, I was intrigued by the title. This last week I've done a lot of reading in Alma 45-50. It occurred to me (for maybe the first time) that it's my responsibility to be the Captain Moroni for my family. Reading it in that light has brought insights.

The week or so before Conference, I'd done a lot of thinking and study about fasting and prayer. As usual, Pres. Eyring had answers for me (also his First Presidency message this month) and also Elder Holland. But, I look forward to reading them all again.

Well, that's about it. I hope you all had a great week!

10.06.2014

LAGOON


This week I encountered one of my worst fears (taking six little kids to an amusement park. Or just an amusement park, period) after Woo twisted my arm and got free tickets for the Vivint end of year party. And it turned out to be--not bad. Some might even call it fun.


We walked right in and Woo took all kids who were tall enough on the first roller coaster he saw. Moses was wise enough to back out at the last minute. Herbie was in for a very unpleasant surprise.

Woo had to yell, "Breathe, Herbie! Breathe!" and then after that he was close to hyperventilating until well after his feet were on the ground. It reminded me of myself on a roller coaster, which I have not experienced in over 15 years. I've loved every second of it.


Ruby mostly had fun, and went on a few other rides with Woo. The Lagoon trip contributed to this being the "best week of my life!" (The other exciting events being chosen for Lunch Duty and Flag Duty.)


Woo went on the biggest roller coaster alone (that's him waving, of course), but mostly we stuck to the kiddie area, where the kids had a lot of fun. Except Penelope. You may notice that Penelope is not in any of these pictures because she was too scared to ride anything, except for the train. Even standing next to a few of the louder rides would make her cry.


When the other kids were listing all their favorite rides on the way home, Penelope piped up, "My favorite ride was the train! And---"

Woo: The train's the only ride you went on, Penelope.

It's the only one I went on too, so I guess it also was my favorite. (That smile may or may not be 100% genuine.)


Vivint provided dinner, which was pretty reminiscent of cafeteria food, but it was (1) free and (2) I didn't have to make it. Woo and I are willing to drop a lot of our dinner standards when those two things are involved.


During dinner we met up with one of Woo's work friends and Moses did what he could to be impressive by running real fast up one end of the table and then down the other. I think it worked.


Of course, my internal "let's-get-out-of-here" clock went off and I hustled everyone out before they were really ready to go. The only thing that I regret maybe a tiny bit is that I didn't get to see Archie and Linus go around on the "baby boats" ride.


Well, that's about it. I hope you all had a great week!


9.30.2014

REXBURG


This week we took our biannual (semiannual) trip to Rexburg to visit Woo's sister Karen and her family. We were delighted to find their new (to us) race track painted on the basement floor. Karen and Peter told us that the track+two scooters=the best Christmas present ever. And we'd have to agree.

It rained a lot, but it didn't matter. Mostly kids just had fun playing with their cousins. Last visit Hyrum and Jake made Penelope cry. This visit she was their favorite cousin. Ruby participated in her first tea, excuse me, cocoa party. She enjoyed dressing up and acting refined with Alina and Christina. She was dubbed Princess Purity. I assume because Princess Sophistication was already taken--by Alina.


Karen, Peter, Woo and I were able to sneak away for a quick gelato date while Pete kept everyone else alive, and Karen and I left the men in charge while we went to the General Women's Conference with Ruby, Christina, Alina and Eve. Karen spent most of the time in the hall since Eve had recently discovered squawking, but I think we all enjoyed it.


By the way they were acting in Sacrament meeting, I was afraid both Moses and Linus were going to refuse to go to Primary. Luckily, I thought to steer Moses in Josh's direction, and had Herbie take Linus. They walked off feeling independent, but also safe, and I avoided that tricky mom-to-strange-teacher handoff that was sure to be a disaster.

Thanks Karen and Peter!


Whenever Penelope gets to pick a movie, she always picks a Shirley Temple one. Part of that is because they're in pink case, but I also think those slow, older movies hold her attention a little better.
Me (helping Penelope with the top snap of her jammies): Are you sure you want these on? You can't wear them outside.  
Penelope: No! They're outside jammies!

I was happy to hear Herbie and Moses laughing together at breakfast over something they'd read together in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Herbie is good about reading to his younger siblings whenever they ask.

Herbie told us his class did an art project featuring their favorite food. Here's what the other kids did: cookies, cupcakes, hamburger, fries, blueberry cake, jolly rancher, pizza. Here's what Herbie did: a salad with a carrot on top.

Me (detecting an odd smell coming from Herbie's feet): You need to change your socks every day, Herbie. You can't wear socks even two days in a row.  
Herbie: Two days? Try two weeks! 
Well, no wonder.


Linus has taken on the role of manly bug killer.
Eliza (a friend pointing from the couch at a boxelder bug): “EEEW!! A Spider!”  
Linus: I’ll get it! Can I use your shoe?”  
Eliza: No!  
Woo: You can use my shoe, Linus.  
Penelope (raising her arms and opening her eyes wide): Die it! INTO THE SKY! 
Linus (lifting the shoe): It’s mashed.   
Penelope: It’s moving!  
Eliza: It’s moving, Linus!!!  
Linus: I’m going to get a kleenesk.  
Penelope: Go get a kleeneks!
He had better success with that bug than with the spider he found in my room and hunted for full ten minutes. It didn't help that he picked up a pair of Woo's shoes that had 1" wide cleats with 1" wide spaces in between.


Archie has learned "stop it!" He says: TOPfft! TOPffit! He had one more outing in the flour, before we got smart and put the lids on tight on our ten gallon buckets.

Woo's started a few extra projects to get himself on the All Stress Diet--and he's lost 10lbs!!!


Even though probably every day I have to deal with something that's a pain in the rear, I'm also feel like I'm currently living through the best time of my life. I'm a lucky gal to have a supportive, caring husband, and that I get to spend my days with my own children, whom I love and enjoy more than anything. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make things run smoother and better, and it's so fulfilling when it does. Of course, our lives would be a lot harder, if we didn't the Spirit in our home, and I'm so grateful that I know how to invite the Spirit and that I can teach those skills to my children. I'm a happy lady (even if I rarely smile :).


Hope you've all had a great week!

9.21.2014

THE END OF SUMMER


I know this is kind of surprising for me to say because we didn't have such a great day today, but I think this is the best back-to-school period we've had in four years. I don't know if it's because I'm not pregnant or caring for a newborn, or whether we've learned a few tricks, or whether the kids are getting older, or whether I'm just better at handling craziness now. Probably a bit of everything. I haven't really noticed an adjustment period in Herbie at all. Anyways, I'm happy to be able to enjoy fall again, with only a few hiccups.

I spent Monday morning on the phone with the original Urgent Care clinic, our insurance and other orthopedic clinics trying to find my own hand specialist to get a cast on Moses ASAP.  This was actually a much more pleasant experience than you might expect. Our insurance and the other clinics had excellent customer service. The original clinic is still seemingly stuck in the dark ages, and we won't be going there again. Anyways, we were able to get Moses in Monday afternoon, and we could all breath a collective sigh of relief.


After I accidentally stepped on Linus' foot:
Linus: Mom! You almost broke my foot thumb!!
Me: Your big toe?
Linus: No! My foot-thumb! 
Me helping Moses with his first bath since the temporary cast.
Moses: I'm going to get really clean!
Me: It feels good doesn't it?
Moses: Yeah, except this hand (with cast).
Me: It'll be a long time before that hand gets really clean.
Moses: It'll have flies flying around it. Like a horse. 
I certainly hope not.


After her bath, I watched Penelope walk out of the bathroom strategically holding a bench in front of her. She backed into her bedroom, yelling at everyone to "Don't look at my's bum!" I'm happy to see that we finally have one child with an ounce of modesty.

Woo (while Moses "lies" on his back): My goodness! That kid has seventeen elbows! Each one sharper than the last!

Ruby and I went to the 10AM session of the Ogden Temple dedication, leaving all the other kids alone with Woo. We returned to an uproar. Apparently Archie had lifted the lid of the bucket of powdered milk, dumped lots of it all over the floor and then peed in it.

Archie!!!


I think Archie's new found penchant for disaster is taking us a bit off guard because Penelope was so tame. All she ever wanted to get into was the kids' dishes. Actually, maybe all the kids except Ruby and Archie have been pretty tame. Ruby was the mess-making king. I can remember that going in anyone else's house was torture because I could never relax for even a second. People would say, "Oh, she can't hurt anything in here." Oh, yes. Yes she could.


This afternoon the little kids asked Woo, who was lying on the couch in a stupor, for some "ribbits."
Herbie: Come here, Linus. I'll give you some ribbits.
Woo: Herbie, you're twice the father I've ever been.

Woo got to fulfill a life long dream of playing around with a metal detector. Some friends brought a few over and they found some old spoons, a toy firetruck, an old cap gun, some other recent coins, and some junk. Of course.


We did get shown all the fun stuff that the serious treasure hunters have found over a period of 9 years or so, and it was pretty impressive. Guns from the 1800s, the State of Utah commemorative spoons, lots of antique rings, lots of antique coins, some pretty neat locks, fobs, needle case covers--lots of stuff.

Well, that's about it. Hope you're enjoying your September.

9.15.2014

THE DEPRECIATION OF MOSES


This week Moses fell apart. First he lost a tooth, which he actually asked the dentist to pull for him. We heard his little scream from the waiting room when it happened. Turns out it hurt. I don't know what he was expecting, but it's gone.


Then about two days later, he stood on a deck above me and said, "Mom, will you catch me?" I was in the process of telling him no, when he jumped. And he might have just made it, the deck was only about six feet high, but his shorts caught and tore on a protruding nailhead and he landed hands first.


We thought at first, it might be sprained--it looked ok, he could move everything, there was no swelling--but in the morning, it was pretty clear it was broken. So I took him into the Urgent Care. Two hours later, we walked out to the car, only to have the nurse chase after us. She hadn't even bothered to talk to the doctor? Or find out what was going on? She'd just assumed it was sprained and sent us on our way with a brace. Turns out we needed a temporary cast. After another 45 minutes or so, we were finally able to go.

That temporary cast is driving us nuts. Moses trips and falls on that darn broken arm about five times a day, and it's clear it's pretty painful every single time. We're scared to send him to school with it, where recess and lines full of 6 year olds and walks across grass lie in wait to accost him.


Herbie was the nicest sibling. The evening it happened, he hurried and did his before dinner chore, told Moses he didn't have to do his, set up a soft nest of pillows for him on the coach and placed a bench with a tower of pillows on it next to Moses' place for dinner, then he sat down and read Moses stories. He also later made Moses bed, took down his dirty laundry and helped him dress.

Ruby cried that no one had been that nice to her when she'd broken her arm (which I'm sure plenty of us were, but sometimes it's easy to feel sorry for yourself.)


Speaking of Ruby, she had her unit on cloud types, and is constantly labeling every cloud in the sky for us. I'm sure she'll retain those names a lot longer than I have because of it. I can only remember like two. She also came home from school with a spider in a bottle. She and a few friends had spent their recess catching spiders. I didn't even look at it--just told her it couldn't come in the house. A day or two later, she told me that the spider her friend had brought home was a hobo and her mom had made her flush it down the toilet. I don't think they catch spiders anymore.
Woo (to Ruby): If you could change one thing about your dad, what would it be?
Ruby: President of the United States? Bishop? Prophet?
Doesn't look likely that Woo will ever live up to her expectations.


Linus is currently on a stretch of being very good (it won't last forever, don't worry). He's doing a great job of cleaning up his room and making his bed and picking up other rooms in the house. He likes to "babysit" Archie and "read" books. My other kids tell me that Linus was hilarious in Primary today. When they drew his name in Sharing Time, he jumped up, raced to the front, did a little dance and a cartwheel--all in his little tuxedo with tails.


Penelope has decided that the best time to change her clothes is when she's supposed to be sleeping. Send her up early to put her pajamas on? No, she doesn't want them, but they'll be on the first ten minutes after she's supposed to be lying quietly in bed. Use the potty before naps? No, she doesn't need to go--until everyone is all settled in. Then she needs to GO POTTY! And she can cry loud enough and long enough to prove it.


Archie is learning all the essential little boy words like: car and truck and buttball (It doesn't matter what kind of ball it is, they're all buttballs to him.) He can also say dog, but he prefers to stick out his tongue and pant instead of actually saying the word. He's tries to climb on any bike or skateboard lying around, with very little success.


SpaceMonkey (the startup Woo's been working for) has been bought by Vivint. Working for Vivint, or any big company at all, was not where Woo would've imagined himself a year ago, but things (so far) seem to be pretty close to the same. He still only goes in one day a week, although the commute is about 10 minutes longer each way. Plus we got new t-shirts--and candy--and Woo got a new windbreaker. How could we not be won over???

Well, that's about it. Hope you had a great week. I'm hoping our next week is quieter.