Some Old Stuff and Some New

At Woo's request, I'm sharing this story.

When we got back from Utah this summer, Woo's asthma returned and I disinfected the bedroom. A big problem, in my opinion, was the pile of stuff Woo had tossed on his side of the bed, collecting dust.

The two biggest offenders over there were his tortilla chip stockpile and his giant teddy bear (which he would occasionally bury his head in and then have trouble breathing later that night... he denies this... )

I hid the teddy bear and put the remaining chips on top of the fridge. Woo has kept that area mostly clutter-free and so far, so good. His asthma problems are gone.

A couple of weeks ago Lidl had tortilla chips again (they're seasonal here), and Woo happily piled two big boxes on top of his cart. I eyed him with suspicion, but said nothing because I knew two boxes would fit above the fridge, but when he gleefully went for box number three I put my foot down with a forceful, "I am NOT dusting your chips!"

He thought that was funny, but he put the other box back.

The air in the church has also not been too bad. There is a room or two that he feels are the worst, and he tries to avoid them. However, watching one session of conference in the church last week was too much (something on the TV that was pulled out of a closet?), and he came home wheezing.

The inhaler he brought to Portugal is practically empty so we stepped into a pharmacy this week, where he picked one up for 3.75€. Quite a bit cheaper than his original.

Another story I'm forgetting from a couple of months ago is of a sacrament meeting. The kind of summer sacrament meeting where everyone shows up pretty tired already and the first two talks are dead boring. Woo was the final speaker.

Archie always sits with Woo in the chairs behind the pulpit. He does the best up there, but with Woo standing at the pulpit speaking, there was no one to keep Archie in line. He stood up several times to give Woo a big hug from behind.

Woo would interrupt his talk every time with a "thank you, Archie," and a pat behind him, which made us all smile.

And then just when Woo was making his most emphatic point, Archie stretched out on three or four chairs behind him, opened his mouth and let out a huge, audible yawn.

Woo paused, looked behind him, then wrapped up his talk.

We had no hot water for the last week, but the water heater has never worked well, and there's a process of calling the realtor, waiting for the workman (sometimes a couple), and then it actually getting fixed. We've already had weeks without it. I was surprised this week when I reminded kids to shower/bathe, and no one complained about the cold water. We can all do it now, even me. But this time the water heater was apparently dead enough to replace. Our cold water days may be forever over?

Ruby had her first experience witnessing the fallout of sexting this week. She came home at lunch pretty shaken after the uproar that had taken place in her grade with the gossiping, fight that broke out on the patio, police involvement, etc.

In the last year she's become grateful that she doesn't have her own phone yet, as she sees the problems that often accompany it. She was home alone with me for about an hour that afternoon, so we were able to talk a bit. But she is becoming self-sufficient in re-centering herself emotionally and spiritually, and before we talked she was already feeling much better.

Herbie bought a new (used) skateboard this week. He was excited to try it out, and he did eventually get to the skatepark, but it almost seemed like the thing he wanted to do most was pull out the tools and switch around decks and trucks and bearings. Woo talked him out of it and convinced him to skate on the board as it is for a while, but Herbie was clearly disappointed.

Herbie made a greater effort to study and do homework at the end of last year. He has continued that this year, and his first few tests have shown it.

I didn't assign a talk for primary today, but instead asked kids to stand and say something they'd learned from conference. I was amazed at Moses remembering almost every detail from talks he'd only heard once a week ago, and to recount them in Portuguese.

When Moses was praying about going to Poland, he got a prompting to do more family history work as protection, and he has been doing that. Ruby and Herbie are being baptized for all his names in the temple.

Elder Bednar's conference talk was an instant hit with the kids. First, he mentioned Spiritual Crocodiles, a talk and video clip they're all familiar with, and then he talked about cheetahs with lots of illustrations.

Linus bore his testimony about it today in sacrament meeting. Linus has had practice recognizing symbols in stories and he identified one that I don't remember Elder Bednar saying. He also made one branch member's day by asking him how to say cheetah and topi in Portuguese, and his testimony was mentioned by a couple other people.

Penelope has suddenly become the messiest kid. There is a pile of sand on the floor anywhere her shoes have been, and if she sits in my chair, there's a pile of sand there too. She and her friends must have some new game in the sandbox area of the playground.

Also, we bought her a brand-new Sunday outfit for her birthday, but she got ink on her shirt and skirt the very first day she wore them. I managed to mostly get that ink out, but every time she wears them there's a new ink stain. Pale pink clothing is still a mistake for her.

(The real star of this photo is the phone booth graveyard behind me.)

The kids and I have switched places in fast and testimony meeting. I give a basic, 3-4 simple sentence testimony. They share a short experience and a personal, thoughtful testimony. Woo's testimonies are the same good in English or Portuguese.

I am going to include my talk from last month. I've been putting it off, because of its potentially controversial nature (shield your teenage daughters and eating disorder sufferers...). And also because this is something that probably no one wants to read.

However, I didn't fast last week (I thought a break on conference Sunday might be nice), and it was a horrible day for me. This whole week was not that great either. I'm not doing that again anytime soon; I'm convinced it's the right thing for me. I'm including this talk for posterity and because it's part of my story.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week!

I’m grateful that Mario allowed us to pick our topics this month. I thought I was going to speak about temples, but then Heavenly Father reminded me that this is a chance to talk about one of my favorite topics—fasting and fast offerings!

I grew up in a home where my mother and father fasted every fast Sunday and paid fast offerings.

My mother once told me a story of a time when my parents were first married and had a small family and did not have a lot of money. Someone suggested that they not pay fast offerings at that time, but they continued to pay them. They knew they could do it, even though it was a sacrifice, and they knew they would be blessed.

And they were. They always had enough money, never ran into serious financial trouble, and over time they made more money. My father later told me that they had always been blessed because they had paid tithing and fast offerings.

As a very little child I also remember going to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house for dinner on fast Sunday and my Grandma explaining that she was fasting and my Grandpa speaking about it in his prayer over the food.

As I grew up, my parents taught me how to fast. When I was 8 years old and baptized, I was expected to fast one meal every fast Sunday. When I was 12 years old and in young women’s, I was expected to fast two meals every fast Sunday.

I was taught to fast with a purpose, to open and close my fast with a prayer, telling my Heavenly Father what I was fasting for, and I almost always remembered to do that.

I fasted this way every month for a long time until my mission. On my mission I was expected to pay fast offerings for the first time. I had no idea how much to give, so I asked my companion. She told me how much she paid and I immediately paid double :).

But I did not tell her that. I knew the Lord would bless me and He did. Many missionaries run out of their stipend by the end of the month, but I always had much more money than I needed and at the end of my mission, I was able to return several thousand Austrian Schillings to the mission home.

My first companion also had a tradition of reading Isaiah 58 every fast Sunday. I began to read it with her and I learned even more about the law of the fast. I grew to love Isaiah 58. It is like poetry to me. 

I don’t know if it is as beautiful in Portuguese, but these are some of my very favorite verses:
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 
And now these are the promises for properly keeping the law of the fast and paying fast offerings. (And they are wonderful!)
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.
10 Then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12 Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 
I continued to pay fast offerings after my mission, and I increased them periodically when I could, and then I got married.

Steven had a new fasting tradition, that I had not yet done. We started our fast in prayer together and we started our fast on the Saturday night before fast Sunday, immediately after Saturday dinner.

This improved my fast in a couple of ways. First I discussed the fast with someone, and together we came up with better things to fast for, and secondly, by starting Saturday night we always got our 24 hours or 2 meals in and we never woke up in a wild rush fast Sunday morning having forgotten it was fast Sunday and needing something quick! to fast about.

And then I got pregnant with Ruby. I had heard that when pregnant or nursing many women modify their fast. They don’t go without food, but they don’t eat anything delicious or they don’t eat any treats, or something like that. They still eat.

The problem was, I really loved fasting. I knew it was a time that I was closer to my Heavenly Father, and I did not want to give it up.

So I didn’t. I fasted just like I normally would, and I was happy to see that I was just fine. No ill effects at all. In my 10 years of pregnancy or nursing I fasted completely normally for all but 5 or 6 months. On those months I could tell and I only fasted one meal, but on the next month, I was right back to normal fasting.

It’s impossible for me to say exactly how I was blessed because of this, but I do know that I was. I assume I was blessed with health for myself and my children and also with the inspiration and strength I needed to be a better mother.

And then when Archie was a couple years old, I started to find that I had too many things I wanted to fast about!

So many of my questions or requests are answered close to immediately while I’m fasting, just like Isaiah says, “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.”

And I wanted that more than once a month! I started to experiment with more frequent fasting.

I know that what I am about to say is not required or recommended for everyone. In fact, it is completely the wrong thing for some people. Maybe most?? And I have told very few people that I do this. Really only my family knows.

However, for me, I have found that fasting once a week is the right thing for me. I have done it for many years. I have not lost nor gained weight nor had any ill side effects, but it is something that I do to feel closer to God and I know the Lord hears my prayers.

I have received some truly wonderful bits of revelation for myself and for my family through more frequent fasting and fast offerings.

I guess what I’m saying that applies to everyone is to not be afraid to fast at times outside of fast Sunday, especially if you need it.

As we had children, Steven and I included them in our Saturday night discussion of what to fast for and our prayers to start and end our fasts. Starting as babies they did not eat delicious things on fast Sundays, just very plain and basic foods.

As eight year olds they have been expected to fast one meal and as twelve year olds, a full two meals, although almost all of them have started earlier than expected because as we have fasted as a family, they have gained their own testimonies of the law of the fast.

Living here in the branch, they’ve all gotten to add bearing testimonies to their fast Sunday habits, which has been another blessing.

I love fasting and paying a generous fast offering. I do it to as a way to show love to my Heavenly Father, bless His other children, and feel His love for me.

It is also my testimony that as we keep the commandments and are open to change, we can improve upon the commandments we may already think we are keeping, not necessarily by doing more, but better, with an eye single to the glory of God.

This scripture in 2 Nephi 28:30 also applies to how we keep the commandments. If we are invited to improve them by the Holy Ghost and we refuse, thinking we do it well enough, we will lose what we have.
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Do Not Worry

We have been busy with conference.

We only took 3 pictures this week.

We are all still alive.

Will write more next week.


The Future is Coming

We made it to the temple this week. The Portuguese people inside, running their own beautiful temple were so, so happy. I loved everyone of them. When I first walked into the hall, it seemed there were more temple workers than people attending the session, and I think that was true. We did have a full session, even at an unusual time.

From what I remember of our first few weeks when the Ogden temple opened, I was expecting disorganization for a few weeks, but there was none of that. Everything was well run and even impressive in a couple of little organizational tweaks they had.

I recognized that these people had been sacrificing and attending the Spain Madrid temple for the past 20 years (and the Bern temple before that for some of the older ones), where they had not only performed ordinances, but helped officiate. These people knew exactly what they were doing.

The only thing that was kind of a mess was the locker room, but I think that was mainly due to general excitement and greeting, hugging, and kissing everyone. In fact, when I first walked in, I forgot I was in Portugal and I expected the worker who approached me to help me find my locker, but no, she wanted a hug and some “beijinhos.”

The baptismal font, on the other hand, was not crowded at our time. Also, they let Ruby and Herbie do all the names they brought. I’d only given them 65, thinking they wouldn’t let them do them all and we would be coming the next week anyway. But it looks like we’re going to be able to get plenty of baptisms done.

This week I was prompted to read about this time three years ago, where Woo and I finally figured out how to wrangle the kids so we could attend the temple together every week. Reading that and the months that followed, I recognized that it was a time when amazing blessings came into our lives, all of them, I’m sure, a result of our increased temple attendance.

One of the most visible was the revelation we received to move to Portugal and all the help we received to make it happen.

Anyway, I started to get excited about what might happen this time. I’m expecting 2-3 months for anything to really emerge, but some things came almost immediately. The kind of things that appear to be punches in the gut, rather than blessings.

Ruby’s literally so, as she was up several times that night throwing up. Luckily, Ruby’s at an age where there was no carpet or bedding to clean, but it was still not fun for her. She spent the next day home from school and either napped or stared at the ceiling.

Ruby hasn’t been this sick for a long time. The last time I remember was our first Christmas in Utah (her kindergarten year). She made a bit of an effort for her birthday and Christmas, but she had such a sad, sad, sad face in all of those pictures.

Actually, I’m not sure it was a blessing she got sick... I’m just choosing to see it that way :).


This week has been an adjusting-to-school week with a lot of arguing, shouting, sensitivity to almost everything, etc. But there were some good things.

I got Penelope into the dentist. She broke down crying last week because something she’d eaten hurt her tooth. She did have a cavity that the dentist drilled and filled without any x-rays or pain killer. It took 15 minutes and cost 45€. Woo (along with everyone else reading this?) questioned the quality of the work, but Penelope is no longer having pain and that’s enough for me.

Penelope also made a cute treasure hunt for Linus and Archie that was a fun afternoon for them.

Linus’s weaknesses at these times are anger and losing his temper, but he really, really wants the trading cards that we get at the grocery store (some promotional thing). He made a deal with Woo and has controlled his temper most days to earn them.

The cards also come with points that can be used as a discount on a stuffed animal the store is selling. Linus loves stuffed animals and also wanted one, but Woo told him no. Linus was not disappointed, but immediately came up with the idea of sharing the points with a friend of his who never has the points or the cards.

Archie is enjoying going back to school in the afternoon, where he often has PE and other more fun classes. Like the other kids when starting school, recess is by far his favorite part. He’s excited to have an official time on the soccer court with the 1st graders and sometimes 2nd graders. He plays hard; his hair is always wet with sweat when I pick him up. Our kids are still the only sweat-ers on the playground.

Herbie started a new family history project this week. Woo found a mission journal of an ancestor on FamilySearch that he’s been reading, and he asked Herbie to transcribe it to make it more accessible to others. Herbie has jumped right in, and surprisingly(?) really enjoys it.

Moses and Herbie missed each other after class one day and Herbie came home without Moses. Herbie got out of class late and thought that Moses was already home, but he wasn’t. Woo and Herbie set out on bikes to find Moses, which they did.

Moses was upset. He threw himself on his bed when he got home and started sobbing. I rubbed his skinny, skinny, heaving back, but he didn’t want to talk about it. However after about a minute, he stopped bawling and seemed to be fine. He could talk and laugh about the whole thing with Herbie a few seconds later.

As a kid I never read Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Sweet Valley High, Babysitters Club, etc. What I read was the Three Investigators. Unfortunately they’ve gone out of print and are hard to find. But recently I found every book in a pdf online. I read the older kids one during their lunch break and they’ve enjoyed it. Moses, especially, gets all worried about time and safety constraints and whether the mystery will ever be solved.

Woo has had a disappointing surf week. He always comes home with his exhausted, I’m-about-to-die face, and from what he says, it sounds like that’s exactly what’s happened—lots of powerful garbage waves, and not a lot of fun.


We also had a district primary activity; Woo went to a district training meeting; and we had a linger longer before half our branch returns to Italy for the winter.

Anyway, that’s our week. Hope yours was great! I’m excited for conference next week.


First Week of School

This was a busy week. A lot happened, and not just the first week of school. Last week, of course, we had the temple dedication. Ruby, Herbie and Woo watched from the sealing room. They saw Elder Andersen when he came in their room, said hi to everyone and said they loved them.


Here at home, Linus said two very excellent prayers. One before we left on our Sunday walk and the other was before we left for the actual dedication. Archie spent about a half hour alone at home between when we left and Woo came home. He was excited for us to leave, as I let him watch movies on the Gospel Library app. Moses was particularly excellent in the dedication. He was easily the most reverent person in the entire chapel.

Ruby and Herbie said they fell asleep that night thinking about the temple; they dreamed about the temple; and they completely forgot that the next day was the first day of school.

Of course we're excited that the temple opens this week. The Lisbon temple is small, and we were warned that we needed to make an appointment. I was nervous we wouldn't be able to get in at all the first month, but it looks like we've picked a time that is not in high demand.

I sent many other emails to get Ruby registered for seminary. She's now enrolled in an online class in the UK with about 30 other American kids living in Europe or Africa. She seems to be really enjoying it, but her first lesson took over 2 hours.

In reading what she'd written, I became painfully aware that the kids' English writing and typing skills are declining. Typing is never taught here in school; they write almost everything down by hand; and I've yet to see even an adult who can touch-type here.

So I found some online programs for English grammar and typing that I'm happy with, and have started the older four kids. Linus, already, has become a particularly careful and conscientious typer. I think it also helps that he started from scratch. The older kids already think they can type, and were not as teachable as they could've been.

Linus is also enjoying being the oldest grade in his school and being among the oldest there, not only among his own family, but among everyone.

Archie said he was a little bit nervous to start 1st grade (He didn't act it!), but he told me almost every day, "First grade is fun, Mom!"

He is excited about all his new friends, going back to school in the afternoon, and doing real school work, "We're going to do Portuguese in the afternoon, Mom!"


He had one page of tracing homework this weekend (he'll be learning cursive right off the bat), that he finished in about 30 seconds.

Archie has been fantastic during scriptures this week, thanks to Moses taking him under his arm.

Penelope is still feeling very grown up doing family history. It's now a way for her to receive messages. Usually from me with names for her to reserve, but also Herbie, and occasionally FamilySearch itself...
Penelope: I get soooo many messages that are dumb and I delete them. Like an ancestor with a birthday... Othello or something...
Othello is Woo's mom's father.

We were about to start family prayers until I noticed Ruby had an Ensign under her blanket.
Woo: Ruby is the only person I know who’d try to sneakily read an Ensign during prayers.

Almost every talk or testimony Herbie gives, he sits down and whispers, "Oh, I forgot a part!"

So when I reminded him he had a talk on Sunday and he said he'd already written it, I asked if he knew it well enough to not forget a part.
He said, "I'm not going to forget because I love the temple, Mom."

And lastly, Moses was elected class president in a landslide. He suddenly seems to have become influential there. He stuck up for a kid at break and told others to leave him alone. They did because, "The kids in my class listen to me."

Woo met with the missionaries, did some surfing, made and ate some salsa, bought two crates of tortilla chips, invited Henry to dinner, hurt the knuckle on his right pinky, shaved, showered, conducted sacrament meeting, and a bunch of other stuff I'm not going to list here.

And that's our week. Hope yours was great!


Day by Day

Last Sunday

  • Woo gave all the kids and me back-to-school blessings, since today will be a busy temple-dedication day.


  • The official start of school for Portugal this year is the 10-13th of September. For our city (and maybe the whole country?) that really means a bunch of parent meetings on the 13th with the actual first school day on the 16th. I decided to do the summer schedule for the last times on Monday and Wednesday to shorten a long week of waiting.
  • We have not done the summer schedule of weeks (temple open house and trip to Utah), and the kids were excited to get back into it. 
  • Linus enthusiastically wrote lists in French.
  • Moses eagerly got out his sketchbooks with the plan to strengthen his drawings of houses.
  • Ruby ran very strong during track club.
  • Herbie attempted homemade ice cream and I think he was happy with his effort.
  • It was a very pleasant day. I transcribed our back-to-school blessings for printing later.


  • We had a failed movie watching attempt with the kids. Our selection of free movies is not large and so much of it is junk.
  • Woo suggested a bike ride instead.
  • Archie enjoys family bike rides now because I stay behind him and he no longer feels abandoned. Also, Woo makes it a point to break the ride up by stopping at all the exercise stations and letting Archie play.
  • The older boys were happy to stop at a skate ramp. Herbie learned a new skate trick by being humble and learning from Moses, even though he is his younger brother.
  • A bunch of school books I ordered arrived. Some we bought and some are free through vouchers from the school. We also have used books, either from the school or older kids. I organized all the books in piles by child in my room.


  • More summer schedule. The track club workout with all kids jogging in a line and the last kid sprinting to the front (repeated over and over again) was a big hit. 
  • Penelope tripped and fell hard, but got up and ran well afterwards.
  • In the afternoon Herbie, Moses and Linus went to the skatepark while Ruby and I (and Archie and Penelope) delivered a picture Ruby had drawn of the Lisbon temple to our ministering sister.
  • Woo came home from a surf very cold. He thinks he was approaching hypothermia and the ocean has never warmed up this summer like summers past.


  • The kids played around the house. An entire lego pier with boats was built at one point. At another, an airport with all sorts of planes, helicopters and space shuttles.
  • The rest of the books came. I gave Ruby all of hers (they're all new) and she spent a lot of time reading them.
  • I divided the used books up and had Ruby, Herbie, Moses, Linus and Penelope each erase the pencil out of a pile. This is exhausting work and most of the kids complained about sore fingers. But not Penelope, she volunteered to help others and even though I gave her the smallest pile of books, she ended up erasing the most.
  • The kids and I took a quick shopping trip for known school supplies. I began to organize all those by child in my room also. Actually, just Linus, Penelope and Archie's things. I gave Herbie and Moses their books.
  • We stopped by the middle school and class schedules were finally posted! I took pictures, and Ruby, Herbie and Moses copied the schedules down (even though they'll get a printed copy on Monday)


  • Linus, Penelope and Archie had parent meetings. For the first time, the school had a lot of the meeting all together, recognizing that some parents have more than one child and it's difficult to attend too many meetings at once.
  • This is my 3rd year of these and I understand almost everything, and also what the teachers want from me. I juggled two meetings upstairs, signed all the papers, and ran down to Woo's room to sign the rest.
  • My biggest concern was seeing the kids' schedules so that Woo and I could plan a time to go to the temple. It is not what I expected, but Woo and I figured out a way to do it.
  • Moses had a class meeting in the afternoon. Moses came with us into a very crowded, very warm room. The rest of the kids played on the soccer court.
  • Woo met with the missionaries.


  • We did our usual Saturday things.
  • With the younger kids school lists (that I got at the meetings), I was able to scour the house for specifics (size A4 folder with elastic closure... ). We have almost everything, but we all ran to the store for things we were still missing (2 tubes of liquid UHU glue... ).
  • Linus, Penelope and Archie are all organized, packed up and ready to go on Monday! Ruby, Herbie and Moses will have to wait for each class where each teacher will give them individual supply lists that they will write down by hand...
  • I overheard Herbie, Moses, Linus and Archie during their "air force" lego game... they all had wives and children and took time every morning to read their Book of Mormon individually.
  • I took a nap that felt like heaven. I was so cozy.
  • We all went to the church to watch the broadcast of the youth devotional with Elder Andersen. He and his wife gave talks in Portuguese. I was happy to understand almost everything, even the Teixeiras and Elder Moreira, who are Portuguese (but not the 2 youth speakers from Lisbon-- I only got general ideas from them :(
  • The camera scanned the audience which prominently caught two brothers in the middle of a scuffle with one elbowing the other. The next scan, one of the brothers had been removed. There were lots of phones out and whispering.
  • Elder Andersen had to ask for reverence several times, which was embarrassing. We ourselves were not at our best (Herbie and Moses had been separated almost at the beginning). I also had to work a bit more than I usually do to get into the right mood. I think part of the problem was excitement over the start of school, and also, I had failed to prepare the kids adequately for a spiritual experience. I had woken up from my nap with only time to have everyone change clothes and go.
  • Elder Andersen blessed us all to have the correct spirit for the dedication.
  • I started a fast that we would.


  • Before scriptures, I talked to the kids about preparing ourselves to feel the Spirit and receive revelation, starting with our scripture study that morning.
  • Linus had already received revelation about what he needed to do the night before.
  • We read the Book of Mormon individually
  • We read 2 Corinthians 1-4 (that's all we finished in an hour) together with discussion after every 5 verses. The kids will read the rest (chapters 5-7) individually later in the day.
  • After breakfast, Ruby, Herbie and Woo left for the temple. They get to watch the dedication there.
  • I'm writing my email now because Moses, Linus, Penelope and I will watch a later session this afternoon at our chapel. 
  • While I write Linus is doing family history; Moses is reading 2 Corinthians 5-7, Penelope is reading my old emails; Archie is playing the keyboard along with the tabernacle choir; and Woo, Ruby and Herbie are sitting in the temple waiting for their dedication session to start.

That's it! Hope your week was great!



Well... this week was not as exciting as last. There was a steady flow of Portuguese people, but not many English speakers on the extra week of the open house.

We took our own kids through twice and Ruby and Herbie were busy helping. Ruby was a guide for a Portuguese tour (after someone printed her an official-looking name tag on a day when youth volunteer tags were all being used).

Herbie wanted one too, but never got one. He did get a new job where he was stationed at the Celestial room and got to open and close the giant doors for tours entering and leaving. On one of our tours with the younger kids, I looked around and it was everyone in our family (except Ruby), and only our family, sitting in the Celestial room.

Ruby later helped him with that job, and they got to spend a decent amount of time in there. Today Herbie asked me questions about going to the Celestial room and attending the temple. It reminded me of a tour we'd heard about where at the end, someone had said, "So... what do I need to do to get into the 'Silent Room' again?"

Herbie also wants to sit for a long time in the Celestial room someday.

And here's Ruby... presumably working (???).

Woo and I had two tours to Americans who were former missionaries in Portugal and their wives. They'd both planned their trip to Portugal because of the temple and then found they'd accidentally booked everything for the wrong dates. How happy they were to discover that the temple open house was open an extra week.

We didn't do much to celebrate a job well done on the last day, other than eat two ice cream bars when we got home and Woo took the kids to the skatepark. According to him, Moses is getting pretty good pretty fast.

But when I took them the day afterwards, Moses was frustrated that he couldn't do any of the tricks that he'd done the day before.

It was just a lucky day? Or maybe he was sore and more cautious the next day?

Linus spent a lot of free time working on this model of the entire temple grounds. That's a train track with stop behind it, just like the real temple. Linus made a sandwich for Archie every morning before we left for the temple, without anyone asking him to or ever needing a reminder.

He decided to be super good in church today, for some reason, and kept walking around with his arms folded and his "good" smile planted firmly on his face. It made me giggle a little bit.

He got some revelation while reading the Book of Mormon that he was excited about. "I'm going to use it when I'm a missionary."

He'd read 1 Nephi 3:7 "... for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

And he told me, "That means Heavenly Father gave us the Plan of Salvation because it works."

Penelope and Archie have been zipping around on their scooters. They sure love those things, but they both are also very good at sharing them. All the other kids have gotten a chance to try one of their scooters.

Here they are checking out the huge brass rain spout they discovered at the temple.

Today we had a family temple recommend interview to get our tickets to the dedication. We were all in the room, but Moses, Linus and Penelope (who don't hold current temple recommends) answered all the questions. Woo thought it was a cute experience.

Moses yelled, "Yes!" the second Mário finished asking, "Do you live the law of chastity?"

And they all laughed because it was so funny to them to be asked such a question.

Some of the other questions had to be explained, but when they understood they also smiled or laughed and said, "Of course!"

Some of those questions are not designed for kids at all, but still not a bad thing for them to think about having to answer for a real temple recommend someday.

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