Summer ended this week and we tried to get in all the fun we could in the last few days. First Woo hurt his back.

He insisted on giving me a piggyback on a walk. The first time went ok, but the second time, he felt like I kept getting heavier and heavier, and by the time we were done his back was out. He needed help getting in and out of bed, walking anywhere, dressing, etc.

A friend had invited us to swim in their pool the next day. While I was helping Woo out of the car and  hobble down the to the pool, Moses hopped in and promptly got in about an inch over his head. He was entirely powerless to bob or swim a foot to shallower water. Ruby threw a floatation device that he splashed away. Herbie yelled, than Woo yelled (he could barely move himself). I dropped Archie, the bag and jumped in with my clothes on. I think I've had to hop in for Moses once a summer since he was two, which is more saves than I ever made in my entire lifeguarding career. Gosh, I wish he would learn to swim or at least bob.

We went to the Ogden Temple open house, which was very nice. They didn't have cookies at the end, but they did have a new thing where they took your picture for free at the end. Woo and I both looked better in the first picture that they didn't email us. I promise. Kids still look cute, though.

The school's theme for the year is UP (from the movie), so there were balloons everywhere at back-to-school night. The kids each took at least two home, and in the car Woo said, "We're never going on vacation again."

Me: Why?
Woo: Because 10 balloons in a car is better than DisneyWorld.

We asked Moses if he knew how to get to his classroom from the bus, and he said no. We explained it to him, and he got excited. "I dreamed that last night! I've been dreaming about this my whole life! It's a miracle!!"

As I left Herbie and Moses after kissing them goodnight, I heard Herbie say, "What if nobody wants to be my friend anymore?" Moses answered, "I'll help you make friends. Don't worry, I'll find some people your own age."

The kids are already in that fun adjust-to-school mode. Moses has been sneaking. A lot. He ate a lot of the apricot leather Woo made with his mom, stole mints out of my room, and instead of cleaning his room Saturday morning, cut his hair. I was going to buzz it right away, but Woo suggested we keep it for a couple days, as a consequence. Church went ok, hopefully school does too.

Ruby told me that her eyes went crazy the first day of school, then there were holes in her vision, and her head hurt. She spent some time in the sick room before returning to class, and we decided that she'd had her first migraine. Or the first one we've known for sure. Her teacher told me hers are triggered by lack of sleep, and I'm sure Ruby tossed and turned all night long in anticipation of the first day of school.

Her teacher also told me that a boy from the special needs unit will be spending time in their class specifically because of Ruby. His teachers have noticed how kind and sweet she's been with him, and she'll be able to help when he comes in occasionally.

Penelope finally got the last of her Pretend Birthdays. She tried on her new clothes for us and did a little dance and kicked up her leg behind her for each new outfit. She was most excited for her treats, and has shared generously with all of us. Even Linus who said, "I want a throw up!" when he wanted a fruit roll up.

Here's some random stuff:

Woo (to me): You're beautiful when I'm mad.

Whenever I leave the house for a run, Linus and Penelope storm the backdoor crying, "Don't get run over, Mom!" and "Don't crash!"

Herbie learned to bunny hop three skateboards in a row. (This is the best picture I got, he was moving pretty fast, and most of my pictures just had three skateboards lying there.)

Archie's become pretty handy when I have a piece of trash I need thrown away. He's excited to carry whatever I hand him and walk across the house to deposit in in the garbage can. The only problem is that he also likes to toss in anything he finds on the floor in, and we actually need some of them. Like our shoes.

Overheard ...

Penolope: Where was you born?
Linus: In the bathroom at Idaho.

Me (talking about a man we know writing a book): He's writing an adventure--
Ruby: Like useless?!

It took me a several seconds to realize she was talking about Ulysses again.

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



We spent a lot of time at the pool this week. The kids had swim lessons, which (as many of you can already guess) was a bit of a waste. Next summer I think I'll just get a pass. I considered it this year, but it would've been asking quite a lot of Archie since he naps from 12-3, and the pool first opens at 12. He'll only be taking a two hour, more flexible nap next year.

The best part of swim lessons was that the last day was a 2 hr party, where all the family was invited to swim, and they periodically had races and prizes between all the different levels. They learned more in that time than all the other lessons put together.

Linus was the very last kid of the lowest level to walk across the shallow end of the pool. He was also the shortest, had the biggest head, and was (in my indisputable opinion) the cutest.

Ruby is one very, very, very competitive girl. It was obvious from the get go that she wanted to win, and she might have too, if she hadn't moved in a diagonal path and covered more distance than anyone else. She got third, and won a few free passes. She got even more towards the end. Enough for us all to go a couple more times to the pool with them.
Ruby: Mom! Did you see me dive off the diving board?!
Me: Yes. And I laughed. And the lifeguard laughed too.
It looked exactly like this except she held her arms straight out in front of her.

Moses is the child that we most fear for his safety. He's fearless, going down all the slides and off the diving board, but not having an ounce of fat on him to help him float. And he has zero feel for even the simplest of things like how to bob.

He looks pretty good here, but the second he tries to kick or move his arms, he goes straight to the bottom.

Herbie doesn't like thrills, or he works up to them slowly, but he likes to work on tamer skills. An older kid taught him how to tread water during the party, and after I showed him the eggbeater kick a little more closely, he can do it. He also is halfway to a flip turn with his underwater somersaults.

Penelope was pretty bored watching the other kids during their lessons. She played with Archie some, asked me to take her to the potty about 10 billion times, and lined flip flops up into neat rows. She loves the water, and is at that scary stage where she'll just jump in and start "drinking" the water if it's a little deep.

Archie was super mad about the water at first, but Woo warmed him up to it. He's still not in love with it, though.

Woo is good at getting the kids to do stuff they don't want to do. Mostly by insisting. It gave me lots of flashbacks of being at the pool as a little girl with Dad. I probably only learned to dive and to swim across the deep end and jump off the diving board and bob in deep water and a bunch of other stuff I was too chicken to do because he insisted.

Woo and I went to a Beck concert this week. We seemed out of place, and not just because we sat on the ground during the entire opening act.

Well, that's about it for the week. Other than Linus yelling, "Hi! Mrs. Apricot!" to our neighbor named Mrs. Endicott. Hope you had a good one!



Ruby memorized a section of The Proclamation on the Family for her talk today. She had a hard time with the word recreational.

Ruby: Successful families are established and maintained upon principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome resexual activities.

Woo and Herbie got into an argument about where Herbie would go on his mission (Herbie thinks it's already set in stone)

Herbie: I'm going to Brazil. I can count to a hundred!
Woo: Oh, well then! Faith, hope, charity and counting to a hundred qualifies him for the work!

Random Ruby:

Ruby: Wyatt, the know-it-everything!

Ruby: We're starting a club called The Chinese Family!

We've had a lot of arguments the week after the Uintas. Here are a few:

Penelope: NO! I am being nice!! I am going outside and locking you out!!!

Linus (after being lightly tapped by Moses): He almost killed me!!

Herbie pulled out Grandpa's "A little squeeze and a little snort" from the Uintas while I was enforcing mandatory hugs and kisses after some arguing. It lightened everyone's moods.

One of the blossoms in Moses' planter broke. He was trying to prop it upright when I told him it was gone. He sweetly and sincerely asked, "Would duct tape help?"

Ruby found a very revelatory statistic in her fact book, "90% of parents admit to sneaking some of their children's Halloween candy! MOM!!"

The Uintas was just the push Archie needed to start walking all the time. He's nineteen months. Congratulations, Archie -- the latest walker in the family, and the entire extended family.

The kids started swim lessons this week so we've been going down to an older part of the city every day. It's been fun to get out among a more diverse bunch of people again. One day, afterwards, while I was busy supplementing the kids' lesson, Woo noticed a couple of girls taking provocative pictures of themselves at the skatepark. I got to be the concerned, older woman to go tell them that they were worth much more than their bodies and that their Heavenly Father loved them. When I said that, hugging them seemed like the right thing to do, so I did. That really surprised Woo. Not because I'm a racist jerk, but because I rarely hug anyone other than my own husband and children :).

Of course, as we drove away they were back to their phones. But that's ok. Pretty much par for the course for me. And the people I have the most influence over anyways (my children) were there and we talked to them about it as well.

Woo's testimony stole the show last week, what with his witty jokes and talk of eternal families. But, I can't remember everything he said. Only what I said, so you'll have to settle for mine.

Oh, and we found this up Penelope's nose.

I hope you all had a great week!


The summer after my senior year of high school, because of a series of circumstances, I missed three weeks of church in a row. Before the month was out I'd quit reading my scriptures, and I'd quit praying. And I got a glimpse of the person I would be without the Gospel. It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was scary.

I love these four things: attending our meetings, the Sacrament, daily scripture study and daily prayer. I know that there is power and protection from temptation in them -- made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And without them I am nothing.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.



You know how sometimes so many things go wrong that it begins to get comical? Well, that's the kind of week we've had.

It all started with the drive down to Kali's baptism. No, it probably actually stared with Jon's back acting up, and him being unable to go backpacking with Christine and co. in the Uintas. Then we drove down to Kali's baptism (which was good), but spent a surprise extra hour on the hot July road in construction traffic. We recovered at Jos and Trace's, drinking a lot and eating good food, and then my shirt got stuck in the zipper of my skirt and it broke. Of course.

We picked up lots of granola bars, wildflower seeds and giant chive starts at Mom and Dad's before heading out to the trail head the next morning. We hiked about 4 miles at a rate of 1 mile per hour.

The hike is actually one of my favorite parts of backpacking in the Uintas. I like it because I get to hike alongside one of my 2-4 year olds. The hike is difficult for them, but I like the opportunity to encourage them to do hard things, and when they reach the end of their rope, to remind them to pray for strength and/or deliverance.

This year I hiked with Linus. Woo stopped for a break every mile, and one mile was exactly as much as Linus could take in one chunk. He would say a prayer (asking to see Dad, and the other kids, and the campsite), would ask me to say a prayer (yelling, "You forgot to say the campsite, Mom!" when I knew we weren't anywhere close), and then would ask me say the "scripture" which is actually a poem* and sure enough, within a minute or two, we would see Woo and the other kids sitting on the side of the trail. One time Woo ran up the trail without his pack and alone to carry Linus down a steep rocky part. Linus' favorite time was when I saw Woo in the middle of my prayer, and said, "I'm thankful I can see Dad right now!"

We met up with Christine, her kids, and Woo's dad at our campsite, got it set up, and then it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained. We had a couple of hours of merely overcast in two and half days, and then it cleared up for us to pack up and hike out.

The best part of it raining so much is that the kids slept pretty well for a campout. When the choices are huddling under a tarp, or being warm in your sleeping bag in the tent, they chose the sleeping bag far more often than they normally would have. And once you're there, there's not much to do, but sleep. I think almost everyone took a nap every day.

The exception to the good sleepers was 3 yr old Sammy. He was up for a four hour stint the first night. First demanding "all the food!" then "lotion!" then "potty!"

Because I had zero expectations for getting a good nights sleep and because he wasn't my kid, I was giggling in my tent by the time he yelled he was "walking home!" and Christine said, "You're walking home? Good! Have fun!"

I'm sure Christine has very different feelings about it.

Our tantrums were thrown by our two oldest kids in the middle of the day. Ruby had a rough time one morning, was rude to almost everyone, dumped over the mac and cheese Grandpa brought over to her, and then wrote "I'm sorry" in sticks for her dad. After that she took a nap and was much, much better.

Woo looked up suddenly and yelled, "Herbie! What are you thinking?!" He had a big ol' rock aimed for a good throw at some other kids. He dropped that rock, but was still very aggressive for awhile until I could get him calmed down.

Is he 8 or 14?

I think the day it rained the hardest was also Ben's birthday. He turned nine. We fished for a couple of hours and little else. We did eat Christine's self-dehydrated, gourmet burritos and a handful of candy to celebrate. He didn't seem to mind.

Everyone loved fishing, even when the bubbles on the kids fishing poles all broke, and I tied pinecones on instead.

Ruby (looking at the pictures): Oh! There's me casting!
Herbie: To the side.
Ruby: I know. I wanted to do that.

By the end Nicole was casting just as far and as well as Christine.

She also immediately found and climbed the tallest dead tree stump.

Moses and Penelope were our most good natured campers. They would both wake up happy with cute grins on their faces. This year Moses was the one who's pants were too big for him and had to be held up by a bungee.

Moses gave me a flower to put in my hair and we would've had a nice picture, if Penelope hadn't just hit Moses in the back of the head with a rock.

Penelope was the messiest. I think it had something to do with being three and not being that good with noodles or oatmeal yet.

Me: I like you, Penelope.
Penelope: I know. Cuz I'm cute.

Isaac suddenly became everyone's favorite cousin. I overheard Ruby, Herbie and Moses arguing over who got to play with him.

Archie slept with me in my sleeping bag. I tried him in his own, but he just cried and crawled out. He cried for a bit with me, and then was quiet and fell asleep. By the second night, he was lying down and giggling when we climbed into the tent. He went to sleep faster when he was mad about it. Whenever the rain would slow to a drizzle, I would walk Archie around and around the campsite. We moved very slow, Archie's very short, and the Survivor buff is the only hat he won't pull right off. He looked like a little old lady. Woo asked him when he was going to start walking in the mall.

When I go camping, I go into what I call survival mode, where I almost completely shut off to keep my sanity. I only surface when someone is lost, hungry, or repeatedly kicking another kid in the crotch apparently (Sorry about that, Ben). But Christine is the pleasing voice of domesticity on the trail. She makes sure that her kids' molars are properly brushed, bums properly wiped, that they get protein at every meal. Her tents have a thick foam pad covering the entire floor of the tent. She dries their wet clothes over the fire and neatly folds an entire outfit (even down to the socks) for them to place in the bottom of their sleeping bags and wear on the hike home. I hope those kids know how much she loves them!

Grandpa tended the fire and kept the water boiling. Not a glamorous job. Actually, I take that back. Very glamorous jobs to all the kids, which only added keeping them safe to the burden. It was probably not easy being stuck in a rain drenched campsite with a bunch of crazy kids and their parents.

Finally, it cleared up and we packed up and hiked out. We saw lots and lots of scouts on the trail. Some parties of men with friends, and probably two women. I believe Ruby, Nicole and Penelope were the only girls. Seeing all the scouts reminded me that we're probably preparing Herbie to be the biggest campout know-it-all in the varsity scouts. Something I'm sure he'll thank us for someday.

We got to the car, asked a very tired Grandpa to snap our picture, and found that mice or chipmunks or something had invaded our car and gotten into all our extra granola bars.

The kids fell asleep on the way home, and we decided to just drive all the way home, shower and eat at the BBQ. But when we got to the BBQ, they were having their special concert series where you have to buy concert tickets with your meal. We hurried to Subway (Woo's most hated restaurant), and got the kids to bed.

Moses was so tired, he fell asleep almost immediately, but no one else did. Remember that concert in the park? It was keeping everyone else up. At which point Woo started laughing, "What are the odds there'd be a concert in the park the night we come home from camping?" And then he ripped up an old t-shirt of his into a rag as a token of appreciation for me going camping with them. Which was one of the greatest tokens of love he's ever given me.

There were several other smaller incidents this week such as me walking straight into a tree limb, and me burning a big blister onto my thumb. But probably the biggest one was Woo locking both car keys into the car while he was fixing the taillight. Luckily, I've had enough experience (accidentally) popping out the rear windshield and popping it back in for Woo to remember it could be done fairly easily.

And that's about enough for this week. I hope you all had fun, and congratulations again to Kali and Ezra on their baptisms!


*I know not by what methods rare, but this I know God answers prayer.
I know that He has given His word that tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered soon or late and so I pray and calmly wait.

I know not if the message sought will come in just the way I thought,
But trust my will to Him alone, whose ways are wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest, or send an answer far more blessed.