One night, when he was supposed to be falling asleep, Linus starting wailing and crying. When he finally could talk, he told me Herbie had thrown his pants at him, which was ridiculous. Pants don't hurt that much.

In the morning he had a large, purple goose egg on his forehead. I figured maybe the snap? Had whipped him hard? But Woo was smarter, "What was in those pants?"
Herbie (shrugging): Dunno. 
Linus: My rocks were in the pocket!
Woo ordered Herbie upstairs to get the rocks, but Linus told us they weren't there.
Me: Where are the rocks, Linus? Did you put them back in the pants you're wearing now? 
Linus: Yes!

His pockets are now rock free, but that didn't help me from getting hurt next.

Linus got mad at me before story time and threw his book straight at my face. The spine caught me from my eye to my lip and I yelled "OWWW!!" longer and louder than I ever have in my life. (As Woo can verify, I usually don't make any sound or acknowledgment at all when I get hurt.) I sent Linus to bed and hid my head under a blanket and tried not to cry.

I thought my lip was hurt the worst, but the next day I had a black eye. Hardly anyone asked me about it in church (maybe they were afraid to?), but when someone did, one of my young women, who was standing nearby said, "Oh! I didn't even notice!" Which, if true, is pretty incredible because my eye is pretty purple.

And then today during naps, Archie started screaming and said he got a nail in his eye. Which makes no sense, but he definitely has a bruised, red eye. Maybe poked it on a corner? Some compassionate person in primary gave him a kleenex to hold over his eye, making him look even more wounded and helpless.

A few weeks ago Penelope's little friend in primary gave a talk on Jesus. Penelope came home talking about how much she wanted to give a talk on Jesus and, lo and behold, it was her turn next. And the topic was Jesus Christ.

When Penelope and I sat down to write her talk, she blurted out the testimony first, "I know that Jesus loves me!" She ended up having many pictures of Jesus to hold up during her talk and she practiced carefully holding them up so everyone could see and putting them back at the bottom of the pile so they'd stay in order.

During a practice run with the whole family, she was so pleased, excited and happy, I had to point out that she was feeling the Holy Ghost and that it was telling her that Jesus really lives and that He really loves her. She nodded confidently, "I know!"

Linus (who apparently had a rough week) was picking on Penelope. Herbie rushed to her rescue with an authoritative, "Liney!! Do unto others as... !" and then he ran out of steam and ended with kind of a lame, "Others would do unto them." As far as Linus knows, he said it right.

Herbie was super, super excited to go shopping with Grandma Sandy for his birthday. He specially planned to wear his BYU basketball jersey she got him for his birthday last year. He came home with a kindle and basketball shoes, which I could've predicted. Herbie loves electronics and gets a new pair of shoes any chance he has.

After reading scriptures this morning, Moses announced he wasn't going to break his fast with the other kids--he was going to fast two meals instead of one. I thought he'd been inspired by the scriptures and warned him, he'd want to break that commitment, but if the Holy Ghost told him to do it, he should do it. He had a dark night of the soul when Ruby and Herbie broke their fast and was worried about getting sick, but he kept going.

Then a new convert from India stood up in testimony meeting and told about a time he fasted for a week (?!?) and didn't get sick. No one here is going to fast for a week, but I think it comforted Moses. He made it until dinner, but I'm not sure he'll try that again for awhile.
Archie (walking past a big bleating sheep): Oh! It's burped! 
Archie: Ruby! Ruby! I'm going to spy on you. Go somewhere else! 

Usually it's the older kids who teach the younger ones things we don't want them to say, but other times it's not.
Woo (mumbling the opposite of affirmations to himself): Just your dad... Jerkface McJerkButt...   
Penelope (walking past, in her sweet voice): You're a jerkbutt, Dad.
Woo: Nellpea! You're not supposed to say that!

Linus taught his Family Home Evening lesson on temples. Ruby raised her hand and asked about a picture of a font on the backs of twelve oxen. I thought Linus would say it was the baptistry. At least, that's what I would've said. Instead he said, "It's the tabble-nacker."

When we laughed he explained himself further, "the last one we went to--the tabble-nacker."

Which is where we figured out he thought he was looking at a picture from the new Provo City Center Temple, which used to be a tabernacle.

I showed the kids one of my old missionary badges this morning and when they wanted to try it on, I remembered that someone had given me a bunch of pretend kid ones about 3 years ago. I'd been saving them for... today, I guess. They were super excited and someone said something about being a missionary now, when Ruby said, "I tried that once in 2nd grade, but it didn't turn out so well."

Then she told me the sad story of her telling a little boy of another faith he couldn't be with his family forever because they weren't sealed in the temple and he started to cry, and Ruby's teacher (also of another faith) was mad. I was sorry for everyone involved, but mostly for my own daughter, who was only 8 years old and didn't know any better. She was trying her best.

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

Testimony below:

When we lived in St. Louis, I had a visiting teaching companion named RaeJean Eisenhower. Almost immediately after the birth of her sixth baby, RaeJean went through a terrible divorce.

While counseling with her Bishop, he invited RaeJean to attend the temple every month with him and his wife. At this time the nearest temple was in Chicago--five hours away.

RaeJean enlisted a newly married student couple to stay with her kids and every month she would drive up to Chicago with the Bishop and his wife to attend the temple. She did this for years until the St. Louis temple was built and she could attend more frequently.

One of RaeJean's great worries was about how her children would end up. She knew the statistics... and her children did have some very painful experience, but there always seemed to be a Bishop or home teacher or youth leader for each of her children, right when they need them.

Except one daughter, in high school, went through a rough patch--hanging out with the wrong kids, making poor decisions--and then one day, almost overnight, she was fine. 

One night RaeJean was talking about this with one of her other daughters and the daughter asked what RaeJean thought had caused the change. RaeJean started to rattle off a list of people--maybe it was because of a Bishop, a home teacher, or maybe someone else--when the Spirit stopped her.

It said, "No, RaeJean. It's because you went to the temple."

This story has stuck with me because the Spirit testified to me it was true when she told me and it taught me that I don't just go to the temple to bless myself with the Spirit or to save the dead, but I go to the temple to bless the lives of my children.

The temple truly is the house of the Lord and I know that having a temple within half an hour of us is a blessing beyond price. It is worth any sacrifice of our time to get there.


Awards Ceremony

The first award goes to Ruby, Herbie, Moses and Woo for--- 
The Best Game of Ultimate Played All Year.

Most Surprisingly Good Player

Best Tosses

By Far the Best Overall Skills

Most Likely to Make Me Jealous I had a Head Cold and Just Walking Produced a Splitting Headache
All of them.

Most Likely to Take the Pack Meeting Carnival Very Seriously

The Winner of the Best Overall Prize
Moses (with a pocket knife)

Best Costume Made of Cardboard in the Shape of Minnesota

First Place Stick Inspector

To be continued...


Most Likely to Clear the Fence From the Trampoline
Herbie and Moses

Most Likely to Encourage It

Most Versatile Dresser: 
Penelope (with the Survivor buff as a skirt and the skirt as a hat)

The Cutest Hat I've Ever Had

Biggest Fans of Big Brother Linus, the Grown-Up Kindergartener
Penelope and Archie

The Best Birthday

Runner Up For the Most Excited for Herbie's Presents
His brothers and sisters (in a very tight race with Herbie himself)

The Present Most Likely to Produce Envy in any Child Alive
The tent

Best Family Home Evening Lesson on the Priesthood

Most Likely to Plan a Surprise Party for Herbie Revolving Around Socks Stuffed with Other Socks

Cutest Kid to NOT Find a Stuffed Sock Hidden in the Living Room

Best Toss To *Almost* Tie Herbie

Hope you had a great week!


Is it Next Week Yet??

Next year somebody please remind me that the week after spring break is not the week to make four dentists appointments. Or to undertake a big shopping trip to Home Depot. Or Costco. And those things were the self-inflicted ones. The car breaking down (more on that later) was not. By midweek I felt like I was drowning. I require a certain amount of down time (aka reading and alone), but with those things and spring break I was not getting it. This next week should be quiet. I'm looking forward to it.

Archie (to assorted siblings all morning): Liar, liar pants on fire! 
Me (already annoyed with it): Don't say that, Archie. Penelope's not a liar.  
Archie: But I was saying it to Moses.  
Me: Don't say it to him either. 
(Trying to think of who he could say it to and coming up with absolute safest example)
The only one you can say it to is Satan.  
Archie: Okay! When I'm friends with Satan I'll say, "Liar, liar pants on fire." I'm going to say that. 
Turns out that's also not advised.

Woo encourages all the kids to bear their testimony at least once in Sacrament meeting after they've turned 8. Moses bore his for the first time last week. It was on following the Holy Ghost and he told a story of going on a hike and having a feeling he should turn back, which he did. I had no idea what he was going to say, but I was grinning pretty hard when he listed all his injuries: a sliver in his thumb, a bruise on his knee and a scratch on his leg.

Part of his fast last week was to not be scared to do it and he wasn't. He said he wants to get up again next month, but we'll see.
Archie (identifying pictures of prophets in Ruby's FHE lesson): Spencer Woolley Kindle!

I was late getting back from shopping so Woo had to pick Linus up at the bus stop. And what should be parked right across the street? A firetruck. The firefighters were happy to give Linus his own personal tour and let him sit in the driver's seat-- a dream come true for him.

When I got home from Home Depot, he helped carry stuff in.
Linus: Mom! I got the toilet seat. (Turning around, excited) Is it furry?!
And to answer that, no. I did not buy a furry toilet seat.

Ruby (blessing our curry and naan dinner) Please bless this Indian food... Or Native American food... Or whatever.

Sometime last year during our morning scripture time Moses memorized the account of the first vision on his own. It inspired Linus to try the same thing (with his new giant print scriptures we picked up for him over spring break), but the vocabulary was over his head. He's now spent almost every morning carefully going over the two Sacrament prayers in Moroni.

Ruby, on the other hand, has decided to memorize all of 3 Nephi chapter 9 (she says she likes it), and has done pretty well so far.

At the cabin Penelope made quick friends with a little boy named Nawai. Every meal they would sit together and every meal they would tell the same joke: "What are you eating under there?--Underwear!!!" It never got old.

They also held running races together. One race Penelope tripped and fell. She called out, "Nawai! You were supposed to stop and wait for me!"

"Oh, I'm sorry," said Nawai, and they skipped away together.

Hymn in church: He died in holy innocence... 
Penelope: No! He died in Calvary!

Herbie's most favorite time of year has arrived: lawn mowing season. People always tell us, "Oh, your boy will enjoy mowing for a year or two, and then they'll get tired of it." But I don't think that's going to happen to Herbie. He's walked behind Woo every single time Woo's mowed the lawn since he could walk. Saturday he asked me several times if he could go out and mow the lawn (I didn't even think it was long enough), and when Woo asked him to do it he jumped for joy.

We said A LOT of prayers Thursday and Friday. When we pulled out of the temple parking lot Woo noticed the battery light was on. Then more lights came on. The car started to stall halfway up the canyon, and died right in front of our house, just seconds after the bus dropped Linus off. Linus and I ran in the rain to pick up Penelope and Archie from the sitters, so that all worked out okay, except Woo spent all of Friday on the car. He took a lot of it apart before realizing it was beyond him and had trouble getting it put back together for a drive down to the shop. Two bolts were refusing to go back in. He got one in, couldn't get the other, but had to go anyway. The car did not fall apart on him, but he couldn't get a ride home either, so had to ride his bike up the canyon which has no shoulder for cyclists. He did not die or get hit, and all our prayers were answered in a way we wished, but it was pretty stressful at times.

Well, that's it. Hope you had a great week!


Spring Break = Far Too Many Pictures.

We did far too many things this week to list them all. I'll try to keep this short by using the pictures as my guide.

We went on a picnic and day hike right here at home. Turns out we already live in a spring break kind of place.

There are trees and a rope swing.

And snacks in plastic bags.

Old plywood boards to give rides to the weary...

And then we left home.

We toured the Beehive House (Brigham Young's home and office in Salt Lake City), which was not the extensive tour with hoarhound candy at the end that I experienced in the fourth grade. This was a 20 minute, 3 room tour, which left a lot to be desired.

Our kids did hoard the limelight and surprised even us by their answers to the tour guide's questions: Brigham Young wore a coat when he entered the valley in July because he was sick (Herbie), Identified the strange writing as the Deseret alphabet (Ruby), and recited the first verse in the Book of Mormon (Moses).

We stopped by the church history museum to see the new Joseph Smith movie, which was kind of neat because the movie screen surrounds you in a half circle (not this picture) and the narration was taken from all 9 accounts of the first vision, but it's 7 minutes long, so don't make a special trip.

Woo and I snuck in a quick trip to the temple while kids slept at Grandma's house, and then we were off. After a pitstop at Dad's shop, we arrived at the cabin of some friends at the Strawberry Pinnacles.

Where we took far too many pictures of ten kids and two adults in a side-by-side.

At some point Archie began to use the phrase "private part" instead of something like "secret spot," resulting in phrases like, "My private part is on the dresser," and "I'm going to put this (his sandwich) in my private part."

We didn't say anything to him about it, but probably will before he enters kindergarten. Don't worry.

We stayed in a cabin, but we did some camping-like things, like roast marshmallows. (Linus reminded us of Elmer Fudd. His constant carrot eating habit only helped--yes, I know Elmer Fudd doesn't eat carrots.)

A makeshift target range for a bb gun was set up.

And we miserably failed to fly some kites (only Penelope got to fly one for just a few minutes). 

To be continued...