Happy Birthday, Linus!

Linus turned 6 this week. Woo also signed us up to help clean the church that day. Linus jumped and said, "Yay! I like cleaning the church on my birthday!" when we told him. He happily vacuumed and swept and came home and ate breakfast before he could finally open his presents--one was a lego firetruck, which he then spent the rest of the day assembling.

We were in need of a quiet day. Earlier in the week we pulled the kids out of school to tour the Provo City Center temple. The kids were fantastic. They all watched the intro movie very attentively, and reverently and quietly walked through the temple. It's a beautiful temple and we all felt the Spirit. Woo kept saying "Our temple is out. Let's move here." And we probably would if Provo weren't so dang crowded. So instead he strongly encouraged all the kids to get married in PCC temple, and Ruby asked if she could do baptisms on her birthday, since it's on a Friday and she'll be twelve. Also approved.

We got our picture taken at the end and once again the parents look like idiots, but hey, we were there. Plus, it was better than the first picture they took. Trust me.

We went to Firehouse Subs while we were in the area because Linus has a bit of an obsession with firefighters right now. Grandma and Grandpa were able to meet us there and we had a little birthday celebration. This was hands down the easiest eating out experience I've ever had with six kids. Heck, since I've had one. It was pretty close to stress free.

We'd planned to head home, but made a last minute decision to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit at BYU's Museum of Art. We called Woo's mom, who was already home and she was free to meet us there and pick up some standby tickets. I loved the exhibit, and I think Woo and Grandma did too. The kids started out strong, but they were getting tired. Moses, who I thought would love it the most, was mentally out of there the soonest. By the end I had Moses, Linus and Herbie draped all over me on our bench, moaning. One woman walked by and said we would've made the perfect Norman Rockwell painting: Little Boys at the Art Museum.

And then Woo and I decided to take a walk around campus, which might have been a mistake. The kids tore out of the museum shouting and yelling like they'd been cooped up in a cellar all day. Moses was throwing fireballs, Herbie was gunning them down with water, Ruby was catching then releasing a shrieking Archie. Penelope walked primly next to me.
Woo: I think we'll have successfully lowered the birthrate of any future BYU alumni by the time we're through here.
It was kind of embarrassing because the kids were really loud and crazy and everyone was staring at us, but the kids really needed to expend some energy, so Woo and I just kept walking as if they were acting totally normal. And by the time we'd walked the length of campus and turned around they were.

Me: What was your favorite part of the art exhibit? 
Herbie: Finally getting to be at BYU!

Well, that's all I've got. Hope you had a great week!

Testimony Below:

I told this story before, but I'm telling it again. One Sunday when we lived in St. Louis, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I was just so mad. I know I yelled at my husband, I probably yelled at my kids, I arrived at church in a horrible mess. I slumped down on the bench and didn't much care what happened next.

It was fast Sunday. The branch president got up to bear his testimony and while he was speaking I knew I needed to get up and I knew what I needed to say. And I couldn't do it. I didn't feel worthy. How could I get up and share a spiritual experience from my life when I'd just been such a jerk to my own family?

But the Spirit did not give up. I was still resisting when my baby at the time started to cry. I think it was Moses. I took him out of the chapel and I thought, "Oh good, now I don't have to get up. I had to take the baby out."

But while I was standing in the foyer the words of a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants were placed in my head. They were:

" ... For the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven; ... and your sins are forgiven you."

And I knew if anyone needed forgiveness of their sins, I did.

So I marched up to the microphone and said what I needed to say, and the scripture was true. My sins were forgiven; it turned my whole Sunday around.

I more grateful than anyone that we don't have to be perfect to bear our testimonies. I know the atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse those who open their mouths and bear witness of him.

I *hope* my testimonies are strengthening my children, but one thing I know for sure is that they are strengthening me and increasing my own faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know he lives and this is his church.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Big Events of the Week

1. Linus attended his class superhero party as Super Firefighter: Big Frank.

2. Penelope carried and delivered another beautiful baby doll.

3. Woo and Linus went snowboarding where Linus did not do any jumps like he said, but he did twist around once.

4. We enjoyed seeing Ruby as J.K. Rowling in the 5th grade wax museum. Well, Woo and I did; Penelope and Archie were freaked out by all the silent, unmoving kids.

5. Woo took Moses snowboarding on the road, which Moses said was just as fun as the ski resort.

6. Woo and Ruby sat in a suite at the Jazz vs. Timberwolves game.

7. Archie discovers the joys of "bazoos."

8. Herbie takes some selfies for his friend in Indiana.

9. We freeze our rear-end-os off at the local ski resort's 75th birthday party because we're severely underdressed for an outside/snowstorm type party.  Yes, I missed the word "patio" on the invitation.

10. In a completely related incident, I vow to never attend another function at a ski resort again.

That's about it. Hope your week was great!


More of Us

Well, the lethargy is gone. That's been nice. We've had a nice week mostly, I think. I can't really remember because I'm rediscovering that church at 1 p.m. is a bear. I have some ideas for a better Sunday next week, but today I'm wiped out.

Report cards came out. Ruby was super excited to get perfect grades (which isn't unusual for her), but the 3 that had troubled her last term (listening attentively) is now a 4 (the highest grade here).

There's an autistic kid in Ruby's grade that always gets put in Ruby's class specifically because Ruby is so helpful and kind to him. She asked him to be her valentine this year. (I guess she didn't want to repeat last year's anxiety and awful waiting for someone she liked to ask her?) He was excited and said yes, but came to school the next day and said no. The boy she really liked had already been asked, so she finally got the neighbor boy to say yes. She can breathe easy until Valentine's Day now, I guess.

Herbie has a pen pal--a friend that recently moved to Indiana. We created an email account for him and he anxiously asks everyday after school if he's gotten an answer yet, and he often has--much more fun than my pen pal days with months of waiting.

Herbie was also rejected by the first girl he asked to be his valentine. He's been wondering all weekend what girl #2 will say. She said she needed some time to think about it.

Moses spent a lot of time this week crying, complaining that everyone hated him, predicting the worst for his future, etc, etc, etc... nothing anyone said or did could console him. The good news is after a lot of encouraging, testimony bearing, faith promoting story-telling, sending him off to a quiet place alone, etc. he started to get his own answers to his woes from God, which I personally think are the most effective answers. And they were the only ones that truly calmed him down and gave him peace.

First, he prayed and learned that Heavenly Father loves him. Second, he prayed and read the first book of Nephi where the Spirit told him he also had goodly parents. And this morning he read (he couldn't remember where) and received the impression that his brothers and sisters love him too, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes.

Linus was very kind and tried to help Moses through a lot of his sad spells. He left the table to go and find a spoon Moses would like, when Moses didn't like the one he had. He let Moses come to a birthday party Linus was invited to (Ruby also went to help little kids ice skate) and shared some of his piƱata treats with him.
Penelope: Mom, for my birthday I want powers.  
Me: Ok. 
Penelope: Frozen powers.
No problem.

Whether to pronounce amen with an "ah" or an "A" at the beginning is a hot debate for the kids.
Penelope: Mom, why do so many people say ahmen and why do so many people...  
(apparently forgetting the other option)  
... um... 
Are bald?  
Moses (matter-of-factly): Because they shave their heads.  
Penelope: Oh.  

Archie has played Uno about 8 times against all the other kids and he has won 7 of those times. There's no reason on earth he should ever win. All he knows are his colors and all his cards lay on the floor face up the entire game. But somehow, he gets rid of them one by one and then, when he has one card left and everyone knows what it is, no one is ever able to stop him.

One game he had his one last card, a blue, in full view of everyone, and somehow all the other kids had in their heads that he had a green. They were frantically trying to change the color from green. The kid right in front of him finally was able to change it to blue and all the kids cheered until Archie put down his card and won.
Woo: If I ever write a fairy tale it will be called the Princess and the Grapefruit.  
It will be a lot like the Princess and the Pea. 
Herbie: Will the grapefruit get squished?  
Woo: Yes.
Which ensured it would be an instant hit with all our kids.

One morning I ran around the house doing a lot of stuff, then I sat down and did a bunch of other stuff. Finally, I laid down on the couch and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep. Penelope and Archie were very cooperative during that time. They sat on my feet and read stories.

Well, that's all I've got. Hope you had a great week!



This week was a lot of Woo and I just wanting to sit around and do nothing. Except maybe lie around. I'm learning this is pretty typical of me, at least, in January. Something about the slowdown after all the excitement of the previous two months, and suddenly I can't bring myself to do anything at all.

Well, really I can, but it takes an incredible amount of willpower, even to do things I normally enjoy, like weightlifting. Woo only went snowboarding once and you should've seen the look of loathing on his face as he walked out the door. He wouldn't have gone at all if a friend hadn't called.

The kids are just the opposite. They want to do more and more and run and laugh and shout--every word that comes out of their mouths. (They are healthy kids after all.) Which was exactly the kick in the rear we needed to keep from becoming vegetables.

Woo pulled Archie around in the sled at the ice rink.

Moses impressed us all with his kindness by untying Linus' frozen shoelaces for him.

Woo and Ruby built a snow fort for Ruby's Daddy Day.

We went snowshoeing out on the lake. Notice Penelope and Archie are in a sled. We tried to float that across a several inch deep creek (after emptying out all the snow), which turned out to be a bad idea. Woo had to run home a mile with a soaking wet Archie to get him changed and on the heater. Penelope was not wet at all, but the closer we got to home, the more convinced she was, until she was such a screaming, kicking mess, she refused to sit on the heater.

I showed Ruby, Herbie and Moses that the Czech names I'm reserving for temple work and sending into the temple system are having their ordinances done in temples all over the world.

But they mostly enjoyed looking at photos from the early 1900s and trying to say the Czech names.

And here's Linus showing off the yoda hat he made for a friend. He worked very hard on it.

Oh, and also we got a new baby. To babysit.

That's about all. Hope you got to sit around more than we did.



The first best thing that happened this week is Woo didn't die. Here he is at the very tiptop of the ski resort (9,370 ft),

then snowboarding down one of the chutes--

just minutes before he hit a rock and flipped over and landed on another rock. He's pretty hurt, mostly bruises and aches, but probably something like tendons in his shoulder.

The second best thing is Herbie found his v-tech watch. He loves that watch and came home from school one afternoon crying with heartbreak because he'd lost it. He thought he'd lost it at the bus stop in the morning, but it'd snowed that day and there was no sign of the watch anywhere. No one prayed harder or more often that he'd find it than Moses. The next morning the kids assembled in the mudroom to be out at the bus stop when the alarm was set to go off, so they could hear it. Ruby picked up her coat, and lo and behold there was the watch on the floor. Much rejoicing all around and Moses immediately fell to his knees for a thank you prayer.

The third best thing is that conscience eventually won out over the perfect crime. Later in the day Moses confessed all to Herbie. He'd stolen Herbie's watch at the bus stop when Herbie wasn't looking, stuffed it in his snow pants pocket and forgotten about it until he heard Herbie crying. He waited until later that evening to pull the watch out, throw it on the floor and Ruby's coat over it.
Herbie: Yeah, Moses kept praying I'd find my watch because he didn't want to hand it to me.

The fourth best thing is Ruby finally found a biography on J.K. Rowling at our local library. Early in the week Ruby came home from school to tell me the school library didn't have any biographies on anyone she wanted to be for the school "wax museum," so she'd checked out a book on Lebron James instead.
Ruby (in a flat voice): I guess I'll just dress up as Lebron James instead. Can I borrow Herbie's basketball jersey?
Me: His BYU jersey? 
Ruby: Yeah. Is that okay? 
Me: Lebron James in a BYU jersey? I guess...
Thank goodness for the library down the street!

The fifth best thing is Woo and I got to substitute Penelope and Archie's primary class.
Me (explaining that Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bone): Who knows what flesh is?
(slight pause)
Archie: Oh. Flesh the toilet!

Also, this was one of Archie's prayers, completely out of nowhere:
Dear Heavenly Father, 
Please bless the horses won't bite me. 
I just want to ride one.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The sixth best thing (I hope you know these are in no particular order... ) is that Penelope became the proud owner of another beautiful princess dress.
Me (the day after): What's the best thing about you, Nellpea? 
Penelope (smiling down at her dress): I'm beautiful!

The seventh best thing happened while I checked on sleeping kids before going to bed. I looked at Linus and suddenly remembered how wonderful I felt the night he was born, sitting in bed with newborn Linus on my lap and writing down a list of possible names for my chunky, little baby that I loved so much and was no longer lugging around in my belly.

And the eighth best thing is I got to write a letter of recommendation for one of my Young Women who's leaving on her mission to Jamaica in March and needed some letters for her Visa application. It was my first one and a lot of fun. Hopefully, I'll get to do more in the future.

That is all. Hope you had a great week!