Yay Summer?!

This was the week where I had half the kids in school still and half the kids out. I remember from last year that it was in places tricky, and even stressful. Anyway, that's over--we're all out of school now!

The kids out of school got a good start on their summer projects. And it was a good test run... although we had free, unstructured time, we're going to need more.

Also, Wednesday night I caught a pretty painful head cold that I still have (usually this is Woo's arena), so this is going to be a lazy, picture-led email (which you'll all probably prefer anyway :).

Hope your week was great!

One elder left the branch; a new one came. We've been lucky that we've liked all our missionaries. I'm at an age where, while we don't have a mother-son relationship and I'm not super friendly with the elders, I can definitely see them as someone else's son and I notice the good that is in them and can see the good their individual personalities will do for others.

Our boys, of course, love them.

Moses, proudly making blueberry pancakes for the first time.

We had the annual branch picnic where the whole district is invited. Here's Herbie, eating traditional Portuguese BBQ--entremeadas sandwiched in a hunk of Portuguese bread. We had far less people than last year, but I felt it was more enjoyable (less work).

Ruby and her friends at the BBQ.

Penelope in her fort that she made with her friend Bea.

Woo is everyone's favorite target... when he's jumping the rope spinning gets faster and faster and faster... soon after this it became too fast and he tripped and twisted his ankle. He limped for a couple days, but I didn't notice it today.

Tug-of-War is popular. As soon it was announced a little old lady and a few older men hopped in. It was originally planned to be Americans vs. Everyone Else (Portuguese, Brazilians, Cabo Verdeans, etc). I even had the old lady move to the other side because of it.

But when it was clear the American's were losing, Mario rushed in to help us (he looooves a good tug-of-war). We still lost. (Notice Woo staying off his hurt foot.)

The old lady was laughing, laughing the whole time. When it was over she came to me and said, "You told me to switch sides, and then we won." 

I nodded and said, "It was because of you." 

Which of course she loved.

No one can get dirtier than Moses.

Ruby, helping Woo return tables to the church after the BBQ.

Linus, Penelope and Archie's last day of school is always a party for the whole family. This year the kids were supposed to make hats along a recycling/loving the earth theme and then model them for everyone. It was a cute idea.

Linus, Penelope and Archie made their hats entirely themselves a couple mornings before (Linus even made two hats for Woo and me). They were not on theme at all, but I could care less. The proudest thing for me is that they showed their own initiative and creativity.


Archie panicked and tried to come up with a completely new hat the morning of, but none of those worked and he went in his original hat. He cut out that square so he could pull his hat down and peek through. It was a hit with his class.

Archie walking the catwalk, accompanied by "sua mãe."


Linus, accompanied by "seu irmão."


And Herbie was going to help Penelope, but she broke down in tears and insisted on me.

After the modeling there was a potluck and a kid free-for-all. We had 5 happy(ish) kids.

And one super sad (aka tired) kid.

Linus working on his screen play.

Woo and I thrilled that I'd just carved another watermelon. (He'd been criticized for his insistence on buying 2 large watermelons, which we ate through, plus another someone else had brought.)

Herbie, indexing.

Woo eagerly awaiting his blueberry pancake. I told all kids who made them that they had to share one with their dad. And then Woo was crushed when, even after all his hovering and hint dropping, that is all they would give him. They ate all the rest themselves.

Greek-studying Ruby, hiding from the camera.

Archie, reading a library book.

I found this picture on FB of us attending the adult session of district conference (yes, attendance was sparse). We are all in this picture. Can you find us?


A Week Without Woo

Woo was gone most of the week for  3 1/4 workdays in Utah to do team building stuff like go to the movies, eat out, play cricket and golf...

He had three free evenings. He went to our house one; the temple, cemetery and dinner with Becky for the anniversary of Dallin's death another; and a family dinner for his mom's birthday the last.

In theory, Woo being gone should have no effect on my personal goals, but it's always a throw away week for me. I never seem to get anything but the basics done, and I suffer a step backwards in anything extra I'm trying to do.

I went on my slowest run in months right before picking him up at the airport and I thought about all the complaints I'd ever heard about disengaged dads or husbands, or reasons for putting small children in daycare or school too early, and I realized that there's just something about the physical presence of an immediate family member in the home that most people discount. It's subtle, sure, but it's there.

I remembered it when Woo started going into work sometimes after Archie was born. He could be working most the day at home, sequestered in his office even, and it would still be a better day than when he was gone. And it wasn't just me. The kids were more settled too.

Anyway, we did mostly have a good week. After dropping Woo off at the airport we stopped at the Decathlon for the first time, which was pretty much a dream come true for everyone (including me), and we drove away, everyone feeling very satisfied with a few key purchases for summer. Because this was the last week of school for Ruby, Herbie and Moses, and the other kids end next week.

Ruby and Herbie performed in a special school event Thursday night. They were done waaaay later than the 7PM they told me, but it was worth it. I wish Woo had been there. He would've loved it.

I did miss hearing Ruby's solo, but Herbie said a lot of people had complimented her on it, and I did see Herbie's class dancing some traditional Portuguese dances. It was very cute.

While waiting to watch Herbie, Ruby showed me some of the student art displays (making stuff out of recyclables is really big here).

I saw this mound of staples and glue from the side and commented, "This one did NOT look easy to put together... "

And Ruby read the name, "Herbert... it's Herbie's!!"

And then I remembered all the comments and stress Herbie had had over it. I guess I'd never visualized it in my mind before.

We had a good primary lesson where I invited our two baptized kids (Moses and Linus) to share their memories and feelings about their baptisms and also what they do to remember Jesus during the sacrament, and they both just fed off each other in a good way.

It was only us this week in primary so our speaking dwindled into English and while Moses was speaking, Linus (who often speaks about himself in 3rd person) said, "Something Moses just said gave Liney revelation. He answered a question Liney had."

And a couple sentences later Moses said practically the same thing about something Linus had said.

I keep having vague ideas that I should be doing something to get those two actually teaching in primary more, but haven't done anything about it yet.

We had our annual awards ceremony with prizes today, where we announce a few things each person has accomplished this last year and we all clap and then we hand out their prize.

I'm not going to mention any of the accomplishments here because I've mentioned all of them at some point in the last year, but it's always fun for the kids to think about something they're doing now that they had not been able to do just a year ago.

And then, of course, there's the prize.

I did not get water or summer toys as I have in past years, but Woo ordered some books on Amazon and had them shipped to his parents and brought them home on the plane (books that we otherwise would not have been able to get here), and I had worked on a summer project box for each of them with sketchbooks and writing books with prompts, and a bunch of other stuff based on what they'd each individually told me they wanted to do... I thought they might be sort of let down that it wasn't toys, but they were all so, so, so excited and tried a little bit of everything right away.

The only disappointment was Penelope, who wondered why I hadn't gotten her a book to learn Japanese. And that is because she had told me about wanting to learn Japanese at a later time than when I was planning for summer. But there may still be some things we can do for her if she's really set on it... which I think she is.

Archie made his very first basket in a full-sized basketball hoop Monday or Tuesday. He was very, very pleased, and when I finished saying his accomplishments for the year today, he reminded me of this one, which he clearly felt was monumental and needed to be mentioned.

Ruby has been working hard and her hymn repertoire has tripled, quadrupled? in the last couple weeks. We had real live prelude music today before sacrament meeting for the first time, and the change was quite abrupt when she finished, sat down, and the person who plays the recorded songs this week sat at the keyboard.

Penelope and Linus also made Woo some sandwiches for a picnic today. I don't know what all was on Woo's sandwich, but I did hear someone yell at some point, "I didn't put any ketchup on your sandwich, Dad! But I put some on mine!"

And Woo brought home this giant chocolate bar for me, which was the perfect size for me to eat enough to make myself sick and have enough left over to share with everyone for a Sunday treat.

And that is all for the week. I hope your week was great!