Rome, Pedrógão and Casal Moinho

We started the week off very optimistic and excited because we bought tickets to Rome for the temple open house.

And then because that had been so easy and fun, we immediately started discussing flying to Morocco or the Azores (the two places we all show the most interest in), but didn't do anything...

Instead, we got an Airbnb in a little town called Pedrógão on the coast (to split up our trip to Aveiro to visit Woo's friend É--who was baptized by Woo, but taught by himself).

I think a Portuguese realtor would call our apartment "traditional," while I would call it "dated," and there were a few concerns, but mostly it worked pretty well for us because it was so dark. There was even a party with live band playing a block away, but they were not obscenely loud, didn't play until the wee hours of the morning, and the kids slept better than they have in any Airbnb.

We were further impressed with Pedrógão and it's clean beaches, streets and market; large signs with summer events and helpful tips clearly displayed; they even had a library with reading areas right on the beach! Unfortunately, the surfing there is no good.

The visit with Woo's friend and his family also went well. We first met at their favorite beach, then went to their very comfortable home where the kids played in their yard and they cooked us a delicious meal. We got home late and I (at least) paid for it with a constantly crying Penelope, and super grouchy Linus and Moses in primary. For some reason the other kids held it together, and Moses finally said a prayer for help at the very end of primary (actually the point of both his lessons today), and was able to turn around his attitude.

When I see pictures like these, I wonder how many years it'll be until Ruby won't actively try to sabotage a photo.

But then I see pictures like these...

And we still have the ones she doesn't know we've taken...

Herbie's surfing is improving a lot. He isn't the kid that stands out a mile ahead of everyone, but he's also definitely not a beginner. He very reliably catches waves and rides them all the way in. And along with his stronger skills, he's becoming more brave.

We were a little concerned Moses would get scared and not perform (well) at the branch talent show with his crocodile attack skit, but he did great. He further used his comedic acting skills to win over the heart of Élio's 4 yr old son, who LOVED him.

Linus was also a hit at the talent show. I don't know if he constructed his props better the second time around, or his tricks just looked better with a little more distance, but there were several gasps and plenty of people who had no idea how he pulled off his tricks.

Penelope made fast friends with a little girl named M. Amelia (our branch member who was watching her) told us she thought M could speak English, Creole and Portuguese, but didn't know for sure. Penelope spent the whole time speaking Portuguese to her, which made Archie mad.

Archie: She speaks English! 
Penelope: No! She does not! 
M: I do too!!
And because M spoke with an accent, Penelope had no idea what she'd said and continued speaking Portuguese, convinced she was right.

Woo brought his surfboard with us to Pedrógão and Aveiro. Luckily, it wasn't too obnoxious in the car. Unluckily, he never got a chance to use it. He did go surfing earlier in the week, once or twice in the evening, when the fishermen also come out.
Well, I had a fisherman yell at me... that’s something new. 
Apparently the ocean isn’t big enough for all of us... 

Moses got invited to a birthday party. We all drove to pick him up, but Woo sent me to the door because I'm so good at getting out of other people's house quickly. Usually...

The hostess invited me to stay because they hadn't yet done the piñata, or sung, or eaten the cake (or anything?) yet. I told her I had the whole family with me, and she said that was fine (possibly having no idea of what having the whole family would mean??). I asked her how long she thought it would be. 20 minutes.

And I, for some reason (I assume because I was on the spot) believed her and we all traipsed through the house to the back patio and our kids hacked at a piñata with about three other kids for over an hour. That piñata was so tough... those other kids never would've broken through without Herbie and Mosey's well-aimed, powerful whacks... Really, it was fun, and we did finally escape before it was too obscenely late for the kids and impossible for Woo to get work done, but not before they'd sung or even looked at the cake.

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


Crocodile Attack!

(Ruby studying French at the beach)

Yesterday I read S. Oscarson's talk "Young Women in the Work" and thought of Ruby. This week she taught primary, did doors with the missionaries and translated in Sacrament Meeting for a woman visiting from California.

The missionaries teaching appointment was a no show, so they took Ruby with them to do doors. They said she was great, and I believe it. Ruby's always enjoyed talking to strangers. At one door a girl said, "Ruby!" Ruby didn't know her, but the girl was in one of the younger kids' classes and knew Ruby. The parents had also seen us all dressed up. Ruby explained we were going to church and they accepted a Book of Mormon.

She's also the perfect translator. She's always had the amazing ability to hear everything while talking constantly herself, which is pretty much the secret to translating success.

Archie (describing his first loose tooth, as if he could hardly believe it): It moves! It really moves!!
And when everyone burst out laughing...
Woo: Archie, you’re saying this to a table full of people who’ve already lost their teeth.
He was very proud, of course, and when I kissed him goodnight he had an idea.
Archie: I have an idea for my next talk--about how I lost my tooth!! Can I give my talk about that and not what the paper says? Can I do that, Mom??

Our branch member, Amelia, had us over for our annual lunch and swim in her little patio. While there Moses staged a life and death fight with her rubber crocodile that we all found very funny. And then, when he started giving the crocodile CPR (and a few seconds later the crocodile gave him CPR... ) we also realized how clever. Woo and I encouraged him to stage the fight again for our branch talent show this week.

We had a family home evening on honesty. It moved Penelope to a confession (her little face was pretty miserable to admit it) and immediately afterwards, Linus returned 4 or 5 little tissue packs that he'd taken from my closet.

Penelope's left her comfort zone a few times this week, playing soccer with her brothers and their friends (even making a couple of goals!... on accident... ). And sword fighting with Archie. She really enjoys that one.

Herbie and Linus decided on their own to completely clean out their rooms (and Moses was dragged into it, since he shares a room with Herbie). First they emptied out EVERYTHING, swept, mopped, and returned the most important things, until they were left with a bunch of junk that they gathered up and threw away.

The kids are getting excited to start school again (in about a month), and we also went through everyone's clothes to get rid of stuff that isn't working to list what is needed.

A few years ago, I noticed the Spirit would leave when I tried to shop for clothes online. I didn't really understand why, but I tried hardly ever because it was so painful. There were some things I needed, so I tried again about 2 months ago, but felt horrible. When I prayed about it, I learned that Satan waits for me there (don't know the reason??). This week, I thought I might be able to shop for the kids' clothes online (it would be so much easier and I found a great sale... ), but it also, for me, is the wrong thing to do.

Woo's wrestled with some new stresses... we learned we had to change home insurance a couple months ago, and after finally figuring that out, learned last week(?) that we had 5 days to make some repairs on our house. Woo was able to contact the new insurance company, get an extension and his dad is being very kind to help with that.

I don't do a regular surf update, but Woo is still improving and enjoying it a lot. This week he started to be able move his board up and down the wave (I am obviously not using correct terminology :).

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



It's August. And with it the crowds of tourists and heat have arrived. I sure prefer all the other months of the year.

Parent/Teacher conferences are done a bit differently here in Portugal. The teacher speaks to an entire classroom full of parents about the term on a specific day during the vacation. We've missed almost every single one, because to us a school vacation is a school vacation... and we've either not been around or completely forgotten.

Anyway, we were finally going to make it to Ruby and Herbie's the week after they got out of school, but were turned away at the front gate. The employee there said no meetings, no grades, and she didn't know when those things would happen; keep an eye on the website.

We don't know the exact reason for the abrupt cancellation and absence of final grades, but there was a big teachers' strike soon after... anyway, we finally got grades a couple weeks ago and Woo discovered this week that Herbie had made honor roll. As far as we can tell, Ruby's GPA was high enough too, but for some reason didn't make it.

Other events of note this week: we skipped the beach one day to go to SportÁgua (a waterpark that felt like it was from my childhood--my early childhood) but the kids were super excited and loved every minute of it.

Archie was completely satisfied pushing himself down baby slides that ended in shallow water.

Penelope kept wanting to swim in the deeper pool and did several of her ridiculous belly flop "dives" off the side.

Linus made fast friends with a sikh boy in a turban/cap, who gave us a card to his father's Indian restaurant as they left. Unfortunately it's in Lisbon.

Moses and Herbie were buddies, running around to all the slides, racing each other, diving for Herbie's watch in the deep end...

Ruby floated around in the pool, then came and talked to me on the deck, before deciding to get in and have fun about a half hour before closing.

Woo switched off going on bigger slides and deeper pools with kids not quite able to do it alone (Linus, Penelope and Archie).

Woo and I did some chuckling over the different lifeguarding approaches... there appeared to be one guy doing his job: a 60 yr old man, who was blowing his whistle constantly, and occasionally walking over to the other guard's areas to tell people off, because the other lifeguards (teen boys) were doing next to nothing. One was missing for a long period of time. I saw another, who appeared to be asleep. All children and often adults were running full speed across the deck...

Anyway, no one died or slipped on deck while we were there.

On Friday we cleaned the church. The church is on a main street in town with a lot of restaurants nearby. The street outside is pretty busy during the summer months and Archie drew a small crowd to watch him washing this window. The missionaries were even able to get out and talk to them.

And afterwards we ate at YoYo Kebab Pizza (Woo's new favorite restaurant name), right next door. Penelope cried uncontrollably because she couldn't remember the word for lemonade and reluctantly accepted an orange Fanta, but decided she'd rather have my 7up after one sip.

The rest of us were perfectly pleased with our "döner boxes" (boxes of kebab meat and fries), hawaiian pizzas, dürüms or döner kebabs.

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

Testimony Below (In an effort to reign some testimonies in, we were given a topic: what we've learned about Jesus Christ from the scriptures this month):

This month I’ve been reminded that the phrases “From the foundation of the world” and “in the beginning” about Jesus Christ in the scriptures are talking about the pre-mortal life and how Jesus Christ was chosen to be our Savior there.

I know that we really did live before before we were born and that we promised to follow Jesus Christ there, which means that we promised to do the things he did, which were to keep all the commandments of His Father.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Neste mês, lembrei-me de que as frases nas escrituras “Desde a fundação do mundo” e “no princípio” sobre Jesus Cristo estão falando sobre a vida pré-mortal e como Jesus Cristo foi escolhido para ser nosso Salvador.

Sei que realmente vivemos antes de nascermos e que prometemos seguir a Jesus Cristo, o que significa que prometemos fazer as coisas que ele fez, que eram guardar todos os mandamentos de Seu Pai.

Em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amém.