3.28.2015

SURPRISE!! EMAIL ON SATURDAY!


Woo and Herbie went for a bike ride for Herbie's Daddy Day. Herbie found a Superman crest that some kid had sculpted out of clay and written their name on the back.
Herbie: Hey! It says Brian! That's Superman's real name!
This happened seconds after Herbie decided to ride one-handed and yell, "Hey! It's smooth here!"


Okay, so maybe it's painfully obvious that Herbie's car for his class "drive in" party wasn't his parents 1st (or even 31st) priority, but at least he had fun with all that duct tape.


Ruby's grade had their Utah history program. Who knew their were so many songs about Utah? I didn't. Woo knew the song about Promontory Point, but I'd never heard a single one.

Maybe that's because I had Mr. Asbury, whose passions were, well, anything competitive... the spelling bee, multiplication tables, practicing how to pass a baton so we could dominate the 4th grade 400m relay... He was one of my favorites actually.


The next day Ruby came home exhausted. When I inquired why she could barely think to talk, but said they'd run the "long" way for their daily mile. And she'd won. Both ways.
Me: You won the whole fourth grade or just your class? 
Ruby: The whole fourth grade.
 
Linus: Mom! 1869! Do you know where I learned that from? Ruby's program! 
And he keeps repeating "1869" like it means something. (Ok, so it does. Is that golden spike?)

Linus made a new friend at the park today. A girl. And I think he thought he was making a good impression. He probably was, with a few hiccups.
Girl: Why are you wearing pajamas?! 
Linus: Cuz.
And then he did a few of his favorite tricks around the playground yelling, "Look, Friend!" and "I can climb a tree!" before he walked in front of Penelope on the swing and she hit his nose and he burst into uncontrollable tears.

Penelope: I was talking to Heavenly Father to be able to get in the blue swing and than I did it!!
Two milestones with one stone.

Moses: My favorite letters are B, E and M. 
Me: The M is for Moses. What are the other letters?  
Moses: B is for blue and E is for Elijah-- 
Herbie (interrupting): And Emory, his girlfriend!  
(Moses breaks out into a big smile.) 
Me: Ah, the real reason for the E...  
Woo wanted to take all the little kids snowboarding on a nice, warm day before the resort closes. So I sat on the deck in the sun while they all took turns. Jury's still out on whether Archie had fun or not. He didn't say much, but once when Penelope asked if he liked snowboarding he said, "Uh huh."


Archie calls me Grandma a lot. Mostly because Penelope's favorite game is for her to be Mom, me to be Grandma and Archie to be her baby. But, it's always tricky to know what to call Archie. And I think he changes it, just so he can say "No," followed by "I baby" or "I big kid" or, sometimes, "I Mom."


Woo had a few rough days in a row. On the worst day he finally just got off the couch and trudged out of the house in the spring sunshine carrying a rake. Then he raked leaves at the rental. When he got back and sat down to work again, he found out he'd gotten a raise. Suddenly his day was a little brighter.

I finished the my last chapter this week. Woo's been helping me go over my earlier chapters which is awesome because he hates novels and has never been afraid to tell me what he really thinks. Also, he has good ideas. All assets (from my perspective) that I'm taking full advantage of.

Well, that's it for the week. Hope you had a good one!

P.S. All pictures by Woo.

3.22.2015

MOM RUINS PACK MEETING


Usually Woo takes Herbie to pack meeting while I get the other kids in bed. But lately, Herbie has been asking that I take him, and Tuesday he got his chance. Little did he know that Mom is an introvert and that for me, hell is made up of back-to-back pack meetings and other similar affairs where people mingle and chat and (I assume) have a good time.

I made him leave the second (literally) that the closing prayer was said and he'd gotten his treat. After he got over his initial shock, he was really a good sport about it. He said something like, "I think I'm happier today because I got home earlier and got more sleep." But, I think he was just trying to make the best of a bad situation because he also said, "I'm going to let Dad take me to pack meeting next time."


Ruby got the sickness I got last week--she was complaining about aches and a headache, but it only lasts two days or less, so it's not the worst thing in the world. She got a blessing and took some medicine and was fine. Woo took her on a hike for her Daddy Day and she finished off the last of the mint brownies Woo got us for St. Patricks Day. I think it was a good week for her.

We spent a lot of time outside. We went to the park and on a few bike rides and walks. We planted the plum tree Woo bought.


Moses (riding past a vast, empty field): That would be a good wrestling field for Herbie and me... If it had more cactuses...

Moses gave a talk (on the prophet Moses) that we forgot about until yesterday, but he wrote himself and then memorized. It's hardly any work at all for me anymore with those older kids, for which I'm grateful.


Linus doesn't care that it's warmer outside. It seems he spent all week in either double pajamas and a bathrobe or his tuxedo with tails. The high school had prom last night, and one of the boys let Linus borrow his top hat and cane for a picture.


Moses was not impressed. When I explained what prom was he asked if he could stay home from school that day. I said, "Fine with me!"

On one of our walks, the kids found some thin strips of wood, which they wanted me to hold so they could karate chop them. Naturally, I launched into this long and boring tale...

"One time when I was in karate someone brought in some boards to break. They asked me to go first, and I kicked and I kicked, but I could not break that board. All the other kids were breaking theirs...

Eventually, when it was clear I had failed, some adult tried mine, then another. It turns out that board had a knot or something in the middle, making it nearly impossible to break.

So you can understand, kids, why your mother has somewhat bitter feelings towards breaking boards..."

That's the only time I remember them ever bringing in boards. So, in all my ten years of karate, I never successfully broke a board. Sniff, sniff.


Poor Archie feels like his head is being pulled off every time we take off his shirt: That shirt hurt me! That bad guy shirt hurt me!

He had his last quarterly well-child visit (yay!!!!!!), and he's healthy, if small. Like all the kids have been.


Possibly the most memorable event of the week was when the washing machine overflowed and water spilled into the basement, the laundry room floor, and into the heating ducts. Lots of fun for Woo.


Penelope is fascinated with babies. A really cute and fat baby sat behind us in church that she wanted to stare at the entire time, and she lucked out when she got to "hold" this new born baby. Her own baby now gets to take naps out on the porch and the trampoline in the sun.


Well, that's it for the week. Woo is telling me I need to be done. Hope you all had a great week!

3.16.2015

BEACH!


This was a week of highs and lows. I was sick for a couple of days at the beginning of the week, which rarely happens, but really works a number on my attitude when it does. I have to work really hard to remind myself that all the bad things I'm thinking or feeling are not really true. The sun will shine again, so to speak, as soon as I feel better. And it always does.

One of those mornings I woke up, looked at my phone and I was staring at 1 Thessalonians 2:20. I knew in that moment that it was a message from my Heavenly parents to me and I cried. Then I wanted my children to know I felt that way about them, but they are even more valued by their Heavenly parents, so that's the scripture we've been memorizing this week. Definitely the easiest one we've ever done :).


My awesome visiting teacher took the three little kids to the children's museum while Woo and I went to the temple. It was perfect because a) the children's museum is literally just across the street from the temple, b) they were doing a special Curious George theme which all my kids love, and c) she took us all to lunch afterwards.


Taking the kids to the beach right after taking baths isn't the best idea I've ever had, but the kids sure cleaned the house fast to be able to go. We've all missed it.

From one of Linus' prayers this week: Thank you that I could be cold, and that I could not have a blanket, and that I could not be whining about it...

And him repeating scripture: Blessed are ye because of your face ... (faith)


Our first graders always write an essay about what they would do if they were President, which my kids always interpret into what they would do if they could do whatever they want (which is all the President does, obviously).


Here's Moses' transcript:

If I were president. I would invite Mis coy, Elijah, Nathan. I would eat raman noodles and broccoli soup. I would swim in the white house. I would build fires for people. I like presidents.
Moses: The teachers at school were singing songs from the Sound of Music. 
Me: Oh yeah? Cool. 
Moses (confused): But how do they know them? 

Here's Archie regretting that he'd gone for height over function.

The expression on Archie's face when he's thinking or asking questions often flashes me back to two year old Herbie.


Poor Penelope has had a very persistent runny nose for maybe two weeks now. I really wish it would go away. She's learned how to make her and Archie's beds, and also how to sneak band-aids. I've been finding a lot of band-aid wrappers on her bedroom floor. I think they're all going around her ankles.


One of Ruby's favorite past times these days is drawing comics. Her latest is a Michael Vey fan fic piece. She's wanted to grow her hair out for a long time, but today when I was helping her get the worst tangles out, and I mentioned we should cut her hair, she agreed. Conference weekend couldn't come soon enough. Everyone in the family needs a haircut.


Herbie's class gets to make cars out of cardboard and watch a movie while sitting in them (like a drive in) for reading 800 minutes. He's been trying to save every box we have for this purpose. We keep telling him, we have plenty of diaper boxes for him to use, but he hasn't been too excited about them, for some reason. He also has a couple of boxes by his bed that he's rigged up as a bedside table, but then he hung them off the side of the bunkbed somehow for Moses to use them.


Woo and I got started scanning in Grandma's photos last night. There are some real treasures in there. I went to bed grateful that I'd married a good man who loves to preserve and take photos for posterity, and who follows the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I honestly never would've thought to ask Grandma for them. But I am grateful that Woo and I can do it. I'm excited to share it all when we're done.

Well, that's all for this week. Hope you have a good one.

3.09.2015

SNOW! AND SUN!!


All Woo's dreams came true this week, when we were dumped with a ton of snow. He went snowboarding three (four?) days in a row, and was quite sore most of them. This week alone made his pass for the year worth it. He even finally found someone fun for him to go with, another work-from-home software guy, who is enjoyable and about his skill level.


He even has a boy, Elijah, in Mosey's class, so Moses got to go one afternoon after school with them. They're best friends now, of course. Elijah's mother told us that some big kids (2nd graders) took Elijah's ball one recess, and that Moses confronted the big kids and got it back. We were very proud when we heard that story, because Moses often has a hard time speaking up, but when Moses told us he prayed for help before that, we were even more proud.

I'll stick this in here? Moses (reminiscing about the dentist): They made my mouth yum.


Vivint provides lunch for Woo when he goes down to work. Because he only goes in once a week, he has lots of extra tickets and often invites some of his family to eat lunch with him. This week, he had Grandma Marva and Bruce, in exchange for Grandma giving us a lot of pictures and documents to digitize. Woo's the one who felt like this really needed to get done (He's the picture man, remember?), and coincidentally (????) I just finished entering all the family histories I have into FamilySearch, so we're both ready to dig into this. (Thanks, Grandma!)

I also wrote an incredible amount on my book this week, without spending any extra time. I've got about two and a half chapters left, before I'll take a break and *hopefully* a final round of editing. Then, if I don't have to write the whole thing over again, I'll get feedback (which will lead to more editing).

I'm sorry... I know everyone's writing a novel, and that they're all lame, but I can't help being excited about this. Sometimes really excited.


Linus already has his outfit picked out for the first day of kindergarten. He asked me, "Can I wear this all the days? All the days until I go?"

He spent a quiet morning carefully constructing a folder to hold all his homework and asked, "Am I going to be the only kid in my kindergarten class who already has a folder?"


Penelope got to pick the movie this week. She picked Curly Top and afterwards she and Linus ran around pretending to be Curly Temple, Shirley Top and Mary. Penelope was very accurately mimicking Shirley Temple's eye widening, smiling and hand gestures.


Herbie generously gave all the younger kids piggyback rides around the room. Archie was less excited about them than others.


Ruby and Herbie argued almost everyday about who got to read the Michael Vey book they got from Aunt Moley (Woo's sister). They worked out a deal at one point where Herbie could read it on the bus and Ruby could read it after school, but that broke down when Herbie refused to hand it over when he got home. I think Herbie finally finished, but it continued to be a problem when Ruby snuck up to her room to read instead of doing her Saturday chores.


We went on a family walk for the first time in ages without a stroller because Archie can keep up with our strolling. Of course he wanted to climb all the mounds of snow and splash in all the puddles. He loved running through a bunch of bushes so much, that he didn't even care that we were leaving him, he was going to do it again.

Here's a bonus picture of Penelope. I hope you all had a great week!


Here's an old memory I haven't had in awhile:

I'm eight years old, riding around the block, when a boy and girl I don't know, run into the road, yelling and shouting and trying to hit me. I sprint home. They yell until I'm out of sight.

When I get home and tell everyone what happened, Tyson says, "Oh yeah. They're new. I told them you were mean and to hit you if they saw you."

Thanks, Tys.

I think Mom made Tyson go over and tell them he was wrong; they should be my friends. And they came over to play, acting as if I'd been the jerk all along and they were so happy I'd changed so we could be friends now.

Woo says it's all just testament to Tyson's persuasive social powers.

3.02.2015

SEVEN IS HEAVEN


Moses was super excited to lose his seventh tooth on his seventh birthday. Way more excited than he was for his present--a set of walkie-talkies. Until Woo explained what they were and helped him figure them out, then they were his favorite.

Woo sent him outside to try them out for the first time, where Woo would ask him a question, we could hear that he'd pushed the button to answer, but not hear his voice. Luckily, Herbie was watching him out the window, "He's nodding yes!"

Moses: I got some spagarius up my nose!
Spagarius, for those of you who don't know, is asparagus.


Woo wondered why I write so few of his jokes down for posterity. The reason is because I don't know how to pull it off. I feel like I'd have to explain most of my favorite ones. For example, recently he was talking to a man named Dallas. It turned out that Dallas was not from Texas, but that was the inspiration for his name. Woo said, "So you'll understand if I accidentally call you Fort Worth?"

I thought it was so hilarious because Fort Worth is right by Dallas. Also, NO ONE names their kid Fort Worth. So on one hand, it's totally understandable how someone could get Dallas and Fort Worth mixed up. On the other hand, completely impossible.


There are three types of humans Woo really admires: 1) Fat babies 2) Ridiculous toddlers 3) Portly old men. The bigger the ears and nose, the better. And it doesn't hurt if they share his fashion sense.

Anyways, Woo was very entertained doing sealings this week by a sealer in the witness chair who had the largest, most bulbous nose I've ever seen on a human. He couldn't decide whether he wanted to go to sleep or stay awake and spent the entire time swaying around in his chair.

"Are you going to make it?" asked the first sealer during a break.

"I just did," he said, then closed his eyes.


To make up for his fantastic week last week, Herbie decided to go in the complete opposite direction this week. He argued with us over every. tiny. little. thing, and I found some swear words scribbled on Moses' homework that I strongly suspect was him.

I also found some swear words scratched into the bathroom wall, but I think these ones are Ruby's handiwork.

Ruby (reciting to me from memory a comic her friend wrote): ... We saw your DNA!  
(when I didn't laugh) Do you know what DNA is, Mom?  
Me: Yes, I know what DNA is, Ruby. Do you??  
Ruby: Yeah, it's poop. 
Linus: Aren't you a mom, Nellpea? 
Penelope (enraged): I am not a mom! I can't save myself!
Penelope spent some time today pretending to be a princess.
Linus: Don't you want to be a queen, Nellpea? 
Penelope: I am NOT a queen! When I'm 16 I can be a queen!

Turns out Archie really knows his colors. He ran up to me with a black block while cleaning them up and said, "A black one!" He then correctly identified red, yellow, orange, gold, white, pink, blue, but was tripped up by green and grey. I think he has green now.

Archie's favorite phrase when he's mad is: Don't say that!!


Linus and Moses got their pretend birthday with Grandma and Grandpa on Moses' birthday. Linus got a new kindergarten backpack, and coincidentally his kindergarten registration packet arrived in the mail the same day. What better place to put it then in his backpack? He's been wearing that backpack constantly since. I even let him wear it to church this once, where he carried a set of scriptures and a hymn book and also (I later discovered) his spiderman bathrobe.

Bonus zoo pictures (free admission to the zoo this week):


I spent about 30 seconds this week seeing if I could take better pictures of myself yet.


Nope.

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

TESTIMONY BELOW:

Today I'd like to share a blessing from my mission.

Before my mission, exercise was my main form of stress relief. About a year before my mission I took up running, and the months leading up to my mission were extremely stressful for me. I was also the fastest runner I have ever been in my entire life. 

That is because I would go multiple times a day--whenever I felt unsettled and had a break in my classes. And I didn't start out with a nice warm up and stretches, I hit the ground sprinting from start to finish. Because I liked the pain; I needed it. The pain made me forget everything else.

But on my mission I couldn't do that. First off, my entire day was scheduled and second, I had a companion I needed to stay with. I couldn't just leave her for even a quick jog around the block. So I threw myself into scripture study and prayer.

Yes, before my mission, I'd read my scriptures and said my prayers, but on my mission I really, truly learned that I could pray more frequently and harder than I could run. And the comfort I could get from the scriptures lasted longer than the comfort I could get from a good run.

When I got home I could run again, but it never again was my primary source of stress relief. I had seen that through scripture study and prayer I could gain strength to be more than I am; I could receive specific answers to my questions, specific insights into my future; and I could receive forgiveness for my mistakes--all of these made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the source of all power and strength on earth.