The Marquis' Son

Last week Linus, Penelope and Archie had a primary activity at the stake center. They were very excited, and it proved to be everything they’d hoped for, I think. At least there were bouncy houses at the end (representing Utah at the end of their pioneer trek), and they were some of the last to leave them.

The stake center is an hour away, and someone in the branch asked for a ride. This would mean half the family would spend a dull and likely depressing Saturday without the other half. Woo let me decide.

It was a tough decision, but I decided that at this point the family’s need was greater. (Or at least I had a greater responsibility for their need), and other than greeting a few stake members before and after, the rest of us explored Oeiras. The Palace of the Marquis of Pombal was within walking distance, and we walked right in.

Herbie and Moses had fun imaging what the Marquis' son would do. Ruby reverted to her old grouchy-about-family-outings, but she thawed eventually.

There were a lot of workers sprucing the grounds up and a lot of tents up on the grass; they were obviously preparing for some event. Many workers looked at us strangely, but no one stopped us, and when we were done, we found that we were locked in. We never should been allowed in, but we escaped when a service vehicle entered.

(Admittedly, we’re not super familiar with machinery, but we always laugh at the ones that appear miniature or strange to us.)

Archie remembered he could make popcorn on the stove one lunch break and he’s been making that, which turned into him taking a baggy full of popcorn to school for a snack, which turned into him taking several baggies to school for his friends, which turned into him taking requests from the rest of his class.

He started the week feeling like the other kids weren’t interested in being his friend anymore, but he prayed about it, and this might have been the answer to that prayer.

Linus has a history project that he’s working with a friend on. They’re supposed to make a compass rose and there’s a contest between all the 5-7 grade classes.

Linus spent an afternoon with his friend planning in the library, and among other things, Linus is going to crochet part of it and his friend is going to make part of it from the traditional lace Peniche is “famous” for. I bet the judges will like that.

Moses has a “fun” thing for himself planned everyday of the week. Monday is his cooking day. Wednesday is not a fun day, but the day he does the bulk of his homework. Thursday is the day he plays soccer with one kid and Friday the day he plays with another kid (during school breaks).

Moses is getting tall. He’s as tall as Ruby and gaining fast on me. I guess maybe it’s been a blessing that we live in a place where our boys wear shorts all year long? We’re not constantly buying pants. When Moses does wear pants, they’re joggers, so they’re pretty flexible in length.

Penelope also worked on her compass rose, but unlike Linus, she did not ask for a pattern, or get a partner, or hold planning sessions. She whipped it all out in about an hour and was done. Penelope is definitely a speed over precision artist.

Penelope has enjoyed PE. She had a lot of fun playing table tennis. She has not done her first vaivĂ©m yet, but we are all anxiously awaiting to see how many laps she’ll get. It’s a hot topic amongst all the older kids. (Especially this year, when Moses stopped at 84 because someone told him he was at 94, and then Linus got 96 the next week!)

Penelope went on a quick shopping trip with Woo. It looks like they snuck in a peek of the beach and a trip up the elevator.

With Herbie in high school now, he and Ruby are sharing the school phone. I wasn’t sure how that would work, but apparently fine. Ruby’s only needed it once or twice, and Herbie needed it for the first time on Friday. They are also sharing the graphing calculator, and I haven’t heard of any conflicts yet.

Ruby has had a few online assignments that we’ve just printed out. She said several other kids in her class do this, and she prefers it.

Herbie started surf club again. He said he wasn’t going to do it again, and the night before he decided to. I think there will be competitions this year.

Woo went surfing in a new place a couple times with a few acquaintances. The first time was super gross as workers were sledging the bottom of the bay. The water was yuck and stunk. Woo was not impressed.

The second time he went with them and ended up there again, but this time it was more fun. Except he couldn’t figure out why both guys he was with were taking sooo much time, and being so indecisive until he learned that both their wives and children were out of town visiting the countries their wives families live in… they were killing time.

This week I realized that I’m the leader of the Relief Society, and I can actually ask the sisters to do stuff. I’ve been trying it out this week.

And that’s our week! Hope yours was great!


A Week

This week seemed kind of quiet. Nothing big. Some good moments, some bad. 

We watched conference, of course. We were also about ready for a grocery shopping trip, but I decided to stop by the store after dropping Nelpea off at school on Friday to get us through the weekend.

I was prepared with two backpacks and three large grocery sacks, so I happily filled the cart with apples, bananas, oranges, three packages of cherry tomatoes, two large butternut squash for Sunday’s dinner (I didn’t want to carry a bag of potatoes, but I don’t think the squash ended up being lighter), a couple cans of olives, about 50 rolls of assorted types, a stapler, 2 packages of spare staples, pants for Archie, 2 packages of our favorite Christmas cookies (that they were stocking for the first time), 10 frozen pizzas (our Saturday evening Conference tradition—your Saturday morning), and probably some other things I’m forgetting.

Long story short, it was VERY heavy, and I made it home, but it was extremely uncomfortable, I had to take a few rests, and I said a lot of prayers.

When the kids got home they thought I’d gone on a full shopping trip, and when I’d told everyone that I’d carried it all home by myself, there were lots of comments while eating an apple or sandwich about how I’d carried it home under extreme conditions, or lengthy gratitude prayers (by Moses, mostly) somewhat exaggerating the way the food had arrived in the house.

But, it was a good thing I’d bought so much. Everyone was so hungry and by Sunday evening it was all gone.

Conference was good, and gets increasingly easier to do as the kids get older. President Nelson’s talk has some interesting things to fast and pray about.

The school schedule this year is easier on our family, but I do a lot more walking. I spend significant time walking with everyone except Moses (and only a little with Ruby).

But it has been nice to talk to everyone more often in more of a one on one setting.

Linus likes to ask a lot of questions. Penelope and Archie and I sang “Hope of Israel” on our walk one morning because Archie wanted to memorize the words.

Moses is sleeping much better. Last year he had mornings free and school until 6:30 PM. I think it was difficult for him to unwind, and he had no pressing reason to get up and get going in the morning. Now he’s relaxed and tired enough when it’s time for bed. He’s going to sleep very quickly.

Ruby has been wanting to get her patriarchal blessing for several months. At first we were slow about it because we weren’t sure about her getting it in Portuguese, then there was another lockdown, then forgetting what to do, forgetting to get an interview… and finally! She had her recommend and could make the appointment.

She, Woo and I held a quick council on days that would work (the patriarch lives an hour away), and Ruby summoned her courage to make the phone call.

She returned with a funny smile on her face. The patriarch only took her name and told her there was such a large backup of people already waiting that he’d have to get back to her. And so it continues to not happen… :)

We had one day of no school this week (national holiday). Woo and Herbie went surfing in the morning, while Linus had a rough start. It was a dull, drizzly sort of day, and everyone wanted to read, but Linus wanted to go to the park.

But Woo and Herbie came home soon and we decided to go on a bike ride. A lot of kids were grouchy about that, but not Ruby! She used to be the grouchiest about this kind of stuff, but she was excited.

Woo spent some time in the basement pumping tires, aligning tires, fixing flats, and finding eight bikes that would function for a couple hours. Herbie helped. I helped, and Ruby tried to smooth things over with grouchy kids. Penelope and Archie were generally happy.

The chain on my bike snapped about fifteen minutes in. Several kids wanted to turn around then, but Woo volunteered to ride the broken bike, Ruby volunteered to tow him, and we went on a regular length bike ride, where by the end, all kids were having fun and were glad they’d gone (just like they always are).

Woo had some pain (arthritis and the tow cord being wrapped around his hand), so he rested when we got home, and I played Seafarers with five kids (Herbie read nearby and made occasional comments) until it was time to make dinner.

Penelope has a family member assigned to each day of the week where she tries to secretly serve them and be extra kind to them. She is burning through books she’s checking out from the school library.

Archie got revelation to play with a girl at recess that he often sees playing alone. He likes to race home from school, up the stairs, throw his backpack off and dash to the window so he can call to his classmates returning home more slowly on the sidewalk below.

Linus is working on a scripture case made out of cardboard and duct tape. Ruby introduced him to the idea, which is exactly the type of project he likes.

And I think that’s about it. I hope your week was great!


Most Pictures From Last Week



Herbie had an interesting drama in class with a girl who sat by him and kept being assigned to Herbie as a work partner. When working with her, she would accuse him of lying, and then slap him! She did this like 10 times?

At some point Herbie told Ruby and during one of the breaks Ruby confronted her (in front of all the rest of his class), and said something along the lines of, “That’s hitting. He’s not hitting you back because he’s a boy and you’re a girl. But guess what, I’m a girl, and if you do it again, I’ll hit you.”

Ruby later acknowledged that this had not been the right thing to say, but Woo and I would giggle a little bit whenever we’d think of it—Ruby charging in and coming to the rescue of her little brother.

(The girl switched seats, and as far as we know, no further slapping has occurred.)

In the last weeks of summer Moses got the idea to design his own country. All his siblings (but Ruby) jumped on board, drawing maps, naming their countries, staging Olympics between the made up countries, etc.

Penelope’s country is Palastinia and she wrote a national anthem for her country. One line from the anthem says, “We’ll try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try ‘til we can try no more!”

She and Archie sing it together pretty frequently, usually while marching. (Archie’s country is Napria. And I guess because everyone else will want me to mention their country… Moses’ is Megatron; Herbie’s is the Republic of the CoolKids; and Linus’ is Caratuga.)

Thanks to our printer, I have the hymn we’re working on, and the scripture, printed out and taped to the window. Nelpea and Archie spent an afternoon together memorizing all the verses of the hymn and the scripture. It was nice to hear them in the living room singing together.

Moses is thrilled to have a normal schedule this year and to see his siblings during the school week. Linus is thrilled to have Moses.

Linus mostly talks about being able to play soccer in the park with Moses, but they’ve also enjoyed their lunch breaks together.

One lunch they worked as a team to make French toast, during another, they made muffins. Then they settled into the dining/living room to eat and listen to me read Rangers Apprentice, which neither has read before, and I knew they would love.

Linus is intrigued that the main character is small (short). He’s asked me a lot of height related questions lately. Moses is happy to listen to me read *almost* anything (when I’m not reading him a book, he tells me that he misses it), but they both love the adventure in this one.

All the kids have their great things they continue to do: Ruby was again an excellent peacemaker, specializing in tired and/or cast out siblings. Moses again got right to work on his homework and was the first one on his knees and quiet for family prayers. Also, he often says very sweet family prayers. Linus wakes himself up every morning at 5:50 AM, kneels and says a good personal prayer, then comes downstairs without waking his younger siblings to get started on his morning scriptures and family history. Penelope asks lots of questions during her personal scripture study and gets lots of answers, which she always writes down.

But the thing this week that made me the most happy and really seemed like a miracle is that Archie and Herbie were buddies! I haven’t seen that in a long time. It’s just them a couple times in the morning after other kids leave for school, and they’ve sung songs together, worked on mazes together…

One morning when we left the apartment, Herbie offered to hold Archie up so Archie could touch the ceiling going down the stairs. Archie was a little nervous because Herbie had never offered anything so kind before, but Herbie carried him down all four flights of stairs, lifting him higher when the ceiling was in reach, and Archie had a gigantic smile on his face.

I am also kind of excited because it finally feels like fall to me in the fall here! Yay!! I love fall!

And that’s a tiny bit of our week. Hope yours was great!