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.


.0000000001% of Our Week

We were tired. I could tell the kids were tired because all creative play and reading stopped. During rotations, they would only do the rotations on the iPads... actually preferring to stare at the wall than snap two legos together. They were bored with the park; they were bored with everything.

I retaliated by removing all electronics from rotations (the only time they use them). There were some complaints the first day, but everyone is creating again. And reading voraciously. Even in Portuguese (because they're really the only books we have around the apartment or available at the city library). And also having a lot of fun at the park.

I could tell I was tired because I kept falling asleep during their rotations. Friday morning Woo took the kids to a different beach while I rested. The kids were super excited to find giant crabs and this little shark. Saturday was also an easy day, by the end of it I felt a lot better.

Another thing we've been dealing with are horrible smells. I pulled apart one bathroom cabinet, seeking a mold smell. Woo thought he found the source of a smell in our bathroom that seems to be coming from the neighbor's bathroom... unfortunately the problem is still there... And I don't know if the wind's changed or what, but the fish factory up the street is often blowing fumes our way.

Anyways, here's some bits about everyone:

Ruby reacted to my no electronics ban by complaining she'd read every book in the apartment and I said, "You haven't read the whole Old Testament yet, and we have several of those in the house."

She had to admit that was true, and to my surprise took me up on it. She's actually enjoying it.

This week she also started reporting every morning to scriptures with a list of answers to her prayers, and is generally becoming spiritually self-reliant--making a lot of little changes, like writing in her journal every day, spending more time at the park and spending some of her beach time letting Woo teach her to surf.

Herbie was set apart as Deacon's Quorum President a couple weeks ago. He's the only deacon in the branch, and without being asked does all the jobs a bunch of deacons would do: passes the sacrament, monitors noise level by closing the doors to the chapel, monitors temperature by adjusting the thermostat or opening windows, runs messages up to the stand, etc. He's also learned how to lead the music for the priesthood meeting.

He knows however, it's his duty to help the deacons quorum grow, and he's been trying to figure out how he can do that.

Moses, sticking his tongue in his ice cream cone: This is what I do for tongue practice!

Herbie does family history for a few minutes in the morning before I do. One morning he was finished before I was ready and I invited Moses to take a turn. He said no, and left.

Later in the day, he came to me to apologize. He'd been praying and he got an answer. He wasn't having a good day because he hadn't done family history when I invited him too. He hasn't missed a day since, putting in 10-15 minutes every morning.

We have a branch talent show coming up. Woo found some magic tricks kids can do and showed them to Linus, who was so, so excited (and even more so because it required him to assemble some trick props). He spent a lot of time on them and the next day gave us a family magic show.

We could tell what was going on for almost every one, but it was still fun and very cute. He was pleased to have completely fooled one of his friends at the park with one, even though Moses says the trick was in full view. Also, Linus gave out 3 more Books of Mormon this week.

One of Penelope's revelations was to be a good example to Archie to help him be better, and she really is helping him. She's always been good at motivating him to play her games, and now she seems to have the power of persuasion to help him do his chores, or listen to what we say the first time.

Archie, for his part, has been remotivated. Maybe because he's had some success and remembers it's possible?

Archie (completely sincere): Herb, do you know you have the BIGGEST bum in this whole family?!

I have no idea what brought that on, other than Herbie really does have a big bum???

This picture was taken to motivate Archie, who is *almost* there, but not quite.

About a month before Woo turned 39 he suddenly became very interested in puns, composing them in his head, coming up with hypothetical situations where he'll be able to deliver the perfect pun, names of businesses, etc. Unfortunately, his most successful pun delivery to date, was completely by accident.

There are no puns in these, but Woo wanted to caption these pictures of us passing a man holding a huge bunch of balloons on our way home from church.

"Chelsey, diligently pulling her children away from the enticings of the devil."

"Chelsey, unphased by even the most colorful of floating temptations, singlehandedly pulls her children from the jaws of hell."

"Chelsey, having never been tempted by peers or even balloons or toys or any other material goods, rebuffs yet again the wiles of the father of lies."

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