Christmas Countdown

Ruby got to have two pretend birthdays this week to accommodate two sets of grandparents, and her real birthday is this week. She got a pair of pants and shirt from Grandma and Grandpa that we let her wear to school the next day without a skirt, ending her skirt sentence.

Ruby is insanely good at sharing, immediately sharing candy bars from Grandma and Grandpa with her brothers. She was willing to share, but not give away her other presents, and had to defend her new scriptures and case from Herbie, and new blanket and pillow from Moses and Linus.

Woo's been doing Daddy Time for a couple of weeks now. I started Mommy Time a month ago for kids to have a chance once a week to do mom-type things with me (like help make dinner, learn how to make snowflakes, paint nails, etc.) that are easier for me to do with one kid at a time.

And this week Herbie instituted Herbie Time. He read a story to Linus, played some games in the playroom with Moses, shared a book and a blanket on the heater with Ruby, and spent some dedicated time smiling and making funny noises at Penelope.
Herbie: When I'm a Dad, I'm going to live in our old house. The blue house because it was really fun. And I'm going to marry... Guess who I'm going to marry? 
Me: Who? 
Herbie: D--! 
Me: What if D-- doesn't want to live in St. Louis? 
Then finally: I'll get to pick first! 

Moses: Where's Linus? 
Me: Upstairs. 
Moses: Don't let him play with me. 
Me: Oh? 
Moses: Don't let him play with me because ... I'm allergic. I'm allergic to people! 

It probably wasn't the smartest idea to start a new house project in December and decide to do a homemade part to most of my Christmas gifts (which you're all going to love, I'm sure :) because I've been pretty busy.

I'm kind of excited about the faux wainscoting I put in the dining room, it's subtle, but I think it takes the look of the room up a notch, and now I've had the brilliant idea to paint the two doors in the room a green (perhaps kelly green?).

It's hard for me to wait when I'm excited, even though waiting a couple of weeks would be the best thing. On the other hand, it is nice to have enough energy to get excited again.

One morning while I was caulking, I heard Linus jog repeatedly back and forth from the living room to the kitchen. The sound of the garbage can lid slamming after every trip told me that the garbage was his destination.

When I went to investigate, I found that he'd torn the bows off of all the presents under the tree and thrown them away. I laughed, but Moses had a much different reaction, and he ordered Linus to put the bows back on. Linus merrily jogged back and retrieved bows, one by one, from the trash, and Moses put them back on the presents.

Woo was less than impressed with the speaker's story of losing a 3 yr old at Disneyland in church today.
"So the take home story is: Don't take your little kids to Disneyland??  Why do people do that? I don't think I've heard of anyone going there without losing a kid and having the exact same faith promoting experience!!" 
Woo's obsession this week has been trying to figure out why exactly one of his mission president's went home early. This led to contacting lots of old mission friends and finally reading a long account by President Kimball's grandson about the revelation on the priesthood, all of which he quite enjoyed.

Penelope is gaining hand control. She's attaching herself to whatever I'm holding while sitting in my lap. While lying on the floor, her favorite thing is to grab the blanket, and then pull it over her head. She's unable to pull the blanket off or even to figure out why she can't see anything any more.

Well, that's about it. Hope everyone's ready and enjoys this week!


Partial Narrative And Some Tidbits

Monday night I rearranged the furniture and put up the tree.

Tuesday I discovered that my kids are not yet to the age where the sight of a Christmas tree makes them want to curl up under it with a blanket and a book. They are at the age where the sight of a Christmas tree makes them want to hop up and down and tear around the room. They'll want to clap on, clap off the Christmas tree lights over and over again (yes, the lights are plugged into The Clapper), and they'll want to rearrange ornaments and garlands that have "fallen" or "are in the wrong place."

Wednesday was a hard day for the kids (but much better for me :) when I remembered I could discipline for annoying behavior, and Thursday and Friday went largely without incident until Ruby had a friend over Friday afternoon.

This friend (who've we had over several times before without any problems) seemed to have such a bad case of CHRISTMAS-IS-COMING!!! that she thought it would be a good idea to play hopscotch over Penelope, and then later bounced into the love seat so hard that she knocked it off it's legs! I'm beginning to see the case for putting the tree up the night before ...

I've also discovered that my couch or it's new position is very attractive to kids. We've had two kids come over this week, and both of them have immediately gravitated to the couch and have started jumping up and down on it exactly as if it were a trampoline.

Moses (concerned for Woo's safety while alone): Dad! Are you coming? Do you want a stranger to take you? 

Me: What's a rifle, you guys? 
Herbie: A Kindle. 

Current results of Penelope's new sleeping position: bald spot spanning the entire back of her head. 

Linus is acquiring a real gait now and it's a official; he walks like a Woolley.

Ruby's hair is looking quite nice right now. She's getting a lot of compliments, and I think that her mandatory skirt-wearing days may be coming to an end soon.

Woo announced today at dinner: Guess what, guys! You're about to get your Dad back!

I don't know exactly what he's been working on the last week and a half (except that it had something to do with the projector), but whatever it is is finished! We'll all be happy to be seeing more of Woo again.


Short And Sweet

Herbie (while cleaning up): Can I please snap, mom, to do it? (tries snapping fingers) Hmmm. It's not working. 
There's no fooling Moses.
Oh, look! A man dressed as Santa! 

Moses (singing to himself on his way out the door): I'm putting on my puffy coat. I think the Home Depot people will LOVE it! 

Me (reading Ruby's handwritten paper): There are 6 presents under Christmas tree. Last night I saw only 3. How many presents were put there while I was fast asleep? 
Woo holds up 3 fingers.
Ruby: You have to guess! 
Me: Guess or figure it out? 
Ruby: Guess! 
Woo: 3 
Ruby: Oh, Dad looked at the back of the paper! 

Herbie: S-- went to space when he was five. But he had to stay in the spaceship. 
Woo: Is that about the time when S-- started growing his mustache, Herbie? 

Woo and I watched the Star Wars trilogy on his projector. Now whenever Linus whines Chewbacca comes to mind, and watching his tubby toddle reminds me of Ewoks. No wonder he's so endearing!

I've been a little too consistent with Penelope. I've laid her down for naps in her bouncy seat the exact same way her entire life, and now that side of her head is flat. The doctor even briefly suggested a helmet. I now lay her down the exact opposite way for every nap. We'll see what that does.

Woo gets tired of hearing me tell him how refreshing it is to go running out in the cold. I think it's been years (probably 4??) since I've run through a winter. Turns out I really enjoy it, and I've missed it.

Sales are down at ooTunes which frees Woo up for some tinkering. He's had a couple of late nights "trying to solve problems that are impossible to solve and are completely meaningless."

Until Friday night, that is ... "I may have stayed up until 5am, but I did it! Amazon Prime now works on the projector!" No money to be made with that, I think, but not having Woo tinker on the computer during an entire movie? Worth it.

Hope you all had a good week!


Busy Thanksgiving Weekend

Here are a couple of highlights from the week:

Most people I know have a default phrase they start every prayer with, something like, "I thank thee for this day." Moses' default prayer phrase (and sometimes the entire subject of his prayer) is "Thank you that I like Lightning McQueen!"

Woo had some bossa nova music playing while we watched a slideshow on the computer. A new song came on.

little girl eating artichoke instagram
Moses (sarcastically): Oh, nice. Nice Span-ish!
Moses (dumping his discarded artichoke leaves into the pile): Look! I was old enough to do it!

Our neighbor brought over some salmon.
Moses: Yum! I love salmon!
It's my favoritest food ever!
Me: Your favoritest food ever?
What about chocolate?
Moses: Salmon and chocolate are my favoritest foods ever! 
Playing charades...
Moses: I'm incredible hulk! 
(runs real fast around the couch)
Woo: Typically, you don't say what you are before we guess, Moses.
Moses: I'm spiderman! 
(runs real fast around the couch)
Woo: Wait, Wait, Moses! Sit down! 
(Moses sits.)
Woo: Think of an animal,
Moses: Okay, I'm a crocodile! 
(crawls real fast around the couch)

We finally got him to do something once without telling us first.

He was a crocodile.
Ruby (to me on her cousin Elizabeth's arrival): We're friends.
We're going to go outside and have a (thinking) ... girls club.
And do (wracking her brain) ... fairies and stuff. 
elementary school thanksgiving program pilgrims instagram

Ruby's class performed the "classic" Native American ballad "Go My Son" in their Thanksgiving program. One of the hazards of learning songs that your parents also learned in school is that they might try to argue with you about the hand actions. It's usually best to listen to your teacher in such situations.

She wore her pioneer hat (made by Great-Grandma) for the program, while all the other girls wore paper pilgrim hats. I'm not sure that pilgrims wore pioneer hats, but they both start with "P" and lived a long time ago, so I guess it's good enough.

Herbie likes to dress for the occasion. When our neighbor next door invited our kids to ride her horse while she led them around the pasture, Herbie ran in the house to change into cowboy boots, shirt and hat.

When I told him to find something nice to wear for Thanksgiving dinner, he came down with a pearly-snap cowboy shirt, wranglers and church shoes ... the closest he could get to a nice/pilgrim look, I assume.

One of Linus' cousins, Nikki is obsessed with his stature. She must have told me ten times on Thanksgiving Day, "Linus is so cute! He's only one inch taller than Samson (her little brother)! He's not much bigger than a one year old!"

I think she took the opportunity to tell me that every single time she saw me, and when I told Woo about it, it appears that she told him the exact same thing every time she saw him too.

This same cousin, Nikki, also took a liking to Penelope, and Penelope took a liking to her. Nikki got her to laugh really hard, repeatedly. It was very cute.

little girl in helicopter instagram

Woo was the second place winner (and the biggest loser) in the Thanksgiving dinner weigh-in: He gained about 5.5 lbs of mostly mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to win it. He was beaten by his nephew, Kenton, who drank mostly water.

Woo felt quite sick afterwards, and spent an hour or two in bed immediately following dinner.


Miscellaneous Miscellany

baby girl instagram

Ruby's reading has really taken off. She's able to sing hymns with us in church, and she's trying to read every book in the house (some with more success than others).

She attached herself to Roald Dahl's The Magic Finger today, and told us that she's going to read it over and over again (it's that good?).

Ruby's genius idea for next Halloween: a baby policeman!

Linus calls his dad "Dad'n!" He also calls all bikes and bearded men "Dad'n!"

Linus occasionally thinks it's cool to furrow his brow and look mad. Woo calls it baditude.

I think if he were really mad he wouldn't smile right back at you while simultaneously trying to look cross.

Moses is very, very possessive of his cars (or anyone's cars, anywhere). He spends more time carrying them around so no one else can touch them, than actually playing with them himself. Which is why I was shocked this week to hear him say,
Here, Linus.  
You play with these three cars.  
I'll play with this one. 
Moses: Mom, when the sun comes up will the snow melt?  
Me: I'm sorry, Moses. You've got a long, long time until that snow melts now. 
Herbie: Lincoln said a bad word. And it made me accidentally say one too.
BUT, I didn't say it again.  Also, Herbie has started to request that people call him Herbert, and that's what he writes on his schoolwork. We still call him Herbie.

I tried Pippi. I tried Poppy. It just wasn't working. I shorten Penelope's name to Lope (Lopie?), and Woo still likes PeLo.

I've reached that point where my head sheds all it's accumulated pregnancy hair. A couple of times I've looked down at my jacket, and it looks like I've rolled in a giant pile of hair. There've been some fun hairballs in the laundry. I don't remember exactly how long this stage lasts, but I don't think long. It's already tapered down some.

Woo got his projector in the mail. We've all watched more movies in the last week, than we have in the past month. He rigged up a sheet on one wall, carefully balanced the projector on boxes on the pinball machine, and unpacked a few more boxes to open the room up. All he needs now is some comfortable form of seating.


A Week, A Time Change Week

Well, I feel pretty good.

Pretty great most of the time, actually.

I've started exercising again and working my way through my "stuff-to-do-on-the-house" list besides all the other stuff I do.

Maybe the secret for me is not just getting enough sleep at night, but also consistently getting 4 kid-free hours every evening.

The kids acted pretty typical for a time change week, but they've been acting like this on and off for about 2 months now, so it didn't seem horrible.

I did make one change which made our lives much easier. I finally got around to printing off a list of 10 things Ruby and Herbie need to do in the morning before school (many of them seemingly obvious like "get dressed" and "eat").

I was tired of being a stressed-out nag for an hour straight to get everything done and them out the door.

Now, I just have to occasionally ask where they are on their list. Most mornings they're done with enough time for us to read some Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle before they go, and it's a much better start to everyone's day.

Woo has been super excited because it dawned on him that he can set up a projector (which he's always wanted) and a screen in his office, AND he can set up all his speakers and wires where ever he wants (without my aesthetics objections) for surround sound because it's HIS office.

He's kept himself busy tinkering around in there, AND he ordered a projector after only a couple of hours of scouring the internet for the best deal! The really amazing part is that he realized he could get it for $50 cheaper if he waited three weeks for Visa (or someone) to send him a coupon just before he bought it, but HE BOUGHT IT ANYWAY!!!! (I'm sure he's regretting that move as he reads this, but that's how excited he was).

baby girl

I moved Penelope to a 4-hour routine this week. She stays awake for 2 hour stints now, and spends most of it on her back staring at her hand or trying to roll over (hasn't done it yet). She whines sometimes which means she needs to burp, so I tip her up, she burps, and then is happy to stare at her fist again.

When we all go shopping, I like to have Woo take Linus because if I'm anywhere within his line of vision, he yells my name, and I know exactly where they are. It's kind of fun to be weaving up and down aisles at Costco and hear Linus yell, "Mom!!" from hundreds of feet away, every time he catches a glimpse of me.

little boy church suit tie hat overcoat instagram cowboy boots

Linus loves to be my Penelope helper. He'll fetch diapers, pajamas, throw diapers away and dump clothes in the dirty laundry bin like it's the most exciting thing in the world.

He's also started to say "Nah!" for yes. It makes communicating with him a lot easier.

Moses: I'm so excited it's church tomorrow!
Me and Woo: ????
Moses: I get to play with my cars!
Woo: Uh, Moses, that's actually not why we go to church ...

Moses is going to be leaving nursery in just two months and going to class. I hope it's not going to be too rough on him to leave all those toys and sit for so long.

brothers pretending to fly airplane instagram

An older neighbor kid borrowed all the little kids in town for about 1/2 hour for a science project.
Herbie (randomly, later): Brittany (a neighbor girl his age) and I laughed at the same time.
Me: You did?
Herbie: She drew a flower and smiled.
I laughed, and then she laughed.
We laughed together.
Woo: Did you look into each others' eyes?
Did time move in slow-motion?
Did you touch hands under the table? 
Herbie just looked at me with a gigantic smile.

Ruby seems to be doing really well in school. We were kind of wondering because she's been kind of moody at home, and her teacher did mention at PT conference (weeks ago) that she was sometimes overly sensitive as if she were tired.  I assume that being good all day in school can be exhausting??



I went to Young Women in Excellence tonight (which was great, btw!), so I'm just sending some pictures.

Herbie and Moses in their plane

Moses flexing

Penelope grinning

Penelope smiling

Linus coming home from church

Ruby eating plums

Woo and Ruby at a football game

Herbie reading Linus a story



Our family is still not quite right. I thought things were better after the long weekend, but by Wednesday, the kids were acting up again. Plus, everyone seemed to have perma-cold. I finally realized that I had to move everyone in the family to a 7am-7pm schedule. For some reason I was resisting, but there appears to be no other way. That means eating lunch, snacks, dinner, napping, everything an hour early, which feels way too early, but has to be done.

Yesterday was the first day we were able to do it, and the kids all slept about 13 hrs. Ahhhh! According to my calculations we'll all be completely adjusted just in time for the time change.

In other news we now have enough wheat, oats, flour, beans, sugar, etc. to feed 7 adults for one year. Let the apocalypse begin?

Ruby finally decided to be Pres. Uchtdorf, which was really easy for me. We already have lots of suits and ties.

Herbie is Neil Armstrong, but he doesn't like to tell people he's Neil Armstrong (even though he's the one who came up with it). He won't say astronaut either. He likes to tell people "space man." I don't know if he's dumbing it down or trying to make it cooler or what.

Moses is Incredible Hulk. He threw a couple of angry tantrums at the party we went to Wednesday night, which seemed completely in character.

Linus is Shirley Temple. He sure was a hit with some people, while others wondered if he'd have gender issues. If he remembers anything from this Halloween, I'll be very, very surprised.

Penelope is a lobster, strapped to me, a fisherman, and Woo broke out the ol' Roller-Derby Woo.

Woo seems to have done what I did a few weeks ago. A cold combined with sleeping on large, upright pillows seems to lead to a strained neck. He seems to be in a lot more pain than I was. He's spent a large portion of the day lying flat on his back, staring at the ceiling. He can't even sit up or get out of bed without my help. I usually end up laughing whenever I'm helping him because I feel like I'm married to the man in black from the Princess Bride.

Anyway, that's about it for the week.


Getting Better?

I think things are getting better. It's a little hard to tell because we've all had colds this week and we've all been pretty cranky. There's still way too many wet beds in my life right now, but they're becoming less frequent. The kids are definitely sleeping better which is really good news.

We tried putting the kids to bed earlier, using the Floppy Sleep Game, and having Herbie take naps again, but the best thing I did was section off a part of the playroom for Herbie to use as his bedroom. I wanted to put off using that room for awhile and wanted the kids to share, but Ruby and Herbie just could not leave each other alone, and it was hurting everyone. They now go right to sleep at 8pm, and sleep until 7:30-8am.

I had a couple of days there where it felt like we'd never get back on top of things, and I felt like everyone tells me I'm supposed to feel with 5 kids. After putting the kids to bed I'd lie in bed or the tub, too tired to even read (much), until I could take Herbie to the potty, feed Penelope one last time, and finally go to sleep. The last half of this week has definitely been better for me ... I'm reviving :).

I borrowed my friends' Bissell and shampooed the carpets. That has been so satisfying, not only to combat stuff inflicted by the kids, but we've had drywallers, plumbers, electricians, insulation installers, etc. up and down those stairs, and it was so nice to get the carpet clean again. The cold in the morning is a problem. I'm missing the 40 extra pounds I had last winter.

Woo's been sick, and staying up late working, and getting surprise bills from lawyers (surprise!). He finally admitted that he might consider going to law school someday, but only so he could get back at all the other lawyers in the world. It wasn't his favorite week either.

We did unpack about 5 boxes in his office, so it's about half cleared out and put away now. We went out Wednesday night to celebrate our 8 yr. anniversary (last Sunday). We went to DI (of course), and Outback. We don't eat out enough. It's kind of painful, both to our wallet and our bellies. Except for pizza. Woo has a standing order for a supreme Costco pizza anytime I'm in the area, and we have it about every two weeks.

Ruby: I pledge allegiance to the flag 
of the United States of America 
and to the Republic for which it stands, 
one nation and 
invisible witches for all! 
Ruby's had a very hard time settling on a Halloween costume. She started with George Washington, then an astronaut, elf, leprechaun, President Eyring, zombie, shark, and now President Uchtdorf. Looking at some old pictures today reminded her of her old glory days. Guess you'll have to wait until next week to see what she does. She's also had long stretches of being fantastic. She cleared the table and unloaded the dishwasher while I wasn't looking the day I was sick. It was wonderful.

We're loving the descriptions Herbie gives us of the other Kindergarten kids.
Herbie: There's S-- and R--. R-- always wears cowboy boots. 
Woo (laughing): Of course he does, Herbie! He's named after a gun! 
Herbie: S--'s big. Real big and tall. 
Woo: I wouldn't expect anything less from a boy named S--. 
Herbie: He has a mustache!
 That brought down the house.

Of course, when we actually met S--, he was a cute little kid, probably shorter than Herbie (no mustache). Perhaps even Herbie has some preconceived notion of what a S-- is supposed to look like?

Me (playing a game of "would you rather ... "): Herbie. Would you rather ... kiss K-- or D--? 
Herbie (before I was even done talking): D--!!! 
Moses might finally be done sucking his thumb? At least Woo and I haven't noticed it for awhile. It's a battle that Woo's worked long and hard on, and now maybe he's won?

I think that Moses' position in the family causes us to think of him as older than he actually is. Just the other day I reminded Woo that he was only 3. "No, he's not! He's 4! Isn't he?" Nope, he really is just 3, but I think that we group him with the older kids in our minds, and expect him to be a little older. Don't know if this is fortunate or unfortunate for him.
Moses: Mom! Ask me if anyone liked my suit! 
Me: Did anyone like you're suit today, Moses? 
Moses: Yes! My teacher! 
Me: What did she say? 
Moses: She said, 'I like Moses' suit.' 
Me: And what did you say? 
Moses: I said, 'Yeah, I look smashing!' 
Linus continues to win everyone over. I had two neighbors this week go on and on about how cute they thought he was. They always say, "He is just so cute! I don't know what it is ... "

I know what it is. It's his giant head on his little body, toddling around. His gigantic smile doesn't hurt either.

We've broken out the herringbone suit in the colder weather, and for some reason that really gets people. And the cowboy boots. And his little tie. They must be pretty high on the cute scale too.

Penelope has added laughing to her resume. Woo's the best at getting her to do it, but she's also laughed at me and Ruby.

Penelope is pretty cute from the front, but looking at her from the back or right side is not a pretty sight because of the giant bald spot she's rubbed into her hair. I suppose I could be more bothered about that than I am, but I know it will leave as soon as she learns to roll over. She can grow out her lovely locks then.

Anyway, that's about it for the week. Hope everyone's doing well. Talk to you later!



Well, the good news is ... we're alive. We're healthy. Penelope moved out of our room, no longer needing me at night, and I got organized. The bad news is ... everything else?

You would think that my life would get easier sending two kids off to school, but that has not been my experience. Things have been worse, much worse. The kids seem to have thrown their collective brains out the window.

Some of the fun we've experienced over the past two/three weeks: three kids peeing on the carpet in their rooms right before the start of General Conference, all kids over age 2 starting to wetting the bed (despite all of them being dry consistently previously), Moses and Linus CONSTANTLY bickering (seriously, they cannot be in the same room together without a flare up), thrush, the kids' complete inability to clean up, CONSTANT running and giggling, building a slide out of a wooden board, which resulted in Ruby getting about 10 slivers in her bum. She and I spent a fun evening getting them out, and she'll likely not repeat that one again. Oh, and there's a mouse in the house, but that's not really the kids' fault.

I can't really put my finger on what's going on, but I suspect lack-of-sleep (because it's what I always like to suspect first) and too much excitement. Herbie did fine this summer without a nap, but I don't think he's making it now. When the kids get this way, I start to get a little scared of what they'll do when out of my direct supervision. Like throw throw rocks at the windows in our garage and break three of them. Oh wait, that was the neighbor kids, but I'm sure my kids would've gleefully joined in, if they'd been anywhere near.

I've broken out the Floppy Sleep Game*, and I'm about to aggressively make sure they get enough sleep and calm down. Wish me luck.

Woo spent the week staying up late working on his latest update and sleeping a few hours during the day. He pulled an all-nighter last night, but he got the update submitted. He prepared his Sunday School lesson this morning in the tub.

In other good news, Herbie's ate root beer floats with the principal (as a result of that thing I told you about earlier). Linus can sit himself on the potty if I help him halfway with his pants. Ruby got a shorter, but more feminine haircut and went on a field trip. Moses found a giant dragonfly (that he promptly stomped on). Penelope's cute and conference was good.

Well, that's about it. Talk to you later.

*A yoga relaxation tape for kids that I bought a few years ago when the kids would come home very wound up after an evening with a family that we were trading babysitting with. ...


A Week

We currently have some cold or flu thing going around the house: achy, congestion, exhaustion, etc. I was actually the first to get it, and I just happened to be the most achy in my neck. Woo and I considered meningitis for about half an hour, and I realized for the first time that I'd actually rather not die right now or anytime soon.

After a nap it became pretty clear that I didn't have it. I got a new calling today: counselor in Young Women's. I've never had a real calling in Young Women's before, and it's probably safe to say that they're just as scared of me, as I am of them.

Woo's trials bike arrived from China this week, and he's ridden it almost every day. It's handy that the park is so close because there's a lot there to keep him busy, and the kids are always excited to go with him. He thinks he's just about as good as he ever was now, but he may have overdone it for the first week. He's battling tennis elbow, blistered hands, and a kink in his wrist. Herbie, of course, is now attempting to ride up stumps and the front steps, and Woo's attracted the admiration of some kids around town. It's probably only a matter of time before he has a posse of little boys following him around.

Linus' new thing is throwing trash away, which is pretty awesome when it's small bits of paper and fuzz, less awesome when it's toys and books. Linus got off to a good start in the hurdles at the Family Olympics at the elementary school until he reached the line of plastic buckets, where he was compelled to stop and stack them into a nice column. The lady supervising the race thought it was so cute, and kept talking about how it was such "an 18 month thing to do!" She's probably the only person ever to correctly guess Linus' age because he's such a shorty.

Herbie's extra good behavior at school has taken a toll on him at home, and he, of course, caught the bug I had. I got a call from the office to come pick him up on Friday. By the time I got there and he retrieved his backpack and we said a quick hello to Ruby in the lunch room, his teacher and class were walking out to the buses to go home.

Both Woo and I emphasized that he was sick because he was too wound up at home and not getting enough sleep, but he insisted, "No! I keep hitting my head on the wall in my sleep! That's why I have a headache!"

I asked Ruby if she liked her new teacher, Mrs. C--.
Ruby (sounding extremely bored): No. 
Me: No? Why not? 
Ruby: She's not funny. She makes us do work. 
Me: So, she's like me? 
Ruby: Yeah. It's like being at home. 
Of course, the night before we'd had one of her friends over to play and for dinner. We'd also had a visit from a friend of Woo's who drives a FedEx truck nationally. The kids got to tour the bunks and kitchen in the back of the cab. We rode the clown bike, and pogo sticks and skate boards while waiting for him. Her friend was certainly impressed. We heard all about it from his mom.

At school they got to bring a blanket to drape over their desk and read a story to their teddy bear in their fort. They do math with fruit loops, m&ms and cookies. Occasionally, Mrs. C-- disappears and they get a visit from "Mrs. Lee-diculous." Sounds kinda fun to me, but what do I know. Kindergarten was better?

For all my babies I make up a little ditty about them. Penelope's is to the tune of O Canada (O Penelope). It's kind of slow and a little grand, and Woo's not impressed, but he hasn't come up with anything better, so it stands.

Penelope got a bunch of shots this week, and had absolutely no reaction, not even grouchy, just like our other kids. She's still gaining weight, but is dropping in terms of percentile. I'm trying to feed her more than the other kids, but my efforts appear to be futile. I'm already dreading the six month visit where her weight will plateau for a bit, and despite being healthy and happy in every other way, the doctor will tell me I should be concerned.

Moses has certainly learned how to push Linus' buttons. In church today Woo was looking through the Friend with Linus. Whenever he'd see a dog or a car, he'd make the appropriate sound, which would prompt Moses to whisper, "No, dogs." or "No, cars." Which would apparently hurt Linus' feelings because he would cry.

Moses earned a sleepover with Woo for going to bed so well this week. They built a fort in the playroom and slept in sleeping bags. Woo started off by telling Moses a story, and then asked him to tell him a story. And then Moses told story after story, "When I was little, I had a car. And the car drove in the mud. One time when I was seven. I had a friend, and her name was ... Chelsey. And she was my Mom, and she was nice. One time when I was little ... "

At some point Woo thinks he fell asleep because he remembers Moses saying, "Dad! DAD!" before he too, apparently fell asleep. In the morning when I told Moses that I'd heard he'd told some good stories, he got an extremely proud look on his face, "Yeah."

Well, that's about it. I hope everyone had a great week! Sorry we missed the hike!


Labor Day And Other Stuff...

We spent this Labor Day doing actual labor. In the morning we went next door to watch our neighbors extract honey from their hives. Woo was hesitant to go at first, and then ended up staying a few hours there manning some thing that did some other thing that connected to some other thing that drizzled honey into buckets and jugs. He received a large bowl of honeycomb and honey for his efforts. Or maybe they gave it to us because the kids couldn't get enough honeycomb.

Afterwards we cleared out the carpet in the kitchen. Our friends had a dumpster we could use through Labor Day, and we wanted to get the carpet and bathroom vanity in it. Woo thought it would take 20 minutes. I thought it would take all day. So I estimated that it would take somewhere in between, which it did. But, it's gone---hooray!!

R--, the guy we hired, put in most of the floor yesterday, but can't finish up until Tuesday, so we have a few more days of the stove, the fridge, and everything else in the dining room. This may be the most uncomfortable arrangement yet.

Disciplining Linus has taken a pleasant turn this week. Whenever he cries because we've told him no, or he doesn't want to share or whatever, we say, "Go to bed, Linus. When you feel better come back down."

And he toddles off to the stairs crying all the way. We hear his cries going up the stairs and turn into his bedroom, where they stop. A minute later he appears at the bottom of the stairs with a huge smile on his face. So much easier than carrying him up the stairs ourselves. I hope it lasts awhile.

Herbie continues to tell us everything that's going on in school --- the route through the school he takes to get to the bus, the routine of the class, the relay they did in gym, etc.

I was wrong about him getting Student of the Month. That's what the explanation I got sounded like, but was some other award --- not as prestigious as Student of the Month --- and much more believable for the first week of school.

Herbie takes his schoolwork very seriously. He brings home everything to finish coloring every last detail at home, and gets very upset if anyone even thinks about throwing any paper he's brought home from school out.

I switched up the bedroom arrangement, and the good news is: Moses and Linus are getting more sleep because the trouble makers are contained in one room.

The bad news is: Ruby and Herbie still are having trouble settling down. We let them read in bed for a half hour, which worked like a charm the first night, but dissolved into a giggle/chat fest the next. They still haven't earned it back.

Other than that, Ruby seems to have kicked off her start-of-school spaciness and selective hearing, and has behaved exceptionally for the last couple of days. There's yet another boy that Ruby's talking about marrying. This boy has promised to become a pilot, and they'll live in an airplane in the sky. An irresistible offer, if I do say so myself. I'd forgotten how obsessed first graders are with who they'll marry, but I seem to remember the same at that age.

It took a whole summer, but Moses can now eat salad or vegetables without complaint. He saves it for last, but he gets it done. He's even decided that he likes tomatoes, and took seconds of those the other night, which was surprising to me.

Yesterday we had the town-wide garage sale. I rode the tandem with Penelope strapped on my belly for the first time. She did fine except for a few times where it was windy. If you blow in a newborn's face they'll hold their breath for a second or two, and the wind was causing her to do that more than she was comfortable with. I was starting to wish that I'd brought something to shield her with, and then it ended.

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


First Day of School

boy and girl first day of school instagram
The day Herbie's been waiting for his ENTIRE life finally arrived!

Starting Kindergarten!!!

Herbie came home and told us every detail. I felt almost like I'd been there with him.

He told us:
  • of trying to get off the bus when it arrived at school, but being unable to because of the big kids from behind rushing past (some of them pushing him back into the seat),
  • of things the bus driver had said over the intercom,
  • who he sat by during story time,
  • everything.
He told us that his teacher tied his shoe at recess when someone stepped on one of the laces, and then later his teacher read a story about a girl who went to Kindergarten for the first time and didn't know how to tie her shoes.


Herbie is in serious danger of becoming the teacher's pet, what with his affinity for older women, his ability to sit still, and his desire to do this school thing perfectly.

two little boys first day of kindergarten instagram
(Herbie and Linky)

Ruby, on the other hand, has been working on her love life.

Henry is her new best friend,
Ruby: I think I'm in love with him.

I'm going to marry him.
Which, of course, is almost as good as done.
Ruby: Parker says he's going to marry Melissa.
(When we smile) It's true.

He's really going to marry her.
Except for later this week she appeared indecisive.

It appears that another boy has entered into the mix, as well as memories of her old flame, Evan, from Kindergarten.

I'm sure she'll work it out before the time comes.

Ruby had library day this week and brought back the same book she first checked out last year, A Day in the Life of a Police Officer.

It shows a female police officer who helps a lost boy find his way home and captures an escaped bear from the zoo in a garage.

kids at bus stop first day of school
The first morning Ruby and Herbie climbed onto the bus, Moses frowned at me,
There's no kids left.

Me: What's Linus?

Moses: A baby.

Me: What are you?
He laughed and pitched his voice high,
A baby!
And I haven't seen him being sad about being left at home since.

He was very excited when we drove down to town that same day while they were in school, and he saw "a giant m&m", an ambulance, and ate a donut.

He told me he was going to tell Ruby and Herbie all about it when they got home, and he did.

I've discovered that when Ruby and Herbie are gone, Moses is pretty good at cleaning up. Part of it is probably the individual attention and part of it is that no one else is going to do it, if he just stands around or slips into a corner to play with cars.

Linus has largely replaced his "No! No!!! No!!!!" with an adorable scowl. When he first started saying it, Steven said, "He thinks he's in charge." But, I think that he's now realized that he's still an 18 month baby, and he's not in charge of much. Yelling no at us is not going to change the outcome. He still has his moments, but I hope he's on the road to also learning the word, "yes."

Penelope was blessed today. We had both sets of grandparents and the families of A-- and S--, J-- and T--, and L-- and B--. Woo was very nervous. He told me he was more nervous for this one than he'd ever been. He did a great job, like I knew he would. Two of my favorite things he said in the blessing were that she'd learn the Christlike attribute of turning the other cheek and loving others even when they didn't treat her as they should, and to know that her trials were not curses, but blessings to help her grow closer to Jesus Christ.

Penelope, for her part, was a model baby: sleeping through the entire thing and the rest of the meeting.

I've been very tired this week. Waking up an hour earlier than I have for 6.5 years to get Ruby and Herbie to school, and not wanting to give up an hour of my alone time in the evening to go to bed, has not been a good mix.

L-- tells me I'll adapt. She's probably right. Woo and I also played Ultimate with some people in the park Friday night. I had to rotate out to keep an eye on the kids in the playground, and stop early to feed Penelope, but I got my fill of play and loved it. Woo had fun, but not as much fun as he'd have playing with his old team. Not many people play at that level, unfortunately.

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


Ruby Starts School

Monday night we went to back-to-school night to meet Ruby and Herbie's teacher, and find out what bus they'd be riding.
Ruby (upon meeting her teacher): I'm Ruby! 
Mrs. C--: Hello, Ruby! I love your name! 
Ruby: I know! 
In her defense, she does get that a lot (which should've been a tip off to me that her name was going to become more popular than I'd like, but oh well).

Herbie and Moses were bitterly disappointed as we left.
Moses: I didn't get to play with anything! 
Herbie: I didn't even have recess! 
Ruby started school the next day.

Penelope's at that point were she needs to be fed once during the night sometime between 4-6:30am. If I let myself wake up too much while I feed her, I can't get back to sleep. I'd been up since 5 that morning, and I over-reacted when I saw that the particular kids at Ruby's bus stop don't really like her very much, so I spent the rest of the day feeling sad for my child who loved other kids, but no one loved her.

Thankfully, Woo reminded me that Ruby has plenty of friends, and these are the only kids we've ever seen that she couldn't make friends with. Plus, Herbie and one of her best friends, L--, will be starting Kindergarten next week, and they'll be at the bus stop with her.
Woo (when Ruby came home the first day): How was school, Ruby? 
Ruby: I get 2 recesses every day!!! For 180 days!!!
He didn't have the heart to tell her that he got 3 recesses a day at that age.

All we can ever get out of Ruby is a partial account of recess and a lot about how she wants a play date with whomever she rode home on the bus with.
Ruby: I talked to H--, and he's going to come for a play date. His mom isn't pregnant, and he doesn't have a new baby. 
Me: His mom isn't pregnant, and he doesn't have a new baby? 
Ruby: Yeah, I asked him, and that's what he said. 
I guess my pregnancy and Penelope have been my excuse for us not doing fun things too many times.
In some ways Ruby just isn't that into clothes. Or at least planning ahead.
Me: You can pick out your clothes and put them out for the morning. 
Ruby: Why? 
I guess I thought all kids did that. Herbie certainly knows what he's wearing the first day, and what he'd wear to Kindergarten assessment, and what he'd wear to back-to-school night. He correctly answered every question she asked him except his phone number and address. Which is entirely my fault. I've never even mentioned them to him before. (I have worked with him some on tying his shoes, and Ruby did miraculously learn by herself over the summer, by the way.) And then he picked up an official school paper with some rules on it, and he started repeating what he'd heard Ruby say the day before. His teacher was very impressed for a second there before I had to tell her that he wasn't reading it.

Ruby and Herbie keep telling Moses that when they're at school he's going to be the oldest kid at home (like it's awesome), and he's starting to get really excited about it. Except for the time when someone reminded him again, and I said, "Oh good! You'll be able to help me do all the cleaning!" 

And the smile on his face froze as he looked at me and wondered if I was being serious or not. Moses is actually my biggest shirker with picking up right now, and I'm hoping to help him get more on the ball when the other kids are gone.

Linus did a lot of whining the morning of Ruby's first day, and when we got out to the bus stop he was full out bawling. Not even a passing dog could cheer him up or distract him. We let him lay in the grass crying for awhile before I picked him up and deposited him in the living room before hurrying back to watch Ruby climb on the bus. He fell asleep, and ended up taking two naps that day. He shares a room with Ruby, and I can only assume that she didn't sleep well in her excitement, and made sure he didn't sleep well either.

Penelope has been giving almost-smiles to me, Woo, Ruby and Linus all week. She finally gave Woo and I a couple of real smiles today, but she's still not doing it regularly. She does a lot of mouth twisting and opening, as if she's trying to remember how to do it in between each smile.

I got another root canal last week and have spent a lot of time and money at the dentist's and endodontist's. It's true that pregnancy changes the pH in your mouth, and can weaken your teeth. But, it's also true that I eat more candy than I should while I'm pregnant. It hasn't been a good mix for me these last two pregnancies.

It's not what I would've chosen to do with $1500 or 6 hrs of alone time (essentially ... I took a sleeping Penelope with me), but that's the way it is. Woo spent a lot of time watching the kids, and then went boating for about 6 hrs on Wednesday to recover.

Woo's Dad sent him a clip of some guy on a trials bike that made him remember his glory days back in high school. As a result, he's decided to buy a trials bike, and has spent lots of time looking for the best bike/deal/etc. He finally found what he was looking for and took the plunge, but the site wouldn't accept our card (probably some anti-theft mechanism due to my recent large dental purchases). Even after calling the credit card company, getting it all straightened out, and having them manually add the charge, it wouldn't go through. Some might say it's a sign, but I'm pretty sure he's determined to get it by now. He'll work something out.

Well, that's about it. Just a reminder for those planning on coming to Penelope's blessing next week: It's next week, and Sacrament Meeting starts sometime between 10:30-10:45. See you then!


Lots of Moses

Woo: Herbie, are you going to be a better dad than I am? I hope so. 
Herbie (smiling): I'm going to be Superdad!! 
I was telling Ruby the names of the kids in Grandma's family---
Me: She has an older sister named C--, and an older brother named G--, and ... 
Ruby: Those don't even sound like names! 
Speaking of which ...
Moses was being harassed by a cute little boy at our neighbor's wedding reception. I walked past Moses swatting the air and yelling no.
Me: Moses, he's trying to be your friend! Why don't you ask him his name? 
Moses: No! 
Me: Why don't you ask him how old he is? 
Moses: No! 
I walked on. A minute later I looked to find them both playing happily on our swing set (It's all attitude, Moses).

Before bed I asked him, what was the name of your friend?
Moses: Peebalo 
Me: What? 
Moses: Peebalo 
Me: Oh. 
TMI(too much information)-Moses:
While driving down Ogden Canyon---
Herbie: Skunk! 
Moses: No, it's me, Herbie. 
Herbie: No, I smell a skunk! 
Moses: No. I had gas. 
Woo and Moses sitting alone at the table---
Moses: I had gas on the potty, Dad. 
Woo(reading something): hmm. 
Moses: No, I really did, Dad. 
Woo: Oh, I believe you, Moses. 

Moses: I peed out of my bum. 
Ruby: Was it hard? 
Moses: Yes. 
Ruby: Then it was poop. 
Moses: Poop isn't hard! It's squishy, like a alligator! 
Herbie and Woo currently have about the same fashion sense, which really worked out well when we went shopping for school clothes. The were both exceptionally pleased with the pearly-snapped western shirts, green, black and grey high-top Vans, and cool Monster truck t-shirt they found for him to wear to Kindergarten.

Linus loves dogs. And he loves cars. It should be obvious that Go Dog Go is his favorite book. He bounces on Woo's lap grinning wildly when he's not making motor or barking noises.

Grandma Marva came up with K-- and T-- for a quick visit. She brought Rio with her, and Linus had eyes for no one/thing else. He chased her around barking, giggling and giving her kisses and pats just like he does Penelope.

Penelope continues to be a great baby --- generally doing what we'd like her to do at this age --- sleep tons, eat, make loud funny grunting sounds occasionally ... She'd already gained 2 lbs at her 3 week checkup, so I'm sure she's up 3 lbs by now. 

Woo claims she's smiled at him, but I've never seen it. She's twisted her mouth almost to a smile with me.

The Utah Fast Pass made a stop in our town this week. We had a pretty cool car show here in the park for a few hours. The kids favorite part? The free toy cars they handed out to everyone. And the free t-shirts, hats, stickers, etc.

We were a bit of an attraction, as well, with many people commenting on the babies, the rest of our kids, Moses' Skuut, and Woo's low rider. Woo walked back over after the rest of us came home for naps/quiet time, and found that no one was interested in talking to him without the kids. Sorry, Woo.

1. Ruby sitting in $1.6M worth of Lamborghini
2. Ruby---the only one with the guts to ride in the Model-T
3. Sorry, best pic of the bunch, but that's Herbie, Moses and Ruby in that car
4. A little gift to Ruby from Woo


And He Walks!

Linus finally decided to walk more than he crawls. Woo let him walk to and from church, which felt like it took an hour each way, but probably only took 10 minutes. He still likes to pivot on one foot for some abrupt direction changes occasionally, and he laughs and smiles and is just generally pretty proud of himself.

I've also been more consistent about putting him on the potty. He isn't trained, but he will definitely go on demand, and I've been able to keep him dry during the day for most of the week by putting him on before and after naps and going somewhere. I'll have to up the reward ... maybe Hot Wheels?

Penelope is still a baby. "Look at all that hair!" is what most people see when they first see her. It curled up very nicely for church today, which other people thought was adorable. It definitely looked like I'd done her hair, which, of course, I hadn't.

Penelope is my first burper. She's the first one who's needed to burp after every meal, and gets fussy when she has a burp waiting in her. Luckily, all I have to do is tip her up, and it slides right out.

Ruby's workbook asked her to draw a picture of a building in her community.
Ruby: Mom, does that look like a castle? 
Me: There's a castle in our community?? 
Ruby: Yeah, right there (pointing to our neighbor's house with a turret). 
Ruby and Grandpa Kip were discussing lawn mowing.
Grandpa Kip: Do they teach you how to mow lawns in school?  
Ruby: No. You learn that in college. 

Moses (with a sweet smile): I like your fat cheeks, Mom! 

The Tour of Utah looped through Huntsville three times on Wednesday. The kids were discussing their favorite part.
Moses: I liked the helicopter what was flying sideways. It was awesome! 

Herbie would love to be the oldest child in the family. In fact, I think he's kind of convinced himself that he is. Whenever anyone will mention that Ruby's the oldest, he'll say, "I'm the oldest too! Right, Ruby? I'm the oldest boy, and Ruby is the oldest kid!"

And Ruby, for her part, is more than happy to share some of the oldest credit with him.

Herbie is super, super excited for school and every aspect of it: buying school clothes, a new backpack, back-to-school night. He is constantly asking me which day what is happening and when.

Woo installed a dishwasher and the faucet on Thursday. That wonderful day ended 15 days of no running water in the kitchen, 15 months of hand washing all the dishes, and 7.75 years of coping with sub-standard dishwashers for me. I could probably be in heaven except that the grout I used to cover the seam in the countertops does not match at all, and the seal is giving me problems. Grrr ...

Woo's job and calling are not filling his social cup. He doesn't have anyone to go for a good ride with or do tricks on the rope swing with.

Friday afternoon he was really feeling low when some guy who's been out of town all summer, walked up and invited him to go wake boarding.

The glance we gave each other when he invited him made the guy think that he didn't want to go, and he kept apologizing to me for taking Woo away. If only he'd known ...

Anyway, that's all for our week. Hope everyone is doing well.


A Week

Ruby: I'm going to marry E--! 
Herbie: I'm going to marry B-- F--! 
Moses: I'm going to marry Mom! 
Me: Moses, did you know that I'm already married? 
Moses: Oh. I'm going to marry Dad.  
Woo took Ruby, Herbie and Moses camping Friday night. They were so, so excited, and packed clothes for the camp out as soon as they got up Friday morning.

When left to their own devices, Herbie packed 3 briefcase type bags with clothes, and Moses packed a plastic Mr. Potato Head case with a swimsuit.
Woo: As much as I'd love to have them pack themselves, they're ridiculous. 
Woo decided to bring the bikes and bike into the site, so he supervised the packing of bare necessities into backpacks, and they were off. Linus, Penelope and I went for a walk to the library and to the gas station for a treat, and I spent a quiet evening at home reading.

Ruby found a kids' bat and ball at the park during soccer and convinced her little friends to play baseball instead of soccer. I guess I've been projecting my own baseball failings on her because I was surprised to see that she loved it and she was actually quite good.

She initially tried pitching the ball from the pitchers mound, which was a flop, but once she moved closer she was able to pitch it accurately enough for others to hit it. She also hit every ball pitched to her on the first swing. Maybe we should take a second look at baseball for her.

One morning Linus, Penelope and I were alone in the house. As I went out the front door with the garbage, I heard Penelope wake up early from her nap and start crying. I hurried back to find Linus gone, and Penelope no longer crying.

I found Linus (who had crawled through the dining room, Woo's office, and our bathroom to get to her) standing next to Penelope's bouncy seat softly, softly patting her head. Penelope was fast asleep.

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


Another Baby?

Woo was experimenting with some nicknames for Penelope: "P-Lope? Lopee? P-Lo? I like it! Ruby, Herbie! Family council! The baby's new nickname is P-Lo!"

Moses ran in with a huge grin, looking all over the room: "P-doh! I want to see P-doh! Where is she?"

It's then that we realized that he thought we'd had another baby and named it P-doh. How would it be to just wake up in the morning with a new baby every few weeks? I'd probably have twice as many kids.
Woo: Moses, what would you do, if you were with some kids who were saying bad words. 
Moses: I would tell them to stop. 
And then I would spank their bums. 
(And yes, he knew he would get a laugh for that.)

We had two families recently move out of the ward leaving Moses all alone in nursery. So they were more than happy to take Linus a month early.

Today in Sunday School we could hear Linus yelling, "NO! NO!! NO!!!!" from down the hall. When we questioned the nursery leaders about it, they said, "You can tell those two are brothers. They argue over the same toys. At least Moses knows to trade, even if his trades aren't always very fair or very equal."

Thanks to help from K-- and A--, we lifted the countertops on the counters. Woo spent a lot of time in the day or so before reinforcing the cabinets, building a frame for the undermount sink, and planning every detail of the installation for ease and to keep the countertops whole.

Unfortunately, he knocked a chip near the sink trying to adjust the countertop with a board and hammer, and the two pieces didn't quite match up at the seam. After church today, he walked straight into the kitchen and walked out with the two pieces matching up. I don't know how he did it, other than work his fix-it magic, and I think I can repair the chip, so we're all good.

Siamese twins and death have come up quite a few times in Ruby's conversation this week. I don't know what's prompted it.
Friend: So this is it? You're done having kids? 
Me: That's the plan. 
Ruby: Yeah, unless she dies. 
Our next door neighbors have been doing a lot of yard work in preparation for their sons' wedding reception, and Herbie has been right there to help them when he can. I've gone out to find him pulling weeds and trimming plants with the mother, and walking directly behind the daughter as she mows the lawn (for moral support?).

Here're some pictures. Enjoy!


The Week After

We've had a fun and busy week --- lots of visits from family and the like. Penelope slept great every night this week except last night. I don't know what the problem was, but I guess you're allowed a bad night or two when you're 10 days old.

I don't particularly like the name Penny and I was hoping that if we shortened Penelope's name that we could call her Pippi, but so far Penelope is working for us, and we haven't shortened it at all. We also have never called her Linus. Calling a new baby the name of the kid previous has been a problem for us in the past.

I live in a house with a scale for the first time in, well, ever, so it's been kind of fun to see how the weight comes off. Woo made sure I weighed myself the day after Penelope was born. I'd lost 15 lbs, and he became the heaviest person in the family once again. I've lost an average of a pound a day since then; although, one day I lost 4 and some days I lose none. 25 down --- 35 to go.

Woo's friend Tice came up on Tuesday to help Woo pour concrete for our kitchen cabinets. If we were really motivated, we could have had them installed by now, but they're still taking up most of the kitchen floor due to our disagreement about dishwashers (has been resolved) and indecision about what needs to be done next. Hopefully, they'll be up this week.

The Young Women in the ward called and asked if they could watch the older kids for their weekly activity. It worked out perfectly on the day Woo was pouring countertops and I took Penelope in for her newborn checkup (I did finally find a pediatrician that I like, btw. He reminds me a bit of K--, Woo's brother, which probably helps.)

The girls in the ward were so excited and they just dote on Linus. The other kids told us that someone was always holding him. Someone had changed his diaper, which I'm sure was unnecessary, and when the leader sent him home with some girls for his nap, 4 of them came, each of them with a hand on his stroller.

Ruby cut her hair again Thursday morning. The first consequence that came to mind was that she had to wear a skirt or dress everyday until her hair grew back out. 

As I stuffed her pants, shorts and t-shirts into a garbage bag she cried and cried, "All the kids are going to laugh at me and make fun of me! Nobody wears a skirt or dress to school! They're going to make fun of me!"

Er, Ruby, if they make fun of anything it's going to be your hair, not your skirt. I trimmed her hair a bit to keep the edges even, but I didn't trim as short as I did last time, and there are still quite a few chunks butchered in it. I looks really bad, I'll be honest.

Moses has had a whining problem for, oh, I don't know, my whole pregnancy? This week I finally had the motivation and energy to do something about it. We instituted the whine chair, and have tried to be diligent about putting him in it the second we hear him whine. He's been quite a bit better, only having to sit in it once today, and my mornings have been quite a bit quieter and less annoying.

I'm now trying to get on top of Linus', "No! NO!! NO!!!!" That he's developed in the last 3 weeks since he learned the word no.

After spending the morning with the Young Women, Herbie told us that one of them had drawn a heart with his name and her name in it in the sand at the park. Woo doesn't agree with me that Herbie is a ladies man, and I had to agree that he had a point today when Herbie found a pair of clear, protective goggles like I wore in chem lab on our walk, and wore them proudly all evening long.

But the truth is Woo's not a lady and I don't know that he would recognize a charmer if he saw one. I maintain that Herbie's shy, dimpled smile will serve him well, when he wants it to.

We enjoyed visits from Woo's parents, my parents, and L-- and B-- and kids this week, and that's about it. Hope everyone had a good week!


Baby Girl 9:23 PM

13.75" head circumference
21.5" long

Penelope Iris


Penelope's Birth Day & Woo's Birthday

dad and newborn baby girl instagram home birth
Of course the big news this week is that Penelope came!

I didn't really think that she'd show up on Steven's birthday, but she did and that made it a good birthday for Steven. He hasn't had the best of birthday luck since we've been married, so it was a nice change. I did actually think that something might be up, when all the bad stuff happened to him the day before his birthday ... you know, just to keep the actual day clear.

Let's see ...
  • He broke (or severely hurt) his toe.
  • Got all ready and excited to go on a bike ride only to find that his rear wheel had a broken spoke.
  • I fixed his least favorite food for dinner
  • And so on, and so on.
Even though he never did get his birthday dinner (due to me being busy birthing Penelope), I still managed to whip up a batch of rice pudding in the morning, and he got his gifts from me and the kids:
  • a big foot and hot wheel from Moses, "You can have these, Dad. I hate them. I just really hate them."
  • a book wrapped in a receiving blanket from Ruby,
  • and a bean bag and a book wrapped in another receiving blanket from Herbie.
  • I got him a pair of ice skates that actually fit.
Labor was good, as far as labor goes. I actually felt like I was controlling it.

We kicked it off with a walk Tuesday night, and contractions started early Wednesday morning. I was able to slow them down enough to sleep the rest of the morning and nap with the kids after lunch. Twice during the day when I was mentally ready to kick it up a notch, we went on more walks, which got things going to exactly where I wanted them. The midwives checked in and went to dinner while Woo and I were on our last walk. They came back about 2 contractions before 2nd stage of labor, which is just the way I like it.

I was not in control 2nd stage, but it only lasts about 10 minutes, so afterwards I always think, "That wasn't that bad." Even though, that IS NOT what I'm thinking AT ALL during those 10 minutes.

I feel really good, and Penelope is a lovely baby. She looks pretty much like all of our other babies at this stage: lots of spiky, dark hair that may or may not fall out and change color, swollen nose, eyes, etc. We're holding out on the verdict of who she actually looks like.

mom and newborn baby girl home birth instagram
The other kids are thrilled about her. They had more confidence in my due date than I did, telling friends and neighbors that the baby was coming on their Dad's birthday.

In fact, they woke up that morning super excited to celebrate Woo's birthday and for the new baby to come. Ruby and Herbie were unable to sleep. They were as excited for Christmas. When they heard her cry, Herbie said, "It's a girl! That's a girl baby cry!"

We let Ruby and Herbie come down and see her since they were still awake even though it was like 10 pm. Moses and Linus got to see her in the morning.
Moses: We have two babies now!
Linus is very, very gentle with her. He crawls as fast as he can to her, slows when he gets to her, sits, and softly, softly pats her hair.

brother and sister newborn baby girl instagram home birth


Summer Fun

Woo has decided that he's fat. He and I were weighing the same for awhile, which is odd. I've usually eclipsed him this late in a pregnancy. So he's been "dieting," and riding his bike every day and taking 10m swims in the lake. I think he's down about 6lbs and already talking about ice cream again.

One thing he decided to do was race in the Mt. Ogden weekly mountain bike race series at Snow Basin. There's nothing like a race to remind you how out of shape you are.

Before the race he was quite optimistic ... I don't think he realized that doing a race for your first mountain bike ride of the season (on top of not having raced in 15 years) is not exactly a recipe for success. He thanked me later for not telling him before the race how terrible it was going to be, and I'm glad that he's going to stick with it throughout the summer. I'm sure he'll get better.

Herbie, of course, wants to mountain bike too. On family bike rides he likes to ride on the side of the road in the dirt and grass and try to bunny hop. Not easy with a heavy bike and no toe clips, but he's getting better. He likes to do what he calls "smoothes" in the gravel patch in our front yard (hitting his brake and skidding his back tire).

He'll do those over and over again, and ask me every time how high the dirt and rocks went. And, of course, he still enjoys "skips" (jumps). We've started to call them smoothes and skips too, but it doesn't seem like he likes that, "I call them smoothes. You can call them something else."

Ruby has all the symptoms of a kid not getting enough sleep: moody, always bored, arguing with us about every. little. thing. and (her personal weaknesses) lying almost automatically to every question we ask her and sneaking stuff.

I don't actually know when she's getting up, but I'm pretty sure that she's getting up with the sun (or maybe it's the birds since her room's pretty dark). I'm grateful that she's been finding quiet things to do and has let the other kids sleep, but I'm really waiting for her to crash, and start sleeping in later herself.

This morning while getting Linus' church clothes I found that she'd snuck one of my paring knives and a mango upstairs, had successfully eaten about half of it, and then shoved the rest, and the peel under her bed. I can barely keep from slicing my own hand while cutting a mango. Today was definitely the worst day, so I'm hoping the end is soon. Very soon. 

Linus continues to make progress on the walking front, without actually becoming a walker. He's capable of probably 10-15 steps at a time, and occasionally is in the mood to practice, but most of the time he would just rather crawl real fast. Whenever he makes a big leap forward, and we all get excited for him, he gets so excited and laughs so much that he can't recreate it. Other days, he's just not in the mood. We tried all day today to get him to do something, and the most he gave us was about 3 steps, while ignoring us most of the time.

I forgot to order Bountiful Baskets last week, and we had a salad free week. Moses was glad; although, I certainly missed it. He told me almost every night, "This is a yum dinner, Mom! I like this dinner! You should make this dinner again!"

Of course that ended when we had Thai beef waterfall salad last night, and he only finished it with Woo's help. But, he surprisingly liked the tomatillo salsa I made today, commenting a couple of times on its lack of purple race car onions. Of course, we didn't mention the other type of onion in it, and he was just fine.

I had a bunch of signs of pre-labor Thursday night/Friday morning, but they've ended, and I've had nothing since. So, I guess I'll go back to my earlier expectation of having a baby in 2-3 more weeks. The good news is that I got myself entirely ready for the baby to come. The bedroom and our bathroom are entirely cleaned out and free of tools and anything that doesn't belong there, baby birthing stuff collected and at hand, etc. The only thing that would be nice, is to get some grocery shopping done, but since I probably have plenty of time, I'm sure that will get taken care of.

Anyway, I'll talk to you all later. I hope you are enjoying your summer!


A Week In June

Woo noticed a wound on Herbie.
Woo: Herbie, where'd you get that scrape on your chin? 
Herbie (shrugging shoulders): I think when I was watching a movie. 
Woo: Nooooo. 
Herbie (thinking): It started hurting when I was reading a book. 
Woo (look of disbelief) Herbie: I think the book did it. 

Herbie (after much contemplation, possibly trying to come up with some situation where he'd be able to use the master bathroom ... ): Mom, every time there's a spider on our toilet seat and the other bathroom's locked, I'm going to use your bathroom. 
Me: I think you'll be able to take care of the spider, Herbie. 

I usually ask the kids what they learned about in primary/nursery while we eat Sunday dinner, and Moses usually tells me that he learned nothing. He insists that they didn't even have a lesson, but today he had an announcement to make.
Moses: Mom, we had a lesson today! It was color! 
Me: Color? 
Moses: Oh, no. It was Jesus. 
Moses likes to tell jokes, which are hard to write about because what he says is not necessarily funny, but his facial expressions are. He has a goofy smile and way of rolling his eyes when he's pulling your leg that reminds me of that character Squints in the movie The Sandlot.

Linus is really, really close to walking. He likes to stand up in the middle of the floor and take a couple of steps when we're all gathered together for story/scriptures before bedtime. I think he likes the audience. The problem? He won't lift his right foot off the ground, so once he stands and takes a couple of steps with his left he's pivoted in a circle. Which is excuse enough for him to fall to the ground and giggle. Next week or the next he'll have it.

He's also saying his version of Mom, Dad, shoe and no. I think he might also be saying Ruby. I'll have to pay more attention this week.

Ruby is going through a bit of a withdrawal from school, I think. The social scene at home is not quite what it was during the school year. She asks me almost everyday for me to arrange a play date, but the things that we do do (soccer, playing with other kids at the park, library summer reading program, etc.) she doesn't seem to recognize as her time to interact with other kids.

The play dates we have tried to arrange this week have not worked out. She's probably the polar opposite of me in this respect, and luckily I have Woo to guide me a bit on kids and their friends.
Me: What are you most excited about for 1st grade next year, Ruby? 
Ruby: My new lunch box (which she's already picked out). Eating lunch at school. And playing on the other playgrounds. 
Snow Basin reopened for the weekends because of record snow still in the mountains. Woo went yesterday for an hour or two. It wasn't the best snow, etc. but, I think he still had fun.

He received bad news from the lawyer he'd put on retainer for the U-- fiasco. As far as we know, all he did was send a letter and make one phone call, but he sent a bill for 22 hrs and over $7,000. That pretty much ruined his day, as you can imagine.

My goal was to finish my bedroom by the end of May. I've moved the deadline to the end of June (is it the 19th already?!). I'm done painting. The wallpaper is done. Our bed is put together. New doorknobs installed, etc. But, I still have a bunch of small details (like the light fixture) that I hope I can get done in a week or so.

Anyway, that's about it. Talk to you all later. Hope you had a great Fathers Day!