Past Blasts are old emails I wrote my family -- without pictures for now.



This has been a pretty enjoyable week.

I'm still noticing the benefits of the kids getting the sleep they need. I had been starting to worry that they were getting bored, and that maybe we needed to get new toys or new books or go do more fun things, and now they're back to being able to entertain themselves with a folded sheet of paper (a peter = computer) or a lone chair (a lawn mower, dump truck or bed).

It's been great.

Ruby is officially a skinny little girl. The only fat on her body is in her cheeks. Once when she was climbing into the car Woo said, "Those are some calves, Ruby! Your Uncle Tyson would be jealous!"

We were concerned that Ruby might have strep, and that her lifetime achievement of never having had antibiotics would be over, but the day I was going to take her in to have a culture done, it was clear that she was feeling better.

Herbie's decided that he's hilarious. Throw a shirt in the air? Hilarious. Step on Dad's foot? Hilarious. 

Herbie also really LOVES Curious George. He'll sit and read the "big George" (our book with all the original George's in it) for quite awhile a couple of times a day.

Herbie got his second haircut yesterday. He doesn't have the nice soft buzz you want to rub your hands on. It feels more like bristles.

Moses is able to sit for a little bit by himself, but I have to keep a close watch on him. His favorite toy so far seems to be the red tractor (or is that just the one we always give him?) He's a pretty happy baby, and we like him.

It had been a couple of weeks since Woo had mowed the lawn so it was pretty long, and he decided to mow it on the hottest, most humid day of the week, so the push mower apparently got to be too much for him.

For the last little bit, he pulled out the electric mower for it's inaugural run. It sounded and looked just like he was vacuuming the lawn. He claimed to like it.

We'll see.

I used to blame pregnancy for my loss of interest in the garden about this time of year, but since it's happened again (and I'm not pregnant), and the weeds are taking things over, and the house collects dust, and spider webs gather in the basement, I've realized, that nope, it's just this time of year.

I've decided to not let it bother me, since I know I'll get back in stride in a month or two.




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Maybe we're crazy. 

But, I can at least take comfort in the fact that I'm the least crazy adult in this picture. 

This wasn't my idea, nor did I immediately agree to go. I was smart enough to hold out until I was promised a bag of licorice (whoo-hoo!) and Woo promised to make life as easy as possible for me.

And if you gloss over/selectively forget/don't count one kid throwing up in a tent just as kids were settling down for the night, and another kid's nose gushing blood while settling down in a tent the next night, and one tiny kid losing a shoe (never to be found again), and one kid peeing in a down sleeping bag, and each adult carrying a full load plus a baby on the hike in and out, and one kid tripping over backwards into the fire pit (which was thankfully out), it was a pretty good time. (Thanks for all the heavy lifting Woo!)

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When I told the kids we were going camping with their cousins, they all jumped and cheered.

Moses: Mom! You're the second BEST mom!!

(I still haven't figured out who he thinks the best mom is. Someone who would take him camping every  single week, no doubt.)

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Seconds later, I heard Ruby run out the back door and yell to our neighbor and the entire town by default, "Mr. Jacobs! We're going camping!!"

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We went to Clegg Lake in the Uintas again. The hike in and out is only 1.5 miles, which in theory should be easy for a bunch of kids and three adults carrying a whole lot of stuff. 

The kids all carried their own sleeping bag, a mat, one or two full water bottles, spare socks and underwear. I don't think it was easy for anyone, but they all did a great job. (Moses and Herbie doing an excellent job especially.) 

Ruby had a bit of a break down near the very end, and I carried her backpack in. When we got to camp, I opened it and saw a full gallon of water on top of all that other stuff. Wow, Ruby!

The hike in was hot and rough for a lot of the kids. 

Linus said, "I never want to go camping here ever. again. Mom!" But, he changed his mind as soon as we got to the campsite.

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He was reminded of all the other times he's been camping, "Mom, last time we went camping, I heard a tree pass gas."

Which is always a rollicking good time, of course.

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I told the kids to put on the worst clothes they had. All on her own, Ruby channeled Grandpa with her t-shirt, tennis shoes and pleated dress pants. Her pants were unfortunately too big for her, but she effectively solved the problem with a set of bungies.

Chemistry lab --- here we come!

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I know I'm supposed to save on-the-potty or in-the-tub pictures to show first dates, but what about this one? Brandt has the best hair, but Herbie has the best pants.

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Penelope wore an old pair of pants that has been worn by each of our kids. They now have four large holes in them, and they'll never make it to Archie. This makes Woo sniff a little bit.

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We brought Penelope's little potty and she was a champion using it. It helped to have even more kids be impressed and talk about it every time she used it. 

Apparently no one escapes morning face while camping. All the kids started laughing when I brought Archie out of the tent. 

Moses: Archie looks like a dad! Archie looks like a old man, Mom!

But Archie is still very adaptable and is a great camper. Having him fall asleep next to you or on you is so sweet. Woo almost wouldn't leave because Archie had fallen asleep on his chest in the hammock, just as we were packing up to go.

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No legos, no blocks? No problem. Moses built a car out of several logs and large pieces of bark, a house for a pet out of more wood, and all the kids spent hours hitting a giant log with clubs to hollow it out for a canoe.

No pencils, bottle caps or other trash to collect? No problem. Ruby found a stash of old bullet shells that she carefully collected, placed in a ziplock and packed out. I'll throw them out as soon as she's forgotten about them (tomorrow).

Moses and his trick stick-through-the-head stick.

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Other than myself (har, har), I'd have to give the Best Camper Award to Herbie. He hiked like a work horse, never complained, was obedient in every instance, was the first kid to fall asleep every night, etc. 

Maybe we should get him that pocket knife he's always asking about?? Anyway, I was very proud of him.

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For most of us (????) the hike out was a lot better. We had less water and less food. It was overcast and cool. The little kids fell asleep almost the second we started driving, and we drove for an hour or more before we stopped for lunch. 

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We always get stared at anyway (something about all those kids ... ), but a completely filthy, disheveled family with a bunch of little kids makes people stare even more. 

Who knew?

There was actually another family in the restaurant with six kids in the same age range as our kids, but we were stealing the show. 

It was so bad that even the kids were noticing it.

Ruby: That lady's staring at us.
Woo and I: We know, Ruby.
Ruby (her face lighting up): Maybe she's a spy!?
Me: If she is, she's not a very good one.

Ruby, who fancies herself to be something of a spy herself, thought this was very funny.

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We returned home on the 24th to a flag in the front lawn put out by the scouts. The kids were thrilled.

Moses: It's the Grand Ole Flag!!

(Does anyone sing that song anymore?)

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Anyway, we're relaxing now around these parts. Hope you all had a great week!




Past Blasts are past emails I've written my family -- without pictures until I get more time on the laptop.


July 2010

This week we went camping with some members of Woo's family.

We hiked in 1.8 miles, stayed a night and hiked back out. 1.8 miles doesn't sound like a lot, but I'd forgotten that I rarely walk half a mile with Moses. He's usually in the stroller or bike trailer, but we had him hike the whole way since I was packing Linus and dinner, and Woo was packing tents, sleeping bags, etc.

He did great on the way in, holding Woo's hand, he kept with the group.

On the way out he was obviously very tired (after a late night and an earlier hike). I held his hand and we went very, very slowly. He whimpered a little going up hills with big rocks, but he never whined or complained unless I told him what a good job he was doing. Then he'd say, "Don't say that, Mom! Don't talk to me!"

I guess he prefers to suffer in silence.

Ruby and Herbie each hiked with a backpack filled with their own clothes. Herbie also had his sleeping bag, and Ruby also had a small bag of fishing gear.

We think we discovered the secret to getting them to bed on time: promises of swimming in the morning and putting them each alone in an empty tent. We didn't hear a peep after putting them down at their regular bedtime, and they woke up at 6:30am, which is by far the best they've ever done.

Linus is usually a great camper, but he had a few rough spots. He had a hard time falling asleep alone in a tent after being lulled to sleep in the pack whenever I took him somewhere. But was great when I needed him to sleep most (while I was sleeping).

All the kids fell asleep almost the second we started the car. We ate dinner at Steph's Drive In in Morgan, and made it home for bedtime. They all fell right asleep once in bed.

Actually, maybe making your kids hike tons is the secret to sleep while camping.

As if I can't get enough camping... I've been called as the ward Camp Director. I'm going on a overnighter this week (taking Linus with me), and then I'll be working on camp for next year.

Steven has been called as a Sunday School teacher for the 14-15 yr olds. He's excited. But he's really excited for our talks in August. He practically shouted for joy when they told us the topic: Provident Living. I guess he thinks he knows something about that...

Anyway, that's all I've got. I hope you're all doing well.




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One morning when I was gone, Woo sent the kids out in the yard to find the shed lock that they'd lost. He walked outside a few minutes later to find Herbie, Moses and Linus standing under a tree, heads bowed and arms folded, praying for help to find the lost lock.

It was so sweet that it softened Woo's heart, and he helped them do a full scale search and clean out of the shed, where Herbie found the lock (of course) hanging from the toy bin.

Even better? Woo was finally able to bring himself to throw away several of the broken toys in there.

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I really liked that Herbie's last blessing said that he would learn about the Gospel by himself as well as at home and in church. I'm wondering if this was one of those times.

Another prayer was said by Moses when he and Herbie were racing their lego cars down the ironing board. Herbie had real wheels on his car and Moses had gears.

Herbie: Your car's never going to beat mine, Moses!
Moses: Oh yeah?!
(quick prayer for his car beating Herbie's before launching it off)

Surprisingly, it didn't work.

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Moses seems to be getting involved in a lot of arguments lately. I overheard him talking to his little friend at the library: Oh yeah?! I can ride my bike with no hands AND no feet!!

Moses has been playing with Penelope a lot at the park. He taught her how to go down the big twisty slide, and he taught her how to play hide-n-seek.
Moses (running away): Ok, Nell-pea, count!
Penelope: Eight, eight, eight, eight, eight ...
Moses: Ok, Nell-pea! Come find me!

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Penelope likes to think she's the boss. She's added that ever important "way!" to the end of all her "noes!" which she thinks is very powerful. Of course, all we have to do is suggest that Linus do whatever it is that she doesn't want to do (and he always is willing). This proposal is even more worthy of a NO WAY! and suddenly she's decided that she does want to do it after all.

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Penelope likes to use the potty during dinner time so she can run a naked victory lap through the kitchen while we all yell, "YAY! NELL-PEA!!"

Unfortunately, all that yelling makes Archie cry.

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Penelope has also given Archie his latest nickname: Etchie-bawd! which is what we all call him now.

When left unattended, Archie will now roll the length of the living room.

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Linus is convinced that Archie can't talk because he doesn't have teeth, and he likes to ask me: Mom, when's Archie going to get teeth? so that Archie can hurry up and talk to him.

Linus attracts a lot of attention from strangers on his little skuut. Most people notice him all on their own, but Linus is on it if they happen to miss him. "Hey!!" he shouts, "I'm on my little wooden bike!"

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little boys girls instagram

I spoke at Youth Conference this week. I tried to go in not too planned, and relying on the Spirit. I'm not sure how successful in that I was. My problem seems to be that I can't help but think about what I might say, and then when the time comes, I remember them all, and I say them. One surprising thing is that I spoke for over half an hour and still had some things I could have said. I didn't think I was capable of speaking for that long.

I'm not sure how much this picture really looks like me, but it makes me think that Archie might look a bit like me after all.

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Ruby is still a fan of baby food, and will polish off anything Archie doesn't finish. The kids are constantly revising their what-I-want-for-my-birthday-dinner list, and Ruby has added baby food to hers.

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Ruby (a girl after my own heart) riding around the jump instead of over it.

Well, that's all, folks! Hope you have a great week!





Woo started off the week celebrating his 30th birthday. For as long as I've known him, Woo has had miserable birthdays, so based on birthdays-past, I think this one was pretty good. He did work way more than he wanted to, but we did get to go swimming. He, Ruby and Herbie had a good time racing down the slides (it was the first day Herbie decided he could go down the slides). He got some homemade raspberry and strawberry jam, a wrist rocket, some emails, a phone call, a dinner of his favorite foods, etc. We considered going out and doing something fun after dinner, but he was too stuffed and tired, and decided to nap instead. When it's your birthday, you get to decide what you do, I guess.

Right before the kids went to bed, we listened to a recording of Woo when he was 3 years old. We all enjoyed that.

Ruby's had a couple of Amelia Bedelia moments this week:

Woo let the package containing his wrist rocket kick around the bedroom for a few days. Ruby, bursting with curiosity, finally asked him, "When are you going to open your spaceship, Dad?"
Ruby: Where are we going?
Us: A garage sale.
Ruby: Are we going to buy a new one? Are we going to buy a new garage? (After we chuckled) Ruby: We can tear the old one down with a kainshaw! 
Herbie's caught the moving bug. I don't really think that we've talked about it that much in front of him, but maybe we have. Also, his two favorite friends just moved.

When we drive around, he keeps saying things like,
"Mom, when our house is broken, can we move there?"
"Mom, when our house is broken, can we move to that house with the go-cart?" 
 Today, right before his nap, he demanded,
"Mom, I want to move tomorrow!"
"Where to?"
"Salt Lake!"
(What?!?!) "Salt Lake? Why do you want to move there?"
"So I can go to the Salt Lake Temple and get married!" 
I was curious to hear who he wanted to marry, so he went through a long list of impossible choices... me, Woo, Ruby... he finally ended up at his cousin. After I explained that he couldn't marry her, he said, "Ok, I'll just baptize her!" and giggled. Problem solved. I guess.

Well, Moses isn't potty-trained, but he did make significant enough progress this week for me to keep it up. He started requesting to go to the potty, which is really what I wanted to start seeing from him. He's getting it right about half the time, so I assume he'll make progress bit by bit.

Of course, any progress we make will all be flushed down the drain, when we go to Utah in three weeks (just like it always does!), but hopefully, he'll recover quickly when we get back.

Moses likes to get me to chase him. He knows when I'm trying to get his training pants on. He knows that I don't like him to go to the neighbors front porch, so he shoots me a smile, and giggles as he walks as fast as his stubby legs can carry him.

I've started to feel better **I was pregnant with Linus**, although, not totally. I managed to keep on top of the dishes, the laundry, and clean the kitchen. The living room, bedroom, and floors still are in a sorry state, and the yard. The yard's been taking care of itself for quite some time, and probably will continue to do so.

I made some extra money this week watching the 3- month old girl of a friend (easy as pie). For a long time, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do with the money, until I thought of hamburgers. I started to get giddy, as I thought of spending all of it, ALL OF IT on hamburgers!

When I told Woo of my plan, he actually thought I'd consider buying a grill and some fancy cheeses for a backyard BBQ.

What? Is he crazy?!

That way I'd end up getting like 2 hamburgers, and my way, I'll get like 50!

Plus, a homemade burger is not what I'm craving right now.

Anyway, that was the most exciting thing to happen to me in awhile :) 


PAST BLASTS are weekly emails I wrote to family and friends over the past 5 years. Pictures are contemporaneous with the email, but have been added later.