Linus (praying): Bless everyone to go right to sleep.
Especially ... Ruby, Herbie, Moses, Linus, Penelope and Archie.

For an FHE following a kid's birthday, the birthday kid gets a blessing from Woo, and Woo recently had the idea to make the whole FHE about that kid. This week Linus got his blessing and then we all watched a slideshow of pictures Linus afterwards.

Woo: We sure have a lot of cute pictures of you Linus. In fact, all of them. We have all the cute pictures of you.

Linus felt special and loved.

I've abandoned running. Partly because it wasn't helping me get in better shape. Partly because I was tired of running outside in single digits, and partly because Woo found me a new exercise app. It has cardio and resistance training (which is really what I was missing), and I'm finally seeing progress again. Anyway, one day I was doing the app, and Moses was doing it with me.

At the end the app says: Workout complete. Congratulations.
And Moses said: Thanks! ...whoever said that...

Moses (after running around and around a pole): Mom! Do you feel like the earth is spinning?

Mom! My clothes are not on backwards.

Herbie: Mom, the girls at school were being mean to me. They were saying I have a crush on Lizzy. Me: Yeah, that happened to me once. Everyone said I liked a boy when I didn't. I hated it. That's no fun, Herbie.
Herbie: Yeah.
**Seconds later**
Herbie: I kind of have a crush on Lizzy.

Ruby sewed her first stuffed animal by hand this week. An elephant that she gave to Herbie. She learned a lot.

Ruby is really flattering me about the book, or maybe I've just failed to inform her that just writing a book does not = publishing a book. She does frequently ask me to read what I've written, which makes me happy. Not just because it makes me think it's not a total snoozer, but because I really am writing it for her and the other kids. If nothing else, I can hand her a stack of papers some day.

Archie has discovered the joys of Peek-a-Boo. He likes to peek around one side of the armchair, laugh and laugh, turn around and crawl to the other side of the armchair, peek around, laugh and laugh, and crawl back to the first side, and so on. It is so sweet to me. Even sweeter? Watching him play it with any one of his older siblings.

Woo had one of those weeks where the car got stuck in 4 inches of ice before he had to go into work ... he drove all the way to the temple to find out it was closed ... it'd been a month since we'd been to the grocery store, so he got to take a lunch no one was even remotely envious of ... our walk today was interrupted by three moose in the middle of town ...

(actually, I don't think he was mad about that last one). Anyway, he wanted me to take this picture of the half-filled tire ruts in the ice after we finally got the car out of the ice, and he sped off to work. He'll think back on that incident fondly someday.

Well, that's it for our week. I hope yours was great!



Ever since Lyndy cut my hair, Penelope has liked to take a comb or a pencil or anything, really, to my hair to "give yous a haircut." I've not had a kid like to do my hair yet, but I'm not going to lie, it feels really good. Almost like a good back scratch, and I like it.

After church today, Ruby collected a ziplock bag full of an old styrofoam plate, snowflakes made by tearing in various states of disrepair, and a bunch of paper bits. I assumed it was headed for the trash, but no. She was taking it home to "make a nice plate out of it."

Archie! Stop being so cute!

And stay out of the dirty dishwasher!

I have no idea how it is at other schools, but the kendama is all the rage here. Of course, Herbie wants one, and of course, he doesn't have one. (I'd never even heard of them until two weeks ago!) Instead, he plays kendama using a beach ball as the ball, his head as the spike, and his hands as the big cup and little cup.

(Aside: I'm reminded of a story our old Branch President told of wanting to learn to play the piano. His parents were hesitant to go out and buy a piano for a kid who would quickly lose interest in it, so they drew him a keyboard on a piece of paper for him to practice his lessons on. He used that for quite awhile, and still loved the piano, so they upgraded to a little electric keyboard, and finally a real piano. He's a great piano player, and still plays quite a bit.)

Linus got some batman rain boots for his birthday that he loves, and they've been perfect for all the rain we've gotten this week. It's made him very curious about other people's rain boots, and he asked another mom at the bus stop why she didn't have batman ones like him. (Because everyone would, if they could, of course!)

Moses wanted to know why he'd gotten so many "Barbie" and "Princess" valentines, and later I found him toting around a Frozen valentine because he thought the girl on it was so pretty.

For Valentines Day, Woo gave me a giant bar of chocolate (that I downed in one sitting, thanks to no more nursing) and fixed the washing machine. Thanks Woo!

Well, that's all for today. Hope you had a great week!



Linus turned 4 this week. He was super, super excited, and thrilled with his bubble gun.

I overheard him ask Moses on his way to school, "Are you going to tell your teacher that I got a bubble gun for my birthday?"

(Ruby gave Linus the first and only hat she's every made for Christmas, and he wears that thing night and day. The pink and purple make lots of people think he's a little girl.)

Woo returned from refilling his drink on their birthday lunch to find Linus talking to a table of 4 teenagers, "I got a gun for my birthday!"

I'm glad to see that we've successfully indoctrinated Linus to our disheveled hair ways:
Linus (describing his teacher): And Mandy's hair was funny. Cuz she brushed it.
Do you think Moses got enough butter on his toast?

As a general rule, I try not to give the kids too much advance notice before anything exciting happens. I'd rather have them sleep in ignorance and behave normally, instead of having a bunch of kids up early in the morning yelling, and running around in excitement. 

But Herbie is on to me:
I knew Grandma and Grandpa were coming because Mom had me clean my room really good.

Moses, Herbie and Archie shared some precious male bonding moments when Moses farted loudly; they all laughed. Then Herbie farted loudly; they all laughed. And then Archie buzzed his lips over and over again to many more laughs all around.

Archie is now fully weaned, and he seems to be taking it okay. In the last 10 years, I've only had less than six months where I haven't been either pregnant or nursing. I seem to be taking it okay too.

In an effort to keep Archie away from his laptop, Woo's started to give him stray cords and remotes to play with.

That's safe, right?

Well, my cleaning at night was short lived. It's so much more fun to work on my book. One reason I never started a book earlier was because I was afraid it would be all consuming, exactly like reading a good novel, but I've found (at least for me) that it is not all consuming, but that the time I spend on it is at least as satisfying as reading a good novel. 

It's fun because I keep learning how to make my writing better; although I have to wonder if I'll ever finish. I've gotten about halfway through drafts 2 and 3, with each chapter getting better than the next. But then I learned a few more things that would make my storytelling so much better, that nothing but a complete start over would do. So, I'm a little over a chapter into draft 4.

For all her tough talk and love for Star Wars, Harry Potter and sharks, Ruby still has a feminine side. Penelope got two dolls for Christmas, and Ruby confiscated one for herself. She's made it a little bed out of a box, that she keeps right next to hers. She dresses it in clothes that are too small for Archie, and she and Penelope often play with their babies together. She checked out some books on fairytales and Shakespeare for kids that she's really enjoyed.

I think over Thanksgiving, perhaps? or some other time, Penelope saw Aunt Alisa place her sunglasses on her head, so now, whenever Penelope comes across a pair of sunglasses, she puts them on top of her head and yells, "I look like Aunt A-isa!"

One day she was sitting at the table as Aunt Alisa in front of a plate of uneaten crusts.
Me: Aunt Alisa eats her crusts, Penelope.
Penelope: Oh! (and gobbled them all up)

Woo tried to help Penelope spill less water all over herself and the tray after drinking from a Sacrament cup.
Woo: Nellpea, you need to drink all the water, so it doesn't spill. 
So when the water tray comes to her, she snatches the first cup, takes a tiny sip, dumps the rest of the water in the tray. Then snatches the next water cup, takes a tiny sip, ... in an effort to drink ALL the waters.

This week, Woo got a few runs in at the ski resort before driving into work. It confused Penelope who saw her dad drive off to go snowboarding, and then skyped him at work before bed.
Penelope (talking to Woo at work): I has another Dad. 
Woo: What's that, NellPea? (joking) Chelsey?! 
Penelope: Another Dad that's snowboarding.

Penelope always uses the word "am" for the be verb in any form. She says: he am funny! They am scary, etc. We usually just laugh and rarely correct her, except once.
Woo: I don't want you to learn this too soon, Penelope, but you should actually say "are."
And Penelope blew a giant raspberry at him and laughed.

Another one I think is super cute, but is discouraged in all instances is when she yells:
SHUB UB! (shut up!)

Woo's diet has quickly spiraled downhill into a whirlwind of fries, bacon, hamburgers (last week he came home craving a hamburger -- and he had just barely eaten one!), sugar sweetened cereal, apple crisp, strawberry shortcake, ribs, etc. with a few carrots and citrus thrown in.

He's started to complain about it, so he must be getting close to rock bottom -- after he finishes the few boxes of cinnamon toast crunch stashed in his office.

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



Archie's favorite place is the couch, especially if Woo is sitting there working and there are a bunch of cords and a laptop in reach. Or maybe a phone. 

Here's Archie high-centered yet again on one of the dining room chairs -- not panicked or anything, just calmly waiting for someone to come and save him.

What happened to dolls and books? Penelope asked for an iPod yesterday for her birthday. Woo immediately handed her a square shaped piece of cardboard and it was convincing enough that she and Linus had a little tiff over it.

Snowshoeing + Horses (she's terrified of them) = Penelope's Best Daddy Day ever??? 

But it was all worth it for Woo to get a few pictures with both Penelope and the horse in it. She'll thank him for that someday.

Ruby's making an effort to say better prayers. She uses the word "beautiful" a lot and with a lot of feeling. Woo and I often exchange smiles in the middle of her prayers.

Ruby began her paid babysitting career this week. She watched Linus, Penelope and Archie for 40 minutes or so while I ran Herbie to the school in a snow storm. When I got back, all four of them were sitting on the couch. Linus had Archie in his lap, and Ruby was reading them a story. She earned $0.50 and was thrilled.

It worked so well, that I asked Linus to watch Penelope while I took Moses to the bus stop in bad weather the next day. I was gone about 10 minutes, and Linus earned 6 chocolate chips. I gave Penelope 2 for being a good babysittee and they were thrilled, thrilled, thrilled.

Linus got a box of brownie mix for his birthday today in church and he carried that thing around like it was the most amazing thing anyone had ever given him. He stood on a bench in the kitchen and stirred the batter while announcing that he was going to eat them all. He didn't.

So far Herbie is our kid who most wants to do the things that the other kids at school are doing. He wants clothes like his friends have, toys like his friends have, and he really, really wants to play and watch football like his friends do.

Herbie: Mom, the Superbowl is tomorrow!
Me: Oh yeah?
Herbie: Do you know who's playing?!
Me: No.
Herbie: Why not?
Me: Because I don't really care ...
Herbie: It's the Seeetle Seahawks --!

Which set everyone off on a string of smart comments such as the Seeetle Seahawks vs the Dumber Broncos.

In his defense, Herbie was rooting for the Broncos, so he can be excused (maybe) for not knowing how to pronounce Seattle.

Turns out he had heard me about not caring who was playing. He asked me later why I didn't care, as if his feelings had been hurt a little bit. Whoops.

I found a folded up piece of paper with Herbie's New Years Resolution: Try to listen and do everything my mom tells me to. And I have to say, I had noticed.

Moses informed us what was going to happen at parent teacher conferences.

Moses: We'll go to the stations and read sight words and do a science experiment, and then we'll chit chat with Mrs. Hadwin ...

At that point we knew that he was repeating what he'd been told verbatim, because I don't think he's ever said the words "chit chat," but they sure were cute coming out of his little mouth.

His response below is also something I think he learned from his teacher.

Moses: I don't cry at school any more.
Me: Moses, you have A LOT of self-control when you want to.
Moses: Yeah, and I have A LOT of feelings.

There's a reason Woo and I aren't kindergarten teachers because we told him he had the same amount of feelings as everyone else, he was just still learning how to deal with them.

Moses and I put the least amount of work possible into his costume for the super hero party, but it was a success to the only person who mattered.

Me: Who had the best costume today?
Moses: ME!!

I saw the new, new temple movie this week. It was surprisingly ... intense. I think that's the right word for it. It was probably the most memorable and instructive session I've had since my first.

Woo recorded his voice saying, "Penelope, eat your food," and "Kids, clean up!" mixed them up, put them to music and played them over the speakers in the living room. It was fun to listen to, but not very effective, since Penelope didn't finish her dinner and the other kids all gathered around Woo to listen better, rather than clean up.

Well, that's our week. Hope you had a good one!