A friend of ours from St. Louis dropped by and shocked and impressed all the kids by ripping up a dandelion and chomping the flower. Moses has been doing it ever since. And smearing it all over his face to prove it.

Here he is on his field trip shooting from the firehose and putting on the clothes faster than anyone in the whole kindergarten (which may or may not be up for debate).

Me (waiting for Penelope to brush her teeth): Come here, Little Bum.
Penelope (crying): No!! I has a BIG bum!!!
Later ...
Me (singing our teeth brushing song): Brushity-brush brushity-brush, NellPea's little teethies get nice and clean ...
Penelope (crying through the toothbrush): No! I has BIG teeth!!

Inspired by Ruby, Penelope's written her own patriotic song:
Red, white and blue!
Red, white and blue!
Pink! Pink! Pink!!
And Penelope's word for scriptures: Uptures!

Unlike most parents, sometimes Woo and I get tired. And lazy. And mentally taxed. And in the heat of the moment we often threaten something ridiculous like: No school tomorrow! (And then we'll have to come up with some way the kids can "earn" going to school, so they can go to school ... )

Anyways, we decided that we needed to just a have a good go-to thing that we could use without having to put any thought into it. We decided on The Extra Chore (dunh, Dunh, DUNH) and told the kids about it the next morning.

Herbie (getting a giant smile on his face): Oh, fun!!

Here's Herbie doing a little yard work just for the fun of it.

And his first color guard, where he did whatever he could just to get a pinky on the flag.

Linus (encountering his first snapdragon): Dad? Do these have teeth?
Woo: No, it's a flower.
Linus (confused): But they have mouths ...

Apparently Herbie doesn't quite understand how allergies work.
Herbie: Dad, are you allergic to cats?
Woo: Yeah.
Herbie: How?! What happens if you see one?
Woo (under his breath): When I see one?
(out loud) I throw up all over the place.
Ruby: No you don't.
Woo: Yes, I do. See there's a cat. 
Blegh ...
Woo (on our walk): Sometimes I wish I was Amish.
Me: Why?
Woo: No cars.
Me: Or computers ... or internet ... or ....
Woo: Dang it, Technology! You win this round!

Ruby is constantly building forts or houses or club houses outside. This week she built a "cowboy house" under an under-utilized tree in the pasture. It has tall grass for walls, tree for a ceiling and strewn hay for a floor. Which is why it's called the cowboy house, of course.

Archie is still standing, but unwilling to take any steps. I think now that we've had three kids not walk until 18 months that it's probably safe to say that it's something we're doing. Maybe we're not pressing the issue enough because we really aren't worried about it, and he really is a great crawler. He's also a great dancer, and will really get into music, moving his head and singing until someone gets the camera out. Then it's time to stop.

I got my day off this week and had a lot of fun shopping. I feel like I've been wearing the same things over and over for years, and I have. And even when I have been shopping I rarely find stuff I like anymore. But this time was different. I got almost a closet full of new clothes thanks to Savers, Ross and H&M clearance. H&M was the biggest treat. I was thrilled to have one close by and even more thrilled to find so many clothes I liked and that fit.

Well, that's all for this week. Talk to you later!



No pictures this week because of computer issues, but we'll hopefully be back in business next week.

Does this happen in other houses with small children when the mom pulls out a big bowl of cooked broccoli and starts spooning it out?
Penelope: I like broccoli!
Moses: Yeah, thanks for making broccoli, Mom. 
Hey! How come Linus got a big one like that and I didn't get any?
Although, Herbie threatened mutiny if we had salad again. I think we had it as a side five days this week -- I don't want the greens to go bad!

The kindergarten field trip was this week. They went to the fire station and the public library.
Moses: Guess what, Mom! We got to put on the fireman's clothes and we had a race and I was the fastest!
And later,
Moses: We had a race here, and I won everybody!
As much as I want to believe that Moses is always the best and the fastest, I'm not always sure that he is. I mean he is pretty fast. It is possible that he is. But it's also possible that he's not. Plus, it's kindergarten. Which is why my reactions to this sort of news are usually along the lines of "Hmmm, really? That's great." Which thankfully, seem to suit him just fine.

I can't remember if I've written this one before, but whenever anyone asks the kids where they'd like to go on their missions, Linus always gets a giant smile on his face and yells, "Idaho!!"

(FYI, Ruby wants to go to Germany or China. Herbie wants to go to Portugal or Egypt, and Moses wants to go to Portugal.)

Linus still enjoys a lot of attention. As the kindergarten bus drove away he told me: I know why all the kids on the bus are looking at me. Because I'm cute.

But hopefully we've instilled enough nerdiness in him.
Woo (looking at the smarties in Linus' hand): Did you get that cause you're a smarty?
Linus (in his most giggly, nasal, nerdy voice): No! I'm not a smarty! It's cause I was good in class!!!

Woo has started to help Archie pray by saying a simple prayer with words Archie can say like mom, dad, etc. and encouraging Archie to repeat him. He also tries to get Archie to repeat a few words of scripture after him, with minimal results. I realized this week that Woo has probably taught all of our kids to pray by doing it exactly in this way, as soon as the kids have been old enough to say a handful of words.

Ruby had a big week this week. The third grade had their patriotic program that Ruby loved. She's been singing patriotic songs for weeks, which has reminded Woo and I of all the patriotic songs we learned in grade school. Part of me is a little bit sad that for most people it ends there, and they never get sung again. I can't help but think that the country would be better off if we all sang some songs about our country more often.

Anyways, Ruby loved performing in the program. She would rock her hips during the intro to all the songs, and then belt them out as loud as she could. It was definitely my favorite school program of the kids' so far. I almost got teary-eyed a couple of times. I hope the other kids get to do it too, even though two of the teachers in charge are retiring this year.

Herbie and I have had some fun this week doing sprints around the house after dinner. The kids don't like to race me head to head anymore, but they like to do a staggered start to see if they can keep me from catching them, and also they like to race separately and compare times. Most of the fun for Herbie is probably getting to use the phone to time me or Moses.

Herbie and Woo had fun doing yard work and weeding dandelions (and yes, I think they both enjoy it). Herbie was in charge of moving the big trashcan around from dandelion patch to dandelion patch.

Woo was very neighborly this week. He helped our neighbor behind us move out old junk, helped the neighbor to the south move some stuff in their house. He went on a drive with the guy moving in behind us to see the land he wants to buy and build his dream house on. He talked to lots of neighbors about yaks and tillers and amtrak.

I'm still working on my book. I got some feedback and started some revisions, when I realized that really my biggest problem was that I hadn't planned enough. Of course, I had planned some, but I really needed to do more. First I had to learn what needed to be planned and how. Then I had to plan. I'm kind of in a plan some then write some section now. Anyways, it continues to be the perfect hobby for me. Very enjoyable and satisfying and perfect for winding down at the end of the day.

I also still love teaching the Laurels in YW. I have some really great Laurels, who give insightful comments at the drop of the hat. I've found that my lessons go best when I plan as minimally as possible. I pick some scriptures or a bit of a talk from the lesson, we read those, I ask some questions and the Spirit takes us from there.

Anyways, that's all for our week. Hope yours was great!



Moses, Linus, Penelope and I rode our bikes around the church playing follow-the-leader. We saw a chipmunk that the kids were fascinated by.
Linus: Is it scared of people? 
Me: Yes. 
Penelope: No!! It can eat people! 
Me: No, it doesn't eat people. 
Penelope (nervous giggle): Oh.

We're working on memorizing the 10th Article of Faith, which led to a discussion about which tribe we belong to (Ephraim). This was Ruby's prayer just a few minutes later.

Ruby: Thank you that we could belong to the tribe of Zeniff ...

Moses has felt a strong need this week to be entertained. Everyday he'd ask what we were going to do fun, and he had a tough time cleaning up or staying on task, or pretty much anything except one shining hour when he told me he was "trying to be like Jesus." In that hour he cleaned his own room, made Herbie's bed, helped Linus clean up his legos, etc.

Woo takes the kids to the potty before Sacrament meeting, but I took Linus today. I took him in the women's restroom.
Linus: Dad takes me in the boys bathroom. 
Me: I know, but I can't go in there, so we're going in here. 
Linus: What would happen if you went in there? 
Me: Ummm ... 
Linus: Would you go to jail?
I substituted Sunbeams again to day. At one point we reviewed the Creation and the kids got to pretend to be their favorite animal. The other kid chose a respectable lion. Linus crawled around snorting like a pig.

Now that I know Archie can talk, I've been able to get him to repeat quite a few words. Hat, shoe, etc. He requested the potty for the first time this week, "foof" and has started announcing results when he's already there, but he's far from trained. Just regular progress.

The kids were in torture being around so many bars of Mothers Day chocolate after church and no one even offering them some.
Linus: Can I have one, Mom? 
Me: Are you a mom? 
Penelope: I'm a mom! Mom, I'm a mom!! 
Me: Well ... you'll be a mom someday ... Ok ... you're probably a mom ... yes ... but the chocolate is for moms now.

Herbie was incensed that Ruby showed me the Mothers Day card he had made me yesterday and ruined the surprise. He did a lot of yelling and chased her around the room and almost cried. I guess he forgot that he'd run and showed it to me the second he'd gotten home from school on Friday and that we'd already read it together. He didn't believe me until he asked me what he'd put for the D in MOTHERHOOD. "Calling me dude" (which I don't). "Oh."

Woo finally got tired of working too much so he set up an hour-by-hour daily schedule. He was able to do things that he hasn't done in months -- weed dandelions, go on a few mountain bike rides ... He even ate three full meals a day for a few days, but that turns out to feel like too much food for him.

I celebrated my birthday and Mothers Day this week. I got two giant Symphony bars, even more chocolate, a dinner at an Indian restaurant, to watch Catching Fire (finally), breakfast in bed, several homemade cards and gifts (a smashed water bottle from Penelope). I haven't taken my annual day off yet, but that's coming up sometime in the next week or so. I'm in dire need of some new clothes.

Anyways, that's all I've got for the week. Happy Mothers Day!



One night after dinner Woo took Linus out and he learned to ride a bike. Woo said he thinks Linus was the fastest to learn yet. He sometimes forgets to steer or watch where he's going and will ride right off the road, but he's good to go.

No one was more excited for him than Penelope.

She was also the least likely to watch where she was going and most likely to run right into Linus and his bike.

Tonight during scripture study, Archie stood for the first time. The last three kids have learned to walk and/or stand during family scripture time. I thought it was because they wanted an audience. Woo says it's because they were inspired by the scriptures.

He kept repeating something over and over. It was either "Archie" or "I did." Another thing we've deciphered is "I foof" for potty related accomplishments.

Archie is also the fattest 15 month old we've ever had. When we took him in for his well-child check-up, we were expecting the doctor to say something about how little he is when she walked in (like they always do). When she didn't, we brought it up ourselves, and she said his weight was fine. Below average, but comfortably placed on all the charts. Way to go, Archie!

Now Penelope's making up scripture.
Penelope: Linus you just pushed me off! 
What would Jesus do? 
He say, "Don't! Push! Off!" 

I could tell that Herbie had just made a huge mistake and was about to learn an important lesson the second Linus burst into the house and yelled:
Mom! Herbie told me a secret! And I can not tell anyone the secret!
I think he spilled the beans immediately after that statement.

Herbie didn't finish his chore before school so had to do an extra one in the afternoon.
Herbie (fingering a piece of perfect length grass): The grass is getting long. 
Can I mow the lawn for my extra chore?
Me: Um, no. You can't even mow the lawn by yourself yet. 
Herbie: Yes, I can! 
I only need help when I'm going in a straight line.  
Me: Which is a pretty important part of mowing the lawn. 
Herbie: No!
Now that he's eight, Herbie fasted for one meal for the first time today. Immediately after church was out he fingered the chocolate someone had just given him and told me, "That was horrible! I'm never fasting again!"

He ran home, said a prayer to break his fast, devoured the chocolate, and started reading a book -- completely forgetting to actually eat anything else.

Moses taught the Family Home Evening lesson on Jesus' childhood, and even he learned something. He held up a picture of Jesus and Joseph working with wood.
Moses: And he learned how to be a carpenter ...  
But there isn't any carpet?!!
That's Moses and his mismatch socks on the left, waiting to give his talk in Primary.

Ruby spent some time setting up a library in her room. She stood books all along one side of the room, made herself a librarian name tag, made cards for keeping track of checkouts and also wrote out a chart. She wanted to offer drinks and refreshments as well, even going so far as to reveal that she was now saving up money to put in a vending machine, but I put my foot down to that.

Me: Ruby set up a library in her room.
Woo: I hope she didn't get out a marker and write in all the books ... like we did when we did the same thing ... or I'll have to get really mad ...
Ruby says there is a boy at school who likes her. Herbie confirms it. He's in sixth grade. Ruby's in third.

Here was my Sunday: Get kids fed and ready for church alone, teach YW, teach Sunbeams, bear testimony and wrestle with cranky Linus in Sacrament meeting, nap, fix dinner for us and Woo's home teachees, "entertain", walk, bedtime routine, get kids in bed, and ... I'm not exhausted mentally or physically. Hooray!!

Well, that's it. I hope you had a good week.