We had a nice quiet, summer week, mostly spent hanging out around home. Herbie and Woo did go to scout camp. Which Herbie loved, and best of all, Woo bought him a pocketknife.

Herbie: Mom, you know those toothpicks?
Me: Yeah.
Herbie: Well, I'm not going to ever need any more because my pocketknife has one.

Herbie: Mom, guess what, if I ever need tweezers, I don't need to borrow yours. I can just use my pocket knife.

I didn't point out that we're keeping his pocketknife in our possession except for supervised occasions, and that he can't just use the pocket knife whenever he wants, but he is pretty excited about it, and is massively entertained whenever he does get to use it.

Ruby really wanted a pocketknife, and has been asking for one for quite awhile, so it was a bit of a blow when Herbie came home with one. But she only ever asks me, not Woo, and Woo has now promised to buy her one before we go camping in the Uintahs.

Ruby taught FHE and got to pick the activity.
Woo: We only have five minutes left.
Ruby: Ok --- piggy backs!
Herbie (taking charge): Ok, I can take two kids at a time.

Herbie has also been counting down every single day of summer until school starts again.

I've been excited to further ingrain in my two oldest, my favorite summer break activity, which was reading. I've reserved lots and lots of books from the library, including some of my grade school favorites like The Diamond in the Window and The Three Investigators, and they have just burned through them. Some new favorites for both of them are the Betsy-Tasy books and Tintin. Ruby also really loved Tucket's Travels.

Moses has picked up the habit of chewing on something almost constantly. It's usually paper, but also sometimes little rubber toys like car wheels and the like. One night before putting him to bed, I held my hand under his mouth, and he spit out a dark and gooey wad of some mystery substance that he said was foam from Herbie's football helmet.

Me: Moses, you can't just put any thing in your mouth! You're going to end up getting poisoned! Nothing but food goes in our mouths!
Moses (the next morning): I'm glad I'm still alive. I'm never going to put anything but food into my mouth.

We'll see.

Linus doesn't seem to get heat. Or how to deal with it. He wore a long sleeve shirt, pants and a hoodie out to help Woo mow the lawn. Of course he was sweating. He prefers his darth vader slippers to bare feet and would still be wearing footy pajamas, if we hadn't outlawed it. In fact Woo has outlawed pants and long sleeved shirts for him. He's the only kid we've ever had to coax into shorts and a t-shirt.

Whenever we talk about kids or babies, Penelope still feels she's exempt.
No, I'm a mom!
Woo: Penelope, if you're a mom, who's your baby?
Apparently, this bit of logic had never occurred to her before because she sat in silence for awhile. Then she said slowly: Archie's ... my ... friend ...
Woo: Archie's Mom's baby, Penelope. Who's your baby?
And she didn't really ever come up with a good answer to that.

One of Penelope and Linus' bonding phrases is: Bum-bitty bum, bum, bum! They like to shout it and laugh together, and often Penelope will say: Whinus! Remember bum-bitty bum, bum, bum? And they'll be off.

Archie is still not walking. He will take a four or five steps and then stop. Sometimes he will clap as if he's accomplished something. The more we try to encourage him to do more, the less he does. 18 months is coming up here quick.

He's also developed a "smile" for the camera. This is it:

It did rain one day this week, so the kids got to watch a movie. Luckily, someone gave us this portable DVD player right about the time ours died. And because of the novelty, the kids probably like it better.

Well, that's about it for our week. Hope your's was great!



We had a busy weekend last week visiting family for Fathers Day. It meant that Woo didn't really have much of a Fathers Day, but he did get this giant bowl of cereal, at least. 

I was so tired that I fell asleep at 8:30 and slept all night. It was wonderful, but no email. So here are a couple of random things from the last two weeks.

Linus gave his first talk in Primary. I was a little bit nervous about him giving it right off of coming home from Capitol Reef, but he memorized it fine, and was excited. He was so tiny when he stood up, we could barely see him over the podium. He started out great, but got nervous and hung up on a long string of rapid "ums" and "ahs." I had to feed him a few words from the back row to get him back on track. He had no idea that it was me that had helped him. He later told me that it had been his primary teacher.

Linus (eyeing the cantaloupe): Dad, will you cut some antelope for me? 

I rarely (never?) put sunblock on my kids (I have my reasons, but will spare you right now), but the kids think it's cool. This is how Linus asks for it:
Linus: Mom, I wish we could get some sunburn right now. 

Archie has decided he's too old to eat food that's been cut up or torn into little pieces. He will toss them all to the floor. He wants the whole apple, sandwich, whatever. He does well with like a whole banana, but he's obviously not there for everything yet. Another thing he's decided he's entitled to do is ambush the garbage can and fish out any apple or pear cores that anyone throws in. Pretty gross. I have to watch him in the kitchen.

Herbie's getting pretty good on the skateboard. He's really comfortable skating up and down the street and swerving, turning, etc. He was not interested in my suggestion that he take it off the jump. (I wouldn't have been either.) Also he can ride his bike without hands for an indefinite straight-coursed period. No more counting the seconds his hands are up for him.

Moses is also working on his no-hands skills. He can ride pretty far. Woo loved this berry soul patch that he got at the BBQ.

This one is a tough one to read, because it has to do with pronunciation, but I'll try. For background, I have a great-grandfather named Christ (pronounced crisp, but with a t at the end, so crist), and there was a kid in our ward named Jesus (who's Mexican).
Herbie: I know how to spell Christ (crist). Like Christ!Me: Yes.Ruby: And Jesus (the Mexican) is spelled Christ!

One book Ruby read last week was The Adventures of Ulysses. While telling me all about it, she kept calling him Useless.

There's still a lot my kids have to learn ...
Ruby (observing some people in the park): Those people over there were playing bad music. And then they said a prayer.  
I don't get it. 
Me: Hmmmm ... (A lot of things I could've said here, but decided upon:) How do you know it was bad music? 
Ruby: Because it kept saying "Shut up! Shut up!" stuff like that. 
Penelope: They's need they's mouth wash out with soap!

I'm sure Woo won't mind me telling everyone that he has a Brittany Spears t-shirt. He wears it oh, once every other year or so. Anyways, he wore it this week.
Penelope: Dad! There's a woman on your shirt! 
Oh! That's Tyson, actually!
Penelope (crying): I got hurt. I need to go to jail.

One night last week I opened the door to go up the stairs to check on the kids before bed, and a bat flew down at me. I ran back into the bedroom to Woo, and the bat followed me. I figured this was my chance to check on the kids and left Woo and the bat alone in our room. When I came back, Woo had fashioned an elaborate contraption with his pillowcase, a hanger, and a broom pole. The bat was nowhere to be seen. 

Woo is a pretty reliable spider/wasp/mouse killer, but apparently bats are not his specialty, and I had to help. Neither one of us was excited to see the bat again, but it was decided that I would harass the bat out of it's hiding place in a cubby while Woo waited with his homemade net. I poked at the basket in the cubby, expecting a bat to fly at my face any second, but it never did. Bolder efforts didn't work either. Finally, I had to pull the basket completely out, with my face right up there. No bat. 

Woo saw it attached to the back, and clamped the net over it. We carefully moved as one (him holding the pillowcase/net, me holding the basket) out of the room, out the front door and onto the porch. Woo worked his magic at that point to get the bat into his pillowcase, but neither one of us had the guts to get the bat out of that. We left the pillowcase on the porch over night, and in the morning the bat was gone. Whew.

In other news: someone reserved and printed out the temple ordinance work for the man I accidentally marked dead on FamilySearch. It's been a brilliant family history debut.

Well that's all for this week. Hope yours was great!



We had a good night and packed up camp. Lyndy found us another trail called Sulphur Creek. It was like a Narrows for toddlers, which was perfect.

All the kids loved it, but Penelope giggled and giggled while splashing in the water.

We stopped when we reached a small waterfall and just let all the kids splash around for awhile.

Archie was content to just be a spectator.

Penelope was fascinated by Hazel. She kept calling her "the baby." Penelope must be a lot older in her own mind. And I guess maybe that should be obvious since she keeps telling anyone who will listen that she's a mom and a big kid.

The kids found a big chalk deposit nearby. Which after splashing around in the water, was the next logical thing to roll around in.

When we got back it was time to part ways. We headed home and Lyndy and co. headed for the "pallogriphs."

And that's all. Fun recovery week up ahead.


This week we took off for Capitol Reef National Park. We drove into the park just in time to eat dinner in the park by the visitors center and then find ourselves a nice camping spot in the middle of nowhere. (Those are our tents and car just to the left of Herbie's mouth in the picture above.)

We put the kids to bed about an hour late, but as I Woo and I lay in separate tents with wiggling and giggling kids who refused to go to sleep, we had an epiphany that we should've had a long time ago: the kids are not going to go to sleep before the sun goes down on a camping trip. 

Also, we will never enjoy time in the evening around the campfire without them. There is no use even trying because by the time they finally fall asleep, that's all we want to do too.
Woo (lecturing Herbie): As the oldest, you should've been the bigger man. I don't care if Moses was fooling around, you were giggling and that was not helping at all. 
I was in a tent with Archie. Did that mean that I rolled up a mat and played peekaboo out the other end with him? And then took pictures? And then poked him in his round belly until he giggled? 
But I did not keep everyone else awake.

In the morning we viewed some petroglyphs (mildly interesting) and went on a (to be honest) pretty boring hike of my own choosing (Grand Wash).

The most exciting thing that happened was Linus found this phone so he could take some pictures and chat while hiking.

The second most exciting thing that happened was a giant guided tour from Dixie State came down the trail. A couple of them took pictures of the kids.

Penelope was pleasantly surprised to see someone that looked like Grandma. And then another. And then another.
Penelope: That looks like Grandma!
And that looks like Grandma!
And that looks like Grandma!
We went on the scenic drive, which was scenic and had the added bonus of putting five out of six kids to sleep.

And then the fun could begin because the cousins were here!

Lyndy turned out to be a much better hike picker than I was. We immediately went on one that had lots of little "caves" for the kids to explore.

We ate dinner again in the park with some deer. Moses and Herbie kept talking about petting one, but it was all talk. They never got any closer than what you see here.

And we went back to camp. Brody set up their tent. 

Herbie continued his infatuation with girl cousins by taking Taija on a hike up the nearest peak. Ruby and Marcus and Moses dug up "crystals" they found and made a castle of them. Linus and Bentley discovered they were the same age. Something that Bentley found hard to believe because "I'm bigger than him."
Bentley: I'm in pre-kore (preschool) 
Woo: You're going into the peace corps, Bentley? 
That's great. You'll bring the world a lot of peace.
Moses won the award for dirtiest face.

And yes, the competition was quite fierce.

Brody got a campfire roaring and then took off for a mountain dew. Er ... some candles to ward away the gnats ...

The fire worked it's universal magic by causing some kids to ponder the complexities of life.

Others were compelled to tell tall tales. (Ruby told a long and meandering tale that Woo pronounced "riveting." Marcus recounted the plot of The Sandlot.)

It caused others to reflect on the beauty of nature and family relationships.

And others to fight with all their might to keep their eyes open just one second longer.

It even caused some to suddenly become camera shy.

And then it was time to go to bed.

To be continued ...