This week we took our biannual (semiannual) trip to Rexburg to visit Woo's sister Karen and her family. We were delighted to find their new (to us) race track painted on the basement floor. Karen and Peter told us that the track+two scooters=the best Christmas present ever. And we'd have to agree.

It rained a lot, but it didn't matter. Mostly kids just had fun playing with their cousins. Last visit Hyrum and Jake made Penelope cry. This visit she was their favorite cousin. Ruby participated in her first tea, excuse me, cocoa party. She enjoyed dressing up and acting refined with Alina and Christina. She was dubbed Princess Purity. I assume because Princess Sophistication was already taken--by Alina.

Karen, Peter, Woo and I were able to sneak away for a quick gelato date while Pete kept everyone else alive, and Karen and I left the men in charge while we went to the General Women's Conference with Ruby, Christina, Alina and Eve. Karen spent most of the time in the hall since Eve had recently discovered squawking, but I think we all enjoyed it.

By the way they were acting in Sacrament meeting, I was afraid both Moses and Linus were going to refuse to go to Primary. Luckily, I thought to steer Moses in Josh's direction, and had Herbie take Linus. They walked off feeling independent, but also safe, and I avoided that tricky mom-to-strange-teacher handoff that was sure to be a disaster.

Thanks Karen and Peter!

Whenever Penelope gets to pick a movie, she always picks a Shirley Temple one. Part of that is because they're in pink case, but I also think those slow, older movies hold her attention a little better.
Me (helping Penelope with the top snap of her jammies): Are you sure you want these on? You can't wear them outside.  
Penelope: No! They're outside jammies!

I was happy to hear Herbie and Moses laughing together at breakfast over something they'd read together in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Herbie is good about reading to his younger siblings whenever they ask.

Herbie told us his class did an art project featuring their favorite food. Here's what the other kids did: cookies, cupcakes, hamburger, fries, blueberry cake, jolly rancher, pizza. Here's what Herbie did: a salad with a carrot on top.

Me (detecting an odd smell coming from Herbie's feet): You need to change your socks every day, Herbie. You can't wear socks even two days in a row.  
Herbie: Two days? Try two weeks! 
Well, no wonder.

Linus has taken on the role of manly bug killer.
Eliza (a friend pointing from the couch at a boxelder bug): “EEEW!! A Spider!”  
Linus: I’ll get it! Can I use your shoe?”  
Eliza: No!  
Woo: You can use my shoe, Linus.  
Penelope (raising her arms and opening her eyes wide): Die it! INTO THE SKY! 
Linus (lifting the shoe): It’s mashed.   
Penelope: It’s moving!  
Eliza: It’s moving, Linus!!!  
Linus: I’m going to get a kleenesk.  
Penelope: Go get a kleeneks!
He had better success with that bug than with the spider he found in my room and hunted for full ten minutes. It didn't help that he picked up a pair of Woo's shoes that had 1" wide cleats with 1" wide spaces in between.

Archie has learned "stop it!" He says: TOPfft! TOPffit! He had one more outing in the flour, before we got smart and put the lids on tight on our ten gallon buckets.

Woo's started a few extra projects to get himself on the All Stress Diet--and he's lost 10lbs!!!

Even though probably every day I have to deal with something that's a pain in the rear, I'm also feel like I'm currently living through the best time of my life. I'm a lucky gal to have a supportive, caring husband, and that I get to spend my days with my own children, whom I love and enjoy more than anything. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make things run smoother and better, and it's so fulfilling when it does. Of course, our lives would be a lot harder, if we didn't the Spirit in our home, and I'm so grateful that I know how to invite the Spirit and that I can teach those skills to my children. I'm a happy lady (even if I rarely smile :).

Hope you've all had a great week!



I know this is kind of surprising for me to say because we didn't have such a great day today, but I think this is the best back-to-school period we've had in four years. I don't know if it's because I'm not pregnant or caring for a newborn, or whether we've learned a few tricks, or whether the kids are getting older, or whether I'm just better at handling craziness now. Probably a bit of everything. I haven't really noticed an adjustment period in Herbie at all. Anyways, I'm happy to be able to enjoy fall again, with only a few hiccups.

I spent Monday morning on the phone with the original Urgent Care clinic, our insurance and other orthopedic clinics trying to find my own hand specialist to get a cast on Moses ASAP.  This was actually a much more pleasant experience than you might expect. Our insurance and the other clinics had excellent customer service. The original clinic is still seemingly stuck in the dark ages, and we won't be going there again. Anyways, we were able to get Moses in Monday afternoon, and we could all breath a collective sigh of relief.

After I accidentally stepped on Linus' foot:
Linus: Mom! You almost broke my foot thumb!!
Me: Your big toe?
Linus: No! My foot-thumb! 
Me helping Moses with his first bath since the temporary cast.
Moses: I'm going to get really clean!
Me: It feels good doesn't it?
Moses: Yeah, except this hand (with cast).
Me: It'll be a long time before that hand gets really clean.
Moses: It'll have flies flying around it. Like a horse. 
I certainly hope not.

After her bath, I watched Penelope walk out of the bathroom strategically holding a bench in front of her. She backed into her bedroom, yelling at everyone to "Don't look at my's bum!" I'm happy to see that we finally have one child with an ounce of modesty.

Woo (while Moses "lies" on his back): My goodness! That kid has seventeen elbows! Each one sharper than the last!

Ruby and I went to the 10AM session of the Ogden Temple dedication, leaving all the other kids alone with Woo. We returned to an uproar. Apparently Archie had lifted the lid of the bucket of powdered milk, dumped lots of it all over the floor and then peed in it.


I think Archie's new found penchant for disaster is taking us a bit off guard because Penelope was so tame. All she ever wanted to get into was the kids' dishes. Actually, maybe all the kids except Ruby and Archie have been pretty tame. Ruby was the mess-making king. I can remember that going in anyone else's house was torture because I could never relax for even a second. People would say, "Oh, she can't hurt anything in here." Oh, yes. Yes she could.

This afternoon the little kids asked Woo, who was lying on the couch in a stupor, for some "ribbits."
Herbie: Come here, Linus. I'll give you some ribbits.
Woo: Herbie, you're twice the father I've ever been.

Woo got to fulfill a life long dream of playing around with a metal detector. Some friends brought a few over and they found some old spoons, a toy firetruck, an old cap gun, some other recent coins, and some junk. Of course.

We did get shown all the fun stuff that the serious treasure hunters have found over a period of 9 years or so, and it was pretty impressive. Guns from the 1800s, the State of Utah commemorative spoons, lots of antique rings, lots of antique coins, some pretty neat locks, fobs, needle case covers--lots of stuff.

Well, that's about it. Hope you're enjoying your September.



This week Moses fell apart. First he lost a tooth, which he actually asked the dentist to pull for him. We heard his little scream from the waiting room when it happened. Turns out it hurt. I don't know what he was expecting, but it's gone.

Then about two days later, he stood on a deck above me and said, "Mom, will you catch me?" I was in the process of telling him no, when he jumped. And he might have just made it, the deck was only about six feet high, but his shorts caught and tore on a protruding nailhead and he landed hands first.

We thought at first, it might be sprained--it looked ok, he could move everything, there was no swelling--but in the morning, it was pretty clear it was broken. So I took him into the Urgent Care. Two hours later, we walked out to the car, only to have the nurse chase after us. She hadn't even bothered to talk to the doctor? Or find out what was going on? She'd just assumed it was sprained and sent us on our way with a brace. Turns out we needed a temporary cast. After another 45 minutes or so, we were finally able to go.

That temporary cast is driving us nuts. Moses trips and falls on that darn broken arm about five times a day, and it's clear it's pretty painful every single time. We're scared to send him to school with it, where recess and lines full of 6 year olds and walks across grass lie in wait to accost him.

Herbie was the nicest sibling. The evening it happened, he hurried and did his before dinner chore, told Moses he didn't have to do his, set up a soft nest of pillows for him on the coach and placed a bench with a tower of pillows on it next to Moses' place for dinner, then he sat down and read Moses stories. He also later made Moses bed, took down his dirty laundry and helped him dress.

Ruby cried that no one had been that nice to her when she'd broken her arm (which I'm sure plenty of us were, but sometimes it's easy to feel sorry for yourself.)

Speaking of Ruby, she had her unit on cloud types, and is constantly labeling every cloud in the sky for us. I'm sure she'll retain those names a lot longer than I have because of it. I can only remember like two. She also came home from school with a spider in a bottle. She and a few friends had spent their recess catching spiders. I didn't even look at it--just told her it couldn't come in the house. A day or two later, she told me that the spider her friend had brought home was a hobo and her mom had made her flush it down the toilet. I don't think they catch spiders anymore.
Woo (to Ruby): If you could change one thing about your dad, what would it be?
Ruby: President of the United States? Bishop? Prophet?
Doesn't look likely that Woo will ever live up to her expectations.

Linus is currently on a stretch of being very good (it won't last forever, don't worry). He's doing a great job of cleaning up his room and making his bed and picking up other rooms in the house. He likes to "babysit" Archie and "read" books. My other kids tell me that Linus was hilarious in Primary today. When they drew his name in Sharing Time, he jumped up, raced to the front, did a little dance and a cartwheel--all in his little tuxedo with tails.

Penelope has decided that the best time to change her clothes is when she's supposed to be sleeping. Send her up early to put her pajamas on? No, she doesn't want them, but they'll be on the first ten minutes after she's supposed to be lying quietly in bed. Use the potty before naps? No, she doesn't need to go--until everyone is all settled in. Then she needs to GO POTTY! And she can cry loud enough and long enough to prove it.

Archie is learning all the essential little boy words like: car and truck and buttball (It doesn't matter what kind of ball it is, they're all buttballs to him.) He can also say dog, but he prefers to stick out his tongue and pant instead of actually saying the word. He's tries to climb on any bike or skateboard lying around, with very little success.

SpaceMonkey (the startup Woo's been working for) has been bought by Vivint. Working for Vivint, or any big company at all, was not where Woo would've imagined himself a year ago, but things (so far) seem to be pretty close to the same. He still only goes in one day a week, although the commute is about 10 minutes longer each way. Plus we got new t-shirts--and candy--and Woo got a new windbreaker. How could we not be won over???

Well, that's about it. Hope you had a great week. I'm hoping our next week is quieter.



Woo left this for me after I told him of a humiliating social encounter I'd had earlier in the day. And then later that night we listened to a lot of music, trying to help an engaged couple pick out their reception playlist. Listening to lots of music always puts Woo in a good mood and brings back pleasant memories for him, but for me, it usually brings back painful, humiliating ones. 

Almost all of them from the same summer--the summer before I started dating Woo. My roommate Bonnie was either engaged or at least dating her husband, so she was never around. That left my friend, Karly, as my only hope for social interaction. Karly had just moved into a house with a group of cool, artsy girls who literally had a party at their house every night the whole summer. And I thought, well, I can do this. I can be cool--to disastrous results.

One night I went over and there were only about a ten people--much tamer than usual. A game was decided upon where a random song would be played and one person would act out the song or do some interpretive dance alone in the middle of the kitchen. The first person to go was a dance major; she obviously knew what she was doing. And the next and the next. A boy went, who was clearly not a dancer, but was hilarious. And then it was my turn. I stood in the kitchen, everyone looking at me. They started my song. I threw out a few awkward movements and then I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. Everyone was looking at the floor, the wall, the ceiling, anywhere but me. The song finally ended. I think one person went after me, but after that the game was over. The fun was gone. I left soon afterwards.
Me: I don't know what I was thinking. I think I thought it would be lamer for me to refuse to try. 
Woo (barely able to breath): You were wrong.
The summer ends well, because I met a boy at Karly's house who invited me to play Ultimate (which I'm a bit better at than dancing). Woo was there. I went to lots of gigs around town with Karly. Woo was always there, and he was always nice. Plus, some prodding from Tyson and Lyndy and one instance of me doing what I thought a "normal person" would do, and by some miracle, I got myself married.

Anyways, telling Woo that story and realizing it was funny was very cathartic. Maybe after telling him a few dozen more stories, all from that same summer, I'll be able to listen to music without pain again.

After seeing Penelope walk into several houses, spread her arms wide, look up at the ceiling and say, "Oh! My house is a lot bigger than this house!" I realized that she might not be understanding the meanings of bigger and smaller.
Me: NellPell, who's hand is bigger? Mine or yours? 
Penelope: My hand! My hand is much bigger! Your's is smaller!

Linus: Hey Mom! That's a batman sign down there!

Ruby had a swollen eye last week, a swollen upper lip and a rash this week, a migraine the week before--this getting back to school thing is rough on her body (and us).

Woo (greeting me after my run): Archie was a terror!

And he suddenly is. Every second he's got a hand in the flour, or in the oats, or in the garbage. Or he's pulling food off the counters, or out of the fridge. I find him walking out of Woo's office with Woo's wallet or Woo's keys. Or he's standing on the table or the window sills. Or dumping food on the living room carpet.


Woo took the three oldest boys to their annual free football game. Linus had absolutely no idea what was going on. He wanted to know if the players could drive. An important piece of information to help him gauge how old they were. 

Woo accused Herbie of having the smallest bladder in the world. There was a bit of a disagreement before it was decided that Herbie had actually used the potty three times in the hour and a half they were there. Always makes for a fun outing.

Moses is loving first grade. His favorite part is lunch. He comes home every day convinced that he was the best behaved kid in the first grade. I don't think that's entirely true, but I'm not going burst his bubble.

Hope you all had a great week!



One night there was a loud thunderstorm. Linus told me that he had said lots of prayers--that the thunderstorm would go away, that he would be safe, and that he could go back to sleep. I asked him if he said his prayers in his head or out loud. He said out loud. I thought it was so sweet to think of little Linus scared in bed during a thunderstorm, saying his prayers out loud.

The most exciting thing that happened to me this week happened in Walmart. I walked down an empty aisle in Walmart and was followed by three teens. I was suddenly on high alert--very aware of everything they were doing (pretending to look at stuff on the shelves, but mostly keeping tabs on me), and I felt really unsettled. The feeling was so palpable, I almost asked them what they were doing, but the thought entered my head, "Just leave." So I did. I came back and got what I needed later.

Ruby's back-of-the-cardboard-box family history work.

Moses went to school with his crazy hair without incident. I don't think anyone even said anything about it except one kid who thought it was cool. At any rate, I buzzed it all off Monday evening, and there's not enough there for him to be cutting it again anytime soon.

Herbie discovered my Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan of the Apes. He loved it and read parts of it aloud to all the other kids. Good thing there's only about 200 books in that series (Okay, a little over 20). He'll get tired of them before we run out. At least, I've never read them all.

One afternoon, I left Penelope and Archie buckled in the car with Woo, while Linus and I ran in to check the older kids out of school. Penelope wanted to come too and asked "Archie, can you help unbuckle me?" Archie was more than willing to help. He reached over and made some noises. But, if you can believe it, Penelope remained buckled.

Archie has been going to nursery for about two months now. Almost every time we pick him up, they tell us, "He is so good! He is an example to all the other kids!" Way to go, Archie.

Better watch your reading nest, Moses, or Archie's going to steal it.

Ruby: I like the way old people walk.  
Me: Why?  
Ruby: I don't know, look (pointing to an elderly couple pushing a grocery cart). They're just slow. 
Of course, nobody moves as fast as Ruby.

Ruby: Mom, I think you should start a bed and breakfast--just fix up the shack! (In the back pasture) 
Woo: Ye-es ... Welcome to our theme rooms. This one is called Chicken Coop. 
And this one is called Under the Trampoline. You might find it looks quit similar to under the trampoline. Let's hope it doesn't rain.  
This one is called the Back of Our Station Wagon. It's quite romantic once we remove the car seats.  
This one is called Storage Room ...  
And lastly, Archie's Room. If you look to your left you'll see ... Archie.
I hope you all had a great week!