We had a good week, but I'm not remembering much of it. We finally made it to the see the remodeled Bean Museum over the holiday.

The live animal show was a big hit with all kids over five. The younger kids were tired and bored.

Moses the Brave.

Woo watched the kids while I went to a baby shower. Moses cracked his head hard on the ice. I wish that kid would quit hitting his head every other week...

Ruby played hockey against a dog at the rink. No word on who won.

We showed the kids The Sound of Music for the first time, and they loved it. Herbie keeps walking around the house singing "How do you solve a problem like Maria?"

Linus says, "I wish that girl was my mother."

At least I have Herbie who spent a significant amount of time this week trying to be "Mom's good boy!"

Archie's still doing very well on the potty.

Linus--"Mmmm, this feels good."

Penelope is picking up the ABCs. Linus has been teaching her and Archie what he knows, and we've been reading Dr. Seuss' ABC book, which is the easiest, most successful way I've found to teach kids the ABCs.

Woo's working hard on a redesign of his SpaceMonkey app. He had two nights of two hours of sleep or less--not fun.

I made Indian lentil fritters that everyone but me choked down. There was a giant bowl of leftovers that I graciously offered to take care of myself over the week. I don't mind. I like them. On the flip side, I made naan for the first time. Everyone loved that.

That's about it. I hope you all had a great week!



Monday was a payday as a parent. Ever since Ruby and Herbie have been baptized and received the Holy Ghost, we've spent a lot of time trying to help them recognize when they are not feeling the Holy Ghost and what they need to do to get it back. Sunday evening I noticed something that appeared to be a breakthrough for her, and she proved it Monday morning when she and Herbie got into a little tiff over some spilled milk and she admitted her mistake, then made up with him all on her own. This was a big deal for her.

Then later, Linus wanted me to put together a race track for him. I told him no because I a) had just put it away myself so I could vacuum, and b) was in the middle of scrubbing a toilet. There was a lot of whining, and then suddenly it was quiet. When I walked back through the living room, he'd already put it together all by himself.
Me: You figured out how to put it together, Linus! You are so smart!  
Linus: Heavenly Father and Jesus helped me put it together.  
Me: Oh, did you say a prayer?  
Linus: Uh-hun, they didn't want me to whine.  
I asked them if they knew how to put it together, and they did.  
Me: How did you know what they said?  
Linus: I was talking to them in my head. 
I was so incredibly proud of him. Not so much that he'd put it together without my help, but that he'd relied on his Heavenly Father and then got to work.

This is how Penelope says passed gas/tooted/whatever--Who pasted gasted!?

Also, this is what she says when she wants to hurl a horrible insult at someone: Linus! YOU are MISS-US!!

Sitting with Penelope in church this week I was reminded of what she'd said to me last week, so I whispered in her ear, "I had a good Christmas with YOU, Penelope!" Then I planted a kiss on her cheek. And she wrinkled her brow and snapped, "I already knew that!"

Archie's discovered the classic Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, which he calls Dum, Dum! And he's just generally adorable, and just watching him walk is entertaining.

Herbie was very proud of the picture he drew for the Friend magazine. It's actually the second one he drew. The first one was on lined scrap paper and he spent about three minutes on it. I encouraged him to think of it as rough draft and draw another one. I'm not sure he spent anymore time on it, but the paper is nicer.

Moses lost another tooth. The tooth fairy is running a little behind. I think she owes him for two teeth ... He keeps saying, "Write yourself an email to remember to put money under my pillow!" and then somehow, I can't even remember to do that. Anyway, that's my goal for this week. Get the tooth fairy all caught up.

Woo pulled out a navy pair of long johns with a back flap this week, which made Linus laugh and laugh and then want to pull on his own matching pair of red long johns.

After I wrote last week about following the prompting to write weekly emails, one of our friends from St. Louis wrote back that actually all commandments from God are that way. As we do them, even if it's not always easy, or doesn't make the most sense, eventually (and sometimes it's a long eventually :), we come to realize that by doing them, we are actually getting exactly what we've always dreamed out of life.

Well, that's about it. Hope you had a great week!



Almost seven years ago I was in the shower when the Spirit said to me, "Write a weekly email like Woo's dad and send it to your family." So I did. Not every week, but close to every week. Woo helped me take pictures and record things the kids had said or done, and even if I was dead tired, I would sit down and try to spit out something, because I had plans to compile them somehow, someday, and gift them to my kids when they turned eighteen or so.

But last night I had a sudden insight into how much I was going to enjoy reading old emails and looking at pictures when my little kids have grown up and left the house. I was really touched to realize that this whole time my Heavenly Father knew that this wasn't just a gift for my kids, but a gift for me.

For my whole life I'll be able to look at their cute faces and laugh and remember things in a way I never would've been able to, if I hadn't written them down. I really consider it one of the best gifts I've ever received--to always have a treasure trove of happy memories and images from this time in my life at my finger tips.

Herbie (reading): What the... ? It says Bruce R McKonkie... Is that Bruce? (aka's Grandma Marva's Bruce)
Herbie: Mom, if I get two or three more teeth, can I get braces? 
Penelope was sitting in my lap today in church when the speaker said the word "Christmas." She turned around and whispered really loudly, "Mom! I had a good christmas with you!" Then she planted a big kiss on my cheek.

Penelope's new parlor trick:
Mom! Look at my bloodness!

Linus was in the middle of telling Archie where Jesus lives, when Penelope interrupted.
Penelope: No, he actually died.  
Linus: No, NellPea. He came alive again.  
Me: He was resurrected, NellPea. He's alive.  
Penelope (gasp, eyes big, little squeal): I'm going to give him a hug!!!
Of course, I think she thinks we mean he'll be by next week to visit or something.

Moses giggled a bit after reading the word "notwithstanding." Then he issued the command, "Sit on the floor! Notwithstanding!"

Moses and Linus bumped heads really hard last week. Moses let out a really painful scream, then cried while holding his head for a while. He seemed ok, but kept complaining about it hurting the next day, so I let him stay home from school. Almost the second the older kids had gone, he was up and playing like normal. I have to be on my guard, now that I know he's capable of feigning sick to get out of school.

Linus, btw, just keeps praying and getting his prayers answered. It's kind of exciting.

Archie's getting really, really close to being potty trained. He's had several dry days this week. He just turned two, which is my latest kid (by about four months), but I just couldn't get myself worked up about it. Also, I think I might have underestimated the effect having a new baby in the house has on the old baby. It makes them want to grow up. Another thing is that I would put Archie in a diaper when we left the house. I thought it wouldn't matter, because with Penelope it didn't, but now I think he could tell I wasn't completely committed. We went completely diaperless about two weeks ago. I took extra pants and underwear everywhere we went because there were accidents, but he got the message. He's stepping it up now.

Ruby has wanted to be in the church choir for a long time. In fact, a couple weeks ago when the choir sang their Christmas number, she stood right up and joined them. Woo and I just looked at each other and shrugged.  Today she and Herbie stayed after church for their first practice, and they seemed pretty excited about it when they got home.
Ruby (listing songs in her piano book): ... and "Happy Family When We're Helping"...

Woo decided that the kids needed to experience some Mad Libs. He looked some up online, took the oldest kids to the library to print some off and came back excited to share the joy. But he got pretty frustrated pretty quick when none of the kids knew what an adjective was, or a verb, and only Moses knew what a noun was. And they didn't get any better with practice. Finally, he shoved the stack of papers aside and said, "Well, I'm not going to be Dad of the Year today after all."

He laid on the couch for a few minutes, but later recovered to help the kids build a giant marble maze and then play a game of hockey with Ruby and Herbie at the ice rink. Sounds pretty close to Dad of the Year to me.

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



Ruby is now 10 and Archie is 2. In a lot of ways, Ruby is the exact same person she was when she was 2. She's quick to make friends, and their names just aren't that important to her.
Ruby (2 weeks ago): Mom! This is my friend! Her name is-- What's your name again?
She told me about her again after seeing her at the ice rink and still didn't know her name. She referred to her as "that girl I showed you."

She loves free junk. She had a dream recently where the lost and found at school was open to everyone, and you could take anything you wanted. You better believe she loaded herself up with all the discarded hats, scarfs, mismatched gloves, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. she could carry. Too bad it was only a dream.

She's still an excellent friend to those who need a friend. The parents of her autistic friend were so grateful, they gave her a sweet card and box of candy from Sees for Christmas. She says everyone on the bus mobbed her for the candy. She came home with most of it except for a chocolate santa she sold to some kid for $10.

Archie has hit his talking explosion. He says "I want some!", "Read it!" and even "Bad guy did it!" while running away after hitting Penelope in the head. He's done with whole milk, and he's done with the sippy cup. He thinks that he's the owner of my lap, and will get upset if anyone else is there. Penelope moved up to Primary this week, leaving Archie the only regularly attending kid in our nursery.

Some one picked us for the 12 days of Christmas and left (thankfully) small gifts on our porch every night. On about night three, Ruby tore open the door almost the second they knocked, yelled "I see you!!", told us it was a boy wearing a white coat and was completely unable to tell us who it actually was.

Herbie saw them the next night. "A boy with a green coat." But, again, no idea who it was.

One night the knock came after most the kids had already gone up the stairs for bed. Only little, broken-leg Linus was downstairs.

I asked him, "Do you want to get the door, Linus?" at the same moment he realized that he could actually be the first kid to the door (because he was the only kid there...). It almost broke my heart to see his face light up with glee, limp as fast as he could to the door, fumble with the door knob in excitement, yell, "Hey! Hey!" out into the night, and then grope at the treasure on the door stop until he could pick it all up. He limped back to us with the goods, absolutely elated.
Linus (eating his treat later): Mom, this not healthy. Things that are yum, are not healthy.

Penelope's favorite Christmas song is "Chelsey's days." That's from the "in excelsis Deo" in "Angels We Have Heard On High," of course. All of the kids think it's my song.

Here's another one from Penelope. Can you tell what "brown beans for dogs" is? Dog food.

Moses and Herbie have done a lot of wrestling over the break. Mostly instigated by Moses, but Herbie is more than happy to comply. Moses even tried to tackle Archie one time (which didn't go over too well for Archie), and me (which didn't go over too well for Moses). Turns out I'd rather pin my opponent to the floor than roll around the living room a few dozen times, and then I decided to tickle. This enraged every male in the household because it's "against the rules." How was I supposed to know?

We've been working our way through all the kids for our monthly fasts, and this month we were on Moses.
Us: What would you like us to fast for you, Moses?
Moses: For you to buy me a football costume with shoulder pads and shorts!! 
Once we explained some things that would be more appropriate, he wanted:
To know better multiple-cation!

Even when the temperature is in the single digits, Herbie is always insisting that he isn't cold. And maybe he isn't. He's still a kid, and he is constantly moving. Shortly after this picture, he took off his coat and then his snow pants because he said he was too hot.

I, on the other hand, begged Woo to let me wear the orange-suit-of-warmth, and he graciously complied. He had a stretchy-denim, corduroy number to wear, and I'm pretty sure he made several people's day when he wore it snowboarding right afterwards.

Well, that's it for now. I hope you all had a great week!