We had a windfall of new things this week: a new (to us) minivan, a new (to us) dryer, and all the sodas and licorices and oreos a kid could dream of.

Woo finally bit the bullet on a new car. He'd been watching the classifieds for months. He knew what he was going to get (a Honda Odyssey), what was a good deal, and how quickly they were going. So when he saw one on Tuesday in Tooele, he enlisted the help of his dad and drove down to get it right away.

I didn't tell the kids where he was going, just that he was coming home with a surprise, which was enough to hype up the kids.
Linus: Remember when dad brought home chips and fireman hats!?!?
The new van has inspired Herbie and Moses to name all car brands while driving and feel a special kinship to anyone who has a Honda. Archie, however, is still stuck in last week at the family reunion.
Herbie: Hey! Look! It's another Honda! 
Archie: Not Hondo, Herbie! Condo!
Woo also drove away with Archie Saturday morning and came home with a new dryer (ours bit the dust about the time the basement flooded last week). Ruby and Herbie helped him move it into the house.

Grandma, Bruce and Konn also made their annual Pioneer Day lunch visit. The kids were super excited about all the treats they brought, especially the drinks. Which Herbie thought was "epic," a word he picked up from cousins at the family reunion and has been using every few minutes since.

Herbie discovered the American Girl book collections. (The books that correspond with the American Girl dolls.) He says they remind him of Betsy, Tacy and Tibb, and I was surprised to see that the library has a large number of them. Herbie's most recent library checkouts were: The Genius Files 2, Zombie Kids, a biography on Lebron James, and a basketball novel, along with Meet Felicity and Meet Caroline from the American Girls.

Turning four has really motivated Penelope to try harder to be a better person.
Penelope: Remember when I did (bad thing) when I was three? I'm not going to do it 
anymore because I'm four. 
One incident that she's brought up a couple of times is the time she took Archie's donut when he wasn't looking and stuffed it in her mouth.
Me: Did you feel bad?  
Penelope: No. I felt good. 
But it was not right. I'm not going to do it anymore because I'm four. 
A great mystery for all kids:
Penelope (singing the winnie the pooh song): Windy a poo, windy a poo ... Why does 
windy a poo start with poo? 
Penelope explained our bidet to Archie.
Penelope: Archie! That's a psink--a potty that's a sink. I wish I was a mom and dad and 
had a sink that washed our bum.
Also, Penelope named her new birthday doll this week--Elizabelle.

I'm not totally sure, but I think Archie might be pretty smart. He has a great memory for people. When I told the kids Grandma Marva was coming, he said, "Oh, Grandma Marva! She's my friend. She's nice to me." I can't remember the last time he's seen Grandma Marva--Christmas? That's a quarter of his lifetime ago.

Some kid with a beard blessed the Sacrament and Archie kept pointing at him and saying, "Josey."
Me: Does he look like Josey, Archie? 
Archie: Uh-huh.
Where'd your shorts go, Archie? 
Oh, right dere!
Woo (reading a scripture for Archie to repeat): Wherefore it came to pass that my father, 
Archie: ...it came to pass that my's dad, Lehi... 
Someone in our ward (for some reason) decided to hire Ruby to take care of their dogs while they were out of town. Ruby (and Woo) jumped at the chance and went over to learn what needed to be done. Of course, Woo had to go into work the first day on the job, so I and all the rest of the kids headed over to lend Ruby a hand.

Ruby cracked open the backdoor, shouted "stay!" a few hundred times, then opened the door wide and released two pent-up dogs. It was pandemonium. The dogs wanted the kids, the kids wanted me, and everyone converged (screaming and barking) on me. I was able to get ahold of the dogs' collars which stopped the running, but not the noise, since the kids were still terrified and torn about wanting me, but not wanting to get any closer to the dogs. Ruby ran to get the leashes, and once they were on, was able to lead them away and get her job done.

She and Herbie learned a lot that first visit, and we've even been able to send them both alone to feed, water and walk the dogs.

Linus: Mom! Did you know Grandma and Grandpa are your mom and dad!?
Linus and Penelope were a great help moving #10 cans of wheat back into place in the basement. Linus even decided he could carry two at a time and felt super strong doing it.

When Moses decides to be a peacemaker, he has a great ability to work well with the other kids and get stuff done. The trick is getting him to have confidence in himself and want to do it, when someone else is being mean and cranky and Moses is panicking. I did manage to remind him one morning when he and Herbie were struggling to get their room clean. I saw the light turn on in his head, he said ok, and he marched upstairs, made peace with Herbie and they got the place clean in no time (also messed it up later in no time :). I was very proud to see him try it again on his own on cranky Linus who refused to sit in the chairs at the DMV, while Woo and I registered the van,

Well, that's all for this week. Hope you all had a good one!



There were so many big events this week, it's going to be impossible for me to cover them all. The basics are: Penelope and Woo's birthday!!, basement flooding (again!), and the family reunion.

Penelope turned four. She got a doll, princess shoes, dresses, a kids' croquet game, this card and drawing of Tintin (from Linus) and loved them all.

Because she'd requested lasagna for her birthday and I was fresh out of lasagna noodles, Woo and Penelope went to the grocery store instead of out to lunch for their birthday. They bought themselves a big bag of doritos, a jelly donut and a chicken tender. Penelope got "pacheeto hands" and Woo called it "just about perfect."

(Woo did not request lasagna for his birthday dinner. We had grilled salmon the day before, and the steak he also wanted today.)

Penelope: Mom, Archie's not even a baby.
Archie (agreeing): No, I amn't.
Penelope: No, you're a toddler-teller.

I woke up Wednesday morning at 5:30 to the sound of running water--laundry room and basement flooded with water again--a broken hose on the washing machine. Luckily (?!) the kids were already awake (excited for the start of the family reunion) and we were able to enlist their help right away. The good new is we're getting really good at emptying the basement. The other good news is the family reunion was three miles away so Woo and I could each run home once a day to check fans, the dehumidifier, etc.

Since the kids had done such a good job helping, and were having a hard time keeping themselves under control from excitement, and I hadn't gotten to exercise that morning (no, hauling stuff out of a basement doesn't count), I decided it was a good morning for a movie. They watched while I lifted weights (just started this week).

The kids weren't done, though. Before leaving for the reunion, we decided to move everything that was out drying on the grass back into the house, in the event of rain. The kids were not excited about this new development, right when they were planning on leaving. But I've recently discovered that if I can compliment someone on something (Look at Moses, getting up to start!) and keep complimenting then it's like a feeding frenzy, and the kids all dive in to get a place cleaned in no time. In this particular instance, Moses and Linus were working like champions and at the very end, Moses picked up and carried in a ladder he'd thought was too heavy for him. I shouted something about how strong he was on his way in and on his way out he strutted around and said, "I don't want to watch movies anymore. I want to lift weights during the movie cuz I'm strong now. Can I lift weights, Mom? Can I do that now?"

Herbie mowed the entire lawn all by himself this week (except for a very small section I did while he was getting a drink). That night, when I was kissing him goodnight, he said, "I love you more than anything. Except Dad." Which is what he always says, but then he tacked this on: "And the lawnmower."

Herbie does not deal well with excitement. Or with other people's birthdays. So this week was kind of a double whammy for him. I had to pull out almost all the motherly tricks I've got on him every single day this week. One night he was temper-tantruming about going to sleep, and I got an unexpected assist from Ruby. Herbie threw out some ache or pain that was supposedly going to make it impossible for him to go to sleep. I shot back, "Say a prayer!" He said, "It won't work!" And then Ruby broke in with, "It will too, Herbie! It does work!" Which apparently shocked him into silence. And then he said a prayer and fell asleep.

The kids loved the lake and they loved the cousins, but they really loved the pool at the condos. They were constantly asking when they could go, and we went every day. Linus finally learned to glide. Getting his feet off the bottom was a big deal for him, and with a little coaching from Herbie, he kicked those feet up and dove from side to side of the little 1 1/2 foot kiddie pool.

Archie's getting a lot braver around water too. He sat right down on the edge of Woo's paddle board and refused to leave. He stood on the shore, thinking he was next to get on a jet ski while the four older kids piled on, and he cried and cried when they took off without him. In the kiddie pool he'll get up to chest deep, but the closest he's getting to putting his face in is to bend down and dip his hair in (which he thinks is a big deal).

Another good thing about the reunion being so close was that Woo could run home and pick up a surprise his bosses had sent--an apple watch. It was just the little boost he needed after a long week. His only complaint was that he didn't have it the day before when he'd gone on three bike rides and was constantly wondering what his pulse was and how many calories he'd burned.

And finally here's Moses in his role as a pioneer.

Well, that's not even close to it, but it's all I've got. Hope you had a great week!



Penelope knows babies come out of big bellies...
Penelope: Mom, who did you come out of?  
Me: Grandma Sandy 
Penelope: Mom, were you there? Or were you a doll first and Grandma put you under her shirt? 

Which led to me ask this question:
Me: Do you know where you were before you were born?  
Penelope: Yeah, at the rental.
Ruby: Let's play Simon Says after this. 
Herbie: No! Chanades!  
Or grenades!  
Or whatever it's called... 

Penelope doesn't quite get the rules of Charades. When it's her turn she's constantly changing what she is because she acts out the last guess.

She's a dog... "Tiger!" Then a tiger... "Snake!" Then a snake... until she finally gets tired, stands up, and says, "Yep. You got it."

Herbie has been complaining about me singing alto for months. I finally figured out it's because he starts singing alto too, and he'd rather sing the melody.

Herbie was very tired, reading his scriptures at an annoying, halting pace. Or so I thought.
Woo: Herbie! Turn your scriptures right side up.
Problem solved.

Herbie got a surprise at a friend's baptism. He went up to tell her congratulations and she gave him a big hug, then hoisted him four inches off the floor.

Linus and Moses were very encouraging while Woo was teaching Penelope to ride her bike. They circled around on their own bikes, offering up genuine, "Good job, Nelps!" and "You're doing awesome!"

Moses has also started to read stories to Linus. Moses' reading level and Linus' interest level are almost a perfect match.

Archie got to start on the skuut, which he's very excited about until he's actually on it and we tell him to run. Then he says, "No. I not want to."

All Archie's underwears and pants have started sliding to the floor. We're only safe if we dress him in 12 month shorts or pants. He must be slimming down.

Ruby has been a wunderkind with Archie this summer. She loves to be with him and help him, and I can ask her to help out with almost anything to get the job done quicker. She's spent a lot of time this week perfecting her drawings of Tintin and Snowy. And she got so desperate for a new book to read, she read DUNE, which she loved. Time for another trip to the library.

We were gifted even more Fourth of July leftovers this week, and finally finished them off today. I only had to make dinner twice. I ran some good intervals and the calf sprain I got a couple weeks ago is completely gone. I also got a speeding ticket about a mile from home and about five minutes after Woo reminded me to slow down.

Woo has finally found a good time for him to go for a regular bike ride. On his ride on Friday, he saw a mother and baby moose, a few deer and a skunk. He was positive the skunk sprayed him, but none of us could smell it on him. Maybe he's just paranoid now.

This picture reminded of me of a story. When I worked a summer in Switzerland, I went to church in Basel for a couple months until I figured out there was a closer ward in Reinach. Adele Schmidt was a member of the Reinach ward. (She's the sister of Richard, the man on the right, who Dad baptized at the end of his mission.)

I think my first Sunday in the new ward, Adele stood up in Relief Society and said that my dad was the person who had led her to the church.

She thought the LDS church and everything about it was ludicrous, and she thought Richard and Anita were crazy to be joining, but one day she was visiting while the missionaries were over. Dad bore his testimony and the Spirit told Adele it was true. Dad went home. His mission was over. But Adele started investigating the church and was baptized.

The end.

I hope you all had a great week!



Some things we did this week:

Went swimming, had people over for dinner.

Herbie and Ruby launched rockets at the library.

Woo attacked Moses with a windsock.

Archie attempted scissors.

Linus tried not to smile (without success).

Penelope discovered the joys of magnets.

I put my foot in my mouth once or maybe five times.

Archie mastered the somersault.

Car overheated and stalled just off the freeway in Orem, but we still managed to see baby Bergen (Very cute. Sorry, no pictures.) Went to temple. Vivint BBQ.

Kids made $$$ selling flapjack drizzle at the pancake breakfast. Ruby has the guts. Linus has the looks. Several people told us they bought the drizzle just because he was so cute.

Herbie would prefer to set up chairs for the parade.

Christine and kids visited for the parade, some slides down the waterslide and lunch.

Six kids on a skate board.

The kids use their light up wands before the fireworks.

Nellpea (messing up ("expelliarmus"): Smelliest armess! 
Jabs the stick in my armpit. 
Me: Oh, you found them. 
Woo (nodding): It is a magic wand.
Old-timer: You going to watch the firecrackers? 
Moses: They're actually called fireworks
We eat crackers.
We all realize that the Fourth of July is a long day.

After prayers, talks with Bishops, Stake Presidents, exercising patience... Our ward finally changes the block meeting order to Sacrament Meeting first! Thanks, First Presidency!!

Lots of neighbors bring us their leftover holiday food--they know we'll eat it.

Hope you all had a great week!