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!