We went all out on the last day of summer with a day at the pool, Little Cesaer's Pizza and back to school night. Woo worked some more with his waterproof case and discovered he can take pretty good underwater videos if he focuses the camera above water first. He even shot himself taking a few backflips off the diving board.

Ruby got the teacher that goes all out in decorating her room. This year the theme is Peter Pan and the kids could've spent all day in there. I can't even remember everything, but let's just say, other than the blackboard and desks, it hardly looked like a classroom.

Ruby's really taken to brushing her hair really well every morning, and has even worn lipstick a few times. Am I supposed to outlaw that until junior high or high school or something? I'm just glad someone's getting some use out of it, because I never was going to.

All the days this week were early-out, which always makes me think--why don't they do this all year long??? This is the perfect amount of school for kids this age. One afternoon we had most the little boys in town with their bikes, riding off our jumps. While they were here, Ruby finally got the guts to ride off the jumps, and has been doing it ever since.

Linus ran in super excited to tell me that a "big kid" had said, "Look at that little kid take that jump!" referring to him. Linus actually starts school this week. They just like to torture the kindergarten kids here by making them wait that much longer. Woo taught Linus to tie his shoes in about five minutes, and Linus has it down perfectly. I've never seen a five year old tie shoes so well. He is very careful and deliberate in almost everything that he does. He brought home a carrot he colored today, colored perfectly between the lines.

Woo sometimes claims that Archie and I have the same personality. I wouldn't go so far as to say the exact same, but there are definitely similarities. I had to chuckle when my dad said something when he was here and Archie and I had the exact same reaction at the same time. A little giggle and then an "oh."

Me: How was your first day of school? 
Moses: Way, way easy. Easier than what we did in first grade. 
Except the coloring. The coloring was pretty hard.

While filling out his get-to-know-me pictures, we discovered that Moses weighs 49 lbs and is 49 inches tall.
Me: And the square root of 49 is 7--you're 7 right now!!
Then Woo danced him around the room singing about "so many sevens."

Herbie and Penelope were arguing about the all important issue of who knew Spider-Man best.
Herbie: Oh yeah? What's Spider-Man's real name? 
Penelope: Peter! 
Herbie: Ok. How did Peter get to be Spider-Man?  
(short pause) 
Penelope: He changed his clothes!
Everyone but Penelope broke into a laugh which effectively ended the argument.

Herbie came home telling us he's the second fastest runner in the fourth grade mile. We've never known how fast Herbie is because Ruby's always been faster (and older), but it looks like he's following in his big sister's footsteps.

Woo was superman yesterday, cleaning his side of the bedroom, putting away camping gear, repairing the porch and installing a solar light up there (with Herbie's help), setting up a charging station on my bedside table for my phone and laptop, sitting down to the table for dinner early, staying with sleeping kids while I went to the temple... Until about 9 PM, when he decided to tackle his office (which he rarely uses anymore) alone. Mice. At some point. Woo is super sensitive (allergic) to all animals, and has been having a hard time breathing since. He did manage to give us all wonderful back to school blessings today, and I'll get that place sanitized tomorrow.

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



Woo had a rough week. First, there's so much smoke in the air from the fires out west, that after our evening stroll he coughed and hacked for the rest of the night. At one point I woke up because it sounded like he couldn't breathe. After a bit, he calmed down and was able to sleep. This is coming on the heels of an allergic reaction he had to some wild mint he ate while camping with the kids last week. That time his throat closed up and he felt like he was having an asthma attack for about half an hour. I asked him if he panicked.
Woo: No, I knew everything would be okay.  
Me: Why?  
Woo: Well, I said some prayers... and I just knew that it would.
Woo got a waterproof case for his phone. He had dreams of amazing underwater pictures, but none of them took at all, except this one.

It worked for kids splashing, though.

One bright spot to his week was canning three batches of salsa with his mom. He loves that stuff (and his mom).

Linus (telling us about his church class): We watched a really, really, really long movie. 
Then he proceeded to tell us the whole story of Joseph of Egypt. He ended with:
Oh. And everyone was cucumbers. 
After a pause I finally said, "Veggie Tales? They showed you Veggie Tales in church???"

Could be worse, I guess. He did seem to have the whole story down.

My proudest moment was when Moses came down blubbering and screaming about how everyone hated him, and ranted on and on about specific mean things everyone's done, and how it's not his fault and so on and so on. (He does this quite often when he's tired.) And I finally figured out that he should be saying all those things in a prayer. Ranting in prayers is perfectly acceptable in my mind and I knew Heavenly Father would help him feel better and give him solutions far better than I ever could, so I told him so. He was reluctant, but finally crawled under the desk in the kitchen where I could hear him sobbing out all his troubles in a prayer. All was quiet for about ten seconds before Ruby came down, "Mom! I cleaned Moses room and I cleaned my room--" and Moses popped out a much happier boy. The same thing worked again the next day when he was distraught about Herbie.

My least proudest moment was how I snapped at everyone almost constantly Wednesday morning. I did have an infection in my ear that I eventually took some advil for, but still... it took me awhile to work out of that funk.

Woo got Ruby and Herbie some new, used mountain bikes that they're super excited about, and have been riding every chance they get. So Woo took the older three kids on a little ride down in the river bottoms. Ruby and Herbie also started a kids' coding class at the library that they say is a lot of fun.

Herbie did some more windows this week, but he enlisted Linus' help this time. Herbie is a good teacher, and he showed Linus everything Woo had taught him to do and Linus was thrilled to be standing on a ladder and helping. Herbie also showed Linus how to write "I'm going to school next week" for some letters we wrote this evening.

Herbie mowed the lawn again, and cut a lot of the long grass in the corners with a pair of scissors before Woo showed him how to use the weed whacker. He spent two satisfying hours out there getting the yard in shape.

Linus and Moses spent many hours playing outside with their firetrucks and the firemen made out of blocks. I once overheard them arguing over who got to be the "UPS fireman with a snowmobile."

For her fourth birthday Grandma and Grandpa gave Penelope a princess backpack, watch, shoes and two princess gowns. She immediately changed into one of the gowns, Moses and Linus stood at the door as her footmen and Penelope stepped out with a pleased, stately look on her face. She loves those dresses and has worn them constantly since. It's obvious she feels very beautiful and special wearing them. For awhile, she wouldn't even run in them, but would chase after Archie with a poised, quick walk, but she did eventually break down into a run.

Archie's favorite phrase is "that's why." He tacks it on the end of everything. "I don't want to! That's why!" "I need some milk! That's why!" "I fell and hurt my knee! That's why!"

School starts next week. I have mixed feelings. I'm excited for the kids, especially Linus, who's starting kindergarten. I know they're excited, and I remember how I looked forward to a new school year. I'm thinking the house might be cleaner and it might be easier for me to get around with only two kids at home for part of the day. But, I'll miss the times we have during the summer with everyone home, and I dread that adjustment period. Maybe it'll be easier this year.

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

Here's a little memory I told some of my kids this week:

Dad came home from work and said, "It's Halloween, Chelsey! Get dressed, we're going trick-or-treating!" I was so surprised, because I didn't even know it was Halloween or that I could go trick-or-treating. Mom put me in a striped turtle neck, some suspenders and painted my face white for a clown, and Dad and I left. I think I must have been three? and Tyson was just a baby? Maybe I was four. Tyson and Mom stayed home.

Dad and I went around the block. Every door was opened by someone excited to see me, a clown, standing there or being held by my dad, and then they gave me some candy. It was a lot to take in. When we got home, Mom wanted to know if I'd had fun. She washed off my clown make up and put me in bed.

Thinking back, I'm surprised Dad was excited to take me trick-or-treating, since I'm pretty sure he hates Halloween and most especially trick-or-treating, but I'm glad he took me. It's one of my earliest memories and it's a good one.



After having six kids, I have a very wrinkly belly. It doesn't bother me, but I also don't appreciate it like Penelope does.
Penelope (gasping): Mom! You have a BEA-U-TIFUL belly! There's flowers on your belly!
Me (turning to the next page in the hymn book--I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day--and muttering under my breath to Woo): Do we have to sing this one? 
Moses (also turning to the next page): This is my favorite song!
Which effectively answered my question.

My boys are finally heading to church with nicely combed hair thanks to big sister Ruby being handy with water and a comb. She works really hard, and they all admire themselves in the mirror, and in about half an hour you can't tell anything's been done at all.

Here's Archie "bunching."

He's responsible for the flip flops over socks.

Here he is in his camouflage speedo. Woo's responsible for that.

Herbie (to me): I want you and me to run away.
Me (hedging): Who would earn the money? 
Herbie: We would. You could babysit other kids... (like maybe my own??), and I'd do... stuff... 
Woo: Well, I wish you two well, where ever you go. 
Me: We'll be at the Maxwells.

Woo took the four oldest kids bike camping one night. On their way out I noticed Linus and Moses in flip flops.
Me: Flip flops probably aren't the best camping shoes. 
Moses and Linus: Dad's wearing flip flops. 
Me: Okay...

And sure enough Linus' broke and he had to ride home barefoot. Woo was helping walk up the last long hill when luckily someone hiked by who could stay with him so Woo could sprint up ahead, drop off his load of stuff and check on the other kids at the van, then sprint back to Linus. He rode back with Linus on his shoulders and Linus' bike draped across his handlebars.

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



We almost had a normal, quiet week with Herbie cleaning some more windows,

Penelope and Archie reading their baby a story,

Linus pushing Ruby around in his train,

Moses pushing other kids in the tractor,

Moses and Herbie doing a few old-fashioned stick-pulls,

But then Ruby chipped a huge chunk out of her front tooth. My first ridiculous thought was something along the lines of, "Now she'll never get married...," but I laughed, gave her a hug and told her we'd get it fixed.

And in less than an hour, she found the missing piece, we walked down to the dentist and had it bonded on. You can't even tell.

Archie had a potty accident while playing outside. At least three kids ran inside in a panic to report it. I finished up what I was doing and walked outside. He was crouched behind his dump truck.
Archie: Why is everyone screaming, Mom?  
What is everyone screaming about? 
Me: I don't know, Archie. You tell me. 
Archie: Nothing, Mom. It's nothing.
While I carried him back in the house he chanted, "Archie-medes smart, Archie-medes smart, ..."
Arguably, the smartest kid would've made it in to the potty.

And then on Friday I sent Herbie up to his room to take a break after hitting Moses, and instead he decided to run away. I wasn't too worried. He'd tried to run away once before, packed up all his stuff, but kept coming back every few seconds with some ridiculous excuse of why he couldn't leave quite yet. All the other kids were crying... he never made it past the back porch.

But this time he shouted, "I'm leaving my pillow! I'm going to have to come back for my pillow!" while the rest of us settled down to read a story. He was gone a long time. I figured he was hiding somewhere in the yard, and sent Ruby out for a quick jog around the house, when I got a text from my visiting teacher. Herbie was at her house. He'd walked across town with his three packed bags.

She and her husband thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. They fed him raspberries and an ice cream sandwich and drove him home with a tub of licorice for his efforts.
Me: Why'd you go to the Maxwells, Herbie? 
Herbie: I knew they'd help me. 
Me: Help you what? 
Herbie: Help me get back home.
I thought the whole point was to run away from home.

We're starting to get some cooler, end-of-summer winds come through. A few days have even felt like fall. We flew kites one evening after dinner. Penelope's and Moses' flew the best (thanks to Woo).

Linus likes to get up in the morning and get Archie's placemat and breakfast dishes along with his own. It's a great help and because Ruby (and sometimes Herbie) likes to make Archie's breakfast and I taught the older two how to make eggs, I'm almost totally off the hook for getting these kids breakfast.

Woo's been sick for almost two weeks now. It's sinuses or allergies or exhaustion or something. He can't seem to kick it and feels pretty miserable a lot of the time.

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



Thanks to cousin Ben for having a birthday and Aunt Christine's generosity, the kids visited a rock climbing gym for the first time. They loved it.

Linus was extremely cautious. He wouldn't climb higher than a foot for more than an hour. Part of the problem was his weight was right under the recommended weight and some of the auto-belays wouldn't let him down. But he really got into it and started having fun, right when it was time to go.

Penelope hated the harness. Good thing there were giant blocks to stack and ride.

I assigned a new daily chore for the older three kids this week: run two times around the park (a mile). I was thinking of how Karen thought it was so great that Ruby's class ran a mile a day last year, and how Ruby wouldn't be doing it in fifth grade anymore, and I was like, why am I not having my kids run every day? Anyway, it's been a raging success. Ruby and Moses love it. Herbie pretends to hate it because he can't beat Ruby, but really he enjoys it.

There are a few things Ruby has been asking me periodically for years. Some are: What's the highest number you've ever counted to? and What's your favorite color? And I always answer the same thing, which obviously isn't very memorable. The answers are: I don't know and I don't have one. I like them all.

Herbie had an enjoyable week.
Herbie: Mom, when I'm finished can I clean some more windows? 
Me: Yes. 
Herbie (jumping up): Yeah!
He cleaned some outside windows and vacuumed out the new van in his free time. We don't take advantage of his love of work often enough.

Archie is an excellent hider. Unlike any of our other kids (still), he really understands how to stay in one place and not make any noise at all, even if the seeker is staring right at him. I actually lost him for a few minutes before naps. He was right behind me and then, suddenly, he was gone. I checked all his usual spots, but he wasn't there. I called his name, ran upstairs, downstairs, looked in all the rooms, asked everyone if they'd seen him. Then I started checking unusual spots. Finally, I shone the flashlight on my phone in the darkest corner of the closet under the stairs, and there he was, smiling at me. I'd looked in there before and yelled his name, but he had kept his cover.

Moses (coming indoors, sweating): I'm hot, Mom! 
But not the cute hot, the regular hot.

Woo spent the last hour of his fast today lying on the bed, thinking about napping, but mostly keeping his nose as close to the plums as possible. He thought they were tantalizing. Also, he's looking for a mountain bike for Ruby, but bought me one instead. I'm almost ready to take it up again. At least once :).

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