This year we spent Thanksgiving at Woo's parents with his family. But before we could do that Linus had to go to school and run into the wall during a game of tag.

I got a message on my phone from the secretary telling me Linus had been hurt (Uh oh...), but he was okay (whew... ), and she'd just wanted to call to let me know he'd be coming home with a goose egg and a little scratch (at which point I was wondering why she'd bothered to call at all...). And sure enough, when he got off the bus, there he was proudly holding an ice pack to his forehead.
Me (getting all the details): Did anyone give you a hug?  
Linus (exasperated): They all did!

Herbie also happily discovered that going out and shooting a few hoops is a great stress/boredom/anger reliever. He stormed out the door Monday evening with his basketball after an argument with Ruby, did it again Tuesday before he even really got mad, and then Thursday morning while waiting for dinner.

Wednesday happened to be free entrance day to the zoo, which is the only time we ever go here. It's always super crowded and doesn't come close to St. Louis' zoo, but the weather was nice and it was fun to be out.

Woo forked over $16 for us to ride the train, the value of which was solely confined to the joy of riding trains, because we rode around one exhibit we could see from where we stood and then past a couple that'd been emptied for the season. And then three minutes later we were back at the start.

We shared Woo's parents house with Karen and her (7) kids, so we had to triple up the kids at night. Ruby is fantastic in a room of her own, but still woke up herself and Linus and Moses super early Thursday morning while sharing with them (after pestering them much too late at night).

Herbie, on the other hand, was a little parent. Or he said he was... He read scriptures with Archie and Penelope and helped them play quietly for a few minutes until breakfast.

Penelope really loved her smallest cousin Eve (2). She played with her a lot, although Eve was not as willing to go along with Penelope's plans as Archie usually is. I think Eve still liked her though. As Peter was carrying Eve out of the family room to go, she yelled, "I'm playing with Nellpea!" And a few seconds later Penelope ran up the stairs in a panic, "Where's baby Eve?!?"

Thursday morning Moses and Linus half-heartedly helped clean the family room so they could watch a movie. (Karen and I did most of it, but what are holidays for if not being generous??) They picked the Sound of Music, which kept my kids, at least, entertained for a long time. And influenced Ruby's dating choices later.
Ruby (playing dolls with her cousin Eleanor): So... do you think I should go out with Hitler? 
I was relieved to hear them decide he would be a bad choice.
Moses (always good at covering all his bases while praying): ... and I'm thankful that I could be thankful for everything...
Linus lost his first tooth this morning. He was very proud and tonight, at bedtime, Archie said for the first time ever, "I don't want to go to bed."

So we laughed, then put him to bed.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!



Ruby and Herbie had their school spelling bee this week. They both got out fairly early on words too easy to have been reviewed properly (wallow and quibble) -- a bit of a theme for us this year. Poor Ruby cried. She'd wanted to do well, but Herbie just seemed relieved to be done. As am I.
Ruby (pointing at the Heinz 57 sauce): Can I have some Days of '57?
Herbie received a walking stick from scouts to carve for pack meeting. He immediately whittled a sharp point on one end and called it a spear. He was very proud, but I'm trying to figure out the best way to get rid of it (too long for the garbage can). I don't want anyone impaled.

Steven took his Brigham Young: American Moses with him to the tub Saturday night. He spent a lot of time chuckling and laughing and came out excited to share such gems as this one with me:
Some of the knowing ones marveled when we [Heber Kimball and Brigham Young] were called to the Apostleship. It was indeed a mystery to me; but when I considered what consummate blockheads they were, I did not deem it so great a wonder...

Moses left us speechless, then laughing, when he stopped mid sentence in the middle of his Family Home Evening lesson to sprint out of the room, shouting, "I have to use the bathroom!" while holding his bum.

We started the four oldest kids on Rummikub this week. They're enjoying it a lot and we finally seem to have enough of them old enough that they're pleasant to play with and each game doesn't automatically end in fights. Moses has particularly picked it up well. He even beat Woo (who thought he had a sure win up his sleeve) last night.

Linus takes school very, very seriously. He brings home all his papers, and he spends Quiet Time (while Archie and I nap) carefully coloring any papers he didn't finish at school. He gets to have his first show-n-tell next week and as his teacher requested no toys, he decided to show the class how well he ties shoes. He's really excited about it--apparently he thinks hardly any of the kids know how to tie their own shoes, and I think he might be right.

We're still having a hard time convincing Penelope it isn't summer anymore. She ran outside one time in short sleeves and shorts, barefoot, etc. and came in crying about her frozen feet. I thought for sure she'd learned her lesson, but no. She did it again this week. Possibly related, she's been a little sick this week with a constant runny nose.

The nap situation with Archie (with a blindfold, next to me) wasn't working. I finally set up a playpen in Ruby's room so I could lie in Ruby's bed next to him to prevent him from climbing out, but also just ignore him for the few minutes he wants to play around before dropping off to sleep.

Sometimes I think Archie's the only one in the house who understands me. He's seemingly the only kid who gets when something is garbage and stands willing and ready at any second to toss anything away I deem worthy.

On the other hand, putting on coats isn't really one of his strengths.

I finally got my names printed out and Woo and I did over 50 baptisms and confirmations in the temple this week. I haven't been in the baptistry for a long time and it was funny to remember how excited all the temple workers always are to see you there. The exact same workers you see in other areas of the temple, but for some reason they're not as thrilled to see you then.

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



This week was cold again. We even got an inch or two of snow one day. The kids were super excited to go out and play in it. They immediately started a snowman and fort, but the snow was gone the next day.

Thanks to our new Vivint home security system, Woo gets an alert every time the kids run out the back door and leave it open. (I'm still just relying on the cold draft that blows through the house.) He even sent us a text to "Close the door!!" when he was thirty minutes away in a meeting. But he was a couple minutes late; we'd already closed it.

The snow clothes are out now and Linus wore this ensemble all day--to school, in school, around the house, playing outside and to bed. He saw no reason to peel of some layers here or add any there.

Ruby and Herbie had their class spelling bees this week. Herbie took second. He got out on a word (ballad), we'd never even reviewed because he'd always spelled it correctly at home. But he was still happy with his performance because all the kids in his class audience were rooting for him over the other spellers.

Ruby's class had their bee the next day and Ruby won. With the word ballad. Woo gave her high five, "Family advantage!"

Just for curiosity's sake I asked the kids what they thought the most important thing to me was. This is what they said.
Ruby: Us.  
Herbie: Teaching your children the Gospel. 
Moses: Me! I mean our family.
Nice save, Mose.
Linus: You.
Me: Why do you say that Linus?
Linus: Because you like yourself. 
No arguments there.
Penelope: Being nice to me. 
Archie: Uh... blue!

While a flute was tuning up for the choir number today, Moses asked, "What's that!? The fire alarm?!?"

One morning Penelope and Archie spent over an hour on the couch together while Penelope read Archie a "ponytail" book (their word for fairytale). Some pages Penelope would sing and Archie would rock appreciatively next to her during the song.

I finally had to slow down on my family history work. I was starting to get kind of a headache every time I sat down to find another person, and while I think Woo and I can handle some of the temple work, it's going to take us years to get it all done. I'm going to have to farm some out.

Well, that's it for the week. Oh, except... Woo went to an extra long multi-stake leadership meeting yesterday. He wasn't looking forward to it, but President Nelson showed up and the speakers were very good. He came home, gathered the kids around him, and told us the things he'd learned. I'm glad he went.

And here's an extra picture of Linus.

Ok, now that's all. Hope you had a great week!



This has been, hands down, the best week after a time change we've ever had. I was gearing myself up for something awful with the clocks turning back the same night as Halloween... but then there was nothing. The kids were great--clear until Friday, when they started to get a bit crazy. That little bit of crazy has extended into today, but it really hasn't been too bad. Nothing like we've seen in years past.

The only change I can think of is that this month we fasted for me. (We've been slowly working our way through every member of the family when we haven't had any other specific requests, and this month it was finally my turn!) I'm glad it's working out well for me, since it appeared the blessings Moses needed on his month included hitting his head really, really hard once or twice a week. But I still have a few weeks to go in November, I guess.

The candy's all gone (thank goodness) and it's all Moses could think about. He'd greet me in the morning with: Can I have some candy?!? Run home from school, open the door and call: Can I have some candy?!? See me again ten minutes after he last asked: Can I have some candy?!?

The candy worked wonders with helping the kids memorize their talks for the Primary program, though. I told them all they could have a piece if they could tell me their entire talk once. Which they all did within only a few minutes. Then I said they could have three pieces for saying it correctly three times in a row. Finally, five pieces for five times in a row... and by then I knew they'd have it down for the next six months or so. And they did.

They all did a wonderful job in their program today and Penelope and Linus were all ready to give their talks to Grandma and Grandpa on Friday. They dropped by for a few minutes after meeting Moses, Herbie and Ruby for Grandparents Day lunch. Archie tried to tell them his, but he doesn't talk very loud when he's on the spot. Archie didn't actually have a talk, but I let him pretend he did for some candy and he'd tell a different story every time. Usually some version of Penelope's talk or a time he and Penelope wanted a hat (he was never clear on what the moral of that was).

Temperatures dropped this week. Penelope and Archie refused to admit it. I made sure they're both wearing jackets and socks and pants to breakfast and before I knew it, they'd both be dressed like this:

Herbie and Moses are the same way, always complaining that they're too hot, but Ruby and Linus know how to bundle up.

I've recently discovered that if I don't get enough sunlight, I break out all over my chin. Getting sun's been a bit of a struggle in the cold and the overcast skies. The kids are always excited to go outside and they're fine running around, but I can't just sit there. We have to go for a walk. The rope swing is a favorite destination.

The kids were arguing over our golden spoon.
Linus: It's money! You can buy things with money. 
Me (without thinking): You can buy anything in this world with money... 
Herbie (snorts): You sure, Mom?! No! You can't! 
Good answer, Herbie.

Last week Archie's nursery teacher told us she'd taught him a lesson including a story of Jacob Hamblin trading with the indians. She loaded Archie down with blankets and later he got to color some blankets on his paper.
Me: How was nursery, Archie? 
Archie: Good. Sister Peterson taught a lesson. But she did not teach a lesson about Jacob. 
Me (surprised he remembered his lesson from the week before): What did she teach about? 
Archie: Kitties.
More of Archie's memory. He pointed at a Deacon today and said, "His arm's not broken any more." It took me a second or two to remember that Deacon'd been wearing an arm sling a few weeks ago. I probably never would've remembered if Archie hadn't pointed it out.

A dream came true for Herbie this week. Woo got two box tickets to the Jazz game from work and he took Herbie. They gorged themselves on food in the suite and Herbie did enough cheering for everyone. He cheered for the play and then again for the replay on the gigantic screens (which Herbie was really taken by).

Ruby really wanted to begin her talk by saying, "Dear Brothers and Sisters... " Then she decided that sounded too much like a letter and she should say, "Hello Brothers and Sisters..." In the actual talk she said both. She also picked a scripture in Job, which Herbie had to keep reminding her rhymed with robe not rob, and she mostly got that right.

Linus told the story he's been telling in all his talks this year. The story of when he couldn't put the car track together and said a prayer and Heavenly Father told him how to fix it and he did. But he never wants to tell the other part of the story, which he told me when it first happened. The part where he prayed and he knew Heavenly Father didn't want him to whine anymore. That happened before he prayed how to fix it.

Penelope decided she really liked sour patch kids (because they're sparkly, like princesses) and she may have swiped a few from other kids' buckets. KitKats were not doing it for her, however. They were her very last candy to go, and she even gave some away.

Penelope always gets kind of a dreamy, concerned face whenever she hears a baby cry. It was the only time she sat completely still during the Primary Program.

Well, that's it for the week. Hope yours was great!



Every once in awhile I like to do something ridiculously out of character. Something like volunteer to head up the Kindergarten Halloween party. It wasn't too bad. My job mostly consisted of sending out a million texts (we had 15 mothers signed up to help). And the party was... ok. It's over now and everyone's still alive, which is the best anyone can say of a party, right?


Okay, I know only one or two of you agree with me on that one. The party was fun and Woo was the star, even though I don't think a single kid could figure out what he was without a red clown nose. The teachers all got it, though and were appreciative. Mostly, the kids just loved his jokes, games (which pocket has the puppy?) and clown bike, which thanks to, Moses enjoyed his brief 15 seconds of most-popular-kid-at-recess glory.

This week was also Red Ribbon Week for the kids. They enjoyed crazy hair day, an assembly, pajama day and a magician's act, Halloween parties and a parade all in the name of saying no to drugs.

Too bad Herbie's already too cool for school.
"It was pretty obvious the magician's tricks were fake. I didn't even applaud for any of them because I knew they weren't real."
The kids had Friday off from school. It was a cold rainy day and my plans for the morning quickly settled on sitting on the couch under a blanket while Ruby made everyone some eggs. But darn that Herbie and his work ethic. He wanted to vacuum out heating vents and other hard to reach areas that I had to help with. But once I got up and moving, I was good to go for the rest of the day.

Ruby found something equally unkidlike to do after she'd finished. She spent the morning rereading a huge volume on Tora Thurston--a progenitor of hers. I think we got the book from Woo's mom and Ruby might be the only one who's read it (unless Herbie also has).

Linus spent an afternoon writing a book. It tells the story of how Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat spend a Halloween. Of course, they stop by Bill's house for some trick-or-treating. Archie frequently requests it for story time, and as there's no words, only pictures, Linus gets to read it to us.

We sang Nearer My God to Thee this week. It's hymn #100 in our hymnbook. We were almost done with the song before I realized that Linus wasn't singing words, but counting to 100 (a favorite Kindergartener pastime) to the music.

Moses dug a hole under one of our trees. Then he climbed in the hole and pulled the bike jump over his head. Awesome if your goal is to make a hideout, not awesome if your goal is to avoid tracking dirt all over the house. I told him he needed to spend some time rolling around in the grass, which he did with his toes pointed.
Me (laughing): Are you a ballerina?
He responded by performing an interpretive dance routine with the aid of the picnic table. Maybe we were wrong about his skills lying in the field of martial arts--he's a dancer?! Luckily for us, he did the whole thing right in front of one of Woo's surveillance cameras. We'll be pulling that one out at prime moments in the future. (Along with the one of his spontaneous dance on the stairs.)

Herbie (talking football): ... unless we're playing no rushies--  
Me: No rushies? Don't you mean no rushing?  
Herbie: No.  
Me: Ok... Just don't say that too loud around any of your friends.
Or am I the fool here? I'll freely admit to not being a football expert, but it doesn't seem quite right ...

Saturday morning we did some shopping and visited the train museum. Herbie found Archie a little football jersey and as soon as they got home Archie put it on and ran outside to play some football with Herbie. I watched little Archie hopping after Herbie's football, while Herbie tried over and over to teach him how to catch.

We got all the way home before we realized we hadn't bought anything for Penelope. Penelope took it very well, and probably wouldn't have even noticed if one of her siblings hadn't pointed it out. Penelope wore her princess shoes trick-or-treating, but since they're too big she kept falling behind. She finally just took them off and ran around barefoot, which was fine. The evening was in the upper 60s.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!