More of Us

Well, the lethargy is gone. That's been nice. We've had a nice week mostly, I think. I can't really remember because I'm rediscovering that church at 1 p.m. is a bear. I have some ideas for a better Sunday next week, but today I'm wiped out.

Report cards came out. Ruby was super excited to get perfect grades (which isn't unusual for her), but the 3 that had troubled her last term (listening attentively) is now a 4 (the highest grade here).

There's an autistic kid in Ruby's grade that always gets put in Ruby's class specifically because Ruby is so helpful and kind to him. She asked him to be her valentine this year. (I guess she didn't want to repeat last year's anxiety and awful waiting for someone she liked to ask her?) He was excited and said yes, but came to school the next day and said no. The boy she really liked had already been asked, so she finally got the neighbor boy to say yes. She can breathe easy until Valentine's Day now, I guess.

Herbie has a pen pal--a friend that recently moved to Indiana. We created an email account for him and he anxiously asks everyday after school if he's gotten an answer yet, and he often has--much more fun than my pen pal days with months of waiting.

Herbie was also rejected by the first girl he asked to be his valentine. He's been wondering all weekend what girl #2 will say. She said she needed some time to think about it.

Moses spent a lot of time this week crying, complaining that everyone hated him, predicting the worst for his future, etc, etc, etc... nothing anyone said or did could console him. The good news is after a lot of encouraging, testimony bearing, faith promoting story-telling, sending him off to a quiet place alone, etc. he started to get his own answers to his woes from God, which I personally think are the most effective answers. And they were the only ones that truly calmed him down and gave him peace.

First, he prayed and learned that Heavenly Father loves him. Second, he prayed and read the first book of Nephi where the Spirit told him he also had goodly parents. And this morning he read (he couldn't remember where) and received the impression that his brothers and sisters love him too, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes.

Linus was very kind and tried to help Moses through a lot of his sad spells. He left the table to go and find a spoon Moses would like, when Moses didn't like the one he had. He let Moses come to a birthday party Linus was invited to (Ruby also went to help little kids ice skate) and shared some of his piƱata treats with him.
Penelope: Mom, for my birthday I want powers.  
Me: Ok. 
Penelope: Frozen powers.
No problem.

Whether to pronounce amen with an "ah" or an "A" at the beginning is a hot debate for the kids.
Penelope: Mom, why do so many people say ahmen and why do so many people...  
(apparently forgetting the other option)  
... um... 
Are bald?  
Moses (matter-of-factly): Because they shave their heads.  
Penelope: Oh.  

Archie has played Uno about 8 times against all the other kids and he has won 7 of those times. There's no reason on earth he should ever win. All he knows are his colors and all his cards lay on the floor face up the entire game. But somehow, he gets rid of them one by one and then, when he has one card left and everyone knows what it is, no one is ever able to stop him.

One game he had his one last card, a blue, in full view of everyone, and somehow all the other kids had in their heads that he had a green. They were frantically trying to change the color from green. The kid right in front of him finally was able to change it to blue and all the kids cheered until Archie put down his card and won.
Woo: If I ever write a fairy tale it will be called the Princess and the Grapefruit.  
It will be a lot like the Princess and the Pea. 
Herbie: Will the grapefruit get squished?  
Woo: Yes.
Which ensured it would be an instant hit with all our kids.

One morning I ran around the house doing a lot of stuff, then I sat down and did a bunch of other stuff. Finally, I laid down on the couch and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep. Penelope and Archie were very cooperative during that time. They sat on my feet and read stories.

Well, that's all I've got. Hope you had a great week!



This week was a lot of Woo and I just wanting to sit around and do nothing. Except maybe lie around. I'm learning this is pretty typical of me, at least, in January. Something about the slowdown after all the excitement of the previous two months, and suddenly I can't bring myself to do anything at all.

Well, really I can, but it takes an incredible amount of willpower, even to do things I normally enjoy, like weightlifting. Woo only went snowboarding once and you should've seen the look of loathing on his face as he walked out the door. He wouldn't have gone at all if a friend hadn't called.

The kids are just the opposite. They want to do more and more and run and laugh and shout--every word that comes out of their mouths. (They are healthy kids after all.) Which was exactly the kick in the rear we needed to keep from becoming vegetables.

Woo pulled Archie around in the sled at the ice rink.

Moses impressed us all with his kindness by untying Linus' frozen shoelaces for him.

Woo and Ruby built a snow fort for Ruby's Daddy Day.

We went snowshoeing out on the lake. Notice Penelope and Archie are in a sled. We tried to float that across a several inch deep creek (after emptying out all the snow), which turned out to be a bad idea. Woo had to run home a mile with a soaking wet Archie to get him changed and on the heater. Penelope was not wet at all, but the closer we got to home, the more convinced she was, until she was such a screaming, kicking mess, she refused to sit on the heater.

I showed Ruby, Herbie and Moses that the Czech names I'm reserving for temple work and sending into the temple system are having their ordinances done in temples all over the world.

But they mostly enjoyed looking at photos from the early 1900s and trying to say the Czech names.

And here's Linus showing off the yoda hat he made for a friend. He worked very hard on it.

Oh, and also we got a new baby. To babysit.

That's about all. Hope you got to sit around more than we did.



The first best thing that happened this week is Woo didn't die. Here he is at the very tiptop of the ski resort (9,370 ft),

then snowboarding down one of the chutes--

just minutes before he hit a rock and flipped over and landed on another rock. He's pretty hurt, mostly bruises and aches, but probably something like tendons in his shoulder.

The second best thing is Herbie found his v-tech watch. He loves that watch and came home from school one afternoon crying with heartbreak because he'd lost it. He thought he'd lost it at the bus stop in the morning, but it'd snowed that day and there was no sign of the watch anywhere. No one prayed harder or more often that he'd find it than Moses. The next morning the kids assembled in the mudroom to be out at the bus stop when the alarm was set to go off, so they could hear it. Ruby picked up her coat, and lo and behold there was the watch on the floor. Much rejoicing all around and Moses immediately fell to his knees for a thank you prayer.

The third best thing is that conscience eventually won out over the perfect crime. Later in the day Moses confessed all to Herbie. He'd stolen Herbie's watch at the bus stop when Herbie wasn't looking, stuffed it in his snow pants pocket and forgotten about it until he heard Herbie crying. He waited until later that evening to pull the watch out, throw it on the floor and Ruby's coat over it.
Herbie: Yeah, Moses kept praying I'd find my watch because he didn't want to hand it to me.

The fourth best thing is Ruby finally found a biography on J.K. Rowling at our local library. Early in the week Ruby came home from school to tell me the school library didn't have any biographies on anyone she wanted to be for the school "wax museum," so she'd checked out a book on Lebron James instead.
Ruby (in a flat voice): I guess I'll just dress up as Lebron James instead. Can I borrow Herbie's basketball jersey?
Me: His BYU jersey? 
Ruby: Yeah. Is that okay? 
Me: Lebron James in a BYU jersey? I guess...
Thank goodness for the library down the street!

The fifth best thing is Woo and I got to substitute Penelope and Archie's primary class.
Me (explaining that Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bone): Who knows what flesh is?
(slight pause)
Archie: Oh. Flesh the toilet!

Also, this was one of Archie's prayers, completely out of nowhere:
Dear Heavenly Father, 
Please bless the horses won't bite me. 
I just want to ride one.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The sixth best thing (I hope you know these are in no particular order... ) is that Penelope became the proud owner of another beautiful princess dress.
Me (the day after): What's the best thing about you, Nellpea? 
Penelope (smiling down at her dress): I'm beautiful!

The seventh best thing happened while I checked on sleeping kids before going to bed. I looked at Linus and suddenly remembered how wonderful I felt the night he was born, sitting in bed with newborn Linus on my lap and writing down a list of possible names for my chunky, little baby that I loved so much and was no longer lugging around in my belly.

And the eighth best thing is I got to write a letter of recommendation for one of my Young Women who's leaving on her mission to Jamaica in March and needed some letters for her Visa application. It was my first one and a lot of fun. Hopefully, I'll get to do more in the future.

That is all. Hope you had a great week!


Chilly, Chilly January

Thank goodness the ice rink opened on Monday. We've had a nice week which mostly consisted of running back and forth to the rink and playing games in the warm house. One morning I noticed it was -18 degrees outside. I think the highs were something around 15. We never went out when it was below 0, but it's amazing, you go out and get moving on the rink and suddenly you're warm. Almost too warm. The kids always peel off layers.

Also, Archie turned 3, which is old enough to be excited for your birthday, but still young enough to be pretty malleable about favorite foods for dinner. I let him choose out of two or three options and he was thrilled. He also got to go to Primary for the first time. Penelope took good care of him. It was pretty cute watching them holding hands and walking down the hall as Penelope led him to class.

Primary kids were also asked ahead of time to come prepared to share a favorite scripture or scripture story and Penelope and Archie helped each other share the story of baby Jesus (although Moses tells us the picture they held up in our illustrated Bible was supposed to be Isaac and Rebekah, not Mary and Joseph).

Linus made a double appearance in the ward newsletter:

And he wore these long johns all week. Sometimes without stuffing, even.

You don't have to actually see the new Star Wars to know more about it than the adults. Moses named "the masked guy" from the new Star Wars when none of Woo or his siblings (who've seen the movie) could.
Woo: Where did you learn that??
Moses: Subway. 
A few seconds later conversation turned to talk about blowing up a planet.
Moses: Are you talking about Tatooine!?!

Herbie was introduced to Uno on Monday and won something like his first 7 games in a row. He began to think he had a special, invincible connection to the game. When that (of course) ended, he spent several anguished minutes crying in the back bathroom. He came to terms with reality soon afterwards, but boy, a lot of those Uno games have been extremely competitive. And it's still Herbie's new favorite game.
Me (doing new year interviews): And what do you want to be when you grow up? 
Herbie: Um... a temple worker and a computer programmer.
Me: What could you do to make the world a better place? 
Herbie: Um... Car pool.  You know, don't drive a lot of places separately. 
Me: Oh? Do you drive a lot of places separately? 
Herbie: No.
Woo: Ruby! Check yo self before you wreck yo self! 
Chelsey (laughing and naively assuming Woo had come up with that on the spot): Is that going to be our new family motto? Should I make it into a cross-stitch for the wall?
(Then, realizing it would be pretty catchy in a song... )
Or maybe Dad could write us a family song. A rap song.
Woo: Um, the song is already written.
Which we all promptly listened to. Yep, already been written.

There's a group of neighbor kids Ruby's age and a bit older who showed up every day at the ice rink to play hockey. Ruby was all over that. She wanted to be at the rink all the time, except most of the kids didn't show up until after noon. One morning our family was there when one kid, a couple years older than Ruby, from the hockey group showed up. There were several awkward minutes of skating past each other and not making eye contact before Ruby directly asked him if he wanted to play hockey. He said yes and they were off.

Hope you all had a great week!