Ah-A-Ah, Ah-A-Ah-A-Ah!

Penelope and Archie watched The Little Mermaid for the first time this week and it's been their favorite imaginative play. Luckily for Penelope, Archie is thrilled to be Prince Eric. My favorite is when Archie lies on the floor pretending to have just washed up on a beach and Penelope sings tuneless ah-a-ahs over him.

And it's introduced Archie and I to this fun game:
Archie: Who do you want to be in The Little Mermaid? 
Me: Uh... Prince Eric. 
Archie (laughing): No, I'm Prince Eric! 
Me: Oh! 
Archie: Mom, who do you want to be? 
Me: Um... Prince Eric. 
Archie (laughing): No, I'm Prince Eric!
And so on.

Penelope is becoming a runner. We go on a walk anywhere and she is running the whole time. She's always one of the first kids to our destination because she is not stomping in puddles. She is not climbing in snow or breaking ice. She is running. But it also makes our walks stressful because she is always darting into the road and she still believes she can run faster than cars.

Me: I've been thinking of how to describe each of you kids with one word. 
Ruby is merciful. 
Herbie is a leader.
(Which of course sparked an uproar led by Herbie because "a leader" is two words. My mistake.)
Moses is sweet. 
Linus is happy. 
Penelope is--
Penelope: PRETTY! 
Me: --a mother. And pretty. 
Archie is agreeable.

Moses was excited, yet terrified, to start scouts. He wanted me to take him for the first time, which I did, and we were greeted by possibly the nicest scout leader ever. He had such a good time he wore his scout shirt and hat constantly at home afterwards, even over his pajamas. He finally threw it in the wash yesterday to be ready for another day great of scouts.

Herbie was caught off guard by his biography oral and book report due the next day. We gave him lots of good ideas from biographies we had around the house, all of which he rejected. Instead, he wrote and spoke about Lebron James from the book he'd read over the summer, even remembering his birthday and year he was born, and got an A.

Ruby's minor illness from last week didn't get better; it got worse, and she stayed home a day from school. Ruby likes to be contrary when she doesn't feel well, and we had quite a few confessions from her when she felt guilty for stuff she did just to make us mad or stick it to the man, I guess.

The teachers at our kids' school hand out badges when the kids are caught doing something good, which they get to write their name on and take down to the office. Then every month the principal draws a badge from each class and does something fun with the winners. They've made gingerbread houses, gone on sleigh rides, etc. This week Linus' name was drawn and he got to have breakfast with the principal. They ate cinnamon rolls and drank hot chocolate while the principal read them a story (If you met our principal, you would know this is an exciting experience.)

Herbie: Only girls got drawn this time. Linus was the only boy. 
Linus: No, I wasn't. There were other boys. 
But I sat only with girls. 
Me: Did any of them say you were cute? 
Linus: They all did!
Woo is feeling better from his minor bout with illness last week as well. Work stress is still there, but in my opinion, he is handling it very, very well. It's dragging on though, of course. He bought himself a pair of cross country ski boots on ksl, which were a disappointment. Hopefully, he'll catch a break here soon.

It seems like for the last three years I've been trying to rid the house of junk. Every few months, I get another surge of motivation and collect entire carfuls to donate. I'm in the middle of another of one of those right now. It sure feels good to me to get rid of things, but the house always seems to be too cluttered. How did we get so much useless stuff?

Anyway, hope you had a great week!


Once Upon a Furnace

It's been a long week, but we've had some miracles. Our furnace broke. The first good thing was Woo noticed it almost immediately and shut off the gas before it was dangerous. The second good thing was that it happened on the warmest day of the year. The third good thing is that Woo noticed the good things and told them to the kids. He said a prayer right after ending with "... and thank you that we are so blessed... " Choosing to see the good things in a stressful situation is a giant leap forward for Woo (or any of us really :). The fourth good thing is that the furnace was an easy fix with a part that came in two days. Our furnace is working again.
Woo (strutting through the living room): There's something about fixing something that makes a man feel like a man.

We went to the Blue and Gold banquet and got the kids in bed way too late. Of course I'm going to blame that for them being agitated and a tiny bit sick this week. (Me and my sleep soapbox... ) They've been the kind of tiny bit sick where they're functioning normally, but are super cranky. Which means I've been able to practice my patience this week, and the good news is I'm getting better. Really, I've been pretty pleased with my progress.

The sacrifices we're willing to make to get what we want...
Linus (wanting a seashell): Where's the ocean? 
Me: Long ways.
Linus: Do you have to take a plane?  
Me: You can. Or you can drive, but it takes a long time. 
Linus: How long? 
Me: Like 12 hours. 
Linus: Oh, that's ok! I'll take a nap.

Archie and Penelope are really picking up letters and numbers thanks to the smart pads they got from Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas.

Penelope can spell her name (which makes Linus a little mad, since he still can't spell it) and quite a few simple words like moon, dad, etc.

Today in church she opened a hymn book and counted with the hymn numbers up to 100. I had to help her with a few like 30 and 50, but still, pretty good.

Archie handed me a card and identified the L-I-A and O-N-A in liahona. He didn't know the H.

One prayer he said all the letters from the alphabet song (with a few gaps), then:
Thank you we have lots of letters in my house. Big letters and little letters. There's letters in the hymn book and in the books. 
In another prayer he counted as high as he could.
Moses: Mom, where does all the water go when the snow melts? 
Me: Well, some of it evaporates, and some of it runs down to the reservoir...  
Herbie (astounded): How do you know about evaporation?!? 
Me: I went to 4th grade too, Herbie. Passed it even. 
Although I think kids actually learn the water cycle in 1st grade.

Ruby's been pretty excited all week about her teacher, who told them she was going to a doctor's appointment, but got married instead. Here's some of her artwork.

And apparently, being tall for your age is a big deal.

Herbie had a field trip to the environmental center this week. They went cross country skiing and snow shoeing and ate pizza, which would've been exciting enough, but Herbie was super excited because Woo went with him.

Moses has wanted a nerf gun for a long time, but we've never gotten him one, because I guess light sabers and wands are okay, but nerf guns are not? I can't really explain our logic, but he got one from his secret buddy from school and he has been so thrilled with that thing. We're happy he's happy.

It wasn't the best picture week for us. Sorry. Hope your week was great!


Valentine's Stress

Our Valentines started on Friday with the kids class parties. I had a partner planning the kindergarten party this time around so it was a lot less stressful, and we didn't try to involve everyone who signed up to help. We took the first four people we heard back from and called it good.

Penelope and Archie integrated themselves right into the kindergarten class and rotated around to all the different activities. Woo and I did a heart-healthy-exercise game, which was a big hit.

While at the school, we also got to hear Ruby's class perform a song for the office and lunch ladies. Ruby was one of the lucky ones to play an instrument. It also came out that her valentine wasn't who we'd thought it was. After her second try fell through, she asked the class president on a dare from four other girls who have a crush on him. He said yes and gave her a nice hat.

Herbie's original choice said no, then yes, then no, then yes and eventually ended on no. So he had no one.

Herbie (instructing his younger brothers): One time I took a rock to show-n-tell. I picked it up in the yard on the way to the bus. 
Me (trying to remember the last time he'd had show-n-tell): What grade were you in?
Herbie: First. 
Me: What did you say? 
Herbie: This is my rock. I really like it. 
Me: What did you do with the rock after that? 
Herbie: I put it in my desk for awhile, then my pocket, then... in fact... (reaching around in the depths of his backpack) I have it right here.
And there it was. He'd pulled out a rock he'd had since first grade. I guess it was pretty special.

Moses has been so excited to start fasting (one meal a month, starting when he's eight) that he's fasted the last two months, even though he won't be eight until the next one. Moses has made a new friend at school and we got to meet him while we were at the school.
Moses (praying with a giant smile on his face while he thought about it): And thank you that Mom and Dad could meet Anthony today...

Linus finished his firetruck!

And swore he didn't take a nap in the car. Photographic evidence would prove otherwise...

Woo (teaching Archie how to snowboard): Slide down the hill, Archie. 
Archie: No. I don't know how. 
Woo (to Penelope walking by): Penelope, tell Archie how to do it. 
Penelope (exasperated): I already did, Dad! 
Woo: Tell him again. He says he doesn't know how. 
Penelope (switching to her mothering voice): Archie, you just scoot. 
Archie: No. I don't know how.
And he didn't move an inch the whole time.

Spiritual promptings are on my mind. You know how people tell stories of how the Spirit tells them to say, bake a loaf of bread and deliver it to someone, even though they think it's crazy. But they do it, and then there's the happy ending with the recipient being so grateful because they'd just been praying for a loaf of bread...

Well, in the past six months I've had about ten of those, but instead of the recipient being grateful and happy, they've been irritated to downright mad. Two of them today. I'm pretty used to crickets (I did serve a mission in Vienna, Austria) and I usually expect nothing when I follow a prompting, although I have had negative reactions before. I'm just getting better at it, I guess. One of the silver linings of my introvert personality is I've never much cared what other people think of me. Plus, I already have an awkward relationship with nearly everyone. What do I have to lose?

Woo has had a very, very stressful work week. He hasn't been through anything like this in awhile. He has stress-cankers (at least that's what we call them), but sores in his mouth from the stress. The good news is he's still exercising almost every day (cross-country skiing being his current favorite) and going to bed at a decent time and sleeping well--things he's dropped in the past when the stress got high. Plus, I've been letting him beat me in Settlers, which always boosts his ego (kidding, Woo!) It should all be over by March 1st--at least that's when the deadline is.  Only two and a half week to go!

Lots of love,


Happy Birthday, Linus!

Linus turned 6 this week. Woo also signed us up to help clean the church that day. Linus jumped and said, "Yay! I like cleaning the church on my birthday!" when we told him. He happily vacuumed and swept and came home and ate breakfast before he could finally open his presents--one was a lego firetruck, which he then spent the rest of the day assembling.

We were in need of a quiet day. Earlier in the week we pulled the kids out of school to tour the Provo City Center temple. The kids were fantastic. They all watched the intro movie very attentively, and reverently and quietly walked through the temple. It's a beautiful temple and we all felt the Spirit. Woo kept saying "Our temple is out. Let's move here." And we probably would if Provo weren't so dang crowded. So instead he strongly encouraged all the kids to get married in PCC temple, and Ruby asked if she could do baptisms on her birthday, since it's on a Friday and she'll be twelve. Also approved.

We got our picture taken at the end and once again the parents look like idiots, but hey, we were there. Plus, it was better than the first picture they took. Trust me.

We went to Firehouse Subs while we were in the area because Linus has a bit of an obsession with firefighters right now. Grandma and Grandpa were able to meet us there and we had a little birthday celebration. This was hands down the easiest eating out experience I've ever had with six kids. Heck, since I've had one. It was pretty close to stress free.

We'd planned to head home, but made a last minute decision to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit at BYU's Museum of Art. We called Woo's mom, who was already home and she was free to meet us there and pick up some standby tickets. I loved the exhibit, and I think Woo and Grandma did too. The kids started out strong, but they were getting tired. Moses, who I thought would love it the most, was mentally out of there the soonest. By the end I had Moses, Linus and Herbie draped all over me on our bench, moaning. One woman walked by and said we would've made the perfect Norman Rockwell painting: Little Boys at the Art Museum.

And then Woo and I decided to take a walk around campus, which might have been a mistake. The kids tore out of the museum shouting and yelling like they'd been cooped up in a cellar all day. Moses was throwing fireballs, Herbie was gunning them down with water, Ruby was catching then releasing a shrieking Archie. Penelope walked primly next to me.
Woo: I think we'll have successfully lowered the birthrate of any future BYU alumni by the time we're through here.
It was kind of embarrassing because the kids were really loud and crazy and everyone was staring at us, but the kids really needed to expend some energy, so Woo and I just kept walking as if they were acting totally normal. And by the time we'd walked the length of campus and turned around they were.

Me: What was your favorite part of the art exhibit? 
Herbie: Finally getting to be at BYU!

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


Big Events of the Week

1. Linus attended his class superhero party as Super Firefighter: Big Frank.

2. Penelope carried and delivered another beautiful baby doll.

3. Woo and Linus went snowboarding where Linus did not do any jumps like he said, but he did twist around once.

4. We enjoyed seeing Ruby as J.K. Rowling in the 5th grade wax museum. Well, Woo and I did; Penelope and Archie were freaked out by all the silent, unmoving kids.

5. Woo took Moses snowboarding on the road, which Moses said was just as fun as the ski resort.

6. Woo and Ruby sat in a suite at the Jazz vs. Timberwolves game.

7. Archie discovers the joys of "bazoos."

8. Herbie takes some selfies for his friend in Indiana.

9. We freeze our rear-end-os off at the local ski resort's 75th birthday party because we're severely underdressed for an outside/snowstorm type party.  Yes, I missed the word "patio" on the invitation.

10. In a completely related incident, I vow to never attend another function at a ski resort again.

That's about it. Hope your week was great!