Last November was awesome for me, in large part, I feel because we fasted for me at the first of the month. So of course I wanted to do it again, but when I mentioned it to Woo, he thought we should fast for me in October, and now I'm glad we did because a much more important fast came up for November. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Grandma (and Bruce)!

Halloween was a fun day. The most fun Halloween I've had in six years. I think because I was not tired and also because I was free from two sins that have plagued me my whole life and have affected my relationship with almost everyone I don't know well. This was the biggest blessing I saw from our fast for me--opening my eyes by giving them a name ("vanity of heart" and "seeking to excel") and then washing them completely away within a week. Luckily, this was not one of those things to be "overcome in patience," but came soon and completely. I knew it had been done while I was in the temple doing iniatories, and I knew it was through the grace and atonement of Jesus Christ. Anyway, sorry everyone for how I've behaved in the past :).

We went to the Halloween parade and helped with Penelope's class party, then trick-or-treating in the evening. But the aftermath to that was chaos, and too much candy none of us should be eating. Woo actually threw everything left away, then vowed we'd never go trick-or-treating again. Which is fine with me. (The whole thing reminded me a lot of Dad and how much he hated Halloween). Anyone know any good alternatives to trick-or-treating?

Woo and I voted this week. I don't know if it's supposed to be a secret, but we both voted for Evan McMullin. We did not vote for the same governor. Woo voted for someone who "needs" his vote. It was an act of charity, I guess.

And I had a few days of confusion and feeling lost. Now that the kids are doing all the housework, I have a new large chunk of time that I wasn't quite sure I was using wisely. But after some planning, praying, etc. I think I have it figured out.

Now on to the kids...

We have a Halloween house in our town that is legendary. You can hear the recorded howls and shrieks from a mile away and it's decorated to perfection, in a spooky, creepy way. And there are always people hiding or staring at you blankly to scare you when the moment is right.
Ruby (on our way there next): Their house isn't even scary. 
Woo: That's because you've always gone with little kids. They tone it down for the little kids. Go by yourself and see if it's scary. 
Ruby: Ok! Do you want to go with me, Moses?
They ran ahead, then walked, then stopped and hid in a nearby pavilion.
Woo (when we caught them): Go on! Go ahead! 
Ruby: Well, Moses was scared and didn't want to go anymore... 
Woo: Then go by yourself! 
Ruby: Nah...
(For the record, I wouldn't go to their doorstep alone either, and I like the people that live there.)

Herbie had a trade day in school and came home with this homemade foosball game. It's been the bane of my existence ever since. The kids love it to the extent of ignoring any and everything else, and there's always so much yelling and arguing and cheering. Woo loves it for the ingenuity some kid showed in building it, but we make the kids play with it outside.

I didn't write earlier that at Moses' Parent Teacher conference his teacher was very emotional and thanked him for always giving her his best work, listening attentively, being kind, happy and smiling and told him that she really appreciated those times when she could look up and see Moses looking at her with "that look" on his face. (I guess she has a rough class this year... ) Then I was able to share with her that in Moses' back to school blessing it said that as he read the Book of Mormon in the morning, he would go to school with a light and peace in his face that others would be able to see. She said, "That's it! Keep reading the Book of Mormon, Moses! I need that!"

Linus, as a careful worker with attention for detail, has nearly perfect handwriting. He is always getting papers back with "Beautiful work, Linus!" written across the top. He's recently started to label all his work with a perfect cursive "linus" (guess no one's taught him a capital L yet), and on Friday he came home with a pretty entertaining pen (I know, impossible to imagine) as a reward for neat handwriting.

Penelope marched in her first Halloween parade this year and she behaved exactly like you're "supposed" to behave in a parade (but so few kids actually do). She entered the gym, immediately faced the crowd and started smiling and waving, and she kept that up down one side and up the other.

You may remember Archie's list for Christmas last year: an Apple watch, a phone, a computer, etc. Well, his birthday request this year have gotten even bigger and more grandiose.
Archie: Mom, for my birthday I want a football field. A HUGE one! And a football team. With REAL players! 
Me: Okay... 
Archie: And I want a race car. A REAL one!
And that's the end.

Testimony Below:

In 2008 the church came out with a new nursery manual and we bought it, thinking it would help us with family home evenings for our then 3, 2 and 0 year old.

Steven taught the first lesson: I'm a Child of God. We were kind of surprised to find ourselves sitting in a really great family home evening. The kids were all listening and participating and we could feel the Holy Ghost.

The best part came at the end, when Steven bore his testimony that he knew he was a child of God and that each of the kids were children of God too. I think this might have been the first time either of us had ever bore testimony to our children (or at least we didn't do it very often) and Ruby reacted by laughing and jumping on her dad for a hug.

This and a few other experiences around the same time were a message to me of how important it is for me to not only teach, but to open my mouth and bear witness of what I know. Because when I do the Holy Ghost can testify that what I've said is true. And the Holy Ghost is the only one who ever really changes hearts or convinces anyone.

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know he is direting this church through his servants, beginning with the prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is a gift from our Heavenly Father to help us be happy, every day and over time. And I know that when I feel the Holy Ghost it is testifying to me if truth. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.