Tons and Tons of Thick, Fat Snow

Monday: Buses delayed 2 hours, but they should've just cancelled school. Or I should've just kept the kids home. Tons of kids weren't there and they just played on the computers and watched movies. For some reason, I was still thinking of the time we missed the bus on the super cold day and was determined to not miss it this time.

Woo got a ride to the ski resort; he wasn't sure the van could make it. But when his ride had to come home at noon, he took the van up anyway, where it got buried in the parking lot. This is where it pays to be a local... he easily found a ride home, but the van stayed the night.

Tuesday: School cancelled. We got off to a rough start. Something about the kids thinking it was a party day and me wanting the chores done. But after those were done, Herbie and Linus had a ball outside. Ruby and Moses built up a lego storm. Ruby and I made caramels. And Ruby made Archie some Harry Potter glasses.

I rode my exercise bike. Archie decided to retrieve some legos that had fallen by me, and he got those alright, but when he stood up, he either tripped or something... anyways, his cheek and my pedal collided. I felt really bad.
Woo: How'd you get that cut on your cheek, Archie? 
Archie: Oh. Mom kicked me.
Woo went snowboarding and came down with the car in the afternoon, where we successfully sent in our passport applications! The lady who helped us was much nicer, and there were still a few surprises, but nothing that a quick drive home and back and an extra $100 couldn't solve.

Then we went to eat at Kneaders to celebrate. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

And then Ruby and Woo drove back down to do baptisms with the Young Mens/Young Women and ate pizza afterwards.

Wednesday: Woo goes snowboarding. Old-timers were saying it was the best snow conditions of their lives. He took a clip of himself that he was initially embarrassed to show us because he was having so much fun he whooped and then "giggled like a school girl" (Woo's words) or "laughed like Mickey Mouse" (Herbie's words).

The kids had early day and I took Penelope to her Walking Report Card since her teacher is having surgery the week of parent teacher conferences. Penelope was so excited to show me what she is learning and her teacher says she's a delight, friends with everyone, exactly where she wants her, no concerns at all.

Moses and Ruby continue their lego creating ways. Herbie gets into Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers. Linus draws 100 basketballs on a poster board for school.

Thursday: Woo goes snowboarding; he breaks his binding. He leaves the board at the shop, comes back for his wallet and takes Archie up for a little ski for Archie's Daddy Day.

Friday: Woo goes snowboarding. In an unrelated event, Penelope finds the scissors.

I get out Archie's hopper ball so he can "exercise" while I ride the exercise bike and he promptly falls off backwards, hitting the center of his back and the back of his head on the corner of the china cabinet. Ouch.

Saturday: We go for a family snowshoe. I'm tired and don't really want to go, but do anyway. Penelope and Archie's thrift store snowshoes don't work and I spend a lot of time helping them get them back on every few feet. Finally, we decide it would be easier to just let them walk so I carry the snowshoes to a spot I think we'll pass again on our way back. But, before that, we hiked into the lake bed. I chose a path different than everyone else's. One that looked less steep, not realizing (although, I should have) that it wasn't less steep; it just had a lot more bushes and dead grass hidden under the snow.

Above is a picture of me with one foot lost in a sink hole, deeper than I am tall, and the other stuck in the snow at the top. I abandoned the extra snowshoes and went home soon after that, where I made a super easy, yet surprisingly crowd-pleasing dinner: grilled cheese sandwiches and frozen berries.

Sunday: Marked everyone's height for the new year, and a delightful New Beginnings with Ruby for Young Womens.

That's it. Hope you all had a great week!


Setbacks and Snow

It's official. I've crowned January my least favorite month of the year. I guess I had to have one, now that Novembers aren't so bad for us anymore. The kids were better, but not completely. I assume that will come next week. One thing I've noticed about myself is that when the kids are the most crazy, I'm pretty calm, positive, etc. (for the most part). But once we get into weeks 3 or 4 and they start to get better, I crack up. I don't know if it's the length of time or if I just let my guard down when the kids ease up and suddenly I'm really, really tired.

We also had a string of setbacks of some type or another almost every day this week. One or two or three is usually no big deal, but by the time we got to Saturday and got all the kids chored and fed and shoveled feet of snow off the car and driveway and got everyone to the post office for passport applications, only to be snapped at and find they didn't like our document copies and drove everyone to the library to make new ones and drove everyone back to the post office where they still didn't cut it... well, that was about the time where Woo and I just wanted to crawl into a fetal position under some warm covers.

Luckily the day got better from there. Yes, someone brought over some homemade chocolates. And we did successfully get passport pictures taken, that's one thing checked off the list. And we found someone to live in our house while we're gone. That's good too.

There was A LOT of snow this week, which has been very pretty and fun to play in. Woo took both Linus and Moses snowboarding (separately) and they both had a ball. We've all gone sledding and done some shoveling. Most of the kids have spent time building snowforts.
Me: What's your favorite thing to do in the winter? 
Archie: Oh, shovel snow.
Herbie came home the night before his wax museum project was due and announced he hadn't done a thing. Maybe I'm a jerk, but I refuse to get stressed out and pour my heart and soul into saving someone from their own procrastination on a school project. So, he drew up a poster on the spot on someone he already knew quite a bit about and already had a costume for. And I think he was pretty happy with his choice and performance, which makes me doubly glad I just let him handle it.

Woo and Ruby went to an activity at someone's cabin and listened to some Stake leaders speak. Woo came home with stories of her raising her hand and trying to answer every single question. Some of them with (so-so) jokes and some seriously. It's fun to have a legitimate spy watching Ruby in this new situation and we laughed thinking about our silly daughter who is such a 12 year old. And at our 12 year old answering some silly questions.
Questioner (after many failed and leading attempts): Okay, say you help a family of four. How many people have you helped? 
Ruby: Four.
Questioner (looking for one specific answer): What do you need to have before you can help some one? 
Lots of kids with lots of answers
Questioner: No. No. No. 
Another kid: Charity. 
Questioner: No. 
Ruby (immediately after this, but raising her hand the whole time and not being called on because she'd already answered so many questions): Love.
Moses was great in Sacrament meeting today. He was the only one who could tell us what the talks were about--the whole talk. But the strain must have been the limit for his day. He broke down in Primary when his teacher asked him to switch seats and spent the rest of the meeting sobbing while the Primary President rubbed his back. And then he managed to stand up and say the closing prayer (which he'd previously agreed to) with absolutely no trouble at all.

Linus is the first of our kids ever to go snowboarding with Woo and not want to come home. They usually are done and ready to go after a few runs (or even one, in some cases :(. But, Linus didn't want to come home ever. He was loving it and being daring and doing great.

Penelope has been incredibly absentminded this week. She could not keep her mind on even the simplest task. I had to throw her snow clothes on her a couple times (after twenty minutes of reminding her to do it herself) so we wouldn't miss the bus. She usually has no problem getting ready for school.

That's all. Hope you had a great week!



Woo's septic troubles at the rental are over. He began digging frozen ground on the coldest day of the year and ended pumping blockage in the pouring rain on a day in the 40s. We've had tons of snow and he's done a lot of snowboarding. He was 10 minutes late to Herbie's maturation program because the snow was too great; he didn't want to leave. And Herbie wasn't worried. He was expecting Woo to be late.

I bought an exercise bike, which I'm really excited about. I should've bought one years ago, but for some silly reason or another, I never have. Exercising for the past 12 years has always been fraught with conflict: Can Woo watch the kids? For how long? Do I wake up super early? Run when they're asleep at night? Take kids in a stroller? How many kids? Is it snowing? Raining? Single digits or worse? Are the streets clear? Anyways, no longer do the stars have to align. I can pull the exercise bike out almost any old time and use it. It's been great.

Ruby has been enjoying the regular activities now that she's in Young Women's (she just never had a consistent experience with activity days). And now that Woo's Young Men's secretary, they walk to the church together and back. Woo's the preferable parent for social activities because he likes them and doesn't make you leave early, but this week he stayed too long even for Ruby. She came home alone, freezing (he'd stopped to talk in the road), and Woo came home 2 hours later.

Woo taught FHE on how to pray in Portuguese. We wrote everything up on a large chalkboard he picked up this summer, and Herbie sat in front of it for a few minutes yesterday and memorized all of it. We've been trying to say all our family prayers in Portuguese and Herbie is by the far the best of us non-speakers. He never has to cheat and peek at the board, and I think he also sounds the best (to my untrained ear).

The kids have not been their best the past two weeks. It's been a lot like the weeks after a time change, but worse because I was taken off guard. This week has been slightly better than last, but still frustrating. Moses is a roller coaster. He alternates between telling me he's sick, then running around like a crazy nut. Shouting at someone for holding Ruby's book, then weeping hysterically because "everyone's being mean to me."

Linus lost another tooth this week. He has four empty spaces in his mouth and another is already loose. The first day back from school he came home saying, "I don't care." In a really smug way to everything anyone said, exactly as if he'd learned it from some smart kid at school. He seemed shocked when we pointed that out (as if there was no way we could've known something like that), and hasn't said it since.

The one exception to the crazy kids has been Penelope (and also probably Ruby). She has really been great. Whenever I get frustrated she runs up and says, "I love you, Mom!" In kindergarten they learned about showing initiative, and occasionally she'll run around the house picking things up, or doing things she knows needs to be done, or helping someone with something and says, "I'm doing initiative, Mom!"

The school kids had Friday and Monday off school and Archie has really loved having them all home to play with. He has greater freedom to go out and do stuff, because I don't worry about him as much when he's with the older kids. He's helped them dig out snow forts all over the front yard, and once I peeked out the window to see him wearing our tiniest cross-country skis, skiing (more like walking in his case) after Herbie over snow piles and bumps.

One last notable thing: we had our first moose in the yard. We were all in the house, but the kids immediately started shouting as the moose sauntered past all our windows and finally up our front walk back onto the road.

That's it. Hope you had a great week!