Christmas in February

We spent a large chunk of President's Day in the church so Moses and Linus could play with their ninja turtles on a large floor space, and everyone else could run around and play and find left behind treasures.

Herbie ran shuttle-runs with me. He needs less warm up than I do, but has less endurance, so by the third one we were at the same speed and he mysteriously slipped and then was done. Which was sad. I wish he'd done more with me.

Woo: Do you still play with [boy]?
Herbie: No. He plays football.
Woo: Why not? Don't you play football?
Herbie: I do, but he always starts a fight.
Woo: Why?
Herbie: He says I come late and always start on the winning team.
(Woo and I smile at each other)
Woo: That... sounds plausible.

Ruby found her first temple names this week on FamilySearch. She was pretty excited. About a month ago I kept being reminded of this promise of Elder Renlund's, and I was *almost* there, but not quite. I needed to teach others. I wasn't quite sure how to help the kids (my builtin students), since I still don't think they can do what I'm doing.

But there was a 5-step instruction list in the Ensign; we went over it together and Ruby ran with it. She actually didn't find anything for a couple weeks, just enjoyed looking at dates and pictures (like Herbie and Moses who found someone in our line dating back to 315 a.d.), but this week was the lucky week, and she's on her way.

Linus occasionally will wake up about 15 minutes after he's gone to sleep, complaining of nightmares. Then he goes right back to sleep. I haven't thought too much about it until I witnessed one of his personal bedtime prayers this week. After mentioning one or two other things, he said, "Please bless me to not die in the night. Please bless the house not to burn down. Please bless there to not be a tornado." He had quite the long list, the last two being: "Please bless I don't die of suffocation and please bless I don't die of diabetes."

I didn't even know he knew suffocation and diabetes could kill people! Anyways, I've talked to him about combining that whole list into one blanket plea for safety and spending most of his prayers on more positive subjects, and so far, so good. No nightmares.

Through a series of unfortunate events (for others), I ended up teaching an hour of kindergarten this week, which was waaaaaay easier than I ever imagined. I was imagining kids hanging off chandeliers or something, but it was actually a lot of fun. It definitely brightened my day. Those kindergarten teachers are lucky people.

Moses unearthed a Christmas present he'd never really gotten into earlier, but is actually a lot of fun for him--his snap circuit electronics kit. All the kids were fascinated. And when a belated Christmas bonanza came in the mail, most the kids declared they wanted "Snap Circuits!"

The scouts had a carnival for their Blue and Gold banquet (Ruby and Moses showed up late and soaking wet after running blocks in the rain to pick up a friend), and after the opening prayer I suddenly found myself completely kidless.

Penelope had sprinted to the face painting booth (she knew what was up, the line ended up being loooooong, and she was the first person in it), and Woo took Archie under his arm to shoot gliders. Other kids ran to the cotton candy or popcorn and I was left alone. It was a little disorienting.

Penelope is still working hard on all the early readers we have. She often reads to Archie or just by herself. I'm happy to see her so excited about it.

And also, Archie thinks Tupperware is called "templeware."

We had a couple days of snow and Woo went snowboarding again. The snow was practically perfect, but his day was not since the resort was really crowded and he no longer has a beard to protect his face from the cold.

In closing, here's an old picture of kindergarten Lyndy. Happy Birthday, Lynds!




The only silly language mixup we had this week was Herbie talking about Thailand and Thighland, which I finally figured out he thought were two real and separate places because he'd heard a friend talk about their visit to Thailand (Tailand in his mind), and had read Thailand on our bag of rice (Thighland).

This kind of thing is rare for Herbie, language is actually one of his gifts. I wouldn't be surprised if he died fluent in five.

The sixth grade doesn't have a Valentines party. They have a Valentine's dance. Ruby changed clothes twice in the morning, and borrowed a pair of my shoes when hers didn't match as well as she wanted. We only got to peek in for a few seconds when every sixth grader in the school was doing the hokey pokey. It didn't appear to be her favorite. But I do think she enjoyed the dance. She refuses to tell me anything about it, which is a pretty good sign she liked it, but is kind of embarrassed.

Moses and Linus went shopping with Grandma for their birthdays. They both came home with exact same remote controlled ninja turtle on a skateboard (which Grandma says is the first thing they saw when they walked in the store).

They didn't seem to realize they'd both picked the same color and everything... they swore that Moses' had a bigger head and weighed more, but no. They're the exact same toy in every way. They both walked up to the front door so pleased and proud of what they'd picked out, and when Linus carefully placed his in my room for safe keeping at night, he kept stopping and looking back to admire it.

We helped with Penelope's class Valentine's party. This is probably the 5th or 6th time I've organized it and it's become a walk in the park. We usually run one of the games, but this year I served a treat while Woo read the kids stories they'd never heard of before, like: Best Friends for Francis.

Penelope loved having her parents there and felt pretty special to have us organizing it. She'd already informed all her class, her substitute and other mother helpers when we got there. Also, we somehow didn't take any pictures of Penelope this week. Sorry, Nelps.

Here's Archie doing a little letter review before church. He's recognizing numbers. When I turned the pages in The Princess in Black Goes on Vacation, he'd say, "This is chapter 10, Mom." or whatever number was written there. He's also spelling simple words like "mom" and "hay." "Hay" is one of his and Penelope's favorites because of the little banjo number that plays after they type it in his smartpad.

And that's the week. Hope yours was great!



(This post is a little photo barren. Most of our pictures were of kids posing with their passports, and I decided not to post those to the internet. Sorry.)

Linus is seven. All his dreams were fulfilled when he opened his electric train "like Uncle Kurt has." And... that was the only good day of his week. He's been pretty grouchy, staying home one day this week with a low fever and a headache, so I think he just hasn't been feeling well, without being full-on sick.  But today he was the only kid that did everything I asked the first time I asked, which was pretty awesome.

Ruby had her maturation program and junior high registration. We skipped out on the jr high registration and got lunch (since she won't be here for junior high next year), then ran back to the school for the maturation program. While we were getting lunch we saw the school secretary who thought we were skipping the maturation program. She laughed because after daughter three she skipped them and took whichever next daughter was in 5th or 6th grade to lunch for a much better talk, and I thought, yeah... WHY am I not doing that?! It made the maturation program that much more painful knowing the other option. But, Ruby and I did have a good time before that :).
Archie: When I grow up I'm going to be a good dad. 
Me: You are? 
Archie: Yeah.
Me: What are you going to do to be a good dad? 
Archie: Oh. When my wife goes to the temple, I'm going to go with her. 

Archie: I don't go to school yet; I'm too cool for school.
Herbie did all of the train set up to help Linus. He read all the instructions, unscrewed the battery case... so nice to have kids old enough to figure things out and help the younger ones (and be excited about it). The weather was warm this week (40s, one day in the 60s), which for Herbie was shorts weather. He and Moses also got out and threw the football around together, which they've both been missing and is good for them.

Moses has been noticeably nicer and more obedient, patient, etc. this week.  When I pointed this out and mentioned I thought it was because he was stilling feeling good from bearing his testimony on Sunday, he agreed and told me he wanted to do it again; he already has an idea for next testimony meeting.

Penelope has had a lot of friend time this week with a friend whose mother's in the hospital on bedrest with mono-mono twins. This friend is an oldest child and Penelope is used to ruling the roost with Archie so there have been a few heated debates about what to play next. To hurry things along, I just put on some Primary music, and before the first song is over, they've worked it out themselves.

Woo has been working on an ooTunes update (remember that?!?). I guess he finally realized it was never going to be perfect, just get the necessary updates out. He's had some people testing the beta and he's very close to releasing the real thing. Also, much to his shock and disbelief, we got all the passports in the mail this week. Now he can worry that we'll never get visas.

Oh yeah, and he had a work party at Brighton where he did a front flip off a cliff (not into powder), and jarred his neck. He has to turn his whole body to look at me--no more exchanging knowing looks on the sly.

And! On Saturday we met Mom and Dad at Chuck-a-rama for Linus and Moses' birthdays--guess we'd forgotten it's pretty fun for kids. All the slushies and ice creams covered in marshmallows you can eat (or your parents will let you eat), and a pizza dinner with Woo's family afterwards. We've eaten pretty much all we can handle.

Hope your week was great!


Amateur Face Paint, Purchases and Super Heroes

Linus spent a couple days this week smeared in face paint done by amateurs. Here's my 30 second old man for his Hundred Day party.

And here's the remains of his Dalmatian face for apparently his 101 Day party (schools these days and their parties... )

He also was really, really excited to get his new walkie-talkies in the mail. He's been saving up for these for months, and I purposely did not buy them for Christmas so he could buy them himself. He thinks the clips on the back are a pretty nifty feature; they can be worn like holsters.

Penelope also was due for a purchase, so she browsed the aisles in search of the perfect toy. She brought me this doll, "I think it's Elsa." I looked the doll over, saw that there was a button. Penelope's face lit up into the most beatific look of excitement and astonishment when the doll blared, "Let it Go." I knew I had to let her buy it, even though it's every parent's worst nightmare.

She hugged that doll so tight, and whenever anyone would walk by us in the store she would push the button with such a proud look on her face, as if she knew that anyone who heard the doll would immediately agree that she had found awesomest purchase in the whole place.

Penelope had a party of her own--the Super Hero party. She went as The Mopping Princess.

Archie is such a pleasant mother's companion. I couldn't ask for a more perfect youngest child. I go to the library and he types quietly on the computer next to me. I visit a neighbor, he pulls a car out of his pocket and drives it quietly up and down the coffee table leg. I work at home and he figures out his letters.

Of course sometimes he gets mad (like we all do)---"... AND I'm not inviting you to my mom party!"

I've been so pleased for Herbie to stop resisting and really get into Ralph Moody's Little Britches series (I think you would really like them, Earl, if you haven't already read them. Don't be put off by the name :). He's requested all of them and read the third one in three days. It seems like I have to remind him there are good books out there every winter, but this year I was especially vigilant because his back-to-school blessing mentioned the impact the good books he would read would have on him and his future family.
Herbie (after explaining to his younger siblings what constipation is): I know it sounds 
fun..., but it's not.

Ruby's still reading anything and everything. It's no problem getting her to read good books; she's interested in everything from George Washington Carver to E. Nesbit to The Giver. At parent teacher conferences we were happy to hear that she continues to work great with others, is kind to everyone (even those who are different or don't easily fit in), and a new one... is really great at setting high goals for herself and going above and beyond what is expected of her on projects.

Moses bore his testimony today, which was a fun surprise. It was an even better surprise when he stood up and said that he knew we should honor our parents and he thanked us for being so nice to him and teaching him to do his chores so he could know how to work when he's a dad.

Moses was terrified to ask the woman we visited today for a glass of water and wouldn't do it for several minutes, so this was an especially big deal for him, and he was on cloud nine for a long time after; he felt so good.

Woo did not go snowboarding at all this week. Because of proximity and work hour flexibility, he gets to be choosy about the snow and just doesn't go if it's not awesome. He went cross-country skiing a few times instead and enjoyed that.

Woo also bore his testimony today. Also about the temple. In short: his life is much happier and more enjoyable since he started going more frequently.

I felt great for most of this week (thank goodness!). I think we might all be out of our January funk. I just keep doing what I'm always doing: mothering, wifing, family history, writing, exercising, and occasionally (for an extra dose of fun) sketching.

That's all for our week. Hope yours was great!

Testimony Below:

A year or two after my mission I was sitting in a Relief Society lesson taught by my friend Karly. Karly had recently been through the temple a few months before and she said that since receiving her endowment she had noticed that her prayers were being answered more quickly and more easily.

When she said that I had memories of my prayers and their answers flash through my mind and the Holy Ghost told me that what she had said was also true for me, even though I had never realized it before.

I don't fully understand all the blessings of the temple, but I know my life is much more peaceful because of regular temple attendance than it otherwise would be, and I definitely know my Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. I also believe that the temple enhances the blessings of all the other commandments I manage to keep. And all of it is made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

I love my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and I know they live.