Water and Snow

I sure love Spring here. It is so beautiful. On the kids early out day we all went up to the ski resort. It's closed, but Woo, Herbie and Moses just hiked up and boarded down the bunny hill and a few jumps several times. Woo took Penelope twice and Archie once.

Woo: Did you have fun, Archie? 
Archie: Yes. But it's a little bit scary. 
Woo: Do you want to go again? 
Archie: No. I know how to snowboard now.

Ruby and Linus spent the entire time throwing rocks into a pond of melted snow surrounding the lift. On the way home Linus asked, "Mom! What's for dinner? Are we having leftovers from tomorrow?" I wish, but I'd already made pico de gallo earlier in the afternoon at Woo's request, so we had dinner waiting for us.

One night at dinner Ruby commiserated with Herbie on other kids calling them woolly mammoths.
Ruby: And it took me awhile to come up with a good comeback:  No dibs, Sherlock! 

During Moses' story night I told him the story of how Woo and I started dating (since it's different then the story of how we met) and Moses loved it. When I said, "And then he called the next day to ask me out again," he got one of his huge Moses' smiles. He must be a romantic.

Herbie has been counting down the days until his birthday for the last two months. It's next week and on one hand we can definitely tell--Archie (who shares a room with him) is not getting enough sleep because Herbie keeps waking up early, and on the other, Herbie has been very well-behaved and dealing with the excitement pretty well. That also may be because we've been loading him up with tons of work, and work always makes Herbie happy.

Penelope came home with her number sheet and announced that she was the only one to write all the numbers to 100 and the first one done. "The other kids were on 20. Or 30, maybe 30." All her numbers (except 1) are backwards and some are hard to read, but she does have the order of the numbers all correct (both overall and each set), and she WAS FIRST!!

For Earth Day we rode our bikes to some beaches and picked up garbage, which the kids really enjoyed (although, some of them had a hard time parting with some of their treasures--I'm thinking of your rusted hammer, Ruby and your foldable chair leg, Linus) and then we played at the last beach. We're thinking they'll have no trouble in the Atlantic if they're having fun in this snow runoff.

And I practiced some yoga for the first time. I know. I know. I've always scoffed at it too. But maybe it will have a place in my life in Portugal when the older kids are in school, Woo's out learning to surf and Archie's digging in the sand. I might as well be doing something other than working on my tan.

I uncovered some old cowboy boots for the younger kids while cleaning out the house, which inspired a lot of cowboy play. Here's Ruby in her "cowboy" outfit.

Well, that's about it. Hope your week was great!


Spring Cleaning

The defining characteristic of our week was probably work. Most of it outside. Woo met the kids in the yard coming home from their early out day and handed out assignments. There was resistance at first (except from Moses who is usually trying hard to be obedient the first time) and then they were off.

All the kids helped pick up toys (and load the garbage can) and collect twigs littering the ground from pruning. Ruby and Herbie mowed the lawn. Linus asked if there was anything else he could do, so Woo sent him to rake up the last patch of leaves. I went out to help him because I knew he really wanted to get working on his homework, but his mood had changed. Now he wanted to rake up the leaves and all by himself.

I did help him for a few minutes before I had to leave to start dinner, but he finished the whole job, then came in and immediately got to work on his homework. It ended up that his teacher had given him two copies of the same sheet and when I suggested he toss one, he was upset. "No! I want to do it! I like homework; I love math!"

Woo meanwhile, got out the chainsaw ("Boy, that chainsaw really gets the ol' testosterone pumpin'!") to give our blue spruce a trim. All the kids helped drag limbs to the back pasture.

When they finally were done I was amused to see Moses out lying in the hammock enjoying a book. In fact, I borrowed his book to try the same thing after dinner, but didn't get to read for long.

On Saturday, Ruby and I tackled the jetted tub with chemical cleaner and q-tips. Her usual once a week spray-with-vinegar-and-wipe routine just wasn't getting the job done, but wiping q-tips in and all around the jets was fun for her.

Penelope really racked up the helping hand points over the weekend because whenever I'd say something like, "Okay! Everyone pick up ten things in the living room!" she would do it immediately AND pick up double of whatever I'd asked.

At the gentle prod from a neighbor, Woo got out and tore down the old shed (chicken coop?) in our back pasture. Herbie was, of course, all over that and helped where he could. I was inside, but apparently it came down with a mighty crash and since the roof was still intact the kids have adopted it as a play-platform. So far mostly doing duty as a ship (Ruby strung her hammock up as a sail).

I've been spending time each day going through our things and either packing it upstairs or loading it in the car to take to DI. I sure love that DI drop off, I always get an awesome feeling when I drive away, like I've been freed of some burden. Woo, on the other hand, gets a sick sort of feeling. He tries to not care or ask too many questions, which I appreciate. I know it's a sacrifice for him. And I don't touch his things without permission.

Archie has offered many times to help me carry things upstairs, but since I'm almost always carrying glass or things that wouldn't be safe for him to carry, I've always declined. Instead he's done a lot of following me up and down the stairs.

That's about it. Hope you're enjoying your spring--it's such a lovely time of year!


Spring Break

We didn't do much for Spring Break. Planning something seemed like a lot of work, so we didn't. Most of us were still home to spend time with Lynds and Brode on their way home from Idaho (Woo, Herbie and Linus were snowboarding). Then we headed down to Orem for some temple, some parks, some museums, some restaurants, a hike, and some grandparents on both sides.

One morning we dropped Ruby off alone at the Provo City Center Temple to do baptisms. I think she was a tiny bit nervous, but when we mentioned we'd give her a cell phone to text us when she was done, she was super excited and ran right in like she knew exactly where she was going. And I assume she found the baptistry; when we picked her up, her hair was all wet and she said there'd been no wait at all.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but we had a bunch of voles living under our snow this winter. They ate the bark all around the base of our fruit trees and built nests, tunnels, etc. all through that area. Woo raked up the debris yesterday and Herbie was the only kid to help Woo and I scoop up the piles and carry them to the pasture (at times in pouring rain). But I'm pretty sure he loved it.

Moses was so set on bearing his testimony this week, he kept asking me in the middle of the bishopric member's testimony (always the first one), if he could go up yet. Then he sprinted up and said his piece as soon as the microphone was available. Moses has learned for himself that reading the Book of Mormon well every morning helps him have a better day and bearing his testimony every month helps him to have a better week. And it shows.

Linus told me at breakfast that he had decided he was going to be good today, and boy was he ever (a nice surprise, as he's been a bit of a tyrant lately...). As part of his being good, he decided to adopt Penelope as his service buddy, I guess. He brushed her hair, helped her get ready for church, and walked with her with his arms folded. When he got to the pew, there was the disappointment of all the seats by me already being occupied, which normally would send him into a stink, but he rolled with it and guided Penelope to a seat next to Woo. I had a couple people tell me they looked like a little married couple. After church he wrote me a very nice letter, apologizing for his behavior lately.

And by dinner it had all broken down. Penelope was crying because Linus said no one was being nice to him, and she swore she was, then during scripture time, Linus threw his iPad (with his Portuguese Book of Mormon on it) in a fit of fury. It didn't break, but it's been taken away.

Our one hike of the week was to the Y. It was busy (but not Zions busy). When we got to the top and looked down, Archie said it didn't look like a Y; it looked like a U. And then he kept referring to it as "the U" the whole way down. Things like: "I like the U," and "Why is the U on the mountain?"

There was one poor boy (in another family) who screamed and cried and kicked the whole way up the trail. I guess he'd never hiked a couple miles on trails that sometimes are made of rocks as high as your chest while wearing a backpack. Archie knew he was on a virtual Sunday stroll. He made lots of comments like: "I like this hike; it isn't the Uintas." and "This road is nice. There aren't rocks like the Uintas."

While in line at the bank getting the last documents for our visas, Woo met a woman who had moved with her family of 5 kids to Belgium for 18 months. She was all sorts of positive, listing the good things that would happen and Woo said, "So your kids all speak French, then?"

"Well... after five months of daily tantrums we had to take them out of the public schools..."

So I guess my estimate of three months of hard was inaccurate? If we can make it through six, we'll have it made???

Also, at one of the parks, Woo overheard two different conversations of mothers talking about really wanting to move to Europe for a year or so with their kids. So I guess everyone's doing it?

Either way, I'm starting to get excited. I've already started to pack up the house. Yay!

Well, that's it for this week. Hope yours was great!

Testimony Below:

A few years ago the Bishop counseled us to pray for the aid of angels, both seen and unseen, and I did. Soon after I had this experience that I've successfully gotten out of sharing in public, but apparently have to share over the pulpit. Sorry.

I can't remember why, but we'd had a long, rough day. So rough that my head was throbbing, and so long that Archie was singing and yelling and dancing instead of going to sleep.

I needed peace and quiet that second or I was going to explode so I said the first thing I could think of which was, "Archie! Be quiet or I will spank you!"

My threat didn't work like I'd hoped and he was not quiet. I really didn't want to spank him, but I also didn't want him to think I made empty threats so I spanked him.

He still was not quiet. I could barely think. I threatened again. He still was not quiet. I entered his room and walked towards him. There was a hand on my shoulder, as if to hold me back. I felt someone standing behind me. I turned and no one was there.

I immediately left Archie's room and prayed. After several minutes a kinder solution entered my head and I was able to get him to be quiet.

I know that angels are with us and help us, even sometimes just to save us from ourselves. I know that Heavenly Father can give us aid even when it feels like we don't have the strength to receive it. And I also know that the Bishop is inspired by the Holy Ghost and we should never disregard his counsel. It is given to us by a loving Heavenly Father.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



Conference was awesome. I'm excited to study all the talks, but I had kind of a surreal experience with Elder Nelson's Saturday morning. In just the last couple weeks I had read or started doing every single story, scripture or invitation in his talk. I'm thinking that one, especially, holds the key of knowledge for me.

Penelope ran over and gave me a hug, "Mom! You're my sister!" after President Eyring mentioned we're all brothers and sisters.

As soon as Archie heard President Monson say "Read the Book of Mormon everyday," he wanted to get up and read the Book of Mormon that very second.

Ruby took the opportunity in between sessions to assemble her weapons arsenal to become some sort of warrior princess.

Woo took Ruby to the conference center for the Sunday afternoon session. Elder Stevenson is quickly becoming all the kids' favorite apostle. Woo liked Elder Costa's and Elder Palmer's talks. Also Elder Choi's.

As always, the kids were crazy nuts once conference got out. We went for a walk and Herbie and Moses ran up trees. At one point, they and Linus were all rolling around in the grass, wrestling. Linus was the craziest and also the one who got the most hurt.

And that's it.

Hope your week was great!