Yay! I turned 40! And it feels a lot like every other age I've ever been. I spent the day in the temple which was at once wonderful, exhausting and humbling. I brought home some dinner and ice cream to celebrate with the family and that was about it.

I do love how excited the kids get for my birthday and how truly happy they are for me. It is sweet. In fact, my most memorable Ruby moment from our week was the giant hug she gave me for my birthday. I haven't had a giant hug from Ruby since, well, ever? She just has never been a hugger. In fact, she told me that exact thing last week and I told her it was a myth. Anyone can be a hugger if they decide to be. I guess she believed me?

Moses gave such a sweet testimony today of how Archie was crying about not getting more soda on my birthday and Moses stood up and gave him some of his, then he said, "I know that's what Jesus would've done."

Moses has truly been absolutely fantastic this entire month. I think he really has had a change of heart and is being filled with the pure love of Christ. When Ruby and Herbie were talking politics (which they sometimes think they're knowledgable about, and are ridiculous), Moses said, "He's not perfect, but he's the president." in his sweet little voice.
Linus (praying): And please bless Moses and his niceness. And help that his niceness can... can keep on going.

Poor Linus has a mom who just isn't that into making apple costumes for the 1st grade opera. I told him I was not going to sew a giant apple. I offered up a few ideas involving paper, but he was not happy with them. Instead, he came up with his own costume, which performed very well for the ten minutes he needed it. See that kid to Linus' left in the yellow? That's Linus' best friend.

Nellpea: Remember? You used to like princesses back then! 
Archie: Yeah, I'm a tomgirl.
While I was gone for my birthday, Woo taught Archie to ride a pedal bike. I still haven't seen it, but yay! I was wondering when he was ever going to learn with us leaving bikeless for Portugal.

Penelope kept talking about some person named "Cherry," who I had never heard of, until I realized she was talking about our neighbor "Barry." I remember that name being so confusing to me as a kid too.

We received some elk from Woo's parents (who got it from a friend) that I cooked one time and refused to make again. I even tried to pawn it off on some neighbors, but they planted in our minds that jerky was the way to go. So we bought a jerky making kit which sat in our cupboard for a looooong time, and I guess moving to Portugal was finally the impetus Steven needed to pull out the elk and make some jerky.

Ruby and Linus were super excited and helped a lot, and when it was all done we found that it was very good. Even I would eat it. But, Ruby loooooved it. She asked for some several times a day.

We have one very cute clip of Woo talking to Linus when he was just learning to talk. Linus is being very careful with his words and trying to get it exactly right, even though he does things like call flip flops, plip-plops.

Woo and the kids have watched it several times recently and one night after they'd gone to bed, Woo sighed, "I wish I had an entire hour of Linus when he was learning to talk. That four minutes just isn't enough for me any more."

Our church in St. Louis had a garage and every time we would ride our bikes to church, we would park our bikes there. Also living in the garage was this Little Tikes tractor. It was Herbie's soulmate. He was drawn to it like nothing ever before (except maybe a lawn mower). So when the church had a garage sale the week we left for Utah, I showed up an half hour early to buy this tractor. And it has been a favorite toy of all the kids; although, Herbie has definitely dominated it.

Woo got it out of winter storage this week, with the express rule that no one over the age of seven was allowed to ride it. And things started out well with Linus pedaling his little heart out and Herbie pushing from behind, but the next time Woo checked, there Herbie was again---he'd kicked Linus off and was madly pedaling his beloved tractor himself.

The kids were super hot on our walk today and Herbie tucked his pants into the top of his socks. It made for a nice knicker look, but I'm not sure it was cooler.

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


Testimony Below:

Today I'd like to share an example of the Holy Ghost bringing all things to your memory.

One night, a few years ago, I can't remember why, but I was upset with Steven and praying and this memory entered my mind.

We were in the hospital in labor with Ruby. At this point, I was doing all the work, and Steven was doing all the handholding. Nurses were constantly coming in and offering him fruit juices, crackers and cookies and he was taking ALL them and eating ALL of them. Because I was not allowed to eat anything. Hospital rules.

Anyways, Ruby was not coming. After an hour of pushing the doctor came in and basically said, "This baby isn't moving. We need to start thinking about our options like a c-section or forceps or vacuum extraction... "

And then the doctors and nurses left us alone to make this important decision in privacy. Steven and I looked at each other and we're like, "What are they talking about? It's only been an hour. We're going to keep pushing."

And then Steven said, "Here, have this grape juice."

He handed me the cup he was holding and I drank it all.

The doctors and nurses came back (none the wiser) and a little while later we had a Ruby. Because of the grape juice. The grape juice gave me that extra boost of energy I needed after laboring all night. 

So, the night I was praying, the Holy Ghost reminded me of how Steven had been the one to give me the grape juice and how it had saved Ruby and me from a riskier delivery. The Holy Ghost also helped me to understand that Steven had been prompted to give me the grape juice and that he had been obedient to that prompting.

And I was humbled and grateful that I had a husband who listened to the Holy Ghost over people. And I knew it was blessing the lives of me and my children, and I repented.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is one of my most precious possessions and I wouldn't trade it for anything. This gift is made available to us through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that it increases love and peace within families and that following it leads us to Jesus Christ and eternal life.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.