School's Out! (For Two)

Ruby and Herbie survived one year of middle school in a foreign country! (The other kids still have another week). To celebrate Woo took them to watch the World Cup game--Portugal vs. Spain on the big screen in the park. They loved it, and even I got a little excited. Even though I was home with younger kids in bed, every time Portugal scored there was horn honking, air horns and shouting throughout the neighborhood.

I'm glad Portugal didn't lose. There will be more games.

Sunday night there was no concert in our neighborhood, but not everything was taken down yet. (And still isn't! Is there another party in the near future?)
Woo: I’m glad they still have the spotlight trained on our window all night. 
I hadn’t even noticed.
Woo: It was brighter than the sun... It woke me up several times last night... but there were no heavenly messengers. 

Penelope discovered jump rope. One day she worked hard and got up to 64 jumps in a row! She walked very stiffly and crawled down stairs the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that...

We finally convinced her to walk normally and then she tripped at recess and skinned both knees. She walked stiffly and Ruby carried her down stairs... Until yesterday. I think the crazy walking's finally over!

Smoking is very prevalent here. Ruby and Herbie were discussing kids and teachers smoking at their school and Archie piped up.
No one in my class smokes!
Skateboarding in the garage is a popular Daddy Day choice. Archie's getting pretty good! (and Linus and Penelope... )

Linus came home from school one day needing sympathy. Apparently, he'd been hit in the head multiple times by the soccer ball in gym. Even by his teacher. I gave him some hugs and some kisses, and he lamented the fact that he didn't have any footy pajamas in Portugal...

And then later, when I was kissing him good night. He said, "Mom, everyone says I'm the best goalie our class has ever had. I blocked everyone's shots. Even my teacher's!"
Me: Is that why you got hit in the head so many times? 
Linus (smiling sheepishly): Yeah.
Now that's a completely different story.

Here's Linus picking out colored paper for Sunday rotations.

And I think that's it. Hope your Fathers Day was great!

Testimony Below:

This month I learned for myself that doing family history protects us from Satan and I learned that the prophet gave us very specific instructions about prayer to receive revelation. I know that God will speak to us every day.

I know that the prophet and the apostles speak the words of Jesus Christ and it is very important to follow them.

I know that Jesus Christ lives and guides His church. This is His church.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Este mês aprendi por mim mesmo que fazer a história da família nos protege de Satanás e eu aprendi que o profeta nos deu instruções muitas específicas sobre a oração para receber revelação. Eu sei que Deus vai falar conosco todos os dias.

Eu sei que o profeta e os apóstolos falam as palavras de Jesus Cristo. E é muito importante segui-los. 

Eu sei que Jesus Cristo vive e guia Sua igreja. Este é Sua igreja. Em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amém.


Something Exciting?!? And Way Too Much Writing...

This week is going to look boring because we didn't do a very good job of taking pictures, but it was NOT.

I had a general feeling of excitement all week, like something exciting is about to happen, and I think a lot of us felt the same. I (and the kids, apparently) had trouble sleeping several nights and on top of that, Woo had his talk in district conference this week looming constantly in the back of his mind.

Monday: Linus' class went kayaking (we found them by some miracle and Woo's sharp eye). Also, we found out both Elders were leaving the branch and we were getting Sisters for the first time. On hearing the news, Herbie, Moses, and Linus were upset, Archie didn't care, and Penelope and Ruby were super excited. (Ruby had even prayed for this scenario.) But after the boys initial disappointment, we all got really excited about it, for some reason.

Tuesday: I woke up remembering two dreams in which we were preparing for new, life-changing events, which added to my general feeling of excitement. Woo and I went grocery shopping in the morning which elicited shouts of joy from the kids when they discovered 1) carrots in the fridge and 2) we'd bought them all Portugal t-shirts. Also, Ruby and Herbie got all "boms" or "muito boms" on their finals.

Wednesday: Herbie had a concert in the evening. He spent lots of his free time practicing "You Look Wonderful Tonight." We ate an early dinner and read scriptures, then he and Ruby took off for the pre-concert practice. I showed up right when it was scheduled to start (we thought) and caught 3 minutes of the practice. Then we sat down to wait for the start and the rest of Herbie's class... left. After sitting there an hour and watching other classes practice and then leave, and the last one finish and pull out food, Ruby asked the teacher when the concert was supposed to start. 9pm. 9-11pm. We went home and went to bed, Herbie disappointed and the rest of us chuckling about the super late middle school concert... If only we'd known...

Thursday: I invited an old friend (in Woo's nephew, Alek's, mission, but not his area) to meet with the missionaries and she agreed. We also had the Sisters over for dinner. The kids were unreasonably excited about this and had a hard time settling down for bed. Moses did a crazy dance at dinner when the Sisters told him one of his favorite Elders had been transferred to our district and Penelope did a lot of loud, crazy laughing.

I stayed up way too late talking to someone in another time zone about the Book of Mormon on Twitter and gave a (digital) Book of Mormon (and D&C and PofGP) to easily the most genuinely interested person I've ever given one to.

Friday: Was pretty tame. Woo had correlation meeting with the missionaries at our apartment which ended up being kind of stressful because they were late and all the kids came home from school in the middle of it. After the meeting, I took the Sisters downstairs to meet one of our neighbors, but she was not interested. At some point, I'm not aware of, Woo wrote his talk. At some other point, he smiled and waved at his "enemy" and received a slight nod in return.

Saturday: Woo was pretty nervous and practiced his talk, but took a couple hours off to go with us to the beach. Linus was very upset to be missing the party in the park. (Our neighborhood was turning 50 years old.) But once again, we had an early dinner and scripture read to be on time for the adult/youth session of district conference.

Just before it started, we got a phone call from Moses (who was babysitting and showing a movie). I took the phone from Woo on the stand and spent the first talk in the foyer helping Moses navigate computer issues. All was solved in time for Woo's talk, which I enjoyed the most (because I could understand it the best). The basic premise was that children do come with a manual--that manual is the Book of Mormon.

There was food and socializing after the meeting and also we'd given rides to people who took the opportunity to meet with priesthood leaders... we got home at 10:30pm... to all the kids alive and asleep in their beds... if only that had been the end of our night...

I was surprised and pleased that there wasn't any music blaring from the party when we got home, but when I got out of the shower at 11pm, it started. And it kept on going for the next 4 hours. That last half-hour, I thought I was going to die... the music was so loud and vibrating the whole building... Woo was just happy that the last half hour they finally starting playing American rock songs he could recognize. We slept maybe 3 hours?

Sunday: I was convinced today was going to be one of the worst in my life. So, I said lots of prayers, and it wasn't. The drives to and from Santarém were pleasant; the kids, while not their best, were not out of control; during the first hymn: I Believe in Christ, I thought, "This is really nice. I'm glad I'm here." I did not get a headache at any point; We finally got around to watching the "Be One" broadcast for FHE, which was fun and inspiring; dinner was super easy; and we got the kids to bed early.

Anyway, sorry for the long email with subpar pictures. Hope your week was great!


Children's WEEK

The kids rooms are blacked out, but they did not get better; they got worse!

And that's because they had one of the most exciting weeks of their lives. One day of school was a beach day with all sorts of games and water sports set up for everyone. Another day was off school and the day of our branch picnic. And another day was Children's Day (which is taken seriously here), with a lot of talking up from their teachers and a free carnival type party set up at the fire station. Last night was the first night we had anyone sleep anything close to normal.

Penelope got her face painted three times! Princesses, all of them. She started out strong on the beach, but had a tumble in the water, made her super-sad face, was run up the beach by an instructor and never saw the water again. At the time she was laughing, but later was sorry she'd missed surfing and the kayaks.

After overcoming fear, Herbie handed out invitations to his entire class to the branch picnic. Two of them came and they loved it!

One night, while seeking revelation, Herbie asked what the pre-mortal life was like. (Moses asked about heaven.) Part of Herbie's answer actually answered a question of mine. I was surprised.

Archie got revelation and recognized it! He was upset when we came back from the store without anything for him. I told him this was a great opportunity to go in his room and tell Heavenly Father everything he was feeling. He did and came out smiling, telling me he shouldn't have gotten anything and he needed to listen to his mom. He was so excited he ran into his room again to ask how he could walk on water (he needs the priesthood first) and if Jesus is a giant (kind of).

The morning and evening before the picnic were the roughest I've had in a long time. Woo was gone for hours shopping and setting up with other members and the kids' emotions were very high. I think they woke up shouting. And then putting them to bed that night while Woo returned tables and chairs in the van... I did not lose my temper once.  (Although I did down half a bag of chips once they were finally in bed--it still takes a lot of energy :)

A few years ago I began praying to receive specific gifts of the Spirit before reading my Book of Mormon. One of the first was more patience. I felt an immediate difference, but I really feel it now in situations like these. Kind of amazing.

Ruby was a big help the morning of the picnic. She spent an hour and a half filling up water balloons, which was a lifesaver. She enjoyed it and was good at it. She also cut up watermelon at the picnic and kept an eye on Archie to and from the fire station. And she was a great hostess to her friend who came to the branch picnic.

Linus didn't have school on Children's Day because his teacher decided she'd rather spend Children's Day with her own children. He finished his homework, read some library books and worked on his family history on his new FamilySearch account... all of his own initiative.

Moses made himself sick with the anticipation and excitement. He spent Friday home from school with a fever and had a bunch of canker sores, but seems much better today.

The picnic took up a large portion of Woo's week, and he was feeling the strain the day after. But last night he came back from surfing so happy... it was just what he needed, a beautiful, pleasant surf in the sunset.

That's our week. Hope yours was great!


Revelation and Piqueniques

Archie lost his bear for some reason or another (lost as in, taken away by the parents). Woo made him a deal. If Archie could be good for three straight days, he could have his bear back... and a surprise! Archie was very motivated and did his best to be good at all times. He got his bear back (it was a joyous reunion), and got to open his mystery package... a large print triple combination (in Portuguese). Archie's little lip trembled as tried to decide between excited, proud, and dignity.
Archie (praying before bed): And please bless everyone to be good... except me, because I’m already being good. 

Woo suspected before, but now he knows for sure--he has an enemy! There's this one surf teacher who's always giving us (and everyone else in the world?) the dirtiest glares. Which is fine (I guess?). But this week, while out surfing, this guy dropped into waves ahead of Woo (which is super rude in the surfing world). And then at one point, he gave Woo the stink eye, turned away, then scooped up a piece of floating seaweed and hurled it at Woo. It landed in the water ahead of him.

When Woo told me, we had to laugh. Is this guy 3-yrs old? Anyway, ignoring him is still Woo's game plan.

I discovered this week that once AGAIN (!?) I'm not following the prophet as well as I thought I was. I read a summary of Sister Anderson's Woman's Week talk and she laid out a very simple instruction list for prayer in President Nelson's revelation talk, that somehow I had not even picked up on as instruction. So, I started that night and advised the kids to start also.

We are getting revelation, and I think I've uncovered the mystery of the new call for ministering. Every night I've been told to do one thing for someone else, most have been little, but I've been led to do them by the Holy Ghost. This is ministering; I am doing it.

The hardest revelation I've gotten is to eat a piece of fruit every day. I really don't like fruit; I'd rather eat a carrot or radish any day, and I'm afraid I'm going to forget.

When I was talking to the kids, I asked them how they would know that they were receiving revelation. Linus raised his hand first, and he was exactly correct. He's received revelation before and each of the three older kids recognize receiving revelation too. Archie has no idea (but we're still working on it!) And Penelope is not recognizing it every time.

One answer Linus got was how to solve the problem of a wet bird being stuck on a ledge outside a vent in his bedroom.  It's squawking was keeping him awake. An idea formed in his head of blocking the vent and moving his bed. He did it immediately and was happy to get a solution.

We have a branch picnic this Thursday and Herbie's first instruction was to invite his whole class (not just the two friends he'd planned on). He's actually excited. We printed out a bunch more invitations, put his email as the contact and he cut them all out in preparation for handing out tomorrow.

That same night, Moses was told to invite a girl. He was not excited about that, but he did it. And he was happy when he told me about how excited she was to get her invitation.

Herbie was also invaluable helping me do one of mine--black out the kid's windows (sun still keeping kids up...grrrr!) He and Nellpea ran to the construction supply store for duct tape and he and Linus ran to the recycling center for cardboard.

Moses is always our biggest fan.
Moses (surfing with Woo): You look just like a pro, Dad!!!
Moses (laughing out loud while reading my book): I just love your book, Mom! It's sooo good!
I hope he marries a woman just like him. What a lot of positive energy their family will have.

Sweeping floors is Penelope's job at home right now. She and the broom are good friends, and she'll just start sweeping messes on the neighbor's patio, or the primary room at church.

Penelope and Archie spent a good chunk of Saturday playing very nicely together. Here they are pretending it's Halloween. Archie's dressed as a blueberry and Penelope's a pregnant woman.

Ruby has switched which twin to place her infatuations on because "the other one says bad words." Ruby thinks she might make the honor roll this term and has been studying a lot. She goes to the library to study during breaks now (instead of her old habit of "playing soccer and basketball at basically the same time... ").

This picture doesn't look like much, but it's Moses ringing the school bell. It's completely manual (which would explain how inconsistent it is :), and Moses and Linus race to ask if they can do it.

Okay, that's all I have. Hope you had a great week!