.0000000001% of Our Week

We were tired. I could tell the kids were tired because all creative play and reading stopped. During rotations, they would only do the rotations on the iPads... actually preferring to stare at the wall than snap two legos together. They were bored with the park; they were bored with everything.

I retaliated by removing all electronics from rotations (the only time they use them). There were some complaints the first day, but everyone is creating again. And reading voraciously. Even in Portuguese (because they're really the only books we have around the apartment or available at the city library). And also having a lot of fun at the park.

I could tell I was tired because I kept falling asleep during their rotations. Friday morning Woo took the kids to a different beach while I rested. The kids were super excited to find giant crabs and this little shark. Saturday was also an easy day, by the end of it I felt a lot better.

Another thing we've been dealing with are horrible smells. I pulled apart one bathroom cabinet, seeking a mold smell. Woo thought he found the source of a smell in our bathroom that seems to be coming from the neighbor's bathroom... unfortunately the problem is still there... And I don't know if the wind's changed or what, but the fish factory up the street is often blowing fumes our way.

Anyways, here's some bits about everyone:

Ruby reacted to my no electronics ban by complaining she'd read every book in the apartment and I said, "You haven't read the whole Old Testament yet, and we have several of those in the house."

She had to admit that was true, and to my surprise took me up on it. She's actually enjoying it.

This week she also started reporting every morning to scriptures with a list of answers to her prayers, and is generally becoming spiritually self-reliant--making a lot of little changes, like writing in her journal every day, spending more time at the park and spending some of her beach time letting Woo teach her to surf.

Herbie was set apart as Deacon's Quorum President a couple weeks ago. He's the only deacon in the branch, and without being asked does all the jobs a bunch of deacons would do: passes the sacrament, monitors noise level by closing the doors to the chapel, monitors temperature by adjusting the thermostat or opening windows, runs messages up to the stand, etc. He's also learned how to lead the music for the priesthood meeting.

He knows however, it's his duty to help the deacons quorum grow, and he's been trying to figure out how he can do that.

Moses, sticking his tongue in his ice cream cone: This is what I do for tongue practice!

Herbie does family history for a few minutes in the morning before I do. One morning he was finished before I was ready and I invited Moses to take a turn. He said no, and left.

Later in the day, he came to me to apologize. He'd been praying and he got an answer. He wasn't having a good day because he hadn't done family history when I invited him too. He hasn't missed a day since, putting in 10-15 minutes every morning.

We have a branch talent show coming up. Woo found some magic tricks kids can do and showed them to Linus, who was so, so excited (and even more so because it required him to assemble some trick props). He spent a lot of time on them and the next day gave us a family magic show.

We could tell what was going on for almost every one, but it was still fun and very cute. He was pleased to have completely fooled one of his friends at the park with one, even though Moses says the trick was in full view. Also, Linus gave out 3 more Books of Mormon this week.

One of Penelope's revelations was to be a good example to Archie to help him be better, and she really is helping him. She's always been good at motivating him to play her games, and now she seems to have the power of persuasion to help him do his chores, or listen to what we say the first time.

Archie, for his part, has been remotivated. Maybe because he's had some success and remembers it's possible?

Archie (completely sincere): Herb, do you know you have the BIGGEST bum in this whole family?!

I have no idea what brought that on, other than Herbie really does have a big bum???

This picture was taken to motivate Archie, who is *almost* there, but not quite.

About a month before Woo turned 39 he suddenly became very interested in puns, composing them in his head, coming up with hypothetical situations where he'll be able to deliver the perfect pun, names of businesses, etc. Unfortunately, his most successful pun delivery to date, was completely by accident.

There are no puns in these, but Woo wanted to caption these pictures of us passing a man holding a huge bunch of balloons on our way home from church.

"Chelsey, diligently pulling her children away from the enticings of the devil."

"Chelsey, unphased by even the most colorful of floating temptations, singlehandedly pulls her children from the jaws of hell."

"Chelsey, having never been tempted by peers or even balloons or toys or any other material goods, rebuffs yet again the wiles of the father of lies."

Anyway, that's our week. Hope yours was great!


Jerseys, Camp and Star Wars

This week started out pretty normally. We went to the library. We went to the beach, etc. But then midway through the week, we split up and Woo went to youth camp with Ruby and Herbie. And the rest of us stayed home.

The younger kids were pretty jealous; they really wanted to go too! But in the end, we *might* have had the better week. It was pretty relaxing; they got to pick their dinners, and I let them watch the original Star Wars (with a little bit of manual editing).

I really like this having the kids seek for personal revelation every night. The older four are definitely getting the hang of it, and are becoming independent in discovering and doing the most important thing for them right now.

Herbie finished his Duty to God without any prodding or anything from us or anyone. Every single one of the kids now spends some self-appointed time in the scriptures every day. Ruby and Herbie are doing more Family History on their own. Moses discovered a huge personal weakness that he's now working on, etc.

One morning Linus told us he needed to give a Book of Mormon to his new soccer friend at the park. He and Moses both wrote in it and were very excited to give it him. In return, the friend gave them each full soccer uniforms with their names on the jerseys!

Ruby was better than perfect the morning before youth camp because she'd received the revelation that she needed to be a good example at camp. She'd invited two friends who both said they were coming and she assumed it was for them. But she was derailed when both of those friends fell through (welcome to missionary work, Ruby!), and after getting hardly any sleep, never really recovered.

I don't know about anyone else, but our kids can be a little (or a lot!) surly when low on sleep...

Herbie had fun, but came home a zombie. I think he had big dreams of starting all the fires... Woo had to start the first charcoal Herbie failed to light, and I'm not sure how he did from there. He crawled into his tent to sleep at a reasonable time and even attempted a nap the next day, but was never successful.

We (Woo and I) were afraid that Herbie would be apoplectic when he saw Moses and Linus' jerseys, but there was no reaction at all. He must have been too exhausted.

Ruby and Herbie did have a lot of fun canoeing, running around, and other activities with the youth... They definitely want to go again next year.

Penelope finally got to go shopping with her birthday money. In the end, all she bought was a hair brush, some bubbles and a bucket of strawberry yogurt.

Penelope--my occasional yoga buddy.

Archie has been promised a bike by his dad if he can be dry at night for two weeks. He's terrified of the pee alarm and told us he could just do it himself. It's been one week and he's done it. But at the expense of some sleep (see surly above).

Woo was great to camp with the kids. He enjoys camping and doing stuff with the youth, and his trip was made more comfortable by taking half our mattress (it zips down the middle) to sleep in the van. Also, he was more than satisfied with the food.

That's about it, except our episode finally aired. It was a... thing... I guess. Hope your week was great!


House Hunters International Fans

I assume you all know that House Hunters International isn't real... and while we haven't seen the episode yet (so don't really know how everything plays out), we still need to come clean on two things.

1. Ligia never would've shown us an apartment with two holes in the wall. This is the apartment we'd already been living in for 6 months, and our own kids made those holes.

We had trouble finding contractors to even come and look at them, let alone fix them, and we felt terrible that they remained for filming. They have been fixed now. Mostly. Could do with another coat of paint... Hopefully they never make the episode...


2. Ligia is wonderful, but we did not use a real estate agent to find our apartment. In fact, it would've been nearly impossible for us to rent an apartment long term in Portugal without the invaluable help of a Senior Missionary couple--Elder and Sister Roque--working under the direction of their Mission President, Manoel Amorim. We are extremely grateful to them.

Oh, and... we know our reasoning for "choosing" the apartment we did, doesn't make a lot of sense. We kind of had to make up something on the fly and weren't very good at it. We're not complete idiots about budget and space required. Sorry about that.

That is all. Thank you.