Last Sunday Evening, Archie was struggling to behave. Moses sat next to him and encouraged him by his example, attention and suggestions to be great during bedtime scriptures and prayer. As I was kissing Archie goodnight, I thanked him for being good while sitting by Moses. He nodded and cried out, "I love him!!"

Moses continued his awesome streak the next day when Ruby left for school on her long day of school without a lunch. Moses handed over his 0.58€ ... all his free money, which he had other plans for ... so Ruby could get some lunch.

As they get money every week, Moses, Herbie and Ruby have been stopping in one of the many Chinese stores on their way from or to school to buy a present for a sibling. (Their favorite is Veja Ky.) Ruby even spent some of her personal birthday money on a few gifts.

I picked Herbie up from school the evening he gets out late and walks home alone. He spent the entire time telling me how he'd had plans to buy something for Archie, and while in the store he'd seen the toy of his dreams, the one he'd always wanted, the perfect color, everything... he'd had no choice, but to buy it for himself, even though it cost all the pocket money he had and couldn't buy anything for Archie now.

I didn't say much. Mostly just "ohs?" and "I sees," and he seemed completely happy with his choice, so I was surprised when he came home and wrapped the present up for Archie, telling me he'd changed his mind; he was going to give the present to Archie anyway. I guess just listening to himself talk helped him see the better choice.

Woo's inspiration for the thing he should let go to be happier (counsel from the visiting authority), was to stop nagging the kids about their bad habits. Instead, he held a family counsel that really inspired the kids and offered his help instead of nags.

Linus came up with the best plans for his two biggest bad habits. He did awesome the first day or two with one, but it's deteriorated by now. The other, however, is still going well.

I used to hate when after getting everyone in bed, and giving Penelope 5-12 goodnight hugs and climbing into my own bed, Penelope would begin to scream and cry uncontrollably because she couldn't remember I'd hugged her and she swore I'd forgotten.

It has not happened for a long time, but happened again this week, and was thankfully solved by Linus, who (while praying for revelation) had the idea to climb out of bed and give Penelope his favorite stuffed watermelon that he loves and never shares with anyone. It was just the sign of affection Penelope needed.

I'm feeling so much more Christmasy this year than last. One morning at scriptures I said, "I am getting too much revelation!"

I kept getting idea after idea for sharing Christ this Christmas, and I was excited about every single one. One was that we should go caroling with the missionaries every week in the city center. I don't know why I never thought of it last year, as it was the go-to Christmas contacting method of my own mission. It's one of my favorite things from my mission. (If I ever took the kids to Vienna, I would want to do it at Christmas.)

Last night was our first time. I would say that no one was very excited on our way to meet (except the missionaries, who would have had tougher plans for the evening without us), but we got there, the missionaries had assembled a couple other members and they also had two investigators show up. I don't know how effective it was in sharing the gospel (Archie did hand out several pass along cards), but its always fun to sing a bunch of Christmas songs in a row. I know we felt better.

Ruby, in particular, acted like she would hate it (as she often does when we leave the house on Saturday), but she ended up being one of the best singers, and even standing in front at times to lead us.

Penelope and I went to the Chinese store the morning she started late for her to buy presents. She was so pleased to pick up this braid headband for herself. (Penelope has plenty of money since she never goes shopping.)

One morning Penelope said, "I didn't get revelation, Mom! But I had a dream!" She was very excited about it, and she got a clear message--She needed to try as hard as she could to be like Jesus because he was coming soon, and she wants to be ready when he comes.

And then I reminded her that she had a talk in primary that week.
Penelope: What's it on? 
Me (looking it up): Um... "I Know That Jesus Christ Will Come Again" 
Penelope: That's my dream! 
Me: I know!

Woo was worried when we moved here and Archie still didn't know how to ride a bike that he would never learn. He spent some time with Archie in the basement yesterday, and after not much time at all, Archie had it!

Later we went to the park, and I was surprised to look across the soccer court and see Archie, all by himself, pedaling down the little sloped path on the other side.

Sorry about the pictures... we were really scraping the bottom of the barrel. I had to take a few of the kids eating lunch after church, sorry. It was especially painful for Moses who's been sick all day.

Well, that's all I have for this week.
I love you!

I did bear my testimony last week, but I forgot to add it.

Testimony Below:

The prophets prophesied that Jesus would be born on earth, that he would atone for our sins, that he would die and be resurrected. All these things happened.

Prophets prophesied that Jesus will come again. I know this will also happen. It is our job to prepare ourselves, our families, and the world.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Os profetas profetizaram que Jesus nasceria na terra, que ele expiaria nossos pecados, que ele morreria e ressuscitaria. Todas essas coisas aconteceram.

Os profetas profetizaram que Jesus virá novamente. Eu sei que isso também vai acontecer. Nosso trabalho é preparar a nós mesmos, nossas famílias e o mundo.

Em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amém.


It's Almost Christmas!!

There are two words that will make Penelope’s eyes light up. Science and Japan. We were pretty surprised about Japan, and didn't understand why she loved it so much until we learned that she'd read a book about that dog, Hachiko.

She really loved it, but it did not increase her love for dogs; it increased her love for Japan. She wants to learn Japanese and it's her dream country to visit. She knows she has a cousin there right now on a mission, and thinks she'll go there too.

Her love of science started last year with a special and exciting science unit. She feels a special kinship to it now too.

I overheard Nellpea trying to compare where she is in the Book of Mormon with Linus.
Linus: We're not just supposed to READ it. The prophet said we're supposed to STUDY it... 
Penelope (quickly): I know...

Linus has been pretty belligerent this week. (Which is kind of odd because he's an awesome morning Book of Mormon reader, but Herbie told me this morning they've been getting up too early and working on Christmas presents in the bathroom...)
Me (walking the kids to school): Linus, you are off to a bad foot.  
Penelope (suddenly reminded of other idioms with similar meanings): AND he’s digging a hole! (That's one Woo likes to use.) 
Oh! AND he’s stopped rowing! --That’s what someone from conference said! 
Unfortunately, it did not make Linus feel better.

Herbie loves canoagem. He is always super excited to go, and is excited when their extra Portuguese tutoring session is cancelled and he can go an extra day.

Ruby puts up a fight every single time, but she's weakening. In fact this week she said, "I can tell I'm getting stronger since I started canoagem."
Me: Oh? 
Ruby: But that does not mean I want to go.
Last week Archie watched 101 Dalmations for only the first or second time. He really liked it and wanted to talk about it. I was kind of surprised, because it's usually been branded a "scary" movie by our kids that age, and I thought for sure Archie would be the same. But he said, "No. The only part scary is gorilla corilla... what’s her name again?"

All Herbie's Christmas surprises have already been ruined. One present he picked out himself. One, observant Archie, who had no idea Herbie wanted a sweater or why I would buy one, mentioned it to him. And the other was known by Ruby, who told Moses, who told Herbie... All that's left now is to wait until they're in his possession.

I keep plugging away at the house. It is not very big; however, I'm throwing everything I've ever liked in a house at it. Well, almost everything. I've let go of a thatched roof.

I'm also understanding why you draw them yourself. As I go, I see the problems I didn't know were there; I find solutions, then have additional ideas, etc. Yesterday I wrestled with a staircase (unpleasantly discovered while starting cross sections) that was not going to behave in the way I thought it was going to behave... Anyway, I did find a solution that preserves my goals for how the house flows, and will also be more exciting for the kids.

Moses has had a great week. He surprised me by following the instruction of the visiting authority in district conference and asked in prayer what he need to let go. The answer was the very thing that Woo and I would've said (thankfully, not the one Ruby suggested to him during the talk--that one ended up being hers, ironically). Anyway, the good news is he's made a lot of progress in that area already.

Here's the link to Woo's patent to those who've asked about it. I (and he) don't suggest anyone actually read it. Just scroll to the bottom and read: Inventor--Steven Woolley.

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