Half-Birthdays and Rain

Penelope really looked forward to her half-birthday this week, and the other kids encouraged her in that. She excitedly reminded her dad (because they share a birthday). We do not celebrate half-birthdays in our family. All that happens is that I do the chores of the half-birthday kid that day, and they get to read.

I did that, and Penelope got to read, but afterwards is where her half-birthday excitement fell flat. She ran in to Woo to tell him, "You don't have to work today, Dad! It's our half-birthday!"

And Woo had to inform her that yes, he still had to work, even on his half-birthday. No one wished Penelope a happy birthday, no one gave her presents, no one acknowledged that it was a special day for her at all. She ended up going to bed crying.

Every morning I ask the kids what their revelation was (because I expect them to get some during their evening prayers). Penelope said she didn't get any.
Me: Didn't you pray in bed when you felt bad? 
Penelope: Yes.  
Me: Did you feel that Heavenly Father loves you and it would be okay? 
She nodded.

Me: That's revelation!

She gave me a big smile and a big hug.

A few days later Archie was not doing his chore. He got rebellious and asked why he had to do a chore? And what was my chore? I didn't even have to answer, several kids immediately jumped to my aid, listing all the things I have to do, and that Woo has to do. Most adamant was Linus, but also Penelope, who said, "And Dad doesn't even get a day off for his half-birthday. He still has to work!"

I overheard Penelope and Linus speaking in another room.

Penelope: I was the first one done with my math assignment!
Linus: I was NOT the first one done with my math assignment, but all those other people got tons wrong and I did not miss a single one!

(FYI I doubt Penelope missed any either, but this conversation shows how careful and diligent Linus always is with his work, and he will not be persuaded that anything else--like speed--is more important.)

Herbie had a field trip. His first to Lisbon. He was very excited; as he'd already heard about the planetarium from his siblings who'd already been there on field trips. His class was set to watch a presentation on black holes, but all did not go as planned.

His class was not the only one visiting the planetarium on that day or hour. They had been double booked with a preschool class and as a result Herbie's class watched the baby presentation with them, where they learned about the sun and other things in the sky. During the part on thunder and lightning, one of the little kids started to cry, and afterwards, they all got cookies for being good, including the kid who had cried.

Herbie still had fun, and we (especially Woo) laughed a lot during his telling of the planetarium experience.

Woo and I met with Moses and Ruby's teachers. Moses is doing wonderful; he's everything his teacher would like him to be, except maybe speak up a bit more. She was a little undecided about this because of the behavior of the rest of his class and she didn't want to set Moses up for trouble as the know-it-all.

Apparently, Moses had the worst class in the whole school. So bad, that they have an extra class every week with their home room teacher and a school counselor where they learn about feelings and proper reactions and how to work with others.

Anyway, this was Moses' bom in English explained. He's doing great and has done all his work, but the class is so bad, the teacher has not been able to cover all the material, and the best anyone could get was a bom. Also the case for his lower grade in Portuguese. She felt he understood the work in Portuguese more than most of the class, but they had not been able to get far.

She further exposed the different philosophy on grades by saying I shouldn't worry about Moses at all; the lower grades were nothing to worry about; he was doing wonderful.

This shines further light on the almost impossible goal Ruby has set of all 5s (muito boms). She had a similar setback when her technology teacher was sick for a large portion of term; they never had a substitute and everyone in the class got a 3 (sufficient).

Woo talked to Ruby's teacher who absolutely loves her. She listed everything Ruby did well then said, "She's a marvel! If only we had 20 of her!"

Woo smiled and said, "If only!"

When I told Ruby this, I then told her that Woo said, "If only we could find a man good enough for her to marry..."

He really didn't, but this teacher is the mother of the boys Ruby has had crushes on most of the time we've been here. Woo didn't put two and two together until after the meeting.

My Portuguese is not getting any better. Sometimes I think it's getting worse. The school wants us to get some new registration thing for the kids, and I went into the office to see, what, exactly. I barely understood a word. Luckily, Ruby walked by at that moment, and she was able to help me out. Also, I had the man write it down for me. They wanted me to register each kid at the health center.

I went that afternoon, but left when I saw the huge line. Another day, at another time, I made it to the desk, but each of the kids needed a different registration number first. I went to that office, and it felt like a miracle and a huge success when there was no line, they accepted my registration the realtor had helped me get over a year ago, when I told him I didn't have residency, and was able to get the numbers for all the kids. Health center again next week.

I've been praying over lines from President Nelson's talks. This week I was praying about praying with more power, and I shared some things with the kids.
Me: Prayer should include thanks, praise, ... telling Heavenly Father how good He is--
And complimentary Moses piped up.
Oh! I love doing that!
That must be his secret.

Every few months Woo gathers us around to have a family counsel about our missionary efforts. This time we decided that maybe our goals are wrong. Maybe our goal should be to have others feel the Holy Ghost, because on my mission Elder Gene R. Cook came, and I remember him saying that if the Austrian people feel the Holy Ghost, they will respond.

We discuss ways to help others feel the Holy Ghost and then Woo dismissed us all to our rooms to get revelation on a specific person and thing. The kids all came back knowing what they needed to do, and they did it this week. Some of which, I'm kind of amazed at, and don't know that I'd have the courage to do.

Herbie bore his testimony to his friend about Jesus Christ. He just began with, "I want to bear you my testimony... "

Linus told his friend his talk about gratitude and prayer he'd just given in church, and so on.

Woo gave a talk this week on the same topic he'd given a talk on last April (How to Worship Heavenly Father and Jesus). He considered giving the same talk, and I said do it, but he ended up writing a new one, because he said, "I'm a different person than I was last April."

And this talk was better. I enjoyed it and Penelope really did. She talked about it and what she had learned all the way home.

Sorry about the pictures. They're mostly of a rainy Saturday in the garage. Hope your week was great!