Skating in the Queen's Diapers

There were many promises given last October to families who implemented the new home study into their homes.
President Nelson said, "The new home-centered curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith. I promise that as you diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning, over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight. Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings, and the influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease. Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.
Elder Cook reported that scripture study in families who already been doing the home study progressed and changed. Anyway, that finally happened to us this week in a big way.

Woo, frustrated with our evening reading of the Book of Mormon, suggested to me that we have a family council about it. Over the course of 6 (?) or more months, the behavior of the kids has deteriorated. There were occasional improvements only to fall back again.

I agree and mentioned it to the kids. Herbie prayed about it and got revelation that evening. The next evening before reading, we had our family council, with the result being nothing what Woo was expecting, but was clearly better for all of us.

Herbie said we should spread out in the room. We had all been sitting at the table, which is tight and all the kids were in easy target range of one another.

Ruby suggested that we have more discussion, like when we read our New Testament chapters Sunday morning.

I suggested we quit reading verses in Portuguese and then translating into English, as it was making our study more of a Portuguese lesson than a word of God lesson. We had done more discussing, earlier, but once we started reading in Portuguese, that had completely dropped off.

Penelope (who was maybe the only kid still getting a lot out of our old scripture study) wanted to read more verses. We considered this, but it was later modified by Woo as we got going, because we decided to start immediately, where we saw instant improvement.

Ever since Woo and I were engaged, our family Book of Mormon reading has been based on a set number of verses, but after only 1 or 2 verses followed by enlightened discussion, Woo realized that what we should do is decide on an amount of time and stick to that, no matter how many verses we read.

Ruby interprets scriptures very well. She always (so far) gets personal application and symbolism when I ask questions to see what the kids know. Sometimes I'll ask a question whose answer I've only just realized myself, and she'll answer with exactly that.

Although, the truth is that most of us when asked a thought provoking question (I know what you're thinking... I do not ask leading questions... ) can come up with an answer that surprises even us when given the time to think about it.

Moses continues to be my biggest cheerleader. He makes sounds of agreement and nods his head seriously whenever I say anything, which makes me smile. Of course I'm serious, but it's funny to me that he is.

All the kids are motivated to be better after every evening. One night I found this cute note Linus had written to himself to help him remember to overcome his weaknesses.

And instead of his evening ending angrily, he ends them saying a cute, heartfelt prayer about whatever we have discussed together.

Which answered another concern Woo had -- that all the kids' evening prayers had become rote. They have all definitely improved a lot since we've improved our Book of Mormon study.

Several weeks ago, Archie told me I was pretty nice, but he thought other moms were nicer. The (hypothetical?) kind of moms that give their kids tons of treats and toys. I encouraged him to pray and get revelation about it. He did and the next morning he gave me a big hug and told me Heavenly Father told him I was the best mom (for him).

Every since then, Archie prays every night that I'll be the best mom in the whole world--the next frontier, I guess, but I'm grateful for his prayers.

M&Ms are expensive here, but a couple days before my birthday I happened to see they were on sale. I bought 4 bags for my birthday present. After sharing some with Woo and the kids, I ate a bunch, but when I started to feel sick, I took out a handful to continue eating and closed the bag to put the rest away.

Some kids were curious about why I had done that.
Herbie: She's using horse power.

Archie was my favorite to watch at the skatepark this week. He had a route all picked out that he road over and over and over again. It was challenging enough that he had to concentrate and work really hard in a few places, but fun enough to do over and over and over again, apparently.

Penelope and Woo had a good time racing each other down one side and up another. Sometimes Penelope won, sometimes Woo won.

Penelope and Ruby came running with me on Saturday. They both beat me.

Moses has ramped up his school game. He also is now shooting for straight muito boms. He came home excited, thinking he's gotten 100% on his math test. He didn't, but was in the high 90s and got the high score in his class.

Here's the computer Archie made for me.

One of Linus' goals is to make a movie this summer. I made him a step-by-step workbook starting with figuring out who was going to star in his movie, how to follow a story arch to write a screenplay, how to edit a screenplay, how to work with his actors, etc. I'm no expert, but I think I know enough to help a 9 yr old get the best out of his efforts.

When I showed him the workbook, he wanted to start immediately, and all the other kids who read it with us, suddenly wanted to do the exact same thing, so now I have a few more workbooks to make.

One P-day our Elders, the Caldas Elders and the APs (both former Elders in our branch) were in town. Looking for Woo, they went across the street to the beach, where they found him, dropping in on the best wave of the day. As he rode into shore, there was a small crowd shouting his name and waving. Every once in awhile it's nice to do something right while appreciative people are watching.

Woo's surfing friends were also impressed with Woo's supportive crowd who appeared out of nowhere at just the right moment.

And lastly....

It's often really windy here. But a few weeks ago it was extra windy. One morning I woke up and I could've sworn that mine and Woo's sheet (that had just been washed) had been hanging in our porch. Nothing had ever blown out before, but the sheet was nowhere. I could think of no other explanation.

It had blown out the window. But I couldn't see it anywhere outside either, not in the trees or roofs or parking lot below us... It wasn't in the dunes...
Me (to Woo): It's probably out in the ocean strangling some sea life right now.
Luckily, we had two sheets so it didn't really bother us much. And then one day Woo came home laughing from his surf with our sheet folded under his arm. He'd found it wadded up in a tree, as if some thoughtful person had put it there to prevent it from blowing farther.
Woo: Somehow, I don't think this is such an uncommon incident in this country.
And I think I'm finally done! Hope you all had a great week!

Title explanation: if you change a couple of letters in the town with this skatepark, it translates into "The Queen's Diapers."