A Week Without Woo

Woo was gone most of the week for  3 1/4 workdays in Utah to do team building stuff like go to the movies, eat out, play cricket and golf...

He had three free evenings. He went to our house one; the temple, cemetery and dinner with Becky for the anniversary of Dallin's death another; and a family dinner for his mom's birthday the last.

In theory, Woo being gone should have no effect on my personal goals, but it's always a throw away week for me. I never seem to get anything but the basics done, and I suffer a step backwards in anything extra I'm trying to do.

I went on my slowest run in months right before picking him up at the airport and I thought about all the complaints I'd ever heard about disengaged dads or husbands, or reasons for putting small children in daycare or school too early, and I realized that there's just something about the physical presence of an immediate family member in the home that most people discount. It's subtle, sure, but it's there.

I remembered it when Woo started going into work sometimes after Archie was born. He could be working most the day at home, sequestered in his office even, and it would still be a better day than when he was gone. And it wasn't just me. The kids were more settled too.

Anyway, we did mostly have a good week. After dropping Woo off at the airport we stopped at the Decathlon for the first time, which was pretty much a dream come true for everyone (including me), and we drove away, everyone feeling very satisfied with a few key purchases for summer. Because this was the last week of school for Ruby, Herbie and Moses, and the other kids end next week.

Ruby and Herbie performed in a special school event Thursday night. They were done waaaay later than the 7PM they told me, but it was worth it. I wish Woo had been there. He would've loved it.

I did miss hearing Ruby's solo, but Herbie said a lot of people had complimented her on it, and I did see Herbie's class dancing some traditional Portuguese dances. It was very cute.

While waiting to watch Herbie, Ruby showed me some of the student art displays (making stuff out of recyclables is really big here).

I saw this mound of staples and glue from the side and commented, "This one did NOT look easy to put together... "

And Ruby read the name, "Herbert... it's Herbie's!!"

And then I remembered all the comments and stress Herbie had had over it. I guess I'd never visualized it in my mind before.

We had a good primary lesson where I invited our two baptized kids (Moses and Linus) to share their memories and feelings about their baptisms and also what they do to remember Jesus during the sacrament, and they both just fed off each other in a good way.

It was only us this week in primary so our speaking dwindled into English and while Moses was speaking, Linus (who often speaks about himself in 3rd person) said, "Something Moses just said gave Liney revelation. He answered a question Liney had."

And a couple sentences later Moses said practically the same thing about something Linus had said.

I keep having vague ideas that I should be doing something to get those two actually teaching in primary more, but haven't done anything about it yet.

We had our annual awards ceremony with prizes today, where we announce a few things each person has accomplished this last year and we all clap and then we hand out their prize.

I'm not going to mention any of the accomplishments here because I've mentioned all of them at some point in the last year, but it's always fun for the kids to think about something they're doing now that they had not been able to do just a year ago.

And then, of course, there's the prize.

I did not get water or summer toys as I have in past years, but Woo ordered some books on Amazon and had them shipped to his parents and brought them home on the plane (books that we otherwise would not have been able to get here), and I had worked on a summer project box for each of them with sketchbooks and writing books with prompts, and a bunch of other stuff based on what they'd each individually told me they wanted to do... I thought they might be sort of let down that it wasn't toys, but they were all so, so, so excited and tried a little bit of everything right away.

The only disappointment was Penelope, who wondered why I hadn't gotten her a book to learn Japanese. And that is because she had told me about wanting to learn Japanese at a later time than when I was planning for summer. But there may still be some things we can do for her if she's really set on it... which I think she is.

Archie made his very first basket in a full-sized basketball hoop Monday or Tuesday. He was very, very pleased, and when I finished saying his accomplishments for the year today, he reminded me of this one, which he clearly felt was monumental and needed to be mentioned.

Ruby has been working hard and her hymn repertoire has tripled, quadrupled? in the last couple weeks. We had real live prelude music today before sacrament meeting for the first time, and the change was quite abrupt when she finished, sat down, and the person who plays the recorded songs this week sat at the keyboard.

Penelope and Linus also made Woo some sandwiches for a picnic today. I don't know what all was on Woo's sandwich, but I did hear someone yell at some point, "I didn't put any ketchup on your sandwich, Dad! But I put some on mine!"

And Woo brought home this giant chocolate bar for me, which was the perfect size for me to eat enough to make myself sick and have enough left over to share with everyone for a Sunday treat.

And that is all for the week. I hope your week was great!


Blissfully Quiet Week

I can hardly remember a thing from this week. We were pretty low key, not doing anything out of the ordinary.

Woo took all kids skating in pairs at some point during the week for a modified Daddy Day. Herbie and Linus were the first to go the morning Linus gets out of school early.

Archie was telling me about his wonderful day at school until he said, "Where's Liney?"
"He went to the skatepark with Dad."
And suddenly Archie's morning wasn't good enough and he cried the rest of the way home.

He got his chance a couple days later with Moses, and both Penelope and Ruby also wanted to go skating. They went on the trail on Saturday.

In 2012 I started a blog and all my emails are on it. It's very handy to have them in one place because the kids like to read them on Sunday afternoon.

But I started writing emails in 2008... there are many emails previously unknown to the kids... So this week I worked to get them all up on the blog too.

It brought back all sorts of memories for me, and the kids now are meeting the 4 year old Ruby, 2 year old Herbie and baby Moses they had previously not know. Also included are the births of Linus and Penelope.

Woo spent some time researching Pig Latin in different languages and its historical use. He taught Penelope how to say her name in Lingua de Pé, the Portuguese version. It's pretty complicated.

Archie spent an afternoon working very hard on this car drawing.
"Mom, is this the best drawing in the whole entire world?!"

Moses is a in testing year here in Portugal. He's had a few big tests the last couple weeks where he goes to school at a different time and has to take ID. We always say a prayer for his ID, as well as for his test. So far, so good.

He did accidentally leave his coat lying somewhere on a different day, and prayed pretty much constantly from the second he recognized it was gone, until he ran back to it. It was still there. This is the kid who lost 3-4 coats in the first month or two of school.

We didn't go anywhere Saturday. Woo took a nap. Ruby finally got all the reading in that she's always wanting (I think!). The kids played soccer with the Elders in the morning.

Herbie often loses his temper and argues a lot, but this time he said he prayed that he wouldn't, and he didn't. Afterwards he said a thank you prayer.

Linus, instead, came home early in an outrage after arguing with Ruby.

Linus (singing I Know That My Savior Loves Me after scriptures): I'm feeling the Holy Ghost, Mom!

Linus gave a talk in Primary today and then he wanted to do an activity as part of it, which was basically one of the suggested lesson prompts, and he took up all the time. It was nice to have a break.

Archie is now registered for 1st grade. Also he can tie his shoes very, very well! Ruby went through it once with him, and he had it. He now likes to tie all the shoes of his friends at school when they come undone.

Penelope's come home a few times with treats from kids having a birthday (She and Linus say most of their class has birthdays in June) and has been very good at sharing them with everyone.

Woo only went surfing once this week. He's feeling fat.

Woo was amused with these "American Way" jelly beans that spell flavor like the British.

And that's probably all I've got for you this week. Hope your week was great!

I gave a very basic testimony today. Here's my district conference talk instead.

Several years ago the Holy Ghost clearly told me that I needed to be a Captain Moroni to my family. I was the one who needed to prepare them for battle. I was the one who was to lead them through many of their first battles.

I carefully studied everything Captain Moroni did and thought about how I could do this with my own little army, my family.

I learned that Captain Moroni inspired his army with the most basic, the most important things. I understood that to mean that I must make the most basic, the most important parts of the Gospel very, very clear to my family. They needed to know in everything I did that these were the most important things to me.

Captain Moroni built up dirt fortifications around his cities, shovelful by shovelful. I understood that to mean that our family must add shovelfuls to our fortifications by reading scriptures as a family every day and praying and attending church and bearing testimonies and attending the temple, and that we would need A LOT of shovelfuls to build a tall, strong, secure wall.

And then I read this interesting scripture in Alma 49:8
But behold, to their (the Lamanites) uttermost astonishment, they (the Nephites) were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they (the Nephites) were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni. 
When Steven and I first became parents, I think we both imagined we would parent like our own parents; however, the Spirit and the circumstances of our own time have led us do things neither of our parents ever did.

When I read this scripture in Alma, I read:
But behold, to their (the forces of Satan) uttermost astonishment, they (our family) were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the [family of my husband or my family]. Now they were prepared for [Satan], to battle after the manner of the instructions of [Chelsey].
This is a serious responsibility. The night before we first started our home study of Come Follow Me, I read this scripture in Matthew 10:41
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; 
This was the Holy Ghost telling me that as our family followed the prophet’s counsel by doing the family home study, we would receive the prophet’s reward.

President Russell M Nelson is the Captain Moroni of the church, in fact to the entire world. He is instructing us to do things that may have never been done before in our families, but when done many, many times have the power to shield us and our families from the strengthening attacks of Satan.

During the past five months, our family has been building the foundation of this shield, and I can see and I know it is working.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Vários anos atrás, o Espírito Santo disse me claramente que eu precisava ser um capitão Morôni para minha família. Eu sou a pessoa que precisa prepará-los para a batalha. Eu sou a pessoa que os guiará em muitas de suas primeiras batalhas.

Eu estudei cuidadosamente tudo o que o capitão Moroni fez e pensei como eu poderia também fazer estas coisas com meu próprio pequeno exército, minha família.

Aprendi que o capitão Morôni inspirou seu exército com as coisas mais básicas e mais importantes. Eu entendi que isso significa que eu devo falar muito claro para minha família sobre as coisas mais básicas e mais importantes do Evangelho de Jesus Cristo. Eles precisavam saber que em tudo que eu fiz que essas coisas eram as mais importantes para mim.

O capitão Morôni construiu fortificações de terra ao redor de suas cidades, e seus homens construíram as fortificações com uma pá cheia após a outra.

Eu entendi que isso significa que cada vez que lemos as escrituras em família, oramos, prestamos testemunho, assistamos o templo ou fazemos história familiar que estamos colocando outra pá cheia em nossa fortificação e que precisamos de muitas, muitas, muitas pás cheias para construir uma alta, forte parede segura.

E também eu li essa interessante escritura que fica em Alma 49: 8
Mas eis que, para sua (os lamanitas) total surpresa, eles (os nefitas) estavam preparados para recebê-los de uma forma nunca antes vista entre os filhos de Leí. Ora, (os nefitas) estavam preparados para os lamanitas, para combater segundo as instruções de Morôni. 
Quando Steven e eu nos tornamos pais pela primeira vez, acho que imaginávamos que seríamos pais como nossos pais; mas o Espírito e as circunstâncias de nossa época guiaram nos a fazer coisas que nenhum de nossos pais jamais fez.

Quando eu leio essa escritura em Alma 49, eu leio:
Mas eis que, para sua (as forças de Satanás) total surpresa, eles (nossa família) estavam preparados para recebê-los de uma forma nunca antes vista entre [a família do meu merido ou minha família]. Ora, (nossa família) estavam preparados para [Satanás], para combater segundo as instruções de [Chelsey (eu—porque sou o capitão)] 
Esse é uma responsabilidade muita séria. Na noite antes à primeira vez que começamos nosso estudo em casa de Vem, e Segue-Me, li esta escritura que fica em Mateus 10:41
Quem recebe um profeta em qualidade de profeta, receberá galardão de profeta; 
Este foi o Espírito Santo dizendo me que, quando nossa família seguiu o conselho do profeta, em este estudo em casa, receberíamos o galardão do profeta.

O Presidente Russell M Nelson é o capitão Morôni da igreja, na verdade para o mundo inteiro. Ele instrui nos a fazer coisas que nunca foram feitas antes em nossas famílias, mas quando realizadas muitas, muitas vezes têm o poder de proteger a nós e a nossas famílias dos ataques de Satanás.

Nos últimos cinco meses, nossa família construiu a base dessa parede, e eu sei que está funcionando. 

Em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amém.


The Never-Ending Email

I was thinking we had a rough week until I looked back over my notes and saw that there were quite a few great moments.

One thing I've noticed this week is how much Linus is enjoying the scriptures. He reads well individually every morning, but once this week when the timer went off he sighed and said, "That was fun."

He's in the war chapters again... his favorite.

Our new way of studying the Book of Mormon is definitely better for him. He's engaged and asking lots of questions. Instead of being surly almost every evening, he's surly about once a week.

And he read and marked his scriptures through about 2 1/2 hrs of district conference this weekend. When the mission president got up and started talking about the first vision, Linus whispered, "I just read that!!"

One night after we'd put the kids to bed, Woo leaned over and said, what's this under your pillow? It was a tiny heart that Penelope had cut out and written "I love you soo much, Mom and Dad."

The next morning Penelope said that after she'd gone to bed, she remembered that she'd never told us about the note she'd written and she was afraid we wouldn't see it--it was so little. So she'd prayed that we'd find the note, and we did!

Another day at lunch, the school worker very solemnly told us I needed to talk to Penelope's teacher. (They always make it seem like something dreadful has happened... ), and Penelope's teacher was indeed waiting for us with her arm around Penelope who had her head down and was looking very sad...

Anyway, Penelope's teacher was concerned because Penelope couldn't open her eyes and was in a lot of pain, especially when she went outside. We took her home for lunch, and we were unsure what it could be... we ruled out a migraine and brightness (it's been really hot this week and also new white paint on the wall of the school)...

And then Penelope remembered that she'd sprayed a bunch of perfume (that a friend had given her) all over her hair and then when she'd gone outside and started running around and sweating it must of have gotten into her eyes. Thankfully everything was easily solved with a bath (although Penelope wore sunglasses to class in the afternoon... *placebo*)

Herbie and Moses both have been following Ruby's example, trying to be much better in school. Moses has gotten lots of muito boms on tests. Herbie came home with not just a muito bom in Portuguese, but an excelente (100%).

So, when Herbie said a friend was coming over to film a little thing for their technology class in the afternoon, and they might need to go to the beach or maybe the park, and they'd probably need Moses to hold the phone, I thought nothing of it.

Archie and I walked Ruby back to school for the afternoon, where I was going to register Archie for 1st grade and Ruby was going to help me if I ran into Portuguese troubles. (She also encouraged Archie to dress in an outfit matching her own and combed his hair. It was pretty cute. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture.)

I did not get Archie registered because OF COURSE I didn't bring one document that I didn't even know I needed (hopefully next week!), and Archie and I headed home where I started to think about Herbie and Moses...

And suddenly I realized that they weren't just going to go to the beach and film something, but that there was no way they'd be able to keep themselves out of the water on a hot day like this or run around all over the dunes... Moses was probably lost in a mountain range of dunes right now!! And hot days attract the unsavory characters to the beach... what had I been thinking??

I hoped they would be home when we got home, however they were not. I wondered how much longer they would be. I was anxious for them to get back. But I didn't want to go to the beach myself. The apartment was cool; I was tired of walking, and I was possibly just being paranoid.

So I said a little prayer where I learned that Yes! I should go get them (although they were being protected). Archie and I set off once again and the beach was crowded, but we found Herbie in the water within a few minutes of getting there.

Moses was nowhere to be seen. But we did find him quite a ways away, covered in sand, a few yards from Herbie's stuff.

The movie had never been filmed. The friend had wanted to swim instead, Herbie and Moses got another practical lesson of what happens when you're too easily influenced by your friends, and I'll be more alert next time.

Archie, Penelope and Linus had their beach day in school. Last year Archie did not want to get in the water, but this year he was brave enough. He got to wear a wetsuit and body board (with assistance) for a few waves and surf (with assistance) for a few waves. It's a great end-of-the-school year activity.

One afternoon Archie was whining he didn't have anything to do, so Woo sent him to his room to deep clean it. He cried and whined some more of course, but after about 15 minutes he actually started to do it. And he really did do a fantastic job. I had no idea he could clean so well, but he folded all his clothes, swept, successfully distinguished trash from treasure, and came down with armfuls of that trash for the garbage can.

And now he knows how much easier it is to keep a clean room clean over repeatedly trying to clean a messy room. It still looks good. He thinks it's going to last a year, and even though I know that's pretty much impossible, I haven't told him yet.

Woo and I went to the beach one morning when the kids were at school to try out his ... he calls it a mountain board ... but it's a skate board with bindings like a snowboard, wide wheels like a fat tire bike, and a kite like a kite board.

Herbie and I have seen one in action once before, with a guy whizzing along the beach at low tide, being pulled by a kite.

Anyway, Woo did not get to that point. He never even got to the think about standing on the board point. But he did get the kite all set up correctly and we did get it in the air for a few minutes a couple of times.

He seemed to think it was funny when the kite would dive to the ground almost on top of me and I wouldn't react at all, but would pick up the kite and throw it up again. Perfectly understandable though, when you know I wasn't thinking of the kite hardly ever, but was lost in my own thoughts.

Something changed in my running last week or maybe the week before. I don't know how to explain it, other than I no longer feel like something is dragging me down. I feel like that's gone and that I can go faster, and even faster in the future. Also I am thinner, noticeably thinner (not imaginary thinner) for the first time since right before I got pregnant with Penelope (?).

I haven't changed anything in the last couple weeks or months, but in my birthday blessing Woo did bless me to run and not be weary.

District conference was this weekend. I had no plans to go to the leadership or adult sessions only because I felt that 7-8 hours was too long to leave the kids all alone. But then both Woo and I were asked to speak in the adult session and I suddenly had to start thinking about a talk and how to keep the kids happy while there.

The talk came easily, and we found a few new church-appropriate movies for the kids to watch during the leadership session. They could attend the session we were speaking in.

The kids were not happy when they found out how their Saturday was to be spent. There was a lot of complaining from all of them except Herbie and Penelope. It was a pretty rough morning.

Woo decided we should do our New Testament study on the drive, and because I feel sick turning around in the van and yelling so everyone can hear me, Woo (who has a naturally loud voice) sat in the passenger seat, read all the verses, asked all the questions, and made almost all of the commentary, while I drove. It was good. The kids paid attention and I learned a couple things that had puzzled me about JS-Matthew.

The movies worked great for the kids--until the leadership meeting split into groups and they needed the room the kids were in and I was stuck in a meeting I was getting nothing out of (nor contributing to) because it was going over, I was worried about the kids and I getting food and a break before the next session, and a host of other things.

I made a very awkward and undignified exit, and we ran to the store, accidentally left one cart in the store, so never purchased half the kids' food, dealt with A LOT of complaining, got the kids dressed, spilled water all over my shirt, and so on and so on, until we all finally sat down to start and I was surprised to learn that I was the very first speaker.

Thank goodness I was because then it was over. Woo was naturally entertaining, of course, even in Portuguese. Surprisingly, Ruby really seemed to be enjoying almost all of the speakers.

The meeting got out early, Ruby got a few learning-to-play-the-piano tips from the 2 senior missionary sisters and the mission president's wife, we hustled kids out of there, drove home with some more NT and our nightly BofM, got the kids in bed late, Woo and I laid down exhausted...

AND because of the day we had yesterday, today's 3 hr bus ride and session of district conference was a walk in the park for pretty much all of us. (It would have been for all of us, if not for Woo's asthma, which always gives him a lot of trouble on Sunday, for some reason.)

Last year I made everyone sandwiches to eat on the bus ride home. This year I had them all make their own. (Penelope never would've gotten this butter, peanut butter, cheese, mayonnaise and mustard masterpiece from me.) Also, we slept in and did our individual scripture study on the bus.

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