First Full Week of Summer

This was a better week. All the kids were out of school; we made some adjustments; and when I asked the kids for their opinion this morning, they said it had been perfect.

We may need to tweak again, but so far on days with no other plans (traveling, visiting, etc) MWF are 3/4 summer schedule and TTH are completely free (except non-negotiables like meals, chores and scriptures).

Penelope and Linus had a free dental appointment. We were surprised when the dentist spoke English to us. And then I was even more pleased when she also replaced Moses' filling that had fallen out last week and we were out of there in an hour. What more could you ask for?

Missing from Penelope's education: the meaning of simple questions referring to place.
Dentist: Where are you from?
Penelope: America 
Dentist: What part?
Penelope: The United States 
Dentist: What state?
Penelope: The US

Cooking has been very popular. Ruby, Herbie, Moses and Linus each have some time for cooking on their schedule. So far we've had brownies, peanut butter cookies, blueberry pancakes, applesauce cake, strawberry parfaits... only Ruby will make anything remotely savory--nachos. Although, Moses might have made quesadillas once.

And everything has turned out great, except Moses' vanilla frosting fiasco yesterday. Normally, I'm all for trying again, but I've never liked frosting and powdered sugar is expensive here. Frosting has now been outlawed.

We all went grocery shopping this week and Ruby and Moses went off with a cart and grocery list of their own to pick up ingredients we were missing.

Coding/Programming has also been very popular with Ruby and Herbie, but Moses hates it! It really emphasizes a weakness he has always had of not being exact with all of his letters. You can blow over that with reading, but not in programming. Your code won't work!

I do want the kids to largely do things they enjoy (Herbie switched to cooking after he saw how fun it was and how difficult making an audiobook is--with our equipment... ), but I'm having Moses stay with programming. In part because I read this quote from Elder Oaks speaking to new mission presidents and referring to new missionaries.
"Many have never learned how to work in a sustained way on something they’ve not chosen to do.”
And I don't want my kids to be guilty of that!!

We did get Penelope started on some Japanese, which she was very excited about; although, Herbie seemed to be learning it quicker than she was.

Linus was mad when he saw that Penelope had Japanese, so Ruby loaned him one of her beginning French textbooks and tutored him a bit. French was luckily the next language Linus said he wanted to learn.

Herbie's made a lot of improvement on the piano in only 2 weeks. Which has now led to arguments with him and Ruby over the keyboard at home and the keyboard at church...

Another new thing for us this year is something I've called Track Club (for lack of a better name). I found a bunch of middle grade workouts online, enough to do a new one every time we go. We only "workout" for 20 minutes and they're largely just supposed to be fun.

However, all of the kids have really stepped up to the plate. For example, Friday I took a dice (die?) and each kid got a turn to roll and determine how many laps we ran. Herbie, Moses, Penelope and, to a slightly lesser extent, Ruby ran really strong the entire time.

Linus and Archie started out great, but they tripped over each other on one of our first laps, and even though they were kind of scraped up, they did not give up.

And then they all wanted to do a time-trial lap at the end. Ruby is still shockingly fast at short distances.

I've also switched up chores. The variety has been good for everybody, and everyone now gets a chance with each of the chores. Even Archie with the dishes and Penelope with the laundry.
Archie (working on his book): Mom! What’s the second letter in BMX???
Ruby (seriously explaining something to Linus): ... it was in the womb... or in the root canal...

For FHE Woo did his annual, traditional, entertain-us-all reading of the kids school work. The kids really love this.

This year while he was reading through Archie's things I realized that each of my boys (at least) is going to do this with their own kids. It will be such a fun memory for them and they'll want to be like their dad.

Woo and Ruby found this handy watermelon slicer, but did not buy.

And I think that's about it. Hope your week was great!


Yay Summer?!

This was the week where I had half the kids in school still and half the kids out. I remember from last year that it was in places tricky, and even stressful. Anyway, that's over--we're all out of school now!

The kids out of school got a good start on their summer projects. And it was a good test run... although we had free, unstructured time, we're going to need more.

Also, Wednesday night I caught a pretty painful head cold that I still have (usually this is Woo's arena), so this is going to be a lazy, picture-led email (which you'll all probably prefer anyway :).

Hope your week was great!

One elder left the branch; a new one came. We've been lucky that we've liked all our missionaries. I'm at an age where, while we don't have a mother-son relationship and I'm not super friendly with the elders, I can definitely see them as someone else's son and I notice the good that is in them and can see the good their individual personalities will do for others.

Our boys, of course, love them.

Moses, proudly making blueberry pancakes for the first time.

We had the annual branch picnic where the whole district is invited. Here's Herbie, eating traditional Portuguese BBQ--entremeadas sandwiched in a hunk of Portuguese bread. We had far less people than last year, but I felt it was more enjoyable (less work).

Ruby and her friends at the BBQ.

Penelope in her fort that she made with her friend Bea.

Woo is everyone's favorite target... when he's jumping the rope spinning gets faster and faster and faster... soon after this it became too fast and he tripped and twisted his ankle. He limped for a couple days, but I didn't notice it today.

Tug-of-War is popular. As soon it was announced a little old lady and a few older men hopped in. It was originally planned to be Americans vs. Everyone Else (Portuguese, Brazilians, Cabo Verdeans, etc). I even had the old lady move to the other side because of it.

But when it was clear the American's were losing, Mario rushed in to help us (he looooves a good tug-of-war). We still lost. (Notice Woo staying off his hurt foot.)

The old lady was laughing, laughing the whole time. When it was over she came to me and said, "You told me to switch sides, and then we won." 

I nodded and said, "It was because of you." 

Which of course she loved.

No one can get dirtier than Moses.

Ruby, helping Woo return tables to the church after the BBQ.

Linus, Penelope and Archie's last day of school is always a party for the whole family. This year the kids were supposed to make hats along a recycling/loving the earth theme and then model them for everyone. It was a cute idea.

Linus, Penelope and Archie made their hats entirely themselves a couple mornings before (Linus even made two hats for Woo and me). They were not on theme at all, but I could care less. The proudest thing for me is that they showed their own initiative and creativity.


Archie panicked and tried to come up with a completely new hat the morning of, but none of those worked and he went in his original hat. He cut out that square so he could pull his hat down and peek through. It was a hit with his class.

Archie walking the catwalk, accompanied by "sua mãe."


Linus, accompanied by "seu irmão."


And Herbie was going to help Penelope, but she broke down in tears and insisted on me.

After the modeling there was a potluck and a kid free-for-all. We had 5 happy(ish) kids.

And one super sad (aka tired) kid.

Linus working on his screen play.

Woo and I thrilled that I'd just carved another watermelon. (He'd been criticized for his insistence on buying 2 large watermelons, which we ate through, plus another someone else had brought.)

Herbie, indexing.

Woo eagerly awaiting his blueberry pancake. I told all kids who made them that they had to share one with their dad. And then Woo was crushed when, even after all his hovering and hint dropping, that is all they would give him. They ate all the rest themselves.

Greek-studying Ruby, hiding from the camera.

Archie, reading a library book.

I found this picture on FB of us attending the adult session of district conference (yes, attendance was sparse). We are all in this picture. Can you find us?