Sun, Sand, Bikes and Ants

Finally! Nothing particularly noteworthy happened this week!

I took special care to make sure I was getting enough sleep—going to bed earlier than I thought and taking small (15-30min) naps when I had the chance.

I intentionally slowed down my thoughts and looked for things I could cut out. I did add one thing. I started going on my run alone instead of trying to get it in while the kids played in the parking lot.

I was tired Thursday evening, but that was the only time, and it was at the end of the day.

I was afraid of going to sleep too easily and waking up in the middle of the night, but one night I let myself fall asleep at 9pm, and I slept 10 hours straight!

I still enjoy the time I’m teaching the kids myself. Our longer classes near the end of the time slot were always satisfying and I felt the kids were each learning a lot. The shorter ones, near the beginning, with more class participation, had more class participation than I would like. Sometimes it was difficult to keep order.

I googled a few classroom management techniques and those worked very well. Class behavior became pretty close to perfect. Moses told me he learned more too.

I had questioned the value of reading Shakespeare with the kids myself, but this week I realized it was exposing the kids to ideas of noble gentlemanly and ladylike behavior—a thing that I had not expected, but that I am all for.

The temple activity was a flop, but I have ideas to try again next week.

The naturalist outing is still good. Woo and all the kids, except Ruby (who was drawing plants), spent over half an hour watching an ant hill. It’s not like we’ve never seen an ant hill before, but now we’re slowing way down and looking much closer.

I noticed for the first time that while the line of ants moves with purpose, if you concentrate on any one ant, they’re an idiot—backtracking, bumping into others, getting lost at times... very few appear to be carrying anything at all... (although I’m sure there are things too tiny for me to see).

It occurred to me that mankind (or the church) must be much like an ant colony. It also would explain why a message we so often get is to just keep on going—keep going as straight ahead as we know how.

We have never bought face masks, but they’re required to enter any store here. Woo and I grocery shopped last time in buffs pulled over our noses. I hated pulling mine up every few seconds so this week I decided to wear a mask Moses had made back in February in his science class out of a paper towel and rubber bands. (I’d scoffed at it at the time.) Woo was still wearing his buff, but when we got to the store they wouldn’t let him in. They said it was inadequate, but masks were for sale in the store. My paper towel passed the test (even though it felt like it was going to disintegrate under a few minutes of my breathing), so I ran in to buy him one. (Our shopping excursions are a two cart ordeal, and his presence was necessary.)

I searched and searched, but found nothing. There were also no employees around to ask. I was about to ask a cashier when I saw a box on the stand right in front of him. So I waited in line. Woo was staring at me through the window. Waiting. Waiting.

I finally got close enough to pick up the box, but it was completely empty. I asked and they were all sold out, so I ran out to Woo to tell him. At that moment, he remembered he had a face mask he’d bought at the hardware store when we first moved here. It was still in the van. He ran to get it and the guy at the front door let us in.

To change up our outside time, I took the kids on bike rides in a park with a long trail and let them loose. Except Archie, I followed behind him. I followed at a distance because he and Penelope wanted to be on an adventure of their own. I couldn’t help thinking that in a perfect world they’d be out alone, exploring the neighborhood together, stopping in a vacant lot, climbing trees, riding their bikes over dirt hills... and I was a tiny bit sad they didn’t have that.

But they still had a ton of fun and Woo even found a new bike for Archie near the end of week. It had bigger wheels so he could keep up with Penelope better, and a bell (which is always a hit). They were both pleased.

One of Moses and Linus’s favorite games lately is to plan their adult life together. They’ve decided how many kids to have, their names, what kind of activities they’ll do as a family, where they’ll live. They talk a lot about what their house will be like and they each built one out of legos. Linus is positive that he’s going to be a dentist and he built this dental office.

Moses is still undecided on his career and it bothers him a bit. But his house is all planned!

Penelope and Archie also worked on a drawing of their shared duplex when they grow up. One door says PF for Penelope’s family and the other says AF for Archie’s family.

Both Linus and Moses decided they were going to marry someone “like Mom.” I was duty bound to warn them that in reality they would marry someone who was much better than me in some things, but also worse than me in others, and that would be okay.

One of our favorite family jokes is that Moses will marry a fantastic cook, who will delight in fattening him up. (Another is that Ruby will marry someone with a completely absurd last name—and we all take a couple of stabs at what that might be.) I like to think that Linus will marry someone who takes better care of her makeup, hair and dress than I do.

One night Linus hadn’t been in bed ten minutes before he ran down crying because he was “having bad dreams about death!”

I gave him a hug until he stopped crying, and suggested he get a drink of water when he stopped. Then we each said a prayer together and he ran back up to bed.

In the morning he was so excited to tell me that he’d prayed more by himself when he’d gone to his room and that he’d had the most wonderful feeling while he prayed. He had recently been reading Alma the younger’s conversion story and he said that he thought of the words “exquisitely sweet” and that was what it was like.

He never wanted to forget that feeling and wrote a note on his door that says: don’t forget my happy feeling.

Moses had a similar experience with night time prayer just a couple days before and when they got up in the morning, they decided that they were going to try as hard as they could all week to “be one.”

They did a wonderful job that first day and incrementally worse from there. But at times they were fantastic, not only with themselves, but their other siblings too.

This was Ruby’s last week of seminary and she also did a lot of make up work because she started late in the year (and also didn’t quite understand what was going on in the beginning?) She’s caught up now.

She’s writing a dictionary with Archie as they make up their own language—Ruchie.

Herbie’s face has gotten very brown from floating around in the ocean with the sun reflecting into his face. He has a nice wetsuit line too. He didn’t do the best work on his packet last week, because he was trying to zip through it so he could go surfing.

For example, he didn’t know what an ingredient was for his science experiment, but didn’t email his teacher until the end of the week. When she answered that he could have a few more days to finish, he was happy, but then turned in the instructions with the rest of his packet... whoops.

Woo had him finish that right away and also do better work on his other packet work before taking him out surfing again.

Woo had a busy fix-it Saturday. First he went to the Chinese store in his saw-dust-protective face mask. He did buy 3 actual face masks (a pretty floral one for me), a new shower curtain rod (ours had snapped the afternoon before), and several miscellaneous things for a spring bike tune up.

He put up the new rod, and then he, Herbie, Moses and Linus spent a couple of hours downstairs in the garage tuning up and fixing all our in-need-of-fixing bikes.

This week we read Alma 26:28 as a family. Both Woo and I had written a list in our notes for the phrase “every privation.” Mine was pretty short. It only had two things: inconsistent hot water and lack of furniture. Woo’s list was much longer, but they were all true. It made us laugh. One thing on his list was riding rusty, old bikes.

Anyway, when they were done tinkering, we ate lunch, fielded a big argument between Ruby, Herbie and Moses over some honey coated cashews, Woo spent over an hour fixing a bathroom sink, and then we went on a bike ride!

Ruby dropped a chain about two pedals in and thinking her bike was broken forever, refused to go any further. I switched her bikes and sent her ahead while I fixed the chain, during which Moses crashed. There were a handful of near crashes while Ruby figured out the brakes on the other bike.

And THEN we had a nice bike ride... until Penelope crashed and Archie became terrified of being chased by dogs... but then after that, there were no problems at all. As we were nearing home, Ruby even asked if we could do the same thing every Saturday.

And that’s our week. Hope yours was great!