Two Weeks Worth

I didn’t write last week because the Internet was down. This seems to happen to us a couple times every summer when a lot of people are in town. We don’t know if it’s the influx of internet users in the whole town, or just our building, but either way we all get a break from any of our internet dependent activities.

I took a nap last Sunday. I haven’t taken a Sunday nap in I don’t know how long, but it was nice.

That week was not our best week. The kids were not at peace. It seemed to be a combination of not enough sleep, not enough work, not enough exercise, not enough outside time, and depending on the person, not enough to look forward to, or too much to look forward to.

I held a family counsel, but the kids didn’t offer any help. I whipped up a chart with some additional work for everyone, mostly exercises, which they all complained about a lot.

I told them they could start that day if they wanted, but weren’t required to until Monday, then I left.

Penelope started to cry (not enough sleep because of being too excited for her birthday). She said it was going to take her all day to do (ridiculous); she’d never have any time left to do anything else.

Archie cried (same predicament as Penelope) saying that 200 jumping jacks was IMPOSSIBLE!!!

I said close to nothing, and about 1/2 hr later Penelope got desperate enough to try a few pushups, which led to more, which led to her doing everything I’d written and being very pleased and proud about it. She kept saying how she’d thought she’d never be able to do any of it, and now she had.

Monday morning almost kids got going in the morning without being told (Linus was reminded by his siblings). Ruby, Herbie and Moses had not complained about the amounts because they’ve done much more in gym.

In fact, Ruby doubled all the numbers I gave her to make it more of a challenge.

Archie still was convinced jumping jacks were impossible, so Ruby told him to just jump up and down 200 times, then wave his arms 200 times, and he did go into the laundry porch to prevent being laughed at and did exactly that.

Herbie shared his surfboard and helped Ruby for quite awhile one day. She had a lot of fun and decided she was going to take up surfing too.

We had a senior couple visit the branch and ask if we were all big surfers, to which I always say, “No, just Woo and Herbie.”

But Ruby spoke up and said, “I’m trying to be!” and Moses decided at that moment that he also was trying too.

Herbie’s wetsuit has a hole in the bum. He always wears stuff underneath to prevent chaffing, so it’s not dire, but still, he wants a new wetsuit. He and Woo had been looking, and Herbie has some money, but he was always about 20€ short, and just couldn’t seem to find anything cheaper.

One day while doing family history he got the inspiration to sell an old board he had that he never used to get the money. He was thrilled with the idea, and started as soon as he could.

Woo coached him, but did not do the work, as Herbie took pictures, posted his ad, answered inquiries, took a phone call and made a sale (with Moses and Linus as his eager sidekicks).

Moses and Linus made giant aircraft carriers from legos this week (I guess we didn’t get a picture). They did a lot of work on them early in the week, and then were grouchy later in the week.

I finished reading the first Fablehaven book to the kids that week. Moses and Linus are now convinced that this series is the best they’ve ever read and are wondering where it’s been their entire lives.

Woo and the kids planted several dried beans at the missionaries’ suggestion months ago. Woo’s was the only one to bear any fruit. When all the leaves fell off he figured it was time, and took Linus out to pick it.

Then Woo carefully sliced the bean into 8 equal pieces and shared the harvest.

By Monday the Internet was still not working, but that was okay because it was Woo and Penelope’s birthday!

We went to the beach in the morning. It was a pleasant day and everyone had fun. Coming home, Penelope worked on her birthday presents (legos, some jewelry assembly kits, etc.)

Moses and Linus were very eager to help her with these and Linus made her several very beautiful necklaces.

Ruby, Herbie, Moses and Linus ran to a couple stores for me to pick up some birthday dinner ingredients. We haven’t sent them alone to the store for a long time and they were thrilled to be able to do this again.

Woo and Herbie went for a surf, and then some old friends from St. Louis, now living in Germany, showed up!

We were never quite able to believe they’d be let into the country without a problem, but they entered fine and traveled around fine.

They said sightseeing in Lisbon was awesome and also sad because no one else was there. They often had an entire museum to themselves. They also always got strange looks when they were asked in the museums (for survey purposes only) where they were from and they said Germany (funny look), but were American (shocked look), but hadn’t been living there for a long time (somewhat relieved look).

Anyway, they got an apartment a block from us and we went to the beach, walked the town, and all the usual things we take visitors to do. It was a lot of fun to see them, and probably exactly the change of pace we needed for the week.

We are completely out of shape when it comes to socializing and entertaining guests. We overdid it the first bit by staying up too late the first night and then walking around too much outside the first day.

We were exhausted and also sunburnt. Four of us had our lips blister, which has been quite uncomfortable.

But we took it more sensibly after that, and the kids, loved, loved, loved having them here.

The Christensen’s boy, W, was such a good listener. When sitting indoors, he would often be in the center of Herbie, Moses, Linus and Archie who were telling him story after story.

They were not the best storytellers, but he looked thrilled and enthralled about every single one, and they kept going and going.

Moses and Linus would start family stories in the middle, at whatever had triggered their memories, and then eventually, mostly, would get out the whole story to where it mostly made sense.

I think everyone was just happy to be speaking to fellow American kids.
Herbie: He called me dude! 
Me: Did you call him dude? 
Herbie: No... it’s just that no one’s called me dude for a LONG time. 
Me: And it felt good? 
Herbie: Yeah.

While outside, the kids moved in one pack at almost all times. R took maybe half a day to warm up, but she was soon included as well.

Archie told me that before the Christensen’s came he hadn’t been that excited because he knew there would be no one his age. But he was always included and quickly was loving it.

One popular activity was chasing the stray dog someone had dubbed “Bad Dog” along the trails at Papoa. Penelope said this was her favorite part of the whole week.

Ruby had one bad morning (which she hasn't had in ages), getting into an argument with Herbie during a soccer game. She took off to do some walking, and we didn’t find her until we were leaving.

She threw up when we were home for lunch and laid down for the rest of the afternoon, but felt better and behaved better after that.

The ship playground was open while they were here and also almost completely empty, so they were all able to play their old tag games there, free from the complaints of the parents and grandparents of toddlers, who often surround the ship.

The day after the Christensen’s left, we went back to the park, but all the playground equipment was now surrounded with barricades and taped off. So I don’t know if it was never legal, or the city changed their minds again.

Having them visit reminded us that in theory we could be traveling around Europe at rock bottom prices and without crowds, but something is holding us back. We seem to be unable to go anywhere, even within Portugal. We're stuck, waiting for something. If I think about it at all, it’s frustrating. Woo thinks it’s really frustrating.

Woo had a leadership meeting on Saturday. Our district is being dissolved and our branch will become part of one of the Lisbon stakes in a couple of months.

We never did get the Internet, and still don’t have it today. Woo helped me with some wrangling to send this email, including doing part of it at the church. Herbie, Moses and Linus made dinner and dessert for us because it took so long. (Baked potatoes with a bunch of sliced toppings and no bake cookies.)

And that’s our two weeks. Hope yours was great!