When we first moved to Huntsville I was worried about the high school situation—it was so far away! 

I remember praying about it and getting an answer somewhere along the lines of: It’s not going to be what you think. I will take care of you, but you’ll never believe what will happen if I tell you.

And when I think of Ruby attending high school here in Portugal, and then with the added COVID element, I think, no. Never in a thousand years would I have believed this.

I sometimes think about the verses in Jacob 5 where the trees that are planted in the poor spots of ground produce all good fruit and the tree planted in the best spot of ground produces a part good and a part bad fruit, while the Lord says, "Counsel me not."

Here’s Ruby in her new lab coat for Física-Química (Physics-Chemistry). They take their lab coats somewhat seriously here as they had a couple styles and the lady at the store had Ruby try on a couple and tried also to get my opinion about the fit. Both Ruby and I were like... it’s a lab coat... this one is great. 

Sometimes I think the English language or maybe only my own vocabulary is limited with the word “tired.”

I was tired the first week the kids were taken out of school; I was tired this week; and I was tired several times in the middle, but they were all completely different feelings. 

I tend to save words like “exhaustion” for true extremes like the time I was pregnant with Penelope and we were all struck with a flu whose sole symptom seemed to be a deep and overwhelming fatigue. Woo fell asleep on the floor during scriptures. I fought with everything I had to stay awake myself, but I couldn’t stand to spur the kids into motion and escort them to bed. I had to crawl, carrying Linus in one arm to his bed, and then up the stairs, while weakly driving crawling kids ahead of me like some slow-motion sheep dog before crawling into bed myself. I can’t remember if I could only leave Woo on the floor or if I was able to wake him, but he found his way to bed at some point during the night.

Anyway... this week was NOT that bad :). 

In fact, it really wasn’t bad at all. Despite being tired for a lot of it, I felt a lot more motivated and hopeful than last week.

Ruby comes home from school everyday with a smile on her face. One day she came home very excited because she and Moses had walked home from school with Moses’s friend and told him all about the Book of Mormon.
Linus: Did you give him a Book of Mormon?  
Ruby: You did! He still has it.
Linus has given him a Book of Mormon the first year we moved here and hadn’t even known it. 

We have once again learned that the kids’ schools are not run by unreasonable jerks. Herbie reports that some things that were hurting more than helping have already been revised. Like the plastic dividers in the classrooms. It turns out no one could see. Those have been taken down. 

Herbie and Moses also carefully cleaned a spare pair of shoes for gym and those were acceptable. Linus told his teacher right off the bat that he only had one pair of gym shoes and his teacher said he could use those as long as he cleaned them well before and after class. 

Linus also raised his hand and told his teacher that he only had a package of 10 markers (that I’d picked up at the grocery store), not the requested 12. Some teachers are quite strict about this, but his teacher said it was fine. Just get a 12 pack next time.

For some reason, fifth graders are scheduled the least amount of time in school. Linus hasn't complained. He found the school library on the first day and has already checked out and finished three books.

I correctly got the stagger time at the elementary school this week! It means I walk to and from the school five times every day, but once I was mentally committed, it was no problem. I need the exercise anyway. 

Archie runs out the school door every release, sees me, then immediately stops, hangs his head, slumps his shoulders and shuffles to me.
Archie: School was so boring.  
Penelope: Then why did I see you at recess, laughing and having a good time?

Archie (fighting down a smile): I hate school.
He’s clearly pretending, but why, I wonder? 

I accompanied kids almost every day to stores for the last of their school supplies. It was fun to spend time with only one or two of them at a time. We usually also got a treat. Herbie, Moses and Linus got ice cream. Ruby wanted a banana. 

Penelope says everyone in her class has a difficult time running and also their sprints run out of steam quickly. She feels like she’s running circles around everyone when they’re playing tag. Many of the kids in all the kids’ classes have gained weight, but there are one or two who lost a lot of weight. I wonder more about what happened to them. 

Anyway, Penelope has always been the fastest or second fastest kid in her class, but now she feels like a cheetah amongst a bunch of sloths. It’s almost the only thing she tells me about school.

A big event for Moses was finally seeing everyone's faces again in gym, where they were allowed to remove their masks. There was a lot of anticipation to finally see what the new kids look like.

Moses's downtime project for the week: build a suit of armor.

For years Penelope has loved burying her face in my belly when she gives me a hug. Now she's too tall, but she would still prefer to hit my belly with her nose than my rib cage, so her hugs have taken on an awkward downward dive at the last moment.

Woo is currently doing some contract work and also working on his own surfing app because he’s not entirely happy with what’s available. So now his (almost) daily surfs are no longer only for fun or exercise, but also to test the new app.

He came home laughing one day because he’d figured out why his app had failed. After adding all sorts of tracking factors, he’d forgotten the most important ones: latitude and longitude. 

We’ve done a bit of tidying and dejunking this week. I did the upstairs. Woo and Herbie cleaned the garage, and Penelope did a wonderful job on the kitchen. 

Herbie had one good surf where he did a snap, and one really bad one, where Woo brought him home early, it was clear he wasn't feeling well. After a blessing, he threw up, then napped for a couple of hours. Too much back-to-school stress.

I thought I was pretty dedicated, but following a prompting I started letting the Lord know each morning in prayer that the day was dedicated to Him. My days don’t look any different, really, but my heart has changed noticeably already in only seven days.

We saw plain marshmallows for the first time months ago and bought several bags. Saturday we went and roasted them for the first time. They were different, but still good enough for everyone to roast dozens. We weren't actually sure it would be allowed--there's been a fire warning on the interior of the country for awhile, but no one stopped us. 

A woman did come and asked us to help catch her traumatized and terrified dog. Several of us did try, but really, none of us has the slightest idea of how to deal with even normal dogs. In Woo's words: She picked the wrong family for this job.

Banana hold up.

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