The BigBoy Family (Herbie's title suggestion)

As I thought back on conference, before any had been published online and I could reread them, I kept remembering all the moments that the speaker seemed to kindly be saying: “Buck up and stop being babies.” 

Probably no one else heard it that way, so I guess that was the theme of the conference for me personally. I hadn’t thought I was being a baby, but in certain areas, of course I was. I resolved once again to live my favorite line from Gordon B Hinckley’s father: Forget yourself and get to work. 

Last week I’d decided that enough was enough. We should get furniture. We could sell whatever we had when we left, and Woo was willing. I did online research, went on a reconnaissance shopping trip around town with Linus and Herbie and after writing down what we’d need and best prices, I prayed about it.

The answer was: get your house now in order.

So I began to dejunk. When that was over, I began to wash walls. It was the most glaring problem to me in our current apartment. 

But then the kids began to help. Lidl is in the middle of a promotion where we get one miniature grocery item for every 15€ spent. I’d also bought a large bag of high chew-like candies on sale. The kids did a lot of mopping, wall washing and tidying for a chance to get one of those. 

I was seemingly out of things to do to put my own house in order, but then I remembered the nicks in the walls, the broken doorknobs (very cheap, many broke the first time we ever used them... the first day we entered the apartment and we had never replaced them), etc.

I began to touch up paint, take trips to the home improvement stores, replace door knobs, light switch covers, repair cabinet doors, and deep clean the fridge (Woo did the freezer last month).

On Friday I ran out of steam. Also I had an infection in my tear duct that was swelling my eye and making me feel less than fantastic. I rested, but it was still a busy week. 

Like most European apartment buildings, we have a locked entrance door that can only be opened with a key or someone inside buzzing the door open.

Anyway, since school has started, our buzzer is broken, which means anytime a kid returns home for lunch and at the end of the day, someone needs to stop what they’re doing and run down four flights of stairs (or five, if they’re upstairs in our apartment), and then back up to let them in.

We could drop a key from the balcony to the waiting kid, but we haven’t had to do that yet because Penelope is so willing and awesome at sprinting out the door and down the stairs as soon as she hears the bell, opening the door and sprinting back up. She’s hardly out of breath when she gets back, and we’re so grateful she’s doing that for us.

Penelope is putting a little more effort into her outfits this year, I’ve noticed. A little more matching, a little more planning. 

Ruby went through a couple of years of scowling or hiding whenever the camera was pointed her way. We took pictures anyway.

During the summer I registered the kids for school online. Ruby’s registration, being in a new school, required a new picture. I picked the best one I could find in 30 seconds. Of course she was scowling. 

When she got her new school card with her scowling picture right on the front, she wanted to know why I’d picked such a grouchy picture. Couldn’t I have picked one with her at least smiling? Well, those are hard to find.

Since then she has smiled intentionally every time a picture is taken, and I’m happy that a phase has passed. 

Herbie continues to prioritize his time very well. He liked the story of President Oaks’ law school friend in conference and has adopted a similar studying strategy himself now. He’s the one who tells Woo it’s time to come in from surfing, so Herbie can get to work on his other obligations. 

Moses was excited to finish his library book, return it, and check out the next book in the series. Unfortunately, when he got to the school library he found out he couldn’t check out the next book. Herbie had just returned it and it was still in quarantine.

Ruby holds the middle school Vai-Vém record. Vai-Vém is basically a shuttle run (which apparently Woo also was always good at), where kids run back and forth in the gym for a set amount of time. Ruby’s record is a hundred lengths. 

Both Herbie and Moses have wanted to break that record. Herbie was all set last year before the lockdown, but was disappointed when his teacher stopped him once he reached the A standard and wouldn’t let him run more. 

Moses has the same PE teacher Ruby had her past three years, but he also won’t let Moses go beyond the A standard, even on the push-ups record (which Moses was also trying to break). Instead the teacher calls Moses over to look at his watch once Moses has earned his A, so he can pontificate on the distance and pace of his own morning run while the rest of the class finishes up, and Moses wishes he was still there also.

BUT this week, Herbie’s teacher finally let him keep running to the end and he got 104 lengths. He said that and a barrel he surfed were the best parts of his week. 

We got the kids’ school books this week, and Linus has spent almost all of his free afternoon time carefully reading and implementing the directions in his art book. When he’s tired of that, he pulls out his music book and recorder and teaches himself how to play all the new songs. 

Linus had a couple bad days, but he came up with a plan himself which was obvious because he became more pleasant and every single one of his prayers included a plea to “não ser grouchy.” Apparently he doesn’t know how to say grouchy in Portuguese. 

Woo went on essentially three Daddy Days on Friday when he went on a bike ride with Moses, surfing with Herbie, and took Penelope and Archie on a store run. 

The bike ride with Moses was an adventure where they finally got to run through that tunnel Moses has always been fascinated by. Woo was sooooo sore the next day. Running at a crouch is not what his thighs are used to.

Woo’s still having fun with his app. It’s *almost* ready to release, however it’s a niche market, and really only for Woo, which doesn’t mean income, but makes it the most fun to work on (which is important too :). 

Archie must learn something in school, but I never hear about it. Penelope has told me about several class discussions this week, but all Archie talks about is Pokémon cards and who has them, and how one kid slid one across the floor to him just before class got out, and what he’s going to trade at recess.

One evening I complimented him on following someone else’s scripture verse reading so well, with his finger and everything, and he looked up and complimented me on complimenting him so profusely that he stopped reading along, and it kind of backfired. 

Starting school has shaken us up, like it always does. The younger kids are also going to bed an hour later with the new staggered schedule, and not always sleeping in an hour more. However with repenting everyday and our emphasis on overcoming contention and also our prayers, we were having our best back-to-school ever, until I would say the last two or three days. There has been a lot of bickering these days :(. 

Luckily, next week is a new week. I hope your week was great!