Senior Citizens

One thing I’ve noticed as I say my prayers of gratitude is that I’m often inspired to know of other blessings I’ve received that I had not previously thought of. Usually, I had not recognized them as coming from the Lord at all, but in my prayers I’m assured, that yes they have, and it’s exactly what I had always wanted without daring to hope. 

Part of the reason I don’t recognize them as coming from God, nor dared to hope (and something I’ve gradually learned since moving here), is that sometimes the Lord blesses me or my family at the expense of other people.

This is not something I’d have previously considered, but for whatever reason (probably because it aligns with the Lord’s plans) I am now sure that it is something the Lord does.

While surprising at first, it brings something of a feeling of being a favorite child, that I actually think everyone could feel if they really were alerted to everything the Lord is (currently!) doing for them.

Sunday was a rough day for us and hopefully the low. The kids were off school Monday and Tuesday, which I loved. I was apprehensive about Wednesday, but that was also a good day. It’s the day Ruby and Moses come home early and we can have a regular evening.

We have one more repeat of this 4 days off school, 3 days on, and then a dreaded full week of school until Christmas break. 

Woo had troubles with asthma on Sunday. We never can predict it, other than it’s usually a Sunday, and usually in the winter. The asthma was not gone on Monday, but worse. On Tuesday his back went out while surfing. Herbie was with him and they slowly made it home with Herbie carrying Woo’s board.

Tuesday afternoon Ruby, Herbie and Moses had planned to film a video on Language (a topic in the For Strength Youth handbook) with the one other youth in the branch for a digital stake youth activity.

Even though he was in a lot of pain and having trouble breathing, Woo managed to drive them, film and direct that. Also he directed the film editing when they got home.

After the kids went to bed, Woo was in a rough state. He desperately needed sleep, but he couldn’t lie down without immense pain. He couldn’t breathe and fluid was collecting in his lungs (pneumonia). Advil and his inhaler were not doing a lot of good.

I’m sure he was praying, I also did. I remembered I could put his name on the temple roll digitally, which I immediately did. Within fifteen minutes he was lying still and breathing softly.

Me: Are you going to sleep?
Woo: I can’t sleep, I have too much to do.

And then he was asleep. He fell asleep very early, but slept well until morning. His asthma and the fluid were gone.

His back was running through a cycle of doing something routine and going out, spending the first part of his surf in pain, coming home with his back “healed,” doing something routine and back going out, spending the first part of his surf in pain, ...

Woo spent one afternoon tinkering on something in the garage, hunched over, sawing with a bread knife and pounding in repurposed nails with rocks... anyway, it didn’t help his back.

Also, he hasn’t been able to surf the past couple days because of giant waves, so he is currently in a lot of pain. 

Ruby will be sixteen in 3 weeks. Her sixteenth birthday is not going to bring the things an American 15 year old might look forward to.

There will be no drivers license. 18 is the youngest age here. She is old enough for a scooter license, but she’d have to enroll in drivers school and we’d have to get her a scooter, which she (and Herbie, who is also old enough) would like, but there’s no where for them to drive to (everything we need is quite close), and scooters are no help in the rain.

Dating as far as she and I can tell is completely unknown. There is direct hooking up or things like the entire class going out to lunch on the last day of school.

I walked to school one morning with Ruby to get a sense of her feelings about this. She is not upset at all about not dating.

She did have a crazy fantasy about somehow going to the US last summer and coming back with a drivers license two years before everyone else, but once it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, she got over it and has been at peace with her situation for months. We both feel she is being blessed in her current situation. 

Herbie passed Ruby height wise, with less gloating than I would’ve expected, possibly because he immediately raised his sights to me. He’s right about my height and I’m sure will be taller than me in the next month or two.

Woo and I went grocery shopping one of the days the kids were out of school. I charged Herbie with organizing a clean up and Christmas decorating effort that included the removal of his bed to a new place.

It’s a bit of a sacrifice for him, but he has done it without complaining. 

Herbie missed having an experience like Ruby and Moses had in Greece and Poland because of covid, but he went to Croatia virtually this week! One of his zoom meetings he did at home.

I really shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help but smile and sometimes giggle at ridiculous English (as I know I speak ridiculous, often unintelligible Portuguese).

Woo (understanding immediately): Finally! The tables have turned!

Herbie was much more mature and never cracked a smile.

However, I sobered up while the Croatians gave a tour of their school and talked about its history: “... and then there was the war. Everything was demolished...”

Oh, yeah. Croatia. That was pretty recent history. At that moment I realized it had been a reality with long-lasting effects for every school child there. 

When the schools shut down in March and over the summer I read the kids all of the Fablehaven books (5) and as many Dragonwatch books as existed (3). They all love this (there’s something about being read out loud to... even when you’re older...), but I get the sense that Moses is REALLY enamored.

Anyway, the latest Dragonwatch book came out this fall. I looked into buying the kindle version, but wasn’t entirely happy with this option and saved it as a last Christmas resort.

The library didn’t have it, then it did and we put the book on hold. We were something like #41 in line for 6 available books, moving slowly. I looked one night and we were up to #36 and then the next day the book was available for us. What?!? It really seemed like a miracle, especially as it came the day before the kids would be out of school for a few days.

As expected, all are enjoying it, especially Moses.

Moses continues to study well and do well in school. His history teacher gave him a test different from everyone else in the class, in an attempt to stump him as he keeps getting 100%. He’s anxious to get that test back (she’s taking a long time), but he thinks he got 100% on that one also.

His oral book presentation in Portuguese also went well. He worried that he trembled too much, but everyone, including his teacher, loved hearing all the characters’ names pronounced correctly when he read a page aloud from the Order of the Phoenix. 

Linus and Penelope got their glasses this week! This was more work than Ruby’s as they got stuck in customs, and once I straightened that out and paid, there was a missed delivery.

Ruby, Herbie and Linus arrived home from lunch at the same time as the mail man who couldn’t get our bell to work and also refused to hand them the package. Nor would he wait until they’d rang the bell and gotten me. They were so frustrated! 

Linus had seemingly alerted the entire school as to his new glasses and kept saying that everyone wanted to know what he would like with them. When he got them he spent some time looking at himself in the mirror and then also with his mask on, and he came home from school that first day with the happy announcement: Everyone says I’m even cuter with my glasses!! 

On day two, I watched Penelope shake her hair back and carefully place her glasses on her nose, her face tilted up and composed in a faint smile.

Me: Do you feel grown up in your glasses, Penelope?

Then her composure completely crumpled as she gave me a giant grin and a giggle: yes!

Later, when I announced to everyone that I thought Penelope’s glasses made her look more grown up and also reminded me a little of Grandma Sandy, she gave me the same giant grin and giggle and also a hug.

(Haven’t you had some reading glasses in that shape at some point, Mom?) 

Penelope already has her Christmas morning outfit folded and waiting, patiently.


Archie came home from school one day with the announcement that he and his friends had been telling stories and he’d told the story of Ammon, which no one believed was a real story and thought he’d made it up on the spot until he told them it was in the Book of Mormon.

Archie and Penelope spent a nice evening running around the house and writing a list of over 50 things they’re grateful for. They were very well behaved afterwards. 

Just in time for Christmas, Lidl began a “Lidl fan” promotion where they’re selling t-shirts, hats, flip flops, shoes, socks, etc. all celebrating Lidl.

Woo bought the shoes and socks because they’re ridiculous, which is a sentiment shared by all as both Ruby and Herbie have had class discussions laughing about it. Many in Herbie‘s class have bought the t-shirts. Both Ruby and Herbie announced that their dad had bought the shoes which resulted in much laughter. Then someone in Herbie’s class announced they were going to buy the shoes too. More laughter...

I bought a tiny string of lights at the Lidl. Woo thought they’d only fit in a cup, but they were enough to string on our little tree. Archie loooooves the lights and moves them around, turns them off and on, etc.

They’re only tiny, but I’m pretty sure they’re magical to him.

It was Archie’s turn to read in Come Follow Me this morning. His scriptures weren’t even open yet, and we tried to get him to read off of Penelope’s to save time. But he said he didn’t need it. Then he surprised us all by reciting Moroni 1:3 perfectly. I guess he has it memorized, and enough of the verse before to know exactly what came next.

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