First Day of Spring

Monday was a beautiful day. It seemed a shame to send Archie and Nellpea back to school, but they ended up spending most of the school day outside playing. 

This seemed to be partly because the teachers were given like two days notice, and also as a detox for online school. Penelope said many kids in her class had not left the house at all since the end of January, and her teacher said that kids need to play. (Amen.)

Tuesday they had more class, and Wednesday seemed to be back to normal. Penelope is very happy to get back to more math.

Herbie, Moses and Linus felt like they were getting more than enough outside exercise walking to and from school, so all that remained was Ruby.

Ruby is not interested in running unless there’s significant competition (which I am not), but she enjoys bike rides, so she and I went for a bike ride everyday when she had a break in classes (and she worked through lunch).

These have been enjoyable. The sun has always been out and I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the beauty of the area.

Ruby likes to skid out in gravel (she learned it from her brothers... also they call it “making smoothies”). We live in a place where there’s a lot of sandy gravel around.

However, Moses started to get depressed around Tuesday. A lot of it is that the stores still aren’t open for non-essentials and his birthday gift keeps getting shoved back, but also I felt he could really benefit from a bike ride. Linus too.

They were so mad! I had to bribe both of them to get them out the door! Herbie was very willing, and of course Ruby was too, and Woo was available to go right then, so it was a mostly happy party that started out.

Herbie had a good suggestion of some dirt roads in a neighboring town near a surf spot, so we headed off in that direction. Linus largely forgot his revolt once we got started, but Moses pedaled slowly, bringing up the rear.

He was determined to not have fun. But as soon as we hit dirt, even Moses could be determined no longer. We followed a few roads near the coast, and when Moses and Linus were in the lead, Woo called them back to follow a little used track.

This led to a little motocross or bmx track with lots of fun rolling hills. Herbie, Moses and Linus felt like it was a dream come true. Even Woo said he’d been dreaming of dirt hills (maybe literally?).

Unfortunately, Herbie broke his chain on only his second time around the circuit. I had to get home to pick up Nellpea, and Ruby had schoolwork, so we 3 headed home, leaving the other 3 (two of whom had been adamantly against the bike ride) to stay and have fun.

I thought is was going to take forever for Herbie to scoot home, but he and Ruby worked out a plan where they connected the two bikes with a coil of bike lock and took turns pedaling the lead bike. They had a lot of fun, and were faster than I was at times (depending on the steepness of the incline or decline) as my bike only works at one speed.

Woo returned with the other two about a half hour later. Moses had gotten a flat and had to walk quite a ways, so he still got to pretend he hated it, but he didn’t fool me. He was anxious to fix his flat tire the next day and go to the hills again as soon as possible.

Woo, Herbie and Moses spent time fixing all the bikes, so we could go again. Friday has been a tricky schedule for getting out of the house for a couple weeks now. Long story short, it was a disaster with Woo and all the kids out on bikes and me at home (after failing to bike more than 100 yds on two tries with two different bikes).

There was a similar incident Saturday night while I waited two hours to give my testimony in a stake Relief Society meeting on Zoom, but was never called on. I was relieved, of course, but it was a lot of kid wrangling for Woo.    

I started praying to have the humility of the people of Melchizedek this week (Alma 13:14), and I’ve had two dreams teaching me about it. Wow. Even just one of them had humility worthy of legend, but a whole group of people? Amazing.

I woke up both times grateful because I truly felt that I’d been given a gift of knowledge. When I describe the dreams it sounds pretty obvious that the people of Melchizedek would have this kind of humility, but in the dreams I was experiencing the humility myself, which was special. No wonder they were a Zion society.

Archie came home from school Thursday covered with yellow paint. He had been working on his Fathers Day present and when his teacher had taken them outside to dry their artwork, Archie’s still very wet paper had blown into him.

Fathers Day in Portugal was on Friday (like it always is... we never have Fathers or Mothers Day talks in church because they never fall on Sunday :)

Archie was super excited about his painting and stress ball (with rice) for Woo. He did manage to keep it a secret until the next day.

From Penelope, Woo got a card and a stress ball (with flour, the teachers coordinated so Woo wouldn’t get two of the same :).

The card was in English because the kids always make their Fathers Day cards in English class, and we laughed a little wondering how the Portuguese fathers feel about that.

Seven of us now have our residencies updated and paid for. It was very easy online, and it would’ve been perfect... if not for Ruby’s... we entered an email address for Ruby that would forward to Woo’s account. The website accepted it fine creating the account, but will not let us login with that email. We also cannot create another account because that one is linked to Ruby’s identity.

This is the cause of a lot of stress for Woo. He’s emailed the agency, but they’re notoriously bad at customer service even when everyone’s not out of the office for a pandemic. We have until March 31st, which is a week longer than Woo expected, but still... we’re praying.

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