URGENTE, or Answered Fasts

Woo really felt that we would never hear back from SEF about fixing Ruby’s account to renew her residency permit. He called and had been told to send emails. He’d sent emails... where they would disappear into a black hole of cached emails... then SEF was disbanded (long story involving police brutality). There was nothing we could do. 

So we made that our April fast. The kids were very sincere (as we told them there was no way we’d be visiting the US this summer without it). Archie fasted two meals (with encouragement and distraction from Ruby).

Tuesday Woo tried again. He used his nerd skills to find the email address of a SEF employee and sent another email to the same old email address with the subject line we learned from Ruby’s teacher (URGENTE).

Both were answered within a couple of hours. The problem was fixed!

I praised Woo for his nerd skills in getting the problem solved, but in reading scriptures with Ruby and Moses we were both called to repentance. Jesus Christ had been the hero. He inspired Woo with what to do, and there had been work done on the other side (with those receiving the emails) in which Woo had no influence at all.

After that, Woo was able to get online and renew Ruby’s account. We’re all legal for the next three years. It was a miracle.

After two days the renewal was clear to pay the fee at any ATM. The other seven were very easy, but Woo wasn’t able to pay Ruby’s on the first try because there wasn’t quite enough money in our Portuguese bank account.

He transferred money, and when that was clear the next day, he left the house to go pay. But for no reason his phone died on the way (important because it had the ID code). He got it up and working, continued to the ATM, when it died again!

When he got home, Woo was breathing hard from stress, but he did get it paid!

Now hold your horses. We’re not immediately buying tickets to the US. The current flight restrictions (and other concerns) make getting all eight of us on an international flight sound... ugh.

The current conversation between Woo and I goes something like this:

Woo: What do you think? Me (with a sigh and a grimace): Difficult. What do you think? Woo (with a sigh): Yeah.

Then we roll over and go to sleep or talk about something else to avoid having to think about how difficult it would be.

The kids are still praying for it though. Maybe something will change.

Ruby was tested for covid this week as part of her return to school. (All high schoolers were tested.) She received the deep, double nostril test, which is the only one I’m aware of here.

It wiped her out for the rest of the day. She was on edge and had a headache and a sore throat and fell asleep about an hour early.

This was on her third day back to school. She was super tired after the first day back too. She built up strength for a full day of online school and now has to readjust to a long day of in-person school.

We got Ruby’s test result back just before she fell asleep (negative), but in the morning she anxiously asked me if any URGENTE emails had arrived from her teacher during the night. She was dreading someone in her class testing positive and the whole class returning to online school for the next 10 days.

Herbie already has two teachers in quarantine and has missed a few classes. He came home and went surfing two times, I think. One missed class was in the middle of two present classes, so he waited that one out at the school.

Herbie has enjoyed being back in school and talking with his friends during the break. Also, his teachers. Art is his nemesis, though. He can never seem to figure out what his teacher wants.

On his latest project, she didn’t like any of the ideas he had, but on the next day of class, she suddenly liked one of the ideas she’d rejected the class before.

Herbie turned fifteen! Moses followed him around talking about how he couldn’t believe Herbie was FIFTEEN! I could hardly believe it either, even though Ruby’s already sixteen.

Herbie requested an Oreo mousse that we once had at a branch party and Herbie’d loved it so much, he got the recipe. He (and Woo?) thought it would be a good idea to double the recipe, but at 4 cups of cream I thought not.

However, whipping it up I began to doubt myself; it looked so insufficient. There were some disappointed looks when I dished it out, but in the end only a third of us were able to finish it; it was so rich, and Herbie still loves it.

Also Herbie has already broken two fins on his new surf board. We can easily buy replacements in a 3-fin set from Decathlon, but still more of a pain than never breaking them.

Moses has been waiting two months to get into the Galina Gorda (store name) and buy a nerf gun for his birthday. He and I went on Monday. I tried to warn him ahead of time that this was a reconnaissance shopping trip—that I didn’t think he should buy anything right away.

We did find some nerf guns and Moses did find one that he felt was a good price and wanted to buy right away. I almost let him because what do I know about nerf guns??

But I do know that that “I MUST have this thing right NOW” feeling is not good. So I took a picture for reference and convinced him to wait.

Woo found the same gun on Amazon.es for a third of the price later that afternoon. Moses was not really happy with us because he felt that he had already waited for sooo long. (I DESERVE this!—Another bad sign.) But I had him go in his room and pray about it, and he came out with a sheepish smile and said he could wait.

Patience was the lesson for him this week. We ordered a few needed clothes from Decathlon and several times a day he asked if I’d gotten the email that the package had been sent yet. And then when we knew the day the package was coming, he desperately wanted it to come in the morning so he could wear his new things to school in the afternoon.

The package not only wasn’t there, but the bell also wasn’t working. He’d run home to be early and get his things, but he ended up waiting outside a few minutes LONGER until Woo and I came down the stairs to pick up Nellpea.

The package came on one of his late nights when he had about five minutes to look over all his new things, and then the next day it was raining, so there was the tension of: ruin my new clothes or wear them? He wore them.

Moses also finally ended his two week streak of lying awake in bed for two hours. It was worrisome as some nights he was getting less sleep than me!

But I fasted for him and had the idea to have him drink a warm glass of milk before bed, and he’s slept great 6 out of 7 nights since.

Penelope took a bunch of her perler bead creations to school where they were a huge hit. Only two other kids had ever seen them. She made a trade with one friend, who made a stress ball for Nellpea out of a balloon and some couscous.

Nellpea was very happy with this trade as she and Archie always envied Woo for the stress balls they’d made for him for Fathers Day.

In fact, Archie broke one of Woo’s a few weeks ago, sneaking in a few squeezes when Woo was out of the house. It was the flour one, of course, and left a telltale flour residue over our bed and floor that Archie had to clean up three times before Woo was happy with it.

Archie also gifted one of his friends a ninja perler bead creation of his, and gave another friend all of his “fossils.” They aren’t really fossils, but a collection of rocks with scratches or funny-looking sections. It was cute how excited Archie was to discover that his friend liked fossils and to generously bestow upon him his own entire collection.

I woke up in the middle of the night this week with the urgent (URGENTE?) thought: cut Nellpea’s hair!

She’d asked me to cut it, and I had plans to, but it kept not getting done. I cut it that very day during her lunch break.

Nellpea is a very diligent mask wearer. She often wears it in the house until Woo or I tell her to take it off.

Penelope enjoys our family scripture routine so much that she’s started to do the same thing in her personal reading. She writes down a question in her notebook, then writes down all the answers she gets. The question she first showed me was: how can I feel more success?

Her question on Herbie’s birthday was: how can I better celebrate other people’s birthdays? And she had some good answers that I should probably consider.

Our family questions now are all questions we’ve pulled from talks in the last conference. I’m really enjoying them. The ones teaching us about Jesus Christ are not quite as expected. At least not for me. Many have been delightful. Others have made me a tad nervous. I’m sure that this (along with our repentance) are an answer to our education fast we had for the kids a few months ago.

It’s always fun for us all to see that the question chosen (usually at random, each of us taking a turn) has been the exact right fit for the verses read. Often the primary song we sing afterwards is a perfect match too.

Archie has really taken off here also, especially after Woo insisted that Archie use lined paper and write more neatly (Woo bought him his own little notebook for this purpose.)

Archie is following along intently and is getting too many answers. We have to limit him on how many he shares.

Woo and I had some concerns about Linus. He wasn’t being his best at home. He seemed to be skirting along, doing the bare minimum, frequently tripping into rude and contentious territory.

I had him pray about it one night and in the morning he told me that he wasn’t being his best and that he needed to help his family. So I’ve been reminding him of those two things, and he’s been praying for them every prayer he says, and there’s been some immediate improvement!

This is the best repentance list he’s ever written and he went around to everyone after he’d written it, saying his apologies with a smile on his face.

I believe that him recognizing all these things and praying for help to stop them will help him improve even more.

I walked Linus to school one morning when Herbie was going in late. On our way there, one of his friends stopped and offered him a ride (it was sprinkling). Linus said no and refused, even after I told him it would be okay.

When I asked him why he hadn’t gone with his friend he said, “Because I wanted to keep talking to you.” 😊

Linus (bragging about how tall he’s going to be when he grows up): I’m going to be FIVE feet tall!

But when we laughed, he realized that couldn’t be right and quickly changed his goal to six feet and beyond.

Woo surprised me with a new, fancy power strip this week, and a few other adapters, and set it all up to make my charging life much more convenient.

Ruby was a youth speaker today, but she gave an adult talk. She should’ve been the last speaker.

And I think that’s it. Hope your week was great!