Last Saturday night Woo and I drove to a neighboring town to meet six active members who live there. They’re in our branch boundaries, but have been attending another branch for the last couple of years.

This had been a somewhat frustrating situation for Woo as he didn’t have contact numbers for the members or know anything about them… but he finally got enough numbers to set up a meeting with everyone, the stake president came and explained everything, and now we find that we’ve taken the other branch’s RS president, EQ president, YW president, seminary teacher, primary president, and their entire primary!

Woo couldn’t sleep one night because he was having too many ideas, and branch planning and work has taken up a lot of his brain.

Our entire family is also on the schedule to make some sort of presentation on Come Follow Me for the Saturday morning session of stake conference this month. This is a little confusing because we don’t really know what we’re supposed to be doing, but whenever leadership visits the branch or we meet them at the temple, they’re always excited and tell us how much they’re looking forward to it… and they get blank stares back. We have no idea what they’re expecting, and whether it’s anything like we’re expecting, but either way it doesn’t really seem like a “look forward to” experience from our perspective.

Herbie and Linus were at odds for a lot of the week. I finally learned the full details on Friday. Linus had stolen a book of Herbie’s that Herbie wouldn’t let him read, and Herbie wanted to read a book of Linus’ that he had also hidden so Herbie couldn’t read it.

You’ll never guess, but when I suggested that Linus offer to let Herbie read his book in return for reading Herbie’s book, a solution was finally reached.

In fact, Linus had a pretty horrible week, starting Sunday night when he stole Herbie’s book and hid it. Once he returned it and apologized, Linus was finally able to be at peace and be a consistently pleasant human being.

Archie decided to do some secret service. He washed Linus’ dishes when Linus wasn’t looking. He felt so good after that, he snuck into the covered porch and hung up the laundry. He felt so good after that, he snuck upstairs to make some beds, but they were already made! Someone had even made his bed!

Strong suspicion was placed on Herbie and Moses, but the real secret bedmaker outed herself in her gratitude list (Penelope), where she also wrote that no one had even suspected her. I was the only one who knew until Archie overheard me thanking her. Blast!

Ruby has had several wonderful mornings. She wrote some poetry. One was a poem about faith patterned after the meter of a famous Portuguese poem that Woo and I have never heard of, but was probably good.

She played and sang hymns, did her chores and then extra work in the area that she could see needed to be done. She even cleaned out the inside of the garbage can.

She tried to sooth a cranky Linus many times, but never really succeeded until he’d repented. Then they had many happy moments together.

Moses loves the olympics. (He loves watching anything.) He loves the slack line and croquet and Settlers and will avoid contention to keep doing those things so the game can go on.

Moses has been working on using his words to build his siblings up and encourage them to be good. This has been one of his talents, since he was little, and he has a lot of power there that I don’t think he recognizes. I really don’t want him to lose it.

Penelope also frequently writes poetry. She wrote a poem on prayer yesterday that she thought was her best poem ever. She read a lot of poetry this week and read me some of her favorites. She also has been enjoying some biographies, and she loved Jane of Lantern Hill and told me all about it at the park.

At the park, she met a little friend that she likes to run around with named Wilma. Wilma is from Poland, but she speaks Swedish and English also.

Woo had been showing the kids some of the olympics. The Portuguese coverage is quite a bit different from in the American… they show a lot of, say, the 50th seed in a little known event because the competitor is Portuguese.

He laughed a lot while watching dressage, and quoted the Portuguese commentary several times.

Woo: Your PE class is a real class where you actually learn stuff!

When Herbie and Moses could tell him the official competitive rules of both ping pong and handball.

Archie has been bitten by the gymnastics bug, picking out a training outfit, doing exercises every morning, and doing tricks in the park. These mostly involve lots of flips around the bar at the head of the slide, but he has a few more.

We also received the slack line and croquet game this week. Also, I hid some new books for the kids around the house.

And that’s our week. I hope yours was great!



Woo made a lot of purchases this week. He bought Settlers, Seafarers, Cities and Knights and their 6 player extensions from Amazon Germany. Moses couldn’t sleep the night Woo announced that. 

Yes, they’re in German, which is fun for us because Woo reads everything out loud and giggles to himself. He remembers an amazing amount from his jr high German class. The kids enjoy trying to decipher things themselves, sometimes with the help of Google translate.

The games were much less expensive in the original German.

Woo: Everyone’s going to be planning a trip to Portugal to buy their Catan games when they 
learn how much I paid!

Moses beat Woo at Settlers for the first time ever on the first game they played. Woo wondered if he could use his second vaccination a few hours earlier as an excuse. It was the only adverse reaction he experienced.

Woo also bought a croquet set. We bought two tents and two camp chairs at Lidl (the camp chairs are for the living room :) and lastly, he bought a slack line.

There was one thing he did not buy: tickets to Utah. We were interested to see that the day Woo had been seriously considering (he had the dates already entered, only waiting to hit buy), ended up being during the 48hrs of a huge baggage workers strike. Over 300 flights were cancelled, the ones we would’ve been on included.

I’m sure if it had been right to fly, we would’ve been directed to a different day, but instead we experienced something that was the perfect definition of a “stupor of thought.”

We were immensely relieved and grateful to have avoided that hassle which quite possibly would’ve involved another round of covid testing (and another $1000+); rescheduling flights for who knows when; indefinite time in the airport with a bunch of tired, hungry, grouchy kids; possibly arriving in the US without luggage, etc.

Another strike is scheduled in another two weeks, and it looks like there was a strike with airport immigration officers the week before this, so I’m happy to have no reason to go there for now.

Woo spent a lot of time talking passionately to the kids on Tuesday. A friend died of an overdose, which prompted a lot of teaching on drugs (in all forms). Then at dinner, for some reason, the kids were really fascinated by how prisons and the justice system works.

Woo: It’s clear to me that you guys have never had the Cub Scout field trip to the police station…

This made me laugh because I remember going on that field trip myself a couple of times.

It was enough for Archie to remember in his prayer that night.

“Thank you that we could learn how to not take drugs and about consequences and not going 
to prison.”

I hit 100 letters (and beyond) on Tuesday which was a relief because I can relax now. I’m handing them out now at a more sustainable rate, like two a day. Also, I’m starting to forget to whom I’ve already given one. On Friday, I handed one to a lady who told me I’d already given her one at the beach, but it was okay, she wanted another. Which I guess is a good sign??

Penelope bought some rollerblades with the rest of her birthday money. They are adjustable, and Penelope was very kind to make sure everyone got a chance to try her new rollerblades, even Woo and I (we didn’t last long).

Ruby went in on them with her, so the price was halved. Then Herbie and I made a quick run to Aldi for him to buy his own pair.

Monday was a lot of work. Herbie defrosted the freezer, which had had a problem and was full of ice. Ruby gladly and willingly stepped in when he was tired of chipping and clearing out ice and needed a break. I think it helped Ruby be so generous that I’d found her favorite outfit (polo shirt, jean shorts) for her at Lidl, and in her favorite colors too (red, white and blue).

Then Woo took Moses and Herbie to a branch member’s house to help finish tiling a floor and prep for painting. Ruby went along too to hang out.

Linus, Penelope, and Archie got their faces painted (face paints was the surprise for the week).

Moses organized a huge lego build/game that lasted several days. The first game was “city.” It involved some of the things Woo had been talking about (a prison, court house, police station, etc.) They also played “airport.” Possibly prompted by the strike. At times Ruby played too, and at times Penelope took reading breaks, but the four boys played it together always.

Linus made a lot of progress on his crocheted lion, but isn’t finished yet. He got distracted by Moses’ lego games. When we went to the park, he perfected his backwards bike riding. He can ride for long swathes of time around a loop of the walking path.

Herbie continues to be my proofreader. He corrected the Portuguese in my letter that I hand out. This week he corrected the Portuguese in my lesson handout, and then the first 11 chapters of my book. (This is the book everyone’s always thought I should write, but I never have. Basically, the highlights of three years of emails—2013-2016–in a narrative. The kids love it. And they should. It’s about them and for them.)

FYI no one’s proofreading skills can be judged by my emails… no one proofreads those :).

Archie got to do a special presentation in our EnglishConnect class—he told us what he does everyday.


Penelope repented as Yoda.

Woo took Ruby, Herbie and Moses camping Friday night. There was a lot of angst about where would be legal to camp. Well, angst for Woo. The kids didn’t care. But he finally picked a place and went, and I guess they probably had fun? It was cute how excited the kids were before they left.

Moses (super excited): I have a flashlight if we need one! It’s not what you think!
And then he pulled out the string of lights we had on the Christmas tree, which is stored in his room.

And that’s our week. I hope yours was great!