This week started out great! We had some fun stuff, some relaxing stuff, some birthdays… 

Penelope turned 10 and Woo turned 42. Penelope was very happy with her girly gifts, a bag of spinach and a jar of green olives for her treat.

They played a little “birthday ball” at the park, now that Nelpea’s taken up basketball. I heard a rumor that she made some 3-pointers, but I’ve never seen it. I have seen her enthusiastically bounce and shoot the ball over and over again, whether anyone else is playing with her or not.

Woo also got in a surf and a nap, and ate a delicious strawberry/blueberry shortcake for dessert. What more could you want?

Linus crocheted a bunny for Woo and a bracelet for Nelpea. Both he and Nelpea crocheted the heart keychain for Woo (he taught Nelpea how to crochet last week when we were at the temple), and he wrote a lovely card for both of them.

Ruby burned through several books. She read a lot of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Gene Stratton-Porter, Susan Coolidge and several other odds and ends that we found on lists of highly recommended public domain books. Thank goodness for the Internet.

Woo has been listening to a lot of Truman G Madsen lectures and books. At his suggestion, I got permission to print the Joseph Smith lectures for the kids. Those have definitely strengthened Ruby and Herbie’s faith in the restoration. I don’t think any other kids have read them yet.

We had our treasure hunt this week. Woo instituted a couple of rules at the beginning to give everyone a chance and to cut down on arguing. Ruby decided she didn’t want to participate, but I think she secretly regretted that, as she tried to yell a few hints to clues from her bedroom.

Thank goodness for the Internet again. I easily copied and pasted 42 riddle clues from someone else’s brainwork and hid them around the house.

The treasure was a knock off Jenga game, which we at first thought the kids weren’t that excited about because they played two games, and then left for the park.

However, Woo and I were struck with a sudden desire to play, and played three games as soon as they’d left.

It brought back all sorts of memories for me. Mostly of Dad studying the blocks very closely, and even thinking about making a knock off game for cheaper (which is what we bought).

The kids left for the park because they’d already made plans for a big soccer game with a bunch of other kids.

This happened a couple of times the week before, and I would look out the window to see Archie, the youngest kid, Ruby and Penelope, the only girls, our three other boys, and 10-12 other kids playing a game of soccer.

Moses loved, loved, loved this. He was feeling deprived after not being allowed to play soccer during breaks most of the school, so this alone was making his summer.

But it’s already over. The kids have already disappeared, like they do every summer a week or two in. The park is usually deserted. I think some kids come in the late evening when it’s starting to get dark, and the beaches (which we largely avoid, but can see from the surf cams) are extremely crowded now. Other than that, I don’t know where all the other kids go during the summer.

Moses tried to invite his friends over for a nerf war in the basement and stairwell, but it sounds like his friends aren’t allowed out of the house without a parent. I think this is new since covid.

Herbie was also surprisingly really into the pick up soccer matches. It was surprising because the last PE class of the year they were playing soccer. Herbie had a clear goal, no one anywhere around him, and when he went to shoot, instead of kicking the ball, he stepped on it instead. Of course, he fell and got all scraped up.

His PE teacher jokingly said he’d planned on giving Herbie an A in the class (Herbie was the only kid in his PE class to get an A), but after that fiasco, he was going to have to reconsider. Herbie had been telling it far and wide that he didn’t like soccer and was terrible at it since then. But he’s reconsidered now.

Linus was also having a good time at the park, but he’s under strict orders to come home at 4PM. It’s almost like clockwork. That’s the hour he starts to get angry if still at the park, and then his whole evening is ruined.

Linus was fantastic Sunday and Monday all day, and we thought we could lift the 4PM curfew, but he started to wake up early to crochet like mad for birthday deadlines and work on his precious stuffed lion, and we had to reinstate it for the rest of the week.

Our new Jenga game did regain the attention it deserved once the kids were home again.

Archie, as the youngest and clumsiest, was not a popular opponent, but he eventually became included. I was happy to walk in one morning to see Moses playing a serious one-on-one game with him, and another afternoon to see that he and Ruby had built castles with the blocks and were playing in them with their lego guys.

He also likes to set them up like dominoes. He does this sometimes alone and sometimes with an older brother or two.  

Woo and I were able to do sealings on a weekday morning this week. We got a personal escort from the front desk, through a completely empty temple, to the dressing rooms.

Woo: We have this place to ourselves!

It appears my fears of being a temple hog were unfounded. When I told the temple president and matron (who were our witnesses for the sealings) that I was afraid of making too many appointments and being selfish, they just laughed and told me to make appointments.

We saw seven people the entire time we were there, and they were all temple workers who came in to help or ask a question at one point or another.

I’m still handing out letters, but far fewer than before. I don’t leave the house as often now that I don’t have to go to the school 8 times a day, and when I do leave the house I usually have some kids with me. Their presence is not always conducive to handing out letters, but sometimes it is. I’m up to 94.

I’ve also been trying to get the Relief Society organized now that I’m RS President. Remarkably, I’ve had a sister who hasn’t come in 3 1/2 years agree to be a ministering sister (Woo suggested I ask someone who may or may not do it to minister to me); and another, who hasn’t come in much longer, agree to be ministered to; and I found and conversed with two sisters whom I have never before found or conversed with. One wants me to leave her alone, the other wants help.

Ruby had a fantastic Sunday. We had a surprise visit from a woman who Woo invited into the church off the street a long time ago. She came every Sunday for about a year, went to the temple open house, and then stopped coming soon afterwards.

Anyway, Ruby was playing prelude music, but got the impression to stop and go talk to her. The woman left soon after that because she’d planned to go to the beach, but halfway through sacrament meeting she returned and stayed the rest of the meeting.

She felt very warmly towards Ruby, called her dear, and spoke with her more after church.

Ruby also bore her testimony and felt she’d helped the other young woman with her media choices, and then went on to speak to lift all the other women in the branch.

Moses has become the memorization example to the other kids. He finished D&C 4 and is farther along than anyone else on D&C 1. He patiently coached Linus on a difficult verse during our Sunday walk, and inspired Herbie to get started, even though Herbie swore many times he was not going to start until the week before recital.

We did go to the beach once this week, in the morning, before it got crowded, when it was still largely just old people out walking, and Woo and I went to a branch meeting one evening. He surprisingly wore a button up shirt and khakis. The meeting accomplished what it was supposed to, but it wiped me out. Woo said it was the best meeting he's ever had in the branch, so by some super-herculean effort, he's survived hundreds of these.

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