Settlers Tournament and the Portuguese Countryside

We had a busy week. 

Monday Woo took Herbie to his dentist appointment. Woo was not feeling good about it, plus being stuck in a crowded, claustrophobic waiting room with only two chairs, someone asking to go ahead of them and getting in…

It was too much. They came home without ever seeing the dentist. We’ve had similar problems with dentists here. If you’re going to have to see someone regularly, you’d like to at least be able to make appointments with some ease and can’t get you in to your appointment in a reasonable amount of time.

In the afternoon we started our Settlers tournament. Luckily, I’d played a game of Settlers with the kids the week before (when Woo was taking Ruby to get vaccinated), and I knew how exhausting it could be playing with a bunch of bickering kids, barking at each other about this or that, constantly.

I say luckily because then I could be prepared. I set up a system for good behavior that also factored into the final score, and the kids were MUCH better. They whispered through the first game and most of the second. Also, the way to set up the specifics of the tournament suddenly entered my head the night before, so the result was a very pleasant couple of games of Settlers.

We didn’t have time to finish that first day, but I think it was a good time for everyone (with the exception of Ruby, who didn’t have a great first game, but was being a good sport and hanging in there).

Penelope surprised everyone, even herself, with a win. Moses and Herbie (and I think also Linus) went to bed with dreams of Settlers glory running through their heads. Archie was pretty sure he’d lost the whole thing, but he often loses the whole thing (being the youngest) and was happy to be interacting on the same level as the rest of us.

Tuesday, Woo took Herbie, Moses, and Ruby to a youth activity they’d planned, playing basketball with the other YW in the branch and her friend. They had way more fun (and did several other things) than I think they were expecting, and were gone almost five hours.

They’d planned to have pizza for lunch and also considered inviting all of the rest of us at one point, but decided in the end to make it just a youth activity.

Archie cried when they left, saying he’d never been to a party! And he needed a pizza party! I got him off that train by encouraging him to make his first batch of popcorn on the stove. He made it all himself, and it turned out perfectly. Afterwards, he and Linus made pancakes together and they and Penelope played soccer with a new friend at the park.

When everyone was home we went on our virtual tour of the Hill Cumorah. The kids knew more of what to expect this time and had a lot of questions for the tour guides. When it was over someone said, “That was fun!” and someone else said, “Can we do one every Tuesday?!”

Wednesday Woo and I went to the temple. It was crowded! It’s also vacation month in Europe, so I believe most people were from the same ward a few hours away, on their temple “vacation.”

When we got home, we all ran to the park for a bit of outside time and exercise before returning to finish our Settlers tournament.

Since the end of the last tournament, Moses and Herbie had been playing our travelers, 4-person game every spare second, practicing to win with 11-13 points to defeat Woo (who already had his final score). They’d been losing sleep over dreams of their victory (Moses, and generally all the kids, had assumed he would win the second I’d announced there’d be a Settlers tournament this summer.)

Both Herbie and Moses had horrible games! I think one ended up with 3 points and the other with 5.

Woo advised Ruby during the last game (which everyone agreed at the beginning was fine, since she’d also had a 4 point game earlier, and no one viewed her as a threat), although she didn’t always take his advice…

Anyway, the final score was a three way win between Woo, Penelope and me. Ruby was next. Archie and Linus were tied for next. They were both pleased to not have gotten last. Moses and Herbie tied for last. It was a good experience for them, and they were good sports both in regards to their relationship with the others and getting the last prizes.

Moses even decided to try to compliment others during the course of the game, when it was clear he wasn’t going to win. Then both Herbie and Moses worked as a team, deciding to evenly split the better last place prizes.

Thursday we went to a branch members house to pick pears. The weather was perfect and it was very pleasant to be outside in the countryside in an orchard.

The missionaries (we have a trio now) arrived before we did, so the kids had a good time talking and picking with them for maybe an hour before the missionaries had to leave.

The pears are a variety that we all like, almost like apples: crunchy and they stay firm almost as long as apples. We all snacked on pears and apples and plums and even found a huge bramble of blackberries before our bags were full and we left.

We drove to a neighboring, little town to find an inactive family no one had ever met. We had the name of the town, but no address. We talked to a few people, asking for leads and handing out cards, until we finally ended up walking a little out of town to a modern style “mansion” on a hill.

We rang at the gate, and a woman answered, speaking French. Ruby gave it her best effort, which was enough for the woman to invite us up to the house.

She also sent her dog down. Archie and Linus immediately started crying and hid behind the fence. I stayed with them because they also wanted me. Everyone else walked up the winding drive to the house.

The dog didn’t bark or run or jump. Linus noticed that and eventually got the guts to walk up the drive alone to join everyone else. Archie did not, and he and I stayed at the bottom.

Ruby, Herbie, Moses and even Woo (who said his French almost immediately reverts into Spanish) tried their best to communicate with the woman. Her husband had the same first name of the person we were looking for, but they decided it wasn’t the same person. (Although, a few hours later Woo had second thoughts.)

We walked back to the car (the kids were impressed with the house and a large yard on a hill… really any yard is extremely alluring to us…), ate lunch at home, and the kids met the missionaries (again!) at the park for their previously scheduled soccer game.

Ruby sprinted home to tell me Linus was hurt and needed me. When I got to the park he was feeling better and stayed after the Elders left, until dinner, but the kids were pretty tired from their long day.

Friday was the only day we didn’t have anything planned. We only did our regular stuff, which I think we needed at that point.

Some kids worked on puzzles in their free time, others worked on drawings.

Today we'll be practicing our talks for stake conference, and I'll be taking Herbie and Moses to the health center for their first vaccine dose.

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