I have a problem.

I have a horrible memory. That’s why I take pictures galore. If I have a snapshot of something, even if it’s just a portion of the event, all the details seem to come flooding back when I look back at it.

For example, I was just telling Dave the other day about something or other that happened with my girlfriends on a trip we took forever ago. We happened to be in the same area where the girl-trip had been (Las Vegas) and I remembered it so well because I have a picture of it that came to mind when I was there. And when I started thinking about that picture all kinds of other memories came back…what we ate, what we talked about, what we had worried about, what we had been celebrating.

I’m so grateful for snapshots.

So each year at the beginning of the year I do a “verbal snapshot” of what’s going on in life. (2010 is here and 2011 is here.)

Because I want to remember what is here right now…the richness of being in the thick of mothering and learning and growing. I know that all too soon it will fade and become fuzzy in my mind if I don’t capture it.

Sure, I write a bunch on here about events and thoughts. But this is more “big-picture stuff.”

So, future self (and children), here you go. Happy reminiscing.

When Max or Elle are in the car with me the radio is always on. And is always loud. Until I turn it off in exasperation because I’d like to hear myself think. And to talk in a normal voice to my children. (If that doesn’t make me sound old, I don’t know what will 🙂 But then suddenly it’s on again, loud and clear.

I find it quite amusing/amazing that those two seem to know the words to every single song that comes across the air.

Sometimes I have the kids make dinner but not as often as they did last year. I need to get back into that. But I do assign out little jobs…chopping for the salad, putting veggies in the microwave, clearing the clutter from the day off the counter…Our favorite family meals these days are Asian lettuce wraps, tacos and homemade chicken pot pie. Oh, we love white bean chicken chili too.

We still do “Clean Ten” when things get cluttery. I just yell out “clean ten” and everyone cleans up ten things. There are enough of us that that usually does the trick pretty well.

I am always in awe at how many groceries I have to buy to keep up with how much our family eats. I cannot keep the fridge full for two seconds.

Lucy and Claire’s room has turned from being neat and tidy to being an on-going disaster area. We need to get a handle on that quick.

Max, Elle and Grace are all still taking piano. The goal is for me to teach Claire for a year and then start her up with the same teacher the big kids have.

Just because I have a goal does not mean that it gets done.

Max got a job. He works at Dave’s office. He rides his bike there and back every day after school. Volleyball tryouts next week are going to mess that up a little bit.

Elle is doing “home study” for P.E. since she does so many hours of tennis lessons each week. This means she gets home a good hour-and-a-half before anyone else. We both love it. She has finally made the turn to asking if she can please go play tennis. It makes Dave and me want to jump for joy.

Much to my chagrin, I’m still not miraculously turned into a go-to-bed-early girl. It is so hard for me to make myself turn off at night after the kids are in bed. But I sure do try.

Claire just joined Grace in the ranks of Activity Days for church. To say she is pleased as punch about it would be an understatement.

I have had to be out of town more than I would like this last year (mostly Time out for Women and American Mothers things). Every time I’m gone it makes me appreciate even more the “gift of an ordinary day” here at home. I’m so grateful I get to be here in the “trenches” most of my days.

Every night when I go to bed I check on the kids. I have since they were born. I go from one room to the next and drink in the fact that they are mine…and that most of them are sleeping 🙂

When I check on Max at night he is almost always reading his scriptures. It never ceases to melt my heart.

Elle is getting really good at photography. Like, she really gets it.

Lucy and Claire have both recently declared that they want to marry Dave when they grow up. The kids all think Dave is the best thing since sliced bread. I have to agree with them.

Every Saturday for as long as I can remember we do Saturday jobs (see the lists in the middle of this post) and whenever I need the kids to help get ready for something specific I do one of these charts:(This one is pretty messy from yesterday but you get the idea…I write a chart of everything I need help with and then have the kids pick which ones they will do and write their initial in the circle next to those ones. When they finish they color in the circles.)

Grace is usually the “flat-bread” maker:
We love this stuff.

I am a texter.

A large-volume texter.

It’s mostly to the young women and the other leaders.

I am glad that I usually have a “secretary” in the car with me (one of the kids) to whom I can dictate texts.

I have been the Young Women president for a little over a year. I have learned much more from those girls than they have from me. Same with the leaders. Boy howdy I get to work with some good ones.

Dave teaches Sunday School to the teenagers. He finally got released from teaching Gospel Doctrine for three years.

It seems that every night we have homework sprawled over the kitchen counter and kids needing help with such-and-such.

Max and Elle do their own laundry. Although it takes them a couple days to get through it and I have to put up with it stacking up the laundry room it makes me happy. Laundry is still my least favorite household job so I love having their help.

And the laundry room is still a catch-all for papers galore that I cannot seem to get a handle on for the life of me.

Lucy adores her school.

Lucy adores her school bus.

Lucy adores her speech therapist we’ve had for probably three years who comes to our house each week. She gets speech help at school too and has a vision therapist working with her one day a week. We have weeded out the physical and occupational therapy but are wondering if we should re-visit those options.

I cry when it hits me how lucky we are to have all the help that we have for Lucy. Really I do. I think I may cry right now just thinking about it.

Lucy adores coloring. She could do it for hours on end every day if the rest of life didn’t get in the way.
We are really worried about Lucy lately because she is starting to be so much more interested in food. She has started hiding to eat things she finds that she knows we won’t approve of and we are at our wits’ end trying to figure out how to help. (Her syndrome causes obesity and we are so very, very careful with what she eats.)

I think it is so sweet, though, that for the most part she is pretty good with food. She knows that each day she only gets one little cup of milk that’s not heavily watered down. After that if she’s in the mood for milk she says “can I please have some milk with water in it?” When she gets a candy from someone she treats it like a precious gem, and usually saves it in it’s own special bowl in the fridge for a little while before she eats it:

Claire still struggles with the UTI’s that have plagued her for so long, but they are getting much more rare. We couldn’t be happier about that little fact.

I guess the little girls have become less and less annoying to their older brother and sister teenagers because this is the view on our driveway more and more often:
The older kids are becoming “gatherers” like Grace is. (see this post)

Max is growing like a weed. There are two results I’ve noticed most recently: 1) he never, ever stops eating and is always starving to death, and 2) he’s like a bull in a china closet. He knocks over, spills, splashes, etc. I guess he’s just growing so darn fast he can’t keep up with himself. He is taller than me.

Grace has a heavy influence on Claire and can talk her into most things she wants. She tries to puppet so much of what happens from what birthday presents she should ask for to who she should hang out with after school. Sometimes Claire is duped but most of the time she holds her own.

Grace is probably our best “morning girl” and is up, showered with her hair dried and straightened before we ever have to ask.

Right now we are in a “break” from serious extracurricular mumbo-jumbo and I love it so much. We still have piano lessons, tennis, dance (for all three little girls), exercise class (for Lucy) and church stuff (activity days and mutual) but soccer is over. Right now I’m trying to muster up the courage to get the girls started in gymnastic again because Dave and I have discussed that we need to (and the girls are dying to).

Claire has stars in her eyes about doing soccer, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, dance, cheer leading and volleyball. Yeah, volleyball. I think she may need a different mother. Grace is dying for volleyball too.

This is our favorite kind of cereal:
We all call it “mommy cereal” because it’s the only kind of cereal I’ll eat. (I don’t like cereal or milk.)

Dave is training for a triathlon in California and is working so darn hard but is having trouble with his blood pressure. It’s high. It runs in his family but we are a little worried about it because the medication the doctor prescribed makes him feel horrible when working out.

After three years of doing P90X and Insanity I finally joined a cross-fit training place that I go a couple times a week early in the mornings. It is a welcome change since I have those old workouts memorized and they are boring me to tears (not that they’re easy, just that I was desperate for something new!)

Dave and I go on real dates every weekend. I look forward to it all week. And I never, ever forget to say a little prayer of thanks when we take off that we have three good babysitters in our own family to choose from.

During this new year we have recently tried to change our family scripture study to evenings instead of mornings. So far it’s not working. We’re giving it one more week.

Ok and with that, I must run pull Lu out of bed for dance class.

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  1. I can say "Amen!" to so many things in that post, like the state of my two youngest girls' room, being bored with my workout, the car radio volume, and dictating texts to a "secretary" in the car. Not to mention having a goal not meaning it gets done (unfortunately!) Thanks for sharing! Love your blog and the inspiration I get from you!

  2. I love your blog too. I just recently started following. Your family seems wonderful and it's inspiring to read about your kids and how you handle things and your traditions.
    I too have a child with a genetic syndrome (Dravet). It is an epileptic syndrome. It is neat to read about other families with an extra special little spirit.
    Bless you for all your efforts for good.

  3. i love this post.
    normal life.
    i'm impressed by the weekly date night. we've got to do better at that.
    and, i had to laugh about scripture time.
    we're in the SAME boat.
    we switched to nights a couple of weeks ago… and i love our slower mornings.
    BUT nights are hard and scripture study hasn't been happening.
    i think we're back to mornings soon.
    and, great idea for the letter bubble lists!
    i write lists all the time but find myself writing one for each kid… i'm going to LOVE having it all on one page!!
    thanks for being my imaginary friend!

  4. i die every time i read your blog. it just makes me so excited to have a family. i know it is crazy and busy, but you make it sound so good. i'm not saying you don't 'keep it real' because you do, and that's what i love about it! loved this post.

  5. what a fun post!!! I'm in awe at how you handle so much 'stuff', even without soccer you have a ton of stuff going on, and yet you are there, and you get it done.. i wish we were neighbours 🙂
    I also wish my daughter was 5 years older and met max after mission life hahahah

    ps, i think grace looks like you so much in the pic of her cutting the flat bread!pedit

  6. Thank you for this wonderfully realistic snapshot of your life! It encourages me and reminds me that life is constantly changing — and that it's okay!! 🙂

  7. Hello, I always read your blog but never comment. I have met you a couple times, you are basically a celebrity in my mind 🙂 I have wondered many times if you have ever talked to Tiffany Higgins about food and health (blood pressure, Lucy) She is incredible. I think you would be interested in what she is about.

  8. I love following your blog! After each post that I read it makes me feel so good! Aside from my own mother I think you're the greatest mom in the world. I am a young mom of one soon to be one year old! You are definitely a mom that I aspire to be like. Thanks for sharing day after day with me! 🙂

  9. Oh Shawni, I'm not sure why this post hit me so hard about Lucy. I am in tears over reading the sweetness of that little girl. What a good girl she is! I can't wait for the day they find a cure or better yet, let's have the Savior come soon so she can be whole and enjoy that treat every once in awhile! Your amazing. So is she. As is your whole family. Many prayers sent your way for that cute ray of sunlight!

  10. Thanks so much for this post! I learned some things I didn't know so thanks for keeping me updated. What a household! How I wish I had pictures from those days at our house. I have a memory problem too and it's getting worse. Keep that camera snapping!

  11. Oh my goodness can I relate to your life or what.
    Being a mother of 5 is very busy.
    We now have 3 teenagers in the house and scripture study and night is not working either. I think tomorrow am when seminary starts up again after the break we will have to switch to the morning. It is just so hard for me to wake up the littler ones so early.
    You are a great mom.
    Thanks for sharing. I am going to have to give my husband a lil nudge that you get dates every week. With mine as Bishop it is hard to fit it in it seems.

  12. Dying to know where you Crossfit at? This is all we do now!!! We train out of our hose and love it. We started about 3 years ago before anyone knew what it was and everyone thought we were absolutely nuts!!!! love it to death!!!!!

  13. my husband's family is OBSESSED with crossfit..! i have gone a few times, but i'm too big of a wuss to commit to a membership and do it always..! way to go. 🙂

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