At the beginning of each new year I like to do a little “snapshot” of what’s going on around here.

I know, like I need MORE record along with the thousands of pictures I take to document the going-ons of life in our neck of the woods.  But most of the stuff I write here is just snippets of life.  I recently read what I wrote in past years and it fills up my heart that I can remember that little sliver of time all in one spot.  I love remembering what it was like even when it has faded gradually into the recesses of my mind.

[2013 is HERE, 2012 is HERE, 2011 is HERE and 2010 is HERE].

So since it’s the end of February I figured I better get this show on the road!

Here we go:

I have come to realize that sharing clothes with my two oldest girls has it’s perks (more clothes to spread around) but also it’s serious drawbacks.  For the life of me I can never find a pair of socks that aren’t mismatched (they do their own laundry and come steal mine when they run out), and I’ve found many a nice sweater or shirt crumpled up in a ball on their bathroom floor.

We all three wear the same size shoes too.  We use those shoes to the ground.

Elle and Max are gearing up for their school volleyball and tennis seasons (they both just made the varsity teams last week…Go M & E!!).  I have always loved high school sports.  Sitting on the front row of the bleachers and cheering my heart out for basketball games in high school is one of my favorite memories.  And to actually get to watch my own children play in some of those games?  Priceless.  I am so weirdly obsessed with how fun it is to watch them.

This is how they leave for school in the morning.

(Except we can’t see that Elle’s feet are bare…)

Grace has just finished up her cheerleading season and was the most sparkly one on the team (at least as far as I’m concerned :).  

She debated trying out for the basketball team and opted out.  We are both happy and sad about that little fact.  We’re ready for a break but she’d probably be great at basketball.

Dave works with the boys ages 16-18 at church and it’s his favorite calling ever.  I work with teaching singing at church and I tell you what, I’m in love with those sweet singers of mine.  I love the weeks when I feel like all the stars are aligned and I can somehow move my arm producing angelic voices to fill the room.  Then there are the weeks nothing seems to work and I want to go home and cry…

Claire is still working on her goal of being in the olympics for gymnastics she loves it so.  Sometimes I try to get up the gumption to tell her there aren’t many 6’1″ gymnasts in the olympics but then I stop myself and just enjoy that huge smile stretched across her face when I pick her up from her “company” classes twice a week.  (We don’t have a carpool for that which about drives Dave and I both nuts until we see her shining face and then we give in and let her continue on her course for olympic-dom.)

Some of Claire’s other goals for 2014:

I love the “get ready for school zoom fast” part.

Little by little we’re getting there but it still seems like the morning routine is always a rush and a huff at the last second (more on the morning routine HERE).

I look up to Max and Elle in a lot of ways, but one of them is stature.  Max is now 6’6″ and Elle is almost 6’1″.  I know, crazy right?  I love watching them at high school events, so easy to spot from afar and usually wearing big smiles (they really like high school).

Speaking of height, we just barely found pants long enough for Max.
Can we just pause a moment and have a silent moment of gratitude for Old Navy???  They offer LONG pants for men and I cannot tell you how long we have looked for something like this!  I know I sound dramatic, but we have searched high and low for something to cover these legs of his.  Let’s take a closer look at those beauties:
See how they are even long enough there’s a teeny bit of bunching at the bottom?  
Pure joy I tell you!
Elle’s legs are tough to cover as well, but at least short jeans are easier for girls to get away with than boys.

Claire and Grace take piano lessons at 6:30 on Thursday mornings.  They dread that lesson because they can’t seem to wake their music brains up that early, but boy oh boy they are sure learning a lot!

Max and Elle still practice every day for 20 minutes but they don’t have a teacher.  They just sight-read hymns and new things they print out from the Internet and I am totally 100% ok with that arrangement.

We are almost ready to move into our new home, so close we can taste it.  
But it has somehow felt like we are “almost ready to move in” for four months!  
My new answer when someone asks for a completion date is to say, “some time in 2014” because I’m pretty sure that will happen.

Our house is filled to the very brim with clutter galore.  I’m itching to organize it but trying to wait until we move.  SO much stuff ready to move and sort and donate to a good cause.

Claire is in charge of all breakfast dishes.  Grace clears.  Max, Elle and Grace rotate on dinner dishes.  It’s confusing because it’s sometimes like herding flies at night when everyone needs to be all over creation right at dinner time and especially when it’s time to do dishes.

We need a new system.

We always have Family Home Evening on Sundays.  We do “family business,” stand up to say our family motto together (back HERE), and have a lesson on something Dave or I have been thinking about lately.  We usually do an activity on Monday night.  (More on FHE HERE and HERE.)

Dave is in the process of switching up his job right now, so he’s set up a temporary office on our dining table.

Did I mention our house is full of clutter?

Elle is still doing quite a few photo shoots (back HERE).

Grace is trying to follow in her footsteps and had her first real photo shoot a few weeks ago.

She did a great job.

When she’s not on my big camera, she’s on my phone camera leaving me all sorts of great shots πŸ™‚

These two are thick as thieves I tell you:

Lately I have spent a good portion of every other Thursday night on a conference call for our BBS board (where I serve as the vice president).  We are preparing for our semi-annual BBS Conference.  The last two conferences have been held at Duke University, but we’re moving this one to Iowa.  It has been a lot of work, most of which I have not been a huge part of since I’m trying to hang on by my fingernails to the rest of life these days.  Our conference calls are usually smack-dab in the middle of carpools and dinner time so my whole family has heard many snippets of what we are talking about as the conversation is muted on speaker phone as I try to tame the homework/dinner/bedtime circus around here as we talk logistics and fund raising.

(We are still working on total for our BBS fundraiser in December (back HERE)…more on that soon I promise…SOOOOO grateful for all the help from the cyber world!!)

Lucy comes home with new Braille work typed out carefully each week.  She’s still learning so much with that and we are so grateful for her patient, kind teacher who pulls her out of class for an hour or so each week to work on it.

Our panini maker is the most used appliance in our whole house.  These kids whip up all kinds of sandwiches in this thing.  I always know when Max has been home to run in to grab and snack because our house smells yummy and this thing is still warm.

Lucy almost always has her nose in a book.

These “Elephant and Piggie” ones are my favorites.  They are HERE.

It’s still dark in the mornings when we read scriptures.

Our kids always bring lunch to school.  We never buy these days.  And they always have peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  Are we boring or what?

Our Money System is still going strong.  It is always a work in progress, and some weeks are better than others, but for the most part it is one of the best things going for us.  (For more about how that works click HERE and I am planning on doing an update as soon as I can get to it cause I’ve had a lot of questions lately…)

There we go…at least a little snippet of a snapshot of life the way we know it around here.  

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  1. Finding long pants can be so tough! My brother and husband are both skinny and 6'4" and Lands End has been a lifesaver because they offer custom hemming (to the quarter inch!) and even have odd waist sizes. Just wanted to share in case you need a new source someday!

  2. I am also 6'1" so I know the feeling of searching for tall pants!! I used to always buy GAP extra tall but then American Eagle started making them as well and they are a "younger" person jean. You can only buy them online though. Good luck finding them if she gets any taller though because 6'1" is the max height for these jeans!!

  3. Don't feel bad about lunch. You work yourself into a state over breakfast. They can always switch up the fruit to go in the lunch sack with the sandwich for variety.

  4. Hello! First time comment – long time reader! Thank you thank you for the wonderful ideas for family. We have used so many of your suggestions with our 5 kids and possibly my favorite is the money system. Both my husband and I just can't believe how it's eliminated the nagging and increased appreciation for money in one fell swoop. Nicely done. I'm glad to read that you are going to answer additional questions about it and wondered if you could help me ponder how the system can work for a very busy 15 year old sophomore. Or a good way we can make adjustments without necessarily lightening his load. After all – he's making $15.00 – more than any of the kids – but I give him passes too because he's so busy. School is thirty minutes away and he gets home at dinner each night – only to have 4 hours minimum of homework. Should we play catch up on weekends with chores etc? I already let him count his after school sport for the exercise portion and homework for reading – he's a reader. It's just hard to get in all the jobs So any ideas you have would be great. P.S. I grew up on PB and Honey. Good stuff.

  5. I know how you feel about pants as well, I've got two brothers, one that's 6'8 and one that's 6'11…and they've always had a heck of a time trying to find some long enough. πŸ™‚ I'll have to find out where they shop.

  6. I just adore your blog and enjoy reading each post! Your family is just too sweet. My husband is 6'10", so we know finding pants is not an easy task:) but we have found quite a few places that work if you ever need more suggestions! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  7. I came from a family with five children. For dinner dishes, each child was assigned a weeknight and it NEVER changes. Maybe you can figure a night when your big kids are usually home and assign them that night for dishes. Just a thought πŸ™‚

  8. love this post! i like things like this! you should try to do a "day in the life" post. they are really fun and interesting.

  9. Oh pants! What a problem they are getting them skinny enough so they don't fall down and still long enough. You'd think with all the boys that seem to have this problem the stores would jump to make them. Like someone else mentioned, American Eagle online has extended sizes and that often saves me in dressing my son.

  10. How on earth can the kids do two sports, seminary, and work regularly at a job so they can earn money to buy the stuff they are responsible to buy and get all a's or mostly all a's and spend extra time either learning to drive or standardized testing prep?

  11. I love to read the little snippets. Here's a question for your future FAQ. Have you ever had kids make self loathing comments that really worry you? They try so hard to be so good, and if they have one small reprimand, say "i'm so horrible" or "I'm just not responsible" ? It breaks my heart, and I'm currently trying to combat that with extra love, encouragement, and complements, but it doesn't seem to be enough to snap them out of it. two of my kids…it seems to be trickling down…

  12. I just had to convert Elle's and Max' sizes to the metric system because these numbers didn't say anything to me… both are some tall people! I hope the problem with finding clothes will get easier.

    @kms: I think they must have very good self discipline to do so well in school/ sports but of course we only see some snippets of their life. Nevertheless, I would be really interested in knowing more about how the kids can get all their stuff done? I loved being busy in school and with extra curricular activities and a job because it gave me stability and a big sense of accomplishment πŸ™‚

  13. Just curious, does Lucy help with the dinner dishes, if not what kind of chores does she do or is she a tutee where the other children help teach her?

    I love the tutor/tutee idea, it's brill:)

  14. I think their parents expect them to practice an instrument for 20 minutes, do a high school sport, get straight a's, do well on the act/sat, drive, do seminary, do household chores, they have to earn half of what they need for clothes and other things and that means an outside job (but how do they find one that doesn't conflict with sports, seminary, practice), participate in church activities which are more numerous with the new temple built.

  15. we always do home lunches too, but had a real struggle with sandwiches. I discovered a little metal thermos in the camping section at wal mart and it has really changed how we do lunches. The kids almost always take last nights leftovers for lunch, or soup, chili, boiled eggs, you name it they have tried it.

  16. Just love this! Those long legs I think came from the family of Arthur Benjamin and Helen Ross. Their sons were beanpoles( 6:6") three generations ago. Wild!

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