Plus, it always looks squeaky-clean like that. Ha! I should post more pictures of my kitchen when it’s strewn about with so many “things,” pots and pans and dishes and kids and backpacks and smudges of peanut butter rather than opting for pictures on the “extra clean” days…because boy, that kitchen is sure a hub for a LOT of things going through it. And I love that because that’s where so much life happens.
But I digress. Grace’s notes were extra in depth this year, complete with her beautiful handwriting and thoughtful “love.”
But don’t go thinking that it’s all love and sweetness over here all the time though, we sure have our fair-share of sassiness and arguing, just gotta set that straight. Maybe that’s why I was so determined to get those love-notes up speedy-quick! 🙂
…and this time he didn’t have to check himself into a hospital so that’s good 😉
We delighted in having these tall kids work out with us while they were home and their little sisters were at school. Here we are after a particularly sweaty workout:
Lucy had a “color run” fund raiser at school. Here she is with her class pre-color spray:
Lu was really worried about getting sprayed with color…that just did NOT sound fun to her. So her darling teacher let her be the “official color sprayer:”
…which she was very good at:
I couldn’t be there and my friends were the sweetest to send these pictures.
Meanwhile Dave and I were soaking in our “big kids” with all our might.
Elle was only here for a few days so we made the most of that time.
I wrote all about what we did for those precious days back HERE, but I don’t think I included this cute pic of his great aunt and uncle who came to meet us on our little sunset bike ride one night:
I did post this one, but hey, bowling…and everyone together:
And there are a lot of skateboarding pics on that post but one more here for good measure.
I just cherish that togetherness so much!
In February Lucy perfected her art of coordinating get-togethers…she’s pretty good at that. Here’s a funny text chain with one of her friend’s mothers so you can get the idea:
Coordination is apparently one of her many talents 🙂
Here’s a fort they built one day:
I got to take my big girls to a baby shower for my niece:
…where we met up with almost all my sis-in-laws and lots of cousin-in-laws too and so many nieces:
I feel incredibly lucky to be related to each of those women up there. They are power-women, every one.
And so glad my girls get to be related as well.
Super Bowl Sunday…Lucy made sure we did almost EXACTLY what we did last year…she was quite pleased with that I guess!
Elle helped me teach my primary class at church. I only had six six-year-olds but she was laughing at how “busy” they were and took this pic…which really doesn’t do that busy-ness justice and only shows a few.
But boy-oh-boy they sure were cute. (We have since had a ward split and I don’t have a new calling yet…but I miss those kids!)
We were pretty grateful to have Elle that Sunday…we weren’t supposed to…we had this awesome supposedly “last” morning together where I made everyone take a family picture and we had one of my favorite family testimony meetings ever in the car on the way to the airport. We dropped off Elle, headed to church, got a new calling (to teach the Marriage and Family relations class…which is now changed because of the ward split as well…) and then got a call that that girl had somehow missed her flight.
Complicated to explain, and she was pretty stressed about it, but the airlines were so nice to reschedule for the next day, it was the best class possible for her to miss on that Monday, and we got one more precious day with the whole family together. Woo Hoo!
Here are some out-takes from the pictures we snapped that morning…with the self-timer perched on a ladder:
We just took a few, and here they are:
Lucy’s glasses broke right at that moment:
We tried to have her just stand really super still:
Max was so tall:
So we had him crouch down a tad:
There we go:
After that Max became my “date” for most things.
I loved having him along, especially for fun things like picking up Claire’s volleyball carpool and watching the last little bit of practice.
…Lucy couldn’t be bothered with volleyball watching and was pleased as punch to pull out her book:
The night before we headed to California Dave took me out for my Christmas present here:
To see “Hamilton” with these good friends:
Oh man, it held up to all the hype in my mind I have to say. So clever and brilliantly put together, and really deserves more than those couple dark pictures to show for it, but they help me remember.
Then it was off to be together in California with our returned missionary…including exercise challenges:
Game nights, book reading everywhere we went for Lu:
No-pose challenge HERE.
…and just being together.
Lots more about that little trip to California HERE.
Then we came home and low and behold, we had this crowd there to surprise us at the airport to greet us:
…and who would not be overly delighted to have group like that greeting you at the airport??
(We knew they were coming to the desert, but didn’t realize they’d be at the airport to greet us all together. Love them!)
Lots more details about that back HERE, which includes this first of Max’s mission reports for all the cousins.
We had so many great family members from both sides of the family around for Max’s homecoming talk at church and we were so thankful for all the great support.
Here’s a tiny sampling of the group that I caught:
All about the homecoming weekend HERE.
More good friends for Lucy…my friend sent this from lunch one day:
Max bonded with Bo Jangles:
..and he bonded with his Dad who was so happy to have him around…
…with more friends:
We fully utilized the orange season…not much better that freshly squeezed oj in my opinion:
Fun to marvel at how much everyone grows in two years.
Sorry if I’ve already posted these pics of Bo, bear with me. But here she is in all her glory:
She has crazy hair on top of her head:
Claire’s friends helped me make sure the light was ok for pictures before the MORP couples came:
She’s so excited! Colby is such a great kid.
So fun to have friends reunited after two years of completely different adventures for each one of them:
My companion Max and I were on a quest to find a new one. Man alive you sometimes forget to be thankful for things like running water (at least I do!)
Luckily the plumber came to fix the water heater and was able to fix that thing too.
Now I think about how grateful I am every single time I turn it on.
Running water is such an amazing luxury!
Max asked someone out on a date…his first date home from a mission.
I got to be in the car with him when he called that cute girl he knew in high school and it was the funniest thing. I loved being there with him as he about died of nervousness to make that call.
Man, I’m so happy I didn’t have to ask many people out in my day…although I did ask Dave on our first date…which I talked about back HERE.
But asking someone out on a date takes guts, especially after a mission, and it was fun and funny to be with Max for that 😉
They went bowling with some friends on a double date and he got seven strikes.
Yep, you heard that right…SEVEN strikes!
Here’s Dave trying to ask how his bowling stance was in FHE the next day:
I love how the light filters into our family room.
Lucy and I keep plugging away at our Narnia series. Seriously I love it…I don’t care how slow we go…I just love that she still wants to read when we do get the chance.
…and Lucy worked on her “Beauty and the Beast” songs in handbells…
…with her mother at her side who she was a little frustrated at this particular day.
We started hiking again.
Oh man, there’s nothing like a hike on a gorgeous spring day in the desert with this great hiking companion of mine!
Then it was Valentine’s Day:
(more thoughts on that back HERE)
She gets so excited when she gets to come with us driving carpools…apparently Claire does too 🙂
She adores that pup.
Have I posted a picture of my new hallway yet? I need to tell some details about this soon…
Elle sent this picture perched in her spot to hear Elder Bednar speak at BYU-H. (not the greatest spot)
But kind of fun that he was there (he’s one of the apostles…the one who gave this talk that I talked about back HERE).
The Activity Days girls came on a “service scavenger hunt” to try to help out at our house.
They were the cutest little workers I ever did see.
Homework in a cozy spot:
The cause of our allergy problems:
(SO happy they weren’t awful this year…I think it really did help to start taking the prescription medication in January…then go to Taiwan when it usually is at it’s worst 🙂
Elle trying to find pants long enough to take to Jerusalem:
(They have to wear long, not “skinny” pants there…tall order for a tall girl.)
Lucy and her sweet walk-to-school-together friend in the beauty-morning-sun:
Grace’s friend from China (the one who helped her get ready for MORP above)…we loved having her stay with us a couple days.
Lucy was really into the “deck of cards” workout we started in California.
It was part of her “2-week challenge” we did with Max the last two weeks he was home (which I talked about back HERE).
She was serious about this thing!
More good friend visits:
And lots more about Max’s adjustment at home back HERE (he got to go to Utah for a few days which he loved along with other things we got to do together here).
More Lucy and friends:
Seriously, she has the best of the best.
…more thoughts on that back HERE.
One of Elle’s best friends (and ours too) came over with her brother and new dog.
You can’t see him very well in that picture but that is one cute puppy!
Goodbye to Rebekah…until next time!
We love you!
Our baby cousin was born! (the one we had the baby shower for earlier in the month)
They didn’t find out if it was going to be a boy or a girl so it was so fun to meet that little BOY! We were all glowing with pride and love for that teeny little newborn (IWAN for sure).
Cutest new little family!
Then started packing for our flight to Taiwan the next morning. Yeah, a little behind there, but we made it.
And that was a pretty amazing book I have to say. Hoping to review it tomorrow.
Thanks for hanging with me through all those pictures and links. A lot happened in February. It was a good one.