Each year I write a “family snapshot”…just some notes on how life is going in that little “snapshot” of time right then.

So I’m a little late for 2019, but then, I’m a little late every year so we’re really right on track 🙂

It still feels strange to only have three kids at home, and now we’re getting ready to lose another one.  I hate letting kids go.  Grace has gone through the normal ups and downs of teenagerhood but adores high school and is almost as sad as I am to feel the end coming close.

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…although that picture doesn’t show it.  Ha!  We both try to put on a happy face but letting her go isn’t going to be pretty.  She adds so much light and life to this house.
She loves student council and is firmly planted in full-blown senioritis WAY too early.
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Speaking of high school, these two high schoolers are loving life being together at that big school for this one year they get together:
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I think Claire is going to go through withdrawals next year without her big sister.  And Grace is going to miss her like crazy when she heads off to college. Love that they are such good friends, and that they’re both into film photography (they are both taking that class at school, but different hours).

They get to be together for tennis though so hooray!  And there’s not much better than see them out there on those courts just swinging at those balls.

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(Lots more about tennis over HERE.)

Ok, and speaking of girls, I have four girls who ALMOST all wear the same size shoes as I do (Lucy is only a half size away from the rest of us).  We can all wear the same shirts too so that’s kinda fun.

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…except when I find my shirts scrunched up into little balls in the backs of their closets.

Then it’s not that fun.  Ha!

The girls love all things 80s right now.

How strange it is that all the horrible stuff I wore in high school is now back in fashion:)  Should have kept a closet-full of it.

We have dwindled down to only Lucy taking piano lessons.  We gave a valiant effort to at least keep Claire going, even Claire herself wanted to make that work, but we just couldn’t make it happen with volleyball and tennis and homework.

Everyone still practices though as part of their “job charts” that still hang in our kitchen (more on that HERE), and I love having the house filled with that piano music.

Speaking of job charts, the girls aren’t so hot at keeping up on those these days, but they know they have to do their practicing and their reading before they go anywhere else so they get it done.

Lucy is in sixth grade and is starting to feel a little excitement mixed in with intimidation for junior high to roll around next year.  It makes us both a little nervous since her vision is declining rapidly right now but she has some great helpers that are going to help us through.

Lucy’s vision loss is emotional for all of us.  We try to tuck away those emotions and plug through, but it’s tricky business sometimes and we don’t know what to do with it.

So grateful for good teachers and services that help her in so many ways.  And grateful for this cane that gets her around all kinds of tricky terrain:

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Her fascination with Lego’s is still going strong and it gives me a surge of happiness that she can still see them enough to follow all those tiny instructions.  She wills herself to do it and it works.

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Another one of Lucy’s favorite hobbies is math.  We find her like this lots of the time:
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Oh and cards.  Boy does that girl ever love cards!  She whips us into shape with Lucky Unders and Scum whenever she can.  And she is a trash talker extraordinaire. 
Lucy and I try to walk to school any chance we get.  We take Bo along.
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(She has a goal to get a mile in each school day and walking to and from school works out perfectly for that.)

I love that all those times telling myself “I love dogs” in the midst of drive-you-crazy puppyhood have paid off and now I really do love {at least one} dog.  We all do.

Even Dave.

And THAT’S a big deal.

Despite our most valiant efforts to keep shoes and socks put away, Bo almost always finds a sock to chew on.  She knows when she’s done something naughty and sluths around hiding behind chairs, her head drooping in guilt.

There are a few English words Bo understands like magic.  One is “walk.”  When one of us says it she scrambles up from wherever she is and stands super alert, her head cocked to the side so filled up with hope that “walk” is really what we mean.  And then she scrambles out the door in pure glee.  And she cracks us up every time.

We still have our family meeting every Sunday, this year it’s after church since church starts at 8:30 as of the new year.  We are getting used to the new two-hour church block and have stepped up those family meetings a notch with the new Come Follow Me church curriculum.  We are trying hard to get our girls preparing some of the lessons.  It is trickier than I thought not to spoon feed gospel stuff.  I want them to build their own foundation as they build their faith in Christ and it’s tricky to figure out the best ways to step back.  We try to assign the girls parts of the family lesson each Sunday.

Family scriptures are still at 6:30 every morning.  Sometimes we have them at the counter in the kitchen, Lucy’s chin propped on the counter, eyes closed, all of us a little bleary-eyed.  During Christmas we stretched out in front of the fire and did Advent.  And now since I wrote that line we’re back in the family room for scriptures trying to incorporate the material from Come Follow Me for the week.  We have a loose “plan” that since we have five of us at home, we each lead family devotional/scriptures one day a week.  Sometimes this works, but the majority of the time Dave and I end up doing it.  We’ll get there if we just keep trying right??

Claire, as a Freshman in high school, has firmly planted herself in the volleyball-love club and has given up her adored soccer.

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She played on the freshman high school team during that season and just loves it.

I really do think we could see he grow if we stopped and watched…according to our measurements she grew an inch in December alone.  It will be interesting to see how tall all these kids get!

Max is MARRIED and Dave and I are still not quite sure how that happened.  Our heads and hearts are still spinning a bit but boy do we ever love our daughter-in-law!

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They are tucked all safe and sound in a little duplex in Provo, living the good, newly-married life.

Max is on the BYU volleyball team.  He’s redshirting this year and is loving being a part of that team with so much talent and kids from all over the world:

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Abby is taking Chinese and I love this picture her mom took of those two having a little Chinese conversation in the car when she was there visiting:
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Elle is living the good life over in Hawaii.  She’s majoring in Graphic Design and is almost done.  She’s doing an internship for a great graphic design company this summer and is excited about that.  
When she finally moves away from that island some day I wonder if she’ll ever feel comfortable in shoes again 🙂
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(We gave her those ones for Christmas and within minutes of our walk she had to have them off again.)
Lucy is very social.  She’s pretty great at gathering the sweetest girls over and often draws them over to get them playing chess.
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Dave works from home.  I love to have him close, but we try not to get in each other’s business since we both have lots of things to keep us busy during the day.  Every now and again we invite each other on a little date to get lunch.  We are so lucky.

Dave still plays pickle ball whenever he can squeeze it in. These guys sure have fun (there’s a rotating group, these are just the four for that day):

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He is still serving in the high council of our church congregation and serves working with the missionaries.  He is learning so much from that and enjoys working with so many missionaries from all over.  I’m so grateful for that guy.  And that he can juggle lots of balls in the air.  Stuff like leading the Turkey Trot for the last couple years to two different China trips in the same month and that he still works in pickleball and helping clean the kitchen and that he loves me.  And still makes me laugh after all these years.

Bo Jangles sleeps in the laundry room and when we’re ready for scriptures in the morning we let her out and she goes and wakes everyone up with snorts of glee and wagging her body so much it often seems like she might give herself whiplash.

Lucy is our table setter.  She has been for years and she still takes pride in it.  She sets the dining table like this every Sunday…usually plus a chair for Josh and for whoever else may come join us:

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Also, we have apricot chicken the good majority of those Sunday dinners.  Sure, we branch out every now and again, but that’s for sure our “go to” and everyone loves it.

Yet our meals are shrinking.  Shrinking in quantities and shrinking in those sitting around the table.  Life seems more quiet.  Yet more bumpy.  With three adolescent girls, bouncing from happy to sad.  And back to happy again.

Grace has worked two jobs this Fall, then gave up her gig at up Old Navy and went to a political door-to-door polling job, and is now deep into tennis which takes up her working hours.  I miss her being with me in the kitchen, she’s always been the best helper, but Claire is stepping up for the task when she’s actually home.

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I love having my girls with me in the kitchen.

I’m not sure what gets Lucy going on her “kicks” but right now she could just about eat, sleep and breathe the broadway play soundtrack of Hamilton.  She is fascinated by every part of it and listens to it ALL THE TIME.  And asks me questions ALL THE TIME too.  “Why don’t they ever talk about the third sister of Eliza?  Why don’t they talk about Hamilton’s brother?  Is this song after Hamilton dies?”  She’ll work random little Hamilton facts into an every day conversation and I love how her mind works like that.

Ok, enough for now.  That’s how our life is rolling these days of 2019.  

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  1. You'll treasure looking back at these snapshots someday. My family used to film an unedited family dinner (camera on tripod) once a year for a few years. It is so interesting to look back on how our family dinners changed throughout the years.

  2. Would love youre recipes in a section under recipes i am trying to find ur choc chip cookies n Chicken tika n Orange Chicken. Ill send some recipes for Hawaiian chicken n the hawaiian macaroni salad very yummy.i lived in Hawaii from 17- 20 n back again. Now in Bullhead City Az from Vegas from Newport beach Cali.i have ur old address u gave me at TOFW.Need ur new address to send some things for Lu love u Bless ur heart xo

    1. Thanks for the kind comments Cheyenne! Good idea about the recipes, I keep meaning to find the time to do that because it would make it easier for me to look them up as well. Hopefully soon!

    2. Your chocolate chip cookie recipe is perfection and I love it!! I also LOVE your banana bread recipe that I occasionally make with chocolate chips or dried cranberries. I'd be a fan of a recipe section too!

  3. We are also working on getting our teenagers to help prepare and lead come follow me lessons- I know it's very important especially for my oldest two- to have a good foundation in teaching and leadership because of their patriarchal blessings- and my youngest who is 14 needs that boost of self confidence. Any tips and tricks you have on this- I would be forever grateful for!!!! Also ive got to get an interview lined up with you for my ldsparenting.blogspot.com – its been one of my dreams to interview you lol! Ive interviewed your cute as can be parents- and they are a wealth of information- ….but your blog has been an example to me for who knows- a decade maybe? Lol man that makes me feel old! Anyway- any moms of teens who are working on teaching their kiddos to help prepare and lead lessons- I would love your input!

  4. The Night Diary
    You had a post months back regarding book recommendations and I really wanted to pass this along for your Lucy bc my 12 year old read it and loved it but back then I couldn't remember the title. Anyways, I love your super positive blog, thank you for always sharing!

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