April seems kinda like ancient history right now, but let’s reminisce about that good month.
It all started out with Easter…
…and general conference:

…which were filled with goodness (I’m still re-listening to conference every now and again…loved them so much!)…and a good April Fools prank:

More about those two things back HERE.

Gotta love Dave:

…and Lu too 🙂

Grace ran for Senior Class Secretary.

And won.

Woohoo!  We’re so excited for her!  She asked if I would come help her hang up her banner in the middle of the main hall before school, so I did.  But she was not about to document the fact that her mother was in the middle of that main hallway with her:

 haha.  (More about that back HERE.)

Lucy spent every Monday and Tuesday morning before school practicing her heart out for handbells:

Dave’s sister Julie and her family came to town.  And as I’ve mentioned before, this gets all of us living here together so much more than usual, which I love.  They stayed with us a few of the days:

We did yoga, met up for sporting events, got together with cousins, swam a bunch…

…and hung out with all these good people often:

(all the details about that week back HERE)

Claire worked her tail off in track:

 As did Grace in tennis:

And they had some HOT days.  Spring sports in the desert aren’t for the weak of heart.
Claire worked on tennis too, along with cousins:

I love that the four other cousins her age who live here all get to take tennis together each Saturday…anyone who can make it.  
Lu got her “work-outs” walking her dog.

Got some old film pictures from Elle…this one’s dark, but made me miss that returned missionary of mine…and made me happy Elle likes film photography so much.

 The mesquite trees are always in full bloom in April…which quite honestly takes my breath away.

In Bo Jangles news, she got a haircut.

(Before and after pics. of that are back HERE.)

…and got herself her own whiz bang dog door (also in that last linked post):

It took her a few days to get it figured out, but then she got it like a pro and it is incredibly freeing, so grateful for that thing!

For some reason these pictures came up from Cambodia:

…so I took pics. to sent to our family group text because it made me melancholy and filled with gratitude for that trip.

Grace headed off on her prom “day date:”

…up in the woods with a pretty big crowd of great kids.

Lots more about that “day date” back HERE.

Speaking of dates, these two had a great daddy-daughter dance:
Which necessitated a wardrobe change last minute:

 (all about that date back HERE)

 I made Claire take this pic of the sky en route home from something, somewhere.

Because how pretty is the gradient color of that sky!?

I love when I have a co-pilot I can order to capture so much beauty all around.

Cousin love:

 More love:

(Always birthdays to celebrate!)

More handbells.

When Dave’s parents returned home from their mission in Ghana we went out for frozen yogurt.  There was this random ad for “bike night” on the wall.  Something about those two words just really stuck with me…and somehow pushed me to organize one of those…in our neighborhood…to get to know all the new people in our newly divided ward.

So we did.  We asked our neighbors-across-the-lawn if they wanted to join in, invited a bunch of new families we wanted to get to know to ride on over on their bikes for Family Home Evening.  We served dessert and just talked and got to know people as our shadows lengthened across the grass.  I got this pic. after it was a little dark, but you can get the idea:

I loved getting to know all those good new people, and I think they did too.  The kids had fun running around to their heart’s content as well.

The plan was to do it again a few more times, but we just did one other gathering.  Which was also good, but that’s a “May little thing” we’ll get to soon!

Tennis season was in full swing:

One handbell concert came and went:

Someone practiced some photography with my camera…

We snuck away for an adult-lake-get-away one day with these folks we love:

Lucy’s piano teacher continues to write up her music for her like this, which melts my heart:

She is getting so good at playing “The Miracle”…her favorite church song.

Claire made up a “Claire & Bo Show” which is actually quite entertaining. 

I didn’t upload the right video…I’ll try to do it soon though.  Here’s a pic for now to help me remember:

Do you think I have enough walk-to-school pictures?  

For some reason I cannot help myself from capturing all that happiness.

More tennis:

More practicing:

Trying to get in some good hikes before it heats up too much:

Claire’s out-of-town soccer tournament.  I didn’t get to go, it was the weekend Dave and I “divided and conquered” trying to cover our bases with these kids, but the pictures I was sent made me laugh so hard.  Can you spot Claire in this one below?

Yeah, that girl who’s hair tie broke?  Haha.

Here’s a better one I think the next morning:

(more about that weekend back HERE)

Lu and I cleaned out our crafting cabinet while those two (Dave & Claire) were gone.  Found these puppies:

(They were supposed to be used as “coupons” that could be earned for good behavior.  The idea was to be able to exchange them in for cool prizes like “lunch with mom” or “five minutes extra to stay up.”  But we didn’t get very far with them, since they were brand spanking new.  Dang we kind of missed that boat…maybe they’ll still be good for Lucy….)

Loved soaking up some beauty desert sunsets:

ACT test studying for Grace:

(More details about that weekend back HERE….I was trying to keep up incrementally…)

Grace did some senior pictures I thought turned out so great:

We had all the youth in our new ward over for a fireside one night:

More mesquite trees:

…that left yellow carpets all over the place.  These pictures cannot do them justice, they were gorgeous and so vibrant.

…but not so great for the allergies.

Grace and I searched high and low for some perfect prom accessories:

We hiked some more:

See those tiny little people on that desert landscape up there?  Those are my friends.

Here we are close-up:

In April I started my quest to try to manage screen time…especially social media in our family.

I have learned a LOT since the beginning of this quest, things I will share in a post soon.  But this article was really good:

Claire got the time mixed up for a track meet one day. 

Her friend called her from the all-loaded-up bus heading to the track to figure out where she was.

She about died realizing she needed to be there so I raced her over to the school to drop her off as close as I could get to the bus.  This was her text after I left:

That was a funny day.

We went to a volleyball game to support these good friends:

And to miss our volleyball boy 🙁

Elle sent a couple pics of one of her final products from graphic design classes in Hawaii:

Cool stuff.

Claire and her friends are much too teenager-ish for Dave and my liking these days. 

They need to slow down!

Grace sweet-talked us into getting a few highlights for prom….since Elle did when she was that age. 

She sure looked different…and pretty beautiful too 🙂

We had the “most beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing in the world” talk with our last child.

…and it was a good one.  More on that back HERE.

Volleyball was in full swing:

Prom prep:

And the big night:

(Prom post is back HERE.)

We celebrated Earth Day:

We celebrated two new babies (a nephew and a niece):

We stole babies in church because the pictures we got made us baby hungry:)

Elle stood in a LONG line to get to go to a fireside with the Prophet of our church who was in Hawaii:

Max gave a talk in church up in Provo:

Thank goodness for his friends who take pictures…

I got a calling to teach Activity Days which I love…and since Lucy is one of those girls, she has helped us plan out all the activities.  Ha! 

My friend Sarah from England came for a visit:

Love that we get to catch up when she has layovers here (she works with British Airways).

Lunch date:

We were all pretty excited about Elle’s return home before she headed out to Jerusalem, but I think Bo may have been the one to show it the most.  Oh boy was she ever excited to see that girl!

We celebrated having that college girl home for a day and a half by heading to the lake.

…with Bo in tow:

(A little more about Elle’s visit on this “weekend” post back HERE.)

Lucy got a special letter that announced that she would be a Golden Scholar thanks to her hard work in school.  Most of our kids have received letters like this, but Dave had Lucy read it aloud to all of us since she was pleased as punch about that thing.

That picture doesn’t show it, but she was pretty delighted.

I got to hang with my college kids in Provo for a couple days to help Max move and to be at Elle’s Jerusalem orientation meeting with her.

…which meant I got to hang with the cousins too.

…and hike in this gorgeous spot:

…and borrow this cool car from my dad:

And do another hike in that beautiful place:

…with these folks I love so much:

…and visit my brother at his company that is taking off…along with a sleepover with my Utah sisters:

Yeah, it was a good side-trip.

The only pics I took at the Jerusalem orientation meeting were of the calendar of events:

Kind of fun to know a little more about what that girl is doing over there in that place I love so much, since she’s so many hours ahead and we don’t get to talk too much.

(All the rest of the details from that weekend up in Utah back HERE.)

Then I finally arrived home from my delayed flight in the nick of time before everyone arrived for Grace’s end-of-tennis-season banquet:

There are pictures that are actually focused and the rest of the tennis season wrap-up stuff HERE.
All that was during the teacher strike that lasted a little over a week in April.  Interesting times!
And that was the end of April.

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    1. I’ve also been curious if you have your family motto on the wall at your new home? The green one that used to hang over your fireplace? I just haven’t noticed it at your new house.

    2. I found the Swedish flag at an antique market and fell in love, because I love those colors, but also because my Grandma is Swedish which means so am I 🙂

      The family motto is still hanging in our game room. I just probably don't photograph that angle much. Still going strong!

  1. I’ve been silently reading your blog for sometime now and I just want to say I’m kind of in love with your family… I feel you’re so sweet as a mom and wife and I strive to be an amazing mom as well. Just wanted to thank you for letting us look into your and in building moms up.

    Tita Yanez Oxnard Ca.

  2. "… and somehow pushed me to organize one of those… in our neighborhood… to get to know all the new people in our newly divided ward. So we did. We asked our neighbors-across-the-lawn if they wanted to join in, invited a bunch of new families we wanted to get to know to ride on over on their bikes for Family Home Evening."

    I feel like this is a great example of and reinforces the notion that- mormons will be friendly to you but won't be friends with you. At first, I thought it was a great idea when you mentioned you were organizing a bike night "in your neighborhood" but then realized what you meant was: in your neighborhood IF you are LDS because those are the families you wanted to get to know. I understand your intention was to only meet new families in your ward and not throw a gathering for your entire neighborhood. But it just sounded funny to me and made me wonder if you ever organize or attend anything with the purpose of getting to know families in and outside your neighborhood that are not mormon.

    1. I think she has. I’ve been reading her blog for years and years, since Lucy was a baby. She has a really good friend who is catholic, Claudia I believe is her name. That’s just one example. 😊

      And I’m not trying to be annoying with all my answers. 😂

    2. I don’t see how this is an example that reinforces the notion that Mormons will be friendly to you and not friends with you. Taking an example of how you tried to help, serve and love some new people in church says nothing about what you do or don’t do with those who are not members of your church. Shawni probably has countless stories she could share of times she’s helped, loved, become friends with, or served neighbors or people she comes in contact with who aren’t members of the lds church, but she also wrote a really good post about that a while back and how she wanted to reach out more to the members of her community not of the same faith and what some of the things we’re that made it hard.

    3. That's a great question, LS. And yes, you're right, this was more a church thing than a neighborhood thing. I did think about inviting a bunch of people who live near us as well, but there are so many new people in the ward that I wanted to concentrate on those families for this one particular idea. We have done several neighborhood gatherings, whether for brunches between conference sessions or out to dinner more one on one, or our big Halloween gathering. We want to get to know EVERYONE. But this specific idea was more for getting to know the people who just moved into our ward.

      I love how people bring up these questions though! I love that we have a variety of great families we love right around us, in and out of our church congregation.

  3. Sorry, LS ! Shawni does not accept critical or negative comments here. She will delete this rather than answer, even though you definitely have a point. The only comments allowed sound like "great idea", "love you and your family"… that's it! Unless of course it's just ME that she won't allow to express other viewpoints……

    1. Oh Tabby, I'm sorry you feel that way…I thought LS's comment was respectful, and I think comments like that are great. Maybe I'm wrong, but it feels to me like she was genuinely curious with a good question.

  4. I don’t really like generalizations, so I’d like to say that my family and I are non-denominational Christians and one of my daughters very best friends is Mormon. Her mom and I are friends, we text and share pictures, meals, nights at the ball field, etc.

    1. That came across harsher than I meant. Just saying, as with a lot of religions, people think Mormons are exclusive. In my experience, they’re not. But, we live in the south where LDS isn’t as huge a group as it is in AZ.

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