The end of the school year is TOMORROW, so I’m getting a little hustle on to catch up here.  
Life is coming at me too fast.  How is it already summer??
April started out with the day Lucy had been counting down for for a LONG time:  her official half birthday.

Yep, it’s true.  And she won’t let anyone get away with calling her a ten-year-old now, because she is WAY older than that.

We celebrated with a candle in a pancake and she thought that was just spectacular.

Conference weekend was one of my favorites…back HERE.

Grace helped raise money to fight diabetes at a color run:

Dave was in charge of the buses our stake (group of congregations) take to see the Easter pageant with any neighbors who want to join in.

He did a great job with all the organization and it was a pretty beautiful night to visit this beautiful place:

…along with thousands of other people in preparation for Easter.

(I think that’s a screenshot from one of Claire’s friends…love that it captured a portion of the throngs of people there.)

We’ve got another nephew engaged, and he and his fiance came to town.  It was so fun to have everyone over here to gather to meet this new soon-to-be-member of Dave’s family.

I don’t know how it happened, but I didn’t get any pictures of HER!  And that’s too bad because she’s darling.  I’m sure we’ll have a bunch coming up in August when they get married.  For now we got an adoring cousin with Bo:

…and some cousin love.

Grace sometimes is funny about pictures so I’ll take what I can get:)

There she is…

…complete with her “sisters.”

Lots of track meets (back HERE and one of the lessons she learned HERE).

Lots of walking to school taking advantage of the glorious weather too.

Lots of spring hiking back HERE.

Meanwhile Elle did her own kind of spring hiking over in Hawaii:

She had a few more little modeling things over there so I stole a few.

Brainfood deliveries again…(above).

Lucy was worried about me because I hadn’t seen Beauty and the Beast (somehow I missed it when Dave took the other girls).  So she decided she’d take me on our own little “date” to see it.

Love that girl.

She also got really into chess.

I love how one night Dave took her aside and helped her google some killer moves to improve her tactics.
A friend from our Motherhood Retreats that I get to go to every other year (here) came to town, so I went and met up with her and her sis-in-law who’s also in that motherhood group (and who lives here but who I never see, which yes, is really dumb).  I love these good women and it was so great to get caught up!
…and also inspired by them.
Vanessa (the one on the left) is the one who started Chatbooks (with her husband)…and it is a fabulous idea.  If you don’t know about Chatbooks go HERE to check them out…super easy peasy way to get memories printed in the most simple yet awesome way.
She also just wrote a short, awesome book that offers lots of great mothering “hacks.”  Loved reading through all those great ideas.  It looks like this:
…and you can find it HERE.
It is beginning:.  

Lots of teenager poser pictures.

I love it as a record to help remember all these great girls and fun times, but there’s something just so different from when I was their age.  
Loved this letter from my Dad to Lucy that I may have already posted….
We went without sugar for the month of April.  Well, except for Conference Sunday and Easter.  
I talked a little about this back HERE (macros, etc.) and I showed how Lucy was a little sad looking at a birthday cake when all the cousins were over.  But I whipped up some healthy banana muffins for our non-sugar family:
…and I’m pretty sure anyone would chose those little hard things over chocolate chip bundt cake.  Ha!
Bo got her first hair cut:


We cleaned out and cleaned out and cleaned out some more.

…and there’s still junk jammed in nooks and crannies around here.

Lucy is our game girl and keeps us situated with setting up and putting away games when we can fit in a quick one here or there.

I think I already posted this pic, but come on, it might be worth a double post:

Claire worked with Lucy on her piano lesson, which always melts my heart.

We went in and explained all about Lucy’s syndrome to her class because of a question from one of the boys in her class.

Her teacher said things have been pretty great since then (not that they were horrible before), but I think sometimes knowledge is power.  And I loved giving those kids more power to understand Lucy and other kids who may have special needs.

The whole explanation about that is back HERE.

Lunch date with my 7th grader right after my talk with those 4th graders:

Lucy has some of the kindest friends.

They did a little lemonade stand and earned enough to buy a couple books at the book fair.


This is the only pic I got of the night our neighbors held a special little graduation ceremony for their son who completed his home school and headed off to college last month.  I thought it was appropriate that the sky was creating such a beautiful good-bye to him for the time-being.

(He went to India with us along with part of his family way back when and we love him and his family so much!  More about India back HERE.)

Elle and her friends are hard at work learning the art of skateboarding over in Hawaii.  Grace is friends with the little sister of one of her roommates, so they decided they better get busy skating too.

They are in LOVE with those skateboards these days!

…and I think they’re actually getting pretty good at it!

We had a family of ducks hatch in our back yard.

I must admit they were pretty darn cute following their mother all over the place for a couple weeks.  The best was watching them try to get up these stairs, just hopping away with all their might.

They scared Bo Jangles to death.

We have a little bit of a wimpy dog 🙂  Dave took a video of her hiding under the car that is quite hilarious.

My college friend came to town and we promptly took her to the top of this mountain:

Check out those switch-backs.


All about her trip back HERE.

Swim season is officially in high gear since it’s hit 100 degrees a few times, gosh dang it!

My dear mother turned 70.

This was our family’s way to celebrate:

Ha!  Can you even tell that’s a “70”?

Here’s the final version Claire’s friends were trying to capture where Dave was the top of the exclamation mark and Bo was the bottom dot.

Ha!  We made a little video for her and here are Claire’s friends who were the videographers:


Claire and her Dad had a special “date” cleaning out the garage one Saturday and I can’t resist capturing stuff like this:

Love it.

We’ve been trying to be on top of our money system (back HERE) but man, we are getting awful at the end of the school year!

Awful or not, we are trying, and little by little these kids are learning a little more about saving and spending and giving.

My friend and I went to a little workshop about home schooling.

We are thinking very seriously about pulling our junior high girls out for a little bit of afternoon extra reading and writing push next year.

So much wonderful information in that little afternoon workshop.

Lots more on that soon because if I do that I’ll sure be asking for a lot of advice, but check out this lady’s work over HERE.  Man alive she has put together so many great resources that I’m excited to look into.

Our cute neighbor had a birthday:

Working on a new Missionary Monday post about what’s up with Max, and there are some of his pics. from April back HERE.  But for now, let’s just check out this pic I found of Dave when he was on his own mission in Taiwan:

Is it just me or do they look SO much alike?

We celebrated some birthdays with friends with this gorgeous view:

Oh boy, I love the desert and these people.

I don’t know why I think taking pics.of my messy office will inspire me to clean it…hasn’t worked yet…

Dave’s cute aunt threw a party for her husband (his uncle) who was turning 80.

It was seriously the cutest thing…cutest idea.  She had everyone bring a few things for an “auction.”

Then everyone filled out these questionnaires about his life.

The more answers you got right, the more points you got to “buy” things at the auction.  (I took that pic above right when we started…don’t worry, we got lots more right than that!)  But I thought it was such a great way to celebrate him and get to know more of his history together.  Loved it!!

Claire and I got enough points together for her to bid enough to get this ukulele, which she thought was the best thing on earth.

Our friends who hosted Elle on her internship in London (back HERE), went to Hawaii for a vacation and she took them on a wicked hike:

…and they sent pictures that made me so happy!
This is where Bo hides from us sometimes and makes us so darn mad:

Love that Claire draws up stuff like this on a whim:

We had Dave’s parents over for dinner and FHE.

Love them dearly, and don’t get to see them enough even though they live close.

This is Lucy’s “work station.”

She is there a LOT.

Lunch with these ladies one last time before our boys START COMING HOME FROM MISSIONS!!

Yes, four of Max’s best friends left on missions directly after high school, which means they are all coming back this summer.

Makes me so excited, and also in awe that they are coming home so quick!  So happy for these moms.

A funny little moment after YW trying to fit the birthday sign in our tiny car with these great girls:

Claire joined us en route to school one day.

…and Dave and I took her out of school one day for our stake temple day (Lucy isn’t old enough and Grace didn’t have a lunch break so we had a special date with this one).

Went to the last home volleyball game…senior night and alumni night.  Had to go represent Max, and man alive we love that sport!

Makes me miss this boy right up there with the all-state kids:

Grace went to a concert with some friends and had the best night.

Our piano teacher is moving away.

…and we are so so so sad.

These girls have made so much progress this year!

Dave’s good friend from college…and even the MTC came to visit.

Such a great guy!

We got to sneak away with Grace one weekend night to see our nephew’s play.

He did such a great job!

Another one of Max’s friends (this darling girl below) got married.

They are the cutest couple.

And last but not least…Claire’s first year of club soccer came to an end.

She’s spent SO MUCH TIME with these girls and has learned so much this year!

Phew!  Congrats if you made it through!

Similar Posts


  1. There are 180 days of school and 185 days without school. I am curious why you would opt to remove a child from school part day and put out the office and the person in charge of making their schedules? Are you asking for the schedule to grant your child the last class as a free period? I'm surprised you would not just substitute reading and writing for extracurriculars like sports for a season or work on it on the weekends or during summer break? Our community college offers summer camps for reading and writing for a number of grades for a minimal cost that take place only over a week or two. Something else to consider if your area has it.

    1. Maybe they aren't happy with the quality of their daughters' education when it comes to writing and literature and thing they can do better at home? There's a world full of wonderful books to explore with teens that can really broaden their horizons, perspective, and ability to think critically.

    2. I never said she shouldn't work with her kids in reading and writing or leave it to school alone. My comment was about when and how. Parents are the primary educators of their kids. It could be like an early morning seminary or after school seminary done before or after school? It could be done at a community college? It could be done during an activity break from sports/activities? Why disrupt the school day? Pulling a kid out of school requires a bit of accomodatioin and hassle from a number of people. I'm not sure mom wanting to direct writing education for her child and not being able to fit that before and after school and on weekends and during summer breaks is a reason to impose on so many people. It's not just her it's a a small group of moms and could get bigger since she is blogging about it. That is multiple people imposing on the school all entitled to having their kids schedules adjusted so they don't miss a class they have to make up to do this. I also think she has done mother daughter book clubs, insisted the kids do regular journal writing, the kids do written and oral reports during vacation, they all must write talks for church, and they appear to have full bookshelves, plenty of paper and proper places to do homework. She is already awesome at supporting her kids education.

    3. I'm not sure why you think pulling the girls out would be imposing on the school and administrators. Lots of high schools have work release periods (where the kids leave early for work) as well as half day schedules. It's not about moms feeling entitled to having their demands met for their kids schedules, it's about the school working with parents to make sure kids are learning and meeting graduation requirements. If Shawni feels this is the best way to go for her kids and the school can help her make it happen, then why not?

    4. It's a middle school. They aren't expecting to fashion it so students can leave for work. There is a limit to how many students can leave early in a high school or middle school. I'm sure tons of kids would love to leave early and have their free periods at the end of the day so they can have more time for work or activities. That puts pressure on the first periods of the day having enough spaces the kids get their core subjects. It's a realistic request for when the kid has to work to contribute to the family income. Or when a child needs an ongoing therapy appointment. Mom and dad have the kids more than the school has them. I would also think the other kids in the grade might think it unfair. It's not a high school with an open campus. It's always about making others accommodate them so they can fit more in. She is already doing more than fine as a mom. Her first two were accepted to college and enrolled. I just don't know why she doesn't feel everything she is already doing is enough? Let me repeat in all sincerity she is awesome as a mom.

    5. I don't understand, kms; impose what on who? And, what hassle for who? If Shawni does this for the next school year, all she has to do is register the kids as half day schedules; most schools have a registration period. By the time school starts up again, everything will be scheduled and in place. And I highly doubt others would find this unfair; if it complies with the school's rules and regulations, as well as the district's, then who cares? It sounds like you're projecting your own concerns onto this situation.

    6. Perhaps in AZ you can register a child half day school in 7th or 8th grade. In IL it would be an imposition because there is no such thing. Is it really something that is common? And for high school how do you get the 27 credits for graduation unless the work release program gives you credits toward graduation as some sort do internship program connected to the high school? Maybe for senior year you could leave a period or two early to work if you took a full load the three prior years. The unfairness was from the perspective of the other kids seeing them leave the building and wondering why they can't get out early. Not from other parents. I don't understand why activies and parenting can't work around the school schedule? If there isn't enough time after school or on break maybe those things take up too much and priorities need to be made? I can't imagine a middle school/junior high that is set up to allow parents to take their kids out the last couple of periods a day and still be able to fit all the students into the correct number of classes. These grades are a lot less flexible than at a high school. She isn't pulling out the high school kid, she is pulling out the junior high kid.

    7. My oldest (he's a junior in high school) had a half day schedule in middle school/junior high because he wanted to participate in a school sport but still be homeschooled, so maybe it's common in other states, I don't know. We used accredited programs and curriculums to keep him on track for required classes and credits.Also, regarding the "unfairness" scenario: I don't see it being an issue. Sure, some kids might see it and go, "No fair!" but I don't see it turning into a problem. My son had friends who told him he was lucky to leave early, but then went on with life. Not a big deal. I don't think Shawni sees this as merely an activity, but part of the curriculum she wants for her kids. Homeschooling is still school and learning, despite it taking place at home or outside public school.

    8. Very interesting. I have know homeschoolers to be able to participate in school extracurriculars without having to be enrolled for any length of time. I have also known things like the gym building open to them because of that tax dollar element. What I find really odd about this area is with the number of LDS kids why there isn't a private religious school option for them? I'm from Chicago and there are a lot of catholic and Jewish schools because of the number of kids those faiths and parents wanting more control over their education, most the time also open to kids of any faith. I worked in the kids department of a public library and worked closely with homeschooling families since the public library was their library. As a parent I have never seen part time registration on a form for school. This is all new information to me, thank you.

    9. We have some parents around us who homeschool but choose to send there child to school in Jr. High or high school for a couple of classes and complete the rest of their studies at home. So they are only there a few hours a day.
      I have no idea how you go about doing all of that but I know it has been done… Especially common for math. They will choose to send them to school.

    10. KMS,
      I'm curious as to why you always put she instead of Shawni's name.

      In the UK calling someone she most of the time is considered bad manners/rude.

    11. I am not calling anyone she, I am referring to someone as she. I don't know her/them in real life. I am not on a first name basis. I probably sometimes use first names and mostly use pronouns.

      Unknown asked why I considered it a hassle. I will chalk it up to catholic guilt, learned conformity from catholic school and a slightly different school system in a different part of the country.

      Good luck.

  2. I am excited to hear about your experience in your girls' education next year!

    I have a different perspective than most. I have been a teacher in both a charter high school and a regular junior high for the last 12 years. I have both a bachelors and masters in education from BYU but in between those two degrees I was introduced to Oliver Demille and had him as a teacher for a semester at his college.

    I have experienced many benefits in both forms of education as well as weaknesses so I am excited to hear you are going to try a little bit of both! Although I wouldn't publicly state it at my school, I fully intend on using multiple forms of education for my own child. One of the most tragic parts of being in a junior high is watching higher level students being bored to death. So much wasted time. I am excited to read about your adventure of trying to create individualized curriculum for your girls!

  3. In highschool I took the last periods to do extra art education courses. I drew up the syllabus and got permission and it was so memorable. My school was great working with me on it and I received credit for it although it was essentially a class I was teaching myself and was not in school grounds. I think most schools would think this is wonderful! They just want kids to learn and love learning! As a middle school English teacher I say whatever encourages them to love the written word is a go! I'm sure you will have it well planned and am excited and fascinated to see how it plays out. Good luck!

  4. I homeschooled for 15 years. Bottom line is that there have been lawsuits, and now laws that children have the right to attend their public school for whatever classes they want to take. As parents and homeowners we pay taxes for the public schools, and thus we legally have the right to put our children into classes OR take them out and teach at home.
    A high school that is 3 grades of 10, 1 and 12 do not require 27 credits for graduation. When I graduated in Phoenix it was 20 credits. A small school I went to high school in had 7 classes a day for 4 years and had a 24 credit minimum for graduation. Every state is different.
    I hope that clarifies a little bit as to why and how parents have the legal right to have their children attend public school part time.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us, Shawni! I seriously teared up this morning when I was reading your blog. I am so grateful for the inspiration and motivation you provide me as a mother. I get ideas from you all the time. I am only about five years younger than you, but I look to you as the person I hope to be like when I "grow up". Thanks for that.

  6. I would love a link or copy of the questions for the service auction! That is the best idea to honor my mom for her birthday! Please include the questions! Love it!

  7. A group of moms and I were not happy with the math teacher available to our children at our junior high, so we hired our own. We pulled our kids out of school for the last period of the day and had them taught by this other math teacher. It was the best decision we ever made. It was a small group (6 kids) and the teacher was able to teach at the level and pace the kids needed. I really think it set the tone for our daughter's future in math. I think as parents, it is up to us to take control of our children's education. As far as her friends feeling jealous that she got out of school an hour early; it was the exact opposite. They felt sorry for her that she had "one of those moms" and had to go to math class. 😉

  8. Shawni, I was dying when I saw your plans for your girls' language arts learning next year, because we have been planning on doing the same thing with our middle school boys' next year as well! Have you found a good TJed scholar school/commonwealth in your area? We just joined one close to home and I am so excited for the experience my sons will have next year with the choices of literature and mentors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *