I just got these “little things” written up and noticed as I scheduled it that it will post on September 11th.  
It hardly seems right to post about anything alive and happy on such a dark and ominous day.
Yet it seems wrong not to celebrate that we HAVE these days, no matter how many of them we may have.
I don’t want to take the gift of an ordinary day for granted.  Ever.  
And September 11th is a reminder to me to live a little fuller, be a little kinder, and love a little deeper.
Nothing I could say would be enough to swallow the ocean of what could be said, so I will take a moment of silence to honor those who left that day.  To pray for those that were left behind.  And to cherish the fact that I believe there is life after this one.  A life where we can be reunited with loved ones.
And with that, I celebrate that we got to live and love and cry and comfort and learn and BE in August.  Because no one ever knows how long life will last.
August started off with a bang because we were in California living it up with cousins.  
…and we loved every second of it (more back HERE).
Max worked on perfecting his skateboarding skills…

…and his volleyball skills too.

He got invited to go to BYU volleyball camp with his friend from Nationals who will play for BYU this year and also some other perspective players.

My parents went to check out how well they were doing and loved watching him get to play against the “big guys.”

So grateful for a few pictures from them.

He met us in California pretty dang happy from all that volleyball.

We rolled into town from that trip with minutes to spare to go to “meet the teacher” night at the school.

Lucy was pretty happy to meet her new teacher who pretty much rocks.  (Claire had her too so we know her well.)  Man this girl lucks out in the teacher category!

The day before school started Elle had an appointment to get her senior pictures taken (boo hoo on that, I’m in denial that I have another child graduating so soon.  Sure it’s great to have kids 14 months apart and all that jazz, but it kicks you in the booty when they both grow up right at the same time gosh darn it!).

She conveniently scheduled to be there the same time as her friend.

Then it was the first day of school.

…and the second day…

(Sometimes pictures on the first day just aren’t enough.:)

It’s monsoon season here in the desert.  We have had some of the coolest storms of all time.  We missed all the flooding last year since we were in China, so we’re kinda excited to be here.  When you don’t get rain a lot, you kind of bask in it, especially when it does funky stuff: sideways rain pelting inside our porch, huge lightning “fireworks,” rain chasing away gigantic dust storms, pouring rain while the sun is shining….crazy stuff like that.

…and we love it.

Dave’s sister’s family just moved and we got to go partake in the wonder of their new pool:

We live on a narrow little cul-de-sac, so when lots of kids come over and park their cars all over the place it’s pretty crazy to get in and out of here.  One night when the house was filled with teenagers Claire snuck this picture:

Definitely doesn’t do justice but helps me remember.

Sometimes we need to hang in our room for a little peace.

Did I mention Lucy and her friend tried out for the talent show at school last year?  They made up this cute little dance to the song “Happy” and my friend made them “happy” shirts.

Well, they didn’t make it (we were sure proud of them for trying), but the “happy” shirt has become Lucy’s very favorite for PJ’s.  She calls herself the “happy cheetah” and really is genuinely SO happy when she wears that thing.

A little Sunday nap…

A little Sunday cooking…Grace has taught Claire to make our Sunday flatbread (recipe HERE), and now Claire has taught Lu.  Love these two little chefs.

We got family pictures taken.  I’ve never put a huge amount of pain and agony into what to have the family wear for pictures because we really have never done a big-deal professional family picture before.  But I decided we needed to capture our family right here right now before Max left the nest.

Then I realized what a pain it is to figure out how to coordinate seven people’s outfits.

I made each of the girls pose in possible outfits.

They thought it was super fun.


This photographer (atjphoto.com) is pretty amazing.  

She made what could have been pretty painful pretty fun.

I mean, I don’t think there are many family photoshoots where you walk drive away to the tune of your children talking about specific aspects that they loved about it.  You rock Allison!
It doesn’t hurt that we bribed them with an extremely healthy dinner when we were through…
Our teenagers always talk about that place and Dave and I had never been so we had to go check out what all the hoopla was about.
Speaking of pictures, we took some to turn in with Max’s mission papers…

For sixth grade this year they have started having kids move from one classroom to the next for different subjects.  Claire had stars in her eyes about the whole idea until she saw the books she had to carry around (no desks since they move so much).  But she’s pretty much a champ and never complains about that huge load.

When I was writing about Joy School I found this comment:

…made me smile.

We celebrated Elle’s birthday

We finally, after some extreme deliberation on which “grasscloth” wallpaper to pick, got our laundry room wallpapered.

I am in love with how it turned out.

I got to go to an open house at the high school to walk the girls classes.  I scrambled around trying to hit all the classes they were worried about.

I get a weird sense of joy to walk those halls and imagine my girls there.

I had to go talk to the counselor about a problem with Elle’s schedule.  When I got there this group was standing by the office:

They proceeded to play the most beautiful music I’ve heard in a long time, just standing there in their sandals and tennis shoes on a Wednesday morning.  The counselor said they do that from time to time.  What a great way to start out the morning!

My friend’s sister came to town and we got to benefit from a pretty rough workout she put us through! 🙂  It was AWESOME.

If you ever want some great workout inspiration check out muncher_cruncher on Instagram.  I love that Megan.  Muncher_cruncher got me through working out in China.

Grace went ahead and made the freshman cheer team (HERE).

Her tumbling coach sent her this pic when she texted to tell him she made it:

I thought it was pretty cute.

This is my cup:

It is always filled with delicious ice water {for me} on the counter.  But every time I turn around someone has slurped it up.  I need one of those for everyone!

We finally cleared out everyone’s school stuff from last year to file it all away in our handy-dandy filing system.

I came across this note from Lucy to Santa I had to take a picture of:

Oh man she cracks me up.

She has so much art and so many notes I can’t bear to part with that her hanging file folder looks like this and that’s only through 2nd grade:

Yeah, that thing is supposed to last until she graduates from high school.

See Max’s all tidy and filled up from ALL his years in school down there on the bottom shelf?

This is Lucy’s:

Oh boy.
There was a series of princesses that we decided we needed to put up on our art wall:
I know I’m the mom and all that, but seriously, I think those are pretty darn cute.
Max and I got to go on lots of “dates” to get his mission papers ready.
Here’s the pediatrician he’s grown up with since we moved here when he was itty bitty:

Love that Dr. Guthrie!
Then Dave’s cousin Dave took care of his dental work and his other cousin Paul (cousin’s husband actually) took out those wisdom teeth.
If anyone needs a good oral surgeon Paul is the one to head to!  
We also went on a little date to get him some warmer clothes for up there in the cold 🙂  Couldn’t pass up a burger before we headed home.

We celebrated Elle and her cousin’s birthday with a bunch of other cousins.

She looks super excited about that little celebration (she really was though).

This girl is having a pretty fun senior year so far I must say.

This cousin in the middle has requested these other cousins meet at this restaurant for brunch for her last few birthdays.

So we couldn’t very well let her go up to college without going there together one last time.

Elle is so lucky to have these cousins so close in age to her…and one more who they soak up any chance they get in Utah.

Max worked a lot in August.

I know I’ve posted that pic. before, but hey, this is a record of August.

We all had dentist appointments.  Claire and Dave were the only ones who didn’t have cavities.

So naturally we had to go on a lunch date to celebrate that little fact:)

She did some interesting experimental hair-dos while we read too…

Elle and her friends have already found 836 fun things to do this year.  One of them was to go on a hike and eat cereal at the top one night.

They crack me up.

Lucy’s “happy cheetah” reading hair…

Yes, this happened.  Again.

This time it was Max’s fault.

Football season is in full swing.

More on that soon because I’m telling you, it is fun.

Claire had her last Activity Day with the stake, and Lucy had her first.

Grace used to always be my best kitchen helper, right by my side all the time, but now that she’s so dang busy all the time Claire has stepped in.  She’s fascinated by recipes and cooking.  I love it.

Talking to Nana and Papa one Sunday night.

Our neighbors had us over for FHE to listen to these two awesome returned missionaries tell about their missions.  

(That was also the night we all went around and said what we love about Max…it was such a sweet night.)

Then we took off for the real-deal: COLLEGE.

And it was all fun and games until we got home and my heart broke in two.

But we sure had fun while we were up there.

Our first face-time with him after we got home:

…maybe that was the only one.  Ha!  That kid is having so much fun up there it’s hard to get him for an undistracted moment.  
And that’s a wrap.  August, you were good to us.

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  1. I love all of this sooooo much! ❤️ (And sorry to ask one of those typical pesky reader questions, but here goes anyway: Elle's gray dress in the pics, knee-length with sleeves–where might I find one like it?!)

  2. What a lovely August. It's funny, though, knowing you are sending a kid to college at the end makes the earlier pictures seem a bit bittersweet. Maybe it's just me!

    I have a blog topic request for you, Shawni. I've loved your posts about how you handle money with your kids. I wish I'd read about it years earlier – I was a deliberate parent around so many things but money was a big fail.

    I would love to hear what the plan is for handling money in college – what you expect your kids to do about saving and spending and who buys books and pays for tuition and extras. That would be super useful to me and I'll be I'm not alone.


  3. I would love some workout ideas – Munchercruncher´s Instagram account is private – is perhaps spelled differently/accompanied by some numbers, etc.?

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