First of all, I love all the interest for instructions on how to hold your own “Children for Children” concert. I’m figuring out the best way to send that and I’ll send ASAP! It’s such a great way for kids to be involved in reaching out. Letting them pick the charity that speaks to them the most, organizing it all, etc. I love this tradition so much! More info. on that soon! For now let’s go back to August:

The first of August was the first day of school.

Lucy to junior high, Claire to her sophomore year.

And then it was the second day of school. Ha! But I want to capture that Abby and Max were here (just recently returned from China), and Abby was Claire’s personal stylist for her first couple days.

I don’t know why we took this, but I”m glad we did:)

Lucy is so happy when she gets her friends over for Legos:

Dave and I met up with Max and Abby for Zoe & Avery’s wedding:

Wrote about that back HERE, but I didn’t write about Dave and my little day-date there after the wedding:

(Love being in Newport with that guy.)

And speaking of weddings, Elle and Lar happened to run into cousins Allie and Parker in downtown Salt Lake one evening. They were there for a wedding and hadn’t talked, just happened to be at the same place at the same time. How random is that?? And to make it even more random, McKenna happened to be around that same area on a date so they had a mini reunion. They were so excited to see each other, and I loved this picture they sent:

(Allie, Elle McKenna and Jaylee are all close as can be. Jaylee is serving a mission right now but so fun to serendipitously get three of the four together in the same spot.)

Meanwhile Max and Abby moved back to Utah into a new little apartment. Abby’s family was up there to help them and they were so grateful! Look at all these great helpers!

And another “meanwhile,” Grace was off in China doing “the impossible.

That girl learned and grew so much over there, and we missed her like nobody’s business.

Probably good practice for us not having her around (so the withdrawals weren’t quite as horrible when she left for college) and good practice for her to stand on her own, but it was rough to have her so far away!

These two had to learn to get along without that big sis:

Said our goodbyes to some of our best friend’s sons who was leaving for a mission:

Loved this quote and how it helped remind me of how I want to “spiritually create” my days with morning prayers:

Always working on that.

Our bike route to school, every day back and forth:

(More about the crazy crooked sidewalk we ride on back HERE.)

I went to “curriculum night” at the high school where we get to go to all of our kids classes and learn more about what they’re learning. I love these nights being in my kids’ world for a little bit:

“Adult Lake Day” while the kids were at school:


Baby shower for Kiley…our friends are now grandparents!

Curriculum night at the junior high:

You were encouraged to come with your student to that one.
Come to think of it, you were encouraged to come with your student to the high school as well…Claire wasn’t quite as hip to the jive to join me at that one though!

Dave headed to a conference highlighting all kinds of science research that may be able to help Lucy and BBS kids some day:

We are always so longing for science and the medical world to hurry up.

Met up with my “golden” mothers (all from our old neighborhood in the thick of raising babies together).

Dave was in Utah and took all the cousins (and his sister) out to dinner:

How lucky are these kids to have so many cousins surrounding them?…best thing ever!

I took these pictures trying to see what was ok to wear to meet my new Muslim friend at her Eid holiday (Eid al-Adha):

It wasn’t easy to find a long dress, maybe I need to invest in more of those! I LOVED that opportunity to learn so much about the Muslim culture. I wrote all about that back HERE.

Elle turned 21:

(All about her birthday “ode” back HERE, and how her office gave her a “cake float”…which is her bday tradition… back HERE.)

Lucy and I had a date to Wisconsin:

(good times there with my sweetie)

Went and heard Collin Kartchner speak again:

Floated down the river with some friends on this gorgeous day:

Mother/Daughter activity at the church:

Lake again:

Gotta keep cool somehow!

My favorite mountain of all time:

Maybe that’s weird to have a favorite mountain but I do.

This is where I wait after school on the tandem each day, and I love when Lucy emerges through those doors with sweet friends like these ones:

Made the volleyball team:

Dinners for neighbors and us:

Max & Abby went on a little date to Bear Lake:

…with these cousins:

(Love Abby’s pictures.)

Grace was living up her last days in China:

We had “Father’s Blessings” and got used to the fact that we only had two children hanging around:

We finished the Book of Mormon:

(In six weeks…LOTS of reading!)

Another “Adult Lake Day”:

(A little piece of Heaven right there.)

Our friend moved away and her mother-in-law did the nicest going-away dinner for her. Miss that girl!

Claire spent countless hours with the volleyball team, JV and Varsity. This was her on picture day:

Lego girl:


Sunset picnic love with my girl:

Aw, I loved that night, a little piece of Heaven with my girl right there.

(More pics and thoughts on that and “capacities” back HERE.)

Love when Claire comes to hang with us:

We had a giant “Activity Days” gathering with our stake (group of congregations). These were the girls from our congregation that we work with twice a month:

Elle came to hang with us for a couple days after her summer internship and before she headed back to Hawaii…and Claire’s face shows how she feels to be almost catching her in height:

Loved having her…more about our “reunion and release” back HERE.

See that dog up there? And down below? She loves to come with Lu and I on the tandem in the mornings. She cracks us up with her hatred for that little halter collar thing, but runs along beside us pretty joyfully.

Lots of volleyball time:

And we got to have some good spectators for one of the games:

Turkey Trot meetings started. Yep, clear back in August.

Lake outing with Elle Belle since she now classifies as an “adult”:)

Lucy’s favorite with Elle Belle and friends:

Grace finished up her time over in China:


She flew through some crazy storm and lots of mini fiascoes to get home:

But she got here safe and sound (more on that back HERE).

Got home late at night, unpacked, repacked, had like two minutes with these four all reunited before the little girls had to head to school:

And then we were off again:

To that little island that welcomed these girls for college:

And a cute boy who met up with us that first night as we tried to gather things for dorms, etc.

Heading off to her first orientation:

There have to be SOME perks to letting your girls go to college across the ocean from you. So we took advantage of them. Love that beautiful island that they call home.

I wrote all about that Hawaii drop-off back HERE.

Meanwhile back at home:

If you want to know more about Lucy’s “suntan” click HERE.

And that’s a wrap for August!

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    1. Dave is 6’4″, I’m 6′, Max is 6’7″, Abby is 5’5″, Elle is 6’1″, Grace is 5’9″, Claire is 5’11”, Lucy is 5’4″. There you go!

  1. Just a question – and I’m not being judgemental, just extremely curious… you mention cousin Jaylee (assumed to be Elle’s age since they are so “close”… ) being gone on a mission. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I get the impression that a mission is very important to your family. You and your sisters all served missions, the girl cousins are going…

    My question – does Elle want to go on a mission? Is it kind of unspokenly expected that she will…? If she doesn’t – how do you feel about that? How does your Dad feel about it? Are you/your family afraid that it will discourage the younger girl cousins from going on one? Following Elle’s lead as the older cousin?

    Just wondering. Thanks.

    1. Good question. Elle debated going on a mission for a long time. She had her mission papers (what you turn in when you want to go), all done at one point, doctor appointments done, interviews done, all that jazz. But she just never felt quite right about it. There’s a chance she will still go (you can go any time), but I don’t think that’s in the cards for her. I have some really interesting stories about that whole process that has been a pretty beautiful one in my opinion. My mission was the best experience and I am forever grateful for it, and when you have something like that in your life you naturally want it for your kids too. But what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another, especially when it comes to missions. It’s such a personal decision and I’m so glad that Elle took that decision so seriously. She took it up to God in such a purposeful way and has felt her own guidance over and over again which is really her own story to tell and which was my own “answer” for her too. She has some cousins who have gone, some who haven’t. I think we have such independent personalities in both of our extended families I hope that all the girls will go through the same process Elle has and figure out if a mission is the right thing for them personally. I hope THAT is the example that is set as to whether they go or not, not some unspoken pressure, because it’s a pretty strengthening, beautiful to figure things out, intentionally, on your own. I’ve loved watching Grace seek direction and guidance on her own mission decision over the last year too and she is leaning toward going. We’ll see what happens with her own unique journey of figuring that out.

      1. What a beautiful response. Truly, there aren’t really words. I’m a mom of still-littles, so I can only hope to be as encouraging and supportive as they carve their own way someday!

        1. What a great response to the Mission question and it makes so much sense! Do young men go through the same process or is it more assumed that they need to go in order to be an LDS member in good standing? I’ve heard (but this could just be a rumor) that LDS young men are considered to be less desirable to marry (and have a harder time getting a match) if they didn’t go on a mission but it’s not the same for young women?

          1. Whoops, I forgot to come back here and answer this last week. This is another good question. I think anyone thinking about going out to serve and teach about Jesus Christ for 18 months or two years, young men or young women should put some pretty hearty thought and prayer into that decision. It is a recommendation for all young men to go, but they are still in good standing if they chose not to. So many different journeys. I think the mission piece is for sure desirable for many young women in the church but so many other things to consider in a marriage that are much more important than that!

  2. I loved your mission response! I served and would love my kids to but I know their path might not be mine lol
    Are all your extended family ( siblings , nieces/nephews active in church. If not, does it get awkward at all for reunions if deep gospel topics are discussed often etc ?

    1. Not everyone goes to church every week, but really, I think a better question is whether all those people we get to be related to are living lives in which they forgive and love and strive to be better and closer to God. And to that the answer is yes. And because of that it doesn’t get awkward at reunions or in gospel discussions. Because everyone is striving to learn and grow in their own ways and is willing to give everyone else the benefit of the doubt. Does that make sense? Some are more open and willing to share inner feelings than others, of course, but I think everyone feels that they are “safe” expressing viewpoints and thoughts because there is a lot of love and respect. This is something I am deeply grateful for in Dave’s family and in mine, and something I try not to ever take for granted. I am so grateful.

  3. I am curious how the surfing behind the boat works. It looks as if you don’t hold a rope so the boat is not pulling you? Are the waves behind the boat such that they move the surf board like ocean waves do? However it works, it looks really fun. Is it hard to do compared to water skiing?

    1. It’s just different to get used to, but not nearly as strenuous as water skiing. You’re right, the wave the boat creates is trying to mimic an ocean wave. It is pretty fun!

  4. Love your blog! I’m just a fellow six-footer here who would love to know where you found your one-piece swimsuit! 🙂

  5. That long dress was stunning on you. I’d ask where you got it, but it would be dragging on the ground if I wore it.

    1. Aw thank you! Elle and I found that on clearance a while ago because she thought Grace would want to wear it to a dance but she never did.

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