Grace got home from China the end of July, so the beginning of August was filled with Chinese gift-giving:

…picture reminiscing:

…and driver’s license testing.  More about that back HERE.

Our life has changed for the better in SO many ways with that girl driving.  I honestly say a little prayer of thanks about every day for that little piece of plastic and the girl who holds it…helps me out so much.

I love when kids are in the “I’ll drive anywhere for you” stage of early driving.  Hoping it lasts for a long, long time.

We had our traditional night-before-school haircuts which we all needed so badly…

(We love Aubrie!!)

It was monsoon season so we saw a few of these:

New teachers were met and back to school nights were in session…all about that back HERE.

Then school started.

All about the first day over HERE, but here’s a recap of our traditional “cookie chat.”  It looks like everyone was just there, hanging with their mother after school, but in reality it was like herding flies to get everyone home at the same time.  It seemed like everyone had a million different directions to go that first day!

And I wrote about the first week and all the random stuff that happened over HERE.

We introduced a new school-year theme for our family (just started that new tradition last year), …wrote all about that over HERE.

The moms had to get together to try to figure out life with a new school year…

Love these ladies so much.  We’ve been through a lot of child-rearing things together over the years which makes me love them even more.

Grace got asked on her first dates.

Pretty exciting times over here…more about that over HERE.

Elle took these girls (including Bo) on a date while Grace was busy with something else…love this picture:

Lucy, as usual, was on a reading frenzy in August.  She got addicted to this mermaid series called Emily Windsnap and read five out of the six lickety-split:

(and just finished the last one too).

Speaking of Lu, we finally went through some of her art from art masterpiece last year.  These three were my favorites:

(Picasso’s blue period above)

(Van Gogh-esque self-portrait above…hoping I can talk her into no-bald-spots some day…that girl is pretty set in her ways on lots of things…)

I love finding her writing samples around too…

…we really need to get going on the book she wants to write.

We love Bo.

She doesn’t look to sure about things in that last picture, but I think in general she’s pretty happy to be part of the family.

Monsoon season dancing-in-the rain:

We adore those storms.

Grace and her friends from China did a little FHE dealio evening to let all us families in on more of their adventures:

I told all about that and other school prep stuff back HERE.

We had a wedding.  Our nephew married such a great girl and we are so dang happy for them!

We were so sad we couldn’t be there for all the festivities…luckily they had a beautiful open house here in the desert (coming)…

One of our best friends’ sons got married and had his open house too…love when these kids find such amazing partners.  He’s been such a great example to Elle and her friend Macey (below) through the years.

Elle tried to put her graphic design skills to work to help me with a new blog logo while she was home.  We didn’t get very far…
Some day this blog is going to have a new whiz-bang new look.  If anyone has any grand ideas about that, send them my way.
I loved this goal brainstorming from Claire that she did one Sunday at church.  (It says 2014 but it was really just now.)  I wrote all about this in my “sibling love” post back HERE but I forgot to put this picture in…

I love when kids can see where they need to improve and work hard on it.  And I love how she wrote how Lucy can help by “not being annoying.”  Yep, let’s keep this thing real around here!

A little cookie baking with some of the friends that Claire has coming in and out of the house:

The 2017 Turkey Trot meetings officially began with this Turkey Trot Dream Team (that’s my name for them):

Those men put in so much work and effort to pull that thing off every year.  So grateful for them!

A little reading together that Lucy was so dang excited about, can you tell?

ha ha ha.

Really, this was a night I want to remember though.  I wrote a lot more about it in my parent/child relationships post back HERE.

Had the opportunity to go to the temple at the same time with a couple of Elle’s friends.

It was a beautiful day.

New favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for August…

Although we have really been being so good at healthy eating around here.

Dave and I have been working on our macros and feel so good when we do.

Lots of Elle’s friends at a wedding reception:

My two favorite lake pictures from August right here:

Oh man I love those expressions.

They did get up…this trick is kind of a tradition.

Our nephew’s open house…with all these cousins so happy to be together:

And this lovely couple…

Who Lucy adores…we were kinda trying to rein-act this picture we took over Memorial Day weekend

An early-morning soccer game under some soggy clouds:

Some of Elle’s art work from her beloved drawing class:

Lucy does this a lot in her spare time:

Kind of an interesting past-time, but it makes me happy.

Lucy peeled one potato while Elle peeled ten for one Sunday dinner.  Love that she sure tries with enthusiasm.

Dinner with Nana and Papa:

They are leaving to head back to Ghana before too long so we need to soak them up while we can!

Elle agreed to take over leading scripture study for a few of the days while she was home.

And near the end of her time home I figured we sure better take advantage of having her around and we took a day off from all the stuff we were working on and went on our own little date:

Loved this quote:

Lucy’s Braille teacher and I did a little discussion with Lucy’s class about vision loss.

All about that back HERE.

Claire and I started full-force into her home-school English.  Look how hard she’s working with that slime 🙂

We are both really loving this arrangement.  We both have a lot to learn, but so far we’ve been reading, writing and memorizing poems.

Oh and running errands one day.  Ha!

I took her out of school early that day and it just so happened to be a day when all her friends took a group picture that everyone was posting on every social media account.  So Claire decided to take matters into her own hands and put her head in there too.

She also put me in there.  Can you find us?  hahaha

We experimented with some new hairstyles.

Since Elle has been doing some work with barefoot blonde instagram we have been following some of the hair tutorials and thought this one was kind of cool:

A driver’s license licenses Grace to take her sisters on some pretty fun dates.

And oh boy they sure feel lucky about that.

Job charts are starting to fill in as we get a little more self-disciplined around here (our school-year motto):

Elle’s Hawaii girls came for a visit:

We took them to the lake one day:

…which happened to be a completely nutty day because we had some Canada passport problems that day getting ready to go out of town and my heart was sure racing on that boat!  But it was great to be with those girls and get to know them better.

Elle came with Dave and I to a bunch of our workout classes in August:

We loved having her along.

Grace was busy as could be with student council.  This was the banner they made for the student section for the first football game:

It was HUGE!

First football game:

Lucy and her friends sure come up with fun stuff to do…

Lu and I got to go on a little date:

One of Lucy’s teachers from church brought her over the sweetest journal and marker set.  She said she always sees her taking notes and listening so well in church so she thought she could use a new notebook.

How incredibly sweet is that?

Here is Lucy’s note back to her:

This cute girl left for Max’s same mission the exact same day he did:

Which is crazy because she is HOME!

Girls serve missions for 18 months as opposed to the 24 months guys serve.  Such a huge difference in so many ways.  It was so great to be able to go to this girl’s homecoming at church.  She sounded like she was sure a great missionary.

We gathered with cousins to wrap up the end of summer hoopla.

It was so fun to see this kid, second from the right below, who just got home from his mission:

He served in NYC and had quite an amazing missionary experience there.  So great to hear more about it.

Listened and listened and listened to this book:

It is a LONG sucker!  But so interesting.  Much more about that back HERE.

Elle and I hung out in the passport office during the eclipse but we loved seeing all the hoopla thrown out in social media.  Love that Claire got to see it with one of her classes at school:

Best little tiny airplane that took Dave, Elle and I to Canada:

We had a pretty grand couple days up there…which I wrote all about over HERE.

We did a lot of homecoming-dress-option-try-ons.

I still cannot believe this little girl of mine is going to Homecoming.  She is pretty on top of things and has everything arranged.  I love it.

Took the girls to visit such a cool exhibit in a local contemporary art museum.

All about that over HERE.

Elle’s friend McKenna and her friends nailed it at their concert (over HERE).

Grace went on her “day date” for Homecoming, and had a grand time:

Elle snuggled up her sisters before she had to take off:

I should actually say “got to” take off though, because boy that girl was excited to get back to that island!

These girls (and all the big girls too), helped to prepare hearts for those who lost loved ones this last month:

We had some pretty sad stuff happen in August which I talked about back HERE.

I started following “ldsdailyscpipture” on Instagram and it’s interesting how often something pops up that speaks right to something I’m worried about.  This one was perfect for that week of deaths:

My brother went up to watch the eclipse in a prime spot near Jackson Hole.

One night we asked him to come give us a little report on what he did and show us some pictures.

It was pretty fascinating stuff I tell you!

Made me wish so bad we could have been there with him!  But this was second best.  So cool to hear everything from his perspective.

More heart-attacks.
I loved what Lucy wrote on her hearts:
In other student council news, they hosted this huge regional leadership conference at their school and it was quite the undertaking.  Here’s a shot of the dance they did:

On top of that, it’s homecoming this next week.  This is how they decorated the front hall:

I thought it was pretty awesome.

Grace’s cousin was at the leadership conference.

Sometimes I wish these kids went to the same school, but at least they get to meet up at stuff like this.

I thought this was pretty funny:

(After she heard the new Taylor Swift song.)

So funny how those girls of mine were pretty questionable about that song and now it seems to be on repeat quite a bit…

We had a youth activity for church at this surfing place.  And these girls all showed up accidentally like this:

Kinda funny.

The kids had so much fun.

Grace and her girls…including Claire in the back 🙂

Phew!  August was a big one.

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  1. These are my favourite!.. what a fun and busy month. Lol
    The picture where we can see your pool and patio was so nice I thought I would never be in the house I would always be out there.. then u saw the picture wall gallery and thought that is si pretty..I would never want to leave the house lol. . Time for a tour or what's on my walls!

  2. I have followed your blog for a few years and often gain mothering inspiration from your words. However, lately I feel the need to unfollow as I feel I cannot identify with your/your life anymore. I work part time from home, I have one child going off to college and another in middle school and a wonderful firefighter husband. Your home, lifestyle, travels, are only on my bucket list. We live paycheck to paycheck but have always maintained a sense of "home" wherever we have lived. We budget, prioritize, tell our children "no" a lot (we can't visit family for Thanksgiving since plane tickets are astronomical around the holdiays, etc.) That being said, I have turned toward blogs that are more relatable. It's funny, because I always tell my children we have so much compared to most Americans, and then I jump on your blog for a daily read and need to just click out of it so I can remind myself that I do have so much and to not compare myself to others. I do hope that your beautiful children realize that not everyone can have a home decorated by West Elm, unlimited funds for family, individual/holiday trips, etc. The real world is not like that. I look to my husband as a wonderful provider, a good man, and try to not to think what "could have been" if I met someone that was a better provider, if I worked full-time etc. I realize these are my own personal struggles. I relate to your mothering, however the other "stuff" seems to get in the way for me. Good luck to your beautiful family.

    1. Aww that makes me sad. I have no where near the lifestyle of shawni. We don't get to travel lots or have a home like shawni. For me that doesn't matter. I heard a quote once that ' comparison is the thief of joy'. Just because shawni may be able to live a different type of lifestyle doesn't mean you can't still read and get inspiration. As for her kids, I truly think they do know that they lives privileged life. They do missions, visit 3rd world countries, serve in their community etc. I hope you don't feel the need to compare, don't let the world do that to you. Xx have a lovely day

    2. Thanks dresselfamily, you are so kind. Eric, (or most likely Eric's wife:), I apologize if this spot on the Internet is not bringing you up and giving you light…which is really what my goal is here, (as well as keeping a record of our family). I think you are wise to turn to things that inspire you personally and to tune out of things that don't. It sounds like you have a wonderful family that works together and loves each other and that is what is most precious and important in life. Much more so than any trip or item that can be purchased. Keep loving and cherishing them any way you can, and that will bring you the most happiness and joy in life.
      Much love,

    3. While a mission is selfless it's also privileged. They aren't working for years while they get to partake in a right of passage same age Mormons in most countries of the world will never get to experience. The average down to earth person doesn't visit third world countries. I'm sure the family donates time and money. But so do average people. Her complaint wasn't about the famliy not doing service or being generous. It's about being relatable. Her life being different is probably why so many people read her blog.

      I think the comparison trap is exacerbated in the LDS faith from an outsiders opinion. I think it's easier not to compare for me cause I'm not LDS. You have members always giving talks. You have big community events for mission send off and homecomings. You have members visiting other members homes to instruct one another. You are all models of each other and directed to instruct one another and take advice from each other. It can't only be limited to 'isn't Jesus wonderful?' It would impossible for the home organization, activity level, evidence of blessings not to be obvious as well.

    4. Kms actually many many missionaries don't come from privileged backgrounds. The church has a missionary fund which can support any missionaries who want to go but don't have the funds to do so. Many members who are able contribute generously to that fund.

    5. Some missionaries benefit from the fund. I am mainly talking about the many youths outside the US who don't serve. Half of members are outside the US. Are you saying the US only provides for half the missionaries sent out? Taking a two year break from education and economic activity is privilege. Some countries have military obligations for their citizens as well. American kids aren't giving allowance to parents or supporting their parents and siblings or spending 2 or more in the military during the college years. It's hard to comprehend. Kids from more developed countries with a better volunteer enlistment system can take that break because life gives them less obligations.

  3. I am in LOVE with your home and all the decor! Wish I could just ask you where everything is from 🙂 Thanks for sharing so much online. It can't be easy all the time, but we all take away what we want and I appreciate your positive outlook and all the nuggets of wisdom you share about motherhood. It's a HARD job and boy do I need all the help I can get. 🙂 xoxo

    1. Thanks Kris! I searched the modern honey website top to bottom and couldn't find the recipe. (I kept skipping over the doubletree one assuming this favorite cookie had to be a Lavain bakery copy-cat.) 🙂

  4. Yes but if her kids are in college and middle school and they are living "paycheck to paycheck" maybe it's time for her to get a PAYING full time job and take some of the stress off her poor husband.

  5. I'm so curious – what makes you think they're living paycheck to paycheck? Also – since none of us are the Pothiers, it's VERY presumptuous to make comments about them living "paycheck to paycheck" and taking stress off her "poor husband".

    Though pictures offer only a snapshot on someone's life, from what I can tell, their family seems content. They have their dynamic which works for them! And like any other family, they probably re-evaluate their family needs if need be.

    1. Tabby is talking about Eric or Eric's wife in the comments above I think? And she is part time cause it's hard for a firefighter to parent on their shift schedule.

  6. Looks like a FUN month! I know you loved having your college girl home (I have a son in college and it's awesome when he's home). LOVE the heart attacks you do and am thinking of ways to incorporate those in my volunteer work at church. Would love to read a post on how you maintain a healthy lifestyle and more on counting macros (there's a lot of info out there and a lot of it is confusing!). 🙂

  7. I love reading your blog. I live in England and we are a family on a budget. I love hearing about your adventures and they inspire me to hope to take our children to visit a range of places one day. Most likely never the places you have been but closer to home and on limited funds. My girls are 5, 3, 3. Taking 1, 2, 3, of your children on a trip is a wonderful idea….. Something I can't even think about right now with my girls so little but I can/could take them on a local outing and maybe London in a couple of years. People can adapt your experiences to fit their own budgets and family xx
    Angie from England

  8. Eric or Eric's wife, While Shawni does tend to highlight lots of fun/pricey/surface kinds of things here I think it's also important to remember that we all struggle although we struggle with different things. While Shawni does not have financial concerns thanks to Dave's career they have many other struggles. (Managing and accepting Lucy's physical and emotional differences, temper control, balancing demands of a large extended family, marital arguments, etc etc) Money does not solve everything, or even most things, although I know it can feel like that when you need more money. I grew up in a big/fancy/well decorated house. It did not make for a happier childhood. In fact, I remember wishing my emotions were as important to my parents as how things looked

  9. Shawni deleted my comment where I explained what I was talking about above. So I guess all points of view are not welcome here.

  10. You let Kris/KMS comment all her rambling drivel but then delete mine. I guess I struck a nerve that you just can't handle, Shawni.

    1. I'm all for all kinds of opinions on here, but I like to keep them positive. Please keep comments positive so that this spot on the internet can stay an encouraging place for other readers. Thank you!

  11. Understood. But what if I (or someone) has a negative opinion of something you have posted? Just keep it to ourselves? OK.

    1. When it seems like most of your opinions are negative here on Shawni's blog, and she has repeatedly asked to keep things positive, then yes, keep your opinion to yourself. Just because you have an opinion (which is great) doesn't mean you have to share it. It seems to me that in asking you to be pleasant and civil has struck a nerve that YOU can't handle, Tabby.

  12. Unknown (why won't you say who you are?), yes the nerve it struck was that this is a comment section. You can't dictate what type of comments you get. Yes, you can delete them rather than have a discussion – but why bother even having them in that case?

    I am new here, so I read back a little and looked at Shawni's reaction (and weirdly, other commenters' reactions) at other comments that were a little strong, and either disagreed with the post, or called Shawni out on something – same thing. She either tells people to comment the way SHE wants or she deletes them. That is a shame.

    This comment will probably also be deleted, and that's fine. It will be my last one. I like to be able to say what I think and have a discussion – and this blog only allows discussion if it agrees with the post.

  13. Of course Shawni can dictate what comments she wants; it's her blog. Just as you have the freedom to say/comment what yo want in a public forum, Shawni has the same right & freedom to delete comments that she feels aren't conducive or contributes to her posts.

    Also, normally I would agree about comments contributing to a discussion, but in all honesty, your comments don't seem to be written in that sprit. I've seen our past comments and all they seem to do is attack Shawni or mock her. How is that having s discussion?

    P.S. – The validity of my comments are not proportionate to my identity as you hinted in your previous comment, so I'll just continue to comment as "Unknown", thanks.

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