You might wonder who was holding down the fort back at home while Dave and I were out galavanting around the Dominican Republic with my family.

We were wondering how that would work for a while too.

I was so excited to go celebrate with my parents, but I was also a little bit twisted up inside because the end of the school year is always nuts around here, especially when you have a senior graduating.  And especially when you’re like me, one who dies a little bit inside to let those dang kids graduate and head off into the big wide world.  I want to eat them up to make them stay, yet of course I want them to follow all their biggest hopes and dreams, grow in ways I can never teach them, and of course I’ve always worked to work myself out of a job. So my heart tears in two a little leading up to graduation. Grace is in the same boat…so many muddled up emotions going on around here!

So to leave for a week in the middle of all the end-of-school hoopla felt like a big deal for my mama heart.  Then to top it off, Grace and I were standing in front of our big 2019 wall calendar and put it together that the weekend we’d be gone was also PROM.  Oh man, that made for some panic.  And then we found out we’d also be missing the powderpuff football game.  I know, I know my brother laughed at that one too.  But I wanted to be there gosh dang it!  Claire’s last volleyball game was also that weekend as well as Lucy’s mother/daughter young women date.

I knew they’d all be fine without us.  In fact, sometimes I think they do better when I’m not around to micromanage.  Ha!  But I didn’t know if I might melt if I missed that week.

Then good news came along:

Elle was finishing up over in Hawaii and we found out that she would be home right in the nick of time help with prom send-off.  Oh my goodness, Grace and I (and Elle too!) were over the moon about that little fact.  Woohoo!  Made everything 100% better. 

And then more good news came along:

I was on the phone with Abby talking about plans as their volleyball and school were wrapping up.  They were deciding on their timeline before they headed on over to China for their summer internship.  (Yep, they’re heading to China…I need to write more details about that exciting news), but for now, let’s just think about that opportune moment when we put it together that THEY could be our babysitters that week.

Not sure there could be anything better!

And then, to top it all off, Elle decided she could finish up over in Hawaii even earlier than expected and she could come early enough to spend Easter with us in California (back HERE), and then come home with the girls and help Max and Abby hold down the fort here.

Whoa, news kept getting better and better.  She also asked if her friend Carson (nickname “Lar” for reasons that I think even he doesn’t know.  Ha!) could join everyone here in the desert for part of that week. 

So suddenly we were all set with all kinds of people to keep things running around here.

But wait!  How could Dave and I miss a whole week with all our “people” being home??  Oh boy, I hated to miss that, but it’s strange how it all panned out.  I think something inside me told me how grand it would be for these kids to have a week to work together and bond like nobody’s business.

And guess what?  That feeling was exactly right.  These kids all rocked it while we were gone.  Oh we missed them and they missed us, but what they learned and did together, and the fun they had that week was pretty impressive to see.  Nearly wiped away my sadness of missing out πŸ˜‰

Ok, so here are some of the pictures that popped up on my phone from home while we were gone:

It was a hot week and they spent a lot of time in that spot up there above.

A little double date downtown for these four oldest kids while the kids were in school one day:

(Abby was the photographer and sent me some good pics…love you Abby!!)

A little chess:

Oh wait, let’s back up to a screenshot on our Marco Polo family group showing that Lar arrived in town:

Yeah, a little excitement right there πŸ™‚

The big powderpuff game:

(All the senior girls can sign up, kind of a fun tradition…Elle’s year is back HERE)

Let’s take a look at these awesome cheerleaders:

Lucy was apparently over-the-moon excited to watch the action…

And then let’s take a look at the awesome player right here:

Oh my word, it was almost like I was there they did such a great job documenting.

Fun times.
It ended up in a triple overtime tie in the end, AND Grace got chosen to play in the “All-Star Team” against another school which is tonight (woohoo Grace!) so I don’t have to miss it all after all!

Elle and Lar got invited to go to the lake with some friends:

A little picnic:

(I’m sure it was more enthralling than their faces imply…ha!)

Abby and Lucy organized a little weekend gathering with Lu and her friends.

Loved that that cookie picture came up on my phone at just the same time we were trying to whip up our own version of cookies over in The Dominican.  

But this was my favorite part:
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How fun is that?

Elle and Abby both got to be stand-in “moms” for Lucy’s mother/daughter painting date:

Loved their finished products.

A little biking to show Lar around:

Early morning volleyball for Claire’s last tournament:

Here’s a screenshot from one of the videos they sent…I was so grateful!!

 And then, THIS:

 Look at this knock-out girl ready for prom:

 And let’s look at the support crew too:

I LOVE that we have this “ring” doorbell where Dave can see and hear people who come to the front door, so we got to say hi when Grace’s date arrived, and ALL these people were there to send her off.

Oh gosh, that is the best.  Look how great they’re doing πŸ™‚
And look at this cute couple Elle took pictures for:

 Way more about prom coming up, this is just a sneak-peek…

 …and a few other “prom dates:”

They were actually thinking of dressing up and heading to the dance themselves but their plans were thwarted when a bunch of Elle’s high school friends showed up, which was probably more fun anyway.  Ha!

Yeah, I think Grace was happy with her send-off crew:)

The kids even hosted a little gathering of all the cousins on Sunday night.

(not pictured, but I can imagine, all the cousins running in and out of that kitchen from the trampoline to the cookies and back and forth again…love those cousins!)

Lucy was so dang happy to have these guys around:

 And these guys who made things pretty seamless around here.

But Dave and I are the luckiest that they’re ours.

Love them all so much!


  1. I love to see and feel the happiness that comes from the life you live. What a beautiful way to show the appreciation you have for all that God has blessed you with!

  2. Love all these pics and your narrative, but my absolute favorite is the pic of Lucy reading at the football game (which I spotted in the first pic before you mentioned it in the second). And now I want to know, what was the book?

  3. Lucy β€œwatching” the football game is the Best. Thing. Ever!!! Love that she is true to herself, and knows how to
    Take care of herself, no matter where folks schlep her.

  4. I love seeing Max and Abby and Elle with Lar. To see older pictures of them so tiny, missing teeth and now all grown up and finding someone to share their lives with is amazing. You are a wonderful mother and you can see how great all of your kids are. Happy Mother's Day!

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