Man alive, summer is slipping like sand through my fingers.  
I’m trying to hold it tight, but then the wind blows and the sand keeps blowing behind me.  
I look forward trying to soak in the beauty of how the wind tousles us all around, and makes us better.
The day after school got out we packed up and headed to the mountains to Dave’s sister’s cabin.  Elle Instagrammed the journey:
 (Is “Instagrammed” a word??  If not, I’m making it up…she’s an Instagram queen these days.)
The day after that my big kids and I sewed like crazy and packed up to head out on our Pioneer Trek:
 (More Instagramming…)
It was one of my favorite experiences I’ve ever had.  Much more coming about that.
Right when we got home my sis-in-law arrived to stay with us with her family with six kids.
During this Max was in California with his volleyball team getting burned to a crisp in the sun, learning a lot and having a great time.  They got to watch the Olympic volleyball team play.  Now that’s pretty darn cool.
Then we packed up again and headed to the mountains once again with friends:

…and the next day Dave and I headed here:

To watch a bunch of slides like these:

To learn more about Lucy’s syndrome and meet some of the most inspiring people I’ve met, all families with children with the same BBS syndrome.  We came home so rejuvenated and oh my word, I have so much to write about that too.

All these “big things” deserve a post of their own when I can get to it, but in the meantime there are so many “little things” filling in the nooks and crannies that I must stop and write down before they slip away.
First off, a very, very kind lady and her conscientious blog-reading-daughter send me this beautiful box:
With this very beautiful necklace enclosed.  
I had an old lady with some serious freckled skin pose with it on so I could show it off.  Oh wait, that’s me.  What the heck is up with my skin?
Anyway, I digress, it’s the necklace we’re looking at right now and isn’t that a beauty?  If you’re interested in seeing the other gems made at the Scarlet Robin, click here.
Thank you soooooo much Jenifer and Daren!
Grace got serious about getting the word out about her babysitting skills.
Let’s go ahead and look at that a tad-bit closer:
A gift from my girls on Mother’s Day:
Oh they are sweet.
Lucy has been quite conscientious with her “little sister” Ariel.
 Claire came home from her “activity days” activity (from church) with this:
…which expanded to this:
Yeah, that’s an apron she’s wearing too…I am convinced that there are supermoms in charge of these activities.
Elle and her tennis coaches.
Without asking or consulting her mother, Elle went ahead and put Kool-Aid in her hair (along with the rest of the teenage girls here in the desert). 
This is how she feels about that bright red streak:
Too bad I don’t have a picture of how I feel about that little addition.  It wouldn’t be such a pretty picture :).  She figured since I let Grace do it with dark hair that doesn’t hardly show, I’d be pleased as punch (excuse the pun) that she turned herself into a punk rocker.  
I do kid a little bit because although I know that sucker will never, ever come out as she claims it will, there’s always bleach and also a lot of worse things in the world.  And it’s kind of growing on us. 
Speaking of hair, Elle and her friend think it is hilarious that they roll their hair up in the window on the way home from tennis.
Like, the kind of hilarious where you can’t even talk cause you’re laughing so hard.
My phone sometimes is a great record of Elle’s life. 
We sent in pictures for passports for a trip we’re taking Max and Elle on later this summer.
(more on that later…)
We went to the library to try to pick up some books for our “summer-of-reading” thing we’re doing and found that everyone else must have had the same idea:
 Luckily we did manage to finagle a good stack to bring home:
 And so far, the kids really have been doing a good job curling up reading every day.
 We’ve spent a gazillion hours trying to figure out stone and measurements for our new house.
Although Elle’s still going strong, tennis is winding down a little bit for Claire for the summer…
Lucy lost her two bottom front teeth.
It would be exciting except that it was a little weird how it happened…I’ll have to tell the story later.
She is pretty excited about that gap in her mouth though, talks with a little bit of a new tooth-gap-lisp and doesn’t seem to mind one lick that after a month the tooth fairy still hasn’t shown up.  Seriously, we got the raw end of the deal on the toot fairy in this family:)
I got to catch up with some friends I hadn’t had a chance to even talk to in ages at lunch.
Love those girls so, so much.
The girls don’t seem to mind the heat and enjoy summer evenings on the trampoline.
And I really like Lucy’s eyelashes:
Last but certainly not least, this friend of Claire’s (on the right below) came over one Saturday morning and handed over a fistful of bills which equaled out to be $10.  She said she had earned it walking dogs to give to Lucy and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.  My heart melted at that.
Then the next Saturday another friend came and this time they handed over $20.  Seriously.  Talk about the nicest, sweetest thing in the world.
Dave and I doubled that money with money from our “I Love Lucy” fund, and turned it in to the Foundation Fighting Blindness where they are tripling donations until the end of July.  So the $30 from those sweet girls turned into $270 to help us fight blindness and help Lu keep her vision.
Wow, there are some kind people in the world.  Thank you girls!!

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  1. What wonderful thoughts you have to share Shawni. Darn it! Those kiddos are getting big (sorry).
    Have your girls read the Ive and Bean books? If not, let me know. I'll send you some. My 9 year old LOVES them.

  2. You have been busy! Thanks for sharing your world with us.
    I totally love the pioneer outfits. I have never done anything like that up in North Country. Have fun in your next adventures.

  3. I did the same thing to my bleach blonde hair when I was Elle's age. It took forever to come out (Sorry Elle :)) but my Mom and I still laugh about it today!

    You are one inspiring lady and your family is simply adorable!

    Best Wishes!

  4. At the library go to the area where the go before they are shelved. They are better selection cause someone else thought enough of them to check them out.

  5. Nearly *gulp* 20 years ago my cousin and I did koolaid hair. I have dark brown hair and did the grape. My mom said it just gave me a little shine. My blonde cousin however did blue, it came out green and lasted quite sometime:) lol
    And the blurb about those sweet donations, loved it..melted my heart:)

  6. Just have to say that by the time my triplets (children 4-6) were losing teeth they learned quickly that they needed to put up notices throughout the house to remind the toothfairy to come!

  7. Yeah, I too did the red streak in blonde hair at age 13. I loved it, and have to say it looks pretty excellent on Elle. Thanks so much for showcasing the necklace Daren and I sent you πŸ™‚ You've definitely made her week.

  8. Ah, kool-aid and hair… when I was 12 or 13 my mom refused to let me dye my hair, so I soaked my entire head in a bowl of red kool-aid. Needless to say she wasn't impressed, it didn't come out, and it kind of trashed my hair. I guess I should be prepared for when my future daughter does the same. :p

  9. Ok. I am exhausted just reading all of that…

    And if Grace would kindly come to Ohio, I would love to have her watch my 6 year old girl. Love love love! She can just move in for the summer! I think I am about to take my first job since I have had her and am a bit sad…it would help if I knew she was well taken care of…:)

    Just love your blog.

  10. I feel like I have a busy life…then I realize I don't have 5 kids with busy lives of their own too! Looks like a fun (and busy!) summer so far! Contemplating Kool Aid as well, I guess my mom wouldn't be too happy either.

  11. Looks like you are having a fun summer! I love looking at all the pictures πŸ˜‰

    I love the names of your kids – they even look cute on your necklace!

    How did you come up with their names? Are they family names? Do they have special meanings or stories behind them? Do all of your kids have middle names? If so, what are their middle names?

    Do you have nicknames for your kids?

    Were there any names that you came really close to calling your kids? Any names that you absolutely loved but your husband didn't like? Or vice versa?

    Can you tell that I'm in the newly wed stage and getting ready to start a family? I don't know why I obsessed so much about baby names?

    I must follow your blog so much that I once had a dream where I met you and your kids. I was so excited yet super shy to talk to you all in my dream. It was funny because I thought I knew everyone's names, but in my dream you were like "No…those aren't our real names. We use pen names for the blog. Our real names are…" But I can't remember the rest of the dream πŸ˜‰

  12. It looks like you guys are having a busy summer. I am excited to find out where you are heading with Max and Elle!
    I wondered in the Instagram pictures from your trip: Don't the younger ones ride in a car seat?

    Cheers from Germany,


  13. I just ordered a necklace like that for me! Thanks so much for posting that. I love your blog. You are great about capturing the simple everyday moments that are so precious.

  14. Good gried! How are you still alive??? What with all that crazy fun going on every day, which also requires a lot of work and preparation AND with an entrepreneur daughter, a VERY tall son and a daughter with Kool-Aid in her hair…apparently forever!

    Can't wait to hug you all soon! Hope you can get a few minutes of R & R here before you take off for India! Go see The Exotic Marigold Hotel in your spare time before you go…if you want to take a look at the real India that you are about to see!

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