Three things as a little prelude to the “cat lady” portion of this post:
1)  Lucy has an opinion.  About nearly everything.
And that opinion is rarely changed.  She holds on with a vise grip.
2)  Sometimes it’s hard to find clothes for that girl.  Well, pretty much all the time.  And shoes are the worst.  Her feet are so wide and she needs to wear orthotics 24/7 so we have very few options.
So naturally whenever I happen to come across anything that I think may fit her, I snatch it up.  When I was grocery shopping at Walmart on my way to Bear Lake this summer and saw a little black dress with all the right cuts and angles for $4.88, I brought it home for her.  I figured she’d love that it was covered with little white cats. This is a girl that at one point in her life claimed she would have eight cats when she grows up.
It wasn’t a Bear Lake dress, so absentmindedly, to make her want to use some delayed gratification and put that thing away until we got home, I told her maybe it would be a good school dress.
Well, she took that little suggestion to heart and right then and there, that little black dress became her “first day of school outfit.”
3)  Lucy’s big sisters have some serious opinions too.
They weren’t so fond of that little cat dress.  Lu and I had gone on a little date and had found some pretty cute alternatives so those big sisters were cracking me up doing everything in their power to change that little sister’s mind, including pretend fighting over who got to wear an outfit they had deemed to be the “cutest.”
But Lucy, true to form, didn’t fall for any of their antics and told them her mind was made up.
So they, true to big-sister-teaser-form, affectionately started calling her “cat lady.”
At first that little sister of theirs was in a full huff about that little nickname and proclaimed over and over that she was NOT cat lady and that she really only liked dogs.
But after a while she decided to have a sense of humor and roll with it.
Claire even had her “cat-posing” by the time she left for school.
Oh man, sometimes these kids make me laugh.
So yesterday, those four sweet girls of mine set off into the great unknown of a new school year.
Their excitement for that day ranged in order of how old they are:  Lucy jumped out of bed like a little lark full to the brim with glee and excitement.
She slipped on her “cat lady” dress lickety-split:
…and read her part during scriptures with all the enthusiasm she could muster up:
Elle, on the other hand, woke up as late as she possibly could and threw whatever clothes on with a straight-face.
“School-schmool” is her motto on the first day.
(Although, I know deep down she was pretty excited.  She’s too social not to be.)
Claire and Grace were somewhere in between.
Ok, maybe more on the Lucy side of the excitement spectrum than the Elle side…check out those smiles.
Dave had to leave early morning on a trip so he missed all the hoopla, and Max, my boy I have hardly seen this summer, is up at BYU doing volleyball camp this week.
It was the only week he could do it so he’s missing the first two days of school
Crazy nuts I tell you.  I don’t think it’s really quite right to have him gone so much before he’s really supposed to be gone (NEXT year) but I’m trying to roll with the punches here.

So it was just the girls and I for scriptures:

And traditional rainbow-pancake-making:

The backpacks were all laid out with care, filled with all the necessary needed school supplies.

And for some reason when I say that it makes it sounds like that part was all easy-peasy.  But the truth is that we were at Target the night before trying to scour the isles for anything that resembled those class supply lists we had clutched in our hands because pretty much everything had already been bought up by on-the-ball types of families.

And we barely squeezed that in between meet-the-teacher night at the junior high and doctor appointments and we missed picking up prescriptions for my two girls with urinary tract infections because in my childrens’ minds school supplies are a life or death situation on the first day of school.

Which really makes me wonder if anything I teach them is sinking in, because I do my darnedest to teach them that we shouldn’t buy anything ’til after the first day.  Lists always change on the first day and the stores are so much less crowded after that.

And really, who is going to care if they really have a pink pearl eraser or exactly 24 sharpened pencils on the first day??

No one!  That’s who.

But apparently my little dears like to be more prepared than their mother.

And yes, I really did say I have two girls with UTI’s right now.  Which actually kind of scares me because I think Claire has had them on and off every since she got her little surgery a couple years ago and I’m envisioning worse reflux.

But I digress.  That’s a post for another day.

The bottom line is that we did get the backpacks lined up and ready to go, as well as all the lunches packed, and no blood was lost in the process.

Here’s Elle ready to take off for her JUNIOR YEAR:

Kind of sick to my stomach about that so let’s move on…

Here’s her cute friend who we all love who was nice enough to give her a ride.

Love you Makenna!

And then there were three.
Next Grace took off for EIGTH GRADE!

Please just stop Grace.  You are not allowed to go to high school next year.  End of story.  Please stay in junior high forever.

Thank you.

Because I am the crazy mom I am, I made Grace stay for a sec while her friends waited in the driveway so we could try the traditional “in-front-of-the-front-door” shot like we do every single year.  But we have a pretty different “front door” now (just glass), which reflected some workers trying to finish the courtyard.

I still like it 🙂

Claire set of for FIFTH GRADE:

And “cat-lady” herself set off for SECOND GRADE in all her glory:

Side note on the shoes that only we will care about in years to come, but I still want to write about because it’s funny to me…Lu and I lucked out when we found some shoes that were wide enough for her the other day.  She fell head-over-heels in love with them before I could try to sweet-talk her into at least trying some different styles (the ones she loved were a little snazzy for my liking).  But she was in love and I knew it would be a miracle if I happened to find some other ones wide enough for her.  

So we bought them.
And her big sisters didn’t like those either.

But they didn’t have any clever knick-names for those suckers.
Oh boy do I ever love these girls of mine.

I followed them into the school grounds like I do every year.

Somewhere in that sea of parents, some tearing up, some excited as all get-out, and amidst the chaos of nervously excited kids running around, I had a little vision of the old me.

The one who got sick about leaving my kids and had to follow them into their classrooms until I got kicked out of the school.  The one who pushed a stroller of snotty-nosed babies out of the school grounds and back home with me when I left the school. The one who was still begging for more babies and who took time to go feed the ducks and try to be a “library mom.”

I missed that old me.  Part of me wanted to turn back time and go snuggle up those babies again.

But a bigger part just made me happy.

My children are growing and “becoming.”  And, even though my wrinkles show up more and my babies are morphing into big kids, I am “becoming” in my own way too.

Which is a good thing.

So I left those smiley children of mine with a full heart.  For the old me and the “me” I am still working to become.

And all is right in the world.

Here’s to a great new year with lots of “shining” and serving and loving.

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  1. They always need notebooks, pencils and pink pearls.. Buy an extra mess of them and box them up and open them next year. Then get the extras specific items after the first day.

    How did you get the school to agree to missing the first day? In some districts it would jeopardize placements.

  2. WOW, school starts early there! When do they get out for the summer? It's almost like they are getting gypped out of a month – August is still summer!!!

    Your girls are beautiful and I love the cat dress and the snazzy shoes!

    I got a little melancholy about the "old" vs. "new" part. My son is 20 and is in his second year of college. It's a local university and he decided to live at home for the first couple of years. I am so glad – not ready to let go quite yet.

    But I too remember stopping to feed the ducks, have little mini-adventures with him when he was little – such a joy.

    But then, like you I realized he's still a joy, just a different kind of joy. And I'm so proud of how he's "becoming"!

  3. Oh geeze, the last bit about the "old" and "new" you made me cry, I'm crying over pictures of Lucy going to grade 2 and I don't even know you! I have a sweet spot for Lucy, my oldest goes into grade 1 this year and has and different but equally heart wrenching visual impairment coupled with tourette's and some behavioral stuff. Seeing Lucy's pix gets my tummy all tied up in knots and excitement. How is this year going to go, please bless that she'll have familiar faces in her class, and an amazing teacher etc etc… Ack! Must go cuddle my girls!

  4. My daughter, a senior like Max, is missing the first day also. We will be in NYC dropping her big sister off at college and she wanted to be there. No worries with the school as she registered for classes last spring and our first day is only a half day.

  5. Life goes too fast! UTI infections are the worst! Going to throw this out there: There is a holistic approach that I have seen work EVERY time to clear them up…for good! (well you have to use as needed) Watermelon seed tea! Here is a link on amazon:

    If you are suspicious…read the reviews of others who suffer from UTIs and how this stuff clears it up! A dear lady I used to work with had them so bad she would PASS OUT from the pain. I told her about this…and after a couple more ER visits decided it was time to at least TRY it. That was 4 years ago…and she recently reported that she has not had one since. (She still uses this if she feels something coming on) I also had my 82 year old Father used it when he kept getting them. He hasn't had one in years. Much much better than antibiotics which clearly don't work. (Keep it in the fridge as it can spoil.) Have your girls start off with a cup a day then up it to two if needed. The taste is very mild but as it works you want to run to the restroom for the next hour or two. Small price for no more infections! What I love about the holistic approach…is how amazing it is that God often provides healing in the simplest and most unexpected form.

  6. Shawni! They are all too big! It is crazy! Now I know how all of ou older cousins must have felt watching us little people grow up. It kind of makes me feel old to see all of them, but they are all so great that it mostly just makes me hope my future family is as awesome as yours. Love you!

  7. Hi Shawni!

    I love Lucy's cat dress–my 4 year old would love it, I may have to make a trek to Walmart to see if they have it in her size, too!

    Regarding UTI's–I used to get them CONSTANTLY. You may have already tried this with your girls, but I take a cranberry supplement (can get them at any store that sells vitamins, including groceries, target, walmart, etc) every day (just one tablet), and I haven't had one since I started that.

    I, too, have also heard of success with that watermelon seed tea another commenter mentioned 🙂

    Again, you may have tried it, but I thought I'd share my experience as well, just in case 🙂

  8. Oh man this post is just too sweet. Maybe because I have three sisters and I know the memories of the cat lady and the good-natured teasing that came along with it will never die.

  9. All your daughters look adorable! Elle has such a great "desert chic" fashion sense. I just love the peasant blouse combined with short shorts! The colors are perfect with her tan.

  10. Hi Shawni, everyday I look forward to read your post. Love the photos of your gals' first day of school. They are so pretty and surely growing up fast. Regards to your gals having UTI, you can let them try Kyani which is a health supplement using all natural superfood ingredients. It will help to clear up any inflammation and energise the body with daily needed vitamins and minerals. You can find out more from
    Feel free to contact me if you need more information or samples. My email is

  11. I've loved purchasing shoes from Zappos for a few years, but recently realized that I could search for shoes by width. Stride Rite in the kids' sizes carries wides. And my 14 y.o. was able to get Asics sneakers in 4E — extra, extra wide. He finally isn't sizing up to get the right width, but wrong length.

    Good luck.

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