I’m giving fair warning right here and now that this post just might take the cake for most pictures posted ever.  Lots happened in December.
It seems like December was a month of non-stop beauty-sunsets.  
I had to pull over on my way home from dropping girls off in our cheer carpool for that one up there it was just so gorgeous.  Pictures never do them justice, but I can’t resist trying.
The beginning of the month was filled with Christmas cards…getting addresses right and stamping and stuffing and sealing always takes a small army.  
Luckily I’ve got one:)

We had a few mishaps letting the kids have full-reign of some of these tasks, so if you didn’t get one and you should have, we’ll try to be more organized next year!

My car turned into a little office to get those puppies ready to dump in the mailbox.

Loved, loved, loved getting pictures and updates from people we love all month.  Christmas cards are my fav.
The beginning of December was also Winter Formal.  

Lots more about that back HERE.

Lucy got to go to a little American Girl birthday party which, as you can tell, she was over-the-moon about.

I am so grateful for Lucy’s sweet friends.

Grace helped me out with doing Claire’s sock curls…I love hair-helpers.
…and dish helpers too.
I adore the magic of Christmas.  Love that I have one who is still fully onboard (ok, actually one and a half).  
(We have worked hard to train these kids to always ask questions and show love before asking for things, looks like Lucy almost forgot the most important part.  Luckily she tacked those on at the end…)
We have the oldest “Elf on a Shelf” known to man (more about him back HERE).  Poor guy doesn’t move around much.  Oh he tries.  But for some reason he will go days on end without ever leaving to report back to Santa (or whatever it is he’s supposed to be doing…)  
Every year Claire and Lu come up with some sort of note or tactic to try to interest him in to more action.  Here’s what they came up with this time around:
A couple days later they miraculously did get a little note back.

Claire looks a little more excited than Lucy does…

Claire got sick in December.

Super sick.

We found out it was strep throat, poor girl!

By the time we actually got the antibiotics she was actually able to smile which sure was a great change.

We sent some little Christmas things to Max’s friends and my nephew on missions.

Love those boys and their wonderful examples filling my email inbox every Monday.

We gathered some friends for dinner one night…

…some came with some very festive sweaters:)

We got haircuts from our favorite hairdresser Aubrey:

Dave and friends got into Pickleball, and had some pretty competitive matches.

Took the girls on a special date to the Nutcracker.

(back HERE)

Let’s take a closer look at Lucy’s late-night-photo-face:

There we go:)
She’s sitting here right now as I type this laughing her guts out at that funny face.

Claire is joining on the artist-bandwagon and I have found some cute drawings around.  Here are some sketches of some of her friends:

Speaking of friends, boy, we love these ones who used to live on the same street as we did back in the “golden days.”

They came over for a little visit which we loved.

Love these little girls of mine too (including Lu who I think was in bed by this time).

I am such a lucky mamma.

It was gorgeous Fall in December.

Lots of rain which is weird for the desert, but because of that we adore rainy days.

We got to soak up a bunch of them.

Grace had cheer pictures:

…and random dinner-time pictures…

Meanwhile up at BYU…
Every once in a while during Max’s time up in Provo we got sent little things from friends and family and on Instagram so we could know what the heck he was doing up there.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was calling and texting us constantly.  Ha!  Do you sense the sarcasm there?  I sure hope he might be better on his mission, we are having a communication boot-camp this week 🙂
But I digress…here is a picture of a snow day up at BYU.
And making Dave’s family’s traditional Santa cookies:

(My sister-in-law lives not too far away from BYU and has those college kids come up every first Sunday of the month.  They all love it.  Thanks Julie!!)

Had a couple lunch dates with my big girls:

Got a new calling and got to have all these great girls over for a Christmas dinner (back here):

Elle got her first acceptance letter:

Hooray!!  So exciting…waiting to see what happens with the others, she was still working on her Boston University application until the 4th of January, who knows where the future will take that girl.

Claire and a bunch of girls showed up bright and early to go on a surprise birthday hike for her friend.

They hiked up to the wind caves:

I thought that was such a great party idea and the girls loved it.

I did Art Masterpiece in Lucy’s class.  One of the kids was new and was the most polite and sweet boy you’ll ever meet.  Turns out I’ve actually met him before in North Carolina years ago, he and his family moved to the desert and I didn’t even realize it.  Is that a small world or what?

Later that same day I went back to bring some things to help with Lucy’s class Christmas party.

Lucy has the best class.

Grace’s friends put our little sport court to good use.

I thought this was such a cute neighbor-gift idea:

The last day of school before Christmas break was pajama day and “Doughnuts with Dad.”

Now, I’m not sure you could get a more exciting day, at least in the eyes of these girls.

Love how excited they were…Lucy’s expression tells it all.

Love this expression too…

She cracks me up.

My friend sent me this pic of Claire and friends decked out in their pj’s:

Our street was full of Fall glory.  It takes my breath away every time I turn in.

It sure looks a lot different now…all the leaves are GONE and piled up at the foot of each tree, but that’s a January post 🙂

My parents helped Max clean out his dorm and check out of BYU, bless their great hearts.

I about had a panic attack that I couldn’t be the one to do it, I wanted to be up there so bad, but I reminded myself that sometimes I need to calm down a bit.  It was so great to have them soak up each other, especially since they can’t come to his farewell next week (they’ve had a prior engagement set for over a year, but oh boy we’ll still miss them!)

They took Max out to lunch at Los Hermanos in Provo…a place I think every one of my siblings who were living in Provo went to before their missions.

Then he took his last finals and hung out one last time with friends…

Meanwhile we went with a bunch of friends to see Star Wars.

Good times right there.

More gorgeous leaves:

And sunsets .

And parties.

Man alive there were sure a lot of White Elephant gift exchanges this year!

Nana was busy as usual with her traditional “Nana sleepover,” “Teen party,”

…and Talent Show/White elephant gift exchange.  Of the great parties she did with the grandkids, that one up there is the only picture I got, gosh darn it.

I know there was caroling and pizza and staying up late, late, late and fun gift exchanges.

I am so very grateful for that woman and how she makes these kids’ eyes light up so.  The teenagers came home with just as glowing reports as did the elementary-age kids.

I wrote about the family party back HERE.

This is a random picture, but isn’t it weird how little kids can navigate technology so well?  Sometimes I just think it’s so funny to watch them and wonder what technology will advance to by the time they’re adults.

Elle with her University of San Diego State acceptance papers:

The sunset out our window:

I got to watch the BEST tennis doubles.  Our family friend Eldar lives close-by and is a great tennis player so these three tried to give him a good game.
By the time I got there to watch there was some serious stuff going on.  Wow, I wish I had it recorded because there were some pretty amazing shots.
Took these two with me to court.  Elle was proving she does indeed have a license for a ticket she got.

Our court system is very interesting.

Love these two cute cousins.

Made gingerbread houses (here):

Grace had a little photoshoot with a group of younger girls.  Her friend came with her to be her “assistant” and I got to help them check the lighting before the girls arrived.  Love this location.

…and love these girls too.

Elle took off with friends one Saturday to take advantage of the snow.

Great group of kids right there.

I don’t think she had any fun at all 🙂

A selfie:

…watching this:

Grace had texted us to go look at it and we were already there on top of the situation.  (We have a group family text and I think the majority of it is texts from random days to go look at the sunset…with a little emoji with hearts for eyes 🙂

One Saturday we took the whole family to the orthodontist (who happens to be our good friend).

And also happens to have some pretty great games to play in the lobby.

It was an early appointment so everyone was starving by the time we were done.  

Dave and Max were pretty quick to suggest Denny’s.

We went to see the temple lights (back HERE):

We got really serious about Saturday jobs.  Lucy did a great job organizing the exercise closet and was pretty darn proud of it.

We went with a bunch of friends to pack food at Feed My Starving Children.

It is such a cool organization and was fun to be back.

Lucy took her dumping-rice-job very seriously.

Dave proclaimed the 23rd to be our new family tradition: “a sleepover under the Christmas tree.”  We started out with games.  A few of Elle’s friends were here so they joined in too.  I just caught the last part where only Grace and I were still at the table but just picture a bunch of us around that table playing away…as more and more of Elle’s friends poured in.  I guess she forgot about the family sleepover but man I love having her friends around.

We watched a movie and ended up opting to sleep by the little tree in the more comfy game room…

…which really didn’t turn out to be all that comfy…do you like how Elle is sleeping right on the ground?  I think she claimed she actually slept the best out of all of us though.

On Christmas Eve morning they had a brunch at a manufacturing place that Dave helps manage.

Kind of a crazy time to have it but it was awesome to get to check out this great company.  Max has worked there before (last summer…remember all those pictures I took of him filthy-dirty when he got home?  Let’s post one real quick right here:

 Ok one more:

Yes, it was a dirty job, and he learned a ton.

They had a slide show of all the things they do there and it was impressive I tell you!  These cousins were pretty delighted to be there together.

We harvested some oranges from our orange tree:

And Elle stepped up to squeeze a huge gallon of fresh orange juice for us.

Then it was on to the Christmas Eve evening festivities.

I had to take a picture of our chicken tikka masala spices I was making for Christmas Eve dinner because don’t you think those colors are just so beautiful together?

I wrote about Christmas Eve HERE

…and Christmas Day HERE

and then on to Hawaii to soak up our boy HERE

Phew, December was a good one.  And you’re a champ if you made it through this massive post.  

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  1. So, how do you keep up with these little things throughout the month? Do you just look back at your pictures or do you write things down as the month goes by? My family is still young but I want to figure out a good record keeping method before too much time goes by.

    1. I just always have my iPhone handy and take too many pictures 🙂 When I upload the pictures they spur my memory of all that happened. I try to do it as close to the end of the month as I can so I won't forget things, but pictures help. I'm so grateful for these records…now I need to figure out how to print them!

    1. That's nice of you, and I agree. She has the BEST hair. She's not set on any particular type of shampoo or conditioner, just whatever I pick up at Costco. She adores "It's a 10" leave-on conditioner but mostly for the smell 🙂

  2. Hey friend! Your December looks like it was packed with wonderful things but I'm thinking you must be exhausted. I hope your January re-cap has a bunch of photos of you relaxing 🙂

    1. Hi Shelley, miss you! January is the month Max leaves so there's not much relaxing going on around here but February is our month I think! Although maybe we'll have to try to stay busy so we won't sit home and bawl our eyes out missing him!

  3. Hi Shawni… first off, I'm an avid reader of your blog and overall just think so highly of your family and namely you as a mom. You're doing something right as your kids pursue such diverse interests and develop strong relationships with one another. Love seeing that. I hope the same for my family (3 boys at the moment). Anyway, I recently launched a podcast called the Extraordinary Moms Podcast, and we even reached #4 in the Kids and family section on iTunes. Thrilling! The purpose of the podcast is to have moms on to share their stories and the lessons they've learned. I want this to be a show that celebrates motherhood and builds a community of listeners where we can cheer each other on. You are so good at so many aspects of motherhood, but I was wondering if you'd be willing to talk with me on an episode about parenting teenagers. I love your perspective on the topic and I know the listeners would get so much out of it. You can look up the podcast on iTunes or go to my website: http://www.extraordinarymomspodcast.com to see more about it. I know you are incredibly busy, but if you are at all interested, you are my #1 pick on this topic! Thanks, Shawni. Best wishes to your son on his mission. You can email me at jessica@extraordinarymomspodcast.com

  4. You are INSPIRING, as always!! Thank you for sharing your family with us! I love your big navy and white rug, where did you buy it from? Thanks:)

  5. Hi Shawni, any chance you can share your source for that berry colored zig zag rug you have by the door? Love it. Thanks Julie

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