Oh man, we just wrapped up Claire’s birthday.
I always write things about these children of mine here on the blog on their big day.  It’s like my birthday card to them.  

But today was a little different because I just had to snuggle that girl up from before dawn until late tonight with so much else swirling on around us.

So I’ll post more on that tomorrow.
But for the tail end of this day (it’s almost midnight), I’m posting my draft of December happenings (excluding the Christmas “Holiday Hoopla” which is back HERE).

I know I probably already mentioned this somewhere before but it was really the prettiest December I’ve ever seen in my twelve years of living here in the desert.
Maybe that’s because all the stars aligned just right giving us a perfect Fall.

The way the sun filtered through those leaves…and the way the bark looked so black against the vibrant colors when it rained…I couldn’t get enough of it.

I know everyone reading this who lives in “real” Fall areas is probably saying to themselves, “that’s nothing” but man alive, it sure does something to my Fall-loving soul.

Dave’s sister came for a visit.  We got to steal her away for dinner one night.

Our new neighbor (if we every really move into our new home), had a skiing accident and shattered both of his feet.  
Boy howdy have we ever felt horrible for him and his family and have spent a bunch of time over there trying to cheer them up (but probably mostly getting in the way).  Crossing our fingers the healing will come along quickly.
I made Japanese curry again because my family (mostly Claire) begged for it.
This is the picture I sent to my brother to figure out what the heck I was doing.

(I put the real recipe for that mouth-watering stuff back in my “International Night” post HERE.

We are all working on our journals a little bit more.

Lucy is digging that.

Yes, that is a brush on the kitchen counter…

I took Elle in for her fifth-ever-in-her-whole-life professional hair cut.  (I usually do the haircuts around these parts.)

I figured that was the only way we were going to take care of these ends:

We did a little ombre just because I love her so.

Can you tell how excited we were?

It sure turned out pretty.  (Thanks Ashley!)

One night when we were driving home from one carpool or another we heard Lu in the backseat saying, “oh, it’s just so beeaaaaauuuuuuutiful!” as she snapped away at pictures on my iPhone.

Not so sure she really saw anything so beautiful (see pic. below) or if she was just imitating her mother…

Max and Elle have started “training” for their sports coming up this next season.  Gross picture, but Elle fell off a treadmill and bruised herself up pretty well during one of the trainings.


Love this dynamic duo.

More than I can say.

And this girl…

She sure adds even more spice to our family breaking out her cheerleading moves around the house all the time.

I got to go on the fourth grade field trip to the state capitol with these cuties:

How can you help but let your heart melt a little at sweet girls like these.

I was infatuated with the shadows that day.

The sun was at the perfect slant to cast beautiful shapes everywhere.

Love my girl and her giant coldsores.

We’ve been to a couple high school basketball games, mostly to spy on our teenagers.

They’re not too hard to spot since they both tower over their friends.

Max played a whole bunch of volleyball tournaments in December.

This is the only picture I got:

Lucy wrapped up her soccer season back HERE, but I couldn’t resist posting this one more picture of her running to play in the last game that was postponed until December because of the rain:

I can’t remember why I made Max stop in mid-Sunday-dressing to take this picture, but oh man, he’s cute, right?

We finally got four out of five school pictures back.

Grace is missing because we found her order form and check in the bottom of her backpack a few months later…

She’s too busy with this to care, but Grace, we need those pictures!

(I love to have a picture from the beginning of each school year to formally document how each child looked at the beginning of that grade.)

We go through batches of this granola like it’s going out of style:

Recipe for that back HERE.

Accidentally matching girls:

Lu looks real excited about that pose…

Claire had an assignment at school to make and “Elf on the Shelf” and talked about it forever.  Finally when we sat down to make it we realized my sewing machine was still lent out.

Dang it!

So we resorted to hand-stitching that little guy:

Claire sure didn’t complain about that.

Check out that little beamer:

After the fact we decided that hot-gluing on a Christmas bulb was a little creepy but she still won the award at school  so we’ll take it 🙂

We went on a date.  This is when we got home and realized we forgot to take our traditional “date” picture.

Dave’s sweetest ever aunt made Lucy the most darling little sock doll.

We love you Aunt Helen!

Max is the only homework helper Grace can go to for Math these days.

I adore that.

It was “twin” day at school:

Somehow they talked us into PJs at IHOP day:

A birthday lunch for a friend…excuse that blurry pic…

Holiday hairdo:

We finally hunkered down and took pics of Grace’s volleyball certificate:

…and Cheerleading “You Made It!” form.

December ended with these guys staying with us:

Matching girl hair:

Cousins galore.

This game was SO funny to watch by the way (I wish I had a video).  They play it with an iPhone and it’s like Guestures sort of.  I’m pretty sure it’s called “Head’s Up.”

We need to get that thing.  

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  1. poor claire with those cold sores! have you ever figured out anything that helps? i am curious because about 2 1/2 years ago i started getting them, and they come back sometimes once a month or once every other month for a period of time. i think the 2 mg of valtrax followed by another 2 mg 12 hours later works pretty well for me but i'm also trying lysine. they are awful, i hope she outgrows them!

    1. Zovirax ointment is the best stuff if applied right when you start feeling the tingling of a fever blister starting. It will either not break out fully if caught in time or it will drastically reduce the size, pain and length of breakout. It's pricey even with insurance but so worth it!!

  2. All of your kids are very cute! I love seeing all the fun pictures. I love the girls hair and yes Max is a handsome man. I Love the rain and I miss it! All we have is cold and snow right now 🙁

  3. We love Heads Up! The game itself actually records the people shouting out the clues so you DO have video of it.

    Your kids are beautiful- inside and out!

  4. Busy. busy!! Shawni whenever you have a chance you have to give us a glimpse of your "typical" day…I know nothing is typical but an ordinary school day. I know you have said you don't get everything done but I'd love to see how you get so much done 😉 My four are at school all day and although I have two one year olds for daycare kiddos I just can't seem to get everything accomplished…let alone exercise, etc. etc. and figuring out dinner time/homework time/piano practice/sporting events and activities/showers and baths is a HUGE challenge. Would love some tips 😉

  5. I just love that you document everything. My camera phone is pretty junky so I would have to follow my family around with my big canon and I am sure they would all just love that haha! All your pictures sure do make me want to document my everyday life.

  6. Shawni,
    It is called "Head's Up"–its made by Ellen Degeneres and costs $.99 on the ipad/iphone! So fun!
    Loved the December updates and love reading your blog from faraway, COLD MN!

  7. From one tall Momma to what appears to be another…I love seeing these pictures of your teens standing so tall and confident!! That is most certainly your doing! Max is 6'6? Wonderful!! How tall is Elle? I love how you are embracing each age and stage your children go through…I find that I love each age more than the next (I have 3 sons, 1 daughter all under 8 yo). God bless.

  8. Hi Shawni! This will probably sound so silly, but I would LOVE if you and your girls would do a regular series of posts about their super cute, fun hairstyles! They always look so darling and put-together, and I've always been completely clueless when it comes to style 😉 I also have daughters, and it'd be fun to learn from y'all. Thanks! xo

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