Spring sprung around here in February.  
Our street went from this:

 (on a super foggy day)

To this:

Totally lickety-split.

I love these blossoms every year…even though they cause deathly allergies.

Lucy and her little group of “Activity Day” girls (church activity group) took advantage of the gorgeous weather to go on a “service scavenger hunt.” 

They trekked all over the neighborhood and knocked on doors to see what kinds of little jobs they could do for people.

We introduced our friends who just moved her from China to some of the finer things in desert-living:

 Max is still taller than Dave 🙂

Sometimes I have my teenagers send me their pictures since so much of their lives happen away from me.  This kid (#35) is a freshman who is 6’10” and is a star basketball player.  Needless to say their team beat ours.

One of Lucy’s “plans” I found laying around:

 Dave and I went on a little get-away with some friends.

 …where we jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

 For reals we did, but for reals this next picture is not me (it was just one of the pics on the website).

I have never gone sky diving before, which means I never realized what I was missing.  I was ready to go right back up and do it again, it was so beautiful!  
Another time.
I thought this tree was particularly beautiful:

And I thought Claire’s signs by her bed were pretty beautiful too:

 (that top one says “wake up, learn, eat, tumble, repeat” in case you can’t read it)

I don’t know why I took this picture…

Maybe to remember we always have that breakfast when the cousins sleep over (recipe HERE).

…and maybe to commemorate President’s Day…

A President’s Day lemonade stand:

Dave works with the 16-18 year-old boys in our ward.  He and my friend who is over all the girls put together a whiz-bang bonfire activity in our back yard.  I was running some carpool and arrived after the spiritual thought which was given when all these chairs were filled:

By the time I got there everyone was setting off their lanterns.

(which are 100% biodegradable just so you don’t worry…)

 The kids loved it.

Grace is the best baker in the history of the planet.

I finally put up my special cubbies in this new home.  Each holds a little piece of places we have visited.  (More about that back HERE.)

 My mom and sisters came for a visit…more about that back HERE.

 I love when Claire does my hair when we read Harry Potter…

 …and when I get to go on dates with this girl:

Grace was asked to put together a little presentation on China for the Young Women her age in our church.  Oh boy she did a great job putting together all the pictures and articulately explaining everything and the girls asked such great questions.

I had and IEP meeting with Lucy’s beloved teachers at the school.  I can’t even talk about Lucy’s teachers ever without getting teary-eyed.  She has had the best of the best.  Her teacher showed me one of her assignments she didn’t really understand and what she wrote on her paper:

Oh man she cracks me up sometimes…I think she was just confused for a minute because she totally “got” those when we talked about them later.  I just love how she expresses her frustrations when it’s not whining and crying!

Here are her vision teachers:

I love them, that is all I can say.  They “get” Lucy so well.

We had a great turnout for book club at my friend’s house.

We read a book called Three Little Words: A Memoir
that made for a really, really good discussion.

I think it’s a book that anyone with anything to do with social work or foster care …and everyone else for that matter…should read!  It’s not a literary work of art, but it sure makes you think about our foster care system, and the good and the bad.

I got to do art masterpiece in Claire’s class.

It was on Picasso’s “Three Musicians.”

We did our own self portraits Picasso-style.

There are a bunch of little artists in that class I tell you!

My handsome, bearded lunch date:

One Saturday morning we cleaned the church:

All the families in our congregation take turns taking care of the building…it’s a lot of work and I love it.

Then we went to the Vision Walk for the first time in a few years (we have been out of town the last two years when it took place):
…Just me and three of my girls this time.

We didn’t even tell anyone else this time around (so don’t feel bad if you missed it) because we are working so hard on raising funds for the BBS Registry and we don’t want to take away from that.

Once we get that going strong we will be able to partner up a little better with the Foundation Fighting Blindness and all the great things they are doing but at this point we can’t spread ourselves too thin (speaking of the BBS family community as a whole).

Read more about the BBS Registry HERE.  (I’ll have to do a current update on that soon.)

It was fun to be there again this year…it was a great day and a great turnout by so many wonderful people.

It was hard to keep up with Lucy who trotted around that course a few times like a little champ.

…we had to run visit our good friends who live so close when we were done…

That night Grace and Claire got to go to an NBA game with some friends, lucky girls!:

…Max and Elle had big plans with friends, so my mountain-man husband and I took our baby out on a little date with us.

I already talked about MORP back HERE,

…and Valentine’s Day back HERE,

…and now we are on to almost the end of March.


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  1. I can't begin to tell you how much you inspire and encourage me. I've been following you for years and have implemented so many things that yall do with our own little family of 7. I can identify with so much of your heart for your children. All I've ever wanted is to be a mom and I am fully aware that I am living my dream. I strive to be an intentional mom every day and you have played such a big role in it. Thank you for sharing your journey and for helping make my family better!!! I have a quick question. I've heard (either from you or from your parents site) about the games you played at the dinner table when you were younger. I wondered if you could elaborate on them? I'm needing something to help with supper time.

  2. I am not trying to be picky. I am sincerely concerned about the floating lantern thing. Are there fire regulations about them? Is there a time of year they are safe? Is there some sort of mechanism that puts the flame out? Do you follow it until it lands and burns out? I live in the Midwest. I just imagine it to be easy for fire to start in the southwest.

  3. I also teach an artist curriculum to my kids classes. Do you have a lesson plan for that Picasso project? Our curriculum only goes through April and I would love to do a project in May with them. This looks like so much fun. You can email me at vegasmom77@gmail.com if you have anything you could share, thanks!

  4. I have always thought the lanterns would be magical. I'd like to try that sometime. I love the braid your daughter did to your hair. I've always wanted to learn that braid and have "practiced" over and over but can't seem to be coordinated enough to have it turn out. I love your family ideas and all you share on here. Your family is very inspirational.

  5. Thank you so much for the book recommendation, Shawni! Just out of curiosity, what did you practice in after you got your degree, foster care, child protection, permanency, family support, etc.?

  6. So great to be caught up to the end of February. I missed a lot of that! Can't wait for the March update, It may be a titch shorter since you spent quite a few days of March in bed! If I know you, you took pictures from your bed!

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