Let’s take a minute to go back to February for record’s sake. It seems crazy to me that this was only a couple months ago! But there we were, Claire and some cousins went to watch other cousins compete in the state cheer competition:

(They did awesome, so proud of them!)

We gathered with family for my niece’s baby’s blessing:

We watched the Super Bowl.

…which has become one of Lucy’s very favorite traditions. I thought it was all about the treats we make each year, but even this year, when she isn’t eating any desserts of candy (yes for the whole year!), she was pretty excited to root for her team.

It was spirit week at the high school:

Miss that 🙁

I don’t know if this is unique to where we live, but kids have this hobby of buying clothes at Savers (second hand), and cutting them in various ways or altering them to make their own works of clothing glory. Ha! They crack me up with their “finds” that look like they came straight out of the 80’s.

One of Claire’s friends passed away which was heartbreaking (I wrote about it HERE). These kids have had more than a few losses this year that they have been trying to sort out in their hearts and minds, so grateful for such kind friends who all reached out for each other.

(More on that ministering and love if you scroll down on this post back HERE.)

Loved that her sister reached out too:

Other high school stuff…

My beloved Activity Days girls who are the kindest, sweetest girls ever. On the left below they were showing a little “path” to the little surprise gift they made me on the right below:

(We had set them to work making notes for people they love.) Sweetest ever.

Here they are with other February stuff, they are so darling and I have the best calling ever.

Dave competed with some friends in their first pickle ball tournament:

(wrote about that back HERE)

Two of my sisters came on a quick visit, and we hiked my favorite hike:

(Wrote all about that back HERE…missed our little sister Charity!)

Lucy worked so hard in school, as I simultaneously worked hard with her (getting so much harder for her to see), and we have this favorite book called “Thoughts are Things” we try to read a thought from each night…or at the orthodontist:

Sometimes we both need little attitude adjustments 😉

Our favorite thing is snuggling up to read together at night.

And oh, how I miss these drop-offs and pick-ups from school on the tandem right about now.

Since I’m writing this in July, makes me realize how much I took all this for granted!

Lucy has struggled a lot with thoughts and moods lately. I don’t know if it’s more her vision loss or her friends all passing her up in things they can do (night games, liking boys, they all have phones, etc.). Junior high is tough anyway, but with these things added in it can be pretty lonely for an extremely social girl like Lu.

I’m so grateful we’ve found these “Meant to be Me” classes that teach so much self-esteem and goodness (more about them HERE, they are so good!). I picked up Lucy from the one she did in February and she was ALL smiles and talk, so we went on a little lunch date to talk, talk, talk.

I loved her notes she showed me, love the things that she is most grateful for begin with her “amazing sister.”

Love that girl and her strength and grit more than I can say.

Random pictures from Max (well, from Abby, who is the greatest ever at sending them!…love you Abby!) Back when the BYU volleyball team was still going strong (more HERE). Miss that so much!

Valentine’s Day:

(I wrote all about Valentine’s Day back HERE, along with some thoughts on ministering and love.)

For some reason, living in the desert has a knack for doing this to my windshield:

I had to take that picture since that happened while the blue tape was still on the windshield from getting it replaced the day before. Yikes!

Our neighborhood looked like this in February. So crazy that wasn’t that long ago now that it’s in the 115s this week!


The weather was so gorgeous Lu and I decided to bike to get our groceries one day:

Lu also got to go support her fellow cheerleader friends with her church leaders (she is in her class presidency and loves these girls so much!)

Game night at Nana and Papa’s…with Josh too!

Claire had her first super exciting travel club team volleyball tournament. This was the group text letting all us parents in on what the scores were…lots of close games!

Claire loved that club season while it lasted. It is so strange I don’t have posts and posts filled with volleyball adventures from what was to be a pretty action-packed club season. That team was filled with such a great group of girls, and some great learning experiences before it was cancelled. One of the experiences was Claire deciding whether she wanted to do that team or not, which I wrote about back HERE.

Dave did his annual ski trip with his friends and for some reason the only picture I have is this one…but I love it, the dads with all their kids who live in Provo for dinner one night.

I love my book club. I think this was the night we discussed Tattoos on the Heart, one of my very favorite books in the whole world:

I wrote all about my thoughts on that book back HERE.

Our cute primary (church) kids wrote my team teacher and I this sweetest-ever note. Love them so much!

Whenever I see an oil canister like this I think about my niece’s documentary (HERE):

I took these sweet girls to California for a choir performance:

…and it was AWESOME. I wrote all about that back HERE.

A couple of my high school friends came to visit,

…which I wrote about in the last post HERE.

My sister-in-law scoured every fabric store we could find (along with Elle who joined us via FaceTime) trying to find the perfect wedding dress fabric and lace for Elle’s wedding dress:

(Wrote all about wedding fabric shopping back HERE.)

A few dates:

Still working at this place:

Dave and some Turkey Trott fellow board guys presented the donation check from the run back in November:

And that is a wrap for February…that month that was so filled with the gift of “ordinary days,” the likes of which we are sure missing these days!

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  1. Why doesn’t Lucy get a phone, too? Especially when it would include her? Is it due to her syndrome or just in general?

    One day, I’ll find enough time to journal my family’s months as well as you do!

    1. Good question. We have thought about this a lot, but she’s just not quite ready for her own phone and doesn’t even want one yet. She’s happy to share my phone and is always up to date on our group family texts, etc. with that so we feel like that is working for now. With every one of our kids we’ve waited as long as possible to give them phones, and in so many ways I wish we had waited even longer so we’re happy she doesn’t really care at this point. We will continue to re-evaluate, of course, and make that decision when she (and we) feel ready.

      1. I think it’s a good thing if she doesn’t feel the need to get one just yet. I have the impression many teenagers feel the pressure from society to get one but I didn’t really like it when I was younger, I felt people forced me to have one and hated it.
        On the other hand, I hope Lucy isn’t asking for one because she’s conscious of her eyesight. Technology is so advanced today that one she gets a phone she’ll be able to use it to her advantage 🙂 My friend is blind and was the first to jump in the wagon, she can work and do lots of stuff on her iPhone.

  2. February wasn’t long ago but feels like a lifetime. How I can’t wait for school halls to fill up again with laughter and sports!! I miss volleyball season so much !!!!

  3. I have a question. Does Claire have a job? I know you made/make your children but all their own clothes after they turn 12 ( or used to) but I noticed the Dr Martens ($120) Nikes, Converse etc . Do you still have that rule. I’m not being judgemental . My daughter buys 90% of her tops are Tj Max but would save and ask for more expensive shoes . Shoes/sneakers are having a huge moment !

    1. This is a great question because how we do the clothes thing has changed over the last couple years. No, Claire doesn’t have a real job right now so she’s scrapping by for money. We used to have our kids buy half of all their own clothes after they turned twelve and it worked for a long time. We used to pay an “allowance” each week so they could learn to save and contribute and manage money. (I put that “allowance” in quotes because it wasn’t really a traditional allowance…it was in conjunction with all the jobs they had to do, and I talked all about that back here: https://71toes.com/2012/11/a-money-system-that-works/). But when the three youngest girls started getting too lax to really be conscientious about doing the jobs connected to that small sum of money each week (they still mostly DID them because they are part of the daily routine, and they can’t do what they want until they’re done, but they weren’t conscientious about Pay Day or documenting what they did and when), of course we stopped with any allowance, and stopped helping with clothes (of course, when they head off to college we don’t help them with that stuff any more so this doesn’t apply to the older kids). Claire and Grace prefer to shop at Savers (second-hand thrift shop) for the majority of their clothes (for real), and request things like Dr Martens for their birthday or for Christmas. They also do these “clothing sales” with their friends which I think are pretty funny…they put all those Savers clothes and anything they don’t wear much on their Instagram accounts every now and again and “earn” money that way, which is so funny to me, but hey, I guess it works! As far as a job for Claire goes she has been on and off again with volleyball through this whole pandemic, it’s off right now but she is hoping there might still be a chance for a safe school season (looking slimmer and slimmer) so she’s waiting to figure that out.

      Lucy is an entirely different story since she does NOT like new clothes and I have to work her into anything new with textures and softness. But that’s not part of your question and phew, that’s probably more than you bargained for already but there you go! 🙂

  4. Kinda on the same line as Emily above but I’d love to hear your thoughts on how your parenting has changed from Max/Elle to Claire/Lucy.
    Were you stricter with the older ones or vice versa.
    Parenting is so fun and crazy lol

    1. Yes things have changed a lot over the years. I feel like we’ve become much more lax in some ways and stricter in others (mostly phone use). You’re right, parenting is an adventure and has to be re-worked over and over and over again. It’s not for the weak of heart, but it’s a pretty amazing job! If you have specific questions about what has changed let me know!

  5. Phones , phones, phones. 😢 ugh I agree with you I wished I had not only given them phones until later ( they got one at 14) but also I wish I had stricter rules from the beginning. I’ve seen how great and useful they can be and also how damaging to self esteem and ‘ meanness’ ugh . I used to naively think TIKTOK was harmless fun until another parent showed me some things on there which are literally right there you don’t even need to look for it . It was sickening. I try and educate my kids because in reality it’s not going away. However, I miss the days where by biggest worry was watching caiou because he was always whining or Max & Ruby wondering where their parents were lol

    1. I miss those days too! Things get so complicated as kids get older. I think open discussions are just so important, so I think educating our kids like you’re saying is so important!

  6. Shawni, I am wondering what you plan to do with your kids in the fall if school is all online? Would you enroll them in any particular online school, use a homeschool curriculum for certain subjects or try out whatever online program your public schools cobble together? Also, this would be very helpful: any advice on daily routines? We are 100% keeping our kids home this fall no matter what our school system decides, and this will be a first for us.

    1. Wendy, we are still trying to figure out what to do about that. We are starting online tomorrow but have been given options to do a “flex” schedule, fully online, or in-person after August 17th. Now that day has been pushed off but we chose in-person whenever it becomes available. Online was a huge flop for us in the spring…I mean, it was awesome for my girls because they didn’t have to do anything. Ha! But I do really worry about their education. I could home school, which could be a viable option, but both my public school kids are really missing school. I think in person schooling gives so much to kids not only mentally, but socially and emotionally as well. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out!

      If we end up being home for school, daily routine will be key. If I come up with any great advice I’ll let you know…as of right now I’d say write it down big (on a poster or something) for everyone to be fully aware of and let kids have input and ownership of the schedule so they’re more likely to be on your “team” to stick with it.

  7. I would LOVE to hear your advice on phones for teenagers. My oldest is 12 and we are not even considering it yet but I would love to hear your perspective of what you have learned and what you would do differently? Thanks so much Shawni! Your blog has influenced my mothering more than you will ever know!

    1. Thank you Jodee!
      Advice on phones is tough because each kid is so different. I know this may sound too simplistic, but I’d really open your heart up for promptings and nudges as you try to figure out the best route for your family. I wish we hadn’t given Grace a phone so early, so we held off for a lot longer with Claire…and maybe we’ll hold out even longer with Lucy, still trying to figure that out. I think it’s so good for kids to be the last among their friends to have phones…is that mean? Ha! But I think it’s good for them, and then once they get a phone, so good to have a “family contract” (wrote about that back here: https://71toes.com/2013/02/friday-q-technology-contrac/) and also have open conversations ALL THE TIME to help navigate each other (yes, teens can help in the navigation for sure…they need to feel part of the decisions and really, I think they have great input!). OurPact is a really good help for parents who are trying to help kids keep control.

      Lots more phone advice if you put “cell phone” in the search bar on the upper right of this blog…

      Hope that helps!
      Love, Shawni

    1. I know, it’s so sad. And happy at the same time! Gosh I love these guys so much! And they teach me so much!

  8. Hey there Shawni, it’s been a while since you posted I hope everything’s OK with you and yours.
    I so love your bright little corner of the Internet – you bring a lot of joy to people, And not just your beautiful family!

    1. Thanks for checking Sairey! I have taken a little break to be more present with my kids, it seems like blogging takes longer and longer! And also my Lightroom catalog had some issues so I couldn’t work on photos. But I’ll be back soon…maybe even tomorrow because I’ve got so much to document!

  9. Love these. Sure have been missing you, writing, photos and bringing and sharing all the happy.
    Hope you return. You really are a bright and shining light ! Take care!

  10. Shawni another question.. maybe you need to start your Friday Q&A again.
    What’s your rules with Claire/car/friends?
    Our daughter just passed her test, and she’s our oldest & I’m struggling to figure a few things out. As of now she doesn’t have her own vehicle. Does Claire? If so does she have free reign over it?
    Do you have rules about passengers?
    Does she have to pay for gas , insurance etc. Any rules on accidents etc. Ugh so much to think about, it nice hearing what others do lol

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