You wrote a post a while ago about having a very shy child and how you and your husband made a plan which really helped. My almost 5 yr old daughter is very shy around other people and is even uncomfortable performing (gymnastics class…) in front of her family. What exactly were you able to do to help?

We got that particular child involved in a beloved sport which helped, but to be honest, I think coming out of a shy-shell just takes time.  Remember “life is long.”  I was so incredibly, horribly shy growing up and I have come to realize that that’s an ok thing to be.  We live in a world filled with so many people who love to be in the spotlight that we think that’s normal, when really sometimes that quiet, more restrained child may be happier and more well-adjusted to life.  

I wrote more about shyness back here.

What age would you recommend kids start extracurricular activities? Did you find certain ones were better than others? 

I’d say wait as long as possible!! 🙂  Extracurricular activities have the ability to take over your life and pale in importance-comparison to helping children be kind and loving and to serve each other.  There are no extracurricular classes for that.  Every child is so incredibly different and needs such different motivators on this so Dave and I have been all over the map on our stance on extracurricular things.

I wrote more about all this back here, and here, and here.

Have you ever had to deal with jealousy with your daughters? Such as she is prettier,smarter,thinner,more popular… I want to prevent that from happening with my girls.

We haven’t dealt with too much blatant jealousy yet, but I’m sure we will at some point.  We do have four girls, after all.  There are certainly little back-biting remarks and huffy comments made here and there, which points to jealousy for sure.  Dave and I are all for prevention on that topic as well.  We try really hard to find particular talents of each girl and praise them for them.  (That’s where the “talents-on-fingers” sure comes in handy:)  I make a point of stealing them away from school and taking them each out to lunch all on their own once in a while to connect with them and lavish them with love (more on that back here).  I think that if girls know they are individually unique, and have uniquely wonderful talents they will have the confidence that will repel jealousy.

I hope.

Something pulled my heary strings in this post- the part about fitting in the most important things in first- and your “improving scripture study” mention on your to-do list. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately!! You said more on that later- so just wondering if you have tips on making what’s most important happen first- before everything else creeps in. 

Our new ward was challenged at the beginning of school to read the whole Book of Mormon by Christmas.  Dave and I took on the challenge and because of that we have both been cramming in that book every spare minute we have.  I can’t believe what a difference it makes to have the scriptures be a bigger part of my day.  When I wrote that on that post (the “life is long” one) I totally had a plan to read the scriptures first thing every morning…which hasn’t worked.  Every morning is so different and it seems like I’m always rushing off somewhere.  But I have been trying to write down a note about what I read that week in my journal each day though and that helps me internalize things a lot more.  My sister has been great about this (inspired by a little discussion we had at Bear Lake last summer) and wrote some awesome scripture ideas on her blog over here.

I have not commented before, but do you and your husband have any BIG disagreements on raising the children, and if so what are the ‘issues’ usually about?

It is surprising how “on-the-same-page” Dave and I are with our parenting.  Maybe it’s because we were both raised in families with nine kids.  Who knows?  We do disagree on a few things but not big ones.  I want our kids to earn more for sports camps and he wants to provide them opportunities if we can.  He’s more strict and doesn’t put up with excuses while I’m a total push-over most of the time and I’m SO grateful for that.  I’m more laid-back and not such a worrier which he’s sometimes grateful for, but sometimes it drives him nuts too 🙂  

Max lives in a sea of young sister/their friends, in a recent survey that SHOCKED me, it said 87% of boys have seen pornography in some ways by the age of 11, and 6 universities were surveyed and 100% said they had seen in it in some form. How do you protect Max, and is it a huge concern? 

So scary.  I don’t think you can ever be too careful with kids and all the stuff on the Internet these days, and I feel like we should always do better than we are doing.  I wrote more about this in answer to a question back here, and also a little tiny bit here.

***Oh my word, my inbox labeled “blog questions” (I move all the questions I get on this blog in that handy little “folder”) is so seriously overloaded.  I’m going to start trying to answer the more simple questions in the comments section where they are asked to alleviate that, so be sure to check there if you have a specific question about something in a particular post.  (For example, I just answered the Japanese curry question in the last post lots of people asked 🙂

In closing, I love Lucy.
…and her bushy eyebrows.

…and friends who make it not so hard to wear glasses.

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  1. Great post!

    Just a suggestion, think about downloading Disqus to your comments because you can reply directly back to that person, and they get an email letting them know you responded. It has helped me manage comments and questions from friends and making sure they got my answer!

  2. Hi, when I see Elle in pictures I'm amazed at how cute her clothes are. I'm just wondering where she shops most and do you two still shop together? How do you two stay close and communicate with each other so well. I'm really trying to keep a good connection with my mom. One more question… has Elle ever had a boyfriend? What do you think is a good age to start dating? Thanks!

  3. Meagan, great idea!

    Trish, I got that shirt at Old Navy a few years ago. Thanks for the compliment 🙂

    Elle gets her clothes from random places…Gap, Tilly's, Old Navy…we love when we get hand-me-downs from her styling friend too. None of us are great shoppers around here but she has gone a handfull of times with friends, and I think Forever 21 is a favorite.

    I have found that the best time to talk is late at night…and not to let her get away with one-word answers to my questions 🙂

    She doesn't have a boyfriend, but has someone she "likes" and who "likes" her back. Which in the realm of her world means they say hi to each other in the hallways 🙂 She's pretty set on waiting to date 'til she hits 16 which is the guideline in our church. More about that here:

  4. I hope this comes out the right way, I know that your family has made Lucy's eating/exercising habits a big priority and those adorable pictures really show how healthy Lucy is looking these days. As a mother of two small kids who would eat junk food all day if they could I know it must be difficult to keep your whole family healthy and I just wanted to tell you what a great job you are doing! Way to go Lucy!!

  5. Shawni,
    You make life look like a dream, but do you ever have a bad day? I'm talking the stay-in-pjs, hair not done, don't answer the phone or door kinda of day?

  6. Your blog is wonderful with so many great tips with a great family. I'm a middle child -like Grace and Claire -and I often wonder, after looking at your blog, if they feel bad about the fact that they aren't pictured on there as often as the other three. Middle kids are so often unconsciously over-looked. And it's hard.
    I guess I too often go the other direction and feature my middle kids more often than my older. It's a hard balance.

  7. Hi Shawni,

    Totally conscious of the fact that you're overwhelmed with requests. Just LOVE your blog. I'm actually Catholic, but see a lot of similar values in my faith and yours.

    Just a quick question… I'm sure you once mentioned that you don't allow your children to have sleep-overs. Can you direct me to your philosophy/guidlelines on this if you've written about it, and how you handle the backlash?

    You are one amazingly inspirational mother, and I get so much fuel as a mother from you. Thank you. 🙂

  8. Thanks so much for answering my questions for me! 🙂 I checked out the website you directed me too and I love it. I love the morals you should live by. Thanks so much, and I'm definitely going to check out forever 21! I love the 16 year old rule, it's becoming more of a peer pressure thing to date and I like how Elle stays strong to her morals and beliefs. Me and my mom have started talking at night before bed and I feel like it's really helping so thank you! 🙂 I just wanted to mention that I love the support your family provides for Lucy and she is in our prayers to lead the healthiest life possible! 🙂

  9. I have a question – I was wondering about your TV policy in your house – right now when your kids are older, and what it was when you only had preschoolers that were home all day (and driving you crazy and them watching TV was the only break you got…)? 🙂 Please let us know!

  10. I just spent the last two months reading every post on this blog since you began in 2007!!! Sunday I caught up. It was my mission to complete it before grad school started! (I didn't quite make it, hence the little bit longer time). Props to you for documenting your life so well–a post practically every day for 5 years, and going strong! I laughed, I cried, I ogled your pictures, I pinned traditions I want to start, I kept showing my husband how adorable your kids/house are, scribble down photography tips in case I ever take the plunge and get a DSLR camera and great editing software, and talk to my sister and sister in-law about decorating and parenting ideas from you (although I have no children of my own) and want to build my own cabin at Bear Lake!

    You truly are an inspiration–and I adore your whole family, parents, siblings, children, to the point it's almost creepy- but it would appear I'm not alone in that love, from your other comments! (my husband recognizes your kids when he glances at the computer screen) and I keep convincing myself I see Dave or Grace running around my current town. It's great. Not to mention the dreams I keep having (we're up to 3, as of today) of meeting you and telling you about how I read your WHOLE blog and you were just thrilled as all-get-out about that fact, and just as friendly as could be to my ecstatic self.

    Sorry for the novel! Just wanted to send you one additional love-note of appreciation for your ideas, zest for life and motherhood, and representation of the LDS faith. I think you're great, and always look forward to your posts. Thank you, good luck, and keep going!

    I would love to purchase a nature canvas (I assume) of yours and to support the I Love Lucy Project, but the link on your sidebar is out of commission! I would love an updated link to that, or more information when you get a moment!

    Bless you.
    an adoring fan. 🙂

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