New Years Day was HERE.

And it was followed by family card games galore…especially while we had Elle home to hang with us.

We soaked in the golden carpet covering our neighborhood.

Lucy’s friends do these “food war” dealios where they create all sorts of creations with food.

Then they have us taste-test to be the judges.

They came up with some great wing-dingers.

Lucy further expanded her “Lego world” that happens to be taking over her bedroom with her new Christmas Legos.

She’s a master at those things and I loved getting to help a little on this roller coaster world.

(Sometimes she needs some help sorting out the tiny pieces.)

We set up some new year’s resolutions.  Here’s Lucy pondering what she wanted to set out to do in 2017.

Pictures from our Taiwan missionary:

I stole my middle girls off on a big hike before school pulled them back away from me.

I think hikes are the best way to get your girls all to yourself, and hey, beauty on the side?  I’ll take it!

Then my sweet niece came…and she and Claire turned into animals.  haha

I posted lots more about that visit including my sister’s family who came along after Hazel back HERE.

I adore the things Lucy comes up with in sacrament meeting at church.  This was illustrating Helaman 5:12 where it says “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation…

I love the sons and the rock…and of course, the shorts outfits.

Every now and again we got little updates on Bo Jangles as she was growing to get ready to leave her mama and come to the desert.

Random stuff from Max:

(On a side note on Taiwan and signs like this, I thought this article was kind of cool that my friend sent over HERE.)

Elle sent some cool lettering quotes she’s been doodling:

She’s thinking graphic design will be her major and she’s learning so much.

The most gorgeous sunrises fill up the sky just as Grace is leaving for school most days.  We had to go out and capture this one:

Elle sent me this pic because she and her friends visited one of my favorite places in Hawaii:

Oh boy, just thinking of their “wonder bars” makes me drool just a little bit…

We spent some time preparing for Bo’s arrival.  One FHE was at PetCo.

Can you sense some excitement in those faces?

And a tad bit of worry on that guy in the background?

Grace, Claire and I went on a little date to the grocery store to grab something or other.  When I realized I forgot my wallet, we had a little adventure using up the coins in Dave’s console.

Made for a pretty funny/fun memory I must admit.

Lucy’s Braille teacher sent me this pic.:

…from when Lucy made Braille Christmas card tags for all of us.

Just skip over these darn tree pictures if your sick of them, but I adore how our neighborhood transforms during our tiny segment of seasons here in the desert.

We went from being covered in gold to this:

…to these barren trees.

And I think it’s all just so gorgeous.

We watched my friends kids dance at the varsity half-time after one of Grace’s games:

(The little ones with the lipstick.)  Wow, they blew me away, they have got some serious talent.

We have this group family text where we send each other random things we’re doing.

I adore it.  Here’s a pic. Claire sent from school:

And Dave from the ski slopes:

And me from my perch at Lucy’s early-morning dentist appointment:

(We went super duper early one morning so she wouldn’t miss school…that girl hates missing school.) This dentist friend of ours and his practice are so good with her, so grateful for them!  They put on sealers to keep her cavity-free.

And all those pictures prompted Elle to send one from her sculpture class:

Her sculpture class has made me think a lot of “The Agony and the Ecstasy” that we read in my Virginia book club eons ago.  I learned so much about sculpture and Michelangelo in that book, and I know how difficult it is from my own attempts, pretty proud of these busts I must say.

One of Lucy’s friends introduced her to Webkinz (dang it!) and Grace posted this which I thought was pretty funny:

I love the desert.  Have I mentioned that?

I can’t remember why we were in this area when I took this picture but I love how that restaurant is set up in all that desert glory.

Speaking of the desert, some friends and I hiked to the “Wave Cave” through this desert beauty.

Yes, I’ve posted pics. of this one before…I love it.

…and love these great ladies too.

My favorite cactus friend:

I took this picture of my office:

I think it was to show how messy it was for a before and after picture.

But I never got the “after” pic.

Because it still looks like that unfortunately…

This room, however is coming together piece by piece which feels good:

We went on a temple visit with our friends who recently joined the church.

They were getting ready to visit for the first time and we wanted to take them on a little tour.

Dave and I love their questions and their hearts.  And love discussing the gospel with them so much.

Claire and her friend decided to take our tandem bike out to lunch one weekend.

Love that little independence coming through, they felt so grown-up.

Next up was the arrival of Miss Bo Jangles, and some more prep work at Target:

Oh man, those pet isles scared me I have to say.

But before we knew it, that little puppy was here.  And was enveloped heartily into our family.

As Dave drove her on the long journey home, the girls were dying with excitement.

Here’s our group text from that day:

…and the pictures he sent:

And the grand arrival:

But I wrote all the details about that back HERE.

Meanwhile, Elle who is DYING to be with Bo and is so excited to FaceTime to see her any chance she gets, had her own “animal encounter” over in Hawaii:


At some points through our adventures with Bo so far, I think I’d take that kind of adventure.  Ha!

Another neighborhood shot complete with a rainbow…

 Claire had a birthday:

More about that back HERE, but here was the following cousin celebration:

Josh had a birthday too.
Love that good man.

A Hawaiian sunset:

Grace’s friends:

Grace had a great little going-away party for her sweet friend who moved to Boston.

And cajoled her friends to all get up early enough to get to the lake to watch the sunrise.

Over the three-day weekend we let our older two girls head up to ski with some friends (and some uncles too).

Meanwhile back at home Dave and I got Lucy all to ourselves so we made the most of it and took her out on a little date.

Lots of cheering in January:

A lunch date with Claire who was needing a little TLC.

Needing enough of that TLC that I figured it warranted a “fingertip talent” session (explanation back HERE):

Yeah, that fingertip thing works wonders every time.

I got to do Art Masterpiece in Lucy’s class again.

I get to do it every month, because I don’t have a parent partner this year, and I have to admit I love it.

I cannot remember the name of this artist we were studying, but we used watercolors to replicate his work, and there had to be water involved in the scene somehow, with a Sharpie to outline it all.

I am always amazed by these 4th grade artists.

It appears that quite a few of them figured if water needed to be in the painting, so did a shark.

We went with old friends to accompany our new friends to the temple:

…and it was a pretty joyful day.

I can’t get enough of Lucy’s texts to her friends parents to ask for playdates:

It turned out to be a torrential downpour that day when the girls were supposed to be walking home so I raced out to find them.

I did, and they were walking right through that rain with big smiles across their faces, not a care in the world that they were soaked right through.

Bo Love:

American Doll love:

All of our kids have perfected the art of making “Apricot Chicken,” which seems to be our Sunday dinner of choice.

I cannot believe we don’t get sick of that dish.

I don’t think I’ve ever posted the recipe, but all it is is 1 c. french dressing, 1 c. apricot jam, 1 pkg. lipton onion soup mix all mixed together and poured over chicken breasts (usually frozen) and popped in the oven at 350 for an hour.  Oh, and served over rice.

Not the healthiest thing on the planet but easy peasy.

It was even gobbled up by our Chinese companions that stayed with us for a couple weeks near the end of the month:

We had the cousins over to meet them…and Miss Bo Jangles…and celebrate birthdays one Sunday evening.

Then it was on to MY birthday.

Yes, January is a birthday month around here.

Dave and the kids whipped up a great early-morning-birthday-breakfast before school for me, complete with presents, and a special note from Bo:

Lucy’s was pretty classic too:

Man, kind to me for a whole day??  I’ll take it!  Ha!

I got to go out to a birthday lunch with my sis-in-laws:

Love my mother-in-law and her sis-in-law and their cute relationship that I had to catch on the way out:

Further birthday celebrations walking Bo to pick up Lucy at the bus:

…and going out to dinner all together:

…and blowing out candles from some of the treats people brought by:

Seriously people are the nicest.

I always say this, but every birthday I feel more compelled to reach out to others more on their birthdays….people are so kind and good.

Especially these ones I get to live with:

…and these extras I adore:)

Lots of time with these two who were so patient being dragged around everywhere.

A birthday potluck for a few of us with January birthdays who serve in YW which my friend planned at my house since she knew I couldn’t get out much those few weeks:

Soccer date with these girls to watch a couple of my Young Women play:

Lunch date with Grace:

Lawn dates with this furry girl of mine to try to potty-train…which has become my life:

My high school is a big deal even over in China where these girls got this backpack.

Ha!  I love that claim to fame πŸ™‚

MUCH more about these cute girls’ visit back HERE, including Chinese New Year and juggling Bo.

I loved this paper Lucy wrote up in church after Dave told her the topic for FHE later that day would be about Jesus Christ:

I love how that girl thinks.

We read a lot in January.

…which I adore.

I was prepping for hosting book club here at our house which turned out to be funny and foggy (I’ll explain at some point), but such a great book…hopefully I’ll get to that tomorrow.

And on to prepare for Valentine’s day and be ready for February!

Sometimes I love to see things from the outside, which view I have a lot of lately since I spend a whole slew of my time out there with Bo.

It looks so calm and peaceful and even feels that way since from that vantage point I can’t hear all the squabbling and piano plunking and barking and whining…but for some reason that love still seeps out and fills it all up.

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  1. Hi Shawni! I love your blog because I always feel inspired to try a little harder to be a little better. 😊 Thank you for sharing your life with us. Also wondering…Is that a picture of the Savior in your office? Can you tell me what it is called?

    1. I had that painted while we were in China. My friend had found a guy who could paint anything and was getting one painted for herself, so I requested one too.

    2. wow shawn i didn't know you had that painted. the original is christ in red robe my minerva teichert. i used to sell prints of it in the museum store at byu!

    1. The one below the one of Christ is of an ancestral home. My mother painted it for me. I adore it. Some day I really will do a post on "walls" again…

  2. Love your monthly little things. I also LOVE the succulent planter in your kitchen ~ did you make it, or buy it? I have been searching for one, so if you bought it, would you mind sharing the store?

    1. I found that at an antique market a few years ago and filled it with foam and succulents. I often wish I would have bought a couple I could switch out for holidays, dang it!

  3. While I love reading all of your monthly little things filled up with intention & love, I can't help but get superficial and notice your great taste in design. I know you had a home blog at one time, but obviously life gets busy. Can you do a home tour post or snippets your rooms? Everything is absolutely gorgeous.

    1. Some day I'd sure love to get to that! I'm hoping some time this spring I can wrap up a few other things I'm working on and get to that, because it's been quite a work in progress and I'd love to have the process recorded.

  4. Always love when you post a new entry & love going back thru the old ones. ❀️ Is the puppy training/stage getting easier? 😁🐢❀️😬

    1. Yes it's getting better but boy this dog thing is a little nutty. Most days we think she's the best thing in the whole wide world, but there are other days when we think she might do us in! Luckily it keeps getting better and better so we're being patient and working hard on the training πŸ™‚

  5. Seriously, I want to be you! You just make this whole mom thing look so easy and fun (which I'm sure you'll contest, ha!)! Im usually good with my kids most times, but when you throw friends in our circle (which is daily) I just get all frazzled. How do you do it and so happily? It looks like your kids friends just love you! Love you blog, if you can't tell! Ha!

    1. Thanks Robin. Remember I don't take pictures when I'm slamming doors and kids are fighting and there's steam coming out of my ears…although I really should πŸ™‚ There is definitely lots of that going on right along with the glowing happy things, but life is good and I feel grateful for it every day.

  6. Shawni – Can you tell me the author of "The Report Card" mentioned in the finger "talents" post from April 2010? I can't seem to find the correct book! Thanks!

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