In the beginning of January (and the beginning of 2019 too!), we found ourselves entrenched in the frigid, snowy, beauty of Utah.
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I posted about that Utah trip and New Year’s Day back HERE.
We had come up to help Max and Abby move into their apartment and ski.
We were good at the helping-Max-and-Abby move thing (that was so much fun…all about that HERE), but we were not so hot at the skiing thing.
Because it was COLD there I tell you!  And we are desert wimpy.  (Dave actually was brave enough to ski but the rest of us bundled up and hung with lots of family and friends.  All about that back in that same post (HERE).
The day after New Years these girls headed home:
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And Lu, Dave and I headed to Wisconsin to visit our favorite BBS doctor and his awesome helpers.
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Meanwhile Elle was living it up over in Portugal (and Spain, but I think she was done with Spain by the new year).
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Finally all gathered back at home we began the happy/sad chore of taking down Christmas and getting life into gear before school started again.
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We took down all the faces of families we love that have adorned our kitchen all through the holidays:
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(I took pictures of some of my fav. Christmas card ideas and posted them back HERE.)
Still some lingering wedding gifts and an ornament-stripped tree for a couple days:
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We took advantage of the liquid gold we could squeeze from our back yard:
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(back HERE)
Some of our most dear friends from our old church congregation have a New Years party every year.  (It used to be a Christmas party, but December got too crazy so they moved it to January, which was good).  
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I love this occasion so so much.  So many of the people gathered have been mentors to me and Dave for years.  We lived in that ward (congregation) in what I refer to at the “Golden Years” (yeah, yeah, it’s still “Golden Years” now so maybe I should call this older phase of life “Golden Years Phase 1”  
But we lived there during our years with copious children clinging to our legs and throwing tantrums in the halls and so many of these couples had older kids or were emergent empty nesters and they taught us so much through their examples.  Love them.
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Claire’s club volleyball sure made a grand entry into the new year.  There’s a lot of it.  
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And she loves it.
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Meanwhile Max was getting ready with the BYU team for their season to officially begin.
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I think this is the alumni night (Abby is awesome to send pictures whenever she can).
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Our neighborhood continued to morph, trying to decide whether it should be winter or fall or spring.
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January is really all three here in the desert sometimes, it can be confusing 🙂
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Grace went on a “mini mission” which means she got to accompany these darling sister missionaries for two days through all they were doing.
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We had to do a little cajoling to get her to go, but this is how it all ended:
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She had the best time.
Lu and I continued our walks to school, and sorry but I have lots of documentation of that, the sun rays slanting at our backs, Bo trying to will Lucy to go just a tad bit faster.
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…long shadows in the morning light.
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January was a big birthday month.
My friend had a big birthday.
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…and my other friend thought of a good commemorating balloon to help her remember how old she was turning 🙂
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We rode bikes downtown and got breakfast to celebrate.
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I found this note I thought was sweet:
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It is true, her name is derived from the Latin root for light and I’m so glad she knows that.  Hope it helps her turn the dark times to light…and the dark pre-teenage moods to light too!  Cause boy, are we ever hitting those.
Dave and I went up to see the first two season BYU volleyball games.
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So much joy in watching him out there on that court I tell you!  Lots more about that back HERE.
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We got to hang with these two a bunch up there and boy do we love them!
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(All the other details of that trip back HERE.)
This is where we work out:
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Well…in January at least we were both still going there…now Dave is training for another half ironman so he doesn’t have time between the three-hour bike rides and miles-upon-miles of running…and of course there’s that little thing called work too…  So impressed with that guy and his will power.
My birthday-biking friends and I decided to take a waterfall hike day trip:
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…which is pretty cool to see smack dab in the middle of the desert.
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I found some new good recipes:
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(That one is HERE, hope I’ll get to posting some more soon!)
My brother had a birthday.
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Have I mentioned how much I adore this guy?  And how grateful I am that we get to live next to him?
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Loved Lucy’s creative note to him:
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Our neighborhood was socked in with fog one morning.  You can’t get the full effect from this picture, but it was so gorgeous:
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This happens a lot:
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Sometimes multiple times through the night.
Weird.  I hope it means I have the heart of a marathon runner rather than that I’m slowly dying….
I love this place, and visiting there whenever I can:
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My childhood friend from England, Sarah, always sends us the sweetest Christmas gifts:
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Love that girl.
It was suddenly that time of year when the seniors make teams and try to be the last ones standing with getting everyone else out with water guns.  
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..ANd there are stand-offs and alliances and boy kids sure get into that!  It took over Grace’s life for a week and I have to admit I might have celebrated just a little when she got out (sorry Grace!)  
Came across this picture and I love it.  Love that boy with all my heart.  And those smiling girls too 🙂
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Don’t you just get so proud of yourself sometimes when you make something cool in the kitchen?  Is that just me?  
I was kind of proud of myself for whipping up this french bread to accompany dinner one night:
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I’m pretty sure that happened to be the night when I had like twenty-five other things going on in the kitchen…Should have taken a picture of that humongous disaster on the counter behind me…
Got to catch up with these friends at a random last-minute dinner one night:
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Grace and I had a little impromptu tennis match.
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She CREAMED me.  
A little humiliating but mostly exciting 🙂
We have a family Marco Polo that I love.  Sometimes you just need to share beauty-walks through a spring-like day:
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Another cousin left for a mission…how crazy that he gets to now talk to his family every week!
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Love that kid so much!
When a missionary leaves I sure love gathering with Dave’s family.  Of course, I love gathering with Dave’s family always, but love things like this that bring us together more often.
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It seems like life with older kids tends to spread us out further and wider and we don’t get together as much.
I sent this picture to my brother Josh.  He’s really into astronomy and I knew he’d be watching the “super blood moon” that night.
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And then he sent me this one right back:
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…and this one:
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Yeah, I’m pretty sure he wins.
Not that there was a contest, but LOOK AT THOSE BEAUTIES!!
Bike rides through sunny days:
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Birthday prep for this girl:
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Don’t you think she looks so pleased with her mother in that picture?
I’m pretty sure she’s saying something like “oh, my mom is the best!” in her mind in that picture…
This girl has changed in a couple months probably faster than any of my other kids did.  
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Yowzas she’s growing up!
A little traditional birthday cake:
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And friend gatherings of all sorts throughout the day:
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(Lot’s more about Claire’s birthday back HERE.)
I snuck off with this guy for a few days:
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And we got to hang with this girl:
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(She painted that board.  Pretty cool, right?)
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(More pictures from that trip back HERE.)
Our flight pulled in back home (red-eye), and within a couple hours I was headed back to the airport with Lucy in tow to get to Wisconsin to visit some doctors.
Needless to say, it was a little bit of a change in the weather:
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We went from that Hawaiian set, to a desert sunrise:
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…to a Minneapolis twinkling evening pretty lickety-split.
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I’m sorry if this is a little bit too much information, but I want to remember a little of how this journey went…they needed a 24-hour urine sample from Lucy in Wisconsin and we didn’t want to go a whole day early just to hang out so we collected through our travels.
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Fun stuff right there!  Lucy was the best sport about all that, and we had a pretty fun date I have to say.
We were so happy to finally get to the hotel!
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Especially since we were driving through swirling snow.
Lucy is a pretty fun companion.  We listened to “Wonder” on her wiz-bang cool computer she gets to use through her Braille teacher:
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Woke up to this winter wonderland in the morning:
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…and got to do fun things like blood draws and finger pokes for a few hours:
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Love that good girl of mine.
While we were gone, we missed the Children for Children concert:
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…which went off without a hitch without us and which I wrote all about back HERE.
Grace went to state for Student Council, and this is all I have to show for it:
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Grace, give me more pictures!!
Oh, here’s a good one from the wedding that somehow got filed in my January pictures…
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Love those good friends.
And that girl put in a LOT of work on her BYU-Hawaii application.  Here we are I think right after she hit “send”:
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(She pretty much planning on Utah State, but wanted to see what would happen with BYU-H too.)
That was also when I had a giant blood blister under my eye.  Which was another fun addition to the month.
January was the month we started our 2-hour church time block (rather than three) and we started really trying to help the kids give our little “Come, Follow Me” family lesson after church.  More on that soon, but I love technology where I can take a screenshot of the parts of the lesson I want my kids to teach, text it to them, and voila, they can prepare a little something:
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More volleyball:
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And our new family “ONE WORD” which is Connect this year:
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(More about that “one word” back HERE.
So a new little chalkboard adorns our kitchen counter where the old family themes have sat for the last couple years.
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(And yes, we might need to organize that little jumble behind it…)
And that wrapped up January.

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  1. Love, love, love your blog, been a long-time reader (years), and I absolutely Love the "Little Things" posts! I just want to say that you and your family (both immediate and extended families) inspire me everyday. What you all share is very special, and something I want to create and have in my future family with my future eternal companion! Still looking at 40, but I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who will provide those opportunities when the time is right! Bless you all!

  2. Hello! I love reading about how you and your family (extended and immediate) keep in touch even when dispersed throughout the world. You mention Family Marco Polo. Would you consider writing a post on how that works (do you use an app or text message) and how everyone seems to enjoy it (of all ages)? My family is across the US/globe as well and I'd love to find a new way to keep in touch and share day-to day things with everyone Thanks!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Marco Polo is just an app you can put on your phone. It's perfect to keep in touch with family all over the world. You record a little something from your life and send it along and when everyone else does the same it's just such a fun way to connect. One of the keynote speakers at the I Am Mom summit is the founder of Marco Polo and she explains it well there if you want to check it out. Good luck!

    1. I happened to have a doctor appointment right after I wrote this and I did speak to her about this…she said the low heart rate is fine as long as it's not accompanied by other symptoms, which it's not. I've always had a slow heart rate but I didn't realize it was that slow! I appreciate your concern!

  3. Hi Shawni! I send a instagram message to Elle when she was in Portugal, since she was asking some advice!She even came to my city. I hope she enjoyed it 🙂
    Now I'm waiting for the rest of the family, and maybe I can give a little tour 😀

  4. Every few months we have a bright orange jug filled with pee in our fridge for 24 hours bahahaha!!!! Its become second nature lol. My 16 yr old daughter has a very rare genetic kidney disease so we've learned how to do all kinds of weird gross things and we laugh along the way! Thank goodness our family isn't shy!! 😉

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