We started off July in California:
I talked all about that trip back HERE.

Then we went straight to visit my sister and her family at “the farm:”

All about our farm experience over HERE.

And then directly to Bear Lake:

I talked about our arrival in that gorgeous place back HERE and the big reunion over HERE and HERE.

My mom did some awesome Grammie camps HERE.

And then we headed to California once again.

Let’s keep in mind that we drove a LOT in July.  With this pup in tow:

Here’s a video to show some of the action:

Yes, that Bo was pretty good.

So were the rest of the girls.  Sure, there were squabbles and frustrations and eye-rolls and super sore booties from all that sitting, but there were moments where it was just us and the road where it was kind of magical.  For me.  I don’t know if my girls would call it magical (Dave wasn’t with us a lot of the time).  But I hope that some day down the road they will look back and remember it fondly:  That time together where we talked and listened to “Little Women” and were just there.


My favorite little part was when we talked about ten year plans.  Each of the girls told me what they thought they’d be doing in ten years.  And I loved hearing them give each other advice and work on their visions of what those futures of theirs hold.

We had our own little family time in California after Bear Lake which I haven’t posted pictures about yet.

So I’m just going to let them tell the story of our family time there (but we can’t really call it “Family” very well since Max AND Grace weren’t there…we missed them so much!)
I’m sticking in my little summer re-cap I wrote to my sisters so I can remember all the other stuff too (my sisters and I write an on-going email with little tid-bits from our daily lives so we can keep in touch).
Here’s my summary of favorite summer things:
–Deep missing of Grace.  Realizing in so much more depth the wonder of that girl who is sparkling over in China, putting in her best and learning more than she ever bargained for.
–Bear Lake arrival with a gray watercolor sky looking like it was sinking into the lake creating so much beauty as a backdrop to hugs and smiles and cousins instantly picking right up where they left off last time they saw each other.

–Sunset sister walks, the sky filling up with such exuberant colors and the conversations filling me up with so much love for the women I love more than I can say.

–Dinners working together in that hot kitchen filled with love and admiration for each other.
–Eyrealm meeting and such a deep gratitude for Mom and Dad and the systems and ideas and goals they have had through the years to come to this.  So grateful for siblings who are aware of the world and seeking to spread light and goodness.

–Waterskiing with Elle and Jo and Ana and Ash in the old Mastercraft.  Such a love for that brother of mine and for skiing and for those great getting-older cousins who are so wise and good.
–Peter’s face when he realized in great surprise that he made it on the “winner” side of the court for Live-Ball.
–Overwhelmed with love for the people I get to be related to, by blood and by marriage.  I don’t want to ever take it for granted that my favorite people married more favorite people.
–So grateful for Mom & Dad’s spiritual creation of that place.  Wondering what Dave and I can spiritually create for our own family.

–Newport beach arrival to tacos and a walk a block away to see the sunset running into five families we know from home, including two of Max’s best friends who just got back from their missions.  Seriously so crazy.  Loved it but glad we were staying much further down the beach away from the whole arizona crowd.
–Morning paddle board date with Dave through glassy water surrounding amazing multi-million-dollar boat houses
–bike riding through alleys in Newport, trailing behind my family I love with the sun slanting creating halos in their hair.  I really cannot say enough about how much I loved those bikes, Lucy on a tandem, everyone smiling, so much beauty everywhere
–Sworkit work outs with sisters at the Lake and then with my girls at a grassy area lined with palm trees bordering the ocean.
–More squabbling among Claire and Lucy.  Realizing I need to zone in on that more, be there, encourage, train.
–late-night card games, finding the ingredients for cookies, morning run with everyone to get acai bowls.
–SO MUCH DRIVING!  Over fifty hours in the car, some where my booty was so sore I thought I might die, but mostly beautiful…I love road trips for real.  Little Women, Bo breaks, Nibs, some with Dave, some with Elle, some with Sayds, most on my own, Bo curled up on my lap

Then back to the desert where we jumped into getting school schedules:

Projects with friends:

School supply shopping:

We went to the lake with our in-laws and the cute boy they had staying with them from Denmark:

And then got braces for Lucy and Claire (the lake and the braces are back HERE).

Cousin sleep-overs:

And you see how Claire’s mouth is closed in these pics?  She wanted to surprise Grace with those braces when she got home so she was extra careful to close her mouth in all pictures we might send her, and when we did any FaceTiming.

(Grace got home only two days after she got those puppies, but still, she worked hard to keep them a secret.)

My friend had an open house for her son who is getting married…I love these ladies!

Another one of Max’s friends home from a mission…and this one was actually in Max’s exact mission:

 So fun to talk to him.

All these girls happened to wear denim to church one Sunday…so I took a blurry picture:)

 Meanwhile Grace was over working her tail off with all these cute Chinese kids:

And she finished reading the Book of Mormon from cover to cover.

And another meanwhile, some of Elle’s friends were in and out of town, and one was leaving on a mission.

 So they all gathered for the farewell at church.

This cute kit was baptized into the church not too long ago, went off to serve in the Navy, and decided he just really wanted to serve a mission.

So he’s off.

We gathered Dave’s family to end off the summer and catch up with what everyone’s been doing.

I love them.

We have a running joke at how deep this couch is:

How’s that for an intently-listening aunt below?

Ah yes, Lu is so lucky!

Grace arrived HOME safe and sound.

And we were pretty dang excited to get her back and hear about her adventure over there in person.  Oh boy.

I wrote about some of the things she did in China HERE, and about her arrival back HERE.

And THAT, my friends, is a wrap of the summer…and the grand month of July.

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  1. Love these recaps. Your life is so different from mine, and it brings me joy to peek in on your story and compare it to mine. Thank you for all the things you make me think of! Have a good day, Shawni. 🙂

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