Yep, July…I have a goal to do one of these “little things” posts each Friday until I catch up. So here we go.

In the beginning of July we were in Newport, living it up with our cousins.

All about our time in our favorite family “place” back HERE.

We joined our friends in Coronado for our traditional 4th of July gathering:

Meanwhile Max and Abby were over here in China…and spent a weekend up in Beijing with all the other interns:

Gotta love that big guy in the front with all those girls! Ha!

This is one of my favorite pictures of him in one of the alcoves on the Great Wall:

(I love that my Abby is a picture-taker, Love you Abby!)

After California we made the road trip on over to Utah in prep for Bear Lake.

But first a little stop in Utah for a date to Music and the Spoken Word with two of my girls:

A cousin missionary homecoming:

A visit to my old stomping grounds (where Dave and I got married):

(all about that golden day in Utah back HERE)

And a volleyball camp girl drop-off in Provo:

The story of how Claire’s roommate never showed up and how she grew so much from that camp (how the “wind” can shape our kids) back HERE.

Then it was on to the glorious Bear Lake.

Where we drank in family and sunsets and beauty and the reunion.

Grammie Camps were first and I don’t have a picture but I have the best memories of all those grandkids just studying their hearts out to learn all this music and art in preparation:

And also trying to make sure they have all the grandparents and great grandparents down. These were Lucy’s notes of her ancestors:

It was seriously the sweetest to see them all huddled in little groups quizzing each other and learning such important things. Love looking over at church and seeing Lucy writing down her favorite scriptures she’s learned at Grammie Camp over the years:

Yes, those two parents of mine are creating ripple effects for sure with their grandparenting and I am so very grateful!

Lots more about Grammie Camp as well as Grandfather’s Secrets back HERE.

Some of Lucy’s notes that I love:

Bear Lake glory:

…And the reunion:

(My brother and his family pulled off a pretty fantastic “50 GOLDEN YEARS” celebration of my parents 50 year anniversary…lots more about that back HERE.)

After the reunion each year my brothers load up this van with a whole slew of their kids and head to up into the mountains of Oregon (where our family built a log cabin years and years ago…lots more about that really crazy idea my parents had back HERE).

Here they are getting ready to go:

I really need to do a post with some pictures of what they do up there…it’s pretty awesome camping/building/bonding and they love it. (Oh, actually I just searched and I did post a little about one of their trips back HERE.)

But I think we girls get the better end of the deal 🙂 I think I heard a few cheers when that van filled up to the brim with wiggly kids pulled out of the gravel driveway and left just us women with a few sweetie babies:

I forgot this picture in the “before and after reunion” post…these are a couple of my Bear Lake friend’s kids with our kids…so fun to have that second generation of friends at the lake!

Ok, way more about pre and post reunion stuff filled with some of my most favorite sunset ever back HERE.

Meanwhile Grace joined Max and Abby over in China:

It was all fun and games until Max and Abby took off to come home…Grace learned so much for that month over in China! I wrote all about the “Impossible” back HERE.

Dave had gone back to work by now, and the little girls, Bo Jangles and I said our goodbyes at the lake and made the long road trip back home to the desert with a stopover at this little cabin where the door wouldn’t work so we had to climb in and out of the window:

Which was a pretty fun adventure!

We got back in the nick of time before this place closed so Claire could get her DRIVING PERMIT!

So exciting for me because I love having drivers. But sad for me too because I’m realizing more and more how much I love being in the car with my girl! More about that driving girl HERE.

I don’t know why I have this picture but I do:

People sometimes send me pictures of temple visitors centers all over the world where this picture is on the wall:

Ha! If you haven’t seen that “I’m a Mormon” thing they came to our house and filmed years ago, check it out HERE.

I think I took this in the grocery store parking lot:

The day we got home we got to volunteer at a big refugee event where our congregation of churches in our area teamed up with Catholic Charities and Welcome to America to help newly-arriving refugees with the basic necessities to get their feet under them as they relocate here in the desert:

They asked me to take the pictures for the newspaper, so I have a lot more to share (all with photo-releases signed so don’t worry!), but that event mixed with so many thoughts from the comments on this blog from our trip to Uganda have sure made me think about service at home and abroad. I have so many thoughts to share about that along with more pictures soon.

Another great picture from China thanks to Abby:

And then these guys were en route HOME after quite an adventure over there:

We were so glad to get them back safe and sound!

And then it was time to get ready for SCHOOL TO START! Yikes!

Aubrie, our friend who cuts our hair, always comes over right before the new school year to fix us up:

Max and I did a little mending together:

Lucy met up with her mobility teacher and learned her way around her new Junior High:

Lucy wanted SO much to be able to navigate this new school all by herself and when there’s a will there’a a way. This sweet teacher got her so situated she did perfectly on that first day!

Lots more about how tricky that can be for Lucy back HERE.

The beginnings of volleyball began:

My parents had their actual 50th anniversary on July 30th. They went to the temple to celebrate:

…with all my siblings that could go:

My brother and I went that same day to celebrate here in the desert:

My brother gives out a “spiritual creation” award each year after the reunion. It’s always written up on a paper plate which makes it even more awesome. He awards it to someone who has really done some phenomenal things to “spiritually create” and that particular year and this time around it went very deservedly to my parents:

Love it!

We LOVED having Max and Abby around for a few days before they had to head up to get ready for Abby to start school (her school started a couple weeks before Max’s did). Late-night talks with these two:

And of course, games:

Not sure why this photo was in my “July” pictures but man I miss it!

(We were playing “sardines” for Family Home Evening and Dave was the last one to find us all and took a picture.)

Someone sent this in our group family text:

Kinda true in our family.

We do really like our dog.

My friend sent me this that I thought was SO GOOD:

We poured our hearts into getting Grace’s old room ready for Claire to move into. We sorted through so many piles of things in both Grace’s old room and Claire’s old room too trying to get everything situated. Boy howdy you can accumulate a lot of stuff! I wish I had pictures of every inch of this floor being covered in piles of STUFF we sorted through, but here it is the night before school started almost all situated:

FaceTiming with Grace as she went to work the next morning (she was sixteen hours ahead) while Claire got all her stuff ready for the first day of school:

And then, just like that, summer was snapped away from us, and the girls started school on August first.

More on that next Friday, for now, that’s a wrap for July!

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  1. I love your round white table. I’ve admired it for a while now. Can you tell me where it is from? Thanks

    1. This is probably the most frequently asked question on this blog. Maybe someone needs to go into table-making because we got that table made copying a smaller table I found at Pottery Barn. I couldn’t find a table big enough for what we wanted so we searched and found a guy who was able to do it for us.

  2. Where did you get your large lazy Susan? The only ones I’ve ever seen in stores are at IKEA and are too small for our table. Yours seems to be the perfect size!

    1. We found our lazy susan on Etsy. I should have kept track of the company, but if you google 36″ lazy susan you may be able to find something similar. (I added “walnut” to my search when I was looking because that’s what we were going for to contrast with the white table.

  3. Why did Claire move into Grace’s room? When someone leaves for college does the next kid in line move “up” into their room?

    1. It was originally Elle’s room, then Grace moved in when Elle left, and now Claire “lives” there. Grace and Claire used to share a bedroom and it shared a jack-and-jill bathroom with Lucy so there were three girls in there and they wanted to spread out a little bit (Elle’s bedroom has it’s own attached bathroom). It’s become sort of like a “rite of passage” to move up into that room left behind by the older sister when they leave home.

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