Man alive, I need to get all the “little things” that have been going on lately written down before I can even start to get to documenting the end of school hoopla.

Which, by the way, we are smack-dab in the middle of.

And it is killing me. 

Anyway, Elle and I have spent a lot of time here:

And because she’s so in to Instagram she utilizes my phone to document life quite often.

We are working hard on our green-smoothie concoctions and have tried a bunch of recipes from the comments in this post.  (Thank you for those btw.)

I’ll have to post our favorites when we get them figured out.

While Dave was in China our friends threw an “old fogy” party for their husbands birthdays complete with a shuffleboard tournament.  Almost everyone dressed up and there were some pretty funny get-ups.

These two were the party throwers. Gotta love those outfits.
Some of us were wimpy and didn’t dress up.  I would have been more festive if Dave was here with me.  (I know, lame excuse.)
Before I began my month-long-out-of-town-a-whole-bunch thing my heart started to ache.  I knew all the things I was going to experience were going to be good…good for me, our family, etc.  
But I knew I was going to miss my kids like the dickens.  
I knew I would long for the gift of the “ordinary day” more than ever.  
So I soaked up those kids of mine with everything I had.  The weekend before I left the little girls and I had a spa night.
That picture really cracks me up of Lu.
We did facials and by the end of the night their little faces were glowing.
(I didn’t have the heart to tell them they were glowing before the night even began…how I love to stroke those perfect cheeks of theirs on a regular basis.)
We also did pedicures:
…while we watched The Muppets.
Let’s note that Max and Elle are nowhere to be found.  
That is because they’re teenagers, and are gradually feeling like their friends are much more fun than sitting home with your mother bathing your feet.
The little girls are still smart enough to know when they have a good thing coming πŸ™‚ 
We also went and saw Mirror, Mirror for Family Home Evening one night in our pajamas. 
Yeah, we really did go to the movie like that.  We had so much fun except that the movie was not my favorite.
They gave me this to commemorate my year with American Mothers. 
It was very nice except that it set off some alarm trying to get it through security at the airport.  Dave and I were dying at the check point because they took forever since the alarm meant it had bomb-making traces on it.  

It turned out the machine was faulty and the American Mothers were not trying to make a bomb after all πŸ™‚

The good news is that we still made our flight and were able to get back home without going to jail.

My sis-in-law (and her cute baby) came to help me check out our new house and give me advice on how to sell the things we won’t need with the remodel.  I’m overwhelmed with that little project.
One night Max got a hankering for a manly dinner.  
Somehow he found this recipe and begged me to go to the grocery store to get the needed ingredients. 
As soon as I picked up my jaw off the ground I did just as he asked.  
I wasn’t going to turn down a chance to have my son make dinner for us. He’s awesome at making cookies, just not food with much substance.
Here he is making the sandwich masterpieces:
Let’s look at that a little closer:
There we go.
It is unfortunate that I did not get a picture of the finished product, but maybe that’s for the best because my mouth would be watering too much.  They were pretty much to die for. 

Way to go, Max.

I love when they do funny backgrounds for school pictures.
Here’s Lucy enjoying a beach:
Grace was there too:
 I like that Claire’s picture shows off her typical cold sore. 
We obviously didn’t worry too much about hair that day…
My Mom stayed with us for a day after we got back from London.  Oh how I love any time I can get her to be an influence on my kids.  I had to take a picture of her wearing her neck pillow because she lost it like three times on our trip which had us laughing to tears by the last time.  I just can’t believe it actually made it back to the states.
Lucy had the typical pre-school water day at school:
I adore Lu’s eyelashes.  They are so long and they curl up so perfectly to frame her bright blue eyes.
A babysitter did this to her hair the other day.  Is that cute or what?
I may have already posted this, but Max occasionally gives Claire piano lessons when he needs a little extra cash.
One of the cousins got baptized.  Claire adores her…can you tell?
Dave and I went to lunch after a house appointment last week.  Behind us in line happened to be two people from his mission in Taiwan who don’t live here.  How small is that world?
Elle had a rough tennis tournament.  Luckily her Nana and Papa were there to cheer her on.  She’s now a member of the USTA and they step it up a notch in those tournaments.
She sure did a great job though.  And I reminded her how “good” “hard” is a few times.
I already talked about the end of Claire’s soccer season, but I forgot to put in the last game.  
The second-to-last game was hot as blazes. 
We all thought we’d fry in the sun.
But the last game was freezing.
Claire tried her darnedest to pay attention when she played goalie but she was shaking like a leaf. 
We got that remedied by bundling her up in my sweatshirt, but then we ran into the hair problem:
Who was the mother who let her child play soccer like that? 
Oh man I love that girl.
…and this team.
Lucy got casted for orthotics.  Her feet are SO flat.
I sure hope this helps.
…and I hope we can find even wider shoes to accommodate the orthotics…we already have a bunch of trouble with that.
When I was in Utah for the motherhood retreat I got to run have lunch with my friends before the retreat started. 
I sure love those girls.
Max wrapped up his volleyball season without me.  
This was the last game I was in town for:
Oh, and this is an older one I never posted but I like how it shows how intense his coach was:
Even despite all their cheering from the bench, this second-to-last game was their first loss.  They were completely undefeated until these darn private school big-shots came along πŸ™‚  They were SO close to beating them but just couldn’t pull it off.  
As they left the gym I was so sad…not really because of the loss, but because it was the end of the season.  It has been such a fun season and Max has learned and grown more than I can express.
I don’t have pictures, but Dave and I went to the Varsity state championship matches (with Max, but not really with him because he wasn’t about to sit by us πŸ™‚  They were SUCH great games, but our school lost in a heartbreak in the semi-finals.  
My friend had a birthday.  We went to dinner.
And we gave her this card I just have to share because it may just cure me from being a non-card-person (I usually like to just give a pretty printed card…not necessarily some fancy thing):
Is that not the best?  
Do you want to be a card person now too?
I may have shared this before, but I got to go into Lucy’s room and read for Dr. Seuss week.
…and hey, seeing that hat picture can’t get old, right?

Max has been scrambling to get his grades up.  If he wants any chance to get into BYU (or Stanford, or Harvard, or wherever…) he has to keep a 4.0.  We are crossing our fingers. 

That is a post in and of itself for later.  I’ve asked everyone around me ’til I’m blue in the face what they do to motivate for good grades.  If anyone has great words of wisdom please send it on over.

I am valiantly trying to turn my family into bookworms. I’ve discovered that if I expect them to be bookworms I better become a little better one myself.
This summer is it.  I’m making us all readers if it kills me.

It has been abnormally hot and so we have put the pool to good use. 

Lucy has had two different swim lessons going on simultaneously and I am SO happy that she is really getting it. 

She is even confident enough to jump off the waterfall.

And I’m confident enough to watch her and not have my heart stop still.

She even dares to take the slide.

Love this one:

Ouch.  That’s gotta hurt.

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  1. For good-grade motivation: We pay $10 per "A" and $5 for an "A-." B's or lower get nothing. If there are straight A's (no A- 's) they get a $100 bonus. This can be done 4x each school year, once for each term's report card. Yes, it's kind of a stretch, but it does motivate our kids and so far our first two girls have gone to college with pretty much full scholarships based on their great grades! (so the theory is that it saves us money in the long run).

  2. i love the little tid bit of posts! I already worry about what school my kids will want to go to , and my oldest is only 8! LOL Never to early right πŸ˜‰

    I love to read, and Grace my oldest does too, i am sooo hoping my others follow me and not their dad in this!!

    ps, can we have an update on the new house πŸ™‚

  3. Hello!

    I am one of the other moms that was featured on Shannon's blog last week. I was honored to be asked, but when I saw that you did it too, I was quadrupled honored to even be remotely connected!

    I have been following your blog for awhile now and love every post.

    You are an inspiration.

  4. Love the catch-up post!

    I am a fairly new reader and wanted to comment to say thank you. I have been reading your blog for several weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed going back through some of the archives as well…a beautiful family indeed. I was super inspired by your family's practice of scripture and prayer together each morning, before the day runs away. We have now begun that practice in our home too, and it has been such a HUGE blessing in the few days we have been doing it. In fact, this morning as I was walking down the hallway towards the kitchen table where we gather, I peeked in and saw my 6 year old son reading his Bible on his bed. When I asked him what he was doing, he responded with, "Mom, I am looking for some scripture to read and share with everyone this morning!" It took my breath away, and my eyes stung with tears…they are again just writing this. Such an uncomplicated thing like rising a little earlier to kick off the day together with scriptures and prayer…making a HUGE impact on our little family. So thank you!

    I can't wait to see what huge things God is going to teach us as we journey through scripture together each morning, and I pray heaps of blessings over you and your family as well!


  5. My parents have always guilted me saying I was a disgrace for getting bad grades. They always say they are ashamed and don't talk to me.
    I find however, that if I am motivated by myself I get better grades. Because of all the pressure by them, I am terrified to get bad grades.
    Sometimes its more important to do your best than get good grades. And, self-motivation works to.

  6. Yeah–there is life outside of BYU πŸ™‚ or the ivy league. Getting a 3.5 will you get you into any decent school and as a hiring (HR person) some studies have shown that those with less than 4.0's make better employees. The idea being that they are more open-minded thinkers, think outside the box, think idependently not just obey orders, etc.

  7. You probably already have tried, but for Lucy's feet have you tried "Keen" shoes? I have a friend who has to have wider ones for her leg braces and that is only brand she can wear, because you can take the inside out and she can fit her brace and foot.
    Hopefully you find something that works.
    Love the everything post!!

  8. I didn't know that flat feet had to be treated. Both of my girls (especially my oldest) have flat feet. Is this something I should be having checked out? She's due for a check-up soon. Maybe I'll mention it.

  9. I have been reading your blog for a while now, and have never commented to say thank you! Your love for your family and dedication to your children is sweet and inspiring, and I appreciate you sharing that love.

    I'm mostly commenting about getting into BYU. I did that whole process last year and man oh man is it stressful! You do have to have good grades! But if it's any consolation–I got in, and I didn't have a 4.0. And my ACT score wasn't high as the sky either. Work him hard, but don't feel too much pressure. πŸ™‚

  10. On green smoothies: I find that if I blend just the greens up first, that it turns out much smoother. Also, lemon or lime juice (fresh) is my favorite ingredient. It masks any unpleasant flavor that might be lingering from those greens. Have you checked out She has a whole collection of recipes.

    On BYU – grades and ACT scores are certainly important. The recommendation of his Bishop, Stake President and seminary teacher are also very influential. And, I believe they also like to see kids who are excelling outside the classroom in other activities (like volleyball, etc.) Sure, getting a 4.0 great…but doing sports and other activities and pulling a 3.8 is more impressive.

    My parents paid me for good grades too. It was a nice bonus for my efforts, but I didn't aim for the A's because of the money. I did it because I wanted to go to BYU.

    Has Max gone to any camps at BYU (or another college he wants to attend)? That's what sealed the deal for me. When I was 14 I attended a week long music camp at BYU and I was sold! It was a great experiences and gave me a taste of what I working toward.

  11. I've been reading your posts for quite some time and I love it all! Thank you for being so honest and open.

    As far as reading – my parents used to create lists on the fridge for each of us and if we hit a certain number of books we got a prize that varied from ice cream to choosing games for game night, a special dinner, or a new book (which was always my choice) and those things were motivation enough. Generally the size of the prize increased as the number of books did.

    I'm a teacher and have seen everything (I mean EVERYTHING) as a reward/motivation for grades. I think it obviously varies from family to family and child to child. I'm always impressed when students seek out extra help at lunch, afterschool or in the morning. And I generally remember that when it comes time to grade things. Seeing that motivation, determination and solid effort can help.

  12. Oh am I ever on the same page with the readers/grades issue. My boys do well, but there is no sense of urgency or ambition. At least to my satisfaction. πŸ™‚ I guess I would love to have some words for them that will motivate…what is something I can say that will make an impact. Incentives are fine, rewards can work. But having the fiery desire to meet goals is what I want to nurture. Love having this forum to seek advice and guidance!!!!

  13. First, I have to comment on that picture of you driving with your leg up! Both my cousin and my sister drive like that. My cousin has an autoimmune disease and I think I remember you saying you have one, too, which makes me wonder about my sister.
    Anyhoo, being an almost graduated high school senior, I have to say that a lot of motivation to get good grades is going to have to come from Max himself. Encouragement from you will help, as will making him sit down and do his homework (:

  14. In my opinion the motivation for good grades has to come from inside themselves. Parents can encourage and even reward (we don't reward with $$, we reward with a fun family activity). I had a friend who's parents "made" her get good grades. She felt extreme pressure and had panic attacks for a "B". He did end up with a 4.0 in high school, but in college said "forget it" and had fun and flunked out. I think putting the pressure on for a 4.0 doesn't make for healthy children.

  15. I just wanted to stop in and tell you how much encouragement I get from reading your blog. You truly have a blessed family!

    PS I second the request for updates on the new house!
    Also, can you share more of your daily schedule? As in, cleaning, errands, summer at home with the kids etc. Thanks!

  16. By the end of this post I was actually crying from laughing so hard! Laughing that hard is good! Thanks for catching us up on what's up there…the good, the bad and the hilarious!

  17. I just found your blog and I love it!
    My oldest just graduated from high school. She starts at BYU in the Fall. She had a 3.8 GPA and a 26 ACT. She has done a lot of service but no sports. She did take some tough classes too. They do look at seminary and ecclesiastic endorsements. I think living outside Utah increases your chances of getting in as well. Good Luck!

  18. I just found your blog through another blog and I just love it and think your family sounds very special. I am not married or a mother yet, but your reads make me very excited for it one day.


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