I just got back from London last night.

My Mom and I went to attend a conference there for Lucy’s Bardet-Biedl Syndrome. We learned SO much and met some of the kindest people. We also got to go visit my sister who lives in London for a whirlwind visit filled with planes, trains and automobiles. SO much more about that when I can get all my pictures situated.

Dave was still in his two-week-plus stay in China for work (yes, I really did say two-week-plus, and we have been withering away missing him), so the kids had a patchwork of amazing babysitters and friends while my Mom and I were gone.

My heart was wilting without them so it was so great to get back to them and snuggle them up last night.

We had an English taste-test for Family Home Evening: (Which I can hardly remember because of the jet-lag fog, but I think the milk chocolate Hobnobs came out as the winner. I personally like the dark chocolate digestives best but whatever.)

I sent them off to school this morning with “I Love London” paraphernalia covering their backpacks and lunches packed with Hobnobs.
Claire marched out the door proclaiming that London is her very most favorite place in the whole wide world “even though I’ve never even been there” so whatever I told them about it must have worked 🙂

In the meantime before I can get all that we did there situated on this blog, here’s a post I wrote a bit ago trying to catch up with some of the little things happening around here lately:

I don’t know what the world is coming to, but I let my two teenage children go with every teenager in the desert to see the midnight premier of The Hunger Games.
Yes that one movie where children kill off other children.

When you think about that it sure does seem crazy.  But we had all read the book and were dying to see how they portrayed it in a movie.

When they asked why I wasn’t joining them I told them I couldn’t stay awake that long (their friends’ moms accompanying them were much younger than me and could handle things like that). And then it hit me: I am OLD.

I wish I had taken video footage of all those kids sprawled throughout the outdoor mall waiting for the excitement to begin when I dropped off Elle (although I know part of the excitement was the waiting part), but here is the crew who picked up Max:
There was a time period a while back where we could not find new jeans for Claire. I really did try to make it to the store, but man alive, her size is rough to come by.

So she just wore these puppies for a long time:(I love how nice her shoes are too…)

When Claire produced her new school picture from the depths of her backpack I had to laugh:
I’m glad whoever was in charge chose to highlight those things right there in the front row.

Let’s go ahead and take a closer look:Yeah, I think I may have opted to put her in the back row. Maybe they couldn’t turn down her cute face for the front 🙂

Sometimes Max and I get to go to lunch. On game days the volleyball team dresses up for school.
I think he is hot stuff.

Sleeping beauty:
Lucy doesn’t seem to grasp the need for pajama pants.

Max and I went and got tested for what was causing our crazy seasonal allergies. Our appointments were a day apart from each other. They pricked my back with all sorts of things I may be allergic to and told me they’d be back in fifteen minutes. On her way out the door the nurse peeked her head back in and said, “Oh, by the way, you may start itching. Don’t itch if you do.”

Oh my word for crying out loud my skin was positively crawling to be itched by the time they finally resurfaced to check my back.

I guess the reason is because I’m allergic to practically every single thing they tested me for. I tried taking a picture of my back but the angle made it too tricky so I was excited I got to take Max and help him not itch for the itchiness the next day.

And I was excited to take a picture too:
Yeah, he has some allergies.

It turns out our numbers were almost exactly the same (except most of his were a few points higher than mine).

We are allergic to pretty much every tree and plant that grows around here.  So it makes sense that stuff like this (the soccer complex parking lot) causes some problems.Luckily we got some preventative things to help us when that hits again next year.

I had to snap this picture at a fireside at the church a couple weeks ago:
Max is a little taller than his friends…

Lu and I have a little routine every morning.

As soon as the big kids leave we head up and have a little special time getting her ready and making her bed.

I help straighten the comforter but she does the rest, and boy howdy it sure does take a long time because she has to line up all these “guys” just so:

We did the quarter trick to Claire for April Fools Day.We all got a big kick out of that one.

My kids use school supplies to their full potential:

Max made a hatchet with his group at church.

I have to admit, it turned out pretty darn awesome.
Lu could play “pretend” all day long from sun-up to sun-down.
(I’m so glad we pulled that little picnic table out of my friend’s trash heap…we have used that sucker SO much.)

It was Field Day at school.

Since Grace is in Student Council she has some special duties when it comes to days like those.
(It looks like one of those duties is that she has to get wet…)

She’s had such a great time with that this year. It doesn’t hurt to have awesome teacher leaders:
I think this picture gives away how Claire felt about field day:

She suckered me into taking her to lunch after I volunteered over there.
I think her hair-do (post water games) and my lip (winding-down-cold-sore) are a pretty good match.

Lu got to go on a special field trip with her school.

One of the local Jr. High Schools puts on a special carnival for the integrated preschools around here.

She was SO excited and made sure I put her sunscreen, hat and sunglasses on just like her teacher instructed.
I sometimes wish I had an ounce of the power her teacher does with that girl.

We had FHE riding bikes over to our new house.

Here’s a sneak-peek of what it looks like:

I love this quote:
(for more about our “quote chalkboard” click HERE)

The Easter Bunny gave Lu some sand stuff for Easter.
She pretty much uses it every day.

Too bad it’s over 100 degrees here this week. We’re gonna have to shift to using those gems in the pool instead.

Since Dave was in China, my brother Josh took the girls on their annual “Daddy-Daughter-Cowboy-Date.”
They sure had a great time.

This picture explains perfectly how fun it is to take four kids to the mall:
(I had the common sense to leave Lu with a babysitter.)

That’s why it only happens once in a blue-moon. Only when we’re really desperate after we’ve finished our spring-cleaning-grand-closet-clean-out. (see the part about Claire’s jeans above:)

(More on that later.)

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  1. My two oldest kids are the same age as yours, and a boy first then a girl. They also read the books and went to see The Hunger Games. My son went with a group of friends which consisted of two girls and a boy. The boy (who is 16 drove). Now, these are all REALLY good church friends, but I had to laugh and think "did my 15yo son just go on his first double date?". Oops. My husband took my daughter, who really isn't fazed by much. I didn't go because I hadn't read the book yet. I finally finished it on a trip, and when I got home went on a date with my hubby to see the movie. I liked both–interesting and entertaining.

    My two sons also share my allergies (my girls have none). I feel for you guys. Hope you get feeling better!

  2. Great update! Glad to hear you had a lovely time in England, I love the FHE you did with all the English treats! I find it so funny because I think digestives and hob nobs are the most boring biscuits ever…I always pass them by in the supermarket, but on the other hand I think graham crackers are the best thing ever and maybe in America graham crackers are pretty standard biscuits too – I guess it's just the allure of something different you don't get in your own country! Can't wait to see all your pics of the UK trip!

  3. Oh Hob Nobbs are a fave from my MIssiom in Ireland. I would have to agree with your kids. Try warming them just a smidge and they are a little chewy and even more scrumptious.Can't wait to see pic and hear more about London.

  4. What a great update! Thank you for sharing. I absolutely love following your blog; you are such an inspiration to me, especially with your patience with your children. I have an almost 11-month old who HATES to sleep, and let me tell you, your posts save me some days!

  5. These are my favorite kind of posts. I love the little moments of life the very best. You do a wonderful job of capturing the moments that make motherhood so rewarding.

  6. Really glad you had a great time here in the UK. I like m&s digestive biscuits, they're a bit more exciting than
    McVities etc. I don't like hob nobs much as I don't like anything with bits it.

    Do you have Jelly Babies in the US? I bet your children loved tasting all the different sweets:)

    I bet you found it quite cold here compared to Arizona.

    Happy Belated St. George's day:).

  7. Maynards are English candy? Dont you have them where you are? Up in Canada you can most of that anywhere (except the Hob Nobs- never heard of that!)

  8. Oh how my heart aches for London. I was born and raised in Leeds, England, But served my mission ( the same time as Jonah), IN London. I was in the Deaf programme. Anyways, i love and miss London. It was so fun to see some 'home treats'. We are quite fortunate, here in Canada to get quite a bit of UK food. Hobnobs can be found at superstore now ( for the Canadians!!!.. Shawni, we also have a British Food shop here, so if there is anything you or your kids are craving, let me know, i would be happy to get them to you!!! ( heididressel@hotmial.com)

    Also, i can't wait for more pics of you new house, i love love the street by the looks of it… can we have another Peek soon!!

  9. An amazing trip to London! How gorgeous and HUGE your new home is!? I love Claire's class picture – it's so cute and NOT the standard picture. My kids class picture is so 'far away' you can't see the kids very well in their cute outfits and personalities showing through. Send those picture people to the West Valley! 🙂
    Love reading about your family and your wonderful kids. Nice to know I'm not the only one who's allergic to all of AZ – good luck!

  10. I have been reading your blog for a while (only as a lurker, sorry!). I just wanted to comment and tell you I love what your blog stands for. I never get tired of looking at the pics of your cute family, and get inspiration to be a better mom (and not beat myself up about the times I am not the best).

    I feel like you capture everyday family life so well (like the beat up notebook) and am jealous you will have such a good 'scrapbook' of the day to day to look back on. Thank you for putting it all out there on this blog for the rest of us to enjoy :).

  11. So cute, Claire and her jeans. Oh the woes of finding girls jeans…I am losing my mind and our middle girls are only 10 and 12. (I'm assuming Claire is hard to fit?)

    The only ones that truly fit our two are the slim fit skinny jeans from Old Navy and GAP, but wouldn't you know, they don't have them in our town! Online shopping is a lifesaver.

    Love the new house–can't wait to see you in it. And I hope you don't mind, but we just installed a two sided chalkboard in our hallway. One for quotes and one for notes. Did you know that wet erase bright pens work on chalkboards?! I just bought a set–so fun and bright on the black.

  12. Shawni, those holes in the knees of Claire's jeans did my heart good. My poor Eliza has been wearing jeans like that to school since February. Why? I can't make it to the store either! I just cringe every morning she walks out the door, but the girl loves to slide on the grass (left knee is always the first to go) and we're burning through denim like crazy. Part of me doesn't want to buy new only to buy again in the fall. Anyhow, I laughed hard over the class pic. Truly, who was in charge of that one??

    I love the happy way you move through life, giving so much to your family. I admire you.

  13. Remember that crazy girl who ran up to your car when you were dropping off Elle at the Hunger Games??? Then she proceeded to tell everyone she saw she met "THE SHAWNI" Yep. Best night of my life! 🙂 HA.

  14. I think you should go see Hunger Games with your husband. I'm curious as to what you really think of it.

    I've had quite a few family members tell me that the Hunger Games movie made them physically sick and that they were disturbed by all the violence.

    So I don't think I personally want to go see it. I don't like to see people or animals hurt/suffering/being killed or brutally murdered. But I'm sure I'm in the minority since Hunger Games seems to be a really popular/cool trilogy and movie right now.

    Anyways, I love your London pictures and I can't wait to see more of them. I also love the everyday pictures and the sneak picture of your new house – beautiful!

  15. Hi again,
    Which ward & stake is your sister in?

    I haven't got Justin's book but I plan to.

    By the way everyone, Justin is Merrill Osmond's son who is deaf & served in the deaf mission in the UK.

  16. I am always amazed at how you manage to zip around the world Shawni! I get too intimidated to do all that traveling, but I stand in awe of you.
    And those allergies-OH MY! I remember taking myself and my son in and I thought it was bad that we had 2 little welts. That is AWFUL what you both have. I feel for you both…not fun!

  17. The best gift is often the Abercrombie & Fitch we buy ourselves. Not to be unappreciative, but I love shopping way too much to believe someone (even with Dolce & Gabbana Sunglasseslist in hand) could ever do it as well as I do. When buying for ourselves, shopping can be a high.Franklin and Marshall hoodies I’ll admit I’m addicted, but don’t think I have a problem. Louis Vuitton SaleI know I know, the first step on the road to recovery is to admit you have a problem, but I just don’t see Christian Louboutin Boots that way. I’m content being a shoeaholic, and wouldn’t have it any other way.Vibram Fivefingers Kso

  18. omg. your house is freakishly huge! man, i wish i could live in that house! or a house like that! if you don't ind me asking, where do you live? it is like the best neighborhood i have ever seen! and have you guys already moved? 🙂

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