April ended with my nephew and niece-in-law’s beautiful wedding back HERE.
So May began with still a whole slew of cousins still lingering in town…and a couple birthdays to be celebrated.

…and new babies to teach to smile:

Oh man I am related to a whole bunch of baby lovers I tell you!
I got to go on Lucy’s last field trip of the year with her and the rest of the third grade.

We went to the musical instrument museum which was quite amazing I must say.

I mean, they even had instruments from my beloved Romania there which Lu and I were quite excited about.

They had one of the drums used in the Chinese olympics:

(Dave was completely in love with those things.)

Those girls up there were pretty in to the Taylor Swift stuff.

And I had to get a picture of John Denver’s guitar for my Dad.  John Denver was always our music of choice on daddy/daughter road trips.

Lucy and I had to reminisce about China a little bit with all the Chinese drums.
I already talked a bunch about spring hikes a bunch (here and here ), but I missed this one.
We took our group of Young Women on a hike in preparation for trek (which I wrote about a couple days ago HERE).

Loved being with that girl up there.

And watching the sun set on my beloved desert.

Oh man I love this place.

Elle whipped up her own graduation announcements in photoshop:

And she hand-wrote each address in beautiful calligraphy.
We did a little spring cleaning.
Lucy’s closet went from this:

…to this:

And she was pretty proud of it.

I live by one of my college girlfriends and another one came in town so we got to hang for a big:

(Love you Briggs!)
These cute friends decided to do a service project one day:

They baked cookies and biked them around to people they thought needed a little cheering.

Love them.

Grace and Lu had a little bonding time…

Claire’s friends had some pretty fun birthday parties.

…and Elle’s did too.

The mothers of Max’s best friends and I have bonded over lunch a few times talking a thousand miles a minute about our boys out serving missions all over the world.
Speaking of Max, we got to talk to him in May (on Mother’s Day…you can tell by our faces how we felt about that back HERE).  
This little note above from Lucy was also pretty awesome.  I mean, she is my “sweet child”…at least most of the time.

A family FHE bike ride.

These seniors tried their darnedest to figure out a good “senior prank.”  They came up with a water balloon idea that went bad, so they opted to bring a whole slew of wheeled paraphernalia and ride it around in the school one day.  There was everything from scooters and bikes to rollerblades and heelys.  I’m not sure how it all panned out in the school, but here they are outside the school after their victory ride on their wheels.
I was never introduced to the greatness of senior pranks when I was in high school but apparently it’s a big deal in these parts. 
We got school pictures.

Love that I get to hang with these girls every now and again:
We are smack-dab in the middle of the sending-off-kids-on-missions stage and two are in the sending-off-kids-into-marriage stage.  So crazy!  Love commiserating with them.
I got to have a little day-date with my cute neighbor:

We caught Elle at her part-time job babysitting:

Claire and her friends made the club soccer team they worked for:

Not sure what we’re getting into with club soccer…hope we survive!

Here’s Elle and her friend after going running one night (I think):

Elle was gone a lot during May.  I think she was getting us ready to let her leave us.  I have a few pictures she sent me from all her “stuff” going on though.  
Her job chart looked like this (top one) pretty much all month:
We are cracking down in a few weeks when school starts…I wonder if the hurricane of activity will die down a tad with only three kids at home?
Our little fruit trees we planted last year got attacked by birds.

But we were able to salvage some…

…and they were pretty dang delicious I must say.
Lucy’s friend hurt her foot.  I think it was a sprained ankle.  She literally prayed for her every single night.  One day in church the kids got to go up and sing during the main worship meeting (I think it was for Mother’s Day).  When Lucy saw her friend stand up and walk up there in normal shoes she was so happy! All her prayers had worked!  She immediately got to work writing this up for her:

Love that little girl so much.

Elle did some advertising for a fanny-pack company:

Church graduation party was back HERE.

School “Golden Scholars” assembly was in the same post back THERE.
And the extended family party is back on that same post too:
Lots of mission calls coming in for Elle’s best friends.

That one above is going to Ghana.  He’s gonna do so great over there!

I got to be in the school for a lot of things at the end of the year.  One of my favorites is always Art Masterpiece.  (More about our last projects in the last post HERE.)

Another one of my dear Young Women (from when I was their leader back in my last ward) got married:

I love that I get to celebrate with these girls and also their families who I adore:

These women (above) have been such mentors to me over the years.

And this guy…ok both of them…they’re the best:

I don’t know who took this next picture, but I think it shows a little of the love I have for that little flipper of mine.  
Her “Flips” performance is back HERE.
Loved this pic. of all the cute girls we’ve carpooled with over the years:
Young Women pre-summer leadership planning meeting over lunch:
My mom came to town for all the graduation festivities and we were pretty happy about it:

Baccalaureate (back HERE).

Seminary Graduation:

(Back HERE.)

As we were celebrating all that hoopla, my sisters Saren and Saydi went to England to help with a baby shower for my baby sister Charity who lives there.

Oh boy I sure wish the timing wasn’t so intermixed with all the emotional things my heart was so tightly wrapped up in right at that time.

Luckily my mom and I got to be together.  We sent them a few pictures to make them jealous πŸ™‚

And also luckily they found “me” at the church there in London and took a little picture together to send back to us.

So it was totally like we were all together, right?  Ha!

My sister just had that sweet little baby bundle last week and we are all over the moon about that newest little nephew of ours.  He is perfect!  I’m sure Charity will write all the details on her blog soon.

Among so many other things, my mom helped with piano practice:
And my Dad kept the neighborhood kids entertained with popcorn.
Seriously though, what other twelve-year-olds would sit and be entertained by a grandpa for an hour?  He is the very best I tell you!
Some of our best friends’ daughter got married in the beginning of June.  We were so sad we had to miss that amazing celebration, but felt pretty happy we could all be there at least for the bridal shower.

I can’t believe life is coming to WEDDINGS for our KIDS!

Love that I get to go on dates with this guy each weekend:

We got to go be with some of our friends who’s kids were going on missions for one of them.
Last day of school hoopla is back HERE.
…and graduation for both these girls is back HERE and HERE.
All month the front of our fridge got a make-over, hung with more and more pictures of so many kids we have fallen in love with over the years who graduated right along with Elle:

We utilized our pool ultra well for the month of May.  Oh boy.  It was filled with friends over and over and over again.

Lucy decided she needed to have a few friends over the day after the last day of school, and I’m a sucker for Lu and her friends.

My brother Josh held his end-of-school party here too.
We always have it at our house except for last year when the pool wasn’t built yet.  Luckily my great neighbor came to the rescue that year.

It’s always so great to get to know all the great families he gets to rub shoulders as a teacher.

…and all the great kids too who adore him SO much.

I sure love that brother of mine.
Trek was the best.

Lots more about that HERE.

My friend’s oldest daughter (Elle’s friend) took care of our little girls while we were all away on trek.

I don’t think those girls were too sad about that arrangement πŸ™‚

And then it was on to trip preparation for our big family trip.  My brother above is giving us some travel tips showing us pictures from when he was there.

And the little girls and I read Heidi in preparation for Switzerland.

I must say, we all adored that book.  I want to be more like Heidi and I hope my kids do too πŸ™‚

And then, in a mad dash, we were packed up and out the door…off on a pretty exciting adventure:

May was quite a month for the books.

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  1. Hi! I've got a question about missions if yourself or one of your lovely readers has a minute to answer? Do girls go on missions? I see many posts about sons going on missions but not as many of daughters? My understanding was young mormans had to go on missions or is it more a family expectation to do so? Are teens who choose not to go on them looked down upon in the church or their family at all? Thanks for your time! πŸ™‚

    1. Not sure why surry99's comment is gone, it was great. But here are my thoughts: YES girls go on missions. I went (one of the best experiences of my life), all my sisters went, and a few of my friends went. When the mission age was changed for young women from 21 to 19 it upped the number of girls going for sure. Quite dramatically actually. Now a ton of girls go and I think it's so awesome. Young men have always been strongly encouraged to serve missions, not so much with young women. There have been a lot of posts on this blog about young men leaving because of Max and his friends, and now Elle's guy friends are starting to leave (they can leave at age 18) but I'm sure once Elle's friends who are going start leaving I'll have a lot more to say about sister missionaries. They are incredible!

      There are certainly youth who choose not to go, or who come home because of health reasons or other things and for some it's tough emotionally because it's such a cultural thing. I think it's just human nature to worry about stuff like that (kids who come home or who don't go, or church members who want the best for them) but hopefully everyone knows that everyone else's choices are personal and what works for them may not work for someone else.

  2. Josh is my nephew- and you're right! He's going to do awesome in Ghana!! He's one of six from our families that will be out in the next few months. We are going to have some major letter writing Sunday's around here.

  3. I LOVE the idea of graduate announcements! I am from a small city in Canada and I've never heard of them. Maybe it's an American tradition? It is such a great way to announce next steps because it's hard to keep track when people are going off in a million directions. I also remember, Shawni, that you are so great at Christmas announcements. I have friends who are members of the LDS church here in Canada and they always send us Christmas greetings. I'm really going to have to start adopting some of your traditions! Looks like an amazing May full of memories!

    1. I'm with you, kms. That senior prank idea is incredibly ridiculous and it wouldn't fly in the area where I live. Kids involved would not be allowed to walk at graduation and parents supporting might be wiser helping these teenagers ease into adult responsibilities in a more productive way (and I live in Utah). And seriously people don't get so butt-hurt when someone doesn't agree with everything you do. A little outside criticism can help gain better perspective and a view outside a narrow mormon window. But hey, that's just me. I guess I was lucky having one parent who was mormon and one that was not (still married after 46 years, btw). I just don't understand why everyone gets so offended at kms…..can't she have a valid opinion without everyone having their tender feelings damaged or think she must be so miserable because she doesn't clap at everything you do…..sheesh!

    2. Nope. Not Mormon. Never have been and never will be. I'm not even American. Have never met Shawni and probably never will. I'm just amazed how someone can seem so miserable and down about every possible little thing. There are enough heavy things in this world and riding scooters in a high school is hardly one of them. Lighten up and enjoy life a little!

    3. The first attempted prank that went bad was the water balloons. In other states there would be seniors not allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies and other activities like the Utah mom mentioned. Hard consequences. In Arizona they go back and think of alternative pranks? I'm sure the students who were complaining about how the school closed off that part of the school where the water balloon prank was attempted and were forced to be outside in the heat and take longer to get to their classes through the remaining hallways that were open were NOT having fun. This is likely the senior prank that went wrong angering students and parents incident that made the "off beat" news in the States. In fact the reason that it made the news were the students were inconvienenced. I certainly didn't expect a mom to publicly post a picture of the seniors participating in the second attempt, but since school is over I guess there can not be any consequences anyway. She still has kids young enough to attend the school someday.

    4. Oh I am sorry it's taken me forever to get back to this…I just remembered I meant to come back (I was out of internet service when it first came in). I have to clarify that I sometimes write these posts so quick that I get things out of order. This biking/transportation prank was first, and was totally great with everyone involved including the administration. When I said I wasn't sure how it all panned out in the school I didn't mean with the administration, I just wasn't sure if they took stuff to classes? Up stairs? I just know that the administration didn't have a problem with it and neither did I.

      After that I think some kids just wanted to take it to the next level and came up with the water balloon idea, which I don't know all the details about, but the administration wasn't happy. Some kids were not allowed to walk graduation and it was taken seriously.

      I'm sorry it came out in the wrong order as I typed fast here to try to get through all these happenings and I can understand your confusion. I agree with you that students should be respectful but I think it's great when they can mix the respect with having fun as they wrap up their high school career.

  4. Wow, my life is quite simple and uneventful in comparison…qq where does Elle get her outfits – she has beautiful taste and if she shops at chains I would love to head their with my daughter as she prepares for her senior portrait.

    1. She doesn't have anywhere she loves in particular. She just grabs stuff here and there…probably most of her clothes are from Forever21, Target, and Old Navy.

  5. I love those pix of Grace reading to Lucy, they really touched me.

    I love their special bond & how much they Lucy looks like Grace.

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