On a side-note to that title, MFME (Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm) has kind of morphed into “ME” (Mothers of Eyrealm) since now everyone is a mother, but we discussed calling it “WE” instead (Women of Eyrealm) since some of the grandkids are now turning into women and may join us before too long…and although we talk quite extensively when we’re together about motherhood, we also talk a lot about wife-hood along with parent-hood and woman-hood in general so “WE” may fit better.
But I still love how MFME sounds so I’m sticking with it for now 🙂

I mentioned back HERE how my Mother seeped a love of art into our bones, (and took readers on a little tour of the SF MOMA), and I also talked about how my Dad seeped a love of nature into their marrow.

Both were appreciated in full-scale-glory on this trip.

That last post is all about the man-made art that we saw:

…and this one is more about the God-made art that surrounded us on every side.

We hiked to take it in.

We soaked it in through car windows as we drove…
We took it in through the two babies who joined us there:

(Charity’s and Kristi’s)

I loved watching these young mothers with their babies and getting to snuggle them up.

And the conversations we had in our little airbnb had a little of God’s beauty mixed into them as well in my opinion.

We soaked in the beauty on a morning run/walk too.
This world of ours sure is a gorgeous spot.  And Northern California is overspilling with so much beauty right now.
One pretty amazing spot to soak up beauty was at Filoli.
I had never heard of this place, but it was pretty breathtaking!  It’s name is made from the first two letters of the original owner’s “motto:” “FIGHT for a just cause; LOVE your fellow man; LIVE a good life.”  
It was built in 1915 by a prominent San Fransicso family, the Bournes, and was bought (and saved during the great depression) by the Roth family after the Bournes passed away in 1937.
(Lots of history about this pretty amazing estate over HERE on their website.)
Mrs. Roth was an amazing gardener and made the gardens into quite a masterpiece.  The Roths donated their estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975 so that others could enjoy all that beauty.
And boy oh boy did we ever enjoy it.

We happened to luck out that it was pure tulip season when we were there, and these suckers were blooming madly everywhere you looked.

Tulips are my favorite flower in the world.

…so bear with me here with all these pictures of them 🙂

The other flowers were pretty spectacular as well.

Everything was pretty much drenched in flowers and blooms in those acres of gardens.

My sister Charity was in town from London for a wedding (hence the timing of this whole gathering, we gotta take advantage of being close when we can since we’re spread so far and wide across the world these days!).  But my sis-in-law Anita, who lives in Switzerland couldn’t make it.  We missed her!  But I loved this day because she joined us walking through those gardens via FaceTime and it felt like she was right there with us.

Loved that.

We got to take a tour inside as well.

So interesting to think about how these people lived.

My little sister Charity who had lived in this area before (and showed us around like a pro when my girls went to visit her years ago back HERE), figured out some pretty great places for us to eat.

And she also had a sick baby.

Poor Moses was the sweetest but just kept not getting better so one afternoon she and my mom took him to the doctor to figure out what was going on, even though she had taken him a few days before with no conclusive results.  They just wanted to be sure all was well before they took off on their flight back to London.  And Kristi was ready to give her sweet baby Faith a good nap.

So the rest of us went to visit Muir Woods while they were gone.

That place is incredible.

We stopped by the GGB en route back to our little house:

…and a beach at sunset…

…daydreaming about the houses that have this view:

En route home we fount out poor baby Moses had pneumonia and an ear infection.

So glad to get some good medicine for him and see him getting a little stronger the last day there.

…back at the farm.  

Where we went to Saydi’s church and helped teach a lesson in Relief Society about “the Joy of Repentance” and came back to snuggle up all these kids before we all headed out.

Moses was starting to smile again which was pretty great.

Saydi has her own mini version of Muir Woods right over the little river next to their house.

So much beauty in that spot!

I had to experiment with my iPhone to see what kind of shots I could get with it:

Saydi is a wonder at all the balls she’s juggling there on the farm.  Home-schooling and planting and cooking and organizing and loving it all up like an expert.  Her blog with lots more details is HERE.

And while we were gone my brother Noah and Saydi’s husband Jeff had been holding down the fort with all these ten kids (baby Faith not pictured), having taco-eating-contests and taking care of the land, and each other.
…while the wounded sprinter sat there covered waiting for some window replacements.
Good to be reunited and have these five of us nine siblings back together in that beautiful spot.

Dave held down the fort with these girls pretty wonderfully back at home.

So grateful for him to help make this MFME dealio happen.

I came back to real life, that included this:

…and a suitcase full of good momentos to remind me of all that beauty.

And a mind filled with all kinds of ideas and inspiration to pull up my bootstraps and dig deeper in life.  To love more and be a better follower of Christ.  So grateful for all those great examples I learn so much from every time I’m with them.  Even when cars get broken into and mothers are up all night with sick babies and things don’t turn out as planned, these ladies I get to call my own take it all on and roll with it pretty beautifully.  
And I sure love them.
Especially that dear mother, who is humbly and lovingly the leader of the pack.


  1. I love love love how much the women in your family glean and support, teach and inspire each other!! THAT is what true women and mothers do. Thank you for sharing!!

    Also – super curious about the farm…That is my hubby's dream, which is starting to grow on me. I'd love to hear more about it! Does Saydi have a blog?

    1. i am another of shawni's sisters piping in to say yes saydi has a blog and it is soooo awesome. i seriously love it so much. it's bostonshumways.blogspot.com

    2. Thanks Char! Yes, Saydi's blog is pretty great, she is such one of my very favorite writers, and it will show you much more of this farming adventure. I put links to her blog in the other posts about her that this links to but I think I forgot in this one…thanks for the reminder (just added it). Also Charity's blog is pretty outstanding as well. It is here: http://drippingwithpassion.blogspot.com/

  2. I am a long time follower of your blog and one thing I constantly wonder is how you all get together so frequently. This might sound weird, but with so many different people, I would think there would be lots of different dynamics going on. I came from a large family and we were close as kids and growing up but as adults….not so much. I couldn't even tell you the last time we were all together. I don't know how we would begin to hang out – some of us talk on the phone a lot and facetime, but others just kind of stick to their own families. It is hard to be all together – one mom has a no tv rule so other parents get frustrated, one mom has two kids with very specific eating problems so meals are stressful, one mom is quite strict with her kids to the point it gets awkward for others around, one sibling doesn't have children and wants their dogs around all the time, some kids are terrified of the dogs, etc……the list goes on and on. When trying to figure out how to accommodate all that we just don't pursue a get together. Do you and your siblings all parent similarly? Did you marry people that have similar personalities as yourself? Is there any hope for us or do we just stick to the phone and email and think of the fond memories?

    1. I too come from a big family and this is a good question. I often wonder how or if I even have the ability to create a strong bond among our 4 kids. Do I even have anything to do with it? I'm sure I have some influence, but it can feel a bit overwhelming not having an example to glean from.

    2. I come from a large family and I believe it all starts when they are small creating family traditions and nurturing relationships. Making extra efforts at holidays and on family trips to create memories and magic. Family trips don't have to be extravagant, my best memories are camping and when our car broke down after a trip to the lake. My siblings and I get together and love to reminisce and laugh together. Creating a common bond and hanging goals and creating unity is what will nurture future relationships.

    3. The missing element is the inlaws and the children with different challenges. They were not in the home growing up with their spouses and parents while the original family was bonding. It's also hard when the siblings are far apart in age. They did not really grow up in the same house. Different kids have different rules. How do you manage for days? Are strict rules suspended for the gathering? Does the person with a dog leave him at home because of the child afraid or allergic to them? I think this past thanksgiving showed a lot of people even 3 hours can be rough. My family has a number of cousins who live close enough to see both on holidays. Some reported a sign posted outside the inlaws home with the rule no politics. Our side is fine, no drama, with political differences. So it requires different behavior in different places. Three days in a different place, different time zone, different bed doesn't put people at their best. Congrats this family seems to continue to seek out these get togethers.

    4. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to be related to every one of these women, and I know it's a rare and very valuable situation which I'm deeply thankful for. And it's one thing that I get along and love my blood sisters so much, but man alive my brothers married women that I feel so attached to, and Dave's siblings and in-laws are just the same. Sometimes I sit and wonder how in the world that happened? I know there are many families out there with different dynamics that would make things like this a lot more tricky. I think it has helped that we have always made it a priority to be together as much as we can from the very beginning and I know my parents had a lot to do with us being such good friends from the time we were little. I am biased but I think they just made this happen the same way they've made so many great things happen in life. We prayed for each other when we had tests or tough things coming up. We fasted for each other (still do both). We have supported each other over and over again through the years following the example of our parents. Family Home Evening helps. To be honest, I think the "fighting bench" helped a ton! (more about that here: https://71toes.com/2015/05/tbt-repenting-bench.html …we had no choice but to make the best of our differences on that thing!). I think Cheryl Cardall is spot on with her thoughts in her comment up there. It takes work. But it also takes some luck too I think. I am so grateful for all my sisters and I never want to take the relationships we have for granted.

      Megan I think there is always hope when people are willing to "love more" and try to walk in each other's shoes to understand them better. I also know that some families have differences that run so deep that it can be very difficult to change. Just like in a marriage, we can only change ourselves. And sometimes that change makes a huge difference in relationships. But other times it doesn't and there's nothing we can do about it aside from continuing to show love. Remember that even with all the love and understanding and work we can muster up, sometimes there are things that just don't change. I know there are deep problems that are beyond repair in some instances, and I think it's so important to realize that even though we may not be able to change some things, we have the power to foster relationships in the families we are raising. We can hold family meetings. We can pray for each other, establish traditions and routines that create love and unity. We may not be able to change the past, but I believe we have the power to change the trajectory of the future in many ways.

      It's late and I'm rambling, hope that makes sense!

  3. I love that you take your DSLR everywhere you go. I want to start doing the same, but am so intimidated because it feels so cumbersome. Do you mind sharing what gear you use to tote your camera around?

    1. Luckily Saydi has my same camera so I used hers on this trip, but I am so used to carrying mine around that I feel like it's become part of me 🙂 I have a huge camera backpack I take on big trips and also a small worn-out one if I'm not bringing my laptop. But I wouldn't recommend either…I'm on the lookout for something new. If you find anything great let me know!

  4. These frequent get-togethers are such a blessing to us! Of course everyone is different and has to sacrifice a little of their comfort for the good of the group. Thanks for the comments here. I fear I have taken this a bit for granted. We are blessed to have so many women who love each other and care for each other like sisters. We feel these incredible in-laws are such a fabulous addition to our family and we are so grateful for the the marvelous children they are nurturing and the interesting and valuable "different view" that they provide our family!

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