My sweet niece helped out a lot with Lu when we were in town this summer.
She was trying to earn a few extra bucks before she took off for college…
…and really help us out at the same time.

Despite having to put up with Lu being a little obstinate some {really, most} of the time, she made play-do, taught swimming, played 129 memory games, distracted from continual eating, worked on things like helping Lu pedal her bike and do up her own seat-belt.

She also helped Lu with a project that has helped her come around to the idea of waiting patiently for her birthday:
She and Lu made this paper chain to count down the days til the “big” one.

Ever since then Lu has been content as can be to rip off one link each day, and watch it gradually shrink down leading to her beloved, MUCH anticipated birthday.

This is what Lu does when I tell her not to close her eyes in pictures:
I’m so very grateful for such an obedient child.
And even more grateful that my dear niece chose to spend so much quality time serving our family.
We miss her!

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  1. What a sweet person your niece is. Inside and Out. Look at that BIG hug Lucy is giving her in the end photo. A pictures says a thousand words. What cute girls they are!

  2. What an awesome girl! It was so nice of her to help your family out, and as a side note, I love her curly hair!

    I have a question for your Q&A session. You have such a huge following to your blog, and I'm wondering how this came about. I'd like to "spread the word" about my blog, but I'm not sure how to go about doing it, so I am wondering what you would suggest.

    I really enjoy reading blogs written by normal people with extra-ordinary lives. I'm not trying to "toot my own horn," but I think my blog qualifies as such since I'm paralyzed from the neck down, but still live a productive life that's full of joy. At the very least, I'm certainly living a life that not many people can relate to.

    Anyway, I was just wondering what suggestions and tips you could offer.

    Thanks so much!
    Your paralyzed friend,

  3. How hilarious! I just posted this same thing earlier last week. Brooke has been the same way- every day asking about her birthday. It must be that 4/5 year old stage, I just don't remember it with the others. Like your paper chain better 🙂 Posted on my personal blog as well as creative blog – Gosh, I wish we lived closer as we could have been paper chaining it with the two girls (and I love how your niece helped).

  4. What a gift – received mutually. Your darling niece (um – love those curls) seemed the perfect fit. The chain was a great idea. And sweet Lucy – I just want to kiss those cheeks.

  5. Yes, you do have a very sweet niece! I'd love to have her curly hair! I thought it was cute that she helped Lucy make a paper chain. My kids get obsessed with their birthdays too.
    Ok, I do have a couple of questions for you, Shawni, but I'm not sure where to ask them–is the comment section ok?
    Anyhow, I have been thinking a lot about the cool map you have displayed in your kitchen. Do you have anything covering the map such as plexi glass like in a frame? Or is the map just exposed so you can touch it and put the red dots on like you have? I'd love to do that but would be afraid my younger kids would tear it up. Having a world map is such a cool idea plus it makes a great decoration piece.
    Also, another question. Do you pack home lunches for your kids or do they usually eat a hot lunch at school? I'm trying to be more conscientious about my spending as well as helping my kids eat healthier and I wondered what you do? I continue to LOVE reading your blog and learning from you! Thanks a ton!

  6. awww lucy is growing up so much~! and I think there are lots of mummies who wouldn't mind your niece coming over to help out with their little ones:)

  7. This is so sweet to see. Can I borrow your her for a season? Her hair is gorgeous.
    By the way…I love Lucy's glasses, she looks really cute in them and those dimpled cheeks of hers…I just want to squeeze them.

  8. i know you use your parents' book on how to teach your children about sex for the first time at age 8. but what i'm wondering is, do you have any books that helped you to introduce changes with their bodies before or along with the sex talk book? we are looking for a book that is innocent enough for our young daughter, yet not full of "cool" talk and preteen slang. we just want straight forward information to teach our daughter how beautiful her body is in a non-overwhelming way. i thought you would have a recommendation i could trust.

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