Gotta squeeze this little things dealio in before the end of January just for principle’s sake.

But first of all, I just have to say it’s my future son-in-law’s birthday today and I love him!

Carson, I hope you have the best-ever day with your cutie fiance. She is one lucky gal and you’re a lucky guy too and I am so excited for you to GET MARRIED even though I still can’t wrap my brain around how to plan it over there. Ha!

And since we’re talking about Carson, let’s start off the November little things with this BIG thing that happened back then: he and his business partner won this big “Great Ideas” entrepreneurial competition for starting new businesses and I think that kinda rocks.

Go Lar!

Ok so November was one for the books. It was a nutty month, might have been my most tiring one yet, and I need to keep it all straight in my brain so here we go.

The beginning of November found us at Time Out for Women which I loved (back HERE).

…and then straight on to Hamilton with our excited-then-not-quite-so-excited Hamilton-girl (back HERE):

We had volleyball galore…

…and Claire thrived in the middle of all that.

They had a heartbreaking win in the semifinals but boy, I was so proud of that awesome team for making it so far, and for their best team-spirit girl Claire. I wrote all about volleyball back HERE and the season wrap-up is HERE.

I mentioned near the top of this post back HERE that Lucy finished all her accomplishments to earn her Young Women Personal Progress medallion and she was pleased as punch about that.

I failed to mention, however, that Claire earned hers as well, and, much less importantly, I earned my “honor bee” too (kinda like an “extension” medallion after you earn the first one…all about Personal Progress over HERE).

All three of us got honored at our little church “Evening in Excellence” and it was kind of fun to be together in on that little deal.

Love that Lucy even wrote that thing up on the Thankful Tree:

Had to get a real pic of these girls with those things they worked so hard to get:

My friend sent me this old picture of me and my sisters and it’s in the November pictures so here you go:

A bunch of young mamas back then.

Ran into one of my Young Women at this little boutique…who has grown up and now has two babies of her own. How does life keep trucking like that?

Love her so much!

I love that my girls sent me a little pic of their own lentil taco spread over in Hawaii:

Good job girls! xoxo

I also love when they send me random pictures like this folder from the Chinese class they took together:

That’s some good work right there!

Lucy and I see all the seasons on our tandem riding to and from school. This was the season of scalping-all-the-summer-grass-and-planting-summer-grass.

They really do that every single year. I still, after eighteen years of living here, think it’s the most peculiar thing.

I think this sunset might be from a drive in Wisconsin, not sure, but isn’t that some blurry beauty?

Lu’s friends are increasingly busy these days. Growing up doing teenager things and hanging in big groups that she feels lost in. So we’ve been hanging a little more. Although the friend thing makes my heart ache, I sure love to hang with this girl.

She is also needing more help seeing Lego instructions and how to put them together. Which also breaks my heart. But it’s pretty amazing to see how deftly she can put those things together. She seems to have an innate knack for knowing what goes where…probably from years of practice.

Love my little sweetie who wants to snuggle more and more these days.

Grace’s dorm thankful leaves:

Increasingly tall(er) girl. We were laughing so hard at that picture on the left!

We held our Children for Children concert in November rather than December this year. This was my neighbor’s idea and it was a very brilliant one I have to say. Yes, it was the craziest month in many ways (getting ready for the Turkey Trot is nuts), but I loved having an opportunity to think about how to give in the middle of a season of gratitude.

Here are the invitations and also the “planning committee” who went out and delivered a bunch of those suckers after dark one night:

(Actual concert is coming up in a minute…)

Another “memorization” night at my neighbor’s house…contrary to what you might gather from this picture, their actual feelings about memorization were opposite from what their faces show, ha!

We did awful with our memorization that night…and are working a lot harder on the one coming up!

A lunch date:

A Bo-bath:

Activity Days hair tutorial:

Dave has to go up to Utah for meetings every now and again and he gets to hang with some special people while he’s there:

Our neighbor is on the BYU basketball team and it was fun for them to go watch him play.

…and always the best to visit with Julie & Seth…and Steve who was there with Dave.

Meanwhile back at home…

We finished Lu’s book club book…it was a pretty inspiring one (linked it on my book list back HERE).

Volleyball banquet to round out a great season at our house with my volleyball girl:

…and the whole team:

Claire and I are “ministering” partners for church. Here we are bringing flowers to one of our friends…see them there between her feet?

Lucy has been taking a fun little class (all about girls’ self-esteem and building character filled with so much love). Since we were downtown when we picked her up we hung out at the little farmer’s market going on that Saturday…

…and invited Dave to join us for a little impromptu family lunch down there.

Fun little serendipity moment right there 🙂

Picking up a small portion of Turkey Trot t-shirts to start rolling and preparing for the big day:

A little date with this one:

A gorgeous sky:

Some dog tricks:

Some dog snuggles:

This is a typical scene getting ready for our little family meeting after church…the girls get all comfy:

This particular Sunday we were preparing for the Children for Children concert the next night. The girls were in charge of the baking:

Lu was in charge of the cookies, Claire did the Texas sheet cake:

Good job, gals!

And here we are at the big Children for Children concert:

Lucy and Claire wrote a guest post about that thing over HERE and I wrote about how it all went down over HERE, and we’re still working on a final count thank you post hopefully next week.

Elle’s friend McKenna sang and that is always a big bonus, love her so much!

Love FaceTime, nothing like it when you have college kids (and I’m sure missionaries!! too!).

Another little lunch date…

…and another reuniting and catching up with my “missionary mom” friends…

(we met up every now and again when our sons were all out all over the world and it was so fun to be together with those great ladies again!)

Lucy’s math…not completely sure why I have this random picture, but I guess it reminds me what kinds of things she’s working on all the time:

We were studying a little about Joseph Smith and I thought it would be fun to see if I could read it in Romanian:

Nope, couldn’t do it.

Some reunion, can’t remember what, Dave had been gone somewhere or other:

We got the news that Lucy will need surgery:

(Wrote about that back HERE.)

Claire was interviewed by the newspaper in an article talking about student athletes reaching out to do various kinds of service. She was asked all kinds of questions about putting on the Children for Children concert, and was nervous but did great.

Lucy’s church group service project:

The tree, all dressed and ready for the big day:

A cute date for Grace over in Hawaii:

A cute date for these two up in Provo:

The cutest ever Hula dancer performing for her hula class:

(Blurry pic. taken from a video, but can you see Grace back there?)

Our chalkboard featuring part of one of the Grandfather’s Secrets:

Ok, now THIS is when November hit the fan. Getting ready to host 50 for Thanksgiving…or was it 70? Isn’t it crazy I cannot remember now that that day is all faded away? In either case we had a lot of prep going on. Since Dave and I were leaving for a wedding that would take us right up to turkey trot time there was a LOT to get done before we left.

I volunteered at Lucy’s MCO practice, (this organization is strict I tell you, and I love it). Parents are required to sign up to help. Got teary-eyed watching Lucy sway with her whole body enveloped in that music, her hair swooping from side to side as she sang out loud and clear with hundreds of other voices feeling the power of what they were singing.

PREP For thanksgiving: Claire and I worked together for hours washing the windows. And Dave worked his tail off on so many things around the house.

Nothing like good work projects to feel connected. I whipped up fabric napkins out of muslim, went over the guest list (62 people were coming for Thanksgiving dinner) and how to set enough tables and gather enough chairs and grouping us all in the right way to have meaningful conversations over Thanksgiving dinner.

PREP for the turkey trot: I worked hard on ordering a new Families Fighting Blindness backdrop that had to be redesigned in time for the big day and also how to direct all the people who wanted to help including Lucy’s friends who I got to help pass out stickers. We gave flyers and our special glasses t-shirts to all Lucy’s teachers at school and Lucy wrote heartfelt thank you notes to all the members of the Turkey Trot team who work so hard to make that day come to life which helps BBS kids so much.

PREP for Dave’s birthday: worked hard with Lucy on tying her shoes and keeping everyone else (including myself) going on their goals they were going to give Dave for his bday the day after Thanksgiving. Lucy learned to tie her shoes for the big day (dave’s only bday wish) and the rest of us set goals to do tough things as gifts as well.

All about that bday stuff back HERE.

PREP for hosting everyone for Thanksgiving, sorting through different ideas for table decor, etc.

I whipped up some linen/muslin napkins (as instructed by my sweet design cousin-in-law Sam, she’s full of great ideas and I love her).

I was going to do a little DIY but I didn’t. So here you go, smooshed in the middle of a November Little Things post. Ha!

Measure the muslin 16-20 inches square.

Make a little snip in the fabric:

Then just tear it apart.

And there you go, easy peasy cloth napkins for a fancy dinner like Thanksgiving:

(We tied those with twine and put name tags and a little sprig of rosemary in each.)

A little Sunday night bike ride:

Dave’s sister Annie asked me to take pictures of the birth of her fifth and last baby due around this time. I was so honored and told her I was DYING to, but that I sure hoped it would work out timing-wise with everything else going on and also us leaving town overnight. We both knew chances were slim that I would be able to make it but I was sure hoping. I haven’t been to a baby birth since Lucy was born.

And do you know what? The stars aligned that she had that baby this Sunday night, right before we left for California and when I had time to breathe.

I stood there in that holy spot watching that new life come into the world in tears behind my camera. It was incredibly beautiful and the perfect way to slow down the racing sinews of time surrounding me.

Bringing new life into the world is an incredible miracle.

Also, my sister in law rocks.

Her husband too.

Came home to find the house filled right up with Claire’s friends for a pizookie night she put together. I love when she gathers people here.

Speaking of Claire, before Thanksgiving we were in the throes of trying to figure out club volleyball.

Now, this is not an experience for the weak of heart. Sure, we did club volleyball with Max over and over again, but girls’ volleyball is a whole new ballgame. One that merits it’s own post next week, but here’s a picture for now to hold a spot in the November craziness because it sure took a toll on my heart and brain and thoughts in the midst of everything else.

It was so fun to sneak off in the midst of all that, just me and Dave. We stayed at a fun place overnight and got to bask in the joy of slowing down for a couple hours and even got a bike ride and a little breakfast date sitting at a little restaurant right on the bay in amidst the wedding festivities.

Came back for the last heave before the race, and the dinner. Dave’s family came over to help set up tables, I mulled over centerpieces for way too long. Claire whipped up her assigned Texas sheet cake and I ran to the store to get paints/markers so I could go paint the “I am Thankful” words on our huge boards. At one point Dave texted about the sunset from the race registration and we all went out to bask in that pink sky, hoping it was a sign for good weather the next day.

And, spoiler alert, it was!

Bob and Virginia (Dave’s brother and his wife) stopped by in the middle of the prep chaos, counters piled up with projects, and we LOVED having them for a little while. They sure won Lucy over when we were in Wisconsin and then again with their little visit:

…especially since it involved Lucy beating Virginia at chess 🙂

Stayed up with my friend Julie painting the board in her garage, Steve (her husband) rigged up a light for us and it was good to get the post-wedding-wrap-up late into the dark. Dave setting up, rain holding off, watching the hour-by-hour forecast gradually change veering away from the rain. WOOHOO!

And here we were bright and early the next morning…this board went from this:

To this:

And that race exceeded our expectations yet again. Wrote all about it back HERE.

Lucy’s favorite part was this…her cousin who surprised her from Utah:

One of my fav. pictures someone sent me:

Then it was on to the big dinner, our house crammed to the gills with so many people we adore.

Every one of Dave’s siblings were here. All nine. I wrote all about Thanksgiving back HERE.

Meanwhile, Max and Abby were in Texas with Abby’s family:

…and my girls were on Maui with my brother and his family:

wish we had a pic of the whole family cause I LOVE THEM! THANK YOU JO & AJ FOR TAKING SUCH GOOD CARE OF MY GIRLS!

By that night at midnight the world was blurry, but tried to clear away things in preparation for Dave’s birthday until the wee hours of the morning while FaceTiming with girls in Maui, cousins filling up our house in and out for late-night Black Friday shopping.

On to the bday…

… which I wrote all the details about back HERE.

And the continual party that kept going because Dave’s sister Julie and her fam were in town and that is always a party.

Gathered with friends, a couple were in town for Christmas:

Date with my boyfriend to a college football game:

…along with a lot of his family:

And wrapped up the month doing a little podcast with my friend Vanessa about my “one word” thing I do each year:

Find an explanation about that HERE, and you can listen over HERE.

And that, my friends, is a wrap for November!

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  1. Hi Shawni,
    Did you know that you can look up Lego instructions on their website and download them as ebooks or PDFs? My kids like to use them on the iPad and maybe it would help Lucy if she could zoom in on them on a screen? It might be helpful 🙂

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