Why does it seem to me like November was two years ago?
Well ok, not two years ago, because that’s when Max left and that’s a really long time!  
But just looking through these pictures makes me realize how quickly you can forget.  So glad to have at least some of all we did captured in pictures.
Like let’s take this blue sky sliced up by jet streams I saw when I was getting out of my car at the gym one day:

I would never remember that had I not whipped out my iPhone.  (I love my iPhone.)  Do I really need to remember a pretty blue sky when the sky is blue in the desert practically 361 days a year (ha).

No, I’d be just fine forgetting…but I like that I can remember that day just from that picture:  I was with Dave and we were walking and talking together and I was so glad I got to work out with that handsome guy.  And I was also glad that our bodies work …I was so sore from a previous workout and it made me appreciate how my body normally works quite well.

Yes, lots of thoughts but that’s what pictures do for me.

And this next one?

We made scrunchies for young women one night in the beginning of November.  See the candy corn at the top?  That was my “treat of choice” I brought to share because I love candy corn.

I love that these pictures bring back the whir of my Grandma’s sewing machine I brought as I sewed up the fabric the girls got all pinned up and ready for me. 

I love to remember how many girls I got to work with and to see those faces makes me miss them!

(I don’t get to work with them any more…more on that later…because for most of November I worked with them every Wednesday night and Sunday and as time consuming as that is…along with the prep of lessons and activities, it’s the best to work with those wonderful young women.)
Speaking of young ladies, these ones got to go to the Lany concert at the beginning of November:
Oh and these ones too:

Claire and Grace bought tickets forever before this concert and were SO excited in anticipation.

And I was personally excited I didn’t have to go.  How’s that for awful?  I’m just happy my friends were going and were happy to take all these girls. 

I did make them promise to send me pictures though.  This is all I got but at least it’s something! :

They were really late re-planting winter grass this year.  They didn’t start on the neighborhood strips of grass until November (usually they do it in October), so it was brown and dry for a while.  This is how they scalp it all down…before they get rid of all that dead grass and replant new rye grass:

Yes, they really do do that every Fall here in the desert.  Different grasses grow in the summer than they do in the winter so every year it’s the big re-plant season and I still find it fascinatingly crazy.  And a little on the annoying side that there’s not one kind of grass that lasts all year!

Claire was a busy girl in November.  She had sports-mania…well we all did since we had to drive her everywhere!  Here’s a tennis class with her cousins:

Here’s volleyball club tryouts:

Here’s a volleyball game with her rec team:

And here’s soccer:
I think we spent every single full Saturday going from one sport to another in November.

All about the nutty sea of sports we’ve found ourselves in back HERE.

They sky looked like this late, late one night when we drove into the driveway I couldn’t help but take a picture:

The moon was so bright it lit up all those clouds.  It may not seem so cool in the picture but trust me, it was surreally beautiful.

I got this text from Elle one day:

Motherhood pay-off 🙂

Lucy isn’t drawing nearly as much any more which breaks my heart.  I’m on the search to find her an art teacher who can keep her going.  She LOVES to write though.  This was her little list she came up with at church one day:

(She never actually got to the “fun facts” because she was too busy decorating the letters, but I’d like to know what she was going to write…)

Cute matching girls at church:

Our friends who were baptized last year were preparing to go to the temple.  This was a really special day when the dad got a special blessing to hold the priesthood:

Loved that we got to share in that along with our Stake President and his wife below:

I thank my lucky stars every day that we have two sinks because man, it sure makes dinner clean-up so much easier!

Lu and I finished the Voyage of the Dawn Treader:

It takes us so long to read those books not because we don’t like them…she just only likes to read those ones together so she reads all kinds of other stuff until we can read together.  I loved that page I had turned down up there above.

So much symbolism and beauty in those books.  Lucy refers to those books a lot when we talk about anything spiritual. 

I love C.S. Lewis.

Bo has a love/hate relationship with Claire. 

Claire’s the one who gives her the most attention, which she loves, but a lot of the time that attention involves all kinds of shenanigans that Bo mostly just puts up with.

Lucy thinks Bo is the best thing since sliced bread right along with Claire.

Lots more about Bo Jangles in November back HERE.

The Thankful Tree made it’s debut:

(All about that back HERE.)

We sent Max and Elle their own trees:
…along with packages…Elle sent us this when she got hers:

Worked on finishing off some things in the living room:

We took Lucy to a low-vision doctor at the recommendation of her Braille teacher at school.  She said she’d be able to give us a lot better idea of how Lucy’s eyes work.

We had a really, really good meeting with that good lady (along with Lucy’s Braille teacher who came with us and who we adore).  But despite how great that doctor was, there are no easy parts of having your daughter’s world blur.  I wrote all about some feelings on that back HERE.

This is the best cornbread you will ever have:

Just want to help anyone out there out…you won’t be sorry to have tried it.  And also you can do half applesauce instead of all the oil and it is so delicious with way less fat. 

Just saying.

For some reason I always have to document most trips to the post office:

Because really I don’t go there unless I’m sending Max or Elle a package…and sending packages is kind of stressful to me.  I never know what to include.  But they seem pretty happy so I guess I’m doing ok…

One night for a church youth activity we went to an outdoor mall and split into teams to find four different people from our ward (congregation) who were dressed up.  The first team to find them all and get pictures with them would be the winner.  It was near Christmas time so this Olaf wasn’t overly out of place, but the kids went up to him and found out he was the Bishop:

Here’s one of his counselors dressed up as one of the youth…ha! 

I don’t have pictures of the others but they were all pretty good! 

I had to leave early because our friend Tim was in town:

He’s the guy who contacted me right after I wrote my first post on here about Lucy being diagnosed with BBS (back HERE)…he knew a lot about BBS because his son is a year older and has it as well, and he is so dang smart he knows and understands all the intricacies of the disease.  He is the president of the BBS association and I served as the Vice President with him a few years ago….we’ve been friends ever since that first phone call.
These girls think he’s pretty great.

We talked over a bunch of stuff that’s happening…research and the conference coming up and discussed all kinds of things that we’re doing with our kids to help them and possibilities for the future.  He explained to Lucy how his son uses his white cane all the time and loves it.

I think that was a pretty great catalyst to help Lucy feel more comfortable to give that white cane a chance when it was introduced after her low-vision specialist meeting a week or so before.

In other much less important news, I replanted this cactus for my living room…

(back HERE.)

Grace practiced her photography skills on these girls:

She also got to go on a student council trip to Disneyland, lucky girl.

Lots more about Grace in the month of November back HERE.

We had our friends who lived in Ecuador for a little while come do a little FHE with us to tell us all about it in preparation for our Christmas trip.

Took these little girls out on a dinner date while Grace was off with the student council:

Bo ate Lucy’s piano music:

But that plucky girl could still read through that just fine.

Lots of walking to school with these two:

First hike of Fall with my friend Tonia:

Activity Days mother/daughter cake decorating with Lu:

A little lunch with Max’s missionary friend’s moms, who are my friends 🙂

More packing and delivering at BrainFood:

I got to sit in on one of these guys’ temple prep classes with the best teachers…loved it.

The sky is such a beautiful thing:

Birthday lunch for one of these lady’s birthdays…

Film photos from Elle…

I thought they were pretty beautiful.

More volleyball…

A date with a cute boy for Grace:

Lego mania for Lucy:

Home project…I’ll have to post the final product soon.

Japanese curry (our favorite) for Elle in Hawaii…

And the initial arrival of the cousins for Thanksgiving.  Claire’s face tells it all…we were excited!

We had quite the houseful for over a week.  Lots more about that back HERE and HERE.

All kinds of Turkey Trot prep too…

Much more about that back HERE.

Lots of hikes…

Gorgeous sunsets (Grace took these ones from her tennis class).

Then on to the Turkey Trot.  My favorite note from Lucy:


This was my favorite night, all bundled up laughing our guts out on this ranger thing putting up BBS signs.

That and all the Turkey Trot hoopla HERE.

Zara got a little carried away with the Thankful board markers 🙂

A trip to the lake:

Last of the visitors:

Claire and I were out on a walk with Bo one day in November talking about her birthday coming up and she said “Watch me turn 14 and you get released from teaching young women” (I taught the age group she would be moving up to) and we laughed because that’s just how life works out sometimes.

We both sure hoped not!  The age group I worked with were the 14-15 year olds and Grace had moved up to the next group back in June and Claire was excited to come in.  But sure enough, I got a call a couple weeks later telling me I was being released.  Then I got a calling to start working in Primary teaching the 6-year-olds.  Claire and I were kind of sad about that crazy timing, but I had been in there for a long time and in our church you just switch around and learn all kinds of new things from every calling.  Claire has some pretty awesome leaders and I have some pretty awesome (and rambunctious!) 6-year-olds and all is well although I do miss those wonderful girls and all the other leaders for sure.  Now to figure out my new assignment…if anyone has great teaching-six-year-olds-and-keep-them-from-bouncing-off-the-walls ideas send them on over!  I’ve only taught Primary one time and that was our short stint in China so I feel like I have a lot to learn!  The kids are pretty darn darling though…I think I’m going to love it.

Last birthday heart-attack for the Mia Maids before everything got switched up:

I did that for all of them when they turned fourteen.
Meanwhile Elle off enjoying sunflowers in Hawaii…

Planning out our Children for Children concert that was to take place the beginning of December:

Getting Max’s Christmas package ready to send:
My friend game me this idea from Pinterest…it was for Max and his companion to guess what would be in a new present each day leading up to Christmas according to the scripture clue.
Just some fun little things to have a little something to open each day.

We sent him a paper Christmas tree with envelopes filled out with our hand-written feelings about hte gospel and our Savior as well.

Sent that sucker off and we were on to Christmas and pulling out all that paraphernalia:

…and me getting huffy at my family because they were too distracted by that darn (awesome) movie and didn’t help much!

A little post-Thanksgiving gathering with my sister-in-laws celebrating that Carol Lynn (that one on the right) was in town:

Bo Jangles…

A sweet heart attack from my Young Women class telling me they’ll miss me:

Aw…love them!

My nephew’s birthday is the same day as Dave’s:  November 29th.

Claire got to celebrate with all of these great cousins:

…as well as celebrating her good old Dad 🙂

I love how excited Dave was about that.  Ha!

He tried to help Lucy learn to blow…we do with every cake because she has trouble with that but I love this fatherhood.

That cake has a story of it’s own as well…he wanted German chocolate cake and Claire and I found a recipe on the internet that had rave reviews so we whipped it up speedy-quick in between something or other (we were hustling) and something went awry…

…not sure what, but that frosting was kinda watery and it was a pretty funny cake…which made for a pretty funny memory 🙂

I snuck Dave off on a little over-nighter to celebrate.  He had been stressed about a lot of things, lots on his plate and it was the perfect little distraction.

I only got that picture, dumb I know, but I’m glad I got at least that one because I want to remember sitting in the hot tub late into the night, we were the only ones on that starry night and talking through life and all that’s going on and future and everything under the sun (stars).

I’m so grateful for that man.

Our Christmas party with the women (Relief Society) at church…pretty funny games.

And let’s just go ahead and close with Bo. 

Because we love her.

And that’s a November wrap.

Similar Posts


  1. She is a beauty… you can see the good energy. I've had dogs for years…never (and I mean never) had one chew or destroy anything in the house…from puppy hood on. The training key is.. a FEW toys in every room around the house she CAN chew. (NEVER EVER RAW HIDES OF ANY KIND!! SUPER DANGEROUS…lot of dogs end up at VET with emergency surgery when it blocks their intestinal system) So…have a few toys in each room…when she goes for a spot she isn't supposed to chew…say.. "noooo".. then grab the nearest toy in they room..and say "GOOD GIRL CHEW!" and hand her the toy. Repeat this until she really gets it…lots of positive praise. It shouldn't take more than a couple weeks. Once she has it down…you can move all her toys to one area she knows to go get something to play with. (Maybe a couple toys in the main part of the house.) She will only go for HER toys from that point on. If she slips up..repeat again…until she totally loses interest in any "non-chew" thing in the house.

  2. Hi Shawni, I love your blog and the wisdom you share about parenting! I hope this doesn't seem creepy, but I also love your beautiful home,haha! My husband and I are finalizing our home plans for a home we are building in Utah, and the one thing I keep saying is that I want it to have a fireplace like yours. Is it okay for me to ask you details about that? I am wondering what material you used for the bench part, how tall and deep the bench and cabinets are, where you found the horizontal fireplace, and what the black material is around the actual fireplace. Also, if I can be even more intruding, what paint color are your walls and what materials are your floors??? I'm kind of embarrassed to ask all that, but I'm finding myself completely stressed out with picking out every little detail of our new home and would love to use some of your great finishes! My email address is laceybott1@gmail.com If you happen to have time and don't mind answering my questions, I would really appreciate it! Thanks!

  3. I look forward to your posts each day. They are so uplifting even through your trials! You have an amazing family and they are blessed to have you both for their parents! I teach the Sunbeams at church! With the start of the new year I feel as I am managing chaos. They are so dang adorable we just go with the flow for a couple of weeks and sneak in what we can for a lesson. I'm sure you are an amazing Primary teacher. Thanks for sharing all your mothering ideas, tips, & tricks. You are simply inspiring!

  4. I know there is a small list in the Primary manuals somewhere of common developmental characteristics of the different age groups. Having served in Primary leadership for years and having a teaching degree, one of my very favorite things to do is Google "Common characteristics of a _____ year old." There is a world of knowledge and insight out there for every age group. I find knowing what is happening developmentally with the kids I am serving opens huge doors of how I can teach and respond to them. Many sources will give you direct ideas of how to respond to the normal behaviors of the particular age groups. Here is a good one for starters. https://www.verywell.com/6-year-old-emotional-development-620703

  5. I don’t know why it makes me so happy reading about your life when I’ve never met you, but thank you for giving me something delightful and uplifting to read after a looooong day (I was trying to get kids to YW and scouts while also juggling the guys who were there to deal with our flooded basement—argh!!!) You are such an amazing mom and I look up to you so much!! And as someone who has been frantically scrambling to fill callings in Primary, I am so envious of those six-year-olds—you are going to be such an awesome teacher!! I have a six-year-old myself right now and he loooooves to draw, so any lessons that involve time to draw something about the principles he’s learned are total home runs (snacks are always a hit too!)

    I don’t comment very often (usually reading while holding a baby!) but please never ever stop blogging. You have given me so much great advice and perspective and boy do I need that as my kids are getting older! (Six of them and the oldest is just about to turn 13…aaaahhhh!)

  6. I've got the 6yr old class and have had them over a year. But the kicker is our class has 13 KIDS!! And 10 of them are boys! Oh and we are on our second year of 2pm church…so i'm wrangling these kids from 3-5pm…it's every bit as exciting as it sounds!!

    I was just going to say they LOVE games! Spin the bottle (with questions pertaining to the lesson), blindfold for ANYTHING and giving each a turn. I've turned on the bible videos that are actually pretty lame with just still pictures that tell a story but these kids are GLUED to that ipad for the story and LOVE IT! I realized early on that they have been sitting 2 hours by the time we get to class…so I don't expect a lot at that point. I usually talk about their week, do a snack/bathroom/drink and walk. Once we've killed a little time and helped with energy levels they are easier when we get back to our classroom to teach. I keep the lessons short 10minutes or so of instruction. The other thing I figured out is they LOVE dot to dots! Funny thing but I need to find more church ones to use =)

    I CANNOT WAIT to see all the excitment for Max's homecoming…I am sure you will document it well but man I hope you have video and a photographer to capture it all…I remember how absolutely heartwrenching it was for you to let him go…and i'm excited to see him return.

    As for Lucy..my heart aches for you all. She is a brave and sweet girl to endure these trials with such love and faith. I know you have some hard days ahead…I pray the spirit sends peace to your hearts and that she adjusts to the changes…I wish there was a better way!

  7. I was going to say the same , I know lots fo IG lives of homecomings which I absolutely love to watch, but let everyone else film it so you can just be in the moment !!!
    I’m so excited for you all!!!!

  8. I also find your posts inspiring and I look forward to reading them. I love the yellow chair in the living room. I was wondering if you could share where you purchased it from? Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *