Still so weird to me that we were in China for all this holiday hoopla last year.  So much goes on in the Fall and I love it.  But oh how I loved nestling up together in China and remembering what all this season really is about.  I hope I can remember that this year amidst all the hustle and bustle.

The beginning of October found me in the Alps with all my sisters and mother.  All about that back here.

But even more importantly, my baby girl turned NINE at the beginning of October too.

More about her birthday hoopla soon.  On to the “little things” that really are the big things in so many ways.

I was gone for Evening in Excellence with the girls at church so luckily Nana was able to go with them.

So grateful for all the great women who put in so much time and effort to help teach and train my girls.  In January Claire will join them in Young Women…she is so excited!

I got an awesome “Welcome Home” poster from my girls.

Seriously this is one of my favorite things.  Let’s take note of the yellow writing under where “mom” is written in black:

If you look really closely it says “dad” under there.  
Dave got back from China just a few days before I did so they must have decided to save their efforts and just do one poster.  LOVE that ingenuity!  I wonder if they had this planned the whole time and used the yellow on purpose because they knew it would be lighter and easier to disguise or if it just happened to work out perfectly that way.  Whatever the reason, it kinda melted my heart for some reason.  Love these kids and that they thought to do a poster(s) for us 🙂
Boy it felt so great to be all together again!  We went out to dinner for FHE to celebrate and I showed them my special Swiss bell I brought back and showed all my highlight pictures.  All I got was this measly blurry picture to commemorate that great night.

Lu and I spent some good time putting together all her birthday Legos.  (We had a big party before I left and she scored in the Lego category.)

Grace did a lot of cheering in October.

She has practices every day after school for a couple hours and has worked hard.

She had some good supporters in the stands.  (That’s Aunt Helen and Uncle Stuart there with Nana and Papa…Stuart is Nana’s brother.)
 Lucy’s smile cracks me up.

 Lucy didn’t come a ton, but when she did she was sure to bring a book to keep herself occupied…

I have to say I was pretty impressed with these girls.  Maybe I’m just a little biased but I’m pretty sure they are uncommonly good for a Freshman cheerleading team 🙂  Check them out:

 Lucy did the bit third grade salt dough map project.

…and always seems to be scrambling to finish of something or another before she runs out the door to school in the mornings.

We did little posters for those who helped take care of the kids while Dave and I were gone.

I love how Lucy does her notes.  She thinks up the sweetest things to say all on her own.  Here’s her note to her cousin and her husband who took care of the kids the majority of the time:

 And here’s her little note to Nana.

The hearts melt me.

And then, just like that, it was Fall Break.

Which was kicked off by a sunset bike ride.

The weather was just starting to finally cool and it was perfect temperatures and oh, that was just a little bit of Heaven right there.

And then we took off for Utah to visit our boy:

 (all about that grand reunion back HERE.)

…and then to Lake Powell:

(back HERE).

Our whole family (and every friend and neighbor who comes around) is in love with this thing.  Oh the things they do on that thing.

Love it.

I also love these mixes I found at Trader Joes:

If you have a Trader Joes near you I’d highly recommend them both.

It was “Crazy Hair Day” AND “mis-match day” all wrapped up in one crazy day at the elementary school.  These girls were quite excited about that little fact. 
I was going in to volunteer for Art Masterpiece that day so Lucy and I decided I better be mis-matched too: 
We did self portraits after I taught them all about Rembrandt.  
I wish I had taken a picture of all of them, they turned out so cute, but here’s Lu’s:

Claire worked her tail off on her “moon packet” and we have been noticing the moon more than ever because of it.

So grateful for this gorgeous world.

Speaking of gorgeous worlds, it gets darker and darker in the mornings so we get to see the sun rise.  This was the sky one day when the girls were leaving:

Oh boy I love this world of ours.

I snuck away for a quick weekend to reunite with my college girlfriends here:

More soon on that.

We carved pumpkins (back here)…

 Elle had her own gathering of pumpkin carvers a couple nights later:

 Grace’s last football cheer (she wasn’t feeling well so was sitting out when I took this pic.)  The weather was amazing and it made me sad it was the end but we’re all excited about basketball season coming up…

Claire is starting to learn how to use the camera.  I explained to her about the shutter speed the other night and she went around adjusting it taking all kinds of pictures of the house in different lighting.  Oh man, I hope I can keep these girls loving photography.  

I’m gearing up to brush up my own photography.  I need to do an online class or something.  Any great ideas on that?

Lucy is still devouring books:

…and with the help of a few different friends over and a couple mother/daughter Lego “meetings” she finished the grand premier of Legos:  the Lego cruise ship.

Let’s get a closer look at that sucker:

It can open with a place for the Lego “guys” to sleep and hang.

It’s pretty awesome.

I need to take a picture of how Lucy’s room looks on a continual basis.  It’s usually strewn with Legos EVERYWHERE.  But for now, here’s a little pic. after we cleaned it all up.

I ordered this book off of Amazon when my sisters and I were in the Engadin Valley in Switzerland and I was mesmerized with those Swiss bells.  

It finally came in the mail and I loved sitting reading it with the girls.

We went to watch a bunch of Elle’s friends play volleyball against our cousin’s team at the high school.  So fun to go in there and see Max hanging up on the wall with the rest of the All-State athletes.  See him up there?


Grace and friends in the sunset:

Lucy’s class Halloween party.  My friend planned this whole “minute to win it” dealio and the kids thought they had most probably died and gone to Heaven.

Claire’s soccer is in full-swing.

We took a couple years off and finally got going again.  She has just as much passion for it now as she did before (love these pics from the last time she played back HERE) and is having such a great season with a great coach and great team.

Dave and I explained to the kids that we were going to have big parties on Halloween night, but we were going to WORK in the morning.

They were so excited about that.  Ha!

Dave got all the kids situated scraping paint off of the windows where he used to store things for work…

(Elle had just done a little photo shoot in case you’re wondering about why in Heaven’s name she is wearing a dress for work.)

…while the little girls and I cleaned out our paper-laden-to-the-brim homework area.

Here are a couple of the gems we found stuffed in those drawers:

…along with one of Claire’s 100% quizzes.

Way to rock it, Claire!

And then it was off to finish out October with the Halloween finale (back HERE).


My favorite.

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  1. I have to know where you got your long wooden crate box on your kitchen counter! I've been looking for several years for one just like that I have struck out everywhere. Please fill me in on where you found yours.

  2. What is that rolly thing your two girls are balancing on? I have some sons who would love it!! Thank you!! Happy November!! What a beautiful month it is!!

  3. I think that photo Claire took of what I'm assuming is a room in your home, is AWESOME. Some photographers are better taking photos of people and others are better at flora, fauna, and architecture. That shot looks like it's straight out of a magazine.

  4. Thank you for being such a big encouragement to others! I am a full time working mom and have a 14 month old son. Your blog truly gives me motivation throughout the day to try and be the best version of myself. A HUGE thank you goes to you!

  5. I always enjoy your pictures, especially of your recent trip with the castles! My husband teaches photography classes/workshops through Utah Valley University Community Education. They go on weekend trips to Arches, Capitol Reef, and now he will be doing a week long workshop next fall to New York City. You can go to to find out more about him and also google Bryan Niven UVU. They will be posting the new schedule for Winter/Spring classes soon!

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