Gosh I don’t get sick much but boy howdy some stuff hit me this week. My theory when not feeling overly hot is to just keep on keeping on and you get better, and really, generally that works for me. BUT every once in a while that grand theory backfires on me, like this time. Oh I’m fine, and I have some good medicine now, but it hasn’t been helpful trying to get my new years thoughts and plans situated and certainly not helping with any semblance of wedding planning. Yikes. Sometimes though, like last night as I sat snuggled up with Lucy trying to remember 7th grade math, you remember that it really is nice to have a chance to be compelled to slow life right on down.

Ok but that’s a lot of rambling…for now I’m posting something I had scheduled and I’ll try to get back to comments and questions over the weekend. Sending out some weekend love and a little reminiscing about the holidays.

Here we go:

One of our Christmas gifts to the kids (and also to ourselves) was to head into the city and stay at a fancy hotel overnight. We found a great deal and figured it would be a good way to soak in our last night together.

I think Carson is in that picture too since Elle’s most probably on the phone with him, and looks like
Dave had to concentrate to get the right angle (ha!), but is not that Lucy girl just the best?

Everyone was so excited, their eyes aglow at the heat rising from the pools and hot tub in the cool desert winter air, and the heavy gray clouds holding in the rain just long enough for us to get in a couple tennis matches at the tennis center.

We stayed up late and had a “family meeting” in one of the hotel rooms led by Dave, which made me smile inside (Dave usually isn’t one for meetings). It was such a good discussion all about investments and goals and stocks, and then, late into the night, we played some cards. Because really, what is fun without cards? (At least that’s Lucy’s opinion in the matter.)

Dave wrangled us some free spa passes and I want to always remember hanging in there with my girls, all five of us (Lu opted to sleep and sleep that morning), luxuriating in that steam room, cucumbers on our eyelids, followed by the hot tub, ice washcloths across our foreheads, luxurious robes and the best spa smells. It was a good memory, one of many that make me so grateful to be a mother of girls.

And this pictures is just because Dave is never in pictures:

And I love him.

Max got one extra day at home (missing volleyball for a day) since one of his best friends was getting married. Loved that Dave and I got to be involved too, and love those funny friends of Max’s that I hope he’ll stay in touch with forever.

Our neighborhood was drop-dead gorgeous over the holidays, especially with the rain that makes the tree trunks black and makes the golden leaves falling in piles from the trees so breathtaking. I {still} cannot drive into my neighborhood without stopping to take pictures, which is dumb, I know.

We started wedding dress shopping. This is not going to be an easy wedding to plan, so far away. The whole break I was trying to wrap my brain around trying to start with ideas but it’s like I was stuck in mud, not ready to brace it yet. So many nights surviving on so little sleep made it difficult to concentrate. But yow, she sure looked gorgeous in all those gowns!

Abby and I loved hanging there sending pictures to the fam.

Meanwhile Grace got to go skiing with some friends, up in this winter wonderland:

Dave and I went to the Fiesta Bowl (tickets from his work). With all the holiday hoopla I felt like I hardly saw Dave, so these post-Christmas things were the best.

This game was a pretty great reason to sneak away and we had the best time cheering on Clemson who squeaked by with a pretty exciting win.

Max and Abby drove down here to the desert and we drove their car back up (they had to get back so early for practice after the wedding that it made sense that way).

I LOVE car rides like those. Oh sure, they are long, but nothing like confined time with kids. And it was GORGEOUS all the way up, snow-laden pine trees in the high altitude places:

…and snow on the orange cliffs near the Grand Canyon.

Had all these drivers which was fun:

(Lu was in the way back but wasn’t about to be in a picture, and Dave had to meet us up there.)

We had our own church meeting in the car, which was my favorite part, each of us talking about how Jesus has shown Himself in our lives this past year as well as one thing we want to work on in the new year. So much love in my heart then as well as when we finally reached Max and Abby’s new cute little house and had an impromptu dance party to celebrate our arrival.

To be continued next week…

Happy weekend!

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  1. Elle is going to make a gorgeous bride. She seems so low key too, I bet her wedding will be FUN. 💕

    I’ve been following your blog since 2009 I think. 😳 I recognized that groom friend of Max’s from high school, I believe? And maybe roommates for a bit? Also one boy who I’m pretty sure Max has been friends with since forever…you used to make them pose first day of school because you always since they were teeny. All that makes me sound like a crazy stalker, I’m not just YEARS of reading. I absolutely LOVE that he and those boys (gah, MEN) are still friends. It’s heart warming, knowing they went on missions and were out of each other’s lives for 2 years and have remained close. Love that!

    Which made me wonder if Carson served a mission? No judgement here, just popped into my head and I was curious. I’m not LDS, so I don’t think it’s “wrong” not to or anything. Also, really none of my business, but I was just curious. 💕

    Thanks for the inspiration you’ve given me for more than a decade!

    1. Hi Courtney, thanks for your nice note! Yes I do love that Max still has those good friends. And it is so crazy they are men now!

      Yes, Carson did serve a mission in Australia. Hoping we can go there with him as our guide some day!

  2. Wonderful post Christmas fun. Elle will be a beautiful bride to match her beautiful soul. So sweet of you to keep us updated. My daughter just turned 18 so it gives me some insight into what is to come. Tips as well😉❤️

  3. The dresses are lovely. I envy her, I ended up in a hoop skirt under my dress for my wedding. That is just the sort of dress in the stores at that time. Wedding dresses today are so pretty.

  4. Such sweet moments captured & shared! And golly, I never noticed how much you & Grace look alike!! The group photo on the tennis court with your heads together really caught my eye – like mother, like daughter:) So lovely! And the dresses Elle tried on are BEAUTIFUL – I wish I’d found such wonderful, conservative dresses when I was looking. She’ll be such a gorgeous bride – I can’t wait to see more photos. Happy New Year to all of you!! xoxo

    1. Thanks Molly, I do think Grace is my daughter that looks most like me and I love it 🙂 Happy new year to you too!

  5. Shawni,
    since you love playing cards, I HAVE A PERFECT GAME FOR YOU! 🙂
    It’s official name is The Mind and it can be bought as a card game, but you can also make your own.
    The most basic version of it is you have a stack of cards marked 1 – 100 (thats what I’m saying, you don’t actually need the game, you can use cards you use for other games and write numbers on top of them), everyone gets one. The goal is, and you are playing as a group, so either everyone wins or everyone loses, is to put them down on the table from the lowest to the heighest number. Of course nobody knows what number the other players have, so it’s really about being concentrated and trying to stay connected. After you take a car from the stack and you feel like you are ready to play, you place your hand palm down on the table. That signalizes concentration. When all players are ready, the game starts. No talking. (So hard!!) There is a 100 cards, right, so if there are four players let’s say, and one is holding a 6 in their hands, with most probability this will be the lowest number and he better put it down first. But of course cards in peoples hands can go from lowest to highest like this: 1, 5, 20, 22 or 15, 28, 69, 99. It is so tricky and you just never know! Sometimes people have numbers right next to each other, like one having 55 and another 56, and it’s just about being “brave” and risking to go first. When you get it right with one card, you move to level 2 which is everyone gets two cards. And so on..
    My friends and I figured four is the best number of people to play, however your family is so connected and working like a well oiled machine already, I think you would be able to pull it off with more than four 🙂
    I don’t know if my explanation of the rules is enough, if not, try to look it up. The Mind. YOU WILL LOVE IT, I’M SURE!! 🙂

    your blog reader from the Czech republic

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