Six of the nine kids in my family will be here in the desert for Thanksgiving.  We will miss the three who live overseas and can’t make it, but we’re so excited to get this many.  We can hardly wait.

We have been working our tails off crossing Turkey Trot stuff off the list before they arrive so we won’t be all stressed out the whole time they’re visiting.  A little stress is inevitable though, that thing is a lot of work!  But pretty dang rewarding too.  I am using “we” liberally because Dave is mostly the one working his tail off…he is the “chairman” of this whole Turkey Trot hoopla again this year (I am making up that title…maybe I should call him the head-honcho instead…).  He has a lot of big work things going on at the same time and has been in China a couple times this last month.  I’m so grateful for him.

Remember to sign up for the Turkey Trot and join us if you are local and available.  It’s gonna be grand.  (website is HERE)

I’m trying to wrap up some house things I’ve meant to do for ages.

I just replanted a large cactus to go in our living room.  And man, that was a work-out in and of itself!

It went from this:

To this:

And that may not look like a whole bunch to anyone else, but it was a whole slew of lugging dirt and rocks and dang, those thorns are sharp (I had to replant it into a larger pot before I put it in this still larger one).  I looked like a chimney sweep when I was done.  But it’s kind of satisfying to walk past that thing.

Now let’s just hope it stays alive.

I’m also in the process of doing a collage wall to finally fill one of our blank walls.  Here are “process” pictures:

…need to figure out how to finish that thing off…

Grace got into HEFY.  And to me that feels like an incredible feat. Because I tell you, we sure tried to get Max and Elle in there but it fills up like nobody’s business.  Since she did her “junior year internship” thing a year early, she gets to do her service trip this summer.

We encouraged her to go alone with no one else she knows and she totally agreed and is so excited.  She’s going to go to the Dominican Republic this summer and she’s going to learn so much.  Now the fund-raising begins…

Speaking of fund-raising, Lucy has written a book.

The other day we took a little lunch date to read through and edit it.

She is pretty excited about it and wants to print some copies to sell to help raise money for BBS at the Turkey Trot.  I know people have mentioned companies that we could use to print something like that but I can’t remember or find them.  If anyone knows a great place to print out a book (I’d just take pictures of each page so we’d have digital copies to print out), let me know.  To be honest, it may be too late for this year, but I’d love to look into options so if anyone has any ideas send them our way!

Grace is full-on into student council right now and she’s loving it.

Especially since the whole student council is hitting Disneyland right about now (some student council convention there)  Yeah, I think I’d like that too 🙂  So excited for her.

I love how one little change in life (deciding to be involved in student council for Grace and lucking out that she got in last minute) can change so many things to “good” in life.  And also how it can go the opposite direction sometimes too.

Man there’s sure a lot to learn in life.

When we did our “Thankful Tree” last Monday (back HERE), we did mini trees to send to our big kids:

My personal favorite part was that Lucy took it upon herself to let Elle know, in a big way, that those are “POM” leaves coming out of the trunk:

Because she is, after all, in Hawaii.

We sent notes and a treat to Max’s mission President and his wife too.  Why do I adore so much how Lucy writes notes?

(We switched up the thankful turkey thing we sent to them last year…back HERE.)
So grateful for that man and his wife who have taken Max under their wing for the last year and a half (he had a different mission president before that).  It’s so strange to think that they have had so much more personal contact and counseling and feeding and nurturing than we have for so long.  It is getting weird to think of him coming home.  Seems so close yet so far.  (January 31st is the date.)  In some ways it cannot come soon enough, and in others I know he wishes he could stay. Things will be so different for him when he gets home, and it will be such a crazy adjustment.  I’m trying to gear myself up to help.  It’s so interesting to be a missionary mother, writing letters every week to your son who is changing and growing and learning so many things you don’t understand.  Especially when that son of yours is one who doesn’t express himself and his thoughts overly well. 

Mostly I’m just so incredibly grateful that he loves that mission so much.  And that he has had this experience of a lifetime that will change the trajectory of so many things in his life.

This thing made a grand entrance into our home last Friday:

Dave and I looked at it with big smiles to match Lucy’s, so grateful that she is finally ok with taking on the white cane thing.  But inside both our hearts were breaking.

Claire had four soccer games this last weekend and also volleyball tryouts.

It will take a whole blog post to outline all the sports things that girl has kept us hopping with lately. 


I’m tired even thinking about it and I’m not even playing the dang sports. 

I think it’s so interesting how early kids start out in sports around here.  Is that just this generation or is that always how it’s been?  Or maybe it’s our area.  Everyone seems to narrow down to one sport so early and put their whole life into it and Claire is just trying to figure them all out.

They finally replanted our winter grass here:

That’s not the best picture to show it…it’s actually supposed to be a video of Bo stopping obediently on the corner before we give her the “ok” to cross the street, (and she does it so obediently!) but I forgot to hit “record” and it just took a pic. instead.

Which makes me think about that old grass.  It has to be scalped down to the bones every single fall and replanted with “winter grass” here in the desert. 

And every year I think it is just so crazy that we do that!

This girl is causing some havoc in our back yard:

She has discovered watering tubes underground…not such good news.

I’m still thinking about technology so much (post back HERE).  How to curb it, how to use it in a positive way, and how to help my whole family do the same.  Maybe I will always be in this stage because it will always continue to change.  I have so many thoughts going through my head about it and we’ve tried some new things that work and are putting us on the right track.  My friend sent me this quote that I thought was kind of interesting that kind of relates to how technology makes us see the world…especially girls:  
There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks, to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and ravishing wife.

Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .

Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

–Jenkin Lloyd Jones

I asked my girls what they thought of that quote because I thought it was pretty true.  Sometimes social media makes kids (and adults) think the world is so perfect for everyone else because they mostly only see the perfect parts.  Those “perpetually young and handsome husbands” coming home to their “perpetually young and ravishing wives” (as symbols of so many other “perfect” things on there).  A couple of my girls thought it was pretty depressing though.  And I think that’s true too.  Life doesn’t have to be “normal.”  We can make it exciting and our own kind of “perfect.”  As long as we realize our “perfect” may look vastly different from someone else’s and that we’re ok with that.
Hmmmm…just some things I’ve been thinking lately.


  1. Blurb is a great company to create books with! You can make professional books, or something simple. Small sizes, large sizes, square, rectangle, soft cover, hard cover, photo books, or novels (and everything inbetween), you can buy one or a large amount at once – there are a lot of options. Shutterfly, may be another option, but that and Artifact uprising may just be photobooks.

  2. About the quote… I guess I just think about life in terms of seasons: sometimes it will be as good as summer; other times it will be windy and cold as winter. Meanwhile, I just try to be grateful, and a good person.

    I read somewhere that we foccus to much on happiness as the ultimate goal for life, but thing is to foccus on the fertility of our actions (meaning: be a good and greatful person) and happiness will come along.

  3. I am one of the trip moms for HEFY DR this year. My son and I are going to LaCienaga June 21. My daughter has been the last two years, once to Bolivia and once to Tonga. She loved it! Life changing! Thank you for sharing your blog with the world. You inspire us to all be better and engaged mothers.

  4. Shawni, thank you for posting about HEFY! I didn't know anything about it (we east coast saints aren't always in the know) so I looked it up and was super excited to learn about such an awesome program for the youth. I was even more excited to see that there were a few slots still available! I was able to register my 16 year old son for one of the Belize trips. Yay!

  5. I'm seeking advice, rather than questioning your values with my question. We recently moved to another state from Utah and have been confronted with the hallenge of sports on Sunday. You mentioned that Claire had 4 games over the weekend. Do your kids play on Sunday? If so, how does your family navigate this in regards to church on Sunday, keeping the Sabbath Holy, etc? Love your blog!

    1. Great question. We happen to have a really great new soccer club in this area that is a "No Sunday" club. I love it. There is a lot of talent in the club so we can still participate in big tournaments but with the understanding that we default if there's a Sunday game. We are new to the club soccer thing since last year (also in this club) so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I think it is great.

  6. This is a random place to stick this comment, but I just ordered a book called "A Blossom in the Desert: Reflections of Faith in the Art and Writings of Lilias Trotter" and it made me think of you and Lucy. It is a book about someone I know nothing about, but I have loved learning about her life. She was an artist described as painting with "heartsight as deep as eyesight". That reminded me of Lucy. Lilias eventually gives up her chance to paint and become famous for another cause…but her journals are jam packed with her paintings and thoughts about scripture…and it has been a lovely read.

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