I am feeling my dear mother’s pain with summer schedule coordination this summer.


She is always coordinating and situating and trying to figure out the details when we meet up together in the summers, and it takes a lot of work with a family of nine kids! So each summer as my family grows and moves around and we try to coordinate schedules I appreciate the work she does even more than ever!

I have half the kids she has and only two married but boy howdy. We have all been going different directions spread far and wide. I haven’t been able to keep up with the recording here on the blog, but I do so want to get to it, so here’s an overview then I’ll get to the details in posts coming up.

The biggest thing is that CLAIRE IS IN THE NETHERLANDS for her summer internship.

It took some work to get my heart ready for that send-off last week, but every time we have talked to this amazing family who is hosting her in preparation for her trip I have had such an overwhelming feeling of peace and love and gratitude.

So much more about that whole deal soon, but for now I’ll just share this picture that came in at 1:00am our time when she was landing in that gorgeous place where she gets to live for a month:

Oh! That was good for my mama-heart.

Especially since it even had an exclamation point of excitement. Funny I know, but there was some nervousness going into this (of course), and for some reason that simple exclamation mark made me so calm:)

In other exciting-but-not-quite-so-exciting-news, I got to go to California with some college girlfriends, Lucy had her first all-alone flight to spend some time with her cousins in Utah (my heart was all in a bunch about that too, but she did beautifully), Dave and I celebrated our anniversary, Max and Lucy drove down from Utah and I drove from California to all meet up in Las Vegas for Claire’s Nationals: the big cumulation of SO MUCH VOLLEYBALL…the crown, the glory. (ha!) Max, Lu and I stayed to watch for a day and a half, then we took Max’s car all the way down to Coronado to meet up with that crowd there, and Abby flew in to meet us (had to work those two days, a little fiasco trying to figure out a cars but that all worked out…until her connecting flight to California was cancelled…luckily Dave was there in Las Vegas and could pick her up at midnight and send her off again at 4:30 the next morning, yikes!)

It was tough to pull ourselves away from Nationals but Dave and Claire had a pretty grand dad/daughter experience there, (more soon), then drove down to meet us in California on the night of the 4th after it all wrapped up. We went from Coronado to Newport, one day with Max and Abby there, as well as with two of Dave’s sisters, then we sent Claire off to The Netherlands from there! SO MANY THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT! As soon as I can get to them. Max and Abby drove back to Provo, Lucy and I came up to Utah to get her to Grammie Camp in time and to meet up with Elle who is flew in that day just in time for my nephew’s wedding (the grand kick-off to the reunion this year). Carson ended up coming as well since his brother is getting sealed in the temple this next week (he wasn’t planning on coming but then things were more available for some tests from online and we were so happy to get him!). Dave drove up to meet us in time for the ceremony to begin on that big green lawn overlooking the most beautiful lake in the whole wide world (according to me:): BEAR LAKE. And what a joyous reunion after covid closed down so much last year and I haven’t seen my European siblings for two years.

Oh boy.

So many little details intermixed into all those moving parts but I am just so grateful for it all and I’ll be back soon with more to report.

Sending love on over to wherever your summer plans are taking you, and sending out so much gratitude that Covid is slowly releasing it’s grasp on life.

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  1. I have anxiety just reading how busy and crazy all that travelling & arranging took. Summer fun.
    Are Elle and Larson getting their sealing done anytime time soon?

    1. Hey it’s not really anyone’s business if they choose to do that or not. It’s their journey and their decision.

      1. Maybe so, but there is a reason it’s not happening. This family is soooo mega religious and makes such a huge deal out of religious happenings and milestones… and this is the monstrous elephant in the room.

        1. Hey it’s not really anyone’s business if they choose to do that or not!! It’s their journey and their decision!!

          1. Sad you had to repeat that! Heather is 100% right, Donna. They’ll do it (or not) in their own time.

          2. Maybe so, but there is a reason it’s not happening. This family is soooo mega religious and makes such a huge deal out of religious happenings and milestones… and this is the monstrous elephant in the room.

          3. I think you’re kind of over-reacting here. Most regular readers of this blog would be genuinely interested in seeing Elle and Lar get the big celebration that had to be postponed last year. I really don’t think anything else was implied other than an interest in another family milestone and beautiful wedding pics.

      2. There is really no rush. Their church seals dead people after all who lived hundreds of years ago. Asking isn’t judging. We hear about one kid playing volleyball. She mentioned the brother could get sealed so they appear to be up and running again. Just a question.

    2. This question has come up a few times and I’m not sure if I have gotten to it or not! I feel like summer is whipping me around a little bit! Ha!

      Yes, this is a personal decision for sure but Elle and Carson are happy to share! They have been trying to figure out a date for the sealing. This has been tricky with covid temple restrictions. At first when temples were in phase 1 of reopening you could only get sealed in the temple where you live. Elle and Carson wanted all their family to be there, so they were hopeful the restrictions would lighten up so they could get sealed in the desert rather than in Florida. And when they did finally open up a tad bit more, Carson was in the middle of school and Elle wasn’t able to take any time off from her new job, and we were all hoping to do a big celebration in conjunction with the sealing so hoping to get a few days we could all be together with both families. It’s such a special thing, we didn’t want to squeeze it in, you know? But, everything is all coming together and they plan to get sealed right after Thanksgiving. We are all so excited.

      Dave and I, as well as most people we know, were sealed at the same time we were married. I kind of love this separation of these two beautiful events. I love that Elle and Carson can be married and look forward to their sealing together.

      1. Shawni you are so gracious in sharing that info with your readers. I am always impressed with how you respond with kindness when really you have every reason not to!

  2. Ohhhhhh the Netherlands is one of my favourite places (my parents are Dutch, and much of my family still lives there). I hope she has a lovely time!

  3. I would like to know what field of study Claire is “interning” in – in the Netherlands. Summer internship in what… ? Staying with a family and looking after their children is not interning. Internships are done at companies, usually by college students in their senior year… in the field of study they are majoring in and hope to work in. I am confused as to why the trips abroad by the children in this family are referred to as “internships”.

    1. That’s just what we call it in our family…just an opportunity to get some work experience for a limited amount of time. I think there are all kinds of things you can do to get experience in various fields, but this particular opportunity for Claire includes helping an author with all kinds of things related to this cool company he and his wife have created. Lots more about that tomorrow.

  4. Oh how great! Blog reader from the Netherlands here! I cannot even remember how I started following your blog, but I have been loving the combination of life, faith, and family on here (coming from a different background myself). If there is anything I can do for Claire while she’s here or show here around some of the great places here like Utrecht (10x better than Amsterdam! I might be biased) or The Hague (government capital!) don’t hesitate to reach out (although I’m sure her hosts will do the same) 🙂

    I hope she has the best time,

    Maaike (26)

    1. This family Claire is living with have kids who have and will live in Utrecht! I’m not sure if Claire will get to go there, but I’ve heard so many good things! And the pictures Claire sends are so beautiful! What a beautiful country you have! Thank you so much for the offer to help out if she needs it!

  5. Why are you letting the kids leave or forcing them to go out in the world is your heart is struggling with it and they are still minors? It’s like sending the kid to preschool so they adjust well to kindergarten. Those feelings may be telling you something. We are in an avoid travel abroad environment if you can help it situation. Why on earth is it necessary for her to go in high school abroad? She has been abroad tons of times. Did she miss her cousin’s wedding then? Wouldn’t a family reunion and family weddings be more vital now before she is married and divided between two sets of families and has a 52 week a year job?

    1. Sounds like we have different parenting ideas and that’s ok! Everyone needs to follow what they think is best for their own kids. Just because a mother’s heart is struggling to send her daughter away doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing.

  6. Shawni,
    I’ve kind of loved seeing the two separate days. Wedding & sealing. I feel like each can have a special memory and not just rushed. I got to do both because I lived in England when we got married and was always worried that my children might not get the civil wedding abd now they can! lol

  7. What a great opportunity for Claire! And I saw a few photos on Instagram of your nephew’s wedding, it looked beautiful!

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