Sometimes, when your kids are stretched out far and wide, you luck out and get a little magical snippet of time to be back together with just them.

And it is just that: magical. I’ll let Lucy’s face tell you how magical.

Ha! That smile could also be due to another thing that happened at the lake, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

We had some good time with our older kids in Florida that was a gift. And then as if that wasn’t gift enough, we got to have some individual time with both couples. Let’s talk about the time we got in the desert with Elle and Carson first.

Carson & Elle’s visit to the Desert

You see, after Carson’s graduation, those two drove across the country and arrived in our driveway, their car laden-down with all their belongings for their little break in between comings and goings.

And let me tell you, we ran ourselves ragged squishing so much into our days together and loved every minute of it. Elle made a bucket list and we sure got to most everything on that list. Here’s the before and after:

Yep, we did a lot! Elle & Carson, I guess you guys better come back so we can finish the rest!

Fun things to do in the Desert

We worked out together every day and played cards at night.

Bo liked having these guys around too as you can see.

We swam, played pickle-ball, went on bike rides and walks to chase the sunset.

Elle and I planted my long-awaited summer flower seeds together.

We caught up on three survivor episodes, got to sit at church together, and cook together (some of my biggest love languages).

These guys were here to be my cheerleaders for my cello recital:

We had FHE listening to Elder Kearon’s talk, went on a beautiful hike, took those guys to our favorite sushi place:

(This is not all in order, so bear with me!)

One morning we took a bike ride to get breakfast one morning:

We hiked with Bo Jangles…

We made healthy food together including Lar’s black bean burgers, had dinner outside on the back porch on one of the last perfect weather nights, and sat in the hot tub.

Oh! And we can’t forget some nice visitors!

On our last day we went boating.

Complete with this incredibly determined girl who vowed she was going to surf.

You’ll have to tune in to the next post for more on that little adventure…

For now, here are some pictures.

Yes, we did not let any grass grow under our feet, I’ll tell you that.

Not pictured: we helped Lu with mounds of homework.

And we all worked.

A lot.

Carson earnestly trying to finish arrangements for their big trip and the rest of us with trying to catch up with life and work projects.

But we’ll do anything to find that balance that we got to be together.

The best thing of all about that visit? The luxury of talking time. We had some deep talks that made me want to cry with so much love for these kids. Deep talks on so many levels touching and weaving their way into so much vulnerability and glory. I love the people these two are morphing into.

We left a couple days before these two had to leave, so we could let them and Lu have some special sibling time together while we went up to spend extra time with our three other adult kids in Provo…and Murphy’s birthday party (coming next week).

But we sure cherished these two for our last night together.

So proud of them and all they’re doing and becoming.

Miss you guys already too!!

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  1. Shawni, you are the luckiest mom in the world!!! All of your kids have turned out to be every parents dream! They are all so good and kind and loving. As a parent, you will never have to have sleepless nights worrying about them making bad choices or being influenced by questionable friends. They are all winners in this game of life and it’s obviously because their parents knew the right way to raise them. You’ve been able to give them such a good life filled with amazing opportunities. I honestly wish we had more young adults in this world like your kids!! I think I’ve mentioned before that I live in Portland Oregon, and it’s the major source of my un-happiness. Very high crime rate, unbelievable drug abuse around every corner, no leadership in our local government, terrible schools, and most people who live here who are young adults seem quite content with all of this!! It’s unbelievable. They seem to enjoy the freedom to do as they please without a care in the world.
    So when I read your blog and see how wonderful those kids of yours are doing with their lives, it makes me think that at least there are some good people in this world.
    Obviously you already know how wonderful they are and what wonderful lives they have ahead of them, but I just wanted to tell you how much better I feel after reading your posts . It helps me forget how crappy life is in Portland. Your family is the best!!
    I really appreciate you!!
    Laura M.

    1. Oh Laura, you are so kind. First of all, I’m so sorry you are so unhappy. And I’m sorry Portland isn’t your favorite. I do know there are good people to be found everywhere, I hope you can find some who will help you find happiness there! I’m sure you could be a light to them as well!

      Thank you so much for the kind words you shared about my kids. I want to make sure you know that while I do adore these kids with all my heart, (and they really are so good), rest assured I have definitely had my fair share of sleepless nights of worry! I think every mom does. We definitely didn’t just happen to know the right way to raise them, we’re still trying to figure that out every day. Gosh life is just filled to the brim with worries and also mistakes and second chances all the way around, don’t you think? It’s just so great to have (and make) opportunities to celebrate the good. And also, I think I lucked out with “easy” kids ( 🙂

      I’m so glad if reading here brings you happiness, and I so appreciate you helping me celebrate the goodness of these kids I’m lucky enough to mother. They teach me every day and I’m so grateful.

      Sending you lots of love!

  2. I noticed that Elle has a regular point and shoot camera in the picture when you are hiking, Can you share what it is? Also, does she mostly us that and not her phone? Just curious?
    Thank you

    1. She loves that film camera but I don’t know what it is! You could ask her on her Instagram? Her pictures make me want to go back to film, I love it so much.

  3. May I ask a more personal question. Is Elle still 💯 active in the church. If not, how did you navigate it to have such a wonderful relationship? If she is still fully active, do you have any thoughts on how to nurture those relationships? My daughter in young and no longer active, I respect her decision, but secretly I’m heart broken.

    1. Oh Hannah I’m so sorry you are heartbroken. This mothering job sure takes us on some journeys! As moms we want so much for our kids to have what we have that makes us happy.

      I love this quote from Richard Rohr: “Love that doesn’t try to change you changes you.” Isn’t that so beautiful? These adult kids can be so tricky because after guiding and directing them so long as they grow up, how in heaven’s name do we let go? But here’s the secret: we don’t let go. Because our love is tethered to them forever. Sometimes what we think is “unconditional” is actually “conditional” because oh! how we want certain things for them! But when we love with no strings attached that is what changes the fiber of who we both are.

      I’m not sure if that helps, but I’m sure thinking of you, and rooting for both you and your daughter to have some healing. And to continue to let love rule.

  4. Hannah why ask about Elle? Her husband not even wearing a shirt in those very physical sporting like activities where you aren’t needing to wear garments. It’s always about Elle.

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