We all enveloped Dave into our arms last night to welcome him back after 8 days in China.  Boy howdy we missed that guy.  And I think it’s safe to say he missed us a bundle too.  Here are a few of the other things he missed (besides us), for better or for worse: –Elle’s toilet breaking –Grace’s band performance –The elementary school talent show:2013-05-16 end of school 75517 Where apparently a couple girls got a little carried away with the lipstick I told them they could wear…2013-05-16 end of school 75529 (They did their stuff from what they learned in this class back here.)2013-05-16 end of school 755312013-05-16 end of school 75544 …and doing these hairdos in all their hair for the school performance and the parent performance.2013-05-16 end of school 755092013-05-16 end of school 75510 –Elle’s choir performance:2013-05-15 end of school 75485 –News that Claire’s finger was indeed broken after all three weeks ago because of that darn back handspring incident.  2013-05-20 iPhone 75778(We don’t listen to phone messages around here so we didn’t realize Urgent care was calling and calling to tell us to get to a specialist.)  The break is close to the growth plate and may have to be re-broken 🙁 –Elle’s scoliosis diagnosis –another big Book of Mormon mailing (this time with help from all the ladies I go to church with…THANK YOU!!)2013-05-20 iPhone 75785 –Elementary school yearbook signing/ice cream party2013-05-20 iPhone 757902013-05-20 iPhone 75789 –High school yearbooks2013-05-16 end of school 75500 –The final volleyball banquet celebration2013-05-16 iPhone 75699(Much more on that later.) –Graduation parties:2013-05-20 iPhone 75791(I wish I had a pic of the one with cousins…) –Hanging with teenagers:2013-05-17 iPhone 75723 –I giant moment of weakness when I let five girls sleep over despite our “no-sleepover” policy.2013-05-18 iPhone 75724 –sister bonding:2013-05-18 iPhone 75728 –getting kids to and from all the last-week lessons. –heat.  It is so hot here.  This was at 9:00 at night on one of the carpool pick-ups2013-05-15 misc. 75480Yes, that says 88 degrees. –crafts (I KNOW he missed that part 🙂2013-05-18 iPhone 75757 –a sister sleepover on the floor dreaming that maybe the tooth fairy would come since they both lost teeth:2013-05-19 iPhone 75767 –The tooth fairy paid us a visit after two or three years of non-existence. –Teacher-appreciation notes and gifts –trying my darnedest to get Lu onto the summer swim team since we missed the deadline. –gut-wrenching worry with one kid over grades –celebrating text book returns:2013-05-21 iPhone 75794 –a high-performance volleyball tryout for Max for a national league –sleepovers in my bed with the girls every night (they take turns when Dave is gone) –trying to figure out a great summer job for Max (ANY IDEAS ANYONE??) –trying not to be grumpy running on very little sleep –A bazillion house-making decisions that almost caused a nervous break-down trying to do them solo2013-05-17 iPhone 75709 –five batches of cookies to help cope. –The flowers I helped him buy me at the store since I knew he’d want me to have them:2013-05-20 iPhone 75788(I’m in love with peonies.) Boy we are sure glad to have this guy back (along with the new glasses he brought home for the kids).2013-05-21 iPhone 75793 I sure wish I had a list of all the stuff we missed out with him in China.  I’m sure it would include lots of interesting food and planes, trains and automobiles. And lots of meetings.  Poor guy. We have 1 more full-day of school here in the desert. ONE. And I’m holding on by my fingernails. 

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  1. All my boys have done landscaping for summer jobs. I loved it because they get up early and come home late and then do it all again the next day! keeps them busy, builds muscle and tons of character!! Good luck!

  2. wow, only one day left of school? that's crazy. miss you guys and can't wait to spend quality time together so soon! i love you so much!

  3. Boy…you guys really had a busy few days while he was out of town!! Such fun photos…my hubby has to travel a lot with work and I know the feeling—we are all so happy when Daddy returns home! 🙂

  4. Have you checked with your City to see if they are hiring summer help for parks or recreation? Those are fantastic jobs- it's how I got my start!

  5. Being a lifeguard would also be my first suggestion.

    When I was Max age (oh my goodness, that's already ten years ago!) I assisted as a warden on an icelandic hiking hut. Of course there was a "real" warden who guided me, and I didn't get any money, but being in iceland, volounteering and getting to know many interesting people was a huge experience for me.
    But I must admit that my parents worried about me the whole summer. Even if central Europe is just a four hour flight away from Iceland. But maybe there is a similar opportunity in one of the many national parks in America?

    Another possibility for a summer job is tutoring students who need to pass their re-exam at the end of summer holidays.
    That's really well paid, but kind of lame in comparison to the other jobs 😉

  6. I usually don't comment, but his time I have to. You mentioned Scoliosis and it brought back a flood of memories from my 9th grade year. I wore a back brace for a form of scoliosis and braces on my teeth at the same time – think 16 Candles (Joan Cusak at the water fountain) – yep, that was me. I hope she grows out of it and stays active. I can't imagine how much easier it would have been for me with better knowledge regarding nutrition and fitness. I chose to look at it as a challenge and learned from it as much as I could. I hope it will be the same for Elle.

  7. Lots of kids around here do car detailing. They charge way less than a professional, but still do a great job and earn good money. Plus they make their own hours. The amount of money they make depends on the amount of ambition they have. Perfect for High School kids!

  8. Ah…scoliosis. Fingers crossed it's mild! My sister has scoliosis (mild), and was lucky enough not to have to wear a brace. I second the above commenter's comments re fitness (though from the looks of it your children are VERY active)–growing up and working on a farm definitely helped my sister maintain a strong back, which helps in part to support her crooked spine.

  9. oooh I am exhausted reading that!!!
    I don't know how you do it!! and you do it well ( though I know you might not think so, you do!!!!)

    I think the suggestion of lifeguarding and landscaping is great for someone max's age!

    Ugh, I worry every year about grades, and my oldest is in grade 3 lol!!!!

    One more day, you can do it!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Don't know how you keep all those balls in the air….juggling all of that! I certainly can see why cookies are necessary! 🙂 And I love that you have a "no sleep-over" policy. I'm documenting this – and making notes of every other parent that is "on my side" for the occasional times my kids complain about this rule at our house too. 🙂

  11. we are a 'no sleepover' policy too!! 🙂

    ps, ever since you made a mention of buying flowers from dave to you, I totally have taken this on… I totally buy them, I know my hubby would want to, but he doesn't get to the city as often as me 😉

    ps… I really miss you Q & A days!!!!

  12. Lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons is definitely the best summer job, in my opinion. Although, it is probably a little late to get started on that for this summer, as it takes several weeks of classes to get certified.

    That was a crazy 8 days for you! Bring on summer, huh?

  13. I looveee your blog! I read it daily, or as often as you post. I was curious about your "no sleepover policy". I have never seen you mention that before.

  14. You guys finish school so early where you live! Up in Victoria, BC, Canada we have 5 weeks left! When do you head back to classes for the next year?

  15. For a job for Max, washing windows. You do have to go door to door to get the jobs, but honestly he will make more money (like $20-$25 an hour) doing that than anything else and can do it mornings and early evenings to beat the heat.

  16. Sorry didn't mean to finish the comment yet. It is pretty easy to get started. If he is interested, have him email me and I can give him some pointers and a list of what to buy.

    Plus, he can practice on your windows 🙂


  17. Love hearing the stories of your beautiful and busy family! I feel for Elle as I had scoliosis and wore a brace for most of my time in high school. I hope her case is mild and doesn't cause her too much pain. When I was Max age I had my first job working at Harkins Theaters. They are a great company to work for and were very flexible (I was in Marching Band and they always worked around my practice and performance schedule)…and free movie passes!

  18. My husband's summer job in high school was working at Coldstone and loved it.

    Tutoring, cleaning dental offices, and refereeing city leagues are also great jobs.

    I love how enthusiastic your children are for life. You can see it in their faces!

  19. Our son (same age as Max) bikes a few blocks to the local grocery story where he works 8 hours a week in produce. (Hopefully more in the summer.) He got the job by going with his resume once a week and introducing himself and talking with the managers in different departments. His persistence paid off and it's been a fantastic job–they are flexible and he never works more than four hours at a time during the school year.

  20. DON'T USE A SCOLIOSIS BRACE! They are so miserable! I'm 16 years old, I used to wear one until I found this doctor in Colorado (I live in utah) I go see him usually 1-2 times a year and all the rest of my therapy can be done at home! Some of my stories and experiences are on my old blog http://www.xscoliosisx.blogspot.com and the website that describes the therapy that I do for my scoliosis is http://clear-institute.org/ DON'T USE A BRACE! OR SURGERY. Ever!

  21. I had scoliosis, and it was caught when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I had to wear a corset like brace, but lucky for me my doctor bought into some new research that said it was just as effective to wear a brace 15 hours a day as 24 hours a day (as most other doctors thought). With 15 hours a day, I usually got away with not having to wear it at school, which was great. It did fit under my clothes. I hated it and had to wear it about 2 years, but now I am so grateful! I had about a 21 degree curve, and the brace was effective and now it is only 19 degrees, and my hips and shoulders are even, and I've never had any back pain or trouble (I'm 28). If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me, I love your blog!

  22. Shawni, on the subject of scoliosis… I have a severe scoliosis and as a child was told not to do the back brace because it causes muscle atrophy. My parents put me in ballet lessons. I'm currently part of a study to do such therapies.

  23. Summer job: My daughter just started her summer job at an ice cream shop and she loves it. She likes interacting with customers and enjoys trying to make the perfect cone. One of the best things is that the shop doesn't open until 2pm, so (once school is out)mornings can be spent doing chores, sleeping in, etc.

  24. You're just going to throw out big information like a toilet break and scoliosis like that without giving us more info?! I wanna hear about it in full!

  25. We don't do sleepovers either! We let the kids have "late nights" where they stay until around 10 or 11, depending on the age, and then come home or go home. A former Stake Pres. counseled us to really rethink sleepovers and we decided that we would not do them anymore. Our boys don't feel cheated and have just as much fun at a late night without the grumpy, no sleep attitude the next day! It's a win-win for us.

  26. Wow! That's a LOT of stuff! So sorry about the broken finger. That's a worry! Also, scoliosis? Really? As you know Saydi had it and it never bothered her. I was so worried about her pregnancies and how difficult it might be giving birth. Didn't seem to be a problem right? Hope that works in this case. It's amazing that they're just now discovering it! YIKES!

    Hope things calm down enough for you to breathe….and sleep for a while in June. Good luck with Lucy's swim lesssons. She looks absolutely terrific!

  27. I'm also very keen to hear about the 'no sleep-overs' policy. How u explain it to your kids, the reasoning behind it, etc. I'm stepping on tremulous ground with my six-year-old right now, as the sleep-over topic is just coming up for the first time. Do you make exceptions for birthdays? Would love to hear your rationale.

  28. Summer Job for Max: I tell my boys that when they are teenagers, they should be the ice cream man (or I guess the ice cream men?)! They'd make a killing!

  29. Another plea to keep us updated on the scoliosis… How ironic that I had just gotten back from the orthopedic surgeon with my own daughter when I came home to read your blog post! She is 12 and is on the borderline of what the doctor considers serious enough to require bracing. (26 degrees). We have a follow up appointment scheduled in 4 months. Trying to inhale all the information I can before then!

  30. While there are lots of "fun" jobs out there can teach the value of work and keeping a schedule, etc…, I've always counselled young people that want to get a job to try and get an internship in a field they are considering as a career.

    It is so much more rewarding than spending a summer bagging groceries. Plus, if you do an internship for a summer and discover that you don't like a certain career path, that is a much easier lesson than spending years in college training for a career that turns out not to be as exciting as you thought.

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