…which was yesterday.

Because this girl was back:

And it is her senior year.  And she was glowing, trailing clouds of glory from her trip and being back and being a senior and all that jazz.
And Claire had been holding her breath for that big sister to get back because she was so excited to be in high school with her:
(Let’s pretend that picture isn’t blurry because I still like it.)

Here’s a better one though:
Aw, cuties.

We had put some first-day-stuff on hold to do when Grace got back…most importantly our “Father’s Blessings” that Dave gives the kids right before the first day.  
We did them on Sunday and I won’t go into detail, but Dave gave me one along with my girls and that family room of ours was so filled with love and beauty (which was pretty impressive since we were fasting which normally results in a bunch of grumpiness:).  
I was so grateful.  For Dave, for my family, for that day.
We had our own little family testimony meeting too (which we do on Fast Sundays…talked about back HERE), and there was just something about that Sunday that was pretty emotionally filling.  Some of us were including Max and Elle in our fasts, so in a strange way it almost felt as if those two were part of this whole shin-dig too.

I love my family.
It is certainly not always lovey-dovey like it was that day, there are arguments and mean words hurled out.  There are ups and downs.  But that day, right there huddled in the safety of our home, our family was sacred and filled with tangible love.
Then it was on to the excitement of getting ready for that second “first day.”
…and a SENIOR:

(That’s a “12” she’s holding up…ha!)

I couldn’t help but smile to match those gigantic smiles setting off together for their adventure:

I was at the school all day long since Lucy’s Braille teacher and I were doing a little presentation on BBS for each of the 6th grade classes (more on that soon), but we got home in time enough to whip up some cookies for our second “cookie chat:”

By that time Grace had been home and off again to Savers and back because that’s the kind of thing you have to do on the first day I guess…
And we had to squish that in between a doctor appointment and a grocery stop and the regular things pulling us different ways.
I had grand plans to unveil our new 2018-2019 “school theme” for FHE that night, but Dave and I decided to take a month to make sure we had a good handle on last year’s (back HERE) before we do that.  (Of course, “self-discipline” will never, ever be “handled” and perfected, because it’s always a work in progress, but we wanted to solidify that process before moving on.)
We did still have FHE though, and I’m including this kind of funny picture because it shows some things I want to remember:  Our “super long” Twizzlers Lucy and I brought back from NYC for everyone and and had been waiting for the perfect moment.  Lucy’s idea to have the card game “winner” get all those pieces in the middle for their prize (tasty all broken up like that don’t you think? 🙂  And Grace had horrible blisters from her new shoes Dave was helping her bandage up down there on the right…
…and right after that Claire, Grace and I whisked ourselves off to the mandatory student council meeting at the school since Claire is thinking she might run for something so she can have a class with Grace.  And Grace had her arm around that sister of hers whispering all the awesome stuff about student council.
Just a regular run-of-the-mill night but I want to remember it.  And hold all this close.  Because I love it all.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  Fertile ground for learning right in the center of a family I love.


    1. Dave has the Priesthood, and so it only goes one way. Which is why I always say we as women get more from who priesthood than the men. I have had so many blessings but can only think of a handful of times my husband has. It's a beautiful, sacred moment.

  1. I love the Father's Blessing tradition. I never experienced that in my childhood, but I can imagine how sacred and special and full of love those moments are.

    *Jenny, men can also receive blessings, however, blessings are given by someone who has been ordained to the priesthood (which is used to bless and serve others). Their son, Max, holds the priesthood and could give him a blessing. His family can pray and fast for him to receive certain blessings, but the blessings given by the laying on of hands are given by those ordained to the priesthood.

    1. Why can a wife not bless her husband the same way?. Does not God speak directly to her as God speaks to her husband? Why is a son able to bless his mother but a mother not a son? I think the LDS church believes in personal revelation so this seems strange.

    2. I would imagine it would be comparable to how male kohens have more rights and responsibilities than the female kohens. Or how Catholic priests are male Is that not strange as well, Jenny?

    3. Male Cohens in Judaism do not have more rights and responsibilities than female. And yes, I think the Catholic church's structure is strange and prone to corruption.

    4. In Catholicism anyone can bless anyone. There is no difference in family life between a father and mother when it comes to raising children.

      I don’t understand why people are upset over this family’s annual blessing ritual. If you think women should have the priesthood and believe the BOM join another Latter Day Saint denomination that has that.

      Corruption can be found in political parties, the U.N. religion, government, schools, unions.. Doesn’t mean there are problems with those orgs just means people can become corrupt.

    5. I love that we all "speak" to God and "hear" Him in different ways. It's interesting to have this question come up here because I've been feeling such a strong connection with God lately with some different things I've been praying for as my children grow. You're right, Jenny (also), we totally believe in personal revelation and that doesn't come just in priesthood blessings. I feel like I can "bless" Dave and Max (and my girls) in many ways that are different from a priesthood blessing. Love that my husband can give us blessings at the beginning of each year and any other times we need/want them, and that I can pray "hard" (as Lucy calls it) reaching up my words to Heaven in my own way.

      Not sure if that helps? Lisa, Whitney, kms, and Jessica, thank you for your comments too!

  2. I had to do a double take when I saw the photo of Grace and Lucy holding cookies – I thought Grace was Charity!

    Beautiful young women who are glowing with the love of life!

  3. Grace is just beautiful, her sweetness literally shines through. I’m just approach kids & driving.. any tips?
    Do you give them free access to your vehicles once they have a licence? Do they have to pay for their own insurance & gas?
    Do they get their own vehicle? Are there consequences for accidents/incidents?
    Eek I though got kindergarten was hard lol

    1. I'd love some advice on that as well! My daughter is not only the oldest child of my friends' group (they all got started a good three or four years after me) and our family (first grandchild), but she's turning 16 a year earlier than her friends. (Here in Texas, if your birthday falls after September 1st, you can't enter kindergarten the year you turn 5. So she'll be turning 16 only a month into her sophomore year of high school, long before most of her friends do)

      I am thinking of practically shoving a car at her, because I am run ragged carting her off to every practice/after school commitment/game under the sun, but I'm not sure I love the idea of her having free reign behind the wheel just anytime she would like.

    2. Once thing my parents did was required I had the car insurance deductible saved up before I could drive on my own. When I did get into an accident I was in charge of calling our insurance company, arranging the car to be dropped off at the body shop and paid the deductible. I wasn’t allowed to drive it again until I saved the deductible. Luckily my parents deductible was only $200.

      In terms of what to pay for for your kids it’s helpful to look at the big picture. My friends used to give me a hard time because my parents paid for my phone, car, insurance, gas, clothes, etc. BUT their parents paid for college and I paid for that (including application fees) on my own. So what do you want to provide and what do you want your kids to be responsible for?

    3. Yes it's an interesting ride to get into the driving years! Since we have had drivers we've had three "family cars" and have let the kids drive one of them. They pay for gas and we pay for insurance. We name them so that it's easy not to call them "your car" or "Max's car." The first one was Jenna, and the truck is Ted.

      I love Ms. Ponce's deductible idea! We may have to adopt that one!

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