These four girls are cousins, and also best friends.

So when that one second from the right decided she was going to head out and serve a mission for our church, naturally they all wanted to be there to send her off.

Elle’s last final in Hawaii was a few days before the farewell at church, so we decided to have her fly directly to Utah.

And we decided we better join her up there because we wanted to see that farewell too.  Well, and we weren’t about to wait a few extra days to reunite with that girl of ours.  And Claire had soccer camp that week at BYU.

Sooooo, we headed off.

We got there early enough in the day that we got to hang with my parents for a little while before Elle showed up.

 They always know how to show us a good time.

 My Dad was training the girls to swim all the way across holding their breath.

 …and they made it!

Then it was off to the barn swing…

 …and then s’mores around the fire.

…staged against a gorgeous sunset reflecting so beautifully on the windows.

Then it was off to meet Elle’s late-night flight.  We met up with her roommate’s family there waiting, and it was so fun to get to know them better.  We love that Erin after hanging with her in Hawaii at spring break, and knowing how great she is through Elle.

Aw, it was so great to get that girl of ours in our arms again!

Here she is with her roommate (left, pink hair;), and another friend who were both on her same flight:

Yes, they had had some fun with some “temporary” hair dye that last day there…Elle was dying that hers didn’t come out in the first wash…Erin hadn’t tried to get hers out yet.

They lost one of Elle’s bags so we hung out in the baggage claim area for a bit where they had some pretty fabulous treats (according to my girls).  I guess they figure treats will help ease the pain of losing a bag.

 Well, and I guess they were correct if you take note of those girls’ faces ๐Ÿ™‚

The next morning we shopped a little and went out to breakfast after meeting up with one cousin who had come for the farewell.

 I love Temple Square and downtown SLC.

Lucy is taking this whole “summer goals” so dang seriously I tell you!  She has made herself all kinds of math worksheets and is so good at knowing her check-list and I love that!

Dave’s sister and her family came over to our little apartment to hang with us between wedding festivities of her niece getting married on her husband’s side.

It was her daughter leaving on the mission and man alive we love that great family.  So fun to hang with them a bit before the big farewell.

How many kids can you fit on a hide-a-bed?

All that farewell talk business made us miss our missionary so much I could almost taste it.

 Oh boy do we ever miss that boy of ours!

 The next day we hit Lagoon.

Because that is our Utah summer tradition we share with this family and these cousins we love up there.

Even Lucy was all for this excursion this time around.

Sure, she only wanted to ride the “swings” the whole time, but she was patient to stand in line with us for the big rides and was pretty excited when we stopped a few times at her beloved swings.

Everyone came with us one of the times, and it looks like it was fun for all from the looks on Grace’s face (below:)


The highlight of the day in my opinion was when we sweet-talked Lucy into riding Colossus with us.

I was shaking the whole time so worried about her because she HATES that stuff, and we went upside down for crying out loud, but we wanted to push her out of her comfort zone a little bit.

I watched her the whole time, scared with her eyes closed, but determined.  When we got to the end she let out a bellow thinking it was going to keep going.  But when I told her it was over she got a big smile…

…and she shone with the knowledge that she did that scary thing.

She was SO happy with herself!

And was A-OK NOT to do it again ๐Ÿ™‚

Go Lucy!

We took a Lagoon-break and hit In-and-Out with all these cousins:

And I’m pretty sure that’s the way to do Lagoon.

We went to Dave’s sister’s house for a few hours and just hung out, catching up, talking about missions, laughing about who-knows-what, and then the teenagers headed back to Lagoon while the adults headed to eat…yes, again.

Then Dave, Lu and I headed back to Lagoon because it’s Lagoon and I love that place.

For reals, it is one of my favorites.

This is my favorite ride as seen from the parking lot:

See how that thing drops?

Yeah it’s fun.

So fun to have these girls of ours all together there.

And cousins as the sun went down.

One last run on the swings for Lucy:

And then we were out.

Tuckered as all get-out with smiles on our faces.

The next day was the big day for McKenna.

She’s heading to Madrid, Spain and we’re so excited for her as well as for the people over there.

These girls, however, although you can’t tell from this pic, are not too pleased to be split apart for that long.

 Here’s Dave’s cousin who I call mine too…and the rest of us who were there with the missionary girl:

 (although I apparently didn’t get the black & white memo:)

And here’s our last hug with her for 18 months:

Oh she’s going to do good things and grow and learn so much!  So excited for her.

But those four girls had some teary goodbyes before we headed out.

So glad we got to soak her and all those cousins up for those few days.

Next up we visited with my side of the family…more on that tomorrow.


  1. Every summer we would make the 5 hour road trip from Boise to SLC to Lagoon! Rattlesnake Rapids is my favorite!
    We would drive to the state Capitol and hike up the grass hill in the dark and look out at the lights of Salt Lake City.
    Always a highlight to stop at the mall in Layton. We had to make a stop at Nordstrom since Boise doesn't have one.
    So many good memories with my girls and their friends and our trips to Lagoon!

  2. Hi from a Boston reader. Curious: why isn't Elle going on a mission if her brother and friend are? Is it optional in the church? I love learning about different religions.
    Thanks for your insight!

    1. She isn't 19 yet. Boys can go starting at 18. It's optional for girls, but she isn't old enough yet. Soon she will be old enough.

    2. It's optional for everyone you don't have to go on a mission if you don't want. I'm from the UK so for females here it's 21 is the age for a mission or it was when I used to attend – My bishop at the time though sadly was all about me getting married & having a family rather than do a mission which I didn't much care for

    3. Well boys are told to do a mission since birth in the States. They are saving for it from age 8, sometimes younger. They are participating in sending off and welcoming home ones in their family and ward. Hardly optional. Of course not all of them go, medical reasons and such, but it's the exception.

    4. kms- boys are encouraged to serve a mission, not told. From when we were young, we (my brothers included) were always encouraged to live in such a way that would have us worthy to serve a mission if we chose to; it was the same for my husband and many of his friends, and they were born and raised in Utah. Of course, there are parents who push the issue, but I definitely wouldn't say a mission isn't optional because it totally is.

  3. Such a fun post! What card game is the group playing in SLC? We love cards but haven't learned any new ones in a long time…would love to know some of your favorites!!

  4. Hi Shawni,
    I am very interested in those taupe color sandals you are wearing. Can you please tell me where you bought them or what brand they are? Also, I love reading your blog and about your adventures, you have a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I found them at Nordstrom Rack a while back. The brand is Eileen Fischer. They are super comfortable but I think a little pricey if you don't get them for a deal.

  5. This is a late comment but I just made the connection now that Hermana Parkinson is your niece. My sister-in-law Hermana Rachel Arnold (my husband's sister) was her trainer in A Coruรฑa. Just transferred today. I know Charity here in London. Small world!

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