Utah is a pretty gorgeous place in the summer, I tell you that.
Right now, as we melt in the heat of the desert, I’m sure missing all that beauty up there.  And most of all I’m missing having my girls with me 24-7.  
I love them.
And oh man did I ever love having them all to myself up there.  We had some great adventures, and covered a lot of ground.  We missed Claire while she was gone to soccer camp, but sure got some good time with her before and after.  Normally when we’re in Utah we are mostly up in Bear Lake, which we love, but it was so great to have some time up there to slow down and do some visits, take some drives, see some things I’ve been wanting to see, and to share all that with my adventure girls.  I adore that they’re always up for a good adventure.
So here we go, let’s record some of those puppies:
After all the missionary farewell hoopla we headed to see my brother and his family who had just arrived to Utah with their six kids in tow, and my other brother who was there fresh from Hawaii with one of his kids while he waited for the rest of the family to join after some things they had to do.
Of course my mom had a big dinner all prepared for us (to which we did a little toast), and it was so great to catch up a little.  I have the best brothers!
Bright and early the next morning Claire and I left everyone sleeping and headed down to Provo to check her into BYU Soccer Camp.
She had been waiting and waiting for that day and was pretty excited.  

The fact that “Cosmo” the BYU mascot grabbed her and insisted on taking a selfie with her was just the cherry on top of all that excitement:

 Yeah, that’s some excitement right there.

She stayed in “Helaman Halls,” the same dorm complex where Max and Elle lived last year.

And after we arrived and did the little orientation her cute roommate showed up (one of her greatest friends from home…one of our neighbors).

We unpacked and headed to the opening stuff all together.

 And then my friend and I bid goodbye to our girls as they set off on their adventure.

I spent some time at the administration building trying to figure out how to adjust Max’s deferment since he has decided to stay until the end of January which means he’ll miss Winter semester (we were thinking we’d maybe get him home for Christmas).  Lots more details on that at some point…

After that I rushed back up to Salt Lake to meet up with the high school friends who could gather.

So great to see them…

And so great that Al and I happened to match with our vintage Gap jean jackets ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve mentioned this before, but I sure lucked out in the friend category in high school.  Love all those girls so so much.

Loved staying downtown in Salt Lake and having this view everywhere we went:

 One day the girls rode bikes up to the capitol building, we explored the cool public library:

  We met up with my Hawaii brother and his son, and explored the Church History museum:

 I made everyone go check out Symphony Hall:

Lots of memories at that place.  My dad helped get that thing built back in the day, and I remember falling in love with the symphony there, going to a couple high school dances there, and most of all graduating from high school in that place.

 Jonah did too so we had to capture that…

 …along with the cutest ever photo-bomber:

You never know what you’re going to get with that girl of ours.  She was bawling and throwing a fit five minutes before these pictures…

 Then Jonah found a little bird to cheer her up and voila, all jovial and pleased as punch.

Here’s Symphony Hall from a little more distance:

From there we headed to hike Ensign Peak:

Which was kind of nostalgic because my sister Saren and I hiked that thing the day after Dave and I dropped off Max at the MTC (back HERE…looked a little different covered with snow back then).

Jonah helped Lu get up that mountain just like he helped her get up the trail on the Bamboo Hike (over in his home island of Maui over Spring Break back HERE).

I love this city of my childhood:

…and also, Lucy’s “triumph” face complete with tongue out:

Took that view in up there for a while.

Back down to the city…

…and up to my parent’s house to meet up with Dave’s business partner from China who was in town.  (Dave had been in meetings up there so missed out on our SLC adventures during the week.)

My brother Noah was meeting with those two as well, and it was so fun to get to hang with his family again:

After that we headed straight to the newborn intensive care unit at the hospital where my dearest friend Maureen took us on a little tour of her world where she works.

I have visited her there before years ago, but I’ve never taken my girls and it was so awesome to get to share that experience all together there.

The fact that babies less than a pound can be so incredibly perfectly formed and have the potential to make it with these nurses’ care and the world of modern medicine is a pretty beautiful thing.

Elle had a job interview up there in Salt Lake the next day so we had a little date together to get there.

That poor girl also had a horrible toothache so we headed to our dentist friend Kurt Christensen to take a look (check him out if you’re ever in the need of a dentist in Utah…he’s the best).  We thought maybe she’d need a root canal or something, but it turned out to be her wisdom teeth pushing into her other teeth, waiting to be freed.

By the time this posts that girl of mine will have those suckers pulled out, and hopefully the pain will have evaporated…although having your wisdom teeth pulled creates a whole new brand of pain…

We visited our friend who did our WALL (back HERE) who is now designing the coolest office space up there in Salt Lake.  I loved how my girls were as mesmerized as I was taking a little tour of that place.

It is set to be completed by this coming Monday…we are sending prayers his way! ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile Claire was down in Provo having the time of her life!

She didn’t send many soccer pics, (too busy playing hard) but she did send a text that said: “I don’t know if I have ever had this much fun!”  Here they are at the swimming place they got to go to one of the days:

My other three girls and I headed to the Bonneville Salt Flats that evening.

I have always wanted to go, but it’s just far enough out of Salt Lake that I haven’t ever made it happen.

Lucky for me these adventure girls of mine were completely up for the long drive.  It took an hour and forty minutes both ways but we loved every minute of exploring those massive, interesting flats.

We took so many pictures I’m going to do another post about just that tomorrow.

Because this post is too picture-laden as it is, but we really loved that place!

More joy pics from Claire:

We stayed at my parents house and hit the “hike to Narnia Canyon” with my Dad and brother the next morning.

I’m telling you, that place is incredible.  Vibrant wild flowers spilling out all over creation that the girls picked.

Just a tad different from Grand Canyon hiking…

I love how my dad is such a nature-lover.

He sat and told us a story of how his dad was the best nature-lover he ever knew.

I guess it runs in the family.

And I sure hope it rubs off on all these kids of mine.

So far so good.

This is how Lucy felt that we had to leave Grammie and Grandfather to go pick up Claire down in Provo and see her last soccer match:

She loves those guys like the dickens.

One night while Claire was at camp we were talking on the phone and she was telling me the names of some of the new girls she had met.

When she mentioned a girl named Saige I asked what her last name was.  The only other Saige I knew was one my college roommate’s daughters.

Sure enough, it was that same Saige.  And I hadn’t seen that friend in years and years (she missed both of the last college weekend trips we’ve had).  So I called her there on the spot at 11:00 at night and it was so fun to catch up.

We met up at the little end-of-the-soccer-camp-tournament to watch our girls play.

Oh my it was so great to see her and also her son I hadn’t seen since I think he was in first grade.

And to meet that cute Saige:

Love that they are friends now.

Claire had an awesome soccer coach that week…she plays on the BYU soccer team and was darling with the girls.

Sad news:  Poor Claire really messed up her neck somehow that last morning.  Some crazy kink in her neck and she could barely move.  You can’t tell so well from these pictures, but her neck was contorted in such a weird way, and although she still tried to play, she could only stand the pain for a few minutes before she had to come out.  That was a kind of sad ending to a great soccer week, but she was still pretty excited to introduce us to new friends and go to the award ceremony.

Lucy was smart and brought her book to the ceremony, because she knows how those things can get…

Elle kept her company at the end too…and is always figuring out fun things to do.

We went and packed out of her room and met her cute dorm counselor:

Love the people who influence the lives of my children in such positive ways.

Speaking of that, after we checked Claire out we went and visited Dave’s sister Carol Lynn where she works.

It was great to enter her world for a little bit as well.  We went out to dinner together, then dessert, and loved catching up.

And although the plan was to hike to the “Y” on the mountain there above BYU all together earlier that evening, Claire’s neck was too painful, Grace’s foot was killing her, and Elle had to get shoes from her cousin, so my friend and I snuck off and hiked the Y together while the girls hit the book store with Carol Lynn.

I was laughing because neither of us could pass that thing up!!

Loved that hike and my friend Tonia and the discussions we have (the same one who we hiked the Grand Canyon with back HERE…her daughter was the one who was Claire’s roommate and we love those guys so much!)

The views were pretty incredible too.

Here’s the view from the very top of that “Y”:

(Dave and I hiked that a while back when we dropped off Max at college…back HERE)

We wrapped up that last day with brunch at a place I remembered from my teenage years that didn’t disappoint:

A visit to see my cousin Heather (who’s really Dave’s cousin but I claim her):

And a totally surprise visit after we took that picture up there ^^ I heard a voice over the fence say “Shawni????”  And low and behold, it was my cousin’s wife who was visiting her parents from North Carolina.  She is from that exact same neighborhood and totally knew Heather growing up but we’d never made that connection.

How crazy is that?

She’s written some awesome children’s books and I had been emailing her recently about my home-schooling ideas for next year (she’s a home-schooler) and it was so great to see her and catch up with her!

This pic. is funny but had to get Lucy with her since she loved reading the book that Lindsay wrote so much (you can find it HERE).

Seriously, it is a small, small world.

Then we headed to go to the Salt Lake temple together.

Claire had been so excited to do this so we waited for her and it was maybe my very favorite part of the whole week.

Love that place and those girls of mine.

And then…it was time to go home.

Happy and sad at the same time.  So hard to let go of that time I was able to get with my girls, and the forecast calls for record-breaking 119 degree weather today but there’s still no place like home.  Especially, at least in my girls’ opinion, when it includes Bo Jangles.

The girls were SO incredibly excited to see that Dog of theirs.  They had been telling Elle all about every detail of the funny things she does, the faces she makes, the way she snuggles, etc. etc. all. week.long. (Elle helped us pick her out, but has never been home with her).

Dave had gone home a couple days earlier for work and brought her to pick us up.  This picture is blurry, but I want so much to remember the electric excitement surrounding those girls to see that puppy of ours…and how her whole puppy-body was wagging in glee to see them.

The end.


  1. Love the photos of your niece (maybe that one is Poem?) holding s gorgeous bunch of colorful wildflowers she picked while leaning into her grandfather and surrounded by her cousins. What a special moment! And it looks like she was loving every second of it! adorable.

  2. Hi Shawni! We're homeschoolers (I have four munchkins), and I'm excited to hear more about what you're up to next year, if you share about it! Looks & sounds like such a lovely Utah visit! I hope Claire's neck is okay. xoxo

  3. I"m soooo happy to see all the stuff I missed! I didn't know a lot of this so thanks for posting! Can't wait to be back wth you in less than 3 weeks!

  4. I have followed this blog for a while but have never actually commented, but I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy reading about the adventures your family has and it makes me want to be appreciative for all the things, big and small, that happen in my life as well. I'm not even sure how I found this blog, but thank you for sharing and inspiring me! God bless you all!

  5. I am surprised Elle is interviewing in salt lake for a job. She goes to school in Hawaii and is from Arizona. Is she already moving?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *