Claire happened to have a tournament in California starting a couple days after Grace returned from her mission.

So we got to all go watch her together.

So fun for Grace to see the level of play and to get in on some of this volleyball action before we reach “the end.”

Love that we got to have Max and Abby with us too.

(We were SO CLOSE, yet so far, trying to have the WHOLE family together…Elle and Carson came with us for Spring Break and Max and Abby couldn’t, and visa versa with this trip. SOME DAY we’ll get everyone together…until then, we have just realized we gotta take what we can get!)

I think it was a good place for Grace to kind of debrief from her mission:

To soak in these two:

To get Grace’s phone set up finally:

To spend some quality time at the beach:

Watch volleyball on the court and also streamed where we were staying:

Sometimes just Dave and I went to the games:

(These tournaments are no joke…three straight days of volleyball.)

…and the kids hung out together:

…while Claire hung out with these teammates she adores:

They are the kind of team everyone wants to be part of, always building each other up and so much support and love, no drama. Pretty incredible I have to say.

On Sunday we had the best church there in Newport.

Did you know you can find a church meetinghouse anytime, anywhere online?

(Just in case anyone has a hankering to go to church in a far-off spot:)

I love going to other church congregations because they’re so much the same yet so beautifully different too.

I loved that they invited all the women to stand up in front (if they so desired) to join in singing “As Sisters in Zion.”

It’s the anniversary of the beginning of the Relief Society in March and I thought this was such a grand idea.

Abby, Grace and I went up and joined all the other women and as we sang these words we were so overcome with the power of womanhood:

Love these strong women I get by my side:

Love that Claire got to join us the rest of the day:

She always makes it a party.

After that evening in the slanted Newport sun, we dropped off Max to head back to work, Dave and Lu to head off in the other direction for work and school, and these three and I hung tight for one night and a day of some girl-time:

Oh it’s never enough, but we sure had fun.

A morning bike ride to get our favorite Banzai Bowls, then a COLD swim in the ocean:

Followed by some shopping…

…with a lost wallet and brunch on a sunny porch mixed in.

Then we sent Abby on her way back to Utah and the girls and I headed back to the desert, filled up with volleyball and late night conversations and memories…and a good old cold sore as a great souvenir.


I’d take it any time for time like that though.

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  1. I love all the fun adventures you create with your family. How do you go about planning these trips? Are they planned well in advance? Do you just send a group text, ‘ hey, we’ve got volleyball next weekend in California, who can come?’ I’d love to hear details about how you pull off your trips. Do you divide out who looks for a place to stay, who figures out flights, where to eat, etc? Or does it just sorta come together?

    1. Good question. It depends on what we’re doing. For something like this, we knew this tournament was coming up so Dave reserved the week in this condo we have part ownership in. Plans changed a lot as we tried to figure it out…the hope was that we would ALL be able to do spring break together but since that didn’t work (for multiple reasons) we were so glad Max and Abby could join us for this one. (So glad Elle and Carson could join us for spring break). For something like a bigger summer trip I usually do the planning and try to involve the kids as much as I can. For our trip to the Dolomites last summer I came up with a plan and had Dave and the kids help do a little research. That kind of stuff definitely doesn’t “just come together” but all the planning and worrying is oh so worth it in the end!!

      Hope that answers your question.

      1. Thanks so much for that inside, Shawni. It would be great if you’d be willing to do a blog post on how you plan your travels:
        How do you decide on a location? Which accommodations do you chose, how do you go about the actual itinerary?

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