Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grace's gigawatt smile

Question:  Who wouldn't want to win a football game with this gigantic smile cheering you on from the sidelines?
I love watching this girl out there cheering her heart out.

Lucy on the other hand, could take it or leave it most of the time.
Good thing she love to read.  I missed the picture of her sprawled out on the bleachers on her belly reading earlier.

(Dave and I had to tag team this night because of some conflicts and Claire had soccer.)

After every touchdown the cheerleaders do as many pushups as the score dictates.
 Is that a thing?  Not sure if that's unique to our school...

The first couple games were hot as blazes even when the sun was tucked safely away, but as the weather cools down this is a pretty great way to spend an evening.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

just three

On a date this last weekend Dave and I got Max's p-day email right as we were walking out of a movie.  (We get his letters on Friday nights now since his p-day is on Saturday while he's in the office and he's fifteen hours ahead of us.)

And every time our email in-boxes light up with that Elder of ours our hearts start pumping extra fast.  He doesn't write a ton, but oh boy it is so great to hear from him.  And when we happen to be online at the same time we can email back and forth for a minute.

So that particular Friday night we found an abandoned picnic table and emailed questions back and forth for a few minutes.  One of Max's to us was "how is life with three kids at home?" to which Dave responded, "Great!  We love it!"

And I looked at him with a smile, because you know what?  We do love it.  

Of course that doesn't mean we don't miss those older two so much it physically hurts at times.  (I was tearing up listening to "Fix You" while making dinner the other night because it reminds me so much of Max, and every time we FaceTime with Elle I think I just might give away my right arm to give her a big, giant hug.)

But despite the missing, we do love having these three girls of ours all to ourselves:
It's not quite as simple as I thought it would be...I still haven't tackled a fraction of the things I dreamed life would spread out to let me bite into, and just because two are gone doesn't mean they don't take up a huge chunk of their mother's heart (and also time because there is always something to send, something to pray for, something to worry about).

But these three spunky girls of ours are FUN I tell you!

They make us laugh.  We are more spontaneous.  They are still young so we don't have college looming ahead just yet.  The house stays so much cleaner (for real, which is weird because Max and Elle aren't particularly messy, there's just less "stuff" around).  And it feels good to let them be the "stars" when Max and Elle have taken that spot for the last couple years.

And I love love love watching and hearing the things Max and Elle are learning and how they're growing in ways they never could at home.  It is a pretty amazing feeling as a mother to feel so at peace as to what your kids are doing who are far away from you.

I've mentioned before that my sister cracks us up when we get together because she always says, "my kids are in the best stage!" no matter what stage it is.  And you know what?  She's right.  Just like I didn't know to look forward to having teenagers, I didn't know to look forward to this stage either. Motherhood sure takes you on a crazy and sometimes unexpected ride I tell you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

mom inspiration

I've been listening to the "Encore Day" interviews from the Mom Conference today getting so inspired.  And not that it is after 10:00 I'm realizing I have neglected to write about the extra interviews featured in the Mom Conference today.  Shoot.  Hopefully those who signed up got an email about that great thing and have listened in, but those who didn't, maybe you can catch at least one of those great interviews before you head to bed!  (I'm listening to Kelly Jensen talk about "live lists" right now and I'm so pumped up about starting our own!)

Over 50,000 moms listened in to this conference and it makes my heart so happy to think about that army of mothers out there listening in, gaining all kinds of tips and tricks and wisdom and reflection and appreciation for this job that is so incredibly frustrating and rewarding at the same time, and comes with no real instruction manual:).  And it also makes me so grateful for the awesome moms who worked so hard to put this whole deal together including my incredible sister Saren (go Saren!).

If you didn't get a chance to listen in, or if you've attended parts of the conference and it's left you wanting more (I know it has done that to me because we were out of town and I didn't get to hear nearly as much as I wanted to!), you can get a pretty awesome deal on a Mom Conference Recording Package that will give you lifetime access to all 20 presentations along with a whole bunch of other great material that will help on this motherhood journey.  Check it out over HERE.  

Don't miss out because the special pricing expires tomorrow, October 19th.  

I'm off to figure out my plan to get going on our own "live lists" over here in our neck of the woods...and learn how to do things like "Raise Motivated and Grateful Children During the Me, Me, Me Epedemic," and "declutter my Home, Mind and Soul" along with so many other things after listening to these great interviews.  

Happy listening!

Monday, October 17, 2016

August little things

In preparation for school to start (on August 3rd of all horribly early days to start school), we tried to get our house situated and organized to ring in the new school year.

We packed away all the paraphernalia from our summer hoopla...
...into a special little file, and into journals and mostly into our hearts.
(those were my brainstorming notes from our coast-of-California trip...all about that back HERE and HERE.)

We returned all the books we borrowed to get ready for Europe...
We spruced up our sun-scorched and neglected garden that looked like this when we got home:
Poor tomatoes!

We were left with lots of delicious basil:
...and his measly little harvest:
but we'll take it!  And now I've got to get going on Fall gardening...

I was a little nostalgic as my one and only remaining elementary school child and I headed to the meet-the-teacher night the evening before the first day.  How is it possible that all four of my little girls who all attended this school at the same time have grown up so quickly?!

We took the scooter for a little date:
And this girl was so excited to pull me through the school through the sea of wonderful people and friends we have come to love so much over all these years at this elementary school to meet her new teacher who she loves:
...and also to visit her old one from last year who will always have a special spot in her heart (and mine too!)
Claire soaked up one of her last days of freedom with these cute cousins:

And then it was on to our special dinner to kick off the school year the night before it all began:
 More about that night and how we set it up back HERE.

 Prep for the first day of school.

Here's Grace modeling her outfit choices :)

And the morning routine began!

Family scriptures and prayer and packing lunches and rainbow pancakes all mixed in together along with the butterfly-excitement (and also a little dread) as school whipped us into shape.
I wrote about all the first day of school hoopla back HERE.

I wrote about the huge rain storm Claire got caught in on the way home as well.  Ha!

That night we had YW at our and sharing first-day-of-school experiences.
 Love these girls so much!
...and these leaders too!  
The one on the right got taken from us to be in charge of the women in the ward and we were so sad she was leaving us!  She's the best! (And doing great work where she serves now...I have learned so much from that great woman!)

Lu riding her bike to the bus stop while I huff and puff running alongside her trying to keep up started once again:
 And she got to hang a little with these darling boys she's grown up with:
They are so kind and sweet to her!

Meanwhile Max was having all kinds of adventures in Taiwan:
(more updates about him coming)

Nana and Papa were working their hearts out in Africa:
...meeting the best people they fell so much in love with.
...And Elle was living up her last few days in her dreamy summer school experience up in Provo:

She came home one late night, and we left bright and early the next morning to take her to the next phase of her college career.  Lu worked hard on a "welcome home" banner and to hug her up for a second before she had to leave again.

The rain outside kind of matched her mood as we moved her into her new dorm room.
...on a foreign island so unfamiliar after all that crazy hoopla with everyone she knew in Provo.

I wrote all about her Hawaii drop-off back HERE.
It was a pretty great trip with some deep emotion mixed in.

It made me remember my first college days at Boston University...such a new and unknown place where I was going to live so far away from my family.

Luckily Hawaii is a place where you can't stay nervous or worried for too long...

 So we left that girl here, armed with great new roommates who she was getting to know and a sense of adventure we knew would take her far.

And headed back to monsoon season in the desert:
(Grace sent me that picture from school one day while we were gone.)

And my friend sent me this one from the bus stop:

We got home just in time to go to the "meet-the-teacher" night at the junior high (they do that one after school starts).
Claire was at soccer that evening so Grace came with me instead, anxious to check out her old stomping grounds at the junior high.

Loved that little date with my girl.

Elle's birthday was a couple days after we left her in Hawaii.

Since some traditions run strong, we still had to do a little cake float here at home in celebration:
(Elle's birthday tradition is to float her cake on her birthday and we couldn't let it go by without floating.  But this year we were off sugar in August, so we floated an assortment of other stuff instead of a cake. Ha!)

We sent her a video of us floating and singing happy birthday to her and I loved this little back-and-forth between her and Lu:

Grace quickly asserted her power in position as the oldest child at home and threw a huge party.

It was actually fun to have all these kids start to fill in the holes that Max and Elle's friends had left our house echoing missing them.  It will be fun to watch this new group as they grow.

Claire got her golf swing on at a little birthday celebration:

And also taught me the joys of these funny snapchat things you can do as we were driving to and from the church swim party:
We were laughing so hard...future self, remember to look up the video we made about the giraffes...

Too bad these kids didn't have any fun at the party...

August was missionary farewell season for sure.

Elle's friends and roommate/cousin all came down from BYU for a couple of them, and it was SO FUN to get to know the new girls Elle grew to love up in Provo this summer:
We had them all over for dinner one night while they were in town and FaceTimed with Elle while they were here, wishing with all our might that Elle could somehow miraculously transport herself on over.

Fun to have this friend visit a couple times too:

But I think that girl of ours was surviving ok over there :)
She has taken the transition to Hawaiian life by storm and has found that it is the most perfect spot in the whole wide world for her to be studying and learning and growing.

Sweaty soccer try-out girls:

We finally took all the faces of the kids we love so much (graduation announcements) off of the fridge.
Figured it was finally time to "rip off the band-aid," but boy we miss those great kids around here!

So crazy to think of them all over the world on missions or at different colleges.

Lots of FaceTiming  with this girl of ours:
 Brand newly-announced school soccer team members:
Lots more about the "soccer mania" going on in August back HERE.

We have incorporated "acai bowls" into our breakfast repertoire:

...and I finally settled into a pretty great scripture-reading routine:
My scripture study that goes along with my "one word" for the year is back HERE.

Our friends from China came to visit:
...And Grace and I laughed our heads off about funny filters at our Mia Maid retreat.
 All the details about both of those back HERE.

I love "Activity Days" that the 8-12 year-old girls do in our church.  There is a big activity once a year for all the girls in many congregations combined and Lucy was beside herself with excitement as she counted down the days.
 Claire got to go on a boat trip with a few of the kids her age at church.

And Lu and I went on our first real lunch date.  (We usually do our lunch dates at the school in their cafeteria, but she's decided she's ready for the big-time:)
More about lunch dates (and some other motherhood ideas I love) over HERE.

In other Lucy news, she had a wiggly tooth for a little bit.  She was sick of waiting for it to fall out, so she had Dave, who is apparently the tooth-removing-expert in the family according to her, take some drastic means to get that thing out!:
Yes those are pliers.  Can you see how hard the two of them are laughing?  That girl cracks us up because she honestly doesn't seem to feel any pain when it comes to those things.  Where Claire wouldn't let us get within a five-foot radius of any loose tooth she had (we love pulling teeth out around here), Lucy wants us to bring it on!

Still even with pliers that thing wasn't ready until a few nights later when it came out right after she brushed her teeth.
She was pretty happy about that!

In August we measured and finally had our shelves installed in our bedroom:

 (I'll have to show the finished look all painted and done up soon...)

These little entrepreneurs decided to hold a lemonade stand:
 ...with "fresh, FRESH lemonade," undoubtedly much better than just the "fresh" variety.

Some people were really generous with their payments and these girls came away clutching some extra coins to put toward things they were trying to earn.

Our friends invited us to go to the Coldplay concert and we were SO excited!

 It was really an amazing concert, we were all on cloud nine.
I especially loved when they played "Fix Me," because it's my very favorite. 

Always reminds me of this experience I had with Max back HERE.

 I went to "curriculum night" at the elementary school where Lucy left me this note on her desk:
 She kills me.

That girl is a hard worker.  She's been working her guts out on her math facts and has come so far.
 Love spending time here...

Grace's first friend got her driving license and these girls think they have pretty much died and gone to heaven now that they have a way to get around town.  They were SO excited to head to the football game without begging their parents for rides.
 What an amazing sense of freedom that is!

Our house with the sunset "angel slides:"

 More from Elle in Hawaii...
How cool would it be to open your mission call with this backdrop and the sound of crashing ocean waves filling the air?

She sends me random pics like this:
 ..and I love it.  They have figured out all kinds of modes of transportation to get around the island quite efficiently.

We went to see Elle's friend's concert:
She is AMAZING!  Much more about her back HERE.

Most nights Lucy and Leo the Lion want to FaceTime someone before prayers:
("Easter Bunny" is my dad...long story...)

Grace has become an expert at whipping up bruschetta.
Seriously it makes me so happy when my kids love things as fiercely as I do!

Love this quote from Instagram:

Here's Lu, getting her "exercise" portion of her job chart in 105 weather:
Young Women who all showed up with stripes one night:
...and the others without stripes...
We have Young Women every Wednesday, but I happened to take pictures this night, making pesto chicken pizzas...
And that's a wrap.

Man, August was a crazy month of adjustments and growing!  Fun to look back and record all the crazy things you learn along the way.  Thanks for coming along for the ride if you made it this far!
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