Thursday, April 26, 2018

the "big talk" #5...the last

Well, almost four years late according to our usual schedule, "the Big Talk" number FIVE took place last weekend.
And we were all pretty happy about it.

You see, years ago my parents wrote a pretty awesome book based on their "big talk" experiences with us nine kids.

And I'm so thankful not only for that book filled with wisdom that we have now used to guide us through such an important topic with every one of our children, but I'm grateful that they took the time out to have that "talk" with me when I was a kid.  As I said in "round 3," I don't remember many details, but I remember feeling love spilling out of them as they told me about "the most beautiful, amazing thing in the world."  I remember I felt safe and secure to talk to them about pretty much anything after that.

The whole concept is that parents should be the ones to teach their children about the birds and the bees...not their friend or a neighbor kid, or some random teacher at school during the sixth grade maturation schpeal.

They recommend that age eight is a great time to have "the talk" since at that age kids are pretty aware of their surroundings and can really grasp it, yet they are still innocent enough to be in awe of how amazing it all is. Sure, some kids need it sooner, some need it later, and parents are the best judge for that.

In Lucy's particular case, we knew she wasn't ready at eight, and that's ok.  There were certain things that led up to all three of us feeling ready.  We talked it all up, hyped that we'd be talking about something so important, took her out to a special dinner (Panera...her choice), where we talked about some initial things.  Then we sat in the car and went through the whole dialog we'd done before...which we should be experts on by now but I sure still needed that book!  (luckily my friend had a copy...I couldn't remember who I lent mine to last!) 

As uncomfortable as it may seem like having "the big talk" will be, I have to admit I really do like it...more and more every time we do it. 

The thing I love the most is that it opens the door for talking.  It gives the "ok" for questions Dave and I want to be the "go-to" experts for our kids...they know that no question under the sun is too weird or embarrassing or "bad" to ask us about.  It establishes trust.  I love that it builds a base to jump off of in so many ways.  I love that following that "talk" every time there seems to be stuff that comes up that makes me so glad that kind of beautiful communication is open. 

Thanks once again, Mom and Dad, for helping us navigate those waters so many times.  I'll always remember that night, the mesquite trees still in vibrant bloom above us, Lucy's awe and sweet questions, and how her eyes popped right out of her head when she asked how old her siblings had been for that talk and we told her they were eight.  Ha!

It was a good one.  And here's to many more follow-up discussions to go.
(Claire's "big talk" is HERE, and HERE is a link to that book if you want more info!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

senior class secretary

I'd like to take a moment to introduce the new senior class secretary for the class of 2019:
Woo Hoo!

She worked hard on her banner:
(everyone was only allowed one)

I went to help her hang it in the main front hall one morning before school and it was so funny to be back in that high school environment!  

I love how they (Grace and the current student council) had that place all decked out to reveal the "prom theme."  That thing obviously took a lot of work!
She did a video announcement speech, and then her opponent happened to drop out of the race.

So she ended up winning unopposed.

But hey, we'll take it :)

I'm in denial that senior year is coming...just means graduation is that much closer, but I do think she's going to have pretty great year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Mother's Day is right around the corner (what??? how did that happen so fast?) and I have got the perfect gift idea.

It is a book written by a woman who has perfected the art of GRANDmothering as far as I'm concerned.  She's come up with so many amazingly beautiful grandmothering ideas over her years of grandmothering 31 grandchildren (ok, she hasn't done a ton of grandmothering with the newest two, but I'm sure they feel her love already, especially the one she was there with when he swam into this world a couple days ago), and she finally compiled them all into a book written with her most relatable "I'm in the trenches right with you" appeal that she has drawn me and thousands of other mothers in with over the years in her other books.

Yep, you guessed it: that awesome lady is my mother. 

As I write, there is a squiggly red underline accompanying every "grandmothering" I've written here, so I'm sure I"m supposed to separate those words or maybe my spell check doesn't want me turn that "grandmother" into a verb.  But I think being a grandma is more that just a noun, it's an action.  So I adore the name of the book.  It is active and it takes work to really take it to the next level.  Luckily my children have TWO grandmothers (Dave's mom is the best as well) who are deeply involved in not just being a Grandma, but they've taken that beautiful act of grandmothering to the next level, and it has made all the difference in their lives.

Not only does is this book filled with my mom's ideas and funny stories, she has gathered other phenomenal grandmothers to include their wisdom and ideas as well.  There are all kinds of ideas in that thing I tell you!  Some of them include:

--embracing the in-laws
--welcoming new grandbabies
--suggestions for one-on-one and small groups adventures as well as how to organize  “Grammie Camps” (one of my favorite things my mom does every summer)
--the real world of life as a grandmother when “Things Go Wrong.” (part of that includes Lucy's story)
--he secret ingredient for giving your grandchildren grit and working with the ever-present issues of entitlement 
--stimulating ideas for taking care of yourself as you grow older
--thoughts for organizing exciting and inclusive Family Reunions 

Two other things that are unique to this book: 

1. An appendix with favorite family and friend recipes with all kinds of good ideas to “feed a crowd” when the family comes home, which are readily accessible on a companion blog at You can just put the name of the recipe from the book you want in the search bar and it will pop up on any mobile device if you don’t have the book and for easy reading. That GRANDmothering blog will continue to add posts about ideas for fun activities with grandkids and current issues with grandchildren, which I think is a pretty awesome resource.

2. A way to see things like Grammie Camps and Reunions in living color through links to various blog posts.

Everyone tells me, as I pine over sweet new babies, that grandmothering is truly GRAND (it is closer to me now than my own newborns were, which is crazy).  

I haven't believed them.  

I mean, what could be better than having your own baby?  I've been thinking so much about the pure magic of those newborn days as we've had two new babies born in my extended family this month.  But gradually I'm changing and I'm realizing this grandmothering gig could really be quite fantastic after all.  So grateful for my mom (and Dave's mom too!) showing me the way.  

In anticipation of Mother's Day, my mom will be doing a couple book signings in Utah in case you live there and you'd like to meet that amazing lady.  And my Dad will actually be with her signing his new book too...which is all about GrandFathering:  Being a Proactive Grandfather: How to Make a Difference.  That book deserves a post of it's own for another day (you can check it out HERE for now), because both these guys make me tear up even to think about how much work they put into grandnparenting, but for now, just know that they'll both be at the Midvale Deseret Book store from 12:30-2:30 on May 5th and at the City Creek Deseret Book store on May 12th (the day before Mother’s Day). 

If you're not local, any Deseret Book should carry this book, and also, the easy route is Amazon.  It is HERE.

There you go.  Mother's Day shopping wrapped up. Ha!  But really, even for the mothers who aren't grandmothers's a gem of a book.

Monday, April 23, 2018

thoughts from the weekend

My brother and sister both had babies within the last week.

A little niece was born in New York City, and a nephew in London.  

It was pretty exciting for our family, and now I'm dying to get there and hold onto those little bundles. So happy for them and that all is safe and sound, and that they're lingering in that spot closest to Heaven right now as they drink in those newborns.  I can almost smell that sweet smell and hear those tiny newborn noises that go along with the stretches and the yawns and the soft breathing curled up on their parent's shoulders.  Birth is such a beautiful miracle.

Speaking of little bundles, Claire just got this uncontrollable itch to hold a baby in church yesterday...maybe because of all the baby talk we've been having around here.  Luckily our friend had a willing baby a couple rows up and those girls (Grace and Claire) and I just ate that sweet baby up during sacrament meeting.  There was something so beautiful to me about sitting there, the three of us together on those hard metal chairs (since we can't seem to get the comfy seats these days even when church is at 2:00), that sweet baby laying on Claire's lap and all of us just bent over smiling our hearts out at her.  Thank you, Young family, for letting us hold onto that little piece of Heaven for a while :)

Lucy was not the least interested in the baby.  This in spite of the fact that we just finally had our "big talk" with her this weekend (more about that soon!).  Instead, she was concentrated on her talk she was giving in Primary.  I got to go listen to her talk about her baptism in China, so concentrated, so well thought-out.  I love that she always relates things back to Jesus Christ.  I think that's how her mind works...everything links back.  Which makes me so filled up with gratitude because I think she's going to need to gain a lot of strength from Him in this life.  

In other Lucy news, I "trimmed" her hair yesterday before church (we always must call it a "trim" because she gets all fussed up if we call it a "cut."  It was long and so tangly and unmanageable so we agreed we needed to take about five inches off.  I got in an in depth conversation with Elle on the phone as I cut, and I cut off more than she felt we agreed on (although it really was what we had talked about) and all of H-E-double-hockey-sticks broke loose, she was so sad!  I had no idea she was so attached to that mane of hair of hers!  I was really sad she was so sad, but at the same time is was hard not to smile at the sheer drama of it all.  She sat on the bench in our bathroom, huge tears cascading down her cheeks claiming she will never leave our house again, never go to school, wouldn't be able to give her talk in church since she was "hideous."  When Dave told her how beautiful she looked and quickly sent in Grace and Claire as reinforcements she hid her face and proclaimed, "don't look at me!  I'm hideous!" and with all that drama we all looked at each other with sheepish grins because really, she looked adorable and what in the world else could we do??  She was so angry at me and told me I definitely don't know the definition of "trimming" because that was definitely not what I did.  

Luckily by the time it was all dry and beautiful she calmed down, looked in the mirror, and realized life would actually be able to go on after all...and she marched right in and gave that beautiful talk at church confidently and filled with the spirit.  Despite her hair-cutting (NOT trimming) mother.

Max gave a talk in church up in Provo as well...wish we could have been there to hear it, and is gearing up to move to his new apartment and start school next week alongside part-time work.  
Elle got to go to a devotional in Hawaii yesterday with the Prophet of our church, Elder Nelson as well as Elder Holland.  Lucky, lucky girl.  We are so excited to get her HOME for a day and a half this week before she takes off for Jerusalem for her spring/summer study abroad next week.  (Yes, really, we only get her for a day and a half, but we're pretty excited to at least have that!)  She just finished finals and is living up life as she knows it on that island of hers before she tears herself away from it for a little while.

Claire had a volleyball tournament on Saturday all alongside Grace's prom prep.  She is falling more and more in love with that sport, and with friends and with the idea of high school next year and all that comes with that.  She wrapped up soccer last week and wraps up track this week and although they've been great seasons, we are all happy about that.

Last but definitely not least, Grace went to prom and I know I'm biased but she was jaw-droppingly beautiful.  It was so fun to have our yard filled up once again with so many good kids, all dressed to the hilt looking dashing and dazzling, so much excitement filling the air around us as we photographed and our shadows started stretching longer and longer across the grass.  High school can be tough, and also a rollercoaster ride, but this weekend sure was a fun one.  

Here are a few outtakes before I can get to the real-deals:

One last thing, it was my dear mother's birthday yesterday.  She is in England helping with my sister Charity's baby, but I always think that it's so appropriate that her birthday is on Earth Day.  So much beauty in my mother and in mother earth.  We made two batches of cookies (for variety of course) to celebrate, (and now I better take a little sugar break because it's winning these days!)  We took a walk through the most beautiful sun-slanting evening to celebrate, Bo running ahead chasing birds thinking she was in Heaven.

And last, last thing, summer is almost here and in a month school will ring it's last bell.  That is freaky.

Friday, April 20, 2018

prom day date

Prom is tomorrow. 

And Grace has been busy figuring out all the details that go with that.  

Man, I know I've mentioned this before, but all I did for dances growing up was whip up a dress with huge floral patterns (I usually had to make them since I wanted something long enough for me and there were no "tall" sizes back in the day), pop in a barrette and maybe a few curls and I was good to go.  (At least I had grown out of the hair-spray-curls-to-my-cheeks by girls will get that one... ha!) 

There sure is a lot more hoopla around dances these days.  Maybe because there are fewer of them (there were a bazillion dances at my high school it seemed like).    

Anyway, we also didn't do "day dates" preceding the dance, but yep, once again, these guys keep one-upping us :). 

Grace's cute date whisked her off on such a fun day date a couple weeks ago.
They went up to our friends' cabin in the mountains and had the best time.

They had the best time up there...

...and are so excited for more good times ahead!

High school is the best.

More on that soon, because time is starting to speed ahead and there's lots going on in high school!  I have a love/hate relationship with all the end of the year stuff.  I love it but wish it would slow down a tad!  I'm SOOOOOOOOOO incredibly grateful that Grace is only a junior.  I have one more whole year with her and for that, I'd like to do a little gig of happiness.  She and Claire are so excited to get a year of high school together next year. 

Anyway, wishing everyone a happy weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

daddy daughter dance

Lucy loves this dad of hers.
So she was extra excited for the Daddy Daughter Dance fundraiser the school put on a couple weeks ago. 

She arranged her meticulous friend "schedule" she likes to keep situated around it and counted down the hours.

Finally it was time.  She and her friends pulled themselves out of the pool, we worked on her "Belle" hairdo, and this cute duo was good to go:
...only for about ten minutes when Dave texted that they were coming home...they got there and found that it was totally formal, suits and all.

So they came home speedy-quick to change, and after some serious sweet-talking with Lucy to get her to chance out of that blue dress that she thinks is the best thing since sliced bread (have I mentioned that girl has a will made of iron?), they came out looking quite glamorous:

Dave sent us these pics on our group family text:

Love that cute duo of mine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

week-long party in the desert

When Dave's sister Julie and her family come to town it turns into party-mode here in the desert.

Those of us who live in the valley see each other way more when she's here and there are constant get-togethers of cousins and adults sprinkled in any way we can possibly fit them.

It all started this time around right here...during our Easter get-together (wrote about that back HERE), when they all arrived (it was their spring break up in Utah):

And it was pretty much a party from there on out.

They stayed with us for the first few days.  When that happens life just slows down and I love it.  I loved hanging out with these nieces and nephews and just being able to talk and catch up with Julie and the other sis-in-law and cousin-in-laws.  I am the luckiest to be related to them all.

Those kids swam until their fingers turned to prunes.
We went on a bike ride to see the "farm" of a nearby cousin (we live close to two of Dave's cousins), who had the other cousins in town for spring break too, which resulted in all these girls getting together:

We sat next to the pool as the kids swam (with these two cousins below as well as another one of Dave's sisters) and talked about the world and motherhood and the twists and turns life takes.
 ...and kept the discussion going as kids bounced in and out and we made dinner.

Played cards...

 ...the girls loved on Bo:
The sisters did a 6:00 am hot yoga class...along with that couple on the left below who are great family friends.
(weird sunrise shadow up there, but you get the idea)

We took a bike ride all around the neighborhood and to the grocery store:
 When Bo got tired, she was pleased as punch to perch right here:

I am not the type of mom to bring my kids lunch at school. I'd rather take them out for our "lunch dates" and get them all to myself once in a while.  But this day was a good day to be the bring-lunch kind of mom...since I got to do it with these cousins Claire adores:
More swimming:

The cousins all came to Claire's track meet:

 ...and to Grace's tennis match:

The other cousins happened to have a track meet at our high school at the same time as the tennis match (they go to a different high school) so it was fun to be able to gather with them all there and watch those great athletes:

These are all cousins except of that cute friend in the middle:

 More dinner together:
 ...and a morning walk to school with Lu and Bo:

Then Julie left so stay with another sis-in-law but we got together for lunch:
 (Those were just the people left when we remembered to take a picture...mad we didn't think of it earlier!)

We watched the cousins' Saturday tennis lesson talking on the sidelines and whooping and hollering at all the great shots:

 ...and had an impromptu barbecue/swim party over here with so many people we adore.

We ended all the hoopla with Saturday-night adult dinner to celebrate one sister-in-law's birthday:
Man I know I sound like a broken record, but I sure do feel lucky to be related to all that goodness.
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