It seems like years ago when our table was adorned with these wood-carvings that made their way more fully into our hearts on Christmas Eve.
But on we go.
Max's little missionary chart is getting filled in bubble by bubble ever so steadily and Elle's graduation day is marching swiftly toward us.
Let's record January quick while I can remember it! :)
We got to go to our annual party (held in the beginning of the new year now since Christmas proved to be too crazy) with some of our favorite friends from our old ward.
We went through Dave's old missionary stuff and found this gem:
Claire's old primary teacher from church decided to do a little "reunion" devotional with these kids she taught. They were in Heaven to be reunited and to feel that love from that awesome teacher once again.
Max and I did a lot of this:
Elle worked her tail off on her Boston University application (which was due after the others she had turned in).
Once a month I get to be one of the drivers to deliver the food for BrainFood, this awesome organization here in the desert.
Lots of bikes at our house on weekends...
We met this cute boy and his family in North Carolina a couple years ago and this year I was amazed when we got their Christmas card and I realized they moved to the desert...a couple miles away from us! Neither his mom or I realized how close we were, but I happened to be volunteering for Art Masterpiece in Lucy's classroom the very day we got the Christmas card and had just noticed this sweet most polite boy in the whole wide world right in Lucy's class.
Lucy also got to go to the baptism of her good friends who are twins:
She decided she had better pull out her old baptism dress to wear for the occasion.
I had to snap this pic. because it's so typical of how we get ready in the morning.
The girls finish up random homework, Lucy works on her math facts while we get hair done.
We had a yoga night for Young Women:
Lucy and her friends are pretty into American Girl dolls right now. I love it.
Elle and I took Max's mission pictures at the temple (here) and then these cute girls met up with her to do baptisms:
And then it was off to the farewells.
We finally finished a few things on our house. Here's Grace and Claire's room:
Here's the view from their bathroom:
We got our barn doors painted:
I have no idea why we took this pic. but don't you just love that Dave?
Us moms took our BYU-roommate-heading-to-the-MTC boys out to lunch at their favorite spot:
And then the cousins started arriving for the big farewell at church for Max:
Grace cheered her heart out on some of her last games:
I got to meet up with these great ladies for lunch:
We had some pretty good laughs with this senior thing they do at the high school trying to eliminate teams with squirt guns. We had this whole hold-up in our driveway for a couple hours one day:
The guys in the red truck were trying to get Elle and her friend out, but the guys who were trying to get them came and boxed them in. Then the guys who were trying to get THEM came and boxed them in. It was a whole stand-off and these girls could just watch because of how the ones trying to get them were so stuck.
I tell you, as much as I dread having them leave I have loved having two years of senior-hood.
It is so fun. I adore these kids and their friends so much.
Then it was on to Claire's birthday and dance party (here):
Lucy started filling up her "artistic creation book" that my Dad gave her for Christmas:
Max worked hard trying to earn a few extra bucks to have in the bank when he gets back from his mission:
...and sad things like Max leaving...
People did lots of stuff to help us ease our "missing" right after he was gone. My sister led me on a winter-wonderland hike...
Elle worked (more) on her college applications.
These girls came with me to a little dance concert one of the young women did...
We got back to our regular job chore routines:
Good Job Lu!!
Here she is working in a few extra math facts as one of her goals:
Dave had some pretty awesome pickle-ball tournaments:
A little date...
And Dave's brother and family came to start setting things in gear for their second son's wedding coming up in April.
Claire and her friend got busy with a "paint war" one Saturday.
What's that you say? At least they didn't paint their hair?
Oh no, they didn't miss the hair! :)
Now, in closing, a little word must be said in update about our missionary Max.
We waited anxiously for his first letter. We thought about him every minute (still do). We prayed our guts out for him. So many questions, who would his companion be? How was he adjusting? How would he do with the language? How did he like his classes? So much rolling around in our hearts and minds aching to hear from him.
So you can be sure that when Dave came in from the mailbox one afternoon that first week with a letter from him we were all whooping and hollering like the most amazing thing on the planet had just taken place.
Because it did.
He sounded SO happy and there's nothing like getting a letter like that to make your mother's heart rejoice.
The girls talk about him constantly and doodle things like this:
And people have been kind enough to send me pictures like this:
He has sent a letter each week. The last one was super short but the first line was this: "I'VE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY!!!" so in that case I was ok with the short-ness. But still, the little snippets of info. that various blog readers have sent are like pure gold. Keep sending any pictures or info. if you have some!
(Which is only two days before Wednesday when we get to hear from that boy again!)