How lucky are we that we were invited to go to Arizona to be keynote speakers at a conference held about three miles from Shawni’s house? In four days, boy did we ever get slammed into the wild and wonderful life of the Shawni and Dave Pothiers!
We went a couple of days early so we could enjoy the fun of Halloween with this wildly whirling family. It was like crashing back 30 years into the old days when it takes forever for the kids to decide what to “be” and just as they get their decisions “ready” they change their minds! Some things never change!
I got to hem Alice in Wonderland’s dress and apron. And Grandfather got to be the really scary guy!
And Dave got to go to target to get her some shoes since all hers were too small and she need Sunday shoes anyway.
Max and Elle dress up as “high school kids” before they left for school:
And Lovely Lucy went as a bride who morphed into an angel and and Gorgeous Grace went as Pocahontas! And these other guys dressed up as parents.
Shawni and I walked the neighborhood with Lucy and met so many wonderful neighbors. It was bitter sweet because they won’t be there next year! By the end of the night, the Angel’s hair became her halo:
and she was plum tuckered out by the end. But she sure had fun! Note her trick-or-treat “bucket” on the table. Cute!
On the way home from the airport we had stopped at the elementary school and got to join in on Halloween parties at the school for Lucy and Claire:
The kids are all sitting in the living room with their scriptures by 6:40 a.m. where they take turns reading the scriptures with Dave while Shawni prepares a hot breakfast a few feet away .After breakfast Dave helps make lunches and puts a love note in Lucy’s lunch box (sometimes Shawni fills in) and Shawni helps with the girls’ hair. Homework is gathered (lost. found and finished). Max and Elle are out by just after 7 and Grace leave shortly thereafter.
THEN the elementary girls, Claire and Lucy have an hour and half after the older kids leave before the head for school. They do homework and practice the piano. Claire usually rides her bike. Lucy often walks with Shawni. It’s about a mile. Good exercise!
Shawni and I did a little fun shopping for the house and tried to figure out flooring. It’s just mind boggling to build a house!
In the afternoon Dad and I left to stay in the hotel where our event took place that night so we missed some of the never-ending excitement at the Pothier house but luckily we got sucked right back in on Saturday.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST
Saturday was absolutely crazy! So crazy that I hardly had time to take pictures. This is just a glimpse of Shawni and Dave’s schedule for the day:
!. Get the kids up to go clean the church at 8 a.m. (Dave accidently signed the fam up for the job before he knew about the hurricane of the day.)
2. Get Lucy to soccer and then dash to the conference where Dad and I were speaking to help us with our workshop. (The coach texted after the soccer game that Lucy didn’t complain of being tired or whine even once!)
3. Get Elle to take care of Lucy while we were gone most of the day.
4. Send Max off to an all-day volleyball tournament (we dashed from the conference to catch one of his games. He was AMAZING! So fun to see!)
5. Negotiate a complicated night schedule for Max: the games were lasting forever and Max was supposed to pick up his date for his first big Homecoming Dance at five. On the bench between games they determined that the games wouldn’t be done until 5:00 and Max was supposed to be at a park near their home to take pictures of their huge group of kids going to the dance by 5:00. They figured out that the only way out was for Max’s friend to pick up the flowers for the girls and pick up his date and Max’s date while Max finished the tournament. Max wrote a little note to his date’s mother explaining why he couldn’t be there to pick her up and and the would take good care of her. Shawni bought some flowers for the mom to go with the note.
6. Dave had to be at a baptism for his brother’s son as well as the blessing of that same brother’s 10 day old baby (even though Dave was dying to stay and watch the last game) in Mesa by 4. He rushed home and got the three youngest girls ready to go to the baptism and flew off to join his extended family about half an hour away (after he washed his nice car so that Max could take it on his date). Shawni couldn’t go because she was, of course, the official photographer for the pictures for Max’s group. Elle stayed to help.
7. Shawni gave instructions to Max about how and where to get where he needed to be for the dance. After Max’s team won the whole tournament, Max flew home to shower and get ready for the big night in 10 minutes. Elle, a friend and I tagged along with him and I got to have the fun of watching the picture taking. Memories flooded back of all those “dance days” at our house as well as always needing to be three places at exactly the same time.
Here’s the big guy (6’5” 210) who got ready lickety split and looked dashing.
And his cute date and handsome and beautiful friends. It was pretty dark by the time he got there at 5:30 so Shawni will have much better pictures. I was trying to be unnoticed in the background with my little iPhone but I caught a few pretty blurry snaps.
Oops some of these girls didn’t get the memo on how to kick a leg up!
8. After the park pictures Shawni followed the kids to the house where they were having dinner to continue taking pictures. Luckily she left her flash at home so I got to take it to her and catch a peek and the festive house and beautiful dinner and lots of good kids having a great time!
9. Upon arriving home, Shawni took Elle and a friend to the party for the kids who were too young to go to the dance or didn’t go for one reason or another.
10. Help with another crisis: Elle who had been working on a film project all weekend discovered that she had put the film (real film) in her camera the wrong way and there was nothing to show for all her work (de ja vu again on all the disaster-a-minute life of a big family).
11.Dave made a check at the church about midnight for the “after dance” activity to be sure there was a Chaperone (the kids ended up just going to Sonic).
12. They both stayed up until Max got in at 1 a.m. to hear about the fun night.
WHEW! That was quite an amazing day! Probably not so different from every Saturday at the Pothier house!
SUNDAY AND MONDAY
Sunday was Fast Sunday and all that involves including a great family meeting conducted by Lucy, including testimonies and “fasting club” and a delicious dinner after fasting breakfast and lunch. Nothing tastes better than good food after a fast!
On Monday Dad/ Rick and I ran to Josh’s beautiful new school and met his adorable class of thirty 3rd graders! Despite the fact that he had been deathly sick over the weekend, he pulled himself out of bed and showed up with a smile! Hi principal was thoroughly delighted to have him on board, recognized that he was “called to teach” and loved that he brought some other excellent teachers over from his other school to join their staff.
By the time we had left for the airport, we had been to see Elle’s tennis lessonand then picked up Claire to take her to her gymnastics class (while Shawni prepared dinner for some sick friends and Josh.
At the end of this fun and wonderful whirlwind of a weekend, we have to say that Dad/Richard and I are in absolute awe of Shawni and Dave and their abilities to navigate chaos and make things happen! Their expectations, negotiations, tribulations and jubilations for and with the kids were just pretty darn amazing! Those kids are so lucky to have such wise, supportive parents who are somehow able to turn chaos into fun! In addition to the hundreds of demands of just being parents of five, they are building a house with mind boggling decisions hanging over their heads every day, not to mention motivating people to get there and do things…..right!
Besides being active at three schools they are working on the annual Turkey Trot which Dave and some friends started a few years ago to raise money for charity. This year half the funds will go to Brain Food and the other half to starting a national registry for BBS (Lucy’s syndrome). And just one other little issue, Dave is closing out his office and going on to other new entrepreneurial ideas and Shawni is running a little blog that is pretty much a full-time job! To top it all off, on Saturday night after all the dust settled, Shawni and Dave even had time to sit down and have a stimulating conversation with us!
Talk about being anxiously engaged in good causes!
Because they were married first Shawni and Dave are a little ahead in ages of their children they are a little ahead of our other families in being submerged in the life of teenagers. The great thing about this is that we have eight over “entities” in our family who are doing similar stellar things in their own realms. Even though one or more of the nine of them is usually in some kind of crisis in any give week, life is good!
More about the conference that we had the privilege to be a part of in the next post.