Written by Gena Mabee, Seville Resident
Careful not to step on the skateboard laying on its side I knock on the door. It’s opened by broad-shouldered, broad-smiled, Jaden. “Hi!” he beams. “Nice shirt. Are those rubber ducks all over it?” I ask. “Yep, it was beach day at school!” he replies.
In the Manwaring home the family buzzes around the kitchen and stairs. Josh sits at the counter finishing dinner. “Welcome!” he says. His wife, Joni, steps into the kitchen, “Sorry it’s crazy in here, we just got back from sports and a parent meeting.”
Morgan (13), glides in wearing a black sweater dotted with pearls. Her arresting smile warms me. “I came to interview you,” I say. “Okay!” she agrees.
Josh and Joni Manwaring have been thriving in Seville with their 4 children for the last 6 years. They are active in their church, and schools- Riggs and American Leadership Academy.
Dishes clank, the boys wrestle, and the girls fix drinks while Joni occasionally instructs to keep things flowing on this late school night. It’s alive with energy and happy sounds. Josh leans back taking it all in. “I wouldn’t want it any other way,” he assures me. “I’m just glad to have them,” Joni says. They exchange a knowing smile. “Ten years of fertility treatments before we had our first,” she explains. “It’s chaos, but when you’re close to death that’s when you’re the most alive!” adds Josh.
And alive they are!
Fresh from the shower, Sahara (11) appears warmed by a white, furry sweatshirt. “Fun! Do all the kids in this family wear stylish tops?” I ask. “Uh, did you see that one?” she nods towards big brother, Jaden. Everyone laughs, including him.
Besides a great sense of humor, Jaden has a full spectrum of athleticism playing football, basketball and volleyball for ALA, is a good student and works as a soccer referee. Recently he completed the Boy Scouts of America program earning its highest rank of Eagle. For his Eagle community project, Jaden rallied his Seville neighbors together and made 100 Easter baskets of supplies for Ready For School AZ. “The best thing about him,” Joni said, “is that his is grateful. He ALWAYS says ‘Thank you’ when I drop him off or pick him up.”
Sahara sips water through a straw of her cactus shaped, flower-topped glass. She and her sister both dance and play piano, but Sahara loves to run and play tennis. She’s grateful for their new car. “No soda and no feet allowed on the ceiling!” Sahara explains.
I wonder if Morgan, a gymnast, might have something to do with that rule. She also plays volleyball and cheers. “It’s hard to have time together, but when we do, we love to play card games,” Morgan shares. “And we love San Tan Flats! We dance to the band.”
Each of their kids is in student government, following the leadership skills of their father. Josh has been a successful financial planner for Trajan Wealth for 10 years. “I love educating people. Most people don’t know critical about money and I can teach them.” He instills confidence in people, and so does the beautiful queen bee of their hive- Joni.
A college art scholarship recipient, these days Joni expresses her gift in the beauty and skin care industry. She’s known in the area for her business, The Brow Loft. Gifted in microblading, a semi-permanent brow makeup, she seamlessly incorporates caring for clients skin as an independent consultant with Rodan and Fields. I thought it would be fun to hear some brow mishaps and miracles, but Joni remained tight-lipped. “I never tell my clients secrets!” she insisted. Peruse @thebrowloft on Instagram seeing is believing! Joni is conscientious, caring and kind.
The caboose is Crew (6). “He’s like our Golden Retriever,” claims Josh, “Watch!” Josh hurls a nerf football across the room. Crew leaps in the air fully extended, catches and lands with it on the couch. He pops up, runs it to his dad then back across the room for another throw. Any way his dad threw it, Crew caught it! He plays flag football, soccer, baseball, basketball, runs for Riggs Running Club and is a spectacular gymnast. (Maybe his were the feet on the SUV ceiling?)
Joni announces it’s time for Crew to head up for his bath. “Mom, will you light the candle for me?” he asks softly nuzzling his face into her waist. “Yes, I will,” she answers “go get the bubbles.” I look at her quizzically. “Crew likes to take a bubble bath in candlelight,” she says. “He says, Alexa! Play relaxing music!” Josh adds. I laugh, imagining his arms behind his head, bubbles on his cheek, smiling because it’s good to be a Manwaring.