Addie Day | August 2017

She is truly my best friend. Thanks Trey for coming when I called to capture this moment!

I'm the kind of person who's mind tends to be thinking all the time. I try really hard to live in the present, to be present, but even as I finish something, I'm mentally off to the next task or chore or project. Addie is one of a very few people who can pull me out of this forward thrust. She will say, "Mom, do you want to snuggle me and read?" Or, "Mom, how about we play a game of Go Fish?! Or, "Mom, do you want to watch Miracle Worker (the story of Helen Keller) with me tonight? 

Yes, Addie. As a matter of fact, I do. 

I want to slow down and read, play and watch with YOU. What a gift this girl is. She continually helps me STOP and do the things with her that create the memories I will most treasure. 


For Addie day this month, we made a list of 5 RIGHT NOW things ...

1. Fidget Spinner | Taft gave it to her for her birthday. It is a really nice,  purple-ish and pink-ish iridescent one and wins most if not all spinning contests, spinning for an average of 3 minutes and 45 seconds!
2. Swimming | Addie swims EVERYDAY,  with goggles and a hula hoop, which she uses as a jumping target. I told Addie last summer that if she wanted to keep her hair long in the summertime, she would have to learn how to shower on her own and take care of her hair. She has done just that. About every third day or so, she will ask me if her hair smells too much like pool, and then she will take a shower, wash and condition her hair and let it air dry. Addie LOVES long hair and now I do too, ha!
3. Noodles | Addie would choose noodles for dinner every night if she could. Since Geoff and I are both non gluten eating, we don't have a lot of noodles. This means that when Addie Day rolls around, Addie chooses noodles. She did again tonight!
4. Makes | Addie is most definitely a maker. She makes something nearly everyday. Either slime or space bars, or a rubber band bracelet. Today Addie made a paint-by-number picture of a puppy. 
5. Music | Addie and Trey are the music lovers in our family. They love finding and sharing new songs. Addie is currently loving and dancing to this song from Andy Grammer ... 

If you watch or listen, then you'll understand that I believe Addie, is the epitome of the chorus's message ... All of my people need love, I give some!  When I called her, Addie came running and willingly helped me write this post. That's just like her ... always helping and giving love!

☀️ Lauren Day | July 2017

From Left to Right: Brittney, Jessica, Stacie, David, Courtney, Brooklyn, Lauren & Clark. Click photo to enlarge. 

Clark and Lauren got to spend some time with the Cheney family in Newport Beach this week. I think it's so crazy how our family with FOUR boys has become connected through marriage to this awesome family of FIVE girls. Clark and Lauren are both the oldest child and first to get married. And, it gets even better ... Lauren's Mom's name? It's Stacie. We spell our names just a little differently, but how FUN is that? I admit this might get a little confusing down the road, when grandchildren have a Grandma Stacy and a Grandma Stacie, but we'll cross that bridge when it comes, ha!

Anyway, I thought that for Lauren Day today I would introduce Lauren's family. And, first off ... Let me just say that I am SO grateful that the whole time I was trying my best to raise Clark, Stacie Cheney was trying her best to raise Lauren. 👱🏼👱🏻‍♀️  I hope that out there somewhere are three more mothers striving to raise daughters for my next three boys! I opened my Instagram feed this morning and found that Stacie had posted this photo, of the whole family in front of the Newport Beach Temple. I immediately showed her post to Geoff and we shared one of those grateful sighs. I'm not going to lie, initially it is a bit weird to scroll through Instagram and suddenly see your child in another family's photo, but I'm getting used to that. ❤️  And, I doubt I could have found a more beautiful bunch of people to pose with my adorable brown-eyed Clark-y boy.  The best thing of all is that I know our families have much in common because of our shared faith in Jesus Christ and the hopes we have of building strong extended and eternal families. I've not spent much time with Stacie or the Cheney family, but I feel certain that we want the same things for our two children starting their own family story 📝 🌳  and that is a great blessing and comfort. 

Addie's Birthday | July 2017

June 19th. Addie on the last day of third grade. Her smile says it all. 

June 19th. Addie on the last day of third grade. Her smile says it all. 

It's Addie day today, but it's also her BIRTHDAY and I'm NOT home to wake her up and sing to her and make her 10 pancakes (insert sad mama face). But, it's ok. I'm headed home soon. She'll meet me at the airport and we'll go the Red Robin's or wherever she wants to go, as long at it involves a milkshake or at least a root beer float! I've spent the last 2 1/2 days in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Close To My Heart convention and it's been exhausting and completely exhilarating. I've connected with women from all over the United States and beyond, and Addie actually had a hand in this because during my presentation, I shared a little video that depicts my Love Story album, which I made shortly after we learned of Addie's learning disability.

Addie has received special services since she was a toddler and she has always been behind on the development curve. She has struggled in school from the get go. Her first grade teacher sat me down and said, "I've never seen anything like this. Addie is adorable. Socially and behaviorally, she is right on target, but it's like she's lost ... she isn't registering and she is developing strategies to make her look like she knows what's going on, but she doesn't."  Long story short, in December, 2015 Geoff and I met with the doctor who had previously spent several hours testing Addie. Dr. Guzzardo told us that Addie would most likely NOT finish high school, that she would not drive, get married, or be able to live independently on her own. WHAT? My Addie? Did she pull the wrong file? Is she really talking to us about Addie? There is a reason that this is the first time I've written about this experience and this diagnosis on my blog. I will never forget sitting there next to Geoff, as we received this news. It was akin to standing on railroad tracks, watching an oncoming train and not being able to move. It was DEVASTATING. I lived under a cloud for the next several days. There was much prayer and fasting. Geoff and I talked, a lot, and I talked to my parents, siblings and others who I trust. A few days later, we gathered all of our boys together, sat them down at the kitchen table and shared this news with them. Now, looking back. This moment is what I most want to remember—four big brothers absolutely committed to the life long welfare of their little sister. There was zero hesitation. And, now is probably a great point to say that I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THIS JUDGMENT about Addie. Yes, she does have some serious challenges ahead of her. She will likely struggle a great deal, and I don't know what milestone achievements will remain outside her reach for now, but I do know that she is in our family by the grace of God—that she is supported by many wonderful extended family members, friends, teachers and others who ADORE her. We trust in God and know without a doubt that He is in charge. Our family is an eternal family and we know that the trials and limitations and the sometime devastating difficulties that are a part of this life are not for forever. They are designed to test us, refine us—drive us to our knees for sure—but ultimately draw us closer to Heavenly Father and each other. 

This is the little album that I created to help me process the overwhelming emotions that I experienced after Addie's diagnosis. For me, the creative process is powerful. It provides me with important insights and it's almost always healing. 

This is a 6x6 mini album. You can learn more about this project and the creative process I used in my class, called Fun & Done Mini Albums at Big Picture Classes. 

This is a 6x6 mini album. You can learn more about this project and the creative process I used in my class, called Fun & Done Mini Albums at Big Picture Classes

Addie is without a doubt the very best thing that has happened to our family. The miraculous story of her adoption and the JOY and LOVE that she brings into our home are worth any struggle that lies ahead. 

Today we celebrate ALL that Addie is and show her how very much we LOVE her. She is my BFF for reals and I can't wait to give her a BIG birthday hug.