☀️ 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 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. 

Lauren Day | June 2017

Go Lauren! (click to enlarge)

I get write about my darling daughter in-law again today. This past April, Lauren graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She majored in Public Health with an emphasis in epidemiology. Yes, she is smart too! I think this photo could easily grace the cover of the BYU class catalog or something. Lauren has worked for a local physician (urologist) part time during school, but that wasn't an ideal situation, so now that she's all graduated, she has been on the hunt for a new job—one that she loves enough to do full time and she is now in her second week of training. 

Lauren now works at Banyan Healthcare Marketing. Banyan, formerly Social Dental is one of those super-cool start up companies that has found a welcome niche for their services. They help dentists—and now other healthcare professionals—effectively use new media to educate patients and potential patients and then create monthly campaigns that are EASY for them to use so they can engage patients and keep the conversation going. I'm going to post a couple of videos, so you can see what I'm talking about. The extra cool thing is that Clark wants to be a dentist and Lauren is going to know exactly how to help him effectively build his practice. 

I'm so proud of this girl (woman really) for how hard she has worked to be where she is today. I am loving being the mother-in-law and watching her and Clark in their first year of marriage. They are building something really special. 

This first video is an example of the short video profiles Banyan creates for the clients. 

This next video is an example of the monthly campaigns that Banyan creates for their clients. Let me tell you ... I DO NOT remember trips to the dentist being this fun when I was a kid!