If you think I can’t keep up with my life right now or that I’m still reeling with the intense emotion and sense of loss that results from leaving your child at college, then you are right. I’m exhausted, totally overwhelmed and borderline depressed. My heart is nearly broken (even though I’m super grateful Clark is where he is and that he is doing well) And … I’d like to break my extended absence with a few observations …

1. Moms need Saturdays.
I’m writing this post in the van as we drive to Seattle. Hopefully, I will post it from my parents’ house. We are getting up early in the morning to catch a hydro-plane to Victoria, BC. I’m excited, but this will be my 4th scheduled weekend. June 10th was graduation with family in town and then we left to take Clark to BYU. We returned late on Saturday the 18th. Last weekend was our stake “overnight” youth conference, where girls kept me up until 4:00 a.m. and now we’re headed out again. I’m getting too old to keep this kind of a schedule and it seriously takes all day Monday to recover from these weekend events!

2. I’m CRAZY to teach a 10-week course during the summer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely enjoying this session of Finding Photo Freedom, but I’m barely (as in barely, barely) keeping up. Thankfully I have some AMAZING coaches that know the Library of Memories system better than I do! I hope everyone who wanted a run at this during the summer is enrolled, because the 2013 session will definitely be a winter class!

3. My ONE rule of summer is working.
I knew mid May that there wasn’t going to be an ingenious plan for summer, so I devised ONE simple rule. There is no TV or electronics in our house until ONE in the afternoon. I like it and I think my kids like it too! This insures several hours of quiet, imaginative play and time for chores, piano playing and reading. The really cool thing is that by 1:00 pm many days my kids are already engaged with a friend or games/activities outside, so they don’t come in to  “plug in” until much later!

Addie’s birthday is Friday.
She will be FIVE years old.

While I was still waiting for her to arrive I started keeping this journal for her.
I contains her story and every year around her birthday I add an entry.

Luckily, I was looking for my passport earlier today and opened the drawer where I keep this. I’m so happy I have it with me and will be able to sit in a quiet, relaxing place to reflect and write an update about the blessing and adventure that is our little Korean princess.

I took the photos of this book shortly after I participated in a discussion about adoption on the Paperclipping Roundtable (speaking of the PRT, click on the link to listen to last week’s episode, it was a great conversation!) Anyway, I’ve had these pictures of Addie’s journal in my DropBox for a long time — how fortuitous!

We have a birthday tradition that every other year you get a date with Mom and Dad, so Addie’s first birthday date is this weekend … she seems so big (and even tall) and very talkative lately. After 2 weekends away, I’m so looking forward to focusing on my littlest one!

Thanks for your patience with my real-life and my real-life blog!


  1. Oh, Stacy, I hear you!! I am taking your photo freedom class and not staying up with it much at all–because life is going on like crazy, and I am running after it. I also had our stake yw overnighter (lots of work, but sooo worth it) and then we left for a family vacation the following weekend. When am I doing class? Maybe mid July once we get back in town, before Trek happens in August? But for now, I am enjoying family time and taking many more photos to organize! (ha!) Thanks for the idea of being unplugged until 1. Our house could use that, I think!

  2. Hi Stacy, Thankfully for me we are in winter so taking your FPF class works in well. I can only imagine what you are going through being summer as well as all that is going on in your life right now. You are a truly amazing lady (who helps so many others) – tell yourself that a couple of times please and take the time you need to relax and enjoy your princess’ upcoming birthday, alone, and with your girlie, and with your family. Live life. We can wait a bit when you really need a break TAKE ONE!
    Mudgie from New Zealand

  3. I hear you on the scheduled weekends. Our oldest also graduated, which certainly added a new dynamic to our family and household.
    I REALLY wanted to take your Finding Photo Freedom class, and thought about it over and over; however, I knew in my heart that due to the timing (summer, graduation, etc.) that it would be difficult keeping up, and really delving into it. I ended up searching, and finding a gently used copy of your book that I purchased, and have been reading. When the class comes around again, I will be prepared and sign up (or possibly the self-paced you referenced awhile back over the winter).
    You are appreciated……Blessings.

  4. I signed up for Photo Freedom and was so excited it was during the summer. I THOUGHT it would be the perfect time for me… HA! I am still working through Week 1, trying not to get discouraged at how behind I am. Love your ideas, your blog and how real you are!

  5. Kathy Jo Camacaho says:

    Stacy, hang in there! Life is crazy – but we love it all anyway. I can’t even imagine how busy you must be with all the kids. I don’t have children and my summer is still “running wild”. It good to know that I’m in good company.
    Thanks for LOM. I am an alumni so my system is in place, but needs to be cleaned up. I’m trying to keep up, but I will not allow myself to be pressured if I fall behind. I WILL get there.
    Thanks for all you do.

  6. Angie Kyle says:

    Stacy, just here thinking about you and sending support and understanding your way. Isn’t it funny how we all can’t wait for the relaxation of summer, and then it ends up being just as hectic as the rest of the year? Our summer is shot with a huge move from Orlando to New Orleans. We have two weeks left until the packers arrive. This move is so bittersweet. I have the best group of scrapping girlfriends here that I go on retreats with, go to dinners with and exercise with. However, Louisiana/Mississippi is home; family is nearby, my husband got his dream job and I do have a few scrapping friends there. My heart is filled with emotion as we go through this change just as your heart aches for your baby going off to college. All will be fine as we adjust to the changes. Hugs to you.

  7. Oh my dear! I CANNOT imagine going through graduation and “leaving” my oldest at college that very week. Both events were so traumatic I never would have come out of my bed to blog (If there were blogs back then:) Much love!

  8. Jeanne Ann says:

    Stacy, I know that right now you feel like your heart has been ripped out and left with your college bound child. I felt that very same way just one year ago with my daughter. We had spent so much time preparing and looking forward to her being off to college and really getting out on her own that we never thought of where that left us. I bawled for a week and would tear up whenever I would think of her, but hearing the changes in her voice and the excitement she had whenever we talked made it so much easier. Clark is where he needs to be and will be wonderful at it. Your family is strong and will make the adjustments needed. The changes you will see in him on your first Parents Weekend will be amazing. Hang in there and know that us mothers understand. Love you Stacy.

  9. Ronnie Crowley says:

    I love the 1pm idea – does the rule apply to you. I work from home so hard for me to do that. Also problem when they have afternoon camp. I know excuses just put your foot down. While I’m here just want to say I love the mother load class room – whoever designed that needs to be given a gold star! Have a fun weekend and take a deep breath.

  10. Sherri Stone says:

    Hi Stacy! I remember getting tears in my eyes as I read in SS that Addie was going to be yours and now she is turning 5!!! Thanks for sharing your journal – great idea I will have to begin one for my grandson. Everyone is busy – I have been too busy to enjoy the blogs I subscribe to. I’m happy to see when you post but understand how truly busy you are.

  11. Maurren says:

    You don’t even get one last summer with your HS grad, he left right after graduation – that is just way to abrupt. And I seriously can’t believe Addie is 5, time flies in blog-land.

  12. Karen Schmidt says:

    Stacy I feel for you right now. Your in my thoughts and pray’s. I know its hard, my sister is going though the same thing right now. Her oldest is going off to college mid July. she is going to be a basket case but I will be there to hand out hugs. We certainly understand and love you.
    It’s funny you mention the ONE unplug idea because our DVR went out this week Monday so we can’t watch TV in the livingroom upstairs and its been great. We don’t even miss it. When I get home from work, get dinner done then we go outside and play, go for a golf cart ride down the road, play volleyball with my oldest,the little ones ride bikes and we might get some work done around the house. this is how its supposed to be. I think when it gets fixed I will leave it unplugged….
    Stacy just know we are here for you with cyber hugs…. :)

  13. Karen C. says:

    I have found it difficult to do this round of LOM. What I am going to do is save it for the fall/winter when the kidlets are in school and we don’t have as many things happening. I am excited that I signed up for the class, but Summer is just too busy of a time to implement the system. Hugs to you Stacy, I can’t imagine leaving my son at school.

  14. So sorry to hear that you are feeling overwhelmed. My life is a little hectic at themiment as well (calm by your standards, I’m sure!). I’m in Las Vegas with my mom and daughter. We came here from MT to see Celine Dion (amazing!). Tomorrow we fly home REALLY early, then I’m off to Seeley Lake with my family for three days to celebrate Independence Day. I feel totally behind on FPF, but I told myself I can really dive in and start from the beginning again when things quiet down.
    I love your no electronics until after 1:00pm. I think I will try it at my house!

  15. {{{Stacy}}} Relax!:) You are not Super Woman, although you’re as close as I’ve ever seen!! :) lol We’re a patient bunch, we scrappy/picture sorting fools! And the majority of us are also moms, so we “get it”, when it comes to what you’re living right now!
    Enjoy this time away! Take time to roll in those emotions that keep knocking on the door, God gave us the ability to feel for a reason….to grow, learn and draw closer to Him through them! Close your eyes and breathe deeply dear one…. this life journey is a beautiful ride!
    Blessings on ya~

  16. Feel your pain — but let me say from someone who is on the other side of chaos it will get better — I had a spring (April and May) of 6 birthday celebrations for my kids (and I only have 2 kids — boy did that get out of control!), Easter and 1st communion for my oldest child (we are Catholic and that is a big deal) — I was so exhausted at the end of May, excited for our beach vacation the 2nd week of June that was plaqued with illness and a car accident on the way home — Long story short — a crazy 10 week period but now the lazy days of summer are here and we are enjoying it to the fullest!!
    — Also — know waht you mean about Addie being 5 — my baby turned 5 this spring — constantly amazed and the awesome kid she is, but miss my little one!
    – finally — yea for Photo Freedom being in the winter — could not take it this time around because of the crazy spring/early summer schedule — will start saving my money now — PF is something I really want to do!
    –Hang in there — you are not too old!

  17. What a wonderful update Stacy and such a full blessed life you lead. I agree, sometimes enough is enough and we just need a nice long day at home to recuperate! It’s been a busy June here with one or two nieces here for 14 days and four days away from home, plus I’ll have six guests here tomorrow and through the Fourth! I’m totally enjoying coaching in the FPF classroom, and am looking forward to July when I’ll have some down time to actually read a book too.

    Love Addie book – hope you all enjoy her birthday!!

  18. These children just think they need to grow up! It is wonderful to see what they are turning in to- but also hard.
    Enjoy your weekend with your sweet little girl!

  19. I’m having difficulty keeping up and have decided to hold off on the FPF until this fall when I can catch up again!!

  20. Rule number one, Stacy, take care of yourself. If you don’t you won’t be able to take care of your family. Maybe a Mom’s weekend away (or at home but with help) is needed to recharge your batteries.

    You will get used to Clatk being gone. Plus, we have learned that they sometimes come back and hang around awhile! I’m quite a few years older than you, and all my children are grown. I loved, loved having them ( so much that I home schooled them all!), but now that I’m older, I’m loving things being quieter. Plus one day you’ll have grandkids and realize they’re why you had children in the first place!

    Remember rule number one.

    • Patricia says:

      I second patti’s response. I, too, am a big older than you. Have sent all of to college. All on their own and doing so well. That was our job. Get them prepared for their lives (not keep them just in ours). Good job Stacy–you’ve done a good job with Clark.

  21. And I forgot to say FPF is so well set up this year. Let your coaches take some of the burden & don’t feel pressured. This is my 3rd round, my system is working super well but refinements are making it even better. Just remember that it took you years to figure this all out, and your students aren’t going to figure it all out in one fell swoop, either, and that’s perfect!

  22. Kerry G. says:

    Be kind to yourself Stacy! Take the Monday downtime that you need.

  23. Jolene O says:

    I have loved reading about this time in your life. We are taking our oldest son to the MTC in three weeks! I’m sure I will be a mess although I am really going to try to keep it together for him. Things surely do just keep changing whether we want them to or not!
    Hope the rest of your summer is a bit more restful.

  24. One thing that I’ve been working on lately is not trying to argue with how I feel. Like…if I’m feeling overwhelmed instead of feeling guilt & anxiety over the overwhelmedness, I’m just sitting still with the overwhelmed feeling and owning it. So instead of trying to talk myself out of what I am feeling, I just feel it and let myself work THROUGH it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it is somethat that has really helped me lately. You have SO much going on and are an amazing person. It’s OK that you’re overwhelmed!

    Two more things:

    1. I love, love LOVE your summer rule and am going to implement it in July—meaning, starting tomorrow. GREAT idea!

    2. Remember the post you wrote about the Team Sparkle skirts? When I ran Ragnar two weeks ago my entire team ran in them!!!! They were AWESOME. I was amazed at how that little skirt opened up dozens of conversations with other runners. The skirt made my awesome & amazing race even more awesome & amazing, so THANK YOU for the link! (you can see the pics on my blog http://amysorensen.typepad.com/the_english_geek/2011/06/wasatch-back-ragnar-race-report.html )

  25. Thank You, Stacy!! I am absolutely loving the new Finding Photo Freedom/LOM. I’m an alum from 2007, and I paid the alumni rate to do last year, which was wonderful and got me motivated to get going better with the system. This year, I’m blown away. It rocks!! I so appreciate what you share and how you give of yourself and your knowledge to help us.

    So thank you for being so generous with us alumni, helping us have the time to put the system together and make the connections and GET it. And thank you for revamping the whole thing; it’s a really nice progression from what was already an amazing class, and I hope it’s not killing you!!

  26. Stacy-

    Keep hanging in there! It will get better! I have one out of the house and one ready to leave in the next few months. It just makes the times you do get to spend with them worth more and more filled with memories. We still have 3 more to go but my husband and I are already trying to figure out what we will do with ourselves when they leave :(

    We also do the no TV but we do no electronics (TV, computer, video games) from 9-6 everyday. They always whine the first few days but now there are days when they don’t even come in the house until its bedtime and actuallly don’t watch TV at all!

  27. BARB TOPPING says:

    Stacy, you are so blessed. Glancing through the comments I see so many people who love you and keep you in their thoughts and prayers. Yes, you are going through a difficult time right now, but it is what we dream for our children, and some of the alternatives are so much worse. I also know it is a very confusing and bittersweet time, but gradually you will find your way through it.

    I love the book you are doing for Addie. You really have the best ideas.

    Speaking of great ideas… When I first started scrapbooking, I saw you on an episode of Scrapbook Memories in which you spoke of going to a family reunion. I believe you had put together some items for the children to make inexpensive scrapbooks of their relatives. I cannot remember exactly what you had done, but you were quite proud of the end result and even referred to yourself as “the best aunt”. I remember all of this, but I do not remember the details of what you did. We are about to do our fist official family reunion for our generation now that our parents have passed. I have been working on a video interview that dh and I did with my dad which we shall give to the adults, but I would also like to have something family related for the children that they can work on themselves. Do you remember what “Best Aunt” did? If you have time to reply, I shall greatly appreciate it. If not, I certainly understand. Maybe some of your followers remember or have cool ideas themselves. Children range in age from 3 on up.
    Thank you.

    • BARB TOPPING says:

      I think I need to make a correction. It occurred to me that you referred to yourself as the “Fun Aunt”. I do hope that you or someone sees this who remembers the episode.

  28. I’m sorry you’re so sad…I would feel the exact same way! My daughter is almost 20, but she is living at home while going to college. I know I will miss her terribly when she leaves home. What a blessing that you still have 4 precious children at home, including a little princess about to turn 5! Your other children do not take the place in your home and heart that Clark occupies, but they will certainly keep you busy and engaged in life! Just remember…you’re a terrific mother and have done your job well. THAT is why Clark is ready to head off to college. :)

  29. So glad you took a blog time break. Encourage you to plan/schedule/insist on a weekend off! Much rest to you Stacy. Peace that passes all understanding to you! Hug the kids.

  30. Kathryn Benfiet says:

    Stacy: I so totally understand your sense of loss and being so emotional, but at least you can talk to Clark on the phone. Our daughter is at Marine boot camp in South Carolina and other than letter writing, we haven’t had any contact since she had her 10 second phone call on May 17 to let us know she had arrived. Marine boot camp is 13 weeks long and we get one letter a week if we’re lucky. We’re counting down the days until her graduation in August. I think I’ve cried more tears in the last 45 days than I have in years. We are so proud of our daughter but realize that our time with her will now be in small increments and that she is essentially grown-up. So glad I’ve taken a million photos of her and have so many pages of memories. For those who haven’t taken your LOM class (now called Photo Freedom), it was life changing for me. Know that you are not alone in feeling the empty nest loss. Will keep you in my prayers.

  31. Stacy,

    You are amazing and inspirational. I hope you enjoy your trip and that you and your gang have a wonderful 4th of July. I am sending hugs. I still can’t believe you had to send Clark off right after graduation. EGADS! Thinking of you….Leora

  32. I’m sure you miss Clark a lot and that your heart is heavy right now. As time goes by, it WILL get better. You will always miss him but your routine and life will adjust. Hang in there and take it day by day.

    Happy 5th (can’t be)Birthday to sweet Addie!

    I agree with one of the other responders that you need to ‘schedule’ a free weekend with NO plans.

    Happy 4th of July!

  33. Margaret C says:

    2 things – I LOVE your tv idea and SO going to adopt ! and… I hear you about the 5yr old – DD turns that in 3 weeks. When did dhe grow so big , beautiful articulate and smart ?!

  34. Christine H says:

    Feeling the stress of that whole over scheduling thing. Lots of great things to do, family functions, take to/pick up from camp, etc, etc…….a bit too much of a good thing. Actually going to say “no” to a couple of July events. Feels OK.

  35. Stacy, praying for you. I can’t even imagine when my children go off to college, plus having normal life continue on. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and pray for connection between you and your son while he’s gone.

  36. The first time I met you in person was at CKC Seattle (or Portland) and you had baby Addie snuggled in front of you in a baby harness thingy. I believe you had recently brought her home. I can’t believe she is turning 5 already. She was adorable then and she grows more and more adorable as she gets older. Her personality really shines in her photos! Her smile is irresistable :)

    We’re bringing my oldest boy to college later this summer too. I can relate to everything you are feeling!

  37. Melissa says:

    HI Stacy,

    Thank you for your post. Yes, we need Saturdays. Take time to enjoy our awesomeness.


  38. Melissa says:

    I meant you should enjoy your awesomeness and thank you for sharing your one rule. Loved it.

  39. I could have written your words, Stacy. Not really (I don’t have child off to college yet). But because I am such a sensative soul (and nostalgia brings out the most raw emotion in me), I imagine I will feel very much as you described.

    In my experience, there’s a bit of emotional turbulence that can usher in seasons of change. THANKFULLY, our Heavenly Father is in charge of ALL the seasons. I’ll pray for your spirit and your workload too, Stacy. I do believe a beautiful new season will emerge, but like winter, it can be hard to see until the beautiful signs arrive.

  40. Stacy, thanks so much for keeping it REAL here on your blog! I cannot believe that Clark is off to college already and that Addie is turning five! I feel like I know you and your family from following you/your blog for ages. Stay strong and get the rest you need! I like your 1:00 rule. We may have to implement that here too, but I’m not sure I could follow it. LOL I love the quiet time in the morning before everyone gets up to check my email, blog hop, etc. Thanks for sharing so much here with us groupies.

  41. aah Stacy… so glad you said that about Photo Freedom!! I haven’t even had time to read lesson 1. Absolutely no time in the summer for me to take this on. So glad you feel like that too!! I’ll look forward to February-ish next year. :)

    That being said, my son will soon head off (to Santa Barbara) to college too! Total mixed emotion here! It sucks huh! :(

    Sending hugs!

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