When Lauren first went into the hospital I told Matt that the other kids would be jealous of her because she was going to have extra parties - not just Christmas and her birthday. On the really tough days while Lauren was in the hospital I would dream up things for the party and it helped me to picture a day in the future when we weren't surrounded by beeping machines, the distinct smell of the ICU and fear. A while ago, we got to make my dreams of a party a reality.

My mom, sister, and a good friend did a lot to help me plan and realize my vision. I spent many of Lauren's naps in the weeks before the party creating the decorations and details that I wanted to include.

Elysha and I decided to make minicupcakes ourselves (mostly because I'm too cheap to pay at least a dollar each for them and by doing them ourselves, they could be gluten free!). At first I thought that we had bit off more than we could chew.

The cupcake on the left was one of our first attempts. After seeing the reality of that cupcake I was pretty nervous. Thankfully the learning curve wasn't too steep and soon we were pumping out adorable little cupcakes.

We tried to keep things as safe for Lauren as possible by still limiting her exposure to any germs. (I have also made a "Please don't touch me" sign that hangs on her baby carrier for when we are out in public. Seems a little crazy but it is insane how everyone touches a baby.)

It was so wonderful to be able to put on a party to have people see Lauren out of the hospital and for her to see them. We are so thankful for everyone's support and some of them hadn't seen Lauren since she was in the hospital. What a change!

I wanted a way for people to share their hopes and dreams for Lauren since so many people have taken her into their hearts. My mom used her Cricut machine to cut out the letters and then I put it all together into the two swags. We set up a station with Sharpies and post-it notes and people added their wishes for Lauren to the wall. It was beautiful to see the wall get covered!

One of the things that has surprised me is the people that God has given to us to surround us and support us through this time. One special family we didn't even know when Lauren's heart first stopped. They were a family who had their own little girl in the ICU at the same time that Lauren was brought in. They were there to watch us wander in, blinded by our tears and disbelief, and they saw as we received news of Lauren's heart stopping again and that she was going into emergency surgery. From that first moment they started to pray for our little daughter - even in the midst of their baby girl going through her own cardiac surgery. In the days that followed the little girl's mom introduced herself and we learned that our babies shared the same name and were born just days apart. Her little Lauren was recovering from her surgery. I had seen her playing with a toy just that day. When I told Matt, he and I were so encouraged by watching their daughter progress and updates on her health and how well she was doing allowed us to dream of the same things for our Lauren. It is amazing how God gives us treasures like this and if you pay attention you can see how they are linked together. Sometimes, I guess, we may just be too busy to see them. But we were so bare at that moment that we saw this treasure and we are so thankful.  

When I look back at all of this I am amazed that God gave us so many treasures to help us get through everything. He started paving the way for us to be strong enough before any of this happened and he is still giving us what we need. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us and those who stayed away because you were sick. Now on to Christmas planning!


  1. What an awesome celebration, Amanda! You are blessed and so is little Lauren! Happy for you and your family!

  2. What a great idea Amanda!!! Your decorations looked beautiful. I really liked the "wishing wall". I hope you're keeping all those post-it notes. If I were to write on it would be: "Lauren, may you grow full of grace and strength to accomplish all the plans God has for you." As I read this post I was so struck by how God has been and continues to be with you all.


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