April 29, 2012

It's Summer at Thirty One!

I'm still loving being a Thirty One consultant! Several more people have joined my team, and I'm so happy and excited for them. It's such a fun way to make some extra money! I wanted to show off one of the new patterns in the Summer Catalog. This is a sneak peek because the catalog doesn't officially launch until May 1. The picture below shows my Summer Add-On Kit. When you're a Consultant, you can buy a new Add-On Kit each season to have current items on hand. The Add-On Kits cost $40 and they're valued at $130! That ALONE is a great reason to join Thirty One! :) The new pattern shown below is "Minty Chip." It has taupe, greens, blues and turquoise with brown as the contrasting color. I LOVE it!

From Left to Right, here's a little more about these items:

-The Mini Organizer is a smaller version of the popular Organizing Utility Tote. It has EIGHT small pockets around the outside to hold everything! I think this a great item for kids (church activity bag, dance bag, craft supplies, etc.). Also, it's the perfect size if you need to transport your sewing or craft supplies, or if you want a small Bible bag. There are so many options for this one!

-The big bag in the middle is a GREAT product for Summer! It's called the Retro Metro Weekender, and it's PERFECT for spend-the-night parties, weekend trips, a beach/pool bag, and the list goes on and on. It has kind of a slouchy/casual feel but is sturdy enough to hold everything!

-Next is the Zipper Pouch. These are SO popular because they're a great size! I put my makeup in my Zipper Pouch and it's wonderful. It holds everything with room to spare and I'm able to clean the inside easily. This would also be a great gift for a bride, graduate, etc. Get it monogrammed and maybe put a gift card inside. That's just one idea! Again, this could be used for a million things!

-At the top is the Flat Iron Case. This is one of my favorite products, because I am always using my straightener at the last minute before I pack. It's always too warm to just stick inside my suitcase, and I don't want to carry it separately. This is perfect for that! It has a thermal lining so you can put it in the case when it's still warm and everything is protected!

One more announcement: I'm now offering "Solution Sets!" These are groupings of products that you can buy at 15% off! You can choose your print, but it's sets of three popular products that work well together. Let me know if you're interested in buying a Solution Set!

Keep in mind that if you have a catalog/online party (or a home party if you're local to me!), you get FREE spending money! Most of my hostesses on average receive $90 to spend on anything in the catalog. A friend of mine recently said that she loves the products, but they're in the process of saving for their adoption. I told her that being a Hostess is PERFECT for her, because it costs NOTHING to host, and you get FREE stuff! And if you're looking for a way to make some extra money, why don't you think/pray about becoming a Consultant? I've said it before, but it's worth repeating - I NEVER expected to actually make money from this, but I have! Email me anytime if you have questions or would like to host a catalog/online party. You'll also be able to view the Summer Catalog on my website beginning May 1.

Happy Summer from Thirty One!


April 25, 2012


We've reached a major milestone at our house - Evy Kate is now in her big girl bed!!!

Evy was still sleeping in her crib great; no climbing, falling, etc. But all of a sudden it just felt right to me. Also, we're about to work on potty training this summer so I wanted her to be able to get out of bed and go potty if she needs to. We had already bought her big girl bed in Dallas last summer, so we headed to Sam's to get a mattress. I had found her bedding awhile back as well (it's Shabby Chic for Target brand). So we were all ready to go!

She was SO EXCITED SHE COULDN'T STAND IT AND SHE WAS FREAKING OUT THE WHOLE EVENING AND HOPPING UP AND DOWN WITH ANTICIPATION. Can you get the vibe that she was pumped?? Kurt looked at me and said, "Remember the last time she was like this?" and I said, "Disney World. Meeting the Princesses." Ha! Truly, if you'll recall, she was a maniac when she met the Princesses. It was hysterical. It's like she couldn't even compose herself! That's how she was with the bed!

She slept through the night perfectly and has been napping great. I think it helped that we waited such a long time. She also has a tote (Thirty One large utility tote for you reference!) on her bed with all of her books in it that she loves. It's been a great transition! Here are pictures from the first night:

I'm framing this one. :)


April 23, 2012

Getting Caught Up

I hate when I feel behind on posting things! There are so many things I need to catch up on. I'm trying to tell myself not to worry and that it will get done at some point. We're in the home stretch with "Annie" and I already know I'm going to miss it so, so much. I'm trying not to think about it. :( Along with updates on what we've been up to, I plan on writing a post about what makeup I use. I get asked that ALL the time (in emails, comments, etc.) so I'll just write a post about it. I think it's funny and I don't think I'm the person to be writing about that, but I really do get asked about it a lot - ha!

We've just been busy with LIFE. I think we'll settle back into a routine once the show is over. Evy Kate will have her very first dance recital in June - I can't WAIT! I remember when Kurt bought me by first Canon camera right before Evy was born. I told him, "Now, I'm going to have to buy a good zoom lens once her first dance recital rolls around." And it's HERE. I'm trying not to start sobbing as I type that.

We're still really busy with church, which we always enjoy. I'm going to start teaching a preschool Lifegroup again at the beginning of May. Kurt is still teaching the adult Lifegroup class, and I feel that since there is such a need in our preschool area, I need to be there. I feel like we're doing a lot of "juggling" with church ministry and we're always trying to streamline things and make sure we're serving where God wants us. During the summer, our church is doing a really neat thing called "Generations." We meet in the Fellowship Hall and sit at tables. We sing my dad teaches. Then there are discussion questions for everyone at the tables to discuss. It's called "Generations" because people of all different ages sit together, so we can discuss things from a multi-generational perspective. Tonight was our first night and it was great!

Oh, this is big news - my cousin Katie is ENGAGED! She is marrying an amazing guy named Sean, and their wedding will be August 4th in Dallas! Evy and Liam will be in the wedding - Evy is carrying a Bible and Liam is carrying a sign that says "Here Comes the Bride." Can you even picture the cuteness? We are so excited for Katie and Sean, and I love family weddings. :)

Probably the biggest news around here is that Evy is now in a BIG GIRL BED! Yes, we have made the transition and it has been wonderful! Of course a whole post is coming with pictures and more details!

Another Thirty One update - I now have FOUR (soon to be FIVE) consultants on my team! The amazing thing is that I haven't approached any of these girls. They have all contacted me on their own and asked me any questions about being a Thirty One Consultant. My favorite thing is that all of my Consultants on my team are from different states! I'll be promoting to Senior Consultant soon and I've only been with the company for three months! The new catalog is out and becomes active May 1. There are SO MANY awesome products and new prints. I have three parties (catalog and home) scheduled and it's just fun. :) It's been a wonderful way to make some extra money (and get a discount on bags, totes, etc. that I love)! I'd love to talk with you about it if you're interested!

I think that's about it for now.....more updates are coming!

April 17, 2012

Liam Updates!

I wanted to include pictures in this post, but Blogger isn't cooperating. Pictures are coming!!

Well, on the 21st of this month we'll have been home 6 months! I can't even believe it. Like I said in a previous post, I've been pretty private about our adjustment. Now that we're at the six month mark, I feel like I can start saying more; not for any magical reason - it just seems like a natural turning point for us.

We've learned so much about Liam! In the last couple of months our biggest issue has been his strong-willed nature. I feel like I need to give a disclaimer: We do not considered being strong-willed a bad thing. We also do not want to create robots for children who sit and stare all the time. God creates children in MANY different combinations of personalities, likes and dislikes, and the list goes on. I just want to make it clear that we don't consider this a problem that we have to eliminate. However, every single person is born with a sin nature. It comes out in different ways and at different times. We believe that our job as parents is to channel Liam's strong will into the right things. It's also our job to teach him (and Evy, and all of our children!) what is acceptable behavior and what isn't.

I also want to add that we have talked to Liam's foster family and he did exhibit these behaviors with them as well. Of course we always take into consideration Liam's adoption history and the changes he's been through, but it does tell us a lot that he has been this way from the very beginning.

Liam truly has the sweetest little heart. His smile lights up a room, and he loves interacting with others. His strong personality doesn't come out with his little friends. His issues are more about authority and being told "no." We can just look at him and gently say "Liam, Son, don't do that please" and he will just LOSE IT. Not out of sadness that he disappointed us - it's out of total frustration that we would try to change his plans. Ha! Our biggest situation has lately been restaurants. I won't go into all the details, but it was just getting really bad.

Kurt and I decided to read some books together on the subject and come up with a plan. We decided that at the first sign of Liam losing control, we would immediately remove him from the situation and go somewhere private. His receptive language is at 100% (seriously, he understands EVERYTHING we say), so we've started looking him in the eyes and saying firmly, "Calm down." That will usually get his attention, but then we always add something like "When you calm down, we can go back and eat" (or whatever the case may be). In the last two weeks, he has stopped crying after this discussion and he will nod when we say "Are you ready to go eat?" Sometimes we have to remove him many times, but we've noticed it happens less and less. PLEASE understand me - every child is different and we have prayed over the best ways to handle Liam. No one knows the entire context of a family's situation unless you're in that family. I just think that's a really important thing to keep in mind.

Like I said, we are having more and more moments where we just marvel at how far Liam has come and how well he has settled into everything! We still love to rock, sing and pray before nap time and bedtime. We've developed this sweet little ritual where I lay him in his crib and cover him with his blanket. Then we both kiss our pointer fingers and touch them together. He smiles SO BIG every time we do this, and I know I'll be doing it until the night before his wedding! :)

As far as language, like I said before, he is PERFECT in his receptive language! It amazes us all that he understands. As far as the verbal side of things, he isn't saying very much at all. He has about 2-3 words that are used in the correct context, but mostly everything is "dis." He says that probably 4,000 times a day. :) We are working with him on trying to say different words (I identify EVERYTHING we see, do, etc.), and he knows we're trying to get him to say the word, but he can't/won't do it.

This has led us to get Liam evaluated for speech therapy. Our state has a wonderful First Steps program, which is an early intervention program. We found the therapist through mutual friends on Facebook and I can already tell she's SO sweet and perfect to work with Liam. Wednesday he'll be evaluated for the first time and we'll see if he qualifies for therapy. Our pediatrician wasn't worried about his speech when we saw him last, but everyone agrees that he has delays. Even if Liam doesn't qualify for therapy, at least we'll have a professional who can teach us better ways to work with him.

Here's something that's cute: Liam's foster family told us that he would call every member of the family "Omma" (Korean for "Mommy"), but he would just pronounce it a little differently for each person. Well guess what? He calls almost all of us in our family "Mama!!" Haha! We think it's hilarious that this little mannerism has carried over! :)

I think my absolute favorite thing about Liam right now is how much he adores worship. He knows all of the motions to the songs and he LOVES music! Also, he has started shutting his little eyes so tight when we pray. I don't think anything has melted my heart more. It's at moments like that when I think of Liam's foster family and how they prayed over him, that he would love God and be raised in a Christian home. It's such a privilege to raise Liam (and Evy of course) to know and love the Lord.

On Good Friday, we had a service that centered around Passover and what it means for us as Christians. We've had a new guitarist for a few weeks in church, and he's Asian. I had seen him play a few times before, but that night he did a solo intro to one of the songs. I looked up at him playing and chills came over me. I remembered Liam's foster father saying, when I asked what his dream was for Liam, "I want him to lead worship at church. With a guitar." And here was this unbelievably talented, Asian young man playing the most beautiful music on a guitar, worshipping at church. It was almost overwhelming, the emotions I felt.

I was later talking to my worship pastor about him, and he said that this young man comes from a country where there is no Christian music to speak of. If there is, it certainly isn't mainstream. This young man is here for a college exchange program, and he told my worship pastor, "I used to sit and listen to Christian music, and it became my dream to play the guitar in church. Now that I'm here, I'm living my dream." Is that not the most powerful, convicting thing you've ever heard? This guy's life dream was to simply express worship to God through music. Not be a rock star, not be in a mega church leading worship. . .just playing in a church of any kind, because he wasn't able to in his country. Amazing.

So as I was sitting there, I thought of Liam and our journey with him. It was a really deep time of reflection for me, and I was just so thankful in that moment for the gift of my son. I truly am thankful for him every day, but lately I feel like we've really turned a corner in the bonding process. I've referenced the feelings of caregiver vs. mother, but I feel less of a tug between those two things now. It just gradually happened, as I predicted it would. I'm his Mommy, and now my head and heart feel the same thing.

I've also been doing a lot of dwelling on what God wants our family to look like. Obviously it's not for me to decide; God has already decided it. But sometimes I have a lot of thoughts to sort through. As hard as the adoption adjustment (and general adjustment to change) has gone at certain times, I know in my gut we're not done adopting. I am also really looking forward to having our next child, because I can't wait to see Liam as a big brother. Seeing Evy be a big sister has been so sweet, and I am excited to see Liam in that role. :)

So the bottom line is, Liam is doing great, and we love him so, so much. He makes us laugh all the time! We are so thankful for these past six months. I think one of the best feelings is that he's now officially in our custody; he can't be taken away. For so long I was afraid something would fall through. Now he really is permanently here and it's a great feeling! October 9th will be such a special day when his adoption is made final.

We love you, Leeler!

April 12, 2012

Easter Sunday 2012

We had a wonderful Easter weekend! I've got a couple sets of pictures to share, but I wanted to share our Sunday pictures first. It was such a special day. We were supposed to visit Kurt's family for Easter this year, but Kurt was asked to sing in the service (he sang "Arise, My Love" and nailed it!), and so we stayed home instead of traveling. We missed seeing his family so much, but thankfully we'll be there for the big Mother's Day gathering! :) It was also very special that Kurt's mom made the kids' Easter outfits! She has made Evy's dress every year, and it was so fun to have a matching one made for Liam too!

Here are pictures from our Easter Sunday. I don't think they need explaining.....it was just a beautiful day, celebrating the whole reason for our faith - Jesus is ALIVE! This is what sets our faith apart from all others in the world. We serve a risen Christ!

Happy Easter from our family!

April 9, 2012

The Craziest Day of My Life

 I would say that the title of this post is dramatic, but it's really not that far from the truth.....ha! Let me just tell you about my day.

Actually, the story begins last night. I came home from seeing a movie with my mom and sisters (we saw Mirror, Mirror - it was really cute!), and Kurt said to me, and I quote, "Did you see my little friend on the kitchen table?" Um, no I hadn't. "Yes, Thomasina was about to kill a baby bird, so I rescued it and it's on the table in a box." Now, I really am an animal lover, but I didn't know anything about caring for a baby bird. I told Kurt to call the vet the next day and ask how to care for it. You need to know about the baby bird before we continue.

Fast forward to this morning. The kids and I had both kind of been up late, and I had just woken up around 8:40 (yes, we are late sleepers). I had literally just opened my eyes to look at my phone and see what time was, when I got a text message (the time was 8:46) that said "This is Susan. I was inquiring about your whereabouts?" I was so confused. The only Susan I could think of was my dad's secretary and I had no idea where I was supposed to be. Like a moron, I texted back "Susan who?"

"Your attorney."

Then it hit me. WE HAD LIAM'S INITIAL CUSTODY COURT HEARING TODAY. AT 8:45 A.M.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was in bed, both my kids were both still in bed, and I had TOTALLY FORGOTTEN.

Let me pause and say this: I am NOT the type of person that EVER forgets things. I have an Erin Condren planner in which I write (in different colors) what we're supposed to be doing and when. I also have backup alerts on my phone. I have NO IDEA what happened or where my mind was.

I flung myself out of bed and threw a dress on, while I was texting both my attorney and Kurt (who had also forgotten and was at work). The attorney said we might be able to get worked into the schedule, but there was no guarantee. Meanwhile, I had sent Kurt a text saying, "CALL ME NOW!!!! LIAM'S CASE! WE FORGOT! CALL ME ASAP!!!!!" (Can you tell I was in a panic?) I finally got a hold of Kurt on the phone and he said he was actually finishing up a case and would be able to leave (folks, that is a MIRACLE - his schedule is usually never flexible at the hospital).

I ran into the kids' rooms and got Evy first. She had just woken up and had that adorable, sleepy look with bedhead. I literally threw a bishop dress on her and put a bow in her hair. The whole time she was saying, "Where we going, Mommy? What's happening?" I tried to explain that we were going to talk to some people about Brother (how do you explain custody and court to a three year old?). After I would try to give a reasonable answer, she would say, "What did you said, Mommy? What did you just said?" Hahaha! And poor child, I have no idea what I was saying to her at that moment!

I went and got Liam and thankfully he hadn't had his usual morning dirty diaper yet (another miracle). I was able to quickly change him and put a Jon Jon on him to make us all look court-presentable. When I say I was RUNNING around my house, I really was. I was throwing cereal in baggies, splashing milk in sippy cups....it was a disaster. I put them in their carseats and grabbed my makeup bag. I applied my makeup when we stopped at stoplights and I know I just looked ridiculous (not to mention my makeup has never looked worse).

I found the courthouse and I took both kids inside. We immediately saw our attorney who greeted us. She's super sweet, but I really think inside she was thinking, "Seriously?" Ha! The kids sat on a bench and ate their cereal and were acting very compliant. I prayed it would last.

It didn't.

All of a sudden, we got ants in the pants. Big time. Liam wouldn't sit still to save his life. I know that's normal for his age, but it was the type of thing where if I wasn't doing what he wanted, he MELTED DOWN (more on that in another post). Finally, Kurt walked through the door. Our attorney told us she was trying to get us worked in. Kurt decided to take Liam outside to work off some steam. However, he didn't know Evy was walking behind him. Her little finger got pinched in the door. :( So then I was cuddling and loving on her.......

Our attorney said they had been able to work us in (praise the Lord!), and we went upstairs to the Judge's chambers. By this time, both of the kids were just NOT happy. Evy wasn't pleased with how YouTube on my phone was working, and Liam was so mad and fussy that I couldn't do a thing to keep him happy. It was just one of those times when both kids were in such bad moods. We were finally called in and Kurt sat on the stand, holding Evy (we laughed and said we hope it's the only time she takes the stand!). Kurt answered questions from our attorney and I was trying desperately to keep Liam occupied. He would eat Cheerios but then would get mad at the drop of a hat. He wanted to touch EVERYTHING. The judge kept looking over and it was just so stressful. Then I took the stand with Liam. He started grabbing the microphone and the court reporter was squirming because it was making a loud scratching noise in her headphones. I was mortified.....it was just so bad.

Thankfully the judge's name was William and he liked that we're called Liam by that nickname. He had never heard of doing that. I think that's the only thing that saved us - ha!! We passed court and we now officially have custody of Liam!! We will finalize on October 9th!

We walked out of there and I have never been so relieved. Kurt had to hurry back to work, so I took the kids home. My mom texted me and said we were having lunch at 11:30, so I was hurrying around trying to get us changed and a little more put together. Liam was running into my bathroom and had his shoes on. He tripped and his head smacked the place where the carpet meets the tile in my bathroom. You know how there's a little ledge where tile meets carpet? Yeah, that's where his head hit. HUGE goose egg on his head. Oh my word.

I was going to put the kids BACK into the car and decided to run to the bathroom before we left. I opened the door to the powder bathroom and let out a blood curdling scream - there was the baby bird - DEAD - on the floor of the BATHROOM. Feathers, blood, everything. Our cat had KILLED THE BIRD. I immediately slammed the door and ran away. Thankfully the kids didn't hear me - they were in the playroom.

I got in the car and called Kurt to tell him there was a surprise for him in the powder bathroom when he got home. I really hated it, because I do love animals. But you talk about the icing on the cake to my day.......

The day continued with lunch at Cracker Barrel with my family (another fun parenting adventure) and then I had "Annie" rehearsal from 1-4. I didn't share this, but Mr. Dumey's father passed away on Palm Sunday. He lived a strong last few months but VERY quickly progressed toward his passing. I have been completely running rehearsals for the last three weeks. It's been hard work, but I am so proud of those kids and the show we're creating. It's going to be amazing! Kurt's work schedule has been accommodating and that's been so great. God definitely had me in the right place, because we had no idea Mr. Dumey's father would pass away during this season of time. So being at rehearsal this afternoon helped to kind of re-center me. :)

And there you have the most crazy day I've experienced in years. However, the brightest spot is that Liam is officially in our custody!! These pictures perfectly show the progression of the day - for ALL of us!!!

What a Monday!

April 6, 2012

Jesus in the Passover

Tonight our church is doing something so special. My dad is showing us the traditional Passover Seder meal, which is so significant to this Easter weekend. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I cherish certain parts of Jewish culture and I'm fascinated by it. It's so special because we will be able to see what Jesus was doing the night He was betrayed. I think it will be so poignant.

The biggest reason this is important is that it better helps us understand that Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb. He fulfilled the sacrificial system. With His death came the final payment and atonement for sin. That is just so powerful for me to think about.

Tonight is special because my Dad is using my Seder plate. I know I'll always remember this and that it will give everyone a better understanding of what was going on the night that changed everything.

I plan on recording the Seder tonight so that I can share it with you. I'm so thankful that we have a Good Friday service, because it helps us understand the JOY that Sunday will bring!
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