Mardi Gras was so much fun this year! Mommy and Daddy were invited to go to the Krewe of Centaur’s Ball with some friends. We got to get all dressed up in a formal gown and tuxedo. We had a “fireman themed” table and we had so much fun with friends!
We took yall to the Krewe of Highland Parade. This is a fun parade to go to since it is on a Sunday, during the day and much more family oriented. They even throw lots of fun things like stuffed animals and moon pies! Will caught one of those! We went with our Sunday school class friends and it was a blast! Yall loved playing with the other kids before the parade and catching the fun stuff (although the loud noises were not Hayley’s favorite, so we had ear phones for back up).
And one of yalls favorite things we did was make “King Cake Bubble Up.” It is basically a king cake casserole. Hayley you couldn’t wait for it to get out of the oven for a taste!
Love yall to the moon pie and back 😉
Happy 2017! Its going to be an amazing year! So many fun trips and events planned! Its going to be a great one!
We (just mommy and daddy) took a ski trip with Aunt CaitCait and Uncle Josh.
We went to Silverthorne, CO and skied in Copper Mountain. It has been a LONG time since I have skied (junior high to be exact) so I was nervous. Josh had never skied, CaitCait hasn’t skied in about how long I was lacking, and Daddy, well….h’s just good at everything so he was a pro. It was a little rocky at first, but I am happy to report that I didn’t even fall on my first time down the mountain. Cant say that about all of the other times. Ha! I am not a very adventurous skier so I was perfectly happy just taking it easy on the bunny slopes!
The house we rented was so nice! had a beautiful view and we even had a little fox friend come and visit us!
One of the most fun things we did was dog sledding! We loaded up on a sled and about 10 Huskies pulled us all over. Its was so much fun!
We also got to take a horse and carriage ride through the snow and that was so fun! it took is to a lodge where we had hot coco and listened to a band play.
Even though I wasn’t very good at skiing (and I slowed your dad down a lot…bless him for sticking with me), I got altitude sickness while we were there it it was pretty rough. I was nauseous a lot and had migraines (my first time to ever have one). I even almost passed out on the ski lift. Luckily I made it to the top of the mountain and a hippie let me drink out of his water bottle, Ha! But all and all it was fun! I would love to take yall back one day when yall get older.
We missed yall!
Well here it is, June 2018 and I haven’t blogged about anything since Christmas of 2016. I have blog posts written on my phone, but they have never seemed to make it onto the actual blog with pictures. So I am spending the next several weeks catching up. This seems to be a reoccurring theme, but hey…such is life. Things get busy, momma does as much mommin’ as I possibly can and this is one of those things that falls by the wayside (unintentionally). So here is goes…2017 and 2018. It’s never too late right?
I love you even though I am a bad blogger,
Christmas is my very favorite time of the year! Not only do we get to celebrate a Jesus’ birth, decorate and give gifts, I get to see the joy of the season through halls eyes and it is magical!
Christmas started a little early this year. Since we planned to go to Jackson for Thanksgiving, we decided to pick out a Christmas tree before we left town so that we could get first pick of the best one (since we buy a real tree every year). we went to the “Christmas Tree Patch” as Hayley calls it (probably carried over from the pumpkin patch 😄) to pick out the tallest and most full tree we could find! We successfully found a beautiful one, even though the weather was pretty warm no didn’t feel much like Christmas. You two also had so much fun looking at lol of the decorations at the store! Such a fun time of year!
Right before Thanksgiving was also a very busy and sad time. Sad, because Daddy’s grandmother (Grammie’s mother) Mimi passed away. She had been battling cancer for about 6 months and had taken a turn for the worse a few weeks before. Grammie and PawPaw had been in Florida with her and Daddy flew out right after Thanksgiving to go to her funeral.
It was a busy time because I had a HUGE order for Nativity sets for Christmas. Three years ago, when Hayley was a baby, I painted a 12 piece nativity block set for her to play with. Then last year I painted Aunt DeeDee a set when she was pregnant with Samuel. aunt DeeDee’s sister, Meier, wanted a set this year, so I decided that if I was going to paint her a set, I might as well paint t and sell them. I began to paint them and posted a picture to my Facebook to see if anyone was interested in buying the extra sets I was making. I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to sell 5 sets. I had over FIFTY requests for them! I was blown away and so humbled that so many people would want to buy my artwork. Knowing that I could not paint that many sets, the wheels began to turn in my head and I started thinking about how I could reproduce them in large numbers. I went to bed that night brainstorming how I could make this happen and set off the next morning to buy test materials after I dropped you guys off at Mother’s Day Out. As soon a I was out looking for materials, Gappy called me to ask if he could help me do it. (He is always looking for a project and is so selfless in willing to help me and my crazy big ideas). I knew that I could scan in the painted images, print them out and adhere them to the wooden blocks, but I just needed to find out where to get all of these wooden blocks for cheap. He suggested a cabinet shop and they were willing to cut all the blocks for me and build all of the boxes for the stables. I am amazed how God provided for every aspect of this project. So I posted the blocks for sale on Facebook and Instagram and I sold out of 50 sets that I had plan to make and had requests for more! I couldn’t believe it! So now it was time to get to work! A week later I picked up the blocks and Gappy came over one Saturday morning while Daddy was at the hunting camp and helped me sand and spray paint 550 blocks and 50 stable boxes! And you two kiddos helped too. Y’all helped move and stack the blocks as we needed them. I spent many hours cutting the images of my art and modge podging them to the blocks. Y’all were so patient and sweet while I worked. I had my little sweat shop (ha!) set up in the garage and y’all played outside as I worked. Finally I had insisted all 600 blocks and Daddy and I wrapped and packaged them all. You two helped add the “hay” to the boxes and then they were ready! What a huge relief and sense of accomplishment to complete such a huge task. If you haven’t noticed yet, I have wild, big ideas. Go big or go home! And I already have orders for next year 😀
Picture of some of my customers enjoying their nativity sets!
And the decorating begins! As you know, I absolutely love to decorate for the holidays and Christmas is my favorite! And my favorite decoration this year is Hayley’s stocking! Lots and lots of time and work in that one little piece and I hope you treasure it forever! Will, you will have one next year.
One night we went to the Natchitoches Christmas festival with Gappy, Grandma, uncle Ryan and Aunt Jessi (daddy was at the duck camp). We went and played on the jumpys by the riverfront, it even “snowed” on Main Street. Then went to go eat. It was a disaster. We sat for two hours waiting on our food and when we got some of it, it was not cooked right. You two kiddos were restless, whining and hungry and we were all over it! Ha! I spent most of the time walking y’all around outside so everyone else could enjoy what food we got. I never even got a meal, but I was just ready to get out of there and get you kiddos home.
Y’all love seeing Christmas decorations at the store! Hayley, you hug everything you can get your hands on and you say “I love Christmas! Thank you mommy for Christmas!” Haha! Y’all are too funny!
I just want one cute picture of y’all sitting together in your Christmas outfits….just one.
The first weekend of December, Daddy and I went to Memphis with some friends to run the St. Jude half marathon. I have been wanting to run one for a long time now, and a while back I bit the bullet and signed up! (And I signed your daddy up to do it with me 😉) I trained for several months, alternating my shorts runs and long runs. I battled through my knee problems only to get bronchitis before and had to rest and recover closer to the race. I felt unprepared, but I was determined. Daddy didn’t train at all and when we got there he said he wasn’t going to run the half. But I wound up talking him into it. We ate a big pasta dinner the night before and tried to get some good rest (although our hotel neighbors were up all night 😡). The morning of the race the temperatures were in the low 40’s and it was supposed to rain. We were so excited in our corral waiting for the race to start. What an amazing experience with thousands of other people there all waiting to start. We decided that the girls (Heather and I) would run together and the boys (Bill and Jordan) would do the same. Finally we were at the starting line and it was go time! This was the most fun race I have ever done and for such an amazing cause (St. Jude research hospital) The toughest part was not running 13.1 miles, but running through the St. Jude campus on mile 5 and seeing all of those sick, precious children. I was crying and running all at the same time. I thank the Lord for my healthy babies! We ran until mile 8 and walked about a quarter of a mile and I ran the rest of it to the finish line (it started to rain on the last mile). WHAT AN AMAZING SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT! We did it! I ran it in just over 2 hours and your daddy finished 7 minutes before me. Don’t even get me started…he didn’t even train. ha! But we did it and spent the rest of our time in Memphis celebrating with our friends! I cannot wait to do it again (knee willing). We even got an ornament to hang on our tree to remember the race by.
Joy the Elf is back! She came to make sure we are spreading Christmas cheer and completing acts of kindness to spread Christmas joy, then reporting back to Santa every night. some of the things she asked us to do included bringing donuts to your friends at school for breakfast, leaving juice and candy canes with thank you notes for the trash men and mail man, make Christmas cards for people in the hospital, bring treats to our friends at school for your Christmas party, bring gifts to your teachers for Christmas, get gifts for rescue mission Christmas tree requests, go make memories at the Gaylord with our family, donate money to the Salvation Army red kettles, bake cookies for Santa and leave carrots for the reindeer and much more! Hayley, you were so eager to help others and it makes my heart smile! Will, you are a little too young to understand this year.
You two are learning to play with each other so well! I pray you two always have a strong bond!
Mommy made decorated Santa cookies for your teachers and friends in your class for your Christmas parties.
Mommy also head her friend Christmas party at our house. My “supper club” girls all came over for dinner and hot chocolate and we played stocking exchange game that were filled with some of our favorite things.
Hayley you love sweeping up all the pine needles from under the tree. I just adore your helpful spirit!
Will, you love pots and pans! Wether it be mine in the kitchen, or Hayley’s in her play kitchen, you are always “cooking” something up!
Getting cold weather ready! Your smile is infectious!
Nothing better than snuggling my baby by the fire! You kiddos are loving this cold weather and making fires in the fireplace. Will, you even point and grunt to tell us all of the steps we need to do to actually light the fire; running to the side door where the wood is, pretending to throw wood in the fireplace as we put it in there, pointing to the lighter and the gas key, and finally clapping in excitement when it is finally lit. It is the funniest! You don’t say anything, but you are an excellent communicator.
We made our annual Christmas trip to the Gaylord! We had so much fun. This year, Claire, Nico and Elena came in from California to go with us. they came into Bossier a few days before we went to the Gaylord and since Elena is your age Hayley, y’all played together for two days before we left for the Gaylord. When we headed to Dallas, our first stop was the Polar Express train in Grapevine. that was so neat! We boarded the Polar Express to go to the North Pole and Mrs. Claus even came aboard with elves to pass out bells! We finally came to the North Pole, walked through the “snow” and went into Santas workshop to see the elves put on a show! We went to dinner that night and it didn’t go so well. Both of y’all were so tired that y’all whined and pitched fits in the restaurant. We wound up pulling you both out of there and taking you straight to the room to go to bed. It was pure chaos and your daddy and I were so embarrassed. 😔 But you two were so tired from traveling and a fun day and we know you just needed rest.
The next day at the Gaylord, we went to see Santa and sit on his lap! Hayley, you told Santa you wanted a little bunny house (a Callico critter house). You both loved sitting on Santas lap. Later that day, all the girls went and saw a Christmas musical and you loved it! Later that night we went to eat at a steakhouse in the Gaylord to celebrate Grammie’s birthday and were able to get a private room for all of us so it wouldn’t matter what kind of mood y’all were in. Ha!
The next morning we went to see ICE! Will, you got cold and did not like staying in there very long. Hayley, you had a blast and loved he ice slide. You loved looking at all of the fun, beautiful ice sculptures and running around. After the exhibit, we went snow tubing and Hayley, you must have gone 15 times you loved it so much! Will, you were not tall enough to go. It was a fun trip and we cannot wait to go back next year!
The lemons on our lemon tree were finally ripe! We had so ,u h fin making yummy lemonade and lemon tarts with them all we had about 20 lemons this year, and since it was the first time the tree made fruit, I was SO excited!
Hayley, you, daddy and I went to ride around and look at Christmas lights with our friends. We all met at a friends house to eat pizza and then boarded a tour bus and went our to look at lights! You loved playing with Lillie and seeing all of the yard decorations. We even went to a house that had a light show timed with music. it was so much fun but at the end of it, you were so exhausted and feel asleep! You never fall asleep anywhere except for your bed, so i was so surprised!
Hayley, your Mother’s Day Out class had a Christmas party. You and your friends were so cute and sweet! I love to see you playing with them.
Christmas pajama pictures at school were the cutest!
Family Christmas card pictures! I love yall so much!
Or 2016 Christmas card.
I want to stitch and ornament every year so that when you kiddos are grow we will have a collection of them over the years this Santa is the one I stitched this year I think he turned out pretty cute!
And I couldn’t wait to hang this cute ornament on our traditional tree! A precious little ornament that was made for you at school. 😄
Mommy, daddy, Grammie and PawPaw went to the Natalie Grant and Danny Gokie Christmas concert at church. It was SOOOO good and I am now a huge Natalie grant fan! We listen to her music all of the time now.
Playing around with you kiddos is the most fun! I love every second time of it! One day we went to the park and I forgot to check the forecast. It was freezing cold with gusty winds, but we made the most of it and ran around to warm up.
On night you wanted daddy to lay down with you. Normally we lay with you for a few minutes and then leave. When daddy never came back out, I went to check on him and both of you were sound asleep in your bed. The sweetest!
The sweetest and prettiest reindeer I’ve ever seen!
Hayley, you love to help mommy in the kitchen! The best sous chef ever!
Will, you love to pester Dixie. You pull her tail ears and hair. She gives you little growls and it doesn’t seem to bother you one bit this day, you were so sweet! I fought you getting pieces of dog food out of her bowl and feeding her one by one. Adorable!
Peopl ask me, how do you get things done during the day? Well, I try and do some work while y’all are awake and this is what my art studio and the playroom look like only after a short period of time. Y’all love to pull everything out and playing with it, especially my paints and brushes. No matter how much I clean, things are always a mess. But that’s ok. I am blessed to have this mess!
One afternoon, Nana, PaPaw and MaJean drove over to spend time with us and “do Christmas” with them. we ate lunch and opened fun presents. Hayley, you even decorated a gingerbread house with Nana.
On Christmas Eve we made chocolate chip cookies for Santa! You two also got your Christmas Eve box, with cookie ingredients, Christmas pajamas, Christmas Eve church service outfits and a book.
For Christmas Eve, we went to Christmas Eve candlelight service at church and then back to Grammie and PawPaws for dinner to celebrate Uncle Bobby’s birthday! Will, you loved your pecan pie so much! After that, we came home to put out cookies, and milk and carrots for Santa and the reindeer. We got in our pajamas and read the night before Christmas. Hayley, you even heard sleigh bells outside your window when I was tucking you in! How exciting!
Finally! Christmas morning had arrived! Grammies, PawPaw, Grandma and Gappy, along with Aunt DeeDee, Uncle Bobby and Samuel all came over to be here when y’all woke up. You two were so excited when you came out to see everyone there and what Santa had brought! Y’all must have been good all year long because Santa brought you both a ton of stuff! Will, you got a John Deer hot wheels, play trucks, a toy riffle, and much more. Hayley you got the Callico critter house, A wellie wisher doll, books, more toys and clothes! It was such a fun morning. We had a big breakfast after that with everyone.
After that, we all got dressed and went over to Grammie and PawPaw’s for more gifts and fun! We had a delicious early dinner with Aunt Maredia and had so much fun playing with cousin Samuel! It was a wonderful Christmas Day!
The day after Christmas, we went to Gappy and Grandmas to have Christmas with Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jessi. you two got even more toys! Including an art set, a Barbie that you fix her hair, a giant piano you run on, and a tool bench. It was a fun night!
You kiddos are having a blast playing with ALL of the toys you got for Christmas. You even got so much stuff that I put up toys in the closet because we had SOOO MANY!
On New Year’s Eve, we left Will with Grammie and PawPaw (sorry, your not old enough) and went up to daddy’s duck camp to stay the night with all of the families of the people who are members of the camp. We took ranger rides to see cows, pumped blinds, and even roasted s’mores on the fire! It was a fun little getaway!
What a wonderful holiday we had full of fun and lots of memories made! I cherish every second I get to spend with you two and it is the joy of my life to live seeing the world;d through your childlike eyes! I pray I have made every second of these holidays ones you will remember and love looking back on. I love you both so much!
Fall was fantastic! Full of pumpkins, friends, family, parties and festivals, trick or treating, lots of yummy treats, turkey, and fun adventures!
Decorating “season” has begun (Halloween, then Fall, then Christmas). Hayley, you love to help me decorate and get into the spirit of the season. Will, you love to un-decorate. Ha! You grab everything off of every surface. I guess you think it is all a toy.
Hayley, you spent time at Grandma’s and Gappy’s and you and Grandma baked some Halloween treats!
We went to the park and painted pumpkins with our friends in early October. Y’all had so much fun being crafty and playing together. Sweet memories made!
Skeleton pajamas! No BONES about it, y’all are the cutest! You can see that taking pictures are a huge challenge these days! Will, you refuse to be still! I just want a cute picture of y’all together.
We even decorated a spooky gingerbread house! As usual, you are more candy than when at put on the house. Baby Will even got to have a few pieces of candy.
My blue eyed gorgeous girl! You love to swing!
More problems taking pictures of y’all tow together. As y’all can tell, I love to put you in matching outfits (I know y’all will hate this one day, but it’s just too cute!) and when I put y’all in matching outfits, I just want to take a picture. But y’all don’t cooperate. Ha! So I had to photo collage y’all together.
The first cold front came thorough and you had to dress for it to play outside!
Most days the weather has been on the warmer side. One day we went for a run (you two in the double stroller and me running) but Hayley, you decided you wanted to run too. You ran for almost an entire mile back to the house! I was so surprised! You wanted to slow down a couple of times but you loved being able to get out and run.
We took a family trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins for our front porch. We didn’t carve them this year. Y’all just weren’t interested this year. But y’all had a blast at the pumpkin patch running round, pulling the wagons, and playing in the train.
We also went to a couple of fall festivals. One at Asbury (just Hayley and I) and one at our church (the whole family). There were hay rides, carnival games, bouncy houses, and tons of treats! So much fun!
Hayley you are staying in the Halloween spirit by insisting on being in a costume all of the time. This day we were playing in the back yard with Snow White
We just love to play outside now that the weather isn’t unbearably hot! We even snuck in a few lunch picnics!
Hayley you practiced learning your letters with candy corns and printable sheets. You ate WAY to many in the process. You just LOVE your sweets!
Hobby Lobby put out their Christmas decorations and you can’t get enough! You love “ooohing” and “ahhhhing” at everything. Even hugging the stockings and saying “I love you! I’m so excited for Christmas!” The absolute sweetest!
We went to our Fall festival at church one Sunday afternoon and had fun playing games and sliding and jumping on jumpies! After that, Harper and Jax Cook invited us to their “Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown party” and it was so much fun! We roasted hot dogs on the bonfire, bounced in the bouncy house, made snores and watched “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown movie” while eating popcorn from the pop corn bar! It was a blast!
Halloween morning y’all had “spider eggs” for breakfast to get into the Halloween spirit!
Halloween fell on a Monday this year and y’all went to school and had a Halloween party there. Y’all got to dress up and Hayley, your class got to trick or treat around the church offices. We even brought treats for your class friends and teachers. Will, you brought your friends fruit cups decorated like pumpkins and Hayley you brought “make your own monster kits” with pipe cleaners, play doh, Pompom balls and googly eyes. You both brought your teachers ghost pots with homemade cookies in them.
Daddy and I went to an adult Halloween party at the Brazzels and had so much fun! We dressed up as Cousin Eddie and Christine from”A Christmas Vacation.” It was a great night out!
Halloween night was a lot of fun! The Hooper’s and Grammie and PawPaw came over and we all ate dinner and went trick or treating. It was warm and the mosquitoes were bad(), but we still had a great time! Ariel (Hayley), Sebastian (Will), Flounder (Mommy) and Prince Eric (Daddy) all went (along with Grammie, PawPaw stayed and passed out candy). We only made it around a couple of blocks and you two had your fill. Will and Daddy even went back early. A few houses were good enough for y’all! (And I was okay with that because I ran 9 miles that day and I was tired!) ha! It was a great Halloween full of family fun and lots of treats!
I had an opportunity to paint with a local artist, Chris Opp, while your two were at school one day. He invited me to paint an Eagle on the side of Elm Grove middle school with him and I jumped at the chance! I spent the entire time y’all were at school painting the beak of the eagle and I had such a great time and I learned so much! I even took you kiddos to see it after Mr. Opp had it almost finished. It was an honor to be able to help add color to the city and to take part in something that will be there for a long time. It was big, I was nervous, but I kept telling myself I could, gave it my all, and I surprised myself with my ability. Never doubt yourself, step out of your comfort zone, learn from others, and you never know where it will take you!
Hayley you have been fighting naps a lot and giving us a really hard time going to bed (pitching a fit and getting up a lot throughout the night). We thought you were ready to give up naps so we starting have it “room time” where you play in your room while Will naps (because mommy still needs to work on art during that time). Most days you played, but some days you were just too worn out! You feel asleep playing! If this isn’t the cutest thing, I don’t know what is (it happened several times)
We went to Disney on Ice with Evie and Kimberly. You LOVED every bit of it! You and Evie shared cotton candy and you got to watch all the princesses skate and sing! It was so fun!
Yalls school had a little Thanksgiving party. You each brought “turkey cookies” to your classmates and homemade pecan pies to your teachers.
Hayley, you loved helping mommy bake for our Sunday school Thanksgiving feast (which we hosted at our house, y’all went to Grandparents).
We also went to Jackson again for Thanksgiving. Again, y’all loved playing outside, chasing chickens, running around, etc). We were planning to stay two nights, but Will made us cut or trip short. Will, the first night we were there (at Papaw and MaJeans) you woke up at 3:30am and dreamed your head off for two hours and never would go back to sleep! You woke up everyone in the house and we were exhausted! We were planning on staying one more night, but decided after a big Thanksgiving lunch with our family, to drive back home.
Daddy took Hayley to the deer camp one afternoon to put out deer corn. Hayley, you had loved getting to go up there and “feed the deers.” Remind me to show you the video of you explaining to me what daddy does at the camp when he goes up the tree and waits for the deer. Its absolutely precious!
When its still not quite cold outside but you love to have a fire in the fireplace
Mommy cant help it with the matching outfits. HAHA!
We have had a blast tis fall. It must have worn you out. 😉
Sadly, Daddy’s grandmother (Grammie’s mother) passed away the night before thanksgiving. She had cancer and was very sick for a while. Grammie and PawPaw had been in Florida with her for a few weeks as she was getting worse. Daddy wound up flying down to Florida for the funeral while I stayed at home with you two.
All and all, it was a FANTASTIC FALL! We made so many fun memories! I love being yalls mommy more than anything in the world!
Our family fall hayride and bonfire has been a tradition as long as I can remember, and this year was no exception! Daddy had to work for the weekend (and go sit and a deer stand ) so you kiddos and I took a trip down to PaPaw and MaJeans for the weekend. You kiddos had a BLAST! Y’all ran until I though you couldn’t run anymore, and then you ran some more. You played, explored the outdoors, chased, fed and even hugged the chickens, checked out the ducks, went “fishing”, sat on the tractor, went for a hayride, roasted hotdogs on the bonfire, played with your cousins, and ran some more! the time we have with PaPaw and MaJean is precious because they will not always be around, so it means so much to me to see you two with them and exploring the family farm with them. I will cherish those memories forever! Life is so much fun with yall!
Will, you loved the chickens so much! You chased after them, tried to get into their chicken coup, and even tried to hug and kiss them. What a cutie!
Having so much fun playing on the farm!
Nap time? Hardly.
Playing on PaPaw’s tractor!
Going for a hayride! (a fall family tradition)
On the way home we stopped in Monroe to eat lunch at the mall and you two just had to ride the carousel!
I love you to babies and the memories we make.
It’s a tale tale sign fall is here (even if it is still 90 degrees outside)…the Red River Revel is here! We went on a Thursday afternoon and had a blast! We played games and rode rides in the kid area, made sand art, got our face painted, explored the local artist’s booths, ate delicious food, and finished it all off with ice cream. Hayley, you surprised me the most with how brave you are! You were very hesitant to try the bungee trampoline. You stood by and watched for a while going back and forth on wether or not you were actually going to do it, and finally you decided that you would. When you got hooked in, you didn’t act like you had any fear what so ever. You just wanted to jump higher. I am so proud of you! I cherish these times that we can all go have fun as a family. We are truely blessed by each other!
What at a fun afternoon! I love you all so much,
The time has come….my baby boy went to his first day of Mother’s Day out! I was a ball of emotions. I was excited to be able to have a little break, to get things done, but I was also sad. My baby was getting so big and so many thoughts rushed though my head. Will he be okay? Will he nap? Will the other kids be nice to him? Will his teachers love on him like I do? Will they cut up his food small enough? Will he be sad all day? And on and on. I only left you for 3 hours, although I could leave you for 5. I wanted to ease you into it for a few weeks before I left you the entire time. But as worried as I was, you did great! Yes, you cried right when I dropped you off, but after I walked away, I stood outside your room and you stopped crying in less than a minute. They said you did great and were a happy boy all day! That made my heart so happy!
Before your first day, I wanted to get a cute picture of the two of you….and let’s just say y’all weren’t having it. Will, all you wanted to do was pester your sister and pull her hair and cried when I told you to stop. Hayley just wanted to be goofy. It was chaos and I was worn out in the end never got a perfect;y posed one, but I got a ton of hilarious action shots. Ha!
All of my love,
Since deciding to put High Cotton Closet to bed (for now at least), I am delightfully and joyfully focusing on my first passion, my art.
The reason behind saying goodbye to High Cotton Closet (my testimony): I had just had Will. You were a newborn. Hayley, you were adjusting to life with a baby brother. I was adjusting to life with two children. I was potty training Hayley with a 6 week old (potty chair in the living room next to the chair I nursed Will in). Life was crazy. We were making hue changes in life. We were sleep deprived. We were just overall turned upside down for a while. Eventually we got into a routine, this new crazy became our new normal and all was great, except my discontent of time. Time with my babies. Running a business takes time. A lot of time. Raising babies takes even more time, like 24/7. Never a break besides an occasional date night thanks to Grandparents. But I could feel the Lord working in my unrest.
After going wholesale with High Cotton for a spring line and having great success (we are now in 20 different boutiques in 4 different states and our reps were asking for more), it was time to create a Fall line. Whe it came down to it, Sally and I came to a crossroads and had to make a decision. Do we continue or do we put it on hold? I was stressed and didn’t know what to do. My job first and foremost is to be a mommy. And not only that, my goal is to be the very best mommy I could be. Sally wanted to be Grammie. And for both of us, this company was creeping in on both or that for us. And the more it creeped in, the harder it became. I started High Cotton to have a creative outlet for myself for a “side job”. So, I began to pray. And I prayed a lot. Lord, lead me in the direction you want for my life. Lord if you lead me to this, why are you calling me away from it? Lord what are you calling me to do? Lord PLEASE just clearly answer my question of “what should I do with High Cotton Closet moving forward”…and He did!
I screen shot a lot of things on my phone…ideas, quotes, etc. I was scrolling through m pictures and one picture stood out so clear to me. It was a quote that said “you can have it all, but you can’t have it all right now.” I know the Lord laid that on my heart. Then a few days later I was still praying. I needed confirmation, because frankly, there was money on the line and it stresses me out. We were in church and I cannot remember the topic of the sermon, and what scriptures were quoted, but all I know is the Pastor Brad said “you can have it all, but you can’t have it all right now.” Wow. Seriously? It couldn’t have been more clear…until I was listening to JoAnna Gaines testimony (a TV personality from HGTV). She too has small children (4) and also started her own company. Her story was much like mine. At the time she had two small children at home and opened a store. She felt the Lord leaving her away from it and she quoted “you can have it all, but you can’t have it all right now.” Wow. Just WOW!!! (She now has a successful shop, business empire, and television show just to name a few things). The Lord used me and spoke to me and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he was leading me away from that business. Yes, even among the success we lost money (because starting a business is expensive) but it couldn’t be more clear. My job is with my children and to be their mommy and I couldn’t be happier with my life and where I am now. That business was difficult to give up. I felt a piece of me was gone, a creative piece, but I know that I was in God’s will and he would lead me to what I was to do next, and he did….
Art. Yes, to be an artist. Finally. Ha! I have always loved art, creating it, seeing it, being inspired by it in all of its many forms. Being creative is my happy place and where I feel happy (but just so you know, I feel happiest with my family, but in my art studio is a close 2nd ). I have colored, painted, drawn, sculpted, built, and created my whole life. When it came time to fill out my college application, I had to declare a major and I instinctively picked studio art. Without hesitation I checked that box. Then people began to talk me out of it. They said I would be a starving artist. I doubted my ability and I chickened out. I switched to interior design and completed by degree in that field. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. It was creative, fun and I loved it. But…you want to talk about starving…I was a broke interior designer. Ha!
But now I am finally creating art and I am so happy. I am stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing myself. I can take on as much or as little as I want so that I do not have to sacrifice my time with you kiddos. I work on my projects when y’all are napping, or asleep for the night (although I try and work on needlepoint then) or when y’all are at Mother’s Day out. I put my projects on my Facebook and Instagram and I have had more commissions than I ever thought I would have. People are trusting me with family pictures, wedding invitations and decorations, paintings for their home, murals and more! I am so blessed and so happy that I can be creative and still have time with my precious babies! Above all else, I hope y’all are proud of me and know that whatever I do, I do it all with yalls best interest at heart. Here are some things I have done this year so far:
A birthday party invitation. Trying my hand at graphic design.
A mural for for baby Liv’s nursery
A hand lettered wedding sign
A horse picture for a Pay It Forward recipient. (Copic Marker)
A dog portrait (prismacolor)
Another puppy picture. This one to honor a pet who had passed. (Prismacolor)
The Davidge Family portrait (copic marker)
A bedroom wall mural for Conly Rose
A wooden palette with a football for a nursery
Another wooden palette for Daddy for our 5th (wooden) anniversary. For our bucket list to go to all 50 states.
A ballerina portrait of little Ashlynn (prismacolor)
Hand calligraphy for wedding invitations.
A fun fun beach portrait as a gift for my friends. (Copic markers)
A sailboat oat painting for a baby boy nursery. (Acrylic paint with wooden frame)
Two more ore paintings for the sailboat nursery as a baby shower gift
An an anniversary gift to Caitlin from Josh. He built a prayer bench for her and asked me to hand letter a bible verse on it for her.
Caitlin also asked me to make Josh a family portrait for their anniversary. (Copic marker and prismacolor)
The Cook kiddos portrait (copic markers and prismacolor)
The Bruce Family portrait. Jessica (mommy) was a sorority sister of mine and lost her baby at 32 weeks pregnant. She never had a chance to get a Family picture and asked me to create one with her little girl and baby that was gone. I was honored to do that for her. (Copic marker and prismacolor)
A portrait of baby Tinley and her mommy. Tinley has a heart condition and has been in the hospital since birth because of heart surgeries. This was a gift to her mom so she could have a picture without all of her medical equipment and tubes. (Prismacolor)
Caitlin and Josh picture (copic markers)
The Martin Family portrait (copic marker and prismacolor)
Anna Kate’s Homecoming parade posters.
And my favorite one by far…my beautiful Hayley bug. This was the first portrait I did that sparked my love for all of this. Over this short time after doing this I have rediscovered my love for art. (Prismacolor)
I love over being able to stay at home with you kiddos and still make time to express the talent the Lord gave me. Some people ask me “how do you do that with kids at home?” It isn’t always easy. Thank heaven for naps and Mother’s Day Out…ha! But there are still times I work on projects when y’all are here and awake. I want y’all to be there and see what I a, doing, even at a very young age. Hayley, you often get your coloring books and crayons and are creative right along side me and I LOVE that! Will, you usually make a mess with anything you can get into. Often times you play in my paint bottles and paint brushes, so in a way you are very much emerged in art, even at 17 months old. It isn’t always easy, and most times very messy, but I wouldn’t choose any other life….I LOVE it!
With all all the love in my heart,