Red River Revel 2016

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!

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What at a fun afternoon! I love you all so much,

Mommy

Will’s First Day of Mother’s Day Out

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!

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All of my love,

Mommy

Mommy Artist

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.

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A mural for for baby Liv’s nursery

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A hand lettered wedding sign

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A horse picture for a Pay It Forward recipient. (Copic Marker)

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A dog portrait (prismacolor)

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Another puppy picture. This one to honor a pet who had passed. (Prismacolor)

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The Davidge Family portrait (copic marker)

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A bedroom wall mural for Conly Rose

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A wooden palette with a football for a nursery

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Another wooden palette for Daddy for our 5th (wooden) anniversary. For our bucket list to go to all 50 states.

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A ballerina portrait of little Ashlynn (prismacolor)

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Hand calligraphy for wedding invitations.

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A fun fun beach portrait as a gift for my friends. (Copic markers)

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A sailboat oat painting for a baby boy nursery. (Acrylic paint with wooden frame)

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Two more ore paintings for the sailboat nursery as a baby shower gift

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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.

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Caitlin also asked me to make Josh a family portrait for their anniversary. (Copic marker and prismacolor)

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The Cook kiddos portrait (copic markers and prismacolor)

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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)

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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)

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Caitlin and Josh picture (copic markers)

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The Martin Family portrait (copic marker and prismacolor)

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Anna Kate’s Homecoming parade posters.

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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)

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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!

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With all all the love in my heart,

Mommy0

Summer Service Group

This summer we were invited to join a Summer Service Project group with a group on Mom’s from our church and their children. We had a busy summer and couldn’t go every week (vacations, swim lessons, etc) but we were able to serve in two projects, and buy supplies when we couldn’t go and serve! Our first project, a lemonade stand and bake sale, was the week that we were in charge of. We raised money for the family of a missionary who was serving in Uganda, Africa and contracted malaria, had complications, and later died as a result. Hayley helped me bake goodies (Will you didn’t participate this summer, you are too young) and, along with with other moms and children in our group, set up outside of a boutique to sell lemonade, sweet tea and all of our baked treats. We realized over $300 to help that family! 

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The second project we did was helping buy, sort and pack food boxes for the food bank of Northwest Louisiana. We went to Sam’s and bought needed food items, and took them to a church and you (Hayley) helped pack the boxes with food to give away to those in need. I am so proud of how you help! 

Another way I served (Hayley and Will you are both too young to help on this one) was helping to decorate a “dream room” so a sick little girl through the Pay It Forward Network. She has a disease that leaves her sick, tired and with no energy all day so she has to spend most of her time in bed in her room. She has a lot of medical equipment that goes along with taking care of her. Her “wish” was to have a princess room and I was asked to help paint pictures and create a canopy above her bed, so I jumped at the chance. Other people helped to bring this whole room together with cabinets to hide her medical supplies, paint for the walls, a chandelier, new flooring, new toys, bedding, and so much more. It was a magical experience to see how greatly this act of kindness meant to her and her family when the room was revealed to them. I am SOOOO blessed to have healthy children and I thank the Lord for that every day. I cannot imagine what the parents of Jolie (the sick little girl) go through day in and day out, all knowing the outcome doesn’t look good for their baby girl. It breaks my heart and it makes me cry happy tears just to know that a little bit of time and resources given by all of these wonderful people changed that little girls world. That is what giving back is all about. You get so much more out of it than you give. 

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Although you are young, and cannot grasp all the reasons why we need to help those in need, I feel it is important that service and giving back to others in the name of Lord should be a thread woven in your upbringing. “To whom much is given, much is expected.”  We are SOOOOO incredibly blessed, blessed beyond words and so the Lord calls us (all of us) to serve and be His hands and feet in the world. I want you to always faithfully and joyfully serve those around you, in every way that you can.  Pray for the Lords provisions in your giving so that it will all be made possible. Humbly give, without need of recognition. I pray that the Lord will break your heart for the needs of this world and that you will have a passion for serving His people. We will continue to go out and serve as you grow up. For now, we will serve our local community and I pray that one day we can go out and serve a greater area, in our country or abroad. 

With all my love,

Mommy

A Family Hierloom

I recently just finished Hayley’s needlepoint stocking and I couldn’t be more excited! I have been working on it non-stop (a little bit almost every day) since October! It has taken me almost 10 months and I guesstimate it took about 450 hours of work (if not more!!!) I am so proud of it! 

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I decided a while back that I wanted to needlepoint you kiddos (and possibly daddy and I) a stocking for Christmas, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Aunt CaitCait’s mom has done one for everyone in their family (11 stockings total!!!) and I wanted to give it a try. Little did I know how much time it would take, or how much I would fall in love with the craft! I am obsessed! Every night when you kiddos go to bed and some nap times, long car rides, etc) I pull my canvas out to needlepoint. I absolutely love it! And just to give you an idea, the canvas and thread all together cost over $500! This is a huge investment in time and money and I pray that you will cherish it forever! I made it with the intention of it being a family heirloom that you will use every Christmas and will pass down to your children one day. I will eventually make one for everyone in the family, and one day make them for your spouses and children. 

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I also plan to stitch an ornament (or two or three) every year for our tree. I hope one day, when I’m gone, you will all fight over (in a nice way…ha!) who gets what ornament and that they all have great meaning to y’all. I have put so much love into all of my needlepoint projects and I pray you will always see that. 

For your daddy’s birthday this year I decided to needlepoint him an LSU belt. I hope he will cherish it too, and since it has his initials, Will, you could have it too one day.

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My next big project is making Will a stocking, and a large nativity! I am so excited about them! I am working on one of the camels to the nativity now (and learning new and fun stitches!) and will start on Will’s stocking at the first of next year so that you will have it by next Christmas. The nativity will probably take me a few years to finish. Ha! 

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I pray you will always keep and treasure these keepsakes that are made with love especially for you!