Thursday, January 30, 2014

Welcome back!

Ok, so I guess I’m actually welcoming myself back to this blog, since I’m the one who left for almost a month. At any rate, I can’t believe this month is almost over. February, I expect a far more even temperament from you than we got from your sassy little neighbor, January.

Here is a tidy little recap of the past month in the Thompson casa:

Riley turned 7 months old! He was sick on this milestone, so his pictures are a little pitiful. He caught a cold from Liam, which means that for TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT I saw more snot than I ever care to be acquainted with again. I mean, it became almost impossible to keep track of the surfaces in my home that had snot on them. That’s all I have to say about that.

But at seven months, Riley is quite the fiery little redhead. His temper flares when I take a toy away from him (because, you know, it’s hard to shovel baby food into his mouth when he’s licking a rattle). He’ll clench his fists, grunt and growl and his face gets beet red. And of course, I can only laugh in return. Which makes him madder, so he’ll purse his lips together and blow raspberries at me. Bless my husband for his future with two redheads under the same roof. 

He got his first little tooth last week, and the second one should poke through any day now! (They’re both on the bottom.) I’m having SO MUCH FUN making Riley’s food. Maybe too much fun: one week, I made baby peas with mint and Laughing Cow Swiss cheese. I know that sounds a little pretentious (I don’t even eat that fancy), but I get some kind of twisted, cheap (as in, less than the store-bought jars) thrill playing with different recipes. (I desperately need a project.) Also on his January menu: rhubarb compote. Also a big hit! Although, I didn't really care for it. I guess since Liam refuses to eat much of anything, I'm living vicariously through Riley now. So far, he'll eat ANYTHING.

Liam hasn’t been so easy to live with. Can I just say that? Y’all, he is OVER RILEY. Riley playing with a toy. Riley occupying Mommy’s lap. Riley getting spoonfed his lunch while Liam has to feed himself. Mommy and Daddy thinking Riley is SO FUNNY. He is OVER IT. One day, he actually threw a toy flip phone and hit Riley in the forehead. The next day he bopped Riley in the head with a rattle (a plush rattle, but still…Riley didn’t appreciate it, and neither did I). The thing is, Liam is in no world starved for attention. I spend the better portion of most days running laps with him around the house, playing hide and seek, wrestling, and whatever else I can do to fit in to his little boy world.  He demands gets plenty of individualized time with both of his parents. He just can’t stand for Riley to have any, so he cries for whichever parent is holding his baby brother at the time. I'm sure every other parent on this planet has gone through the same thing and is probably rolling their eyes at my drama, but it is LOADS OF FUN having two kids going through separation anxiety at the same time. At the end of the day I may need to sit in a padded, dark room by myself and rock back and forth.

Not to mention, Liam has grown into a full-fledged BOY. A boy who CLIMBS ON EVERYTHING. He likes to throw things just to watch them soar through the air. He’ll stack blocks just to knock them all down in a fit of fury. He will run laps through the house just because he can. There are some days where I want to just cower in the corner eating a pot of melted chocolate while he overtakes the house like it’s the Alamo.

But then, he’ll crawl up beside me on the couch, pat me on the back, and call me babe. Or, he’ll ask to give me a hug or attack me with kisses. He’ll lay his head on my shoulder and say, “Sweet mommy.” And when Riley was sick, Liam was the only person in this house who could make him laugh. He has his moments where he’ll hug Riley or point out horses or trains or whatever else he sees out the window while we’re riding in the car. He’s like our own personal Sour Patch kid. And his laugh! Oh, that laugh is like a Skittles rainshower. I wish I could fill up buckets of it!

Also, that kid talks way more than a two-year-old probably should. Which, I’m trying not to take as an indicator that his mom is way more talkative than…well, I’ll just see it as a good thing. His favorite phrase is, “Hello, ­­mommy/daddy/snow/bear/book, what are you doing here?” It’s REALLY CUTE.

Y’all, can I just say that it should NOT BE THIS COMPLICATED to sell some stationery on Etsy?! I have registered my business name and gotten a tax ID, a state license, a county license, and hopefully soon, my city license. But I have to sit in on the zoning board meeting next month and convince them I will not turn our street into a parking lot so I can work out of my home. (I realize that I probably didn’t need to do all, if any, of this, but you know—I’m a rule follower and all.) I would say I’m in way over my head, but like Sarah’s cute doctor neighbor on the show Parenthood said, “You’re not in over your head; you’re just out of your comfort zone, and there’s a big difference.” I hope she ends up with him, because that is the best doggone wisdom I’ve heard in a while. And I’ll admit, I’m WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE. This is why, despite encouragement from my friends, I haven’t done this before now. Because I’m not a business person. I love to sit at the computer and think up pretty designs, but applying for a tax ID and paying sales tax every month? Um, no thank you. So, after putting my big girl pants on and powering through the red tape, I’m relieved that the process is almost over, and I can just focusing on making pretty things.  

So, that’s about all we’ve been up to these past few weeks. It’s great to be back!

Monday, January 27, 2014

My new baby: Liam And Eva

I am so thrilled to announce that I have finally started my own custom event invitations and stationery business. It's called Liam And Eva, and you can check it out on Etsy! I am hoping to sell some of my stationery sets in local stores in Birmingham, and I also offer branding/custom graphic design services for businesses.

These are a few of the items you'll discover on my Etsy shop, and new items are added weekly:

This project has been a long time coming! Don't get me wrong, I love having the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom, but lately I've been itching to indulge my creative/crafty side, get back into the design world and simultaneously earn some extra income.

I've actually been wrestling with the idea of whether I should return to work or find some type of employment, not only for the financial help but also to keep my job skills sharp. Nothing really seemed to fit, though, so I just decided it wasn't the right time. I didn't want to go back to work just to have a job, and I also wasn't settled with the idea of enrolling Liam and Riley in daycare. It needed to be the right thing. And I wanted to start something that mattered.

The Lord has really given me a heart for orphans lately, specifically in Africa. I don't really know where it came from or how it happened, except that maybe being surrounded by friends who've answered the call to adopt internationally has opened my eyes and stirred my heart regarding the orphan crisis. And suddenly, the issue was EVERYWHERE. I kept making connections with individuals who were involved in orphan ministry overseas, particularly in Africa, and God has ordained several divine appointments. My husband and I have been praying for God's vision for our own family in this area, and whether or not we eventually decide to adopt, I decided that I just couldn't sit on my hands and do nothing.

So, I decided to partner with Lifeline Children's Services (Un)Adopted ministry. A portion of the proceeds I make from my Etsy shop will go to support two partnerships they have in Uganda: Save the Street Children Uganda, which shares the Gospel and meets needs of orphans, and a local school that teaches hearing impaired children life and job skills, so they can be actively involved in their community.

Here's where you can help support their cause:

1. Pray. Prayer moves mountains, I'm convinced. So please, when you think about it, pray for the fatherless in Uganda. Pray for these precious children to be put in homes, to be kept safe, and to have a bright future. Specifically, the school is starting an Internet café, which would provide half the funds needed to run the school each year, and they need computers. Please pray for God's provision to keep this amazing ministry running!

2. Give. You can learn more about, and donate to, either ministry by visiting

3. Shop. For every purchase you make on my Etsy shop, a portion of the profits go toward these two partnerships. And you get some pretty paper in the meantime!

4. Share. You can play a big part in furthering this cause by referring your friends to or

Thanks, friends, for your support!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

In with the new.

Happy New Year, folks! Hope y'all had a wonderful holiday season; ours was very quiet and relaxing, a perfect ending to a tumultuous 2013.

Tumultuous, yet bittersweet. 2013 was filled with overwhelming challenges and growing pains, but it was also the year we welcomed our Riley to the family, our ever-smiling, bubbly, tenacious ginger baby boy. It was the year we met some amazing new friends and learned some tough but invaluable life lessons.

2013 marked another milestone as well: my 30th birthday! The day after Christmas, I bid adieu to my 20s. My besties from high school (with some help from my man) threw me a surprise birthday party the weekend before Christmas, and my husband surprised me with a gift certificate for a massage the morning of my birthday. (And y'all, I'm not an easy person to surprise, so I give them mad props!)

My two BFFs gave me a Sephora gift card, and with it I purchased something first tube of bright red lip gloss. It's always been a color I shied away from, but I figured, new year = a new look. Well, actually, if I'm being honest, I bought it for its name: Hot Mama. I'm hoping it's prophetic. :)

This past week, a new dear friend of mine took me out to eat and gave me this little cutie:

It's actually a bath fizz, but doesn't it just look delicious? I had to remind myself not to eat it! She also gave me this new journal:

It's a perfect gift for two reasons: I'd just told my husband I wanted to start strengthening my writing skills. I wanted to start doing some creative writing exercises and writing songs again in this new year. And I love the phrase on the front: Say things to the world that are true.

There's something about turning 30...What a rollercoaster of emotions that surfaced with this birthday! A current of indignation has been flowing through me as I have vowed not to bring issues I dealt with in my 20s into this new decade. One thing I'm learning is not to be afraid to speak the truth in love, and to be true to myself. I've lost so much of myself in my terrible habit of trying to please others, and letting others control my life: my decisions, my thoughts, my feelings, my schedule, etc. I've loved others out of compulsion and guilt instead of freedom and sincerity. For some reason, turning 30 has been just the permission I needed to take control of my own life and grow up into a real live adult. :)
The freshness of a new year gleams with possibility. It's the clean eraser to the dusty chalkboard of the year that's passed. All the challenges, trials, pain and failures of 2013 have been swiped away, and what remains is an open slate, ready for fresh marks.

New Years Day is one of my favorite holidays, for this very reason. The opportunity to set new goals and look forward to the year with lively anticipation is so refreshing to me.

Philippians 3:13 says, "I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, though Christ Jesus, is calling us."

2013, you gave us "What the fox say?", which my son has listened to 863 times, and for that I thank you. But you were also one antagonistic bully, and to you, I say "good riddance."

So what am I pressing on toward in 2014? Well, my resolutions list is looking a little more grown up this year as well. Instead of the usual "lose 10 pounds" and "learn to play piano" that reoccur as resolutions every new year, this time I'm focusing more on living in freedom from now on.

The past couple of months has brought layers of tough but inspiring revelations to my life, mostly about God's love for me, and what it means to be in a relationship with Him. I've lived the first 30 years of my life as a slave to the law: everything was black or white, right or wrong. And if I slipped up or made a mistake, I was condemned. I was such a rule-follower, afraid to fail for fear of falling out of relationship with the Lord and losing love from Him or others. But I'm realizing that, though the Bible is full of laws, He never intended for life to be about the law itself. He intended for it to be about a loving, honest, real relationship with the One who created us for Himself. And that's what I intend to get back to: serving Him out of an overflow of love for Him.

So, with that as my inspiration, here are a few of my goals for this year:

1. To love and be good to my body.  My entire life, I've been overly critical and unforgiving of my physical appearance, nitpicking and bullying myself into tyrannical submission, slaving through workouts to punish myself for indulging my sweet tooth. Not anymore. I realize that my body is an incredible gift, so I'm vowing to be good to it. To nourish and protect it. To eat well, not to keep the number on the scale low, but to prevent disease and promote health and well-being. I'm also going to be changing the way I work out: more yoga and low impact workouts that relax and center me.  

2. Live simply. Less clutter, less drama, less stress, less hobbies and material things. Freeing my life from as many useless distractions as possible. To set boundaries that protect me from getting overextended and strung out, so I'll have time for things that feed my soul and allow me to be poured out to help those in need.

3. Balance grace and truth. I recently read a new book, Changes That Heal, that explains this balance worlds better than I could ever try, but basically, I've been leaning way more towards truth than grace. Grace is the acceptance of oneself or others enough to make it possible to accept the truth, which saves us. Truth without grace leads to condemnation, and grace without truth leads to destruction. I want to work on achieving a healthy balance of the two.

4. Cultivate the thing I'm most good at. I already mentioned this, but I want to write more. And write better. Instead of spreading myself too thin participating in hobbies I'm only so-so at, I want to invest more in my writing abilities.

5. Start something that matters. I have to be vague on this one, but I'll hopefully be able to elaborate more as the year progresses.

6. Most importantly, pursue the One who matters most. I want to rekindle the flame with my first Love. To understand why I was created, and take joy in being in the presence of my Savior. It is, after all, the reason I was put on this planet.

To dive headfirst into this last one, I'm participating in our church's 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Among other things, I'll be taking a break from all social media for the remainder of January, so that I can be single-minded and get 2014 started off on the right foot.

See you guys in February!