Part of Me Blog

Customizing Bible Tabs with Watercolor and Gold Leaf

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment
IMG_4589.jpg
IMG_4603.jpg

I really hesitate to use the word “bling” in any circumstance…but honestly that is the best word I can think of to describe what this project is all about. :)

I got in my new Illustrating Bible from Dayspring and you guys, I’m OBSESSED. I want to paint in it all. the. time. I reviewed in on my InstaStories but if you haven’t seen it yet- it’s amazing. Spiral binding, huge margins for note-taking, painting, coloring- thicker pages which means I don’t need to prep them before I watercolor. It’s really amazing.

You can pre-order the new Illustrating Bible here- it will ship out May 15!

One of the first things I knew I wanted to do was make some tabs for it. I loved using the tabs on my last journaling Bible and knew it would make my Bible so much more “me”. So, I was really excited when I saw that Dayspring also had these Bible tabs that would be perfect for customizing. I ordered them and a few other Illustrated Faith accessories.

I love working in watercolor and on a whim I decided to throw in some gold leaf just to make it extra special. I have to say I am really pleased with the outcome and love that there is a burst of color from every angle of my Bible now!

I videoed the whole process, and if you’d like to make some of your own, this will show you exactly how to do it!

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Illustrated Faith Bible Tabs

Illustrating Bible

Holbein Watercolors

Watercolor Tin

Round Brushes

Gold Foil

Mod Podge

I would love to see what you create! Connect with me on Instagram @lissaanglin.

The Illustrating Bible was given to me by Dayspring to review and this post is my honest opinion. This post contains affiliate links that help me continue to bring fun content to this space, so if you like what you see, I’d love for you to use my links!

one year home • lucy fei

Adoptionlissa-anglinComment
Us at P.F. Changs celebrating Lucy’s Gotcha Day! She’s been home 1 year.

Us at P.F. Changs celebrating Lucy’s Gotcha Day! She’s been home 1 year.

Exactly one year ago we were in China- eating the most delicious noodles we’ve ever had, smelling all the interesting smells of the streets, and loving and learning our new daughter.

I can’t believe it’s been a year- and all the same, I totally can. God has kept every promise He’s ever made to us in this adoption journey. I knew we’d be in this side of things eventually- but after that 5 year wait and unexpected bout of infertility, whew…it feels really, really good to just BE. With all 3 kids, here in our home.

IMG_4029-1.jpg

Truthfully, that’s about all we’ve been able to do- survive! Ha. When people ask us how Lucy’s transition has been, we usually respond, “excellent! Ours as parents however, eeeeshhhhhhh”. With 3 kids now, we are definitely outnumbered and feeling it.

Lucy, though. What a wonderful gift she is.

I do feel that now we have a much better grasp on her personality. For many months, I didn’t want to make any judgments about it due to the fact that she’d endured so much and that trauma can materialize in a variety of ways. But you guys, Lucy is just as sweet as we thought she was. :)

Physical Health:

Lucy’s physical health is great. I had a moment yesterday where I was reminded that we could have very easily been going through heart surgery with her. It’s a miracle we aren’t. We have had zero health issues.

We did have concerns about her teeth and underbite, and finally got all 3 kids in to see the dentist. I was expecting Lucy to have the most complications of all of our kids, but surprisingly the dentist wasn’t concerned about her at all (the two older kids, however…cavity city! eeek.). Lucy will likely wear some corrective gear for her underbite at night, and we will begin it as soon as she will tolerate it- likely 1-2 years from now.

It’s just begun getting warm enough in Texas to do some running through the sprinklers! This is something Lucy would not have been interested last year- but this year she jumped right in. So proud of our brave girl.

It’s just begun getting warm enough in Texas to do some running through the sprinklers! This is something Lucy would not have been interested last year- but this year she jumped right in. So proud of our brave girl.

Language:

Lucy’s language had continued to improve and impress us. Her vocabulary grows every day and she is speaking full sentences in English. We have some pretty good conversations with our sassy little girl. Her enunciation isn’t great, but she’s 3, and if we end up doing some speech therapy, that will be just fine. :)

DotDotSmile-3789.jpg

Language seems to be the thing we are asked about most- and let me tell you, it has been such a non-issue for us. Speech therapists have told us that 2-3 years old is the perfect age to learn a new language and she’s amazed all of us.

Sleep:

Lucy is a great sleeper. When she first came home, I insisted on rocking with her in order to aid attachment, which led to a lot of resistance from her. I finally had to give that expectation and desire up. She will still rock with me at naptime occasionally, but at night, she prefers to be put to bed exactly like Liv. (Read a book, lay down, pray, fall asleep on her own). Because most of her transition has been watching and copying Liv, doing what Liv is doing for bedtime routine gives her more security than rocking with me did. It makes me sad, but at least I know she CAN rock with me and fall asleep. Overall, though, she sleeps really well and this has been a blessing.

I feel like she looks about 14 here. 😭Lucy is holding a note and an ornament from her friend who was adopted the same day and was in the same orphanage. I love that they/we have that special connection!

I feel like she looks about 14 here. 😭Lucy is holding a note and an ornament from her friend who was adopted the same day and was in the same orphanage. I love that they/we have that special connection!

Likes/Dislikes:

She still loves to dance and listen to music. She’ll sing to herself and play pretend with her dolls or stuffed animals. She’s realized that tickling is fun and we love to see her huge smile and laugh (that has been there since day 1). I am excited that she is our “clean” kid. She isn’t afraid to get dirty but doesn’t get super messy and prefers to keep things tidy. She is also particular about random things which make us laugh. Bugs. Stuffed animals. Jewelry. She definitely has her preferences on how she likes things. She doesn’t forget easily and likes to hear about what is coming up, so we spend a good amount of time talking about plans.

Food:

Lucy is a great eater. She is a bit more skeptical of foods than our other two, but once she sees that another kid is eating it, she’ll join in. Since day 1 she has eaten everything we do, so she has a typical American kid diet. I will say that I am making Asian food more often these days because we’ve discovered it’s something all of our kids will devour without complaint!

Transition and Siblings:

Lucy’s transition is as complete as it can be right now. There are still new experiences all the time, but all kids are experiencing new things at age 3. It has been a lot of fun to watch Lucy face new challenges and places, animals and people. There have been times we have realized that her anxiety might be adoption-related and have been able to respond with what she needs, but other times it’s just her/her personality and preferences. Bugs, for instance. Girl is NOT a fan of bugs, haha…with the exception of ladybugs- those are ok. :)

Knox and Liv have been amazing. Liv has clearly enjoyed having another playmate and girl around. They do argue/get jealous but it is just the same as any other sibling relationship. They all need time apart and individual time with us parents. Knox and Lucy have a special relationship too and it’s clear that Lucy really loves and looks up to her big brother. They can be really sweet together.

Lucy is a BIG fan of Easter. This was her first and she cracked us all up by settling into this car and proceeding to try to eat allllll the candy.

Lucy is a BIG fan of Easter. This was her first and she cracked us all up by settling into this car and proceeding to try to eat allllll the candy.

IMG_3519.jpg

Sometimes I can’t believe we are a party of 5 but other times it’s like it’s always been that way. We went out a couple of weeks ago to celebrate 1 year home and it was really special. We went to P.F. Changs and as I was taking photos Shawn spontaneously fed Lucy a dumpling which I captured on camera. Then, I remembered I had the same photo of them in China, so this will have to be a new tradition for them!

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have prayed, given, and cared so much for our adoption journey. It’s been a tough road at times but what we are living right now is so sweet and we are overwhelmed with gratefulness. Lucy is truly such a gift to us (as are all of our children), and I hope you can see the beauty of what God has done in our family’s life.

If you are just tuning in, you can check out all my other adoption-related posts here:

technicolor mini-sessions!

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglinComment
TechnicolorMinis.jpg

Summer is just around the corner and after a long school year, I feel like this is the perfect way to celebrate!

I typically only offer mini sessions during the fall, but this fun concept demanded it and I can’t wait to get technicolor with you.

A few FAQ’s:

  • I will provide colored powder and silly string- all you need to do is show up!

  • The colored powder is non-toxic and will wash out of clothing. That being said, you might not want to wear the fanciest thing in your closet.

  • These are quick, fun sessions that major on candid fun and lifestyle photos. If you’d like more formal photos- sign up for my mini-sessions in the fall!

  • We will be shooting outdoors in a park-type setting, weather permitting. If weather doesn’t allow us to shoot, we will reschedule for another date.

  • There are lots of different ways you could style your family- in all black or white, or all COLOR! Neons could be fun as well.

  • This session can be for couples or kids only, but is ideal when the whole family gets in on the fun.

  • Photos will be delivered via digital download from a private online gallery about 2 weeks after your session.

Because of the nature of these sessions, spots are limited and are first-come, first-served.

Available Sessions are all Saturday, May 18:

5:50

6:10

6:30

6:50

7:10

To request a spot, please fill out the form below and I will respond ASAP. You will be sent an email invoice for the session and your spot will be officially booked once the invoice is paid.

Name *
Name
Please select and I will do my best to give you the time you prefer.

a technicolor dream family session

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglinComment

I have been professional photographer for over 13 years now, and in that time, I feel like I’ve done literally everything there is to do. Until a couple of weeks ago- when I felt the need to put together this rainbow of a session.

I have had the honor of photographing this sweet family for all of those 13 years, and have literally watched their babies grow! So, when I had this idea for a crazy fun session, I knew who to call. Jessica has done my hair for over a decade as well- and I am so glad she’s there to tame my mane and make me look cooler than I really am. :) If you are needing a great stylist in Lubbock, I highly recommend her salon!

I wanted to capture spontaneous fun and real smiles. Candid photos with no stiff smiling- and of course, lots of COLOR! I think we achieved all that and more. These are definitely some fun family portraits, and ones unlike we have ever shot before.

jumpsuit love!

STYLElissa-anglinComment

Guys, I’ve been obsessed with jumpsuits lately- and so I spent a few hours trying on every one I could get my hands on, and then ogling a few on the internet afterward. :) They are definitely my favorite trend this season.

I LOVE this jumpsuit and wore it to photograph a wedding recently. I was surprised by the great quality of the material and the fit for the price (just $23!). You can shop it by following me in the LIKEtoKNOWit app or just click here:  https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/6SRDjnKMgsQ70VGY1xjduO

I LOVE this jumpsuit and wore it to photograph a wedding recently. I was surprised by the great quality of the material and the fit for the price (just $23!). You can shop it by following me in the LIKEtoKNOWit app or just click here: https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/6SRDjnKMgsQ70VGY1xjduO

I love the fact that they can be casual or dressy- which really depends on the material it is made of. I’ve seen lots of jumpsuits being worn to weddings- and I would advise to save the cotton/cotton blends for errands or a weekday. If you’re wanting to wear a jumpsuit for a more formal occasion, definitely choose something more flowy in a poly or satin blend, or one with a more structured fit.

And- shoes MATTER! Dress up your jumpsuit with heels- or if it’s casual- sandals/wedges, espadrilles, flats.

I’m sharing the ones I tried on (and really liked) and a few I’m just waiting to go on sale so I can snatch them up! I am always looking for fits that will flatter a mommy tummy and be able to be worn comfortably for a long day! I’m typically a size medium, with a bigger bottom and smaller top, so if you’re shaped like me, this is the list for you.

Head to the end of this post for a HUGE list of my faves!


Another WINNER of a jumpsuit- super flattering on that mommy tummy! Shop this look here:  https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/2sw4q5oqzf2OoMYLuIxN6i

Another WINNER of a jumpsuit- super flattering on that mommy tummy! Shop this look here: https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/2sw4q5oqzf2OoMYLuIxN6i


And now for the comfiest thing you will ever put on- I will likely be wearing this as a swim cover up too. Shop this look here:  https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/3T61BI5qZLyYR97NerzPaO

And now for the comfiest thing you will ever put on- I will likely be wearing this as a swim cover up too. Shop this look here: https://www.liketoknow.it/ltk/3T61BI5qZLyYR97NerzPaO

This image is CLICKABLE and will take you to that specific jumpsuit when you click on it!

Hope you enjoy this collection!

Easy Easter Baskets

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment
EasterBaskets-4413.jpg

I’m definitely an Amazon Prime type of mom, and that includes Easter basket goodies. I love filling the kids’ baskets with a few fun (and functional items), a little candy, and lots of things we ‘ll be able to use over and over. So, I’m sharing my Easter Baskets Amazon List today- just in case you’re in need of some new ideas- just click Add To Cart and you’re DONE!

Click on any item below and it will take you straight to Amazon- easy peasy!

I love giving my kids the fun stuff, but I’m also practical and take every opportunity I have to throw in some practical items. This includes a few different categories of items:

Outdoor items: sidewalk chalk, and bubbles (this Fubbles bubble holder is a NO-SPILL container- I don’t know about you, but we have spilled many brand-new bottles of bubbles).

Artsy-crafty things that double for use in the car: I love the Melissa and Doug products like Scissor Skills, Scratch Art, and Bingo Markers are all entertaining and portable. We also LOVE Monkey String (also called Wikki Stix) and I keep a package of it in my purse, my car, and the girls’ backpacks (really) because it is a great non-messy activity to have at restaurants and other places kids may be waiting. Model Magic is not for the car, but an easy-to-clean alternative to play dough that dries and can be displayed.

Bath items: I’m dying to try out these water flutes and bath bombs with fun surprises inside are always a hit!

Books that are also great in the car: I spy books for different ages, and a book on coding for our son who is the best kind of nerd. :)

A little Candy: White Rabbit candy can be found in China and so I thought it would be a special edition this year. We always need chocolate carrots and I KNOW the kids will think the Bunny Farts are hilarious.

Games: This colorful Jenga set is too cute, and Knox has recently had an obsession with Uno. I know he will love this emoji edition! Also- how genius is this $5 card holder for kids?!

Practical: We love these silicone shoelaces. They make any shoe a slip-on and are so convenient! The Contigo brand cups are also a favorite and the ONLY kind that we have found that do not leak. I like to buy a few every now and then to keep our collection fresh.

I hope you’ve found at least a couple of things you can add for some fun! After making this graphic, I thought of even more fun things and added them to my list on Amazon, which you can check out here:

ALSO- if you are an Amazon Prime user (or shop online at all) you need to install the Honey Plugin!

It automatically checks for coupons and the same product at lower prices and gives you the option to swap them in your shopping cart. It saves me almost every time I check out! You also earn points which you can redeem for gift cards. I just redeemed some for a Target gift card, so I can vouch that it actually works!

 
 

knox's constellation bedroom!

HOME, HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglin1 Comment

I’ve been promising Knox (our 8 year old son) that I would redo his room for over a year now and have finally, finally finished it. He has been so patient! This room was previously painted a mint green with a mashup of furniture and an overflow of toys. So, we took the opportunity to do an all-out cleanup and make some bolder design choices that would take him from little boy room and still be appropriate for a teenager.

Knox loves Star Wars and science, as well as maps and travel, so I thought this constellation design I created for a Minted wall mural challenge would work really well for his room. Knowing that it was mostly black/dark, I painted the other 3 walls of his room white. I was really impressed with the quality of the new mid-century style bed we bought from Walmart. I love the upholstered headboard and the tapered legs.

2019-03-17_0001.jpg

LINKS:

RUG // NEON LETTERS // BEDDING // BED // CURTAINS // DESK (Similar, this one is vintage)

I’ve had a red mid-century desk for many years I couldn’t bear to part with, and it worked really well in this room. The wire Knoll Bertoia Chair was a $5 garage sale find (which is crazy- these retail for $832 new- no kidding!). Knox got the projector clock for Christmas. Above his desk are his life verse framed, a letterboard with a gold frame, and a map.

2019-03-17_0005.jpg

LINKS:

FLOOR LAMP (Similar, this one is vintage) // MAP // WIRE CHAIR // CLOCK // LETTERBOARD

A fun new edition is this pushpin map I got custom made from Paperrama. I thought it would be neat for Knox to get to pin the places he’s been in the world, and dream of where he’d like to go! This is a canvas print, but it has a hard backing that allows you to put in the pushpins. They were super quick about the customization and changed the colors to match his room, as well as added 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

2019-03-17_0002.jpg

LINKS:

PUSHPIN MAP // PROJECTOR CLOCK

I like to keep an eclectic feel to our house and don’t like all the furniture to match, so I pulled in a wood side table with hairpin legs I already had and a wire Bertoia diamond chair (another crazy Craigslist find!).

2019-03-17_0003.jpg

LINKS:

WIRE DIAMOND CHAIR (similar, this one is vintage) // SIDE TABLE // GOLD LAMP (Similar)

Once we got the bed in place, I knew I still wanted to put some focal point above his bed. I found these “neon” letters on Amazon (link below) and Knox thought they were super cool. They are really LED lights and are lightweight so they are easily hung. They do have wires that extend from them for the battery or USB plugin, but I found a USB connector that allowed me to connect all 5 letters to a hub so we can plug them into an outlet and not use up a ton of batteries.

We chose the word BRAVE because this is Knox’s focus word. This post explains what a prayer word is and why it is so special to us and him!

2019-03-17_0004.jpg

LINKS:

NEON LETTERS // USB HUB (GET THIS if you are getting the neon letters!)

The ceiling fan was a much-needed and simple update, and I still think I might take the whole thing down at some point and paint it all black, but it was nice to get rid of the frilly lamp cages, and replace them with these industrial ones I found. A quick $20 fix!

2019-03-22_0001.jpg

LINKS:

INDUSTRIAL LAMP CAGES

Knox’s old bed had storage in the bottom, so I knew when we got rid of it, we would need another storage solution. My mom (who is a pro estate-saler) found this mid-century dresser for him quite a while ago, and so I dreamed up some shelving to go around it. Thankfully, Shawn was up for the job!

It was a fairly easy D.I.Y.- we followed the outline of this tutorial. I did have to search all over town to find bracketing that was already painted black, and I’m so glad I did! After checking Lowes and Home Depot, it was True Value that had it. It was 1/2 the price of the white and grey versions I had seen AND I didn’t have to spray paint it. We bought the wood at Lowe’s and stained it, and then just put it together. I think the whole shelf project was around $200.

Another big project was getting all of Knox’s toys organized and contained into the storage boxes you see on the shelves. I basically sat everything out on his bed and said, “everything needs to fit in these 4 boxes, and if it doesn’t, it’s being donated”- which actually worked! We did use an old cube bookshelf you can see on the floor next to the dresser for some stuffed animals/robots, but everything else is contained on the shelving!

2019-03-17_0007.jpg

LINKS:

BLACK BRACKETS // BLACK SHELF TRACK // GREY STORAGE BOXES- LARGE // CUBE BOOKSHELF // DRESSER (Similar, this one is vintage) // BLACK AND WHITE GLOBE // INDUSTRIAL FAN (Similar, this one is vintage)

One solution I was particularly proud of was the use of these magazine files for softcover books. Since the books couldn’t stand up on their own, and I didn’t want to stack them on top of each other, this was a great solution. I found these cute gold ones and thought they were perfect!

2019-03-17_0010.jpg

LINKS:

GOLD MAGAZINE FILES // POTTED FAUX PLANTER (I found this one at HomeGoods)

2019-03-17_0006.jpg

LINKS:

AGATE BOOKENDS // DIFFUSER // GLOBE (Similar, this one is vintage) // DARTH VADER HELMET // STORAGE BOXES

I love the way his room looks as it gets darker outside. The letters glow and the constellations seem to as well. I typically like light-and-bright but this dark-ish room makes me just as happy, and I really feel like Knox will be able to use this room for many years.

2019-03-17_0009.jpg

Let’s talk about the wall mural!

I created the wall mural using engineering prints, which you can get at local print shops like FedEx Office, Staples or Office Depot. This is the 3rd or 4th time I have used this technique, and so I decided to film the process and make it a Skillshare class! So, if you have a Skillshare account, you can go watch and learn- or use this link to get 2 months for free- which is more than enough time to watch the whole class.

You can easily check out all of the products I’ve linked here:

PIN IT!

blackwhiteboysroominsop.png

glorieta family camp 2018 recap

TRAVELlissa-anglinComment

March seems like a funny time to be sharing about a vacation we took last July, but I also know that it’s that time of year to start planning vacation for next summer! So, I’m sharing our third-year experience at Glorieta Family Camp today!

We weren’t sure if we’d be able to make it to camp this year with our adoption being completed- but once we realized we’d be home from China at the end of April, we were able to decide whether or not we’d be able to go. I was worried about family camp disrupting Lucy’s transition to her new home, but in retrospect I think it only helped. More on this in a minute.

If you haven’t read my first blog post on Why We Love Family Camp, go read! <- This post will give you the main HUGE reasons we love camp. We have attended family camp in Glorieta, New Mexico for 3 years now. It’s a specialized camp for families that really caters to all ages, including the parents.

This year at camp, our family jumped right in, literally and figuratively. There were some fun new elements, and some of the things we’ve enjoyed every year.

2019-02-23_0001.jpg


One of the first activities we did was the arbor climb- and I was so proud of Knox, who volunteered to go first and killed it climbing up the tree! The girls were more interested in the little ziplines they had made nearby, so everyone was entertained and it was a fun time. At every activity, there are camp counselors who are trained in the safety practices necessary, and so we really got to relax and just enjoy the beautiful setting and our kids.

2019-02-23_0002.jpg
2019-02-23_0003.jpg

One of the things I mentioned earlier was Lucy’s transition and our fear that family camp would interrupt her newly-forming attachment to us. In all reality, I think it only helped. Because we attended camp with several families from our church, it was like a week-long “get to know you” session for Lucy.

Many of the older kids were (and still are!) so great with our kiddos, and being at camp really gave them lots of playtime. I vastly underestimated how important it is for our children to know other kids older and younger- it has been so amazing to see them connect throughout the week when we see them at church and beyond.

Because of these familiar faces, I was much more confident taking Lucy to church (and leaving her in childcare) those first few weeks. We are so, so thankful to the kids and families that helped us establish a safe place of community from the get-go.

2019-02-23_0004.jpg

Mealtimes at family camp are always fun (and the food is actually good!). One afternoon, we had a make-your-own-family pizza time where we all got to select the “ingredients” we wanted on our pizza. Of course, we were encouraged to talk about the things our pepperonis and such stood for- like being people with great integrity, gratefulness, and generosity. It was a great activity that kept the kids engaged and the pizza was good, too!

A few years ago, Shawn and I established a no-nag rule at mealtime on vacation, and it is the best thing ever! At home, we are constantly begging for our kids to take “one more bite”, and it is such a relief to have a week where we worry zero about how much food they are eating. The amount of exercise and fresh air they are getting almost guarantees they will be hungry, and food is available almost all the time at camp- plus I keep a good stash of granola bars in our room just to satisfy hungry tummies.

There are several meals that we get to do kid-free, too- which is always nice! This year, we had a speed-dating style meet and greet with the other parents before dinner which included some delicious appetizers (bruschetta! hummus! tiny skewers!). And date night is always fun. Here is our group of friends from last year- so thankful for these people!

2019-02-23_0018.jpg

On date night, we were given a couple of hours to rest or get ready (our kids were off having a party of their own), and then we were driven to a really neat old farmhouse where we were served a delicious steak dinner. It was a great time and we were encouraged to take a walk or wander around after dinner. Such a highlight.

2019-02-23_0005.jpg

Let’s talk about fun stuff! This is one of Shawn’s favorite activities- drift trikes. This year, even Liv got in on the action. :) We love the different activities that are offered and have found them to be great for almost any age. If the girls were too small to participate, we could bring them along to watch and play on the sidelines, take them to the great childcare, or split up and do something different. There are so many different options, and they add more every year- hiking, archery tag, mini golf, mountain scooters, lake activities, yard games, bikes and trikes to ride, or hammocks to chill in. Let’s be honest- there were several days I opted to “take the girls for a nap” in our room and enjoyed a quick nap myself. :)

2019-02-23_0017.jpg

Shawn and Knox went on the optional white water rafting trip this year (the photo above is NOT that, haha). They take a group to a local river and they get to white water raft all afternoon. I think they had fun, but Shawn’s arms were quite sore the next day- needless to say, I don’t think our 7 year old was a lot of help on the rapids. :)

There is a lake at the Glorieta campus (pictured above) with a ton of activities like stand up paddle board, kayak and canoes, and big inflatables. Since our kids are smaller, they mostly loved looking for crawdads.

2019-02-23_0010.jpg
2019-02-23_0011.jpg

An impromptu tea party with our friend Analeigh. Again, we love the flexibility of the schedule at family camp. There is no one expecting you to be anywhere, and that relives such stress and allows for fun little moments like this.

Let’s talk about theme nights!

2019-02-23_0006.jpg

Every year, there are a couple of theme nights which you are given in advance so you can bring outfits/costumes. The first this year was “Yacht Party”. So we got a little bit nautical-fancy (for camp, anyway!), and headed to dinner. After we ate yet another delicious meal, they gave us our task for the evening- create a boat out of cardboard. Oh, and one member of our family had to try to float in it.

2019-02-23_0007.jpg

So we got to working and taping, and Knox was volunteered as the captain of our ship. :) After we all made our “boats” we headed down to the lake to see if any would float! Haha, ours didn’t last long but it was fun.

2019-02-23_0009.jpg

The other theme night was “Lost Boys”. I was determined to make costumes from things we already had at home and really loved what we ended up looking like! On this night, we were driven to a whole new part of campus to find a giant wooden ship, inflatables, slingshots, face painting, cotton candy, grilled corn and turkey legs, and of course, there was a dance party. It was a really fun time.

2019-02-23_0012.jpg
2019-02-23_0013.jpg

Liv was living her best life at the face-painting station. She still talks about it to this day!

2019-02-23_0014.jpg

Another thing our kids have talked about consistently since was the foam party! This was a surprise to us, but so much fun! One afternoon, they busted out these giant foam makers- it was quite literally good clean fun!

2019-02-23_0015.jpg
2019-02-23_0016.jpg

Camp this year was a blast and we are so thankful we got to do it again. There are so many HUGE perks I didn’t mention here, so if you are interested in going, please read my previous post.

The time we had together as a family to make memories, worship together and just rest was wonderful. Shawn and I had many great conversations and vision-casting for the Anglin crew, and time to enjoy our friends who support us so much without the distractions of everyday life was invaluable.

I will never forget taking this photo below- this is one of my oldest friends and her daughter, whom they adopted in the past year. We had similar adoption timelines and so seeing these two beauties there with us was evidence of the miracles God has done!

2019-02-23_0021.jpg
2019-02-23_0019.jpg

Shawn and I also made it on this promo video for Glorieta if you would like to see my very pared-down family camp look, haha! No, honestly- it is wonderful to barely wear makeup for an entire week. :)

six months home (two months late) • lucy fei

Adoptionlissa-anglinComment
2019-01-08_0003.jpg

So I thought I had blogged an update at Lucy’s 3 month mark home, but it was 1 month home! You can find that post here. The fact that I didn’t remember correctly and the fact that I wasn’t able to get that 3-month update out are good indicators as to where I’ve been mentally and physically. :)

When friends ask how Lucy is doing since has been home, our answer is generally that Lucy is exceeding all our expectations. We as parents, however, have been our biggest disappointment. We laugh about this, but it is true, and something we are getting to be ok with. The transition from 2 to 3 kids has been a doozie for us. Namely, being outnumbered and also the 2 and 3 year old girls keep us on our toes. I joke that they have a “sit down” alarm- just as we sit down, they have a new need. But I digress, this blog is about our sweet Lucy- not our struggles as parents (or is it?!?)

At the end of this month, we will have reached the 6 month mark. I anticipated this milestone because in many of the books and resources I read pre-adoption, it was advised to not make any hard-and-fast judgments about your newly-adopted child for at least 6 months. This makes sense for medical conditions, physical development and abilities- some things take a while to really show themselves, and to find what treatment is best- but as far as emotional capacity and personality- I have thrown that idea out the window. It’s going to be much longer than 6 months.

I am certain the honeymoon stage is over- this summer was a wild ride and we were all just there for the party, haha! We traveled a LOT (family camp, New Mexico, a cruise to Mexico), and I’m really glad we did. Many families choose to cocoon (stay home in a stable and familiar environment) once a child is brought home, and we have definitely soaked up our time at home. But the travel and change of scenery IS our family- and seeing Lucy soak it all in and live it to the full was just another reminder that God knew she would find a home with us. So as we’ve been home more often and settled into a new routine, it’s been interesting to see how we’ve all adjusted. In many ways it has been great to get to establish “home” and routine. It’s also brought out a lot of what hangs out underneath the surface- trauma. More on this in a bit.

2019-01-08_0001.jpg

Physical body:

Lucy is definitely growing- she already looks quite different to me than she did when we first met her. She has only gained two pounds since being home, but has remained very healthy with the exception of some allergies/runny nose. We started gymnastics last month and she is doing amazing. We are all impressed with her balance and ability to execute what she is asked to do. It is a mommy-and-me (although daddy may have done it more than I have!) class, so I think it has been great bonding time as well.

Surprisingly, Lucy is now potty-trained! This is not something we expected, but we are thrilled about! I am pretty sure this is partially thanks to her foster mother in China who had already been working with her, and her PDO teacher who is amazing. Lucy was just ready about a month ago, and it helps that Liv is just a year older and she has been able to watch her.

2019-01-08_0002.jpg

Emotional:

You guys, our Lucy is sweet. Since we first met her, we could see that she is a compassionate soul. She deeply cares for others and is quick to comfort another and apologize. She gets her feelings hurt easily (remember, 2 year old here!), but is quickly comforted and back to playing. She is quick to smile and her laugh is the BEST. I am so thankful for that smile. It has reassured me many times when I have felt like I’m not connecting with her.

Speaking of- let’s talk about attachment really quick. Attachment is a a term used to describe a child’s level of bonding or close relationship with a parent. With kids adopted from China, it is not uncommon that they first attach to the father, which is what happened with Lucy. She was immediately more comfortable with (and comforted by) Shawn. She would run to me when she was upset, but there have been many moments where she preferred him. This was tough because at first Shawn felt like I was being overly-sensitive about it (something I have definitely been guilty of), but he has come to see what I am talking about, which has made us on the same team. It is so much easier to parent when you are on the same team as your spouse!

As far as she is concerned, we just want her to feel comfort! So any attachment in our eyes is wonderful. As far as I, as her mother, am concerned, this is HARD. Mentally, I understood that it wasn’t about me, but emotionally, I was dealing with all the negative marks on my ability as a mother. And to add to that, it was like her baggage had finally arrived at our home, and mine was stacked up right behind hers. This bonding process has forced me to look into some of my own trauma (yes, apparently I have some!), wrong thinking, and heart-issues- it has been awful to confront at times BUT I am so thankful to have come out the other side with more FREEDOM than ever to really trust God, as a person and a parent. I will write more on this later, because I think it is something all parents (and people) deal with- not just ones with adopted kiddos.

So- attachment is happening- which we are super thankful for. Some days we can really see it, some days we wonder where she went. And this is due to one thing: trauma.

Many people who have reached out to us regarding adoption (which we LOVE to talk with anyone about- we are not experts but we love adoption)- have a similar question: what is her trauma like? Sometimes it is asked in a way that assumes there will be less trauma based on her young age at the time of her adoption. I am pretty sure this is at the core of what most people mean when they say, “so how is she adjusting?”.

The truth is any adopted child will have experienced trauma. In the womb, shortly after being born, in experiencing the loss of biological parents, dealing with complex medical issues or basic needs that aren’t being met- all of these things result in trauma. It’s just part of the reality- adoption begins in brokenness.

Trauma for our house right now looks like a general distrust in caregivers (us as parents). Lucy frequently asks for food, needs to be told where she is going and that she will come home WITH US, some grappling for control over toys or shoes, and the hardest one for me to see- complete emotional withdrawal. Lucy is an internalizer, so when she chooses to cry, we are thankful and sad at the same time.

What I have learned is that so much of it is out of my control. The trauma she has experienced is not my fault, and it’s not her fault. It doesn’t even help to place blame, really- it’s just there and must be recognized for what it is. I am comforted by the fact that time will help, and she is going to forever be in our family. I am also comforted by the fact that we serve the Ultimate Healer. God sees all our broken parts (ones we don’t even know we have), and He delights in drawing close to those hard places. We will get through this with Jesus. It helps so much to give trauma a name. It rends it powerless because we know the One who IS power. This is something Lucy will deal with all her life, because it is part of her story (and all of ours now), and my hope is that we are able to give her a great foundation in recognizing trauma, giving it a name, and proclaiming victory in Jesus over it.

I’m so proud of our girl in this arena. Though we have some really tough days, watching her trust has taught me so much. She has little reason to trust us- we’ve only been in her life 6 months- and yet she does. What a miracle!

2019-01-08_0004.jpg

Food:

Haha- I mentioned this before, but Lucy LOVES food. Some of that is rooted in her past life- the need to know food is always available and she can have as much as she wants has been important. We turned around after dinner last night and she had pulled a huge container of raisins out of the pantry and was finishing it off at the dinner table! It feels good to see her eat and be full. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to bribe her like any other 2 year old, though.

She feeds herself 90% of the time and loves noodles, rice, bread- all the carbs! Spaghetti is always a hit. Our family is at Chick-Fil-A at least once a week as well and it is a fave. She is generally willing to try everything we sit in front of her. Again, so thankful for this. I know many adoptive kids have food-related issues.

2019-01-08_0005.jpg

Likes/Dislikes:

Lucy loves music. I have been taking the girls to a music class put on by our parks and rec department and she looooooves it. If there is music playing, she is singing or dancing or both. I am positive she will learn most of her English through song. She is also quite good at imaginative play- I think because she watches her sister so much. They play with their Barbies, baby dolls, kitchen, etc. and there is always a scenario happening we are invited into. She loves to be chased and tickling

Lucy is quite friendly and plays well with other kids, although she likes to keep her distance and get a feel for the environment. She started going to Parents’ Day Out two days a week at the beginning of September and has done really well.

She does not like to be dirty- which is the opposite of her sister! I have been on alert for sensory issues that are common with adopted kiddos, but this does not seem to be that. She just really doesn’t like dirt- or anything on her skin, for that matter. She kindly requests a towel at least 3 times a day. :)

2019-01-08_0006.jpg

Language:

Lucy is doing amazingly well. She understands most everything we say to her and is repeating everything…all the time! If you are a parent, you know I say this with a little weariness, haha. But- we are so impressed with her and clearly have a very smart girl. Her love of music has been very helpful in teaching her new words, and she can even put together a few short sentences. We have not changed the way we speak to her at all, and she has not seemed to have any trouble with it.

2019-01-08_0007.jpg

Sleep:

This, for me, has been the hardest. Lucy actually sleeps great. It’s the getting there that has been tough. I have felt the need to rock her to sleep so that we could bond- I rocked both Liv and Knox- and Lucy prefers to just be laid down so she can put herself to sleep (the traditional way in China, and the way she’s always known). This has been a struggle as my desire to rock her has met her rejection and it’s hard at the end of the day to not take that too personally. I also hate knowing she may be just laying there in bed, wide awake, scared and trying to soothe herself to sleep. I want to soothe her. She will let me rock her to sleep at naptime, but in the evenings it is very difficult and I realize she probably has some trauma related to falling asleep (like, for instance, falling asleep at a government office and suddenly being with new people who don’t speak your language- which is exactly what happened the day we received her). So, we have some work to do here. But all in all, she is a great sleeper when she is asleep!

2019-01-08_0008.jpg

Super thankful to Lauren Clark Photography for all of these images we will treasure. She shot this lifestyle session for us and I was amazed at the images she was able to get with all the crazy we handed her.

announcing Lissa Anglin presets!

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglinComment

Have you ever have a goal that keeps getting put on the backburner again and again…and then finally one day you just sit up and DO THE THING? This is that thing for me.

For years- literally- I have wanted to develop (haha, pun intended!) some presets for Lightroom:

Tried-and-true presets for photographers like myself,

AND

Fun, trendy presets for moms, bloggers, and photographers like myself. :)

Ya’ll, I couldn’t be more excited to share with you

my new line of presets!

The first collection I’m calling the Essentials Collection.

This preset pack contains two tried-and-true presets- my signature COLOR and BLACK AND WHITE. I use these presets to edit my own work and have tweaked and tweaked them over the years to get them juuuuuust the way I like them.

TheEssentials.jpg

My COLOR preset adds just enough POP and saturation to make your image stand out without being overly edited. My BLACK AND WHITE preset keeps it LIGHT and BRIGHT with plenty of CONTRAST.

Check out some before-and-afters:

 

The second preset pack I’ve made is called The Autumn Collection.

These presets were inspired by all things autumn and give your images that warm, cozy feeling! There are 7 presets included in this preset pack:

Cinnamon Sugar, Crisp Air, Maple Leaf, Apple Cider, Cozy Sweater, Harvest Ale and Pumpkin Spice.

These presets are great for bloggers or anyone who wants to give all of their images a similar vibe.

AutumnCollection.jpg

Here are some before-and-afters:

 

SOME F.A.Qs ABOUT PRESETS:

• These presets can be used on a computer running Lightroom OR Lightroom mobile (the app for your phone). The computer app costs $10 a month, BUT the mobile app is FREE!

• If you are wondering how everyone gets their Instagram feed to look so great, THIS IS HOW. THEY ARE USING PRESETS ;). Really, though- presets are easy to use, and make your editing time much faster.

• I have a handy-how to that you will receive if you’ve never used Lightroom before! It’s not that scary! We also have a great Facebook group called Moms Who Snap where you can ask questions/learn.

I have SO ENJOYED seeing the #lissaanglinpresets photos floating around the internet and can’t wait to see more! If you have any questions about the presets, feel free to contact me.