How I Do What I Do…

I get asked that a lot, as I’m sure most mommies who work do as well. I was asked that several times this weekend during the Evy’s Tree Photo shoot and it got me thinking….how DO I do what I do? I mean, how do I manage to take care of a family, run a business, be a youth pastors wife, and still be sane? It really made my mind turn…with the obvious answer is that I am NOT sane. ha. 
Anyway, I came up with this:
This is my husband, Brandon, for those of you who don’t know. And he is how I do what I do. 
You see, as I was thinking about how I am able to manage things, I realized, I don’t manage things. You can’t do a million things and do them all well. There is only the ability to do one or two things BEST and the rest marginal. That’s why its really important to have a team that supports you, works with you, pats you on the back when you do good and gives you a hug when you fail. And Brandon is my team. 
Well, ok, along with these cuties
They support me even when I shouldn’t be supported, love me when I don’t deserve it and walk alongside me when they don’t feel like it. 
Running a business is no easy feat, but it’s not impossible. I get so many people tell me that it’s amazing what I do…but it would be just as amazing if you did it, because anyone can run a business. You just have to put your heart and soul into it. Things fall to the wayside and you have to be ok with that. For example, my laundry is never done, closet never clean, meals prepared very quickly, friends often forgotten {my least favorite part of running a business}. You have to come to terms with all of this and accept it. The positives of having your own business can really outweigh the negative, if it can offer something that is important to you, like working from home, setting my own hours, being available for my kids. Those are things that matter to me. So I choose to live with the negative and enjoy the positive, regardless of how crazy the negative might make me at times.
But you see, Brandon is ok with that. He is ok with doing the laundry, eating less than mediocre meals, having few friends. He is ok with the fact that when he speaks out, he often goes alone, that I am not as involved with the young people as I would like, that my mind is so scattered that half the time I start telling him something and then never finish {I’m beginning to think I have ADD…I’m serious}.
And he supports me. Like on Friday, when we had the Evy’s Tree photo shoot, he got up super early on Friday and drove to Santa Rosa, moved props around, followed Sam and I around to help, helped entertain, cleaned up afterwards and then drove back home Friday night at midnight. 
I will say it again, Brandon is how I do what I do.
So please, if you look at me and think that I am doing some miraculous feat, please be advised. I am not. I am doing what it takes to survive. You would too- in fact I’m sure you do that now. If you see any miracle in the situation, look at my husband. Because he is the one who deserves the medal. My kids deserve the prize. These people who put up with the craziness and madness in my life, well…they are the heros. They are the ones who make Evy’s Tree successful. Because if there was no them…there would never be an Evy’s Tree.
So a little shout out to all of them. I love you Babe, Jacob and Evelyn. You three are my life. You make me smile. You keep me going. Thank you for being you. 
Saturday morning, the day after the Evy’s Tree Spring Shoot, we took Jake to his fave Lowe’s Kids Clinic. He got to build a basketball hoop. 

And planting some flowers in the front of the house very late one night. Yeah, we do crazy stuff like this. :) And yes, I am wearing my Diana Wrap over my PJs. Live in that thing! 

And I couldn’t close without saying this: With God all things are possible. So I sincerely feel that if I do anything right {which is rare, ha}, it is because of HIM. He gives me the strength to face each day. And He blessed me with this amazing team. So thank you, Lord, for bringing these people into my life, and thank you for walking by my side. I would never want it any other way. You are my strength. 
I’m sure you all feel the same!
xoxo

Rojo Photos

Well, as you can see, I am catching up on some blogging. :)
I have been meaning to blog about this for the last week, but man, this has been one insane week!
Anyway, I have two very good friends, their names are Robert and Cheyenne. Cheyenne went to school with Brandon and Robert spent a lot of time at our local church here, teaching in the Bible College and just being the great guy that he is. :) They married and currently live in Chicago area, with two beautiful kiddos. Cheyenne and Robert are both very creative individuals…Cheyenne home schools her kids and does awesome things like make Fairy gardens, grows her own vegetables and creates these fabulous arts and crafts. Seriously, she is amazing. On top of that, she is such a strong person…over the last 15 years that I have known her, I have watched her walk gracefully through the sudden death of her 16 year old brother and more recently, her Cowboy father who had a special place in all our hearts. Cheyenne manages to do this with a smile and I love and respect her strength so very much.
And did I mention she is GORGEOUS?!? You can read her blog HERE.
And Robert… well, he is also amazing talented. He works for a non profit organization shoot pictures for a Ministry Publication {hope I got that right, Robert?} He also does weddings…and now he does fashion! :) ha. Robert seriously is the nicest guy on the planet. We were together for a wedding in Wisconsin which he was shooting and Brandon was officiating and after the wedding, after he spent hours and hours shooting, he came into our hotel room and gave Brandon and I a little tutorial on our camera, perspective, aperture, etc. I still have those notes Robert! :) Anyway, he really has the heart of gold and I think its so beautiful how much he loves his wife and kids. Really makes you want to give him a big hug and a pat on the back for being such an all around great guy! You can read his blog and follow his photos HERE. He also has a facebook page for his business where he occasionally gives away free wedding packages..yes, I did say that! :) click HERE for the facebook page.
A month or so ago, I had asked Robert if he was interested in shoot some product on Cheyenne. I was particularly wanting to send her some new items which I don’t have any pictures of a model wearing. He generously agreed and wow, did they do an outstanding job!
Cheyenne in the Diana Wrap:
Robert does a wonderful layout on his blog, check out some more of the images HERE.
Thank you SO MUCH Robert and Cheyenne for doing this! You guys are awesome and love you both to pieces.
xoxo

Precious Baby Levi Lee

Hello all! This post is so very overdue, and I’m so sorry for that. This week has been interesting, to say the least. Not only did I have the Evy’s Tree Spring Photo looming over my head for Friday, but on Wednesday morning around 2 AM, I woke up in the most intense pain EVER. I thought I was dying, no kidding. I was writhing in pain for several hours until Brandon gave me some Tylenol and a heating pad and fell asleep around 5 AM, only to be woken up at 6:30 by Jake. I called the Dr and they got me right in that morning…turns out they think could have possibly passed a kidney stone?!? Right. 
Needless to say, all day Wednesday was out as I was laying around trying to make myself feel better. Bless Brandon’s heart, he took the day off work and helped me with the kids. I have no idea how I would have been able to keep them under control all day long. I love my husband. 
So the point of this post…
Remember Kris and Kate? Kris was our youth group’s worship leader for many years and a very close friend. And then he met Kate…
who happens to be the little sister of one of my closest friends on the planet, Heidi. It was so sweet to watch them meet and fall in love. Such a beautiful couple with amazing spirits. Anyway, they got married last May, went on their honeymoon, came back and guess what?!? Two months later found out they were pregnant! ha. To say they were shocked is an understatement, but they are so cute. They are SO EXCITED about this baby. They are going to be amazing parents. 
The above picture was taken by Kate’s mom, Nancy, just moments after Levi’s birth. Isn’t this a precious picture? And really, how is it that Kate looks that good after a very long labor?!? So not fair! 
Anyway, Kris was born and raised here in Stockton, but now lives in the East Bay with Kate. He has a group of very close friends here in Stockton still, two of them are Abraham and Brian. When Levi was born on Sunday, Brandon touched base with those two guys and asked if they, Sarah and Vanessa {their significant others} would like to drive to the hospital Monday night after work and visit Kate, Kris and baby Levi. 
The plan was for us to leave right at 5:30. WELL….somehow {we won’t mention specifically HOW, ha} Evy got locked in our Volvo with, get this, BOTH sets of keys. Right. For about 20 mins, while we waited for AAA {who got her out in like 5 seconds}, this is what you heard:
Brandon and the guys trying to talk her into pulling the lock up and me in the background angry at my husband for never putting a hide a key in the car like I asked, oh, about 3 years ago. ha. 
Just want to clarify…Evy was as happy as a clam this whole time and didn’t freak out once. It didn’t occur to us to call 911, but if she freaked out, I guarantee the fire department would have been the first call.
Anyway, thanks to that little adventure, we didn’t leave town until close to 7ish, which made for a late night, but we had so much fun and it was soooo good to see little Levi. He is BEAUTIFUL!! We forgot our camera, so the iphone and droids did all this lovely photo work. :)
Brian’s wife, Sarah and Abraham’s girlfriend Vanessa. 
Brandon and Kris
Brian and Abraham goofing off with the new Daddy.
Brian and Kris
Kris, Levi and Abe
The guys being themselves…SILLY. Poor Levi. ha.
We had such a wonderful time meeting precious Levi. I can’t wait to hold him again and have him around in our lives. I know he is going to grow up to be a wonderful little man. 
We love you Kris and Kate!! Thanks for letting us be apart of your life…and congrats on a beautiful addition to your family!
xoxo

Spring Photo Shoot

Well, its that time of the year again…time for our Photo Shoot with the very talented Mr. Sam Hassas.
Our last shoot was amazing. You can see the pictures of them HERE.
This year our shoot took place at the same place we had it last year, my parent’s house in Santa Rosa. Where our last shoot was done in 110 degree weather {I’m not kidding}, this shoot was the exact opposite. IT WAS FREEZING!! Seriously, we were dying, especially towards the end when the sun started going down! I felt so bad for all my models. I feel like each time they model for me I expose them to very extreme weather conditions…which gives me mixed emotions. On one hand I feel HORRIBLE that they are out there working so hard for me and Evy’s Tree and having to deal with all the trouble of these shoots. On the other hand I feel so honored that they would do that for me. I really do have some of the best friends on the planet. THANK YOU to all of you who helped me!
Unfortunately, this year we lost our staple model, Kate, as she just gave birth to her baby boy, Levi Lee, who is as cute as a button, by the way. Anyway, we needed a blonde, so Emily, my other staple model brought her friend Andrea, who was PERFECT! And then we needed a model who could model a wedding dress {long story to that one} and Sam was contacted by Beth, whose mom follows the Evy’s Tree facebook page. Beth lived in San Jose and had a dress she could model. It was perfect! Her mom, Andrea flew all the way out from Texas with the dress just to be here. Seriously, can we say FLATTERED?!? I felt so shocked and honored that Andrea and Beth would do that to be apart of Evy’s Tree and make this shoot as awesome as it was.
And it was awesome for sure. Here are some rough snapshots, taken by me or Brandon, of the day. I can’t wait to get the pictures back from Sam and show you all the rest of the fun we had. We tried so many new things, I think you will all enjoy what we cooked up.
Hope you enjoy the little “inside peek”! :)
Our drive there on Thursday evening. Can’t really say my kiddos are too excited about this. Tired and cranky and very sick of Evy’s Tree. ha.
The lovely flowers from Costco, with the help from Janelle Williams. Thanks Janelle for your help!
My trunk piled high.
We tried lots of crazy things this time around. Like putting a canoe in the pool. Right. See my dad over to the left underneath the patio? I thought he would have a complete heart attack, but Brandon {the one in the back} says he was laughing the entire time. WHEW! ha. And let’s not forget dear Emily and her bravery. Seriously, if she fell, well, that water is FRIGID!
And then this is Seth. You will have to wait to find out what happens here. But let me say, its pretty amazing. I’ll leave it at that. :)
After we are all said and done, we hang out in the nice warm house and talk. So nice to connect with everyone. Love these people!
Jake and Ava.
Emily and I. She’s wearing the Diana Wrap, by the way. And I am, of course, wearing the Lacey Zip Up, my all time fave. Please ignore how bad I look in these pictures. After running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I guess it’s to be expected.
Seth and I. Seth is a wonderful teenager who has the best spirit ever. All the models get to choose a hoodie to take home with them, and when I asked Seth which hoodie he would like, he politely asked me if he could choose one for his sister Lane {who modeled for me last time, by the way}. Anyway, he truly is the sweetest kid. Oh, and Lane got her hoodie, but I made sure he got one as well. :)
This is Beth, and her mom Andrea. Andrea is the mom who came all the way from Texas to be here, and hand carried the wedding dress. She also brought along her dog. They are the sweetest and I really do mean it when I say, I am HONORED they would want to be with us for the photo shoot.
My model Elisha, her daughter Alayna {who Evy kept hitting in the head so that’s why she’s not too happy. ugh} and Emily’s friend Andrea. Andrea is from South Africa and is so sweet. I had so much fun connecting with her. Such a beautiful lady as well. Thank you so much Andrea! And of course, Elisha is beautiful, as always. Elisha put together many of the outfits for the models. She basically took charge of the entire clothing for this shoot. She is AMAZING!
Me and Emily. Love her.
And of course, the famous Sam Hassas. Love the Hassas family. So wish Monica could have joined us, but she had the flu. :(  This is a HORRIBLE picture of us, so very fuzzy and out of focus, and my neck is straining horribly so I can be in the picture, but is the only one I have of the two of us, so it will have to do.
Sam being Sam.
And I can’t close without mentioning my baby love. She is such ragamuffin…into everything and refusing to keep her hair neat and tidy. But she is beautiful. I love that girl. Here is Evy…of Evy’s Tree, of course. :)
Thank you Mom for hosting us and the amazing food {can we say rhubarb pie?!?}, Dad for putting up with us trampling all over your property, my brother Jeff for the canoe, my sister Pammy for letting us borrow her kids, and for all the rest of you who pitched in. Thanks especially to my husband and family. I could not have done this shoot with you. I love you so much.
And lastly, thank you Santa Rosa, for just being the beautiful you that you are. You make Evy’s Tree look like a million dollars. Well, you and Sam Hassas that is. :)
xoxo

Random Thoughts

Hi all! Hope you are well. 
I am currently at my parents house. This has been one crazy week, that’s for sure. I’m super tired, fighting allergies {? I think its allergies, anyone else struggling with them?!?}, and dealing with a plate full of things coming up over the next couple weeks. I am also horribly behind on emails, so if you emailed me, please be patient, a response if coming. ha.
ANYWAY, I’m at my parents. And I JUST managed to get Jake asleep, thanks to his refusal to eat dinner and my mom giving him her homemade apple pie and ice cream {maybe even two helpings of ice cream, ack!} despite the fact he had no nutritional substance for dinner. Why do grandmas do that anyway?!? ugh. Jake has been running around this house jumping like a Mexican Jumping Bean and even pretended the bathtub was a swimming pool and dove in like a professional splashing water all over the bathroom. 
YES. it is true. 
So this is me….. looking horrible and drinking a GIANT cup of mango tea watered down with a little non fat milk and a sprinkle of sugar since my mom doesn’t have any fat free half and half or raw sugar. {I keep telling her about this great invention that was discovered oh about 10 years ago: FAT FREE HALF AND HALF. For some reason she doesn’t believe me even though she buys fat free everything else! ha}
Oh yes, my eyebrows had a good cleaning up thanks to my mom’s amazing mirror and my face had a good cleaning…LOVE THAT MIRROR! Although I don’t love the way it makes me look afterwards. ha. 
So anyway, I have many random thoughts running through my mind {including the fat free half and half. And yes I know, lots of parenthesis tonight, thanks very much for noticing}. Just wanted to put them out there, so here goes:
1. This is the first time I have seen my dad since he has had his boot on for his torn Achilles tendon. Oh boy. The geriatric future for my dad is splashing brightly in front of my eyes as he is the most stubborn man I have ever met. He is supposed to be completely off the foot; however, he still uses it while pretending to hobble along on the crutches and my mom follows him around the house yelling at him to get off the foot while he just rolls his eyes. He also refuses to wear the sock they gave him with boot, and therefore his foot is all scraped up at the end of the night. I asked him where the sock was and he has no idea. My future as a helper for my parents when they are need is looking more and more exciting by the moment. ugh.
2. Does anyone know of a good die cutter that will cut felt? Evy’s Tree is in need of one. I just need a plain old 1.5″ circle that will cut several layers, so if you know of one, please let me know.
3. When I got to my parent’s house, I was so excited to see that my mom had gotten two giant chocolate chip cookies from Whole Foods for the kids. I gave Evy two bites of one and then devoured the remaining. I’m pretty sure it was at least an 11 point WW item. Luckily I had 14 points left, so I had a little sliver of salmon for dinner and a couple asparagus. Think it was a good trade off, what do you think?
4. I need some strapless, white, A-line wedding dresses for a photo shoot this week. Anyone know where I can rent some? Totally serious here. 
5. I have realized I have {not intentionally} turned into a very bad friend. I have no time to call anyone anymore and my favorite form of communication has become texting because I can send a message in a very quiet form even when the rest of the world has exploded around me. I’m sorry dear friends, if you are reading this. I wish I could multiply my days by like 20 more hours, but since I can’t please know I love you all and I am always here for you, even though I don’t talk on the phone as much as I used to. Just send me texts please, and I promise I will get back with you. ha. I think this whole statement made me sound worse than I really am…oh boy again. ha. 
6. Even though my parents house is a bazillion degrees, my mango tea just went very cold. ugh. 
Well, I had several more random thoughts, but they flew out of my head before I could write them down, so I guess they weren’t that important anyway. sheesh. Maybe I should start texting myself when thoughts pop up in mind!! :)
So how are you all? Is anybody even out there still?!?  Hope you all are well and aren’t living as random of a life as I am!!  :)
xoxo

Big Push Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing well!
This week has been one busy week for me. Last weekend I was at Western District Ladies Conference and had such a blast meeting many of you and finally figuring out who’s who! :) Those facebook pictures never help me any!
And then on Tuesday, I welcomed a very special guest into my home. I have spoken several times about my brother Brad. This is him by the way, at Christmas time cozying up with Jake’s new sleeping bag and some random heart glasses. Yes he’s a crack up! ha
Anyway, my brother Brad is one smart cookie {I know looks can be deceiving ha}. He received his MBA from Dartmouth and is currently living in London and working throughout Europe in the financial field. He has given me amazing advice regarding Evy’s Tree business decisions. A while back he told me about a Dutch friend he had that went to Dartmouth with him. She has a wonderful retail product development background {Gap is on her resume}, and also currently resides in London. He felt she could give me some great support with Evy’s Tree and last fall connected us. Her name is Pauke {pronounced POW-ka}. We have been communicating via phone and email ever since.
Pauke emailed me a couple weeks ago and said that she would be in San Francisco this week and could she come work with me for a couple days? I, of course, said YES!! So Pauke arrived on Tuesday morning and we ran full steam ahead into brainstorming. In fact we worked so hard on Tuesday and Wednesday that I forgot to take a picture of her! ugh. Anyway, we came up with some AMAZING ideas and we are hoping to implement them this Fall. So you will likely hear a lot from me over the next couple days asking your thoughts on particular items, etc, especially regarding fit, style, and color options. 
One thing in particular that we talked about was getting Evy’s Tree out there more. We hope to reach a large audience by Fall, which means I hope to have a lot of followers on Facebook and Twitter {did you hear I am now on Twitter?!?}…but I need your help. 
I am planning on doing a giveaway at least twice a month that will last for several days. Sometimes I will have you share one picture for the entire giveaway, or other times I will switch the picture up, but it will always involve you share a picture on facebook, blogging about the picture and retweeting on twitter. Think you can help?
So today, we are going to do another giveaway. The winner will get a Brilla Cut Off of their choice. What do you have to do to win?
 1. Click “share” under this picture on facebook and then comment on the picture on facebook saying you did. You can share and comment once a day, but no more please. :)
2. You can blog about this giveaway and then come back and comment on this blog post saying you did.
3. You can follow us on twitter and then tweet about it. Please comment on this blog post that you did with the tweet. You can do this ONCE A DAY. 
4. Don’t have a blog, facebook, or twitter? Then you can send out a mass email and come back and comment under anonymous saying that you did. PLEASE ONLY USE THIS OPTION IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY OF THE OTHER SOCIAL MEDIAS. If you used one of #1-3, please do not use #4. 
This giveaway will last until Monday, March 7 at 11:59 PM. On Tuesday I will tally up all the comments and pick a winner. 
Make sense?? 
Thank you everyone and I hope you have fun participating in the giveaway!
xoxo