Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Nate's fishing photo made the CHI (Children's Hope International) adoption blog! Check it out here (click on CHI BLOG below)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I had to watch Nate's friends today while their mom had an appt, so I decided to let them play in the pool after breakfast.'s hot enough in AZ to actually play in the pool at 9am. I figured that would wear them out & keep them entertained for awhile. They had a ton of fun, and then I decided to whisk them into the truck & head to Bookmans for some fun. Bookman's is a used bookstore out here & they have free kids events over the summer. Today they got to decorate their own book bag. Nice activity to keep them occupied. Unfortunately...not as long as I had hoped! They did a great job so we went over to the kids area to look at books until their mom arrived. After that, Nate & I spontaneously decided to join them for a free summer movie (well, ok it was $2 for adults!) so we headed off to the dollar theater to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Very funny movie...but my stomach was GROWLING by the time it was over. So I loaded up Nate & headed to Chik Fil A across the street for a free kids meal & free ice cream!!

Turned out to be a pretty busy but really great morning! Here's on SUMMER FUN below:

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I was excited to find out that this week's Northwest Explorer had a photo of Nate on Family Fishing Day!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Adopting Issues to Consider

A few of you have asked if Nate will still be the oldest child since we have applied to adopt a child older than 1 yr. The answer is "yes". We receive monthly updates on the Ethiopian program from our agency. They had an article about adopting out of birth order that I found interesting and thought I'd share. -Denise

Adopting out of birth order
As a general rule, Children’s Hope does not place out of birth order. Meaning that we do displace the age order of children currently in the family, though it has been allowed on a very small scale here. The idea of placing out of birth order is a controversial one and you can hear many discussions on the subject listing both pros and cons. We have found throughout the many years of placing children into adoptive homes that an out of birth order placement is not the preferred placement and can be one of the most challenging. In the Ethiopia program since the ages of the children are estimated, and older children can be 1 or 2 years older than the age that is given in the background information (though we have our doctor at the HOH to estimate the age of the child before referring them), we have to use more caution when placing that child to try to ensure that the child bring placed will not all of the sudden turn out to be the oldest child in the home (above another child), due to his estimated birth date. Most will agree that displacing the oldest child in the home should never be an option. The child has already established his/her place in the family as the oldest and will certainly have issues if he/she suddenly became the middle child or youngest child. As well, the child being placed in the middle of 2 children may actually need to be the youngest in the family due to their development stage, background, etc.
Also, when considering out of birth order, not only is the age of the children currently in the home considered, but also the age of the child coming into the home. In Ethiopia often times an older child will live with other children, siblings or cousins, etc.; you have to consider, where has that child’s place been in the family that they lived with? Were they the youngest and now are the middle child, or the oldest? Of course sometimes their place in their birth family may never be known.
There are so many things to look at and consider when thinking about adopting out of birth order, What are the dynamics of the family and the child that the out of birth order placement will be with? How much of an age gap is there between the child that is being placed and the child being displaced? Will that placement now turn into artificial twinning, which is another challenging adoption scenario?
Basically, families, children and situations vary so greatly that to say that an out of birth order placement will not work for any family is false; however, much care, consideration information and education must be given to any family considering such a placement.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Splash Pad

Here's more splash pad photos. Click on "Facebook" below.

Fun in the HOT Sun


Last night, one of our close friends took Don to the Diamondbacks game. I had the rare occasion of no band practice so I tagged along up to Phoenix and took Nate on the town. Phoenix has a great outdoor mall called Desert Ridge with a splash fountain....PERfect for summer heat (113 in the afternoon). Nate had an awesome time and played for over an hour before he was shaking from the cold water. We shared slider burgers for dinner, treated ourselves to ice cream and checked out a toy store that had a play area.

At about 8:30pm, there was a loud POP and the entire mall went black. The sun had just set so we were in darkness. The retailers were rushing people out of the stores & locking up before people got the idea to shoplift. I feel sorry for the people stuck in the restaurants with half eaten was pretty dark in there too. Plus it was still 105 at 8:30pm and with no air conditioning....well, you get the picture. I wonder how they got everyone out of the movie theater too! The surrounding neighborhoods were out as well & it was a crazy madhouse trying to navigate through lines of cars, out of the mall. People seem to forget the concept of 4-way stops when the traffic lights go out & I held my breath going through intersections, hoping no one would hit me!

I had to figure out what to do with Nate because the game wouldn't be over for another 2 hours! So I drove to a Barnes & Noble at another mall & let him play in the kids section. That entertained was funny....I thought he'd be really grumpy for having to stay up way past his bedtime, but he was treating it like an older kid who had the rare opportunity to stay up late! He was in a great mood, even though I could tell he was getting tired.

Sadly, the DBacks lost to the Yankees (boo!) but it was a fun night and special treat to get out of dodge.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!!

Me & my dad

My dad...a great grandpa

Cheers to all you dads out there and especially our dads! I have many great memories of my dad & here are a few that stand out:

1. Watching World Beyond on Sat mornings...especially Godzilla!
2. Going to fun places like Wallace & Ladmo shows, playgrounds, & teaching us silly songs.
3. Making sure we had our daily quota of sweets!
4. Always teaching us the importance of honoring God in everything we did
5. Encouraging us & supporting us in our dreams
6. Letting us shave his face with the electric shaver (I don't think I would've been that brave!)
7. Building the coolest VBS and youth worship props. Still remember the robot he built that talked & made cool beeps & whirs.
8. Running the puppet shows for youth worship & recording our voices for 4 different puppets!
9. Teaching us to be generous givers (to this day he always brings us a Costco sized supply of toilet paper! haha)
10. Teaching us to make awesome Filipino food!

Now I am really thankful to have the chance to see my dad be a great grandpa to Nate. Thanks dad for being the best dad ever! My husband was also taught by his parents how to be a great dad. He has a unique way of looking at the world differently and I love how he instills values, strength, integrity and leadership in our son, in his own creative way. I find it interesting how Nate responds to him and I see the importance of having a good dad in his life.

I am really blessed to have the positive influences of my dad, my husband and my father-in-law in my life. Happy Father's Day!!

Another great dad!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Nate showing Nia his worms!

What a great morning we had. We went to the Family Fishing Day at Silverbell Lake...sponsored by our HOA. Don & Nate went early, to breakfast at IHOP, then to fish and I arrived later with the camera. haha. We met a family, originally from Jamaica, who were fishing next to us & also moved to our neighborhood a month after we did! Nate had a great time showing off his worms to their little girls (hehe) and it was cool to see so many families with little kids trying to catch a fish.

One guy near us caught the mother fish...a huge catfish! All the kids went running up to see it..of course giving the rest of us false hope since no one around us caught anything. Well...I had a couple of bites & the fish (or maybe the turtle) ate my bait! We had a fun time though. The HOA loaned out free fishing poles, had door prizes and bbq'd hot dogs. By 9am it was HOT...upper 90's and when we left at 10am it had hit 100!

Here's more photos for you from our MAY/JUNE ALBUM on Facebook. Hope you Tucsonans will join us for more Family Adventure Days coming up!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Awesome Fundraiser!

Show your support of adoption with these super cool tee shirts! They also make great gifts for friends and family. When you purchase a tee, a portion of the sale will be given to our adoption fund. Click on the photo below & bookmark our fundraiser website:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Here we goooo!!!! We have several fundraisers lined up to help us get to Ethiopia and back!
Every $$ we raise turns a dot on the map below, yellow. Help us fill all the dots & bring our child home! There are 3 ways to donate and get some cool stuff in the process!

When you donate or purchase a fundraiser item, your name is entered into a raffle to win these GREAT prizes.
1117 Miles = boxed cards featuring Denise Sullivan's artwork!
4468 Miles = Custom made Coffee Purse!
8936 Miles = 11x17 print of Denise Sullivan's artwork!
13,404 Miles = 11x17 Wood Cross Plaque of Denise Sullivan's artwork!
17,872 Miles = $25 gift card to a restaurant & FREE print of Denise Sullivan's artwork!

Purchase awesome tee-shirts
Purchase a recycled coffee bag purse on Etsy at
Donate $1 or other amount by clicking on the button below:

JUST ARRIVED! the smell of coffee. Just got our order in of our fundraiser coffee & can't wait to break open the bag! Order yours today & help support adoption!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Random Act of Kindness

A friend at church (I'll call her "P".) facebooked me & said she had a "surprise". I love surprises! But I would never have guessed what she had to give me. Apparently, one of her friends bought some fabric and was showing it to P. P saw it and said, "That's my friend's art!!!" The lady was so taken that she make this...............

How awesome is THAT!!??! I've never met the lady and she made me a sweet apron using fabric with my art! Thank you B. for your awesome talent and random act of kindness. I will treasure this always!


Nice cool morning in the shady sand.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


We are doing some easy online fundraisers this time around...there's some great organizations out there who are willing to help adopting families.

That being said.....THIS IS FOR ALL YOU COFFEE LOVERS!! We have partnered with a coffee company who will donate a portion of their coffee sales to our adoption! 12 oz bags of coffee are $12.95 & shipping is $5. You get great coffee & we're one step closer to meeting our adoption fees.

I plan to buy all our coffee from this site & hope you enjoy it too. Here's the website below. Please forward the link below to your friends and family!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Good Stuff!

Hey guys! Good stuff going on.......

Tonight is our new Connection Group at 7pm, Barnes & Noble at the Foothills Mall. Various topics on life-stuff that most everyone deals with.

Tomorrow morning we're going to Tower Theaters to see Madagascar 2 (PG). Kids FREE, adults $1. Meet us at sell out fast!

Sunday afternoon we're going to see The A-Team (PG-13) at the Foothills Mall. Time TBD.

Hope you can meet us if you're in the Tucson area!!!


June 8, 2010

Dear Don & Denise Sullivan

Congratulations! Your application for adoption has been approved by the Program Director.

We will be mailing out your approval packet today or tomorrow with instructions on how to proceed.

We are very excited for you, and wish you well as you begin your adoption journey!

Gloria Akers

The Intake Department

Children’s Hope International

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On a Roll

Hey! I know you!

While we are waiting for our adoption app to be approved, we are getting our paperwork ducks in order. There are about 25 items that need to be notarized, then state sealed, then embassy sealed for Ethiopia. Fun, fun paperwork. We've contacted our homestudy agency...same one as with Nate...and they are looking forward to working with us again. More paperwork to fill out for them too. At least this time around, we can refer to Nate's dossier to see what we have to do. After 3 years, I had put all that in the back of my mind!

In the meantime, my licensed art is really taking off. Thanks to God for all the contracts I've been able to sign & products that are selling. We were able to pay off the LAST CREDIT CARD!! Yippee!!! We were also able to set aside some of that royalty check to start our adoption...put toward our other car...our commitment to our church AND.......unexpectedly, a new Mac....and a visit to the computer doc for my external hard drive. When it all hits!

I had all my art files...I mean ALL of them backed up on an external hard drive & the thing crashed. Of course, that was right when a client needed some of that art for a big buyer review!!!! Fortunately, my agent had some of the files I had to modify for them, but.....I still need to retrieve my files off the drive! The plan was to get a new Mac & transfer the files to it, but the stupid hard drive crashed before I could do it. My new Mac has 1T of memory on it! I don't even really know what that means except it's a wicked amount of Gigabytes! I could've stored all my art on this new computer instead of using an external, & backed it up online. Now I may have to shell out another $500 just to get the files! The sad thing is...I NEED them & I'm praying like mad that they can be recovered. Otherwise....I will literally have to re-create every single piece of art, from scratch. Can you say *OUCH!*

So....learn from my mistake...don't rely on an external hard drive as backup!

I love my new iMac though. It's fast & has a gianormous 27" screen so I can really see the art I'm designing and will hold all my massive files. Seriously, one art file can be over 200 MB! And I have to design 4 to make up just one collection...add to that all the collections I've done over the past 4 years & that's a lot of memory. I've had a great deal of interest in the Men's Inspirational collection I just finished. One client wants to present my art to the Dollar Tree buyer (nationwide) and another wants to present my art to their K-Mart & Wal-Mart buyer! Let's hope the buyers like it!!

Well I'm rambling & it's almost midnight....thought stomach always starts growling around midnight. Time for a little late night snack & then I should probably put down my new "toy" & get some sleep! I was having a little too much fun experimenting with it's new iPhoto Booth app!