Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Nollaig Shona Daoibh! Maligayamg Pasko! Kung His Hsin Nien Bing Chu Shen Tan! Melkin Yelidet Beaal! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our Irish/Filipino/Chinese/Ethiopian (to be) - American family to yours!

Monday, December 5, 2011


BRRR!! Just got back from an awesome trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. Warm and sunny there, 55 degrees back in Tucson. Take me away! We figured this was the perfect time to do a family vacation because next year, when we adopt from Africa, we won't be going anywhere for quite awhile. We exchanged our timeshare for the Wyndham Kona Hawaiian in Kailua-Kona and it was beautiful! Vintage Hawaiian decor and gorgeous grounds. Tons of free activities and close to the action. We would definitely stay there again. We did so much, 4-wheeling, snorkeling, hiking, beaching, exploring....I am pooped out but we all had a great time. Here's a few photos. Aloha!
The Place of Refuge - Kealakekua

Green Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach with Crush!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I am thankful for so many things...a husband who loves me, loves God and is an amazing dad.
Our son who makes me so proud to be his mom.
And thanks to God's blessings on my art this year, our adoption is paid for!!!!!!

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Our Connection Group with the shoeboxes

Our Connection Group at PRCC has been challenged to raise 150 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We got the word out but didn't know what the result would be. Last night we had our packing party and I was amazed at the bags and bags of shoebox gift items that people kept bringing in! One person got their local grocery store to donate a gift card and went shopping. Another person invited her facebook friends to participate...and one of the friends even showed up!

That night we filled 105 shoeboxes...AND STILL COUNTING!!!!!!

That's 105 kids who will receive a special Christmas gift and hear the good news about Jesus. YES! I'm so excited and proud of our group. Woo hoo!!!!
The assembly line

Monday, November 14, 2011


Mom amongst the butterflies....

While visiting my brother in Cincinnati, my parents discovered my art on a bath collection in Kohl's!! Didn't realize it was in those stores yet so I will have to do an "I Spy" in our local Kohl's. On the tag it reads ©Denise Sullivan by Saturday Knight Ltd. So exciting!!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Friend Patty & son M, donating 4 shoeboxes!

I am STOKED about the Operation Christmas Child shoebox stories from everyone. We have to raise 10 boxes per person by next week and so far we've raised 13! Three were donated by us, 3 more from a friend Wendi, who I have never met but we have connected through this adoption blog. Wendi & fam also adopted 3 beautiful kids from Columbia so we have another connection. I was thrilled when she facebooked me and said, "Our kids want to participate."

Another friend, Patty, who I have not seen in nearly 15 years donated 4 boxes! We hooked up in Phx while we were attending a wedding and it was great to see her and meet her kids. Then our next door neighbor wanted to pay me for some art product samples so I said, instead of paying me, why not donate she donated 3 more! Very excited to know that 13 more kids will have special gifts this year, but more importantly, knowing the best gift...Jesus!

We only need 7 MORE SHOEBOXES so if you are out of town and want to participate, you can! It's approximately $15 to fill a shoebox and you can send the money via PayPal or giftcard. If you are in Tucson, I can meet you for a pickup...just email me:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Adoption Update

Adoption update:

For those who have asked, it looks like wait time for our child-to-be is approximately 1 year (for us that is next March). However, since we requested a toddler, it's possible the wait time may be shorter. Still so much to do so we are not in a hurry!

Thanks for prayers.

Trick or Treats

We had a fun night Trick or Treating. Nate went as the Transformer, Bumble Bee and we handed 120 rice krispy treats before we ran out and had to turn off the lights. And there were still kids running around! One of the benefits of having a small bucket means you're not stuck with a ton of candy to tempt you. haha. It was fun seeing the families in our neighborhood. Best costumes were 2 Geisha girls, a Dorothy holding a live Toto dog, & a homeless boy with a cardboard sign "Will work for candy".

Angry Birds pumpkins

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Target

Ahhh, they're finally here! My leaf art on paper plates, napkins and tablecloths in Target. Yay! Look for them on an endcap in the party goods section. Unfortunately my name isn't on them since Target has a new policy to disallow artist's names and signatures. But regardless, it's very cool to see my stuff in a major chain!

Also received a photo of my Winter Pinecone & Winter Cardinals art on candle holders. This was taken in a speciality gift shop by the manufacturer. They are probably in "mom & pop" type stores across the U.S. so you'll have to keep an eye out. What great better half of 2011!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Nate's Big 5 at Disneyland!!

ZZZZZzzzzzz....I could seriously take a nap right about now. We just got back from our awesome trip to California and Disneyland for Part 2 of Nate's BIG 5 BIRTHDAY! What a great time we had! Nate was SO excited to go. We got his birthday button and everyone in the park would wish him Happy Birthday when they saw him. They even announced his name and birthday on one of the rides! We celebrated with a Mickey pirate treasure cake and wore ourselves out over 2 days of rides and fun. His first "big kid" ride was the Tower of Terror at Disney's CA Adventure and he didn't even flinch. That's my boy! Here's some fun pics for you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Big 5!

Our Natester turned 5 this past weekend and we had a fun time celebrating. Just a simple birthday with the fam, but since 5 is a big deal in our house, we are excited (ok, I AM excited) to take him to Disneyland during fall break! Unfortunately, we have to wait a couple of weeks and that can't come fast enough for him. In the meantime, he gets an extra long birthday party!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awesome Movie!

Very excited to see this movie. I've seen the previews and they look pretty good. The movie opens this weekend and our church is going together on Sunday, Oct 2 at the AMC Theaters inside the Foothills Mall, 4:15 showing (but be there by 3:45 to get a decent seat).

If you're in another city, please support this film by going on their opening weekend, Sept 30-Oct 2!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Ok, here's the store & product I had to wait to tell you about...

My Autumn Mums art is on garden flags in Walmarts across the U.S.!!!!!! Click on the link below and to the right of the flag, you'll see "Pickup Information" where you can find it at the store nearest you. There are only 2 Tucson locations that carry it. YAY!!!!

On another note, I visited Berean Christian Stores and discovered my Inspirational Sports Art with The Athlete's Prayer necklaces! Sweet!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Steinmart sighting!

Just discovered (thanks to my art agent, Karen), that my Mayflower Mums are in Steinmart on paper plates and napkins! Very excited!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One of Many Fall Blessings

My leaf art (middle) on paper guest towels in JoAnn Fabrics

I am SOOO excited to see all the different products with my art on them, this fall. As far as major stores, God has opened the doors to JoAnn's Fabrics, Target, Kohl's, Bed Bath & Beyond and another MAJOR retailer that I can't name yet until the products are stocked!! Here's the first sighting of the leaf art on paper guest towels in JoAnn Fabrics! Plus I noticed yesterday that all the fall stuff is 50% off. Double bonus! Keep your eyes out and let me know if you see anything else. Here's what to expect below (click on the image for a larger view).

Monday, August 8, 2011


What a morning! Today is Nate's first day of Kindergarten! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Nate was up early (before 6am) and we piled in the car to head out for a good breakfast. It was mayhem at the school....mainly because the brand new school has barely finished construction! The school had their final safety inspection THIS MORNING and tons of families ended up waiting over an hour before the inspection was finished. It was hot, humid and they ended up passing out water bottles to everyone. Poor Nate was already overwhelmed by the crowd, hot & sweaty and losing patience quickly. Thankfully, I remembered the camera and let him take a bunch of photos to get his mind off the wait.

Finally, we were all able to go to class. I felt a twinge of sadness at my boy hitting this major milestone, but mostly so proud of him! The ironic thing, is that a little girl who was irritating him while waiting in line, sits right behind him in class! Oh boy! We'll see how that goes. :-D

Friday, August 5, 2011

Gotcha Day Anniversary

4 years ago in China...Nate with his (now "well- loved") panda.

We had a fun day celebrating the 4th anniverary of Nate's Gotcha Day! Off to a movie with friends, lunch at a chinese restaurant (with Meiji Hello Panda cookies for dessert) and finished the day with Nate meeting his Kindergarten teacher and new classroom! Whew! It was fun reminiscing about that day 4 years ago. Hard to believe he's already starting Kindergarten. We are so proud of our little man!

Checking out his Kindergarten desk!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer's End

Well, summer is almost least in terms of "going back to school". Nate has had a great time completing Level 2 of swim lessons, learning how to take a breath while swimming without gagging on a mouthful of pool water. He has also been in karate lessons for a month and loves it. He has the best instructor at the YMCA and is picking up the moves quickly.

Our biggest "YAY!" is that Nate was tested for early entry into Kindergarten and PASSED!! Since his birthday falls past the AZ cut off date, every public and private school we looked into refused to test him (or anyone with late birthdays) for early entry. I was getting discouraged and had resigned myself to the fact that he would be taking a 4yr old preschool class...again...and hoping he wouldn't be bored. But then, a charter school opened up near us that has an accelerated academic curriculum AND early entrance testing. Nate went into the exam room by himself but gave me detailed info on what they asked him! Pretty much everything he's learned in preschool and a few extras we had taught him at home: Identifying shapes, colors, upper and lower case letters and sounds, identifying and creating patterns, counting to 50, writing his name and drawing a picture of himself...etc etc.

I've been told countless times that he would be better off being held back a year (especially since he's a boy). But we have kept a close eye on his social and academic development and I think most every parent knows what their own child is capable of. He would've been fine repeating preschool again but I'm so thankful he had an opportunity to at least "try out" for Kinder. I think being an only child with parents who already have high expectations, constantly being in the public eye, playing with all our friend's kids who are older plus his own keen development all contribute to his ability to transition early into Kindergarten. (Although in my opinion, what's "early"? Several states have their cutoff as Dec 31). Anyway, that's my soapbox.

He is SUPER excited about starting Kindergarten and I'm glad he'll be in a school where he will be challenged. He is so proud of himself for passing that test. I hesitated even telling him it was a test, although the word doesn't make him break into a sweat like I would. ha! To him, learning is fun and he cannot seem to get enough of it. I hope it stays that way for a long time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Art Products in the Works!

More good news from my art agents! Kohl's and Bed, Bath & Beyond will be featuring new bath collections in their stores this fall! And 2 more awesome contracts this fall but can't reveal those yet. Very excited!!

In Kohl's...."Inspired" bath collection

In select Bed, Bath & Beyond stores..."Hope" bath collection

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Famous Duo

Many of you know I am an Licensing Artist and I have 2 agents who market my art into the retail stores. When my art is picked up by a manufacturer, I usually receive a few samples for my collection (or to give away at Christmas!) Yesterday I received some very awesome samples of a few Father's Day cards that were printed by Crown Point Graphics using my artwork that featured a photo of Don and Nate! This was taken in San Diego when Nate was just 2-1/2 yrs old. I'm not sure where these cards ended up or if they were even available this Father's Day. They may have only been available in the manufacturer's catalog, but it was exciting to see my two guys in print!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Catching Up....Maybe

There has been so much going on, I can't keep up with it! Between creating art, sewing laptop bags, doing graphic design work for the church and other church ministries...I am BUSY. Let's see...where to start. Much to my surprise, my burlap laptop bags have been a hit on Etsy. I've sold more than the purses I used to make, to people in the U.S., Ireland, England and Canada! Crazy considering they're not exactly cheap. I'm excited because I found 2 coffee roasters in Tucson who supply me with very cool burlap sacks. However, I may have to start ordering the other supplies online because I keep buying out everything at Hancock Fabrics or JoAnn's!

While Nate finished up his last 3 days of school, we took a MUCH NEEDED getaway to San Diego. was so very hard to come back home. 3 days was not nearly enough time. We had just started to relax and it was time to leave. I had a GROUPON for the Crystal Pier Cottages...a place I have been dying to stay at for over 15 years!! It was worth every minute to be there. The cottages are right on the pier and we left all the windows and doors open to listen to the crashing waves every night.

When we came back, my parents arrived for a week. Nate was THRILLED. Grandma & Grandpa time is very precious and he took advantage of every minute of it. It was great to see my parents, and we even did some running around despite the heat.

After that, we were due to go up to Greer last week for another Groupon getaway, but sadly, the Wallow wildfire was raging and growing and Greer had to be evacuated. Fortunately, the lodge and many other residences were not damaged in Greer, but our absolute FAVORITE playground, Alpine and the Bear Wallow wilderness are burned up. It is still raging along with another massive wildfire just south of us. Crazy dry out here and no sign of rain.

With Nate out of school, I am trying to figure out how to keep him busy so I can get work done! I am twice as busy as last year and even with a faster computer, it's hard to keep up with everything. Next week, he goes to Kinder Camp, then in July he has swim lessons. In the meantime, we are taking advantage of the slip-n-slide and summer movies and trying not to eat too much ice cream. haha. I get really itchy to travel during summer because we looked forward to that as kids. Even though I've been married 21 years, and we rarely travel during the summer, I still FEEL like I should be doing it!

Happy Summer to you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Putting Burlap to Good Use

13inch Laptop Case made from burlap coffee sacks!

I've enjoyed designing my coffee purses out of recycled coffee bags but they were just too labor intensive to sell at a reasonable price. So then I started a different venture that has exploded! Laptop cases made from burlap coffee sacks! They're selling like hotcakes on my Etsy site.

The good thing is that these are much faster and easier to make and are great for guys as well as girls. Then I remembered that Tucson has its own coffee roasting company, Arbuckle Coffee Roasters. I paid them a visit this morning and had a great time talking to Denney and Pat about their company. Also left with several very AWESOME burlap bags! Can't wait to start sewing! All of the proceeds from these bags go toward our Ethiopian adoption. Speaking of which, we are in the waiting stage and will probably find out next March if we're getting a boy or girl!

Each laptop case comes with a power cord case
made from recycled coffee bags.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day to all you awesome moms out there! And to my very awesome mom....thank you for always being there for me, supporting me, encouraging me, and keeping me grounded in faith. I love you!!

Mom and I, 1970

Me and my little stud!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

What a great day! We have been going, going, going...and then some for the last 3 months, preparing for Easter services at PRCC. We've been so busy I didn't have time to color eggs with Nate until this evening. Guess we'll have to hide them tomorrow! It was awesome seeing new faces at church services and all the volunteers who worked SO hard over the past few weeks. 250 today....normal attendance is around 120 so that was awesome!! Hope you all had a great Easter. Here's photos for you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

PRCC Diaper Drive!

It's a soggy Diaper Drive (pardon the pun) but we still braved the rainy weather and set up the truck. I feel like the last few weeks, Satan has been doing everything in his power to discourage us during our pre-Easter events and preparations. Things haven't all gone the way we've planned or bits of negativity have sparked up. BUT, we can't help but notice the GREAT things God has been doing. As we (when I say "we", I'm talking about people in church plugging away), keep the faith and are determined not to be discouraged, we are thrilled with what God is showing us.

We've seen many new faces at church, people stopped by to drop off boxes of diapers despite the bad weather.....including a person who received a door hanger and looked up our church to bring the diapers to us, donations have come in to help us promote all our pre-Easter events as well as the big day itself, we have a baptism tomorrow, leaders have come together for Christ's much more! God is awesome!

There's still time to bring diapers to the church, tomorrow April 10. We'll still have the truck there and as of last count....nearly 4,000 diapers collected!!!!! Yay God!!

PRCC - Pusch Ridge Christian Church
440 W. Calle Concordia, Tucson, 85653

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Just got this email today from our adoption agency............ Yay!!

Dear Denise & Don Sullivan,

I just wanted to send you this quick email to let you know that your dossier has been sent back to our office from Washington D.C. You are now on the waiting list for a referral. We will be keeping your dossier in queue here in the St. Louis office until it is time to be expressed to Ethiopia. Congratulations on having this piece behind you!!!! You're now a waiting family!!!

After you have accepted a referral, the dossier will be translated and authenticated, and presented to the Ministry of Womens Affairs (MOWA), which is the first entity in Ethiopia to approve you to adopt the child.

Waiting for a referral can really be a difficult wait for most families. We suggest keeping busy and doing those things that you may not have a chance to do once your child comes home. You also will want to read as much as you can related to raising adopted children, bonding and attachment, transracial adoption, Ethiopia, etc. etc., and you may even want to start learning some phrases in Amharic.

This would also be a good time to look into the immunizations that you will need for your trip. Some immunizations are good for 3, 5 and even 10 years so it's not too early to start. Visit . Information is also noted in the CHI Ethiopia Travel Guide located on the website.

Please know that we are here to support you during your wait and answer any questions that you might have.

Congratulations again, you are one step closer to bringing your little one home!!!

Angie Thorn

Ethiopia Adoption Consultant

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ethiopia Adoption Petition

Please consider signing a petition asking that Ethiopian officials consider alternate options as it relates to the new process that is to be implemented by the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adoption News...

Just found this out. I'm not worried about it as I know everything will happen in God's time. We found that out with Nate and wouldn't change a thing. However, the adoption agency keeps us in the loop and we'll keep our eyes and ears open...and prayers going up.

Statement on the Pending Reduction of Intercountry Adoption in Ethiopia


Statement on the Pending Reduction of Intercountry Adoption in Ethiopia

Last week the Ethiopian Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs announced their intention to reduce intercountry adoptions by 90% beginning March 10, 2011. The Ministry’s plan for a dramatic reduction is apparently based on two primary issues; 1) the assumption that corruption in intercountry adoption is systemic and rampant and 2) the Ministry’s resources should be focused on the children for whom intercountry adoption is not an option. Without further announcements by the Government of Ethiopia, it is our understanding that the Ministry’s plan will be initiated this week.

The Ministry’s plan is a tragic, unnecessary and disproportionate reaction to concerns of isolated abuses in the adoption process and fails to reflect the overwhelmingly positive, ethical and legal services provided to children and families through intercountry adoption. Rather than eliminate the right of Ethiopian children to a permanent family, we encourage the Ministry to accept the partnerships offered by governments, NGOs, and foundations. Such partnerships could increase the Ministry’s capacity to regulate service providers and further ensure ethical adoptions.

The Ministry’s plan which calls for the processing of only five adoption cases per work day, will result not only in systemic and lasting damage to a large sector of social services, but will have an immediate impact on the lives and futures of children. Moving from over 4,000 adoptions per year to less than 500 will result in thousands of children languishing in under-regulated and poorly resourced institutions for years. For those children who are currently institutionalized and legally available for adoption, the Ministry’s plan will increase their time languishing in institutions for up to 7-years.

Joint Council respectfully urges the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs to reconsider their plan and to partner with governments, NGOs and foundations to achieve their goals and avoid the coming tragedy for children and families.


In addition to this formal statement,we are also preparing a large scale advocacy, education and awareness campaign, which will launch later this week. We will post details here, so please check back for the launch of this urgent and important campaign.

We hope you will join us in advocating for the continuation of intercountry adoption in Ethiopia.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Well everyone...after 9 long months and a few snags, our adoption paperwork (dossier/or paper pregnancy) IS OUTTA HERE!!!!! We were finally able to send it off to Children's Hope International who will prepare it for translation to be sent to Ethiopia! Now we wait a few months to be matched up with our child-to-be!! I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Having the paperwork around was a nagging reminder that was haunting us.

Now we have $13,000 left to raise for the remainder of the adoption fees. Scary, because at this point, we don't have it, but I know God will provide..through fundraising, through my art licensing royalties and other means.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support. I know that you are as excited as we are and I looked forward to telling you this news.

Don't forget our MARCH COFFEE FUNDRAISER in the previous post and please share it via Twitter, facebook, blogs, emails...any way to get the word out! Thanks!!!!!


Thursday, March 3, 2011



Our goal...sell 200 bags of coffee in the month of March!

When we reach 10% of our goal, everyone who bought a bag will be in a raffle.
The winner gets a free bag of coffee and a coffee mug from our fundraiser store.

Share this with your friends!
Click on our website to buy your first bag.
Thanks for your support and enjoy your cup 'o joe!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I'm very excited! We're starting a Bods4God Connection Group at our house,
THIS SATURDAY at 9:30am - 10:45am....all families invited!
(Gladden Farms area - NW Marana)

Our healthy, get active, lose weight...feel great! We will walk, hike, eat right and read the book, "Bod4God" by Steve Reynolds.

Time to start taking care of our bods.

Email me for directions and bring a pair of walking shoes.