Category Archives: Amy’s Corner

Friday Amy Update: Richmond House

RichmondhouseOne of the first few designs that I drew for Amy Adele was of a little Cape Cod house drawn in memory of the sweet little house I grew up in. I call it the Richmond House. My house was located at 2938 Lawrence Drive in Falls Church, Virginia which is just outside the city of Washington, D.C. I lived in the same house from the day I came home from the hospital until the day I married! The memories I shared there with my parents and big sister, Kelly, are more than I could possibly remember.

It was a 3 story, 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,300 square foot home built in 1948. My parents bought it from the original owners in 1973. All the houses in my neighborhood were built exactly the same but by the time I was a kid, it was neat to go to my neighbor’s houses to see how they had remodeled and changed the layouts by various owners over the years. My father finished off the attic so my sister and I would have our own rooms and a bathroom. When my sister came upstairs it opened right up into my room. There was no door or anything! But I had to walk through her room to use the bathroom so it was kind of fair. 🙂 She is nearly 6 years older than me so by the time I was in middle school she was off to college and I had the whole attic to myself, so I had no complaints.

Our kitchen was so small that I have yet to visit a home with a smaller one, but my mother made it work! We would host large family gatherings without a hitch! Our basement was so cold in the summer (and my room was so hot), that I think I spent most my summer days down there. My parents liked things neat on the main floor so my sister and I made all our tents, Little House on the Prairie scenes, puppet shows, and more either in our rooms or in the basement.

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My backyard was huge and I spent a lot of time out there swinging in our hammock, playing kickball with my family after dinner, and exploring the little creek that ran along the back end. Until the summer that I got poison ivy head to toe. Ugh!

Our street was pretty busy for our little neighborhood. The fire engine drivers liked to use our street as their shortcut so I got used to the sirens at all hours of the day, but our busy street was great for our lemonade stands! Our house was built on a corner lot so the quiet side street is where I learned to ride my bike and where I’d head off to when I walked to my elementary school. In “my day” I had to walk to school, but now there is a bus to pick up kids who live there!

My parents sold our house in 1997 and I’ll never forget the moment we pulled out of the driveway for the last time. I cried! It was almost like saying goodbye to a lifelong friend for the last time. My parents currently live near me in South Carolina. Some days I wish they had brought the house with them and we could still call it home.

We recently received word that our house was on the market again! We were thrilled to see it has been well loved and cared for. Take a look at it here!

 

Friday Amy Update: Summer Activities

Grace7I have had the privilege of spending the majority of my summer days with my joyful, excitable, dramatic and completely fantastic daughter, Grace! She is 11 years old and will be in 6th grade in just a few weeks. Her summer days have been filled with a lot of little events and activities to keep each day different than the last. I must admit, it’s been a bit of a challenge but we have managed the waters of her boredom fairly well.

My son, Corban, goes to school from 9am-1pm weekdays and it takes 20 minutes to drive to and from. Grace will often accompany me each morning and afternoon and she is a fabulous driving companion. She is extremely helpful as my grocery store helper too… she puts those bag boys to shame!

At home, she has kept busy with her new role as our Laundry Girl for the whole family which includes: collecting, washing, drying, and sorting. This is a paid position that has benefited her and us. 🙂Grace1

Grace is very musically talented and has been taking piano since last summer. This requires practicing every day. She’s not an avid reader but has managed to read enough to attain our local library’s summer prize… a free watermark pass! (Her mother is still trying to find a good chunk of time on her calendar to take her.)

She takes every chance she gets to take a dip in her grandmother’s neighborhood pool and has loved it so much. I decided to sign her up for an advanced swimming class at our local YMCA 2x a week during the month of July. A local Vacation Bible School and an upcoming weeklong gymnastic class will also help keep her busy.

We haven’t had the funds to take a summer vacation trip for the past few years, so she’s been disappointed about that. I encouraged her to write down some things she was thankful for about this summer and this is what she wrote:

Things that Grace is Thankful for: 

  •  cool weather
  • pool
  • my birthday
  • my family
  • VBSGrace6
  • tasty dinners
  • NO SCHOOL
  • waterpark
  • reading
  • ipad
  • solitaire
  • sunny days
  • friends
  • church
  • serving
  • my room
  • ice cream
  • my grandmother
  • piano
  • air conditioning
  • showers
  • laundry
  • water
  • shade
  • electricity

Friday Amy Update: Meg Muller

Blog2This week, I received the news that my grandmother, Meg Muller, passed away. She was 94 years old and lived a long life, but I tear up when I realize she is really gone. She was my maternal grandmother and was the last of my grandparents to pass, so that brings an extra bit of sadness to my heart as well.

She often asked how Amy Adele was going when I talked to her and was very supportive of my artwork. My artistic flare comes through her lineage! Her mother was an artist, Meg was an artist, my mother was an artist, and now I am! She was the one who sat me down with her easel and paints and showed me how to paint as a little girl! She was my only art teacher, actually. We only did that a few times but I still have the paintings. Meg loved the beach and was a master at painting sand dunes and their grasses. Some of her paintings were in local art shops.

I grew up only a few miles from her and my grandfather in Virginia. I called them Grandaddy and Meg. I know it might seem unusual to call my grandmother by her first name but it seemed normal to me because that’s all I’ve ever knew. She had five children and I was her youngest grandchild. Since she lived so close to us, she was a big part of my childhood and I have many memories of spending time with her.

Blog1I would often spend a whole day with her and Grandaddy, going to local festivals and eating dinner in their big sunroom. At night she and I would steal away and watch TV shows in her little den. She would patiently watch all my singing shows in her basement where I would belt out (way too loudly) “It’s a Hard Knock Life” (from Annie) or “Do-Re-Mi” (from The Sound of Music).

She always hosted Thanksgiving dinner every year and I loved going over to her house before the rest of the family arrived. I would help her set all the tables that were scattered about her house. Actually, I remember celebrating every holiday with her and my mother’s extended family.

She was always supportive and loving towards me as I grew up and with whatever choices I made and with whatever I was doing. I could see the love she had for me in the twinkle in her eyes, in the squeeze in her hugs and in her sweet little smile. I love her so very much and I will miss her dearly.

Friday Amy Update: Things to Pack on a Mission Trip

Our daughter, Emily, is leaving for a mission trip! This Saturday, she is traveling with a small team from our church to Allendale, SC. It won’t be as far away from home as her previous trips to Ecuador and Guatemala, but she is so excited! She loves going out and helping others no matter where they are. She even thinks she may want to do this sort of thing as an adult one day. This is definitely her niche.blog1

So, now we are in packing mode. I don’t know how many of you have had to help your kids pack for an overnight trip like this one, but we are ALL about lists in this house, well… I am anyway. I love to make lists and check them off! So I make my kids make lists too. 🙂 Emily is a great packer. Still, I’ll make sure she remembers certain things (for my own sake).

Things to Bring on a Mission Trip

  1. Clothes for yard work related tasks-work gloves too
  2. Clothes for spending time with the kids in Allendale
  3. Bug Spray and sunscreen
  4. More Bug Spray (2xs- it must be really buggy down there… yikes!)
  5. Towel
  6. Snacks
  7. Air Mattress with sleeping bag/sheets
  8. Pillow
  9. Shower shoes
  10. Bible and Pen
  11. Water Bottle
  12. Khakis and collared shirt (or the female equivalent) for Sunday Church service

On the packing list that we received it said “Work clothes (Girls need to wear appropriate shorts. No specific rule, modesty is the goal, so choose wisely.)” I was impressed by how they phrased that touchy subject of modesty and was not legalistic about it.

blog2I think I’ll have her bring an extra towel. When we went to camp a few weeks ago, I remember thinking an extra CLEAN towel would’ve been comforting after all the sweat and dirt I saw on myself. 🙂

The snacks are a priority. We discovered only a  few months that Emily is intolerant of gluten and dairy. Because we found this so recently, it may be a little tricky as far as her meals go on this trip. The staff who is organizing everything have been more than generous in working with us to get her the food she needs.  We will be packing some extra gluten free snacks to fill in the gaps, just in case.

I can rest assured that she will have what she needs and is in great hands with the team, so now I am just going to look forward to when she comes back to tell me all about it. Good Luck, Emily!!

Friday Amy Update: A Weekend at Camp

IMG_1592This past weekend I went to camp! Every Sunday, my daughter Emily and I lead a class of third grade girls at our church. That is how we got looped in with other leaders, and ended up taking 200+ third and fourth grade kids up to a weekend camp in the mountains. I’ve been to this camp a few times before with older kids. It’s a great place but… it had been awhile. I wasn’t quite sure I was up for the challenge. Emily REALLY wanted to go so she twisted my arm and I agreed. I’m glad she did. I had the best time!

 

We headed out with a car full of girls around 1pm on Friday. It’s a quick 45 minute drive which is the perfect distance for many of these 1st time campers (and their concerned parents). We unpacked and headed to the first big event… a camp version of the Amazing Race! We ran all over the place to stations doing messy, gross, physically and mentally challenging tasks. We didn’t even come close to winning, but it was fun.

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We had a number of big group meetings where all 200+ of us would meet in a little chapel. We would sing loud fun songs to Jesus, watch hilarious skits, and listen to short, but powerful sermons that were geared toward these third and fourth grade students’ hearts. We met in small groups where we would talk through the ideas that were presented so the girls could share what they thought.

 

On Friday night, we were supposed to have a big bonfire but it rained! So… what do you do with 200+ campers who are stuck in a small little chapel? A big dance party of course!!

As is typical camp fashion, I think I got 3 hours of sleep the first night. 🙂

 

IMG_1584On Saturday, we had more group sessions in the morning. Then, the whole afternoon was free time!! Our 5 girls wanted to follow us everywhere but we told them to GO, HAVE FUN! They weren’t used to such freedoms. It was so great for them to explore and be independent within a safe camp setting. We met up with them at different times to do the Big Swing and zip line though. Emily and I went canoeing and did the zip line together… I had never been on a zip line and it was so fun!

 

On Saturday night all the boys and girls split up into two big groups and all the ladies took the girls down to the big field to talk to them about how special and unique God made them! Afterwards, we played glow-in-the-dark capture the flag with glow sticks and face paint! We heard that the men took the boys up the mountain with war paint and high energy games and had the same sort of talk introducing the strengths that God has given them.

 

Sunday morning, we had more group times and packed up to go home. I was exhausted but so glad I went. This was Emily’s first time going to camp as a leader and I was so proud of her hard work, kindness, creativity and the initiative she took. I think we’ll be back next year but I’ll need at least that long to recover. 😉IMG_1580

Amy Update: Thankful Kids!

Last week I had a special treat! I visited my son, Corban, at his preschool and talked to his class about the importance of being thankful!

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The students in Corban’s class are doing a unit on summer food. So, I brought in our Amy Adele cards with various food items- watermelons, carrots, peaches, apples, hamburgers and hot dogs. We talked about what food we like to eat in the summer and how yummy it all is! Then, we remembered who gave us all the food every day… our Mommies and Daddies!

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The 3 and 4 year olds in this class are not writing yet. So, we added some text on the card for them. We talked to the kids about how we should thank our parents for giving us food. They drew pictures of their favorite foods. It was so cute to watch them draw and explain what they were drawing. I saw pictures of giant blueberries, bananas and even an alien! (Okay, that was a little off topic, but so cute!)

The preschool years are a great time to start encouraging children to express their thankfulness through writing. By encouraging them at such a young age, we hope to instill in them the importance a thank you note and that taking the time to write or draw a picture can go a long way!

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We made it fun and quick so they can learn that writing thank you notes doesn’t have to be a chore. Getting to work with the kids and see all their drawings was a blast. What a great way to spend my day!

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Friday Amy Update: Summer Schedules

Hello again! This week has been much less hectic than last week and I am grateful! The new summer routine has begun. Everyone in the family has a plan which brings comfort to my heart. My kids are happy and occupied (most of the time) and I love it!

Corban started his first day of summer school on Monday. He only goes from 9-1 but it is a big help to me!! He was a little nervous on his first day but has had a super week. Now, he is happy to get up and go each morning! He is five years old but fits nicely in his mixed class of 3 and 4 year olds.

Emily caught a ride to the office with her dad because… she is helping ship your packages! She is a super student, very smart, detail oriented and responsible. She is a great fit to the summer team! She loves the extra cash. She’s planning to save for college and pay for her time on the ice skating rink.

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Grace does not have a place to go every day. So, we have worked out a schedule for her to keep her busy. Her days will be filled with creative choices like crafts or creating plays, chores, learning new things, reading, practicing piano, and plenty of chill out time too. She has a summer job too… she’s our laundry girl! She gathers, washes, dries and sorts all the laundry in the house. It’s a win-win for us all.

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I hope to stick to my plans too. I started running again in the mornings before the heat hits, I take Corban to school (which takes over a half hour), and then I fill my mornings with one or more of the following:
• Go into the office to check in with the staff
• Run errands
• Work from home

We often eat lunch together as a family and then Corban comes home. We relax at the house, go to the pool or run more errands. I think I go to the grocery store almost every day! Most evenings we are all home together and then our day is done!

Of course there are tons of exceptions but at least there’s a plan! 🙂

One wonderful exception this week to our new schedule was on Thursday. The girls and I got to do some summer clothes shopping and then out to lunch!

Amy A. Wike

Friday Amy Update: Gracie’s Birthday

My week began with a celebration (it ended with one too but more on that later)! After church on Sunday, we piled into the car and drove up to the mountains to where Joey’s parents live to celebrate his father’s 65th birthday with all my in-laws. When we all gather, we total 19. They live in a sweet little home near the mountains and we always have lots of fun eating, playing with the kids and catching up.

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Monday morning Emily (my oldest who is 15 years old) and I woke nice and early to hit the ice rink. She had a very important U.S. Figure Skating Test she needed to take as she continues to check them off her list. It’s a pass/fail kind of test and she… passed!! Whew. Then off to school. She only had one final today… in P.E. Really? Yes, apparently. I was at the office throughout the morning planning and meeting with staff. Mondays are usually my catch up days when it comes to AA and the house. I make a conscious effort not to work on Sundays. I don’t even check the orders. So between work, home and kid’s stuff the emails pile up a tad and it takes me most the day to get my checklist down to a manageable length. Since I was at the office, this catch up day was a little more challenging. Corban is taking his first swimming class every night this week and it started on Monday afternoon at my neighbor’s backyard pool. A swim instructor came to teach a bunch of the neighborhood kids a thing or two! We were supposed to go to a cookout with some friends but Joey had a rough day and I was close to my limit. It was a cookout where you bring the kids and I knew I’d have to have one hand on Corban the whole time. So with all those factors it added up to “Sorry, we can’t make it.” Whew… so thankful for my bed!

My sweet niece has been watching Corban a few mornings for me, since he’s been out of school. But I decided to keep Grace and Corban all to myself on Tuesday because I had to take my mother to the airport (who went to go see her mother in TX). So I made it my day to run errands and not work too much. We were out most the day except we did come home for lunch. Grace is my musician and she has her piano lessons on Tuesday afternoons which she really looks forward to. Her lessons are short but I managed to get a quick run in while Corban played at a nearby playground… he plays and I run circles around him on the little path that winds through the park. I’m sure I look a little funny but sometimes you just gotta do what ya gotta do. Then I picked up Grace, picked up Emily from school and we all headed and got a quick dip in the pool. I wanted Corban to get some practice in before his swim class. Another crazy busy day for me. I’m not used to this! I admire you single moms out there on days like this… and I didn’t even work!

On Wednesday my niece came back to watch the kiddos! Woo Hoo! And I ran out to buy gifts for my sweet Gracie’s birthday! That was fun shopping and it went smoothly too. But it did take me all morning to find just the right little items. I ran to Target and found some pool toys, pjs, and a sweet little top. I ran to a sports store to find a little tank and shorts to keep her cool in this hot SC summer that is fast approaching. Then I ran to REI to get her big gift, an ENO (a hammock she can hang between our trees in the backyard). Emily has one too, so it will be a sister bonding thing, which I love! Speaking of Emily… she took her last exam today and she is done with her freshman year of high school!! Emily had a figure skating lesson and then back to Corban’s swim lesson. He is the oldest in his little class but you’d never know it. He’ll get it, I know he will. Then before we went to bed Emily and I decorated the kitchen with tons of streamers and balloons for Grace to wake up to.

Happy 11th Birthday to my sweet Grace!!! The kids and I piled in the car to go get donuts (a big treat for this paleo family)! Then off to Barnes and Noble to browse the toys and books. Emily found a classy journal that she bought. We just happened to come when it was story times so Corban and I listened to the story (well to be honest, Corban kinda listened and I checked my email on my phone) and then did a craft! Nice! Grace found a book that I bought her (it was her birthday after all) and she bought a little toy with some of her birthday money. It was great outing which is rare with Corban. He has really turned a corner these last few months and it so nice to have a child who has finally understood HOW to behave (most of the time). Grace wanted a Subway sandwich so we grabbed it and took it home to eat an early lunch. Grace’s best friend, Elizabeth, came over and then we hit the pool! It was then that Corban put his whole face in the water for a number of seconds for the first time! He was so excited he just kept wanting to do it over and over. He couldn’t wait to show his swim instructor that afternoon! So exciting! Then home for a taco dinner, presents and a quick swing in the new ENO! Grace had all kinds of things she wanted to do including glow the dark bubbles (which unintentionally squirted all over the bathroom which you could see when you turned the lights out!), games and crafts. They were out by 10:30 and so was I… thank goodness.

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Today is looking just as busy as the rest as we plan to hit the pool again since Elizabeth is still hanging with us, more errands, and one more swim class. I need to clean the house because I’m hosting a baby shower tomorrow afternoon and we’re going out on a double date with friends. Work? What’s that? It has not really existed this week since the kids have been home and we had a big girl turning 11! But I have a wonderful husband and staff to run the show. I am so thankful for them. They allow me to go to the pool with my kiddos and shop during normal business hours for my daughter’s birthday. It is truly a luxury I am so very thankful for.

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The Girls of Amy Adele

If you follow our blog you know a lot about Amy’s son Corban. He unintentionally became the spotlight of conversation due to his early arrival and miraculous growth, but we think it is time to share a little more about his older sisters! Here’s what you need to know about the girls of Amy Adele.

Family Picnic

Emily is Amy’s oldest daughter and Corban’s best friend.

Emily and Corban at the grocery store

 

She is 15 and learning to drive, which is a big step, not only for her but for Amy and Joe as well. Emily is very active. She loves ice skating and even teaches skating lessons! Emily also runs cross country competitively. School comes easy for her. She also helps Amy teach a 3rd grade class at their church. In her spare time she doodles and draws just like Amy! With all of her activities and teaching you would probably imagine her as the outspoken and extroverted one of the family. It’s surprising to know that she is actually the most quiet and reserved.

Emily in the hammock

So, who is the extrovert? That would be Grace.

Gracie making pancakes

Grace turns 11 on June 5th, and she is “silly, silly, silly” according to Amy. School comes easy for her as well. Grace is the creative spirit in the house, she is always drawing, playing piano, and even writing her own songs. Her second love to being a musical genius? Her collection of her beloved stuffed animals of course. She has no filter; if she thinks it she says it! She is outspoken, friendly, and giggly. Grace is always happy!

Gracie going out of town

Emily and Grace are best buds and they love each other a ton! They love to hang out in Emily’s hammock that she hangs up in the back yard and Amy will often find them chatting away up in their rooms. They also give Amy great advice when she is designing a new card! Their constant creativity and contrasting personalities fill the Wike home with life and love!

Artist Spotlight: Amy Adele

We want to give you an inside look at the people behind the designs of Amy Adele. Of course our original artist and namesake, Amy, was our first choice. I, Caroline Kennedy, normally am the happy voice at the other end of your customer emails and the poster of all things social media, but for this blog I strapped on my reporter shoes and took a trip to see Amy in person where she works… at home!

I joined Amy at her home to talk about her journey as an artist. It’s a welcoming brick house tucked back in an adorable subdivision. The driveways are lined with blooming flowers and manicured shrubs. Amy welcomes me with an open door and a big smile :). Corban, her 5 year old son,  is lunching quietly at the kitchen table. The whole house has a cozy, comforting effect. The kitchen sports handmade cabinetry, courtesy of Amy’s husband, Joe. He would never brag about it, but it truly looks amazing.  We join Corban at the table with our lunches, and he tells me about his new bike and tries his best to say my name correctly. Ca-ro-line is a lot of new syllables for him, but he does better than most, which makes me smile. As we eat Amy begins to tell me a little about her journey.

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Amy was born in Northern Virginia, just a few states away. She has one older sister and grew up in a little cape cod styled home just inside the Beltway. One of her most ordered designs is a drawing of her childhood home. She was raised in a Christian home, and has carried that faith in Jesus Christ with her into adulthood. Amy married young, she and her husband (affectionately “Joey” to her) wed in 1994. They both attended a small liberal arts Christian college, Toccoa Falls College, in the North Georgia mountains.

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Four years after they married Amy and Joe welcomed their first daughter Emily to the world. Then six years later, they welcomed their second daughter Grace. Thinking they were done building their family, they settled in quickly to being parents of two sweet little girls. Newborn Grace wasn’t the only thing in the works that year. A short while after Grace was born Amy and Joe celebrated the launch of Amy Adele. Contrary to what Amy and Joe believed, their family was not quite done growing! Their son, Corban, was born in 2009, and has been a tremendous blessing to them in spite of his surprise arrival. You can read about him on anther blog post by clicking here.

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Amy has a knack for doodling, which family had insisted for years could be utilized. She had created small batches of hand made thank you notes for things like her wedding gifts and other special gifts. In December 2003, she created a design for their family Christmas card and had a few printed at a local print shop nearby. She got a lot of positive feedback from those cards. So after much prayer and thought and over many months, Amy began sketching and Joe began looking into how they could make a business out of it. Joe insisted they call their business Amy Adele despite Amy’s resistance and desire enjoy the shadows. Yes, that is her real name too! They decided to create a website so friends and family or perhaps even some people they didn’t know, could purchase Amy’s cards without any sales pitch pressure. Joe had a lot of experience in publishing so he too was in his element.  When they launched Amy Adele, it was intended to be somewhat of a hobby. They were expecting small and few orders and had decided not to be upset if they never had the first one. Within just a few days, they found that operating out of their home, hand scoring and folding each card, and their bleary eyes was not going to work! It was so exciting  but they were shocked by the sudden success of Amy Adele. They quickly moved into a one room business office and hired a part time girl to keep the production going while Amy continued to add new cards and Joe kept working his normal job. The ebb and flow and been quite dramatic at times and Joe is now working full time running and managing Amy Adele. Amy works from home and comes in the office once in a while to help with planning. They have had some amazing people work for them over the years and are amazed at all God has done through Amy Adele!

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As I spoke with her more that day, she let me flip through her sketch book and as I looked she would add in little statements like “that house is so lopsided!” or “those people’s heads are too big!”. This was not what I saw at all. I saw hours of perfectly doodled houses, tea cups, flowers, firetrucks, and a lot of adorable people with perfectly sized heads.  Amy shocks me when she says, “I’m almost embarrassed to be called an artist”. She goes on to say that in her mind “artists” paint things that end up in museums, they create murals, and beautiful portraits. The truth is art, just like music, comes in a million different styles. Each artist has a different calling, and be it doodles or the Mona Lisa, it is art none the less.

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I wrapped up our conversation by asking Amy what her main goal or desire for Amy Adele was. In her sweet way she explains that the goal has been the same all along. Amy Adele was created so that everyone who is a part of it has the opportunity to help people make happy memories. From birthday invitations to baby shower thank you notes, Amy Adele gets to witness a new happy memory in the making with every order that is placed. Amy loves knowing that her little doodles are ending up preserved in scrapbooks and memory boxes as a reminder of the happy occasions our customers share. Happy memories are our everyday joy, but what really keeps Amy creating is the idea of promoting thankfulness in children. Promoting thankfulness in children is a goal that has a lasting reward. In Amy’s eyes, if she creates notes that show joy, and those notes help children understand how to show thankfulness, that is her opportunity to encourage to others.