spring fever

1. A few days (Saturday) ago I started a post saying that my freshman classes had their research papers due Monday (yesterday). I continued to say that my goal was to have them done before Saturday (4 days from now). Hahahahahahahaha. I made the rubric yesterday. I marked up one paper yesterday. This is not looking good for that original goal.

2. Surprise! Doug & I are going to North Dakota for Easter Break! We are going to visit Robert and then maybe venture into the Badlands... who knows?! We leave in less than a week and we haven't nailed down any details! We are living on the wild side! Also, we are driving! We are young & foolish! The world is our oyster!

3. Listening to: David Platt's Secret Church series "The Cross of Christ". I cannot recommend this series enough! Make time to listen to it - just one hour at a time. Put on headphones while you go for a walk. Have it playing while you do laundry. Just listen to it. I'm doing this with my sophomore girls' small group leading up to Easter - it's been amazing. The series is divided into 4 hour-long teachings (that's 4 teachings that are each an hour long, to clarify) to make it more manageable. So far, Platt has gone through the divine dilemma (How can a holy God satisfy himself and still save sinners?), the divine substitution (Jesus was fully God & fully man; he died the death we should have died), each stage of the cross & the various implications... I am learning so much and have a newfound appreciation of the cross. I wanted to say a newfound "understanding" - - but I'm not there yet. Pieces are coming together like never before, and there are times when I'm listening to Platt teach that I just get goosebumps when something clicks. "May I never lose the wonder of the cross!"

That's all... off to cuddle with Zooey & perhaps read through some research papers...


to the best woman i know

Oscar Wilde said,
"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy."
I could only hope to endure such a "tragedy".
I love you, Mom.
Happy birthday.


wherein i loll about in a morass of self-pity & then snap out of it with resounding exuberance

I know, I know. I hate it too. I hate whining (look at me, whining about whining!). My dad would say, "Your attitude determines your altitude" - or something along those lines. And it's true. I'm a white, middle class female with a solid job that I usually enjoy. I have a remarkable husband, a cute (albeit insane) pup, a roof over my head, and pretty delicious meals whenever I want them. The weather is slowly but surely getting warmer and I'm young and healthy. WHAT do I have to complain about?!
But sometimes one just needs an outlet for pent up frustration.
And Internet, there you are, with your sultry eyes, just asking me to tell you all about it.


Tomorrow I'm going on a field trip with my sophomore class to a Creation Science Museum. Okay, no biggie. Except it's in Kentucky. That's a 10-11 hour round trip in one day. Leaving at 6am, getting home at 10ishpm. Did I mention that I'm going with 50 teenagers? To be fair, in Doug's words, I could have "just said no" to chaperoning. But as I've established, I'm a pushover.

That's it. I just really wanted to complain about that. I feel much better now. I was going to blub on about some other nonsense, but life is too short.

So, to combat that negativity, here are some awesome things:

First -
Excluding tomorrow's jaunt/epic journey, there are 4 school days until Easter break.
After Easter break, there are 40 school days until exams.

Slash, frightening, as I have no idea how I'm going to get through all my curriculum... I think I can! I think I can!

Sorry, Zooey. The OPC doesn't ordain women.

Third -
It's not a baby elephant, but...
it's still pretty adorable.
(Image stolen from the Internet somewhere...)

Internet, how could you NOT forgive my griping after seeing that precious little furball?


28 is great


If I was with you, there would be a lot of this:

resulting in a lot of this:

then some of this:

and a lot of this:

And of course, a WHOLE lot of this:

Happy Birthday, Victoria! I love you!


dessert tonight - breakfast tomorrow

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins w/ Glaze

Mouth-wateringly delicious.
Recipe here.

(Dinner tonight was Four Cheese Spinach Lasagna - vegetarian delight, Marla! You should definitely try this recipe.)

(Also, I may have a problem. See here ['08], here ['09] and here ['10]...)


for robert...

I have days where my heart just aches for western New York and especially for my family and the farm. However, I'm blessed to have a sweet husband and dear friends in the area who make living in the suburbs a little easier (I said "easier"... key word).

Lately I've been missing my brosive Robert terribly and feeling bad that he doesn't have any loved ones nearby to make his 24-hour distance from home any easier. He's doing what he loves - ranching & being out West, but it's still lonely for him. Please keep him in your prayers, and if you'd like to send him a letter or a care package, feel free to email me for his address.

To Robert
Cohort. Tag-along.
Friend. Enemy. Pest.
Co-conspirators. Tattletale.
Equal. Worst. Best.
Betrayed. Trusted.
Comedian. Shoulder for tears.
Companion. Isolationist.
Prompter of giggles for years.
Fighter. Teammate.
Inflictor of joy and hurt.
Cornerstone of my childhood.
My brother Robert.


a weekend of newness!

What a fun weekend! I went home to NY, where I was greeted by a little remodeling of the ole Bannister kitchen!
Love these new doors!

On Saturday I finally got to meet Colden!
He is absolutely perfect & so tiny!

I made a gift for Colden almost 2 months ago... I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I've been dying to blog about it, but haven't wanted to ruin the surprise for Victoria:

I knew I wanted to make something for Colden's nursery (safari theme), and was inspired by this mobile and this insanity. I went for something a little more low key, but I still think it's cute! Plus, they're finger puppets.

I also got to spend some quality time with Mom & Dad and Emily & Jayne. It's weird not seeing Ethan or Robert when I'm at home. We have a lot of baby calves on the farm - - 4 were born just during the time I was there!

Mom thought my "craving" in my latest "recently i'm..." post was a hint, so she made minestrone soup, homemade bread AND my favorite salad ever - strawberry poppyseed.
Oh, AND apple pie for dessert. YUM.

Now I'm back in Michigan & entirely unprepared for school tomorrow... gotta love weekends!

p.s. Can we just talk about how awesome it is that Cornell is in the Sweet Sixteen!? As my dad said, "Revenge of the nerds! Go Big Red!"


heart for the city

Click here for an inspiring article about Detroit (plus, it highlights CDC!).

"Should I not love that great city?"



sharing loveliness

Ever have one of those days where you're in the car, windows down, great music playing and you just want to drive until the car runs out of gas? That's how I felt this afternoon when my thermostat read 68 degrees, the sun was shining and the Avett Brothers were sweetly strumming & serenading through my speakers.

So I thought I'd share some other lovely things to encourage some good vibrations across the Internet.

1 - Um, yeah. Of course it involves chocolate.

You know you want some S'more Cookie Bars.

2 - Seeing Colden in 4 days!!

3 - Zooey.
(Thanks to Em for the suggestion!)

4 - New drink at Starbucks: Dark Cherry Mocha. WOW. I also highly recommend as a frappucino...

5 - Walks. This is the best time of year for walks. Finally releasing the tension of cabin fever, embracing the warmer temperatures, taking advantage of the longer hours of sunlight... pure bliss.
(Also, weird posture while trying to get the shot...)

6 - Hot dogs. Bear with me. Hot dogs = baseball = spring. Usually we wait until Opening Day to indulge, but yesterday the Tigers played a spring training game and it was so sunny we couldn't wait.

7 - Buds.

8 - Green grass. GREEN GRASS.

9 - Colorful mailboxes.

10 - Baby elephants.
Come on, you know you were hoping it'd make the top 10.
(Image stolen from somewhere in Google...)

What's lovely in your life these days?

**Edit: I had to change my blog header. The other one was just too gray.


the weight of the world...

... I love having a dog.



Whaddya think?

(Looks super dark in the pic, but I didn't dye it - just got bangs & a trim!)
This face is expressing how I felt about the cut last night when it was brand new - - thinking about liking it, but not totally sold. This morning after I was able to successfully "style" (aka blow dry + a couple quick wavy curls!) it, I decided I like it. My students were also vocal about deciding they liked it... as one 14-yr old boy said, "Mrs. P! That haircut is kickin!"

A very happy 26th birthday to Kathleen! I hope you have a great birthday, and I'm so excited for all that this upcoming year holds for you - planning a wedding & starting a new life with your future husband!! Love you lots!

Uh, you NEED to watch this - my cousin's little son shooting a basketball. Most adorably hilarious video ever.

Happy Friday!!


recently i'm... (4)

Excited about: the newest addition to the Bannister family - Colden! Such a beautiful baby boy.

Reading: Last week I read The Kite Runner. A year or so ago, Doug & I started watching it together, and I ran out of the room crying after one scene. I was able to make it through the book without crying. Overall, it's an excellent book and I highly recommend it. I'm still working on Ministries of Mercy by Keller. Just started a collection of essays called Cold Tangerines that I'm borrowing from my friend Patti.

Listening: to the Avett Brothers. I just went to their show in Ann Arbor last night with my friend Vanessa. It was so much fun - they draw a very diverse, interesting crowd! Their albums are very chill, but their performance was crazy & energized. Pretty much love them. Download: "Perfect Space" off their album I and Love and You.

Cooking: I have all the ingredients for these amazing S'more Bars that one of my students made for her demonstration speech... now I just need to make them (and hopefully mail some to Robert!). They are amazing.

Thinking: The quarter ends in a week and 2 days. Then only 1 more quarter left.

Wearing: Well, I'm not wearing this right now (or today, even), but I wore this Monday. It was a birthday gift from Doug.

Craving: Mom's minestrone soup and a warm slice of her homemade bread.

Thankful for: Skype, so I can see Doug while he's in Florida.

Laughing at: Obsession.

Grading: done with the portfolios! My freshmen are working on their research papers... so that will be quite a task when they're done.

Loving: Warmer days, sunny afternoons, brighter mornings & longer hours of daylight.


rachele eve

Oh. my. word.

I went to a concert tonight to see "my friend Vanessa's sister" -

Turns out she's amazing. Go to iTunes and buy Mouth of Feathers NOW. I wish I had a recording of the acoustic set she did tonight (especially her cover of Joni Mitchell's "Little Green") - but the album on iTunes is spectacular, especially "Three Words".

If you are human and like music in any capacity, you need to hear her. And if you live in the Chicago area, look up her show schedule and go see her live.

Bingo! You can hear her cover of "Little Green" on her Myspace"


dinner tonight...

Homemade Garbage Plate! ... sorta.
It started as an... Open-Face Sloppy Burger? And turned into a Homemade Garbage Plate.

Does anyone who's never eaten at Nick Tahou's know what a "garbage plate" is? Is that a dumb question? I've only eaten at NT's once, in high school... but I'm pretty sure I still have some of their grease coursing/clogging my veins.

So here's the story behind dinner (because who doesn't want to hear about the thought-process behind my meals?!):

We had Sara & Dave over for dinner last Friday night and grilled burgers (on the grill outside - thanks, Doug!). I wanted to make "Golden Potato Nuggets" from my MixingBowl.com magazine, but ran out of time, so we just had mashed potatoes. However, I was still determined to make these golden nuggets.

So tonight I planned on having burgers and potato nuggets. I started the prep for the nuggets, then realized we didn't have any hamburger buns. And we only had two burgers left. So, I began improvising. Here's how you can make your own Sloppy Open-Face Garbage Burger Mess.

1. Brown 1 lb ground beef (leave it a tad pink). Drain grease.
2. Sprinkle on some basic burger rub/seasoning. I didn't measure it.
3. Brown a little longer, then toss in some cheese. I used PepperJack. If I had planned more in advance, I would have chopped some onions and tossed them in.
4. Meanwhile, turn on broiler.
5. Grab hamburger buns or bread or whatever you have (I used hotdog buns), open and butter.
6. Toast buns under broiler carefully (do not leave unattended!).
7. Scoop meat mix liberally onto toasted buns.
8. Top with your preferred condiments (we used ketchup & mustard).


You will want a fork and a napkin.

Golden Tater Nuggets were decent (they actually look much better in the picture than in real life). I ended up mashing mine and mixing it with the burger mess. All in all, the meal was pretty much delicious. Plus, I got to say "toasted buns" in a blog post. Score!


400th post

1. This is my 400th post. (That is the worst 4 I have ever drawn...)
2. Yesterday my friend Katy and I took 23 students to St. Patrick's Senior Center in Detroit. I was pretty nervous in the morning because I was in charge and I had no clue what was going on. Our school has been doing a Serve-a-thon, and there have been a few breakdowns in communication... but everything worked itself out, as it usually does! I got to meet some sweet people and learn about a cool organization! Plus, I got to see 6 teenage boys dancing with 6 elderly women in a hula-exercise class. Amazing.
Katy, Joanna, Me
3. I love, love, love that it is light outside once again in the mornings when I leave!
4. I will hopefully be visiting western NY next weekend... if someone will hurry & be here.
5. In the weeks leading up to Easter, my small group will be listening to an awesome David Platt series - The Cross of Christ.
6. Doug & I are going to Charleston for spring break! (We think...)
7. Okay, I'm hungry.


real life conversations, pt. 5

So, our apartment is weird in winter, in that the upstairs is always really warm and the downstairs is always freezing. I guess heat rises, but I didn't realize there would be a 10 degree temperature shift when I walk from the stairs into the kitchen. Anyway, I digress. On with the hilarity that is Doug Parton.

Doug: "I can't do my paper when it's this cold in the house."
Doug: "I guess if Jonathan Edwards could do it, I can too."


eagerly awaiting

For those of you who unfortunately don't know my cousin Victoria, she is 9 months pregnant and due to have a boy any day. She just posted this poem on her blog, and I had to share it here as well because it is so beautiful.

Quiet Morning

quiet morning, and i'm here waiting

my little bundle, anticipating.

i stand in his room, i look at his clothes.

i cannot wait to kiss his cheeks and his nose.

my baby son, in my belly he'll wait

until the time of the right birth date.

daddy and i prepare and we plan

for the arrival of our little man.

soon our new chapter of life shall start

an overflow of joy and love from our hearts.

-an original composition by Victoria Gerhardt

Victoria & Jeremy - we love you & we're praying for you and your son!