2011: playlist

1. Doveman "The Best Thing" - Just discovered Doveman this year. Not in love, but I like this song.
2. Lecrae "God is Enough" - This makes me laugh, but this was my most played workout jam. Well, if we're being honest, this song would usually come on somewhere between Kanye and Li'l Wayne, but... my dad reads this blog.
3. Aqualung "Garden of Love" - Rediscovered Aqualung on my iPod and listened to this a ton this summer.
4. Adele "Someone Like You" - Except I like the cover better. I know this is one of the most overplayed songs of the year, but I'm a sucker for piano driven songs.
5. Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More" - "oh man is a giddy thing". The first time I watched this video, I did a double-take because I thought the guy in the trucker hat was a kid I knew in college. It's not.
6. Radiohead "Codex" - Mopey & beautiful. Quintessential Radiohead.
7. Coldplay "Charlie Brown" - Sometimes I love Chris Martin and sometimes I want to just... shake him. Regardless, can't stop loving Coldplay.
8. Foster the People "Pumped Up Kicks" - Kind of disturbing lyrics ("better run faster than my bullet"), but such a fun beat.
9. Mandi Mapes "This Love" - sweet, fun song about adoption! Ever since I heard this song, I knew I wanted to make an adoption video to it, and this link is to someone who did just that! Love it.

And last but certainly not least,
10. Gungor "Beautiful Things" - Gorgeous melody, beautiful harmony, great lyrics... I'm obsessed.


2011: year in review

January 2011
- Celebrated the new year with my family
- Became obsessed with peanut butter frosting, much to Doug's chagrin
- Enjoyed snow days
- Turned 26 & got my first sewing machine

February 2011
- Became slightly obsessed with sewing baby dresses
- Enjoyed more snow days
- Participated in my 3rd homecoming at PCA with the juniors
- Got my annual winter cold
- Rooted for my little sister in the NYS Dairy Princess competition
- Finally put knobs on our bathroom cupboards

March 2011
- Became mildly obsessed with the first season of Prison Break
- Discovered boy's underwear/compression shorts on my classroom floor one morning
- Got a haircut (this is big news for me, since I only get 1 or 2 a year. oops)
- Went to Washington, D.C. with my juniors

April 2011
- Tried to quit blogging.
- Was reprimanded.
- Returned to blogging.
- Helped direct my first drama production at PCA
- Celebrated Easter with my family.

May 2011
- Became obsessed with baking stuffed chocolate chip cookies.
- Had a little spray-tanning mishap.
- Remodeled my bedside table.
- Went to my second prom.
- Took Zooey to the new dog park several times
- Spent Memorial Day with our friends Maria & Troy at their cottage

June 2011
- Wore shorts for the first time of the year!
- Made strawberry jam
- Became obsessed with frozen blueberries in yogurt.
- My sweet, smart husband finished his Masters!
- My sweet, smart sister graduated salutatorian!
- Got to see David Platt teach for a week in Alabama (and apparently never shared pics on the blog. oops!)
- Decided to pursue Ethiopian adoption

July 2011
- Celebrated 4th of July with Doug's parents in our backyard
- Celebrated 4 years of marriage
- Completed the pre-screening with our adoption agency and were placed on a waitlist
- Went on a mission trip to New Orleans
- Spent a lot of time at the pool in CHV
- Road trip to D.C.! Got to see the newest Bannister boy.

August 2011
- Became slightly obsessed with the pool in CHV.
- Took a trip home to tell my fam we were adopting!
- Enjoyed fun times with my girly cousins.
- "Helped" Dad prep the house for painting.
- Had fun adventures with my small group
- Road trip to Chicago to visit Dave & Sara!
- Got my 2nd haircut of the year.
- Lost my Grandpa.
- Went back for my 4th year at PCA.

September 2011
- Attended Grandpa's funeral.
- Baby shower for Jeanette!
- Sushi date night with Team Snarton
- Enjoyed the delights of fall: apples, crisp weather, donuts, cider...
- Announced our adoption!

October 2011
- Finally remembered to do ten-on-ten!
- Got accepted to our adoption agencies.
- Helped organize & run our 2nd annual walkathon for World Orphans
- (Backed up into a huge rock leaving the walkathon, causing damage to our muffler.)
- Started Sweet Bo Peep to help raise money for our adoption.
- Decorated for fall
- Victoria, Jeremy & Colden came to visit!
- Became slightly obsessed with caramel/cream cheese dip.
- Celebrated our 2nd Halloween in CHV.

November 2011
- Had our home study for the adoption.
- Suffered through had parent-teacher conferences.
- Had a lovely weekend with my mom & Jayne!
- Celebrated a co-worker's pregnancy and gave another co-worker an allergic reaction.
- Celebrated Thanksgiving with the family.

December 2011
- Held our Adoption Auction, which was a huge success!
- Somehow survived the end of the 1st semester.
- Celebrated Doug's 29th birthday!
- Participated in the 4th (?) annual Small Group Cookie Bake!
- Had our annual college Christmas dinner in Spring Arbor
- Celebrated Christmas in WNY.
- Currently hosting my in-laws for Parton Christmas.

Here's looking forward to two thousand twelve!


adoption update

Just a note to say that you can read about the most recent happenings in our adoption process over on the adoption blog!


a very insta christmas

16 ::

1 :: Mom & Dad's traditional 1st Christmas ornament
2 :: O Bannister Christmas Tree
3 :: Mom's Christmas schedule
4 :: Friend/family necklaces
5 :: Cute wrapping, if I may say so myself
6 :: Apron for Victoria
7 :: Oh, genes.
8 :: Cold drive to Albion.
9 :: Excelsior chcoolates
10:: Knitting + creme brulee truffles = joy
11 :: Mumsy
12 :: Christmas lovebirds
13 :: Centerpiece
14 :: Mom's Frye boots from college!
15 :: sister-sister
16 :: on the way home to Michigan


from our home to yours...

We're heading to NY tonight, so I probably won't have another chance 
to post this before Christmas. We just wanted to say...
No, that picture isn't recent. Yes, it is from over a year ago.
No, we didn't mail out cards. Yes, we are slackers. 
My New Year's resolution is to send Christmas cards.
Speaking of the new year... get excited for some new changes on the blog!


christmas quiz!

Christmas Quiz

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Probably 9 times out of 10 I'd say hot chocolate. But if this is a Christmas quiz, there's something very Christmas-y about egg nog to me! Christmas Eve = egg nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps them, of course!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? I haven't ever! I want to each year, but never do.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Mm. I love holiday meals. Prime rib & mashed potatoes.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Just everything with my family. All the traditions and laughter. Eating breakfast and dinner together. Watching the movie from Santa.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? 3rd grade - a boy ran around the classroom yelling that Santa wasn't real. (I'm looking at you, RUSSELL.)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. But I did get my Christmas gift early this year... ;)

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? White lights. Random ornaments that we've gotten for years/made years ago.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it! (Until March)

12. Can you ice skate? Yes.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Oh boy, there have been so many. Probably one that has become increasingly meaningful to me is a handmade quilt from my grandma. I probably wasn't thrilled about it when I got it, but I love having it now.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Celebrating everything that the birth of Christ means. Being surrounded by family.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Mom's traditional ice cream cake (kind of like grasshopper pie).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Goodness. Probably the night before Christmas. Growing up, we always went to the Christmas Eve service at church, then drove around and looked at lights. When we got home, we'd change into pj's and get ready for bed. Dad would read "The Night Before Christmas" with all of us kids piled on the couch, Mom in the rocking chair. Afterward, we'd all light candles and go up to bed singing "Silent Night".
17. What tops your tree? a star

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Giving.

19. Candy canes: yuck or ymmy? Um, I like the mini ones. I get sick of the regular-sized ones.

20. Favorite Christmas show? Rudolf and Elf. "Bumbles bounce!"

21. Saddest Christmas song? Um, half of the Sufjan Stevens album ("Did I make you cry on Christmas day?") or the Josh Groban "I'll Be Home For Christmas" with messages from soldiers overseas. Totally overplayed, but it gets me every time.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Silent Night.

Then I added these ones, because you need 25 questions on a Christmas quiz

23. When do you finish the bulk of your Christmas shopping? A week or 2 before Christmas. This year, sadly... 4 days before Christmas.

24. Who's the easiest and hardest person to shop for? Easiest = Mom or Victoria. Hardest = Robert.

25. What's your favorite Christmas cookie? The chocolate/molasses cut-outs that Grandma Bannister makes!

That's all! Merry Quizmas. 


weekly wishes: recap

Last week I wished to...

... finish grading all the college portfolios. CHECK.

... finish grading the juniors' in-class essays. CHECK.

... get the rest of Doug's birthday gift. CHECK.

... finish making one Christmas gift. CHECK. still cryptic!

... not develop a stress-induced tic. CHECK. so far.

... drop off home study forms at my doctor's office. CHECK.

... select the pieces for the auditions for our school musical. Nope. Didn't do it yet. BUT I can tell you what it is - Beauty & the Beast. Yes. YES.

ALSO - remember when I made a goal for the school year to leave the house each day before 7:05am?? Well, friends, I'm feeling pretty good about myself in this arena. Friday was the first day I left the house after 7:05am - and I left at 7:06am.

THIS week I wish to...

... grade all the freshman research papers, all the freshman in-class essays, and all my midterms. I kinda have to, because the semester ends on Friday.

... finish Christmas gifts. I kinda have to, because Christmas is on Sunday.

... go for one walk a day with Zooey. Because she's cute. And because it's the holidays, so I'm eating even more junk food than normal. Which... is just a lot.

That's it! I'm going easy on myself this week. :)

Happy Monday Tuesday! (started this post yesterday!)

Also, because I'm procrastinating on these research papers, here are some pictures from Small Group Cookie Share and College Buddy Christmas Reunion! (Not the official name of either gathering...) All pictures stolen from my friends' Facebook albums. Cheesecake pictured made by yours truly!


twenty-nine and fiiiine

Doug's 29 today!
I tried to get him to take 29 pictures with me - we got to 20 before he checked out. :)



"Okay, this was fun... time for the game."

To the man who makes up songs in the car with me, who makes me laugh, 
who supports me and encourages me, who puts up with my nonsense ... 
Doug, you are so wonderful & I am so thankful for you. 
Happy 29th birthday, HB. I love you.


weekly wishes

Props again to Maria for this idea. I'm doing this because the end of the semester is almost here, and I really need some accountability.

This week I wish to...

... finish grading all the college portfolios. 
This sounds like a massive undertaking in my mind, because I'm picturing the huge stack of binders behind my desk that is inhibiting my rolly-chair movement... but I know I can do it.

... finish grading the juniors' in-class essays.
This should have been done last week. Or the week before. Oops.

... get the rest of Doug's birthday gift. 
Pretty much have to, since his birthday is on Sunday. If you weren't listening the first time, Doug's birthday is on Sunday! And he's turning 29.

... finish making one Christmas gift.
Ooh, cryptic.

... not develop a stress-induced tic.
It's the little things that count.

... drop off home study forms at my doctor's office.
This should have been done last week.

... select the pieces for the auditions for our school musical.
Yes, people. You read that correctly. I am once again helping with the high school drama production. This year it is a musical, AND - you are looking at reading the blog of the musical director for... I can't say yet! But soon & very soon. I am beyond pumped.

I have to stop there. Because I want to keep this realistic.

Here are 2 more pictures from our walk on Saturday morning. I suppose I could have added these to my ten-on-ten... oh well.