2012 recap

- Celebrated New Years with our awesome neighbors in CHV.
- Robert & Bailey visited, and I neglected to take any pictures of the four of us.
- Hit up UMI Sushi with the Snyders.
- I helped with my last homecoming at PCA.
- I turned 27 and celebrated with teenagers.

- Wrote some poetry.
- Officially kicked off our community group!
- Enjoyed mid-winter break.

- Took my small group girls to Excelsior Farms for their senior sneak.
- Went to Costa Rica with my seniors.

- Patti & I enjoyed the fruits of our labor as we watched our kiddos perform Beauty & the Beast.
- Saw a picture of a our son for the first time (& subsequently went nursery crazy).
- Went to my last PCA prom, sans spray-tan.

- Chopped my hair.
- Went with our youth group seniors on their senior sneak to Gatlinburg.
- Doug & I went to the Ethiopian restaurant in Plymouth for the first time.
- Officially accepted our referral for a 7-month old baby boy.
- Watched my seniors graduate.

- Celebrated the wedding of our friends Al & Aimee.
- Got our court date & booked our trip to Ethiopia.
- Became mildly obsessed with homemade iced coffee.
- Met Bonsa Douglas Parton.

- Received word that Bonsa was officially our son on the 4th of July.
- Celebrated 5 years of marriage.
- Had a wonderful weekend in western NY.
- My friends in Michigan threw me my first baby shower.
- Did the Color Run with Maria & Troy!
- We took a trip to the Adirondacks with the Gerhardts.

- Touched up our guest room.
- Got yelled at while out on a jog.
- NY fam and friends threw me a baby shower!
- Conquered Ann Arbor with Haley.
- Finished putting together Bo's room.

- Picked up our son forever.
- Bonsa turned one.
- My mom and Ethan came to meet Bo, and we had an Ethiopian-themed birthday party.
- We spent time just enjoying being a family of three.

- I started working as an "E-Rate Consultant"
- Bonsa went to the farm for the first time!
- We celebrated with the Snyders when their adoption was finalized!
- Bo's first Halloween

- Went on my first client visits.
- We continued going for lots of family walks.
- Celebrated Thanksgiving in NY.
- Got our Christmas tree.

- Helped host a baby shower for Patti and Caleb.
- Bonsa got baptized.
- Doug turned 30 & I threw a surprise party for him.
- We hosted Parton Christmas (pictures possibly to come in a future post...)
- We went back to NY to celebrate New Years with my family.

- - -

YOUR 5 Favorite Posts of 2012:
1. bo's room
2. what i did last week
3. bringing bo home: prep for family & friends
4. one
5. ethiopia, pt. everyone is waiting for

MY 5 Favorite Posts [excluding ones above that I love]
1. b
2. a few of my favorite things
3. [cheating] costa rica pt 1, 2, 3
4. our little wild thing
5. family photos

Happy New Year!


from our family to yours...

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests.
- Luke 2:14



On Sunday, December 9th, Bonsa was baptized!

Pointing to the Christmas trees...
Checking out the water...
 Action shot! 
 Haha - nope! Only Mom and Dad are allowed to give me a bath.
 After the service. Our little baptized babe! 
(All questions about the theological implications of infant baptism can be directed to Doug. Ha!)


diy burlap art

Every year my small group does a cookie bake Christmas party. 
We also usually exchange small gifts. 
This year, our small group leader suggested that we have a "favorite things" party. 
The rules were: spend under $5 per person on something that is a favorite of yours. 
We were also told to share our favorite thing that God has been teaching us during Advent season. 

I came up with this:
Frame: Ikea, $2.99. 
Burlap: JoAnn's... like $3/yd, and this is a 3x5 piece. You do the math.
Black acrylic paint & stencils: I've had for years.
Total: definitely under $5!
I chose this because:
- One of my favorite things to do is little crafts.
- I love all things rustic, and I like little touches like this in home decor.
- Finally, it ties in perfectly with what God has been teaching me this season of Advent:
(and one of my favorite Bible verses)
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" - Philippians 4:4

Now for the humility shot - here's what my craft station really looks like.
Also - why didn't I make myself one of these?! 

That's all for now - someone is whining and drooling on my knee. 
(Not Doug.)



I love this guy so much.
Happy birthday, Doug.
Here's to the next thirty! 



Check over HERE for some news that makes us do THIS:


family photos

We are blessed to know an amazing photographer - Justin Michau.
This fall, we were able to take some family photos with him, and I simply love them.
Zooey photobombing... 

Justin, thank you so much. 
We couldn't be happier with the way you captured our family!

Check out more of Justin's incredible work!


3 months home.

Our sweet son has been home for 3 months! That's a quarter of a year!

September .......................................... December
Weight: 17.5 pounds ........................... 19.8 pounds
Height: 28 inches ................................. 29 inches

In September... he sort of army crawled, but got tired really quickly.
In December... he is crawling at a good pace and keeping his parents busy!

In September... he could sit with a little support (pillow behind him).
In December... he can sit up by himself from lying down!

In September... he could sort of stand if you had your hands under his armpits.
In December... he stands hanging onto hands, toys, couch... and the little daredevil will frequently lift his hands up and simply lean against something!

In September... there was no walking, whatsoever.
In December... he can walk holding mommy or daddy's hands!

In September... he would spit out food with any texture.
In December... he's eating Cheerios and has no problem with textures!

In September... he wouldn't touch food on his tray.
In December... he picks up food and puts it in his mouth! 

Also in December...
- He's "blowing kisses" (i.e. puts his hand over his mouth).
- When asked for a kiss, he will lean forward, open mouth and put his tongue on your cheek.
- Regularly says "Dada" and "Mama" and "Bobo"... as well as a lot of other nonsense babble.
- Loves turning lights on and off. 
- Looks for and points to Zooey when asked, "Where's Zooey?"
- He's stacking his blocks instead of just trying to knock them over!
- Still loves seeing himself in the mirror and in pictures. 
- Still very clingy to Mom & Dad, but we don't mind that one bit.

Bo-berry-bean, we love watching you learn and grow. You never fail to amaze us.
We sure do love you lots! 


results are in!

Elf, with a resounding victory! 29 to 8 at the end of the poll... 
and I, too, am a huge fan of Elf (though my family quotes The Grinch more often!).

This week: It's a Wonderful Life v. White Christmas!


diy christmas door spray

A few years ago, I bought a cute fake wreath with fake red apples to adorn our door for Christmas.
Unfortunately, this past year, we had a storm door installed.
And my cute fake wreath didn't fit in between the doors!
So, I got creative.

I took three branches, tied them together, made a little twine hanger, 
wrapped the stems in burlap, and tied that with a little red gingham ribbon.
Took about 10 minutes, max.

I love how simple this looks, but from a distance, it could probably use a bigger ribbon 
- or maybe just a big old burlap bow.
(But that's probably not going to happen. Let's be honest, I'm pretty proud of myself for getting this up.)

So there you have it. 
10-minute DIY Christmas door spray! Ta-da!


taking a break.

sometimes in the midst of the holly & jolliness 
you just need to sit down with your babe
and blow kisses and drink a peppermint mocha.

how are YOU taking a break during the craziness of the christmas season?

. . .

also - i added a holiday poll to the side of my blog.
this week you get to vote elf v. grinch.
i'm not weighing in til after :)


a milk n' cookies shower

This past weekend, my friend Ellie and I threw a shower for Patti and her sweet son Caleb!
We did a milk n' cookies theme, with some help from good ole Pinterest.

We figured that the "milk" part might be a little juvenile for grown-ups, 
so we did a coffee, tea and hot chocolate bar as well.
Got the idea for chocolate-dipped mallows here and adapted it a bit for the party.
They were super easy & cute - I definitely want to make the peppermint ones later this winter!
We had some delectable cookies - chocolate chip, chocolate crinkle, chocolate mint,
English matrimonials, lemon shortbread and peanut butter blossoms.
I, of course, sampled all of them.
In light of the holiday season, rather than play a shower game,
we decided to decorate cookies!
And our favors were sprinkles in cute little jars.
Overall, I was so happy with how everything turned out
and we had such a fun afternoon!

Congrats, Patti! We sure love your family!!


real life "conversations"

Doug, starting suddenly from sleep: 
"Sorry. I just had a dream that Bonsa was peeing all over the place. Welcome to parenthood."

Rolls over, goes back to sleep.


2012 mastheads

January 2012: counting it all joy
James 1:2
February 2012: it gets the people going!
Jay-z & Kayne & Will Ferrell?!
March 2012: ... He faithful will remain...
From my favorite hymn, "Be Still My Soul"

April 2012: living young & wild & free
So what? (Oh please, Internet, understand that I make many of these mastheads ironically.)
May 2012: always joyful selves are singing
from ee cummings' "sweet spring"

June 2012: suddenly my prayers are coming true
from Mandi Mapes' song "This Love" - about adoption!
July 2012: on the verge of mommyblog
it's happening... slowly but surely, it's happening.

August 2012: looking motherly
my friend said this about one of my outfits, and I just had to laugh & embrace it...

September 2012: three is a magic number
we left september 1st to go pick up our son from ethiopia!

October 2012: going gorillas
I couldn't possibly know what this is from. (*cough*kanyejayz*cough*)
November 2012
I don't know. My minimalist phase.

December 2012: joy beyond the walls of the world
an awesome Tolkien quote.