2012 “end of the year” Survey!

Oh my gosh, I could barely  navigate my WordPress dashboard, it feels like it has been so long since I last posted. Hope everyone had a lovely holiday & here’s to an amazing 2013!

This survey was originally found on Sundry’s blog and then reposted on my personal favorite: Becoming Jolie. Enjoy reading and share your answers, too, if you’d like!

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I sewed a quilt, ate a vegan diet for a month, went to the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, pushed out a baby (au naturale), and watched Elf in its entirety.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolution? Will you make any for 2012?
Well, this is what I aspired to do…
a) make a small photo album of Norah’s first year – NO, so sad…
b) exercise twice a week – ummm…I’m ashamed…
c) learn to practice sabbath well – Yes, we are getting there!
d) complete the novel I began during NaNoWriMo 2011 – NO, oh well…
e) try to have more written correspondence (send more notes/cards/letters) – Sort of, I made a lot of homemade cards, does that count?
In other words, maybe I should forego “resolutions” – in 2013 I look forward to being present & enjoying my moments without unrealistic expectations. 😉

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Didn’t you hear, it’s baby season in northwest Ohio? I have had the pleasure of meeting (in person or FB) so many sweet babies (Haven, Eliana, Ethan, Evan, Cameron, Landon – to name a few) not to mention my own little peanut (born in July) and I have about 20 friends that are due to become mamas in the spring of 2013!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my former pastor (and also my dear friend’s dad), Joe Lengel.
“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you’re going no matter how you live, cannot you part.” – Annie Dillard

5. What countries did you visit?
Ethiopia – via some amazing fiction 😉 – see #24

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Hardwood floors.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 2012 – celebrating the 2nd birthday of my little-big-girl!
July 2012 – meeting my second daughter & naming her Aliyah Joy. She has certainly lived up to her middle name!
December 16, 2012 – our 5th anniversary!! Woohoo!


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Safely & happily delivering my 9lb9oz bundle of love! I’m so proud to be her mama!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Letting my driver’s license expire (for a full year!) and having to retake my driver’s test – are you serious????!! Yes, and it was also one of the most stressful moments of the year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I suffered a few post-labor injuries, but I’ll spare you the details.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A huge mesh colander that I use to drain enormous batches of delicious brown rice! (My life is so thrilling!)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My 2-year old successfully learned to use the big-girl potty! Woot!


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Anyone who had anything to say about God not being present with us because of a certain President being elected or a certain piece of legislation being passed. He is bigger than that!

14. Where did most of your money go?
Probably on craft supplies/kid’s books for art/preschool/reading time with Norah. I just can’t stop. I should buy stock in Big Lots, Dollar Tree & Michaels.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Celebrating Christmas with Norah & getting her an Elmo music player, Glen Hansard appearance on Parenthood, Downton Abbey Season 3 and…It’s sort of cheating, but I’m really really really excited about going to see Les Mis next week! New Year’s Day – ahhhhh!!!!!!

16. What songs will always remind you of 2012?
Anything by Head & the Heart or Ben Howard, and the Soundtrack to Cinderelmo

17. Did you make any new friendships?
Our new neighbors across the street & in the Old West End!

18. Did you go on vacation?
Yes, some wonderful & generous friends let us stay at their house in St. Joe’s, MI – it was one of the most restful weekends of our year. Both our babes were perfect, we ate lots of junk food, played games, and drank dark chocolate mochas at the downtown chocolate shop.

19. What do you wish you had done (more and less) of?
More writing, less worrying.

20. How did you spend the holidays?
This was the first year we only had ONE place to be each day of the holidays & it was a welcome relief now that we have 2 little crazies riding around with us! We also had our annual sweater party which was a smashing success, and we look forward to NYE & dinner with friends followed by a quiet night in watching The Holiday.


21.  What new food did you discover?
chocolate chip frappuccinos (I probably drank my weight in these while I was pregnant) & Marco’s cinnamon bread

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Once Upon a Time (don’t judge me), Parenthood, Biggest Loser, Downton Abbey & Upstairs/Downstairs

23.  What was one of your favorite experiences of the year?
I have a distinct memory of one night, while Sam was out of town for work, hanging out with Norah in the basement watching movies & eating take-out. (pizza, cinnamon bread & Cinderelmo!)

24. What was the best book you read?
In no particular order (they were all AMAZING):
Cutting for Stone by: Verghese
Generous Orthodoxy by: McLaren
You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by: Dancy (*See my complete list here)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Spotify, I will be so sad if it ever goes away…
Specifically, Ryan Adams, Head & the Heart, Ben Howard and Civil Wars.

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
Midnight in Paris
& Moonrise Kingdom – If you haven’t seen them, rent them tonight. They will make you happy.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This year my husband gave me some much-appreciated “alone time” – I turned 26 and I sat at Starbucks in the sunshine & read books. Ahhhh….

28. What’s one thing you wanted and got…and one thing you wanted and didn’t get.
Healthy & happy baby girl…Bob Harper waking me up every morning & getting my tired butt to the gym.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

30. What kept you sane?
Phil Wickham & quiet moments (and conversations with the wonderful women in my life! Special thanks to Pastor Becky for #35)

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Hugh Jackman (Les Mis!)/Obama

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Aside from getting fired up that only 2 candidates get to represent their parties/opinions in the debates…I try to keep my political conversations to face-to-face conversations. I’ve learned the hard way that people can make HUGE assumptions when reading sound-bytes on the interwebs.

33. Who did you miss?
I felt myself mourning my youth this year. This may sound silly but its true. Becoming a parent radically changes your relationship with YOUR parents. I am slowly adjusting but I think any big life transition has an element of grieving.

34. Who was the best new person you met?
Our new neighbors! 🙂

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011 & quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
The last few years have been filled with transition (graduating college, my first teaching job, our first house, our first baby, our second baby) and all the while I’ve been waiting for a period of stability. And waiting. And waiting. But what I think I’ve learned this year is that life is lived in the transitions! As scary as that sounds, or as frustrating as that can be at times…if you’re not transitioning you’re probably not growing or moving or learning. I keep waiting for this magical moment when all is still…quiet…settled. But I think God is teaching me to find His Quiet and Stillness in my chaotic moments. To let His Peace settle me when it seems all hell is breaking loose. I’m sure this is a lesson I’ll be learning for the rest of my life, but it’s been overwhelmingly wonderful to sit in the transition and just BE.

“We must hang up in the belfry
Where the bats and moonlight laugh
We must stare into a crystal ball and only see the past
And in the caverns of tomorrow
With just our flashlights and our love
We must plunge, we must plunge, we must plunge.” (Bright Eyes)

100 Posts

Well, today marks my 100th post & it has been almost exactly 1 year since I began this blogging adventure. I’ve enjoyed writing about my life, things that inspire me, crafts & creations, and especially about my girls. But, with all that said, I think it’s time to take a little break. I’ve loved having the outlet & connection, but with two babies I really need to be intentional with my moments. 😉 And with NaNoWriMo 2012 on the horizon, I’m going to be even more pressed for time! Besides, you can always find me on pinterest!

I don’t have any plans to close the blog, and I will probably keep my Book List updated, but life is sweet & the days are short that my little pumpkins will be this little. Thanks to those of you who have read and commented and encouraged me. Much, much love!


Just one more story…please!

I’ve had quite a few friends confess that they are scared their little one won’t be a “reader” when he/she grows up. Usually this friend is someone who loves reading themselves and can’t imagine their child growing up without the thrill of a good story, read by flashlight, under the covers, into the wee hours of the night.

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Letter A

This post was drafted a few weeks ago & we have since completed Weeks B & C as well! It’s going really well & has been an easy way for me to put a little purpose into our week. For more ideas & to see what else we’ve done, you can check out my ABC pinboard.


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Things I love Thursday

Larabars mmmm…tasty.

Parenthood we don’t have a lot of “shows” but this one has us for good. We love the family dynamics and we love analyzing the “parenting” strategies after the episode is done. And of course it gets us both crying. Every. Time. 😉

Cloud Atlas ok, this book was a mental exercise, but it was SO interesting and worth the time. One review that I read after the fact said “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” But I’m so glad he did! The author brilliantly wove a story through 6 different genres/time periods/novellas and it was quite an experience! It reminded me in some ways of Life of Pi in the way it wove themes about the human experience & spiritual connections – but it was a completely different story. I’m also pretty stoked to see the movie.

You are Your Child’s First Teacher wow, this book is so good (I’m about 1/3 of the way through). It is not about homeschooling but about how the most foundational moments of a child’s life are in the first 6 years. It is encouraging, empowering, and insightful. I’ve already learned things about N and her development that have helped me work through potential meltdowns and other things that have just helped me be more present with her. The thing I love about this book is it is totally accessible. She argues that a mother’s love is not about quantity but quality – and it is the most important thing in your child’s life regardless if you are a stay-at-home, working, or single mom!

Family Fridays Sam has been rearranging his schedule so we can spend some quality family time each week & we have already enjoyed a trip to the Zoo & this week I’m thinking maybe McQueens Orchard! I love growing our little family with him.

Things I DONT love:

Potty Training Boo! This is so not fun. I thought I had a potty prodigy on my hands…unfortunately, we’ve had to start over since Baby A has been born. We started a potty chart this week (Nor loves stickers) but even the promise of ice cream has not proved to be a motivation. It doesn’t help that she had a cold this week & has been an emotional wreck. Oh well… this too shall be a distant memory… some day…

Fave Five: Back to (pre)School!

Fall is in the air! I absolutely love this time of year & I’ve recently started being a little more intentional with N’s activities throughout the week. Each week I try to focus on one letter, color, and animal. I’m hoping it will give a little structure for both of us – so N will know what to expect each day in terms of her playtime, and I will not go crazy before naptime (she doesn’t go down until 3pm these days!!). Each week will look totally different, but I’m hoping that N will come to expect some rhythm and look forward to starting a new letter each week. So far we’ve finished week A & B and here are some of our favorite new books (notice the titles contain A’s & B’s!):

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Stuffed peppers with s(oy)sage

As promised, here is the “stuffed” peppers recipe that I modified from the original recipe my mom made when I was a kid (her original recipe was from Emeril, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online, so anyway…credit where credit is due). First you have to make Emeril’s special “seasonings” mixture (this is the most complicated part of the whole recipe, and SO worth it, I swear!):

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