Monday, May 25, 2015

2nd Birthday Recap

Somehow Ellie turned 2 last week.  I am not really sure how that happened since it feels like just yesterday we were picking her up at the hospital and bringing her home!



Last year Thomas and I took the day off to have a very special first birthday with our sweet girl.  This year since I have changed employment and don't really get any sick days, we decided to not take the day off.  Instead Thomas went to work as usual and Ellie and I went to work together.  So even though I didn't take the day off I still got to spend the day with Ellie!!

Ellie woke up just moments before Thomas had to leave for work (okay we might have purposefully woken her up...) and we say Happy Birthday to her while getting her out of her crib.  Then she got some milk and we took pictures with our Big little TWO year old!!  I had all sorts of plans for her to wake up with a bunch of balloons but that didn't happen #momfail




After Thomas left for work, Ellie got to have a bit of a slow morning watching Daniel Tiger (her favorite) eating cheerios and drinking milk.  I got ready while she did this and then it was her turn.  After getting dressed we had our last official Monthdate photo shoot (Ellie was not having it) and then some more Ellie is TWO photos!




I absolutely love this picture with her Birthday Peony!! We call it Ellie's peony because it was the first peony (out of 15 that we planted 3 years prior) to bloom and it bloomed just days before we left to go get her!  I see many more years of pictures with Ellie and her peony in the future...we will have to transplant it with us when we move!


We had a great morning playing with our friends; building blocks, trains, cars, dinosaurs, and necklaces. Then it was time for lunch, spaghetti, wheat bread, string cheese, cheerios, and oranges.  Then it was naptime.  Ellie woke up from her nap at exactly 1:03pm which was super funny because that is the time she was born!  After nap we played some more and Ellie did a lot of "hopping" aka running with one foot on her toes.

After work we met up with Thomas, Nanny and Papa at Chuck E Cheese!! Ellie was a little unsure at first but then after walking around and seeing all the different activities she was pretty smitten.  The first one she let go of my hand and ran to was of course the one with water! and then the next was a waverunner! this girl and water, I'm telling you!  Then we sat down for Pizza and girlfriend picked off all the sausage and olives from the pieces she could reach! Oh it was just so much fun watching her!  Then Chuck E came out and she bolted straight for him, he was no Mickey but Ellie still loved him.  After pizza Ellie got a bunch of coins and we went around and did a bunch of the rides and games.  (I may or may not have taken a handful of coins for myself to play skeeball).  







When we were all done with our Chuck E Cheese fun we headed back to the farm for Ice Cream Cake and presents.  Sidenote: I hadn't quite decided what kind of cake she was going to get for her Birthday day and finally at 5 o'clock on Wednesday we thought of an Ice Cream Cake from Baskin Robins and apparently that is not enough time for a custom cake! So #momfail number 2 and we got a pre-made one, thankfully they had one in the right size and flavor combo: Pralines 'n Cream with white cake because you know Ellie doesn't like chocolate.  She did pick out the flavor herself after a few taste options and I am so glad she picked my favorite!  When we got back to the farm I took the cake out of the freezer and Ellie got to open up her presents from Nanny and Papa.  She is so spoiled and got some super fun stuff.  After playing with her new gifts it was time for cake, and that's when I realized that we have to candles!! #momfail number 3! But Ellie was totally ok with blowing out a tea light! haha





We just had the best day and I am so thankful that God blessed us with such a wonderful, kind, loving, caring, hilarious, and beautiful little girl!  I am also so grateful that we got to share this day with Nanny and Papa!

Happy Birthday my sweet girl! I love you Ellie Faith

♥ Ashley

linking up here


Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Friday May Friday

Wow!!! I can't believe that my baby girl turned TWO yesterday! We just had the best time celebrating our darling (I'll post next week about our fantastic day!) and are looking forward to her party in a couple of weeks!  I have kinda been MIA from blogging the past few weeks and I am not apologizing for it.  Life has become rather busy and I have been lacking that inspiration for posts.  I don't want to just throw a post out there just to meet my "goal of 3 posts a week" if its not going to be a good one.  I have lots of ideas floating around in my head but don't quite know how to get them down on "paper".  They will show up eventually though, so thank you for sticking with me!



Onto this weeks FIVE!

{ONE} 



I signed up for a Citrus Lane box and we got our first one this week.  We got some great things in it and I am looking forward to more boxes in the future.  Also you can order through Ebates which is awesome (just wish I would have checked that before I signed up!!) and get cash back.  I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the snacks they sent because they immediately went into Ellie's belly and she couldn't get enough of them!  These sand box tools/gadgets are going to come in super handy for a project we are making for Ellie for her birthday.  The dress is super cute and perfect for summer.  And who doesn't need some more food storage? these are perfect for on the go eating!

{TWO}



If I haven't mentioned it before (and I'm sure that I have) but I love gardening and I don't discriminate either.  I love flower gardening and I love vegetable/fruit gardening.  I grew up helping my mom out in the garden and it is a passion that has continued into my adulthood.  Not being able to garden while I was in college was pretty hard but I have made up for it since getting married.  I am always learning about what to do in the garden and I am learning through trial and error.  But when your garden area finally starts to fill in and things are starting to flourish it makes your heart so happy.  I enjoy looking at our giant flower beds in our front yards all the time and looking back to see how it has changed over the years.  Thomas suggested that I take a daily picture to document how it changes so I have an IG hashtag if you want to check it out #parsonsgarden365  One of the cool things about this (other than seeing the daily change) is that you also get a glimpse of some home improvements as well: like painting our front door, adding a fence, and hopefully soon an entire home exterior paint change!!  Another benefit to gardening is getting to bring some of those flowers inside! I just love fresh flowers and having ones that I've grown in a bouquet is priceless.  We have several (like 15) peony plants that we put in and there is one that I have dubbed "Ellie's Peony" because the first time it bloomed was a few days before we left to go get her.

{THREE}

 I have also been doing some soul searching lately and really trying to find myself again.  I have a whole post planned for this that I hope to publish in the very near future but have you ever looked back on your life and wondered "Who is this person?"  Well I have and I am determined to find her again!

{FOUR}



I like to try to get Ellie practical gifts for her birthday and not just a bunch of stuff that is just going to clutter our house up.  So Thomas and I have talked and talked and really tried to get Ellie something that she would really love for her birthday.  It actually wasn't that difficult to come to a decision of what to get her, the challenge was which to get her.  Ellie loves to be outside - swinging especially - so we decided that we are going to give her a swing set. Actually we are building it for her once the parts arrive (hopefully this weekend) and then I also happened upon this post via Pinterest and we are also going to make her a water table because she is 60 ways obsessed with water!

{FIVE}



And finally our Adoption Application Packet came in the mail! So we are officially starting the process again!  We have a few "small" fees (around $4,700) before we will be placed into the waiting pool.  Then once we are selected and bring our sweet baby boy home we will have to pay the finalization fees (roughly $20,900) and we will legally be a family of four!!!  I know that is A LOT of money and then just think about it that the money spending doesn't end there, we will still need to buy diapers, formula, clothes, etc... So that is why we are fundraising this time around!  I have started a GoFundMe page and we would appreciate anything you can give us $5, $25, or $100 it all helps us out so much.  Additionally if you can't help us out financially we would greatly appreciate you sharing our GoFundMe page on your FB account, FB Blog Page, Twitter, or IG.  The more people who have eyes on our fundraiser the more opportunity there is for donations to come in!  I also am planning on having a virtual "Garage Sale" to give all you lovely ladies first dibs at some of our things which will include: clothes (both mine and Ellie's), kitchen gadgets/items, home decor, and other random items.  All prices will include shipping!





♥ Ashley

In case you missed it:
Wednesday I posted about leaving to get Ellie
Thursday I posted Ellie's final Monthdate


linking up here

Thursday, May 21, 2015

{monthdate} 24 Months

My dear sweet Luella Faith, I can't believe that we are at the end of our Monthdate's!!  As I look back through the past two years I am in awe of how much you have grown and changed, and how much more I love you now than I did then!  I find it so hard to grasp that you have been in my life for 2 years, it seems like we just made the drive over to wait for your delivery and pick you up yesterday but it also feels like you have always been a part of our lives!



This month has been FAN-TAS-TIC! Oh my word you are just a fabulous little girl and I just love seeing your personality shine through!!  



Personality:
You are still in a bit of your "stranger danger" stage but mostly I think you are just using that as an excuse so you don't have to interact with adults who you don't really care for... Also you get some pretty big tears when you are told "no" or that you cannot do something.  While I do think it is pretty cute it is also pretty annoying so I am trying to figure out a way for you to stop that type of behavior - because in reality I am going to tell you "no" a lot and you should come up with a better coping strategy than crying or flopping to the floor as that is going to look bizarre when you are 16. Just sayin'!  On the flip side you are the sweetest little girl who just loves her Mama and Dada and the other people you have allowed in your "circle of trust" like Nanny and Papa.  We can always count on hugs and kisses from you at any random time.  You love to laugh and be silly.  But mostly you love to give Mama heart attacks with your wild and crazy antics and death defying tricks!  You think its totally hilarious during our night time routine to say "loves da Mama" when I tell you to say love you Dada, you get the biggest grin on your face when you switch it up!  Of course I love it too because who doesn't love hearing their little one choose to say I love you to you??!!  




Favorites:
It shows that you spend a majority of your play time with boys because you love trains, cars, buses, and dinosaurs. Occasionally you will play with dolls and you love to push around your doll stroller. You also love animals which completely warms my heart. You are always calling for our dogs making sure that you can see them and you love to spend time pressed up against the wire on the chicken coop just looking and talking to the chickens.  Your favorite goat is Annabelle, which I am not quite sure why seeing as how she always tries to knock you over but you love her anyways.  Your favorite place to be is OUTSIDE, and I am so happy that we have expanded our back yard so there is more space for you to run and play additionally you love swings and slides.  I know that we are going to be out there so much more this summer and I can't wait for all the fun! Water has got to be the ultimate prize (maybe that should be your potty reward?) you go immediately to the dog water when we head outside, play in the sprinklers, and splashing around in your mini pool (which is actually a blow up portable baby tub similar) which also means that you are obsessed with bath time and would probably stay in there all night if we let you!




Development:
Wow! I thought that you changed the most during your first year, which I guess is sort of true, but you have changed even more than I imagined this second year.  You run absolutely everywhere, I am actually not sure if you know how to walk!, are an avid climber, love the slides and swings, you love to hang from bars, fences, just about anything.  You are facing forward in your car seat and I just love being able to see you when I turn around or look in the rear view mirror, you can also climb into and out of your car seat which is nice but also super slow!!!  You point to so many things and correctly identify them.  You also have started to go tinkle in the potty! We are no where near being potty trained but I just love that we have had some success!  Your vocabulary is growing on the daily and I love that you can identify animals or things that I haven't really even spent that much time on!  You also can recognize Mama, Dada, Nanny, Papa and yourself in photos.  You call yourself Ellie and also claim toys as "mine".  You are fairly decent at sharing but could still use some work.  Some of my favorite things you say: macncheese (even though you rarely eat more than one bite!), Pooper (Cooper one of our dogs) Kari (Sakari our other dog) come'ah when you want them to come inside the house, I come I come when we leave the room and you want to join us, bwing (swing) and when I tell you to be gentle you always say "sorry _______" insert name, chippy (chips), noman (snowman on your Frozen boots "olaf"), you help pick weeds out in the gardens and also are quite helpful during cleanup time with all your toys.  Occasionally you will put your plates in the sink or throw away your garbage!



Eats:
I wouldn't say that you are a picky eater but your preferences are always changing.  Unless you LOVE something you are good after a couple of bites. Some of your go-to foods: plain Cheerios, pretzels, string cheese, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, raspberries, peas, broccoli, green beans, black beans, kidney beans, rice (all sorts), carrots (only from soups/stews), cherries, chips, cookies, granola bars, yogurt (frozen gogurt), pirates booty, bread (all kinds), croutons, noodles, plain popcorn, hot dogs, sausage pizza, meatballs, fruit snacks, hummus, and ice cream - NO CHOCOLATE!!! I always try to give you a variety of foods at your meals but sometimes we just make it real basic and give you one thing like rice because we know you will eat it.  You mostly prefer to eat caveman style but enjoy trying to use a fork or spoon.  You are pretty good when we go to restaurants and are willing to try at least one thing.  You prefer milk but have learned how to drink out of a regular cup so you also love to drink water and it makes you feel so grown up!





Stats:
Size 4 diapers and 2T/3T pull-ups 
12 month to 2T clothing depending on style 
25+ lbs
Size 3 or 4 Moccs
Shorty shortcake 
Hair is long enough for a messy bun!


My sweet girl you really are a complete joy and I am so grateful to get to be your mama.  I love you so much and I can't wait to see what things you do this next year!  Happy 24 Monthday my baby girl, I love you!

♥ Ashley

to see the other 23 monthdates click here

linking up here



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Time Flies

Its so hard for me to believe that just a short two years ago Thomas and I were making the 6 hour drive across our state to await, meet, and bring home our daughter.  This day was filled with so much anticipation.  We waited until the school day was over to start the drive, and let me tell you that was one of the longest days of school I have ever experienced!!  On the drive I was hit with one of my more severe migraines (it had actually been going on for 8 days straight) so much of the drive was a blur.  Regardless, it was probably the best drive we have ever taken to that side of the state because we knew that for our drive back home - we would finally be parents!!

Our journey to parenthood was long, emotional and full of loss but in the end, we received the greatest gift our biggest joy, Ellie Faith.  It was because of the generosity and selflessness of another that we became parents.  Since becoming a Mama, I have been filled with so much joy, happiness, fullness, and love.  Sure there have been some challenging times and moments whee I have wanted to rip my hair out but I choose to not focus on them or really share them here on the blog because in reality they make up such a small part of our life and they seem so insignificant, coupled with the fact that after 6 years of fighting Infertility the last thing I want to do is focus on the negative aspects, if you know what I mean.

So here is a little flashback of where we were just two years ago.  Making the road trip that would literally change our lives forever - and for the better!  

Happy almost 2nd Birthday my Sweet Girl!!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Friday, May 15, 2015

F is for Friday!

Oh my gosh y'all I cannot tell you how happy I am that it's finally Friday!  Except that this week has gone by so quickly that somehow it is Friday already! Life really is going fast and next week my baby will be TWO!!! How did that happen?



{ONE}


A few months ago we got a potty for Ellie at IKEA. I chose to go with the IKEA one because it was like $8 and we have been letting her sit on it randomly since. Sometimes she has her clothes on and other times not. Last week I decided that we should start being a little more serious about this whole potty situation because I am pretty much over doing diapers!  So last Friday we started a very laid back attempt at potty training. We had our first success!! I was so thrilled with Ellie going almost as soon as I put her on, she could have cared less - she is just more excited about reading her Daniel Tiger book and pressing the flush button!  Anyways we had one success on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  Nothing on Wednesday or Thursday but that's okay because I don't want to push it, however she really only likes to sit on her IKEA potty. I'm just happy with progress we're making.  Of course it's not all sunshine and rainbows there have been several times when there have been tears and crying when I tell her we're going to sit on the potty. 

{TWO}

Ellie is turning TWO next week and we are having her party at the end of the month. I finally got the invited sent out and I am in planning mode. I'm on the search for a curtain of some sort that has birch trees on it...any suggestions?

{THREE}


I mentioned on Monday that we have been working on doubling the size of our backyard. It's much easier than it sounds.  We have a side yard that we never really used and I had plans on fencing it off to increase our backyard for about 7 years. Thankfully our neighbor decided to fence off his yard this fall, which included our side yard! So all we needed to do was get some fencing to go on the "fourth" side of it to be complete. We got that done on Saturday and then on Sunday we took down the cedar fence which totally opened it all up!! I have plans to plant some privacy bushes along the black fence, I'm thinking Camelias!  And then our summer project is to double the size of our deck! Lots of "doubling" going on on the farm...of only we could double our number of children....

{FOUR} 
Which leads me to number four, I know we've been on the roller coaster of Infertility for 6 years but I am finally starting to fully educate myself on my disease. I went to our local library and picked up these books. 


I don't know what took me so long. I already finished the "Conquering Infertility" and practically cried during the entire book. It was so good to have my thoughts, feelings and emotions validated. This book didn't give a "cure" for infertility but rather helps you with coping mechanisms and learning to accept the cards that you have been dealt. That infertility is temporary and to try and find satisfaction and happiness in your life. I am half way through the diet book and it's just a good way of eating overall. It talks a lot about PCOS (which I don't have) and really what a big role our diet has on or overall health. Major recommendations I've picked up on so far is eliminating Trans Fat (duh) and eating more beans/legumes instead of red meat and also whole grains vs. white breads. All pretty common knowledge but it's nice reading some scientific findings on how diet affect fertility. 

{FIVE}

In addition I've been in a little bit of a funk this week as well because Sunday would be baby #4's first birthday had I not miscarried.  I often find myself thinking about this babe in particular and try to imaging what our life would have been like had we been blessed with a viable pregnancy. It would have been crazy for sure but I would have loved every minute of it. My heart aches for #4 (and the other 3 as well) and I pray every day that God will bless us with our rainbow babe. 

♥ Ashley 

Linking up here

In case you missed it
Monday I shared about my second Mother's Day
Wednesday I shared about my Third Stitch Fix

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fix #3

I got my third Stitch Fix in the mail just before Mother's Day and boy was I excited! 

I have to say that this was my best fix to date.  I opened up my package and immediately checked out the styling card and note from my stylist. I feel like Erika really listened to me and understands my style much better than my previous fixes.

Here is a close up of all five items


I mean perfect right? I really really wanted to love everything in this fix and utilize the 25% discount for all five items. Each item was practically something I would pick out for myself! This was a fix made in heaven...almost. 

Item One: Mavi Aiden Skinny Jean $98

 Okay so I realize that this picture quality is horrific and I have many apologies for that. I am also realizing that the lighting is horrible in my bathroom (it's almost done btw) which might explain why my makeup always looks so drastically different when I go into another room....a story for another day. 

I have been asking for a great quality pair of denim that actually fit me because I am learning that my $15 Ross finds just aren't that flattering. These jeans have been the best yet, nothing funky like holes or weird ankle zippers (although there was a zipper in the penny pocket). They might have been a bit snug at the waist but were super comfortable and the material was really soft and stretchy. 


The more I look at them the more I like them but once again, they are a bit long and give me slouchy ankles. I know I'm pretty picky but when you stand just 60" tall finding jeans (that are not in the girls section) that are short enough are hard to come by. But ultimately as much as I liked these jeans I didn't love them and for $98 I just couldn't take the plunge. 
Verdict: sent back
Item Two: Pixley Colibri Heart Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse $48



I actually requested this blouse after seeing it on another blogger (It fit her much better). I love the style of this blouse and actually have one similar in a green and white chevron. I love the length and that the sleeves can roll up. It was really comfortable on and I actually liked how it looked on me. 

But...

There is just something about how the neck fits me. I'm all about being conservative these days and all but I just don't like how the neck doesn't state open on me, I kept trying to fold it down but it wouldn't work. And the. I tried to take it off....that was a struggle. I also got a little dizzy looking at the pattern, isn't it a bit blurry.  I'm not too big on hearts and I've already stepped out of my comfort zone with a heart pattern sweater in my first fix that I'd rather go for a pattern I love. I think I will ask for this blouse again and see if I can't get a better pattern/color. 
Verdict: sent back

Item Three: Skies are Blue Harley Lace Detail Top $48
When I saw this in the box I loved it. I mean the color alone is one of my favorites right now, Coral and then it was lace so it shoulda been out of the park. Except that it looked horrible on me. The sleeves fit all sorts of weird and I feel like it makes me look like a box or a line backer - take your pick. Not to mention it was see-through so I have to wear a tank underneath (which I do on the reg anyways but still...) I was so sad that this was so bad because it looked so cute, it even had a cool zipper detail on the back! Don't let me forget to mention though that the tag nearly took my nose out while trying it on, not that that would have changed my mind at all. Apparently I have a real hard time trying clothes on?!!! 
Verdict: sent back

Item Four: Skies are Blue Page Flutter Sleeve Blouse $48
Finally! I have been asking for a floral top since I can't remember when. Both of my previous boxes sent me a floral top but they were just plain awful. I finally learned that I needed to use the phrase "romantic floral" to get what I wanted!  This top is see through as well but I love how flowy it is and it doesn't make my arms look fat!  It has some great colors and a fun floral pattern.
Verdict: kept obvi 

Item Five: Bancroft Wendy Layered Branch Necklace $32
 Honestly I didn't even bother taking this out of the box. First of all because it was $32 and I ain't going to be spending that much on a necklace and second of all they sent me another necklace. Truth be told I didn't tell them to not send me jewelry I just thought they would be able to send me something better. I will be taking that out of my produce because so far in the accessory dept they are 0 for 3. 
Verdict: sent back
Even though I only kept one item I really loved this fix and think they are understanding my style preferences much better. I had so much fun with this one and am really hoping that they will knock it out of the park next time!

Have you tried Stitch Fix before? It is so much fun! If you haven't already you can click here to sign up with my referral and I'll get a nice little bonus on my next fix!

♥ Ashley 

Linking up here 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mothers Day 2015

Wow I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have been able to have my second Mother's Day! I know this day is supposed to be all about the moms but I wouldn't be a mama (at least recognized as a mama) without my dear sweet Ellie. It's because of her I get to be called Mama. 


As I went through my day I spent time thinking of my four sweet angel babes who are forever in my heart even though I never got to hold them and I also spent time thinking about how much my mom would have enjoyed this day as not only a Mama but as a Grandma as well. My heart aches for our losses of our babes and my mom but I know how blessed and lucky we are to have Ellie in our lives and am so grateful for adoption so that we can enjoy days like these. I know that for many years this day brought on extreme heartache as we experienced miscarriages and an empty home with the battle of infertility. I know that there are still many moms and women out there who struggle on this day and my heart and prayers are with you and baby dust to you all!



We started out morning out in our church nursery as it was our week to volunteer (same as last year). 


Thomas really did a great job thinking about what would be special for this day. We had a "picnic" of Jimmy Johns on a bench at a beautiful garden near our house. I got to spend the day with my favorite people doing one of my favorite things: looking at flowers and gardens. It was so fun to get to celebrate this day with just our family of three. 








When we got home in the afternoon Ellie took a nap and we did some yard work. We are in the process of a back yard overhaul and I'm loving the progress. We have basically doubled our backyard space and are now able to utilize our side yard!!  It's a project we've been talking about for about five years and it feels so good to start making progress. A great Mother's Day for sure. 






Hope y'all had a great weekend!





♥ Ashley 


Linking up here