Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday - the one before the party

Ya'll I am so deep in party prep I don't even know what to say!!  The "good" thing about hosting parties at your home is that it kinda gives you the motivation to get some of those "to-do's" off your list.  By no means was doing much of any of our yard work a requirement for Ellie's party but having that deadline really got our rears in gear!!  Party inspiration can be found here.


I have been a spray painting machine!  Most of our outdoor furniture is white metal which requires a new coat of paint each year.  Mostly because we are lazy and even though we live on a farm we have no storage space for these items so they get left out all year long!! which means they have to weather the elements and that doesn't always look good come summer time.  So I have sprayed two loveseats, 3 side tables, 4 dining chairs, a dining table and a few plant forearms are speckled with white all over!


Ellie's swing set parts finally came in yesterday (after the shipped the day after they were supposed to arrive...) so when I get done with work tonight that is our evening project.  Hopefully it goes quickly and smoothly and we don't try to kill each other or have the neighbors call the cops on our arguing!!


I just have a bunch of the party decor to put up that I have been piecemealing together from lots of different places...thankfully we live close to all the shops I need: Hoblob, Target, Michaels, HomeGoods, JoAnn's, Party City, and Marshalls/TJMaxx.  I still couldn't find everything I wanted but I guess that's what happens when you fail to order online in time....maybe one year I'll have my life figured out.


Yard work has been at an all time high since we decided to rip down a fence.  And then Thomas dug out the biggest stump we've had on the property from a shrub we have been trying to get rid of for 7 years!  It was a Laurel and while I love them dearly, I just don't like them smack dab in the middle of my backyard.  I'm telling you the previous owners had some wacky quacky ideas for landscaping...So luckily we compost all our horse shit so we had some "free" dirt to fill in the crater!  Additionally we have patches of composted horse manure all over our back yard filling in all the holes from the posts of the fences and the remaining stumps that finally got pulled.  Our deck is almost completely sanded (hallelujah the angel choir sings) with the exception of a small corner that is covered with our indoor/outdoor rug so no one knows...well except all ya'll since I just spilled the beans.  And I have planted lots of new flowers (my love language) and have a feeling that this will be the year for our garden!


Finally I have a confession....I am already thinking of ideas for Ellie's birthday next year.....I actually started that about a month ago.

♥ Ashley

In case you missed it:
Monday I shared about how we celebrated Ellie's 2nd Birthday
Wednesday I joined the Whats Up Wednesday Linkup

linking up here

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

how can it already be Wednesday?!  I hope ya'll had a great weekend and remembered those who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom.  America truly is the greatest country!

Today I am joining Mel for her What's Up Wednesday link up  so here we go!!

What we're eating: 

So we usually have our menu planned out for the week on Sunday.  This week is one of those rare weeks where we really haven't discussed whats on the happens and I'm ok with it.  On Monday I made Catfish Po'boys from this book and they were delish!  I don't think that there has been a bad meal yet!  Then yesterday we had hot dogs and today we're probably having BBQ chicken.  The rest of the week has yet to be decided but I have some quinoa and lentils that need to get used up so if you have any ideas for that and shrimp I am all ears!

What I'm reminiscing about: 

I guess I keep thinking about when we finally got to bring home Ellie!  We waited so long for her and to have our dreams of becoming parents realized put us on a never ending high!  In addition to that day, I think I just have been reminiscing about Ellie's last year and how much she has grown and changed and how much fun she is!

What I'm loving:
Hummus.  Oh my lawd that stuff is good.  I like it on veggies, chips, pretzels, rice cakes, toast, you name it!  I like to get the big jar at Costco because that means it "lasts" (for like a week!!)  I am all about Greek and Mediterranean food lately and I cannot get enough.

What we've been up to:

Party Prep.  We are hosting Ellie's Second Birthday at our farm on Saturday and it has pushed us into getting a lot of our outdoor projects done!  I know that our home doesn't have to look perfect for a party but it gives us the push that we need to get things done around here.  We are overhauling our backyard: taking down a fence, digging out stumps, filling in holes, planting grass, spray painting all my metal outdoor furniture, and hanging Bistro Lights!! Not to mention a bunch of pressure washing, garden prep and planting, and then any excuse for me to buy flowers...oh who am I kidding, I don't need an excuse to buy flowers!

What I'm dreading:

Potty Training.  I don't know if dread is the right word and its not something that is completely necessary though either.  I mean Ellie did just turn two a week ago, but we have casually started the process and let me tell you.  I am so done with diapers.  But I don't want to do the 3 day method because I can't be locked up in our house for over a day, nor am I really interested in having any accidents on my carpet (someone please just buy me wood floors!!)  

What I'm working on:
Photo Books.  I am almost done with Ellie's Year Two book, then I still need to make a photo book for our trip to Scotland and Ireland, and our Disneyland trip.

I also need to update our Adoption Portfolio and they have moved to using Photo Books for those as I have to transfer and update all that stuff too.  It's a huge undertaking but once we get that second babe in our arms it will all be worth it!  Click here if you would like to donate to our adoption fund!!

What I'm excited about:
That summer is just around the corner and Thomas and I get to do so many fun things!! Also that some days Thomas will get to have Ellie/Dada days while I go to my nanny jobs.

What I'm watching/reading:
I just finished The Fertility Diet and while the book discussed healthy eating which I already knew about it was nice to learn some of the science behind it and how what we eat affects our fertility.  As an Infertility sufferer for over 6 years with no real explanation I really want to do whatever I can to make sure that I am healthy.

We are huge Housewives fans at our house and I am so happy that Bethenny is back! She is hilarious and adds so much to the show!

What I'm listening to:
I'm not really big in to music.  I listen to the radio in the car and that's about it.  I like the morning talk show and usually turn the volume down when the songs come on...I know I'm lame.

What I'm wearing:
 My basic "uniform" leggings and a t-shirt or skinny jeans and a top.  Occasionally I'll throw on some accessories but when you are dealing with baby spit up on the daily rocking a killer outfit just doesn't make sense.

What I'm doing this weekend:
It's Ellie's birthday party! I am so looking forward to having people over to our farm to celebrate our sweet girl and for her to get some love on!  After the party is over I might try to take her out on Sunday for her 2 year shots.  I took them last year and loved that I was able to capture exactly what I wanted (hello, control freak) and I want to do that again this year!

What I'm looking forward to next month:
We had a dog visitor for over a month this year.  She belongs to my dad and he had knee surgery. So we took her while he was in recovery, she is a BIG dog - we're talking a Newfoundland.  She is the sweetest girl and Ellie had so much fun with her...occasionally she will still go to the back door and call for "Mayee" aka Maggie to come inside!  So my dad is sending us for a week in Canada!! We are going to Sun Peaks and I am so excited to get out of here for a while and just be the three of us with no interuptions!!

What else is new:
I have confirmation that at least one of my nanny jobs is going to continue for the long term and I couldn't be more excited.  I have all sorts of plans to take the kiddos to the zoo, aquarium, splash pads and parks all summer long...not to mention making/eating popsicles and all those other fun summer activities...and the best part is that Ellie gets to come too!!

What is your favorite thing to Grill/BBQ?
I love all sorts of things on the grill so its hard to choose...but one thing I really like to have during the summer season are Garlic Scapes,  you can find them in the produce section of Trader Joes or at the farmers market.  They are the flowering bud of a garlic plant, similar to a chive and you grill them just like asparagus.  They have a mild garlic flavor and I just love them!!

What's Up with you?

♥ Ashley

linking up here

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!


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!


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.


 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!


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!


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!!  

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??!!  

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!

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!

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!

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?


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. 


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?


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....

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. 


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