Thursday, December 8, 2011


I now present to you 2011's Ugly Sweater Winner:

Thanks T (& M) for being such a great sport! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hear ye, hear ye: official announcement followed by big grins in the Donovan home!

It's official:  we are FINALLY liscensed for foster children.  Thanks for all your prayers and support in the matter over the past few months.  Please continue to pray for the children who will someday become "ours," at least for a little while.  We are SO EXCITED for the future God has planned for us, though a little nervous as we have no clue what that entails.  We are hoping that SOON we will FINALLY have the chance to be parents. 

And now....I'm going to go celebrate with my honey some more!  It's a happy day here.  :0)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thankful: 21-30

 I bet you thought I had forgotten to finish my "thankful list".  Nope...just, as usual, a little behind.  :)

21:  the fact that I can whistle.  That will someday come in useful, Im sure. 

22:  skills.  (see above.  Ha, ha!)  I don't really feel like I excell in any one thing, but I am able to follow directions in cooking and earn A++ in sarcasm.  That has to count for something, right?!

23:  the internet.  How did we ever function without this handy little time waster?

24:  My organizational and time management skills.  I love a clean, clutter free house and I use these skills daily!

25:  the fact that my husband and I laugh together DAILY! 

26:  the color purple (the actual color, not the movie)

27:  Argyle socks

28:  Life lessons we've been blessed with over the years

29:  camping, camp fires, camp grounds, campers....can you tell I love camping

30:  Time spent outside:  Walks, hikes, bike rides, a day spent at the lake, the moutains, snow....I love it all!  How can you deny a creator when you are surrounded by such beauty!

Sweater Weather (sweater party part Dos)

The first annual Donovan Ugly Sweater Party was a big success!  We had 21 in attendance, with the first guests arriving at 3 PM, the last going home around 4 AM, and our overnight guest heading home around noon the next day!  For someone (ME!) who loves entertaining big crowds, laughter, and fun, this was one of the best nights of the year!

We played GAMES, ate too much FOOD, had a friendly COMPETITION with the ugly sweaters (with a SWEET prize!) and a ton of LAUGHTER!

Objection:  Fill the balloons and put them into the legs of the pantyhose to create antlers.  First team with 5 balloons per leg and the antlers on their head wins.


You want me to do WHAT?!

Julie and Jodie worked well together

I love this picture of Dana doubled over in laughter!

Spectators cheering them on

 The prize?  A coffee mug, candy, hot cocoa, and a PEZ dispenser!

Josh got creative with the "antlers"

The next morning the "antlers" were there to greet us when we went the TOP of our flag pole!  Thanks, guys! 

Games ruled the night: along with the reindeer game, we played Bezzewizzer, Dirty Board, and 3 rousing rounds of Pictionary! 

Thanks again to all who participated!  We look forward to hosting again next year...hopefully with a bigger turn out!  For those who hope to join us in the future, let me give you one tip for winning the coveted prize:  BE PRACTICING YOUR RUNWAY WALK!

Ugly Sweater Parade

Dustin and I hosted our first ugly sweater party this past weekend.  It was so much fun! 
Note the matching gingerbread shirt on me and the "dickey" on Dustin.  I'm quite handy with a scissors! 

Julie looked fabulous in her jumper!  Brave gal, her!

Melanie is adorable!  She glued all the lovelies on the front of her vest!

Carl and Lorin: ugly and functional!  The whistle on Lorins sweater actually works!

Trent and Mandy.  The winners were determined by vote, with Trent winning for his unique fish/bowtie combo.

Dave and Annette

Josh and Dana.  Love the antlers!  Josh had only one antler...he said he came as Elliot, from the movie Open Season.

Jayme.  Love the shirt with the kitty on it!

Many of you will be seeing this again soon....

J.D., Moriah, Jayme.  Note the "lovely" Christmas tree in the background!  That was our big prize for ugliest sweater.  It will be given to the next winner next year! 

Thanks to all who participated!  More pictures to follow soon!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I am thankful for:

18.  Entertaining movies and books.  My mind is always going...thank goodness I have things to keep it occupied.  Plus, I love to read!  I can't imagine not knowing how or living in a country or area where books, magazines, and movies were foreign concepts.

19.  my husbands painting skills!  This past weekend he spent hours painting our entry way and living room.  He is so patient and steady-handed.  The rooms look great!  I'll post pics once the furniture can be pushed back and things hung up on the wall.

20.  the new appliances in our home.  When we moved, we purchased all new appliances, sparing no expense on some options.  The bigger washing machine, the convection oven, the fridge...all have made my life much more simple....and for that, I am truly grateful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Irony, Perspective, Humor....Not neccissarily in that order.

A Story of Growth

Humor:  As I'm sitting in Sunday School this past Sunday, I got to chatting with a woman who was new to the class (and our church).  She, of course, asked if I had any children. Those of you who know me know that I really wanted to tell her, "Yes, I had one.  But,  he/she died and is in Heaven waiting for me.  I've since been told that I will never have any other children.  However, we DID just finish up the process of becoming foster parents and our looking forward to that adventure."  What my ACTUAL answer was:  "No...I'm waaaayyy too young for that!"  :0)  I think she thought I was serious.  Whoops!

Irony:  Our conversation continued until class started.  We took prayer requests and, like always, started with a prayer.  During this prayer, my mind was focused on children (I've been praying for our future fosters, where ever they may be) when I felt a chair move next to me and looked up.  There, sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME, was a woman in our class who just had her baby literally that week!  AND, she had her baby with her.  MY NOSE WAS ABOUT 5 INCHES FROM ITS BEAUTIFUL HEAD!  How do I always seem to end up in situations like this?!?!?  How is it that the barren woman seems to always end up surrounded by babies or preggos? 

Perspective:  I quickly gathered my items, said a goodbye to my new friend, and was out the door before the tears started to fall!  The good news is, I was done crying by the time I made it to my truck.  That, my friends, is an improvement!  From this situation, I am able to know in my heart several things:

1) this beautiful new mother was NOT trying to hurt me when she came in and sat next to me with her lovely child.  She does not know my story, and she probably never will. 

2)  There are many, many, many in this world who will (or have) gone through worse things than me.  I'm learning that while sometimes it feels like my heart will break, I really am stronger today than I was yesterday, and I thank the Lord for that.  I thank him that my hurts are so minor in comparison to others. 

3) Time is the great band-aid.

4)  I have friends in the church who notice my pain and are willing to acknowledge it.  One lady came up to me last night after choir practice and, after giving me a big hug, said "I saw what happened in Sunday school and I felt so bad for you.  I know that must have been hard."  Just hearing someone accepting of my feelings like that goes SO FAR towards healing!  Thank you!

Humor/Perspective:  A few days later, I can write this story with a smile on my face (and a few tears there too, but that's okay) because I now know I get to go to class next week and see that beautiful little baby again.  I love babies.  Seeing a baby, a pregnant woman, a new mom, a proud father...those things do not bother me when I've had time to mentally prepare.  I wonder if God allowed this situation to occur to show me just how far my healing has come (a year ago I would have been a bawling mess for the rest of the day.)  God sure has a sense of humor, doesn't he?!  Maybe this new mom will someday let me hold her little one....I hope she doesn't mind if I anoint it's head with my tears...some from laughter and some from pain.  :)

Twelve thru Seventeen


12.  Nature and all the beauty it provides.

13.  The word of GOD, the Bible, to uplift and encourage me, to set my paths, to provide direction

14.  My little Weenie dogs that keep me on my toes and make me smile

15.  Perspective

16.  Irony

17:  Being an early riser.  I love getting up and having half of my to-do list completed by 9 AM!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Whoops!  It's not that I have not been thankful the past few days, it's just that I'm consistently inconsistent.  :)  So....let's play catch up.

I'm thankful for:
6) good jobs for my husband and I.

7)  Family.  I've enjoyed getting to know Dustin's family over the past few years and also getting to know my brother and Sis in law better as well.  I've also made more of an effort to make it "back home" to see my mom more this year.  I'm so thankful for the times we all have together and hope to make it more of a "habit."  We love you...each of you!

8)  a free country.  Thank you to those who have fought, or are fighting, to keep it that way.  God bless the USA!

9)  Beverages.  Seriously.  If asked my favorite food, I would probably say coffee, diet Mountain Dew, diet Coke, apple cider, MGD 64, water.  I know fluids are not technically a food, per say, but I'm a drinker.....and therefore, I'm thankful for beverages.

10)  a hubby with a great sense of humor.  Exactly how many times can we watch Super Troopers in one lifetime?!?! 

11)  those who have influenced my past (good AND bad!).  Today we said "goodbye" to the woman I knew as Grandma Gerber.  It was a melancholy day filled with tears, laughter, and family.  *sigh*  She will be missed. 

12)  my favorite sneakers:  my purple and black ROOS!  I wear them EVERYWHERE!

I'll keep working on my list.  What are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

IV and V

IV:  I'm thankful for a warm bed to sleep in at night.  There are so many people around this world who don't even have such a simple thing as a soft bed to sleep in at night and that, that breaks my heart.  We have so many things in the world that we take for granted.  I think we all, me included, take things like food, shelter, and even a bed, for granted.  We think we are entitled to them.  And yes, maybe we are.  BUT, isn't everybody?, I'm thankful for my bed!

V:  I'm thankful for my friends, family, and my awesome husband.  I would not be the woman I am today without each of them (and if you are reading this, I'm sure you are included in that list as either a friend or family) and I am so thankful for you!  Thanks for sticking by me over the years, for supporting me during the hard times, and laughing with me during the good.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Days Dos and Tres

Dos:  Im thankful for a warm home with big windows that allow me to watch the sun rise and set.  Two of my favorite times of the day!  I will have to come back to this post and add pictures when Im at my computer.  I have some great ones!

Tres:  Im thankful for good friends who make me laugh until I pee!  Im at "home" right now for cousins wedding (Congrats, Brandon and Stacy!) so I got to go to dinner this evening with two "old" friends.  Old as in we've been friends for a LOOOONNNGG time, not as in age!  We had such a great time!  And, we learned that I am TERRIBLE at the animal game!  :)  Thanks, Doug and Melanie, for a great evening!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness

For the month of November, I have decided to discuss something I am thankful for every day. 

Day 1:  Musicals

I love music, I love movies and shows.  Put them together and you have a perfect union.  Musicals make me smile!  Some of my favorites; check them out today!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's a zoo out there

Last weekend Dustin and I made the trip to Indy so see my brother, Tyler and his wife, Janna.  We had a great time!  They took us at a really neat restaurant called the Boatyard.  It was right on the water (overlooking the reservoir that provides all the water for the city of Indianapolis) and had live jazz.  We ate dinner and then went back to the house to celebrate with my annual birthday request: no cake for me...I want pumpkin pie.

On Saturday we went to the Indianapolis Zoo and had an amazing time!  It was perfect weather (60's and sunny) and the animals were all out and sooooo active.  I made a mental note to take our children to the zoo in the fall, rather than in the heat of the summer.  :)

We got to pet the sharks.  Or, really, Dustin got to pet the shark and I just got wet.  I tried to pet him but my arms were too short to reach him without ending up in the pool myself.

This little girl was tossing the ball in her hand up in the air and catching it.  This seal followed the ball over and over.  So cute!

I couldn't resist a picture of this lazy dude!

The giraffes are my FAVORITE!

Shaking off the water after he got out of the pool.

Brother and sister.  One got the beauty, one got the brains.  Which is which?!?

Tyler and Janna and our friend the Polar Bear.

I highly recommend the Indy Zoo for a great time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In the STILL of the NIGHT

I love waking up early.  There is so much peace in being in a dark home before the sun comes up.  This morning, I stood, looking out the bay window in the kitchen from 6:30 to about 7:45.  I stood watching the sky lighten up, praying, thanking the Lord for the blessings I have in my life. 

One of the things I am so thankful for is the help we have received in preparing for taking children into our home in the next few months! 

*Friends from my Bible Study group (Thanks Rebekah Trulock, Jessica Crosby, and many other ladies!  We are truly blessed!)

* Former neighbors (Thanks, Lisa Rosier!)

* Distant cousins (Thanks Klint & Sarah Fiechter)

* A group in Bluffton known as the Salt & Light group (an AWESOME group of people with loving and Christ-like hearts!)

* Many other friends (Julie Call, Kelly McFadden, Nikki Surface, Destiny Dice, Laura Stieglitz, Jamie Bultimeier, Trent and Mandy Regier, Brenda Fiechter)

*  And many more...If I left someone out, please know it was not on purpose!  Clothes, a crib, toys, book bags, diapers, stroller, car seats, beds, bedding, furniture, games, etc, etc, etc. came piling in and we are SO grateful!

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!  We could not have been prepared without each of you!  Seriously!

AND......DRUM ROLL PLEASE!.........

I BELIEVE WE PASSED OUR HOME STUDY WHEN THE SOCIAL WORKER WAS HERE YESTERDAY!  She said everything was in order and that if she had any other questions, she would call us and finish over the phone.  She thought our license should be completed by November 1st.  :)

A sincere thank you to you all!  I tip my cap to you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Birthday Blessings

Today is my birthday!  Those of you who know me know that I LOVE birthdays!  Mine, yours, anyones!  I love celebrating special days: birthdays, holidays, any celebration, really. 

I think I get this love of special days from my mom, Ricki.  She always made our special days extra special.  Since my birthday is in October, she would bring cupcakes and apple cider to my elementary classrooms on my birthday.  Other kids brought smarties or tootsie rolls to hand out, MY mom brought yummy cupcakes with halloween themed sugar sculptures on the top.  YEP....I was spoiled!  Still am, really. 

We always got to pick something fun to do for our special day:  a movie, a trip somewhere, a nice dinner out, etc...and usually got to take a few friends too.  My mom made us feel celebrated on our birthdays!  She still does.  Today I received a box in the mail full of goodies she sent to celebrate with me.  A pair of earrings, a doxie notepad, chocolate coffee, gift cards, cards, sunflower salt and pepper shaker (I LOVE sunflowers!)and even a package of beef jerky for Dustin. 

She excells at finding special things!

I also got another fun package from my step-mom, Deb, today.  In it was a beautiful candle, cards, a gift card, and candy.  I have a sick obsession with candles so this was a perfect treat for me! 

I love that both of my Moms take the time to make sure I feel special on my special days when they can't be with me (one is in Illinois right now for work, the other in Ohio).  Both boxes made me ache with homesickness!  Sometimes I wish I lived closer to my family...I miss out on a lot being 4 hours away.

So....knowing how much I love birthdays, what do you think hubby will do to celebrate with me? 

The first year we were married, he forgot my birthday. Since he forgot, I got to pick my gift. We came home with Augie, an English Springer Spaniel.

The next year, he forgot.  I picked out Schotzi, our mini dachound. 

After that, he at least remembered to say Happy Birthday!

  This year, we are heading to Indianapolis to see my brother, Tyler, and sis-in-law, Janna.  I'm really looking forward to the weekend away and to spending time with D, Ty, and Janna.  I woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise, went and got a mani-pedi, and am looking forward to time with family who are friends too.  

That is birthday enough for me!