Wednesday, August 27, 2014

School Days

So whatever happened to that long, school update? Finally we can share all the good that's happened in the last week and a half.

Last week really was an exciting time getting used to new routines and a lot more structure. Reshma was a champ going into her classroom and taking everything in stride though it was hard leaving her for the whole first day wondering if she would be okay. Though she's super outgoing and pretty happy-go-lucky, we kind of expected a call because surely she was overwhelmed or crying or just in need of us. But, she made it through her first day with only a quivering lip as we waved goodbye from her homeroom door.


Levi, meanwhile, was excited for some one-on-one attention and really has loved playing with toys and getting to watch his daily episode of Paw Patrol. We did start Pre-K work in the mornings which has been going swimmingly. He even pulled a History book from the shelf this week and asked if we could read! Forget simple ABCs, our boy wants to learn about Ancient Greece...for a few minutes at a time anyway.



But, while Reshma was adjusting to public school and Levi to being the only kid at home, I couldn't shake the thought I had the first day walking into Reshma's classroom- somethings not right. Knowing where our girl is academically, the middle-schoolesque posters and books and classroom made me think some changes might need to happen. Sure enough Monday morning Jason, Levi and I were sitting in the principal's office talking options. And, lo and behold, this precious school where we enrolled our daughter listened, took immediate action and made some INCREDIBLE provisions to make sure Reshma gets all of the foundational pieces that need to be put into place before any of those huge 4th grade textbooks will make much sense. It's gonna take longer hours reviewing at home, but we are so pleased with the one-on-one attention she'll be getting including some time in a multi-age Montessori classroom! She's taken the new tweaks to her schedule in stride and is loving all of the social interaction and activities. Especially art and library time!




In fact, just this week on a trip to the local library she insisted on getting a "big book" to read like her 4th grade peers, and she's been thumbing through the pages every chance she gets.


Finally that nagging feeling is gone with a lot of gratitude and excitement taking it's place. There's a rhythm being set for the year and what seems to be a great plan that's working well for our kids in this season!  

Friday, August 15, 2014

InstaFriday, Round II



The sporadic post has returned with a few not-so-instagramed pictures and a few non-existent pictures from the last (few) weeks:

Whew! Summertime is wiping me out. Maybe it's because I have a lower threshold for busy, but the last few weeks have felt slammed slap full. 

There was the kids' first movie at the theater compliments of the grandparents while Jason and I enjoyed time away in the mountains...



Followed closely by VBS, dance camp, daily reading tutoring and the beginning of RA retreat all within a week's time...





...and this week full of students slowly arriving, training, food prep for thirty people at meals and some back-to-school shopping. 

Sleepover night at retreat for the kids!




Group hike to a waterfall. This guy was leading the pack on the way back!
Fueling up at our favorite Indian restaurant during back-to-school shopping

And the missing pictures- Jason's iphone going in the lake during retreat, finishing touches on the community apartment, the stack of keys already handed out to students, and touring Reshma's new school then meeting her teacher.

Hooray for routines coming next week even though they involve early mornings. Pre-K at home and 4th grade at public school pictures to come!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Renovations!

Finally, everything is about finished. It's taken countless workers to finish up Phase I of the three phase process proposed for our apartments over the next three years. In total, Jason shoveled about 22 bulldozer scoops of mulch not including likely over 5 tons of gravel that we all pitched in scooping and leveling! And finally, our North side apartments are ready for girls to move into in just a few short weeks! 

Stairwells before:
The benches, gravel, rocks and mulch are all new to each stack this year! I didn't have a before without them...

Stairwells after:

Living Room Before:


Living Room After:


Bedroom Before:

Bedroom After:

One of our biggest projects was designing a new community space for laundry, study and working out. For the first time our apartment complex is moving away from washers/dryers in each apartment to a community approach. We wanted to make the transition a good one and on a tight budget, this is what we came up with. 

Before:


After:




Study Room:



Workout Room:


Bathroom:

Laundry Areas:



We're super pleased with the results and from the countless girls coming through helping us last night, they are too! Next summer renovations come to the mens' South side!

For now we relax in a fresh mountain air getaway! Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

That Summer List

Between shoveling gravel, a week of camps and an out-of-state trip, we've REALLY enjoyed this semi-quiet Saturday. A lot has happened in July with many things slowly getting crossed off our summer wish list. Here are a few of the favorites we actually captured...


-Swim at the lake. 

We were invited to visit friends who were staying at a castle cabin and had a blast relaxing, swimming and playing.


-"First" tooth.

While this wasn't on the wish list it was a big deal to us as Reshma lost her first tooth since being with us. While it's not her true first, we are really thankful to still have time to celebrate these coming-of-age events complete with fun traditions of tooth fairies visiting in the night! Reshma requested $10 for her tooth but the tooth fairy was setting a precedence and negotiated a better deal for the bloody tooth.


-Visit family in Alabama. 

We made it to see lots of relatives a few states away and as a bonus we got to stop in at a conference on the way to surprise my dad and see him get a really special award!


-Spend time at IKEA. 

That one really wasn't on our list either...but with the renovation project going on in the apartments some returns and purchases were par for the course.


-Summer camp! 

The kids looked forward to this week for almost two months and finally got to enjoy soccer (Levi) and a local day camp (Reshma). The week gave us a glimpse of what early school mornings will look like...and we're glad to have a break before the early days start in earnest.



Levi, to the right, is conserving energy watching his teammates run circles around him.


-Renovations! 

We have two more small projects and everything will be FINISHED! Just the last day or so here's what we've been working on. The first picture is after renovations but before wall decor was up. The second is a panoramic of the awesome cityscape Jason created with Duct tape! When the tables are done we'll have a full renovation post.


-Finish apartment projects.

Here are a few of the tons of rocks that have transformed our apartment complex. Jason's a true visionary seeing what would make the apartments both look and function better. The benches and gravel were additions to our area this summer.


This week looks promising for finishing projects up, resuming summer school and taking the fun maternity glucose-test. We'll be excited to share the before and afters from this summer's work.

Friday, July 11, 2014

InstaFriday?!


I don't have an Instagram account but really enjoy the interesting pictures and stories I read from those who link up for InstaFridays at Life Rearranged. We had a couple of fun pictures from the week so here's to the beginning of what probably will become sporadic InstaFriday link ups.

I enjoyed an evening out with some friends and came back home to vacuumed carpets, mopped floors and my husband pressure washing our rugs. They know my love language!

July 4th on the Harrell/Strickland side of the family involves lots of fried...shrimp, fish, hush puppies, fries. Really, everything deliciously fried...except the mouthwatering desserts!

(Here you go, Misty...you knew it was coming!!) 
These women make my heart breathe a sign of relief and comfort. My mom, aunt, daughter and cousins who are practically sisters. I LOVE these ladies!

We've been blessed this last month by a precious lady who is tutoring Reshma in reading. Really, we're overwhelmed with her generosity helping our girl get ready for 4th grade! While she and Reshma read, Levi gets to hang out with his new best friend, Peanut.

We had our cousin Maddie over this week and celebrated Christmas in July with a gingerbread train. Thanks to Mrs. Donna we had a fun afternoon chewing bubble gum and decorating with lots of color and sugar!

There is a major renovation going on in our apartment complex on campus and this week we got to go on a big shopping trip. By the time we finished we were packed like sardines....with no one getting hurt in the process or having to hold up a heavy mirror the whole way home. Pictures of some of the changes to come!

There you have our first not-so-Instagramed Friday pictures. Hope you have a great weekend!