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


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. 



Study Room:

Workout Room:


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.


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


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, 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!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


A few months ago we did a little rearranging of rooms resulting in Levi and Reshma now sharing a bedroom making space for a school room/play room/ nursery.  Since neither of the kids liked falling asleep alone, the arrangement is working well with Reshma in a loft bed and Levi tucked under the slide in a cubby. Last night when we were cleaning up Reshma realized there were no sibling pictures of the two of them only shots from India and of our whole family. So, much to Reshma's delight and Levi's dismay, we set out to take a few pictures in the short time we had before bed time. Here are a few of the pictures we got that capture some of the sweeter sibling moments...

And just for fun, here's the other side of the sibling love...the outtakes.

the silliness

the "rascaliness"

...and the full out grumpiness

These still miss Levi running away in protest, almost falling on his head and the choking incident. ;) Life is always real and interesting! It's fun to play with the camera and capture a bit of it for our walls!