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!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Six Months

We totally missed it Wednesday on our six month anniversary. On Thursday sitting around the table with parents we realized that we've been home six months with our girl!! We waded through some intense spiritual warfare, scrimped and saved, kept faith through discouraging seasons and FINALLY we have her home. We've said it often vaguely but getting her home was only the beginning of the real journey. The last six months have been beautiful, rich and incredibly difficult. We've learned a lot about parenting, our own selfishness and God's heart of adoption that led us down this road. A whole lot of change has happened in between these two pictures.

Both Jason and I agree we're glad the harder days are behind us and the new normal has emerged. Good things are happening in all our hearts and even though six months came Wednesday without much fanfare other than Chick-fil-a, lemonade and a lot of bathroom breaks during a long car trip, we celebrated the milestone at week's end in an unexpected way. Reshma, all on her own, came up to give each of us a hug and say, "I'm really glad you're my Mom and Dad." It was an incredible, undeserved marker for a short six months together! We know the pendulum might swing in the opposite direction and back again over the next few years, but it sure is nice to hear evidence of bonding after all the changes and growing pains of the last six months.