Sunday 26 May 2013

School's Out!

School's out for the sumer!
My favorite last day of school activity?  
Comparing the first day of school photo to the last day of school photo.

David finished third grade this year.  
He looks so much older in his face in the last day of school photo I think!

My sweet little buddies.  They both grew so much. 

Henry looks much more mature at the end of the year too, I think.  He's also gotten several inches taller and slimmed down a bit.

They were excited for their last day!

I cannot believe this sweet thing will be in third grade in the fall!

Little Miss sassy kindergartner! 

Talk about a change from the first day of school!  
She looks about three years older in the second picture.

Jack also had his last day of preschool.  
He was obviously excited. . . 

Where did that baby face go?!  He's getting older right before my eyes.  

And on the first day of summer vacation?  At 5:59 a.m. David told me I ruined all of his summer plans because I told him he couldn't play video games all day.  That's got to be some kind of world record for the fastest summer plans ruiner in history.

Happy Summer!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Second Grade Awards Day

My sweet Henry was honored at his school's K-2 awards day.  He got a trophy for making the principal's list (all A's) every semester.  He also won a second grade Good Citizenship award.  We're so proud of him!  The Good Citizenship award is given to students who are good friends, always try their hardest, are respectful to others, and are just all around good students and community members.  We had no idea he was receiving it, and we're so proud of him!

Henry is SO Chris' mini-me.
Chris and I went to his awards ceremony, and then Chris checked him out of school early and took him to a special celebratory lunch.  

Someone please tell me why my hair looks like a wig?!
 After the ceremony, I went to Katie's class picnic while Chris and Henry were at lunch.  It's cute to see her playing with her friends and having fun on the playground at school.  We'll sure miss her teachers and friends!

Today is the last day of school, and I cannot wait to see their first day of school/last day of school comparison pictures to see how much they've changed!

Monday 20 May 2013

The Simpson Six: One Year Later

One year ago, Katie and I arrived at the Nashville airport and our family finally became the Simpson Six.  

We celebrated her homecoming with a little cookout.  Because really, I like to make a party out of everything.

The pool at Gigi and Grampy's is open and, though a little chilly, got a lot of use!

Katie was so excited and happy.  

She was a little fish, in the water almost all day.

She tried without her life jacket on one time.  She threw her little boats into the pool and jumped in after them.  She saw to them, grabbed them up, and turned to swim back.  Then she realized she was doing it on her own . . . and stopped swimming.  I let her try for a second, but she started to panic so I went in (in my dress) and got her.  Thankfully I could reach her from the ladder and didn't have to full on jump in!  She kept the life jacket on for the rest of the day.  And we're signing up for swim lessons today.  She just needs a refresher. . . she was swimming without a jacket last year.

Almost exactly one year ago. . . look at how much they've changed!

The big boys did lots of swimming and splashing.  

Katie did some iPhone-ing.  Does she look 13 years old here?!  I am in love with her swimsuit.  It's from Target, and it's so cute on her.

Jack showed off his newest trick . . . eye crossing.  

Everyone enjoyed some cupcakes.  
Or at least the frosting.

Jack conned everyone around him into playing baseball with him, and Katie was his dutiful catcher.  Look at how great her legs look - almost no bowing!!  This is an enormous change from last year.  I noticed yesterday that her posture is vastly improved as well, and I think that's from strengthening and stabilizing her core muscles.  I'm so proud of my girl.

She loves her Gramps!

And because I love a before and after. . . 

Here we are, celebrating one year as the Simpson Six.  
I can't believe how lucky we are.

Friday 17 May 2013

Katie's Pre-K Graduation

Lady K had her pre-K graduation!
It was such a cute ceremony.

Preschool children in caps and gowns?  
Are you kidding me?  
I could eat them.

They did a cute little song performance at the start, and Katie was a dog.  
She did a great job and was a fantastic listener.

Jack cheesed it up, as per his usual.  

I can't believe how proud I am of this girl.
Kindergarten next year!

This picture?
Hilarious.  I love K's face.

She has the most amazing teachers this year.  
It will be so hard to have new teachers next year.  
We'll miss them so much!

We're all very, very proud of sweet Lady K!

One Year Free!

Last year, on May 16, 2012, this girl and I walked hand in hand out of her orphanage.  We left the institution behind and started a new life.  And that's exactly what it's been for Katie; a new life.

Katie is one year free!  She's had a fantastic year.  It would be impossible for me to detail everything Katie's learned in that year or how much she's grown.  She is a different person.  We all are.  

We are incredibly fortunate to have this sweet girl in our family.  She teaches us things every single day.  She has brought us more joy than we ever could have anticipated.  

Happy one year home Katie.  We love you.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day

This child made me a mama.  
He makes me a better person.  
He challenges me daily and loves me fiercely.  
He doesn't make it easy to be a mama, but he sure does make it rewarding.
David made me realize I can do this being a mama business. 
He makes me want to do it well, every day.

This boy makes it easy to be a mama.
He makes everything I do as his mama seem like the best thing ever.
Henry makes me know, every day, that the mama I am is exactly the mama he needs.

He makes being a mama exciting every day. 
That may be excitement from a broken bone or a split lip or a silly joke or a big homerun.
But it's always exciting.
He makes me be a more prepared mama. . . you never know what will happen with Jack around.
Jack makes being a mama fun.

And this child . . . she makes being a mama intentional.  

"A child born to another woman calls me mommy.
The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me." - Jody Landers

I had to want to be Katie's mama.  I chose to be Katie's mama.  I wanted to be David, Henry, and Jack's mama, but it wasn't required.  I had to prove that I should be Katie's mama, that I could be her mama.  

She didn't know what it was like to have a mama for almost her whole life.  I will spend the rest of mine making sure she knows she has a mama who loves her with her entire heart.  Not just because I have to love her; because I want to love her.  

It is not lost on me that I am Katie's mother because someone else is not.  I am thankful that Katie's birth mother made what I'm sure was not an easy choice.  I am proud that I have been trusted with Katie, and I will always make sure that Katie knows that her first mama is where her story started.

And my mama. . . 
I couldn't have hand picked someone better to be my mama.  
I am thankful for her every day, but particularly so on Mother's Day.
I know, now, that being a mama is so hard.  She never made it seem so.  My mama is beautiful, inside and out.  She is fun, supportive, smart, sensitive, caring, generous, and creative.  She is every single thing I hope to be.  I am so proud to be her daughter.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday 11 May 2013

Hoarder's Paradise

I posted a couple of years ago about our favorite secret spot to go for things for our house.  What do you need?  He's got it.  Doors, building materials, windows, appliances, tile, flooring, light fixtures, weed spray . . . anything that is carried at big box home improvement stores, he's got.

We were in the market for a new light for our front door.  You could barely even see the light we had, because it was so tiny.  We have a big house; that tiny little light looked silly, and I've hated it since we moved in.  (I also hate the red on the door, but that's going to be fixed soon.)

Have you priced exterior lights lately?  They're not cheap.  And I am.  I guess I should call myself frugal, not cheap....

We packed up the crew and headed to what I affectionately call "Hoarder's Paradise".

The story we've heard is that the man who owns this hidden bit of home owner's delight goes to big box home improvement stores in the surrounding states and buys all of the clearance items.  He then brings them to this location and sells them at a fraction of the retail price.

These pictures cannot accurately convey all that is at this crazy place.

There is storage building after storage building, row after row, room after room of stuff.

You need to be flexible.  Both in what you're looking for and in your ability to maneuver your way through the conglomeration of items he's got. 

Organized?  Uh, you've got to be kidding me.
I think he started organized, but that has quickly gone by the wayside.  

We were looking for a ceiling fan and a "big exterior light".  Chris told the man that and he sort of closed his eyes and thought for a minute.  I think he was mentally running through his inventory in his mind.  No ceiling fans.  He quickly led Chris to the location of the big exterior lights.

I stayed in the car with the littles because this isn't exactly a family friendly place.  I would quickly lose a small child here, never to be found again.

He showed us four different lovely, brand new, still in boxes light fixtures.

This is the light we got.  The original listed price was $69.  It was a clearance price of $41.40.  We paid $25.00 for it.  It's from Lowe's originally.

Since installing it, we've also cleaned the porch to prep it for painting.  We're also working on choosing a new color for our house, which needs desperately to be painted.  

These are the color schemes we're going between.  

We have a Victorian house, which is currently light blue with maroon and white trim, and we have a gray metal roof.  I would love to paint it gray, but I don't think that would look right with a gray roof.  Chris would love to keep it blue.  I hate the current color.  I've compromised with a dark blue.

Notice the recurring theme?  

A yellow front door!

Yellow paint has been purchased, and that transformation will be happening as soon as it stays dry enough for long enough to paint the suckers!