Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Coins for Katie

Want to know what this is all about?
Click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Honeymoon is Over

Boy that didn't take long did it?  The first day of school went great.  The second day of school went great.  It was the getting to school and being home after school part that sucked.  Big time.  My sweet David has such struggles with new environments, the unfamiliar, and things that are outside of his comfort zone.  It breaks my heart that he gets so upset about things, and it's a very frustrating process.  It's so difficult not to get angry at him in the heat of the moment.  And trust me, it's not all "diagnosis" related - plenty of it is a 7 year old boy testing his limits.  But how do you know what is part of a diagnosis and what is just sass?

There have been many, many times when I have questioned to myself what we could have done differently, why we didn't seek out this particular diagnosis earlier, why it took us nearly 5 years to get him diagnosed appropriately. . . I could go on and on.  Obviously I know this type of thinking is not productive and I do - when we're not in the midst of a meltdown - feel very confident that Chris and I have done everything we can to get David various therapies, follow up and do the work/therapies/exercises/treatments at home, researched everything we can do to help David, worked with his schools, seen specialists, gotten second (and third) opinions, put him on waiting lists that are a year long for treatments he may not need when he's able to go for his appointment, read books (and more books), taken him to a homeopathic doctor, modified our parenting styles, changed our rewards/punishments . . . I truly can say I don't know what other, additional things we could be doing for him.  However, there are still days that are the darkest that I question whether I am the best mother for him.  I'm quite able to convince myself that there is someone more patient, more loving, more. . . something.  Today was one of those days.  I am hopeful that as school goes on and he gets used to his new school and makes new friends (and, by the way, he loves his school and his teacher!) things will get easier and he will be less stressed and more able to relax.

. . . Or his mama may need a martini before work and I don't want to get a DUI at 7:00 in the morning, thankyouverymuch. . . 

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school.  We started a new school this year at a magnet school.  It's considered a school for "high achievers", and I'm excited about the teachers and the curriculum.  We've done a lot to prepare them for the first day at a(nother) new school.  I'm almost glad we switched schools mid-year last year when we moved, because they know that a new school isn't a big deal at this age.  With that said, another school "switch" isn't in the cards until middle school, barring any unusual circumstances!

They each picked out their shirts for the day, and they are so accurate per their personalities!  I have a sort of self-imposed "uniform" rule of really only wearing polo shirts or button down shirts to school.  I really don't like them to wear t-shirts or gym shorts, and they're OK with it.  Yes, I realize this is very conservative.  I really wish they wore a uniform to school  

David is so grown up. 
And has Spongebob teeth with those loose front teeth!
I cannot believe he's in second grade.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane. . . 

Preschool, 2007

Preschool, 2008


Kindergarten, 2009.
If you've read my blog for that long, you have no life, you may remember the fiasco that was the start to David's Kindergarten year.  In retrospect, that all makes much, much more sense.  It was still horrible, and I'm so thankful that this has not been a recurring first day problem.  I would be an alcoholic each year before school started if we went through that each year.

First grade, 2010.  
(Note, the graphic tee shirt.  I remember Chris and I had an argument about this shirt and I gave in!)
I think it's funny that David has worn khaki shorts every year on the first day of school since 2007, the year he started school.  I like what I like!

Henry did a wonderful job today, as I knew he would.  He loves school, and he had his backpack on twenty-five minutes before it was time to go because he was so excited.

This was Henry's pre-K first day in 2009.
And probably my favorite picture ever of him.
I have it hanging in my office directly opposite my desk, and it makes me smile every day.
I love that little tongue sneaking out because he was saying "Cheese!" with his little lisp.  

Kindergarten, 2010.  
He was so excited - it's almost still dark out when we were taking this picture because he was so happy to go to school!

Tomorrow is their first full day.  I've already got their clothes ready and their lunches packed.  I want to get the year off to a good, organized start!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Updated House Photos

We had to take several photos of our house to include in our dossier information for our adoption
I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the progress we've made since we bought the house ten months ago.
We've managed to keep ourselves (OK, Chris) pretty busy.

Our backyard is looking pretty decent, despite the ring created by the horses we had at our birthday party in April.

We've replaced this patio set since these pictures were taken with a new (to us) rectangular table with six chairs.  The table and chairs need to be painted, and I will get new cushions.  Photos to come when that project is completed!

Nothing has changed in our breakfast room.  I am on the hunt for a small loveseat or sofa to put under the windows, and I'll remove two chairs from the table.  I was going to take the one from our office when we got a church pew to replace it, but the pew is miniature and won't be adequate seating for our clients.  I will likely just wait until we replace the couch at our office and take that, because it's the perfect size (and even material) to go in this space.

Kitchen is still the same.  I still haven't painted the island table.  And I still haven't added a backsplash.  We did change the curtains over the sink.  We took down the panels and added some bamboo shades.  I will put these on the breakfast room windows too, but there are never enough in the size I need at the store when I go looking for them.

Our master bedroom remains unchanged from pretty much the day we unpacked, with the exception of the new armoire.

My fabulous friend Kelly had a baby and couldn't use this black armoire in the baby's room.  She asked if we could use it.  If we could pick it up, we could have it.  Um, hello.  We picked it up.  It's a Pottery Barn armoire that was originally a tv cabinet.  I really wanted to be able to use it in the playroom, but it weighs approximately 1,378,385,098.4 pounds and there was no. way. that was going up the stairs.  So Chris altered it to store clothes, and it's perfect in this space.  I'm toying with the idea of painting the rest of our bedroom furniture black to match and painting our walls gray.  I would love to do gray walls with yellow and white accents in this room.  I promise it will probably be the last room to complete.

I still typically have our couch covered with the slipcover.  Thankfully it's machine washable, because it spends about 25% of it's time in the washing machine. 

We've painted the entry, and I love it.  We will use the same paint upstairs at the computer area and in the hallway.

And I'm still SO glad we've removed the stained glass panel and replaced with clear glass.

I've considereded moving the computer down to our entry and making this a sitting area.  That could still happen since I recently discovered in our computer history the googling of some inappropriate words. . . and Jack got blamed for it despite the fact that he is unable to spell.

No changes here.  I can't make up my mind.  And I feel like as soon as I decorate this room they will change their minds about what they're interested in.

No change in the laundry room either.  And I promise there won't be for a looong time.

I wasn't bold enough to go orange in the entire playroom.
I just couldn't do it.

I'm thinking either a gray or a khaki for the other three walls.  For now, we're a happy shade of cream.  And holding strong.

The curtains are a good-enough-for-now option.

Next up?  Finishing Katie Ruth's room, then probably on to some beadboard and wainscotting in the breakfast room!

Guest Room Updates

This was our guest room when we bought our house. 

This is it now.
And it's still a guest room, but that's the temporary use.
Because (hopefully soon) it will be the cozy bedroom for this sweet girl.

We painted, after testing many paint colors.

We finally decided on Martha Stewart's sea glass green from HD.
I love this color.
In the photo of the room above it looks more electric green than it does in person.
It's a really, really pretty, soothing shade.

So now I have to decide what else to do with the room.

I want to make this. 
I have an old chunkalicious (yes, I've decided that's a word) frame with a print in it that I got at Kirkland's a while back. 
The print doesn't go with the room anymore, but the frame is fabulous. 
I'm going to paint the frame and do this over the print.

I want to make some tissue paper flowers to hang in one corner of the room.
I would like to use navy blue, pink, and orange as the accent colors in this room.

Hello.  LOVE this.

I want to do navy chevron stripe curtains similar to these.
I also want to put a wide (like, 12 inches) band of bright pink on the bottom.
I'm having trouble finding navy chevron fabric.

I'm testing this right now.
It's fabric that I bought to recover a rocking chair cushion on our porch.

I am also obsessed with this nesting doll art I found on etsy.
I really want to hang something similar above the fireplace in her room.
However, it's dolls made out of scrapbook paper and glued onto a painted canvas.
I can make that myself, instead of paying over $100 for it. 
I think I'll paint the canvas an orange-y/tangerineish color.

I haven't decided on bedding yet, but that will be largely dictated by the fabric I choose for the curtains and window seat.  Right now I'm thinking a white duvet cover with her monogram in the middle.  Will I regret white bedding in a child's room??  We don't allow food, drinks, or markers (crayons, etc.) upstairs, so I don't think it will be a big issue.

Lemonade Cake

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday, and we had a brunch with our families yesterday.  I make whatever kind of cake the birthday boy (or girl!) requests, and Chris wanted Lemonade Cake.  It was very good - I would in the future use a different frosting recipe.  This one is a butter base, which in the heat of a southern summer turns into more of a glaze.  And slid right off of the cake.  It is, however, delicious.


  • butter for coating pan
  • 1 (18.25-ounce) white cake mix, plus any additional ingredients the package directions call for
  • 3 tablespoon lemonade drink powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1 lb confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoon frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper; set aside.
  • For the cake, in a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and lemonade powder.
  • Prepare the cake batter according to the package directions, using any additional ingredients called for (eggs, milk, water, oil, etc…).
  • Stir the lemon zest into the batter.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Carefully turn cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat together the confectioners’ sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in the remaining ingredients until combined.

Transfer one cake to a cake stand or large platter. Using an offset spatula spread the top of the cake with a layer of frosting. Place the second cake on top of the first. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of both layers.

My notes:  I woud use either a cream cheese recipe and add the lemonade concentrate and zest or use a buttercream and do the same thing.  This recipe as it is, as I mentioned, is more of a glaze.  Also, I like my cakes to be tall and thick.  I doubled this recipe (both cake and frosting) and cooked in two nine-inch springform pans.  That makes nice big layers that I think look more impressive than two little thin eight-inch layers.  I also had to feed 16 people, and an eight-inch wouldn't have been enough.  You could also make this using pink lemonade powder and concentrate for a little girl's party, etc.  My husband didn't want a pink cake!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Thanks to possibly the sweetest person ever to read my blog, we now have received sixteen additional photos of our sweet Katie Ruth.  Sixteen!  We didn't expect to see any other photos of her until we got to her country.  This is amazing.  Some of the photos are as old as 2009 when she was 2 years old.  Some, including the original photo we had, are as recent as March of this year.  She is so adorable.  And looks healthy, mobile, and social.  And it breaks my heart that, despite as great as she looks, it will be so long still until we can love all over that face.  Boy will we make up for that lost time!!