A Day at Duke Gardens

I’m going to tell you something I’ve learned about myself since having kids. I’m grouchy after working night shift. Like, really really grouchy. I think Corey pretty much got used to tip-toeing around the sleep-deprived monster (yep, that’s me…) when it was just us. But kids kind of expect you to act the same whether you’re well-rested or spent the previous night taking care of sick people. Which is how I’ve learned that sometimes I’m just incapable of patience and thoughtful understanding post night shift. I’m crabby and nauseous and all around not a very fun person to interact with.

I tell you this because I’ve worked nights for the last two weeks. It’s been rough on all of us. So on Sunday, after my last night shift for the week, when Corey suggested going to Duke Gardens, we all jumped at the chance to get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful weather. For those of you not in Durham, Duke Gardens is over 50 acres of gardens on Duke University’s campus. It is especially lovely in the springtime and such a fun activity on a warm afternoon. We spent the afternoon wandering the grounds of the gardens, pointing out various colors, running in the open spaces and just enjoying time together as a family.

Here are some pictures from our time there if you’d like to see :).

Duke Gardens JJ

Duke Gardens JoJo

You can only catch JJ being serious for a minute or two before she’s back to her happy, smiley, silly self.

Duke Gardens Teddy and Daddy

This one is totally a daddy’s girl.

Duke Gardens Feet

Enjoying the sunshine while the girls ran around one of the big fields.

Duke Gardens Tedddy and Statue

Teddy stood and stared at this statue of a little girl for such a long time, it was cracking me up. The girls were also scandalized by her, um…lack of clothing on her backside ;).

Duke Gardens Teddy Face

Up close and personal, the way she likes to be, haha.

What do you do to rest and recover from an exhausting week? I also had lots of iced coffee on Sunday, which I think helped me perk up quite a bit ;). Coffee and my family…two of my favorite things in the whole world.



Simple Things

simplethings2One of the things I love most about my girls is their absolute enjoyment of the simple things in life. It never takes much to make them really happy. They constantly remind me to slow down and enjoy little things.






Yesterday we had another doctor day. I don’t know what your experiences are like with little ones and doctors, but oh my goodness, was I unprepared before becoming a parent. Part of it is that when you bring a child home from another country, there’s kind of a rush to get everything done pretty quickly. And I get it, I’m on board 100%, but it is exhausting. Each time we go in for an appointment, there’s one more test, one more vaccine, one more lab value that needs to be done. It makes for a long day every single time. And quite honestly, with all the needles it ends up being traumatizing for them (and mommy).


So back to the simple things ;). Yesterday mid-appointment, right around the time I started realizing it was going to be a long day with the potential for lots of tears, I knew the girls needed something special to look forward to. I told them that if they could listen and obey and get through the scary stuff, we would go home and make a bed on the couch, eat popcorn, and watch a movie. They were thrilled. You would have thought I told them we were heading to Disney World right after the appointment ;). Every time things got to be a little too much, I just reminded them of what was coming and they did so.well. I was such a proud mommy, they really are the best girls. Their resiliency astounds me almost every day.


So we got home, I made a bed on the couch, which for some reason is totally fascinating to them ;), popped some popcorn, and we all just kind of vegged. They took a three hour nap (!!!), woke up when daddy got home, and made a gigantic fort in the living room. All the very best simple things.




We must have one a good job recovering because other than some talk about the band-aids on their legs, this morning they’re kind of acting like nothing happened. What a relief!

What kinds of simple things do you enjoy after a hard day?


Life at the Hart’s

You guys, I’ve neglected this space a lot longer than I meant to. I think I’ve had a goal of sitting down to write here twice a week, and I’ve totally failed every single week since we’ve been back. To be honest, life has been a bit crazy and it has taken quite a while to get into a routine around here. Because we spent such a long time in Uganda, I headed back to work the week after we got back, which made our weeks pretty busy and delayed the feeling of being all settled in. Full disclosure here: some of our suitcases weren’t unpacked until this week. I had mountains of laundry left from Uganda, we still haven’t gone through all the mail we got while we were gone, and a friend had to come help me vacuum and mop the house this week (eek!) because it hadn’t been done since November. Whew!

I think this week for the first time we really got into a decent routine. The girls didn’t seem as bothered by the disruptions in our schedule (read: far less tears and tantrums), and we managed to get the house in decent shape AND keep everyone fed and clean ;). It feels like quite a feat. For the first time in a very long time, I’m starting to feel like we can actually do this. It’s a good feeling.

All this to say, I want to spend time writing here about life, our adoptions, our time in Uganda, and so much more, but I want to do it well. It’s all coming, I promise! It just might take a little while. For now, I wanted to share some family pictures we took while we were in PA over Easter weekend.



JJ and her faces. Always cracking us up.

Tandme      Tanddaddy

mommyandT      Janddaddy

And finally, one of the whole family together


We had so much fun spending time with family and, of course, meeting (almost) brand new baby Jesse! I think the girls’ lives were made. They have talked about him and looked at pictures of him for so long, that seeing him and holding him was like a dream come true!




This week mommy is working night shift (ughhhhh) and we’re looking forward to a visit from Auntie Lu!! Yay! I hope everyone’s weeks are off to a great start!