Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sisters


This girl. She is miss independent.  Always has been.  The task at hand might be something impossibly hard, but she is going to try to do it all by herself.

She is strong willed.  She's a daddy's girl. She is hilarious. She is always on the go, always running, and ALWAYS talking.

Girl doesn't stop.

She is our oldest, and she is the girl that made me a mama.


And this girl.  We're starting to discover her personality.  


She is a mamas girl through and through.  (But of course she loves her Daddy and sister, too!)


She has a sweet spirit but definitely knows how to turn on the screams to make her intentions and wants known!  


She is my little cuddler and my night owl.

She is the one that made us a family of FOUR.


It's too early to say that our girls have nothing in common.  In fact, even at 6 months old, Karsten reminds me of Kate in so many different ways. She will act in a way that gives me a sense of deja vu and I will feel like I've been transported back 3.5 years to when Kate was 6 months old. 

But I will say that we can already see how different their personalities are.  As they get older, they may not share the same interests.  They may not be involved in the same activities, or sports.  One may love sports and the other may be into music or books.  Who knows what they'll end up enjoying!  The point is, they may not have a whole lot in common.  

But that won't matter. Because they will always be sisters. 


There will always be that bond.


 They will be there for each other.


They will make each other laugh.  And cry. 

By the way, the next picture makes me laugh... Kate was pouting because she "didn't wanna be in the picture".


I know we will have rough days ahead.  That's just part of having two girls (or kids in general).  I grew up with a sister, so I know at least a little bit of what is in store.  Right now, my girls love each other.  Of course they love each other, but right now, they LOVE each other.  They get along.  They "play" together (as much as you can with a 6 month old.) They aren't to an age where they are fighting... yet.

But I know it's coming.  Before too long, the competitiveness and the jealousy will set in.  And they will fight. They will be mean to each other.  At times they will not like each other.  They will yell at each other. There will be tears.

But in the midst of all of the fighting, they will still be sisters. And one day, maybe not until they are both grown and out of our house,  they will realize just how special they are to each other.  They will "get" what it means to be sisters.


And I'm so thankful they will have each other.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Karsten: Six Months

I was texting Karsten's birth mom yesterday and neither one of us could believe it has been 1/2 of a year since this sweet baby girl was born.  Today she turns six months old.  Excuse me for a minute while I go cry about the fact that we no longer have an infant.  Though if you'd talk to Kevin, he might still call her an infant since she sleeps like one.  I digress. And I exaggerate. Her sleep is getting better. At least it has been for the past few nights.

Regardless, our BABY is now six whole months old.  Here is what she's up to.


She is wearing Size 3 diapers.  They are probably a TAD big on her, but they work and she's growing so we're going with it.  She weighs around 16.5 pounds and just seems so teeny to me, but I know she is not.  Especially when I look back at her newborn pictures, I realize just how big she has gotten!


Karsten just started solids in the last week or so.  We played around with food a tad last month, but we've started consistently feeding her just lately. We started off with rice cereal.  She didn't get it.  She would immediately stick her tongue in front of her lips to block out the spoon.  We tried the rice cereal a few times and then moved on to oatmeal.  She is a much bigger fan of oatmeal.  She still hasn't completely mastered the concept of opening her mouth for the spoon and swallowing, but she's getting there.  And we THINK it has helped with her sleep.



Speaking of sleep, she was doing GREAT around 5.5 months old.  We would feed her and put her to bed at 8, and then feed her another bottle when we went to bed around 10:30.  And then she would sleep until 7am.  It was WONDEROUS!  I mean seriously.  Best sleep we've had in 5.5 months.  She was consistently sleeping this way too.  We were thrilled.  And then, she reverted back to newborn status.  Waking every 2 hours.  That one week of GOOD sleep was such a teaser!

I told Kevin that I thought she had hit a growth spurt.  We're hoping that is the case and that the great, fantastic, AMAZING sleep will be back soon.


For my own reference, here is her general schedule at 6 months old:
7am            Wake and Bottle.  Back to bed after she finishes.
9:30am       Wake
10am          Bottle and Oatmeal
11:45am     Nap
2pm            Bottle
3:45pm       Nap
5:30pm       Bottle and Oatmeal (maybe a short cat nap while the rest of us eat dinner if she needs it)
8:15pm       Bottle and Bed
** We typically give her another bottle around 10:30 or 11 before we go to bed to help her last til morning.


We have been making a conscious effort to get in more tummy time lately.  She has generally hated it, but is tolerating it more and more.  She is pushing up on her arms further each day, but isn't quite to the point of lifting her body or getting her legs up under her. So I'm hoping this means she's not too close to crawling.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want her to be delayed, but I'm definitely enjoying the non-mobile stage!


If you hold out your hands to her and say "give me both hands", she will grab your hands with both of hers.  This is something Diane has taught her and Karsten has it down!


This girl is a vocal little thing, for sure.  She is so stinking loud!  I will have her playing on a blanket in one room, and go to another room to do a few things.  The next thing I know, I'll hear her YELLING from all the way across the house. She almost sounds upset.  So I'll go check on her, and nope.  She's not crying. She's not upset. She's not fussing. She is just LOUD.

She is definitely a Mama's girl.  Kate can get the biggest smiles out of her, but I'm a close second.  Kevin gets frustrated sometimes because I'll be doing something to make her smile or laugh, and he'll do the exact same thing and she looks at him like he is crazy, but gives him no smiles.  Then I'll do it again and she'll bust out with a grin.  I tell him it's payback.  Kate was a Daddy's girl.


She loves, loves, LOVES to stand up in your lap and bounce.  Her little legs are so strong and she will bounce and jump on her own for such a long time.  This is one of the reasons we're encouraging the tummy time.  We want the kid to crawl first instead of going straight to walking!

She is cuddly and sweet, and I just love my nighttime snuggles more than I care to admit.  I am generally the one to give her the very last bottle of the day, and I stretch it out a lot longer than I need to.  I love when she stares up at me and runs her fingers through my hair.  She's not much of a hair puller (unless it is Kate's hair), but she does love to play with my hair.  And when she is tired, she loves to bury her head in crook of my neck.  Melts my heart.


Thank you, God, for bringing this baby girl into our lives.  Thank you for making us parents to another little girl. Thank you for her birth mother, who carried this child for 9 months and then chose US to be her family forever. Thank you for the relationships that we are building with Karsten's birth family, and that she will always be able to know who and where she comes from. Thank you for the love, laughter, joy, excitement and FUN that she has brought to us all over the last 6 months!  I am sure the next 6 months will fly by just as quickly!  Where is the pause button??? :)  We are so thankful and grateful for this special gift!

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter!  So today was a pretty exciting day, but before we get there, let's back up to last night.

I'd hung Kate's new Easter dress on her closet door and she saw it hanging there when we went in her room to put on her pajamas.  She was SO excited to see her dress.  She has been asking to wear it for a few weeks now, and I keep telling her "it's your EASTER dress", so she's been practicing patience.  NOT an easy task for a 3.5 year old.

When she realized she would get to wear her dress the next day, she was ecstatic.  Karsten has a very similar Easter dress (similar in style, not in color) and so Kate was looking forward to "matching" her sister.

We went in the bathroom to brush her teeth and Kate spotted the curlers.  She asked for me to put them in her hair, so I did.  As I was rolling everything up, I asked if there was a princess that had curly hair, and if that's why she wanted it.  She said "No. I want to match Karsten."

Awww.



This was the first time she actually slept in the curlers. I've put them in her hair before, but after about 20 minutes she is usually through.  She stuck with it this time, and I'm glad she did!



Tada! She was so proud of herself.


Okay, now. Easter.  What a special day!  This morning I served in our Children's class during church, so I missed the message.  But I'm pretty sure I know what it was about. 

Our kids sang during the service and did a GREAT job singing "Oh, Happy Day".  Kate and I have been practicing in the car often, so she knew the words pretty well.  And the girl is not stage-shy at all.  Anybody remember that stage dive she took a few years ago?  Ha!  

My parents joined us at church, and afterward they came over to our house for lunch.  Kristi and Davis met us there.  But before we ate, we had to take a few pictures, of course!


See that finger going toward Karsten's mouth?  Yeah. We're still struggling with the "don't touch her face" thing.  




I'm pretty sure our kids cooperate while taking pictures with other people more than they do with Kevin and me.  It seriously should not be THAT hard to get two kids to look in the same direction. I've given up on trying to get smiles. 



I asked Kate this evening what her favorite part about today was.  This is something I like to ask her each day, just to hear what she says.  Today, she said "um.... Easter eggs.  I liked finding the eggs!"  I could probably have called that one if I'd thought about it.  Hearing her squeal when she took off running for the eggs was priceless!

And when she'd found them all, she dumped them out on the ground and had her Daddy help her count them. :)


Still can't believe she is mine.  We are so thankful for both of our sweet girls. 


But more than that, we are thankful for Jesus- for his birth, for his death, and for his resurrection.  He is alive!  The tomb is empty.  I am so grateful, and thankful, for the cross.

Jesus has overcome,
And the grave is overwhelmed. 
The victory is won. 
He is risen from the grave. 

And I will rise
When he calls my name.
No more sorrow.
No more pain. 

I will rise on eagles wings. 
Before my God, fall on my knees. 
And rise.
I will rise.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Egging It

About a week and a half ago, I bought 2 dozen eggs and 2 packs of egg dye.  I went home and boiled the eggs and then... we never got around to dying them.  I kept having intentions of doing it with Kate each night, and other stuff just kept getting in the way.  But on Thursday, we finally got to dye eggs.

Kate was SO excited.  As in, jumping up and down excited.


For some reason she got it in her head that she had to blow on the eggs.  Not really sure where that came from, but it was funny anyway...


She was INTENT on the egg dying, y'all.  And really, I forgot how boring egg dying is.  I mean you stick them in the cup and then wait.  And that's about it.


 The other kit I bought was some tie-dye kit and so there was a little bit more involved. You had to put the egg in this plastic case and then use a syringe to squirt dye into the case.


We did 2 tie-dye eggs and then we were both over it.  Oh yeah, also, I went to work with a pink hand the next day, and Kate had a blue one.  But our eggs did turn out pretty nice.


And next year, we'll have two little girls attempting the egg dying experience.  Start praying for me now.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

(Mostly) Candyless Easter Baskets


I love Easter.  It is the cornerstone of my faith- celebrating the death and resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  There is no greater love than for someone to lay down their life for another. (John 15:13)  Because of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, my sins are already forgiven.  Because of HIS blood, I have eternal life.  So yeah, Easter is a pretty celebrated day in our house.

Even though the focus of Easter in our house is on Jesus, we also do the Easter bunny.  Like with Christmas, we don't go all out, but we do have some fun with it.  However, Kate gets enough candy and sweets through other things, that I really don't want to fill her Easter basket up with junk.  I try to find some fun things to fill their basket, along with some practical stuff that I'd have to buy anyway.  I've been collecting a few things here and there since the first of the year, so I went ahead and put their baskets together this weekend.  In case any of you have kids in the age range of my two, here's what we did for Easter this year:


Can you guess which is which? Ha! Pretty easy.  Plus, Kate's HAD to be pink.  If she got a non-pink basket, I think the Easter bunny would have been in trouble.

Kate's Basket - Age 3.5


1. Two Pairs of Pajamas (Carter's)
2. Pink Flip Flops (Old Navy)
3. Bubble Gun (Target)
4. Old Maid and Go Fish (Target Dollar Spot)
5. Glow Stick Bracelets (Target Dollar Spot)
6. Chocolate Bunny
7. M&M's



Karsten's Basket - Age 5 months


1. Two Pairs of Pajamas (Carter's) - matching Kate's, of course.
2. Pink Flip Flops (Old Navy) - again, matching Kate's.
3. Teething Toy (Carter's)
4. Teething Toy (MAM - Target)
5. Car Seat Toy Elephant (Target)



Some other non-candy ideas are:
1. Hair Bows/Clips (I was going to add some of these, but never got around to buying any.)
2. Stickers
3. Bottle or Sippy Cup Labels (InchBug)
4. Play Dough
5. Goldfish
6. Crayons
7. Small Board Books
8. Sunglasses
9. Bathing Suit
10. Slinky
11. Bath Toys
12. Bath Dropz or Bath Paint
13. Chalk

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Monday

Whew.  I'm sitting down to write and can't believe that it has been 2.5 weeks since I last posted anything.  Sadly, I haven't even pulled my real camera out that much lately.  This is definitely that time of year when the whole camera and blog take the back seat to all of the other "life" things.  You know, things like actually getting dinner on the table.  Or washing laundry.  But not folding.  Because I hate that.  Just washing.  Kidding, about that whole "not folding" thing.  So not kidding about that hating it part.

Tonight though I pulled out my camera.  I mean, I don't want Karsten to feel like she's a second child with NO pictures of her at 5 months old. :)  She is getting too big too fast.



That little nose stays scratched up no matter how short I keep her nails cut.  



And here is big sis, little miss Sunshine.  I still can't believe how she manages to make Karsten smile.  The baby most definitely loves her big sister.  And of course, Kevin and I sure do too! 


Apparently she learned the word "allergic" lately.  She has allergies and asthma so we have said that word around her often, but I guess she fully understood the context of how to use it in the last few days.   Tonight, she came to give me a kiss because it was time for bed, and then she said "Ah, I don't think I can get in my bed. I think I'm a little bit allergic."  Nice try, kid.  


And these two girls together. In matching pajamas no less.  Doesn't get much better than clean, bathed, *matching* kids.  Even with the fake smile. 







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