Friday, August 10, 2018

Kate is Seven

Today is Kate's day, and she is officially a seven year old! 

I promise it feels like the days, months, and years are going by at a faster pace than they did in years past. A few weeks we were visiting the city where she was born and Kevin and I were reminiscing about when she was a tiny newborn. It feels like yesterday. In a few weeks, she will be a second grader. 

Kate is kind hearted and a nurturer.  I can see her being a doctor or a nurse as she gets older.  When Karsten (or anyone) is hurt, she is the first to ask to see their boo boo, and the first to try to find a band aid.  A few weeks ago, I wasn't feeling so great so instead of cooking, Kevin was going to run out and get dinner with the kids. Kate just assumes that if you don't feel good, it means your stomach hurts, so before they left she went and got me a trash can and a coke, just in case I needed them. (I really just had a headache but I love that she thought of me.)

She loves babies, little kids, and despite her allergies, she loves animals. She watches Wild Kratz on PBS all the time, as well as animal videos on YouTube. Kevin and I often get filled in on random trivia about all kinds of animals. 

She is independent and strong willed - both traits that can serve her well as an adult but cause many battles in our house over who is in charge! I think the teenage years will be interesting...

But because of her independence, I can see her telling me that I'm not allowed to walk her into school on the first day this year.  Hey - she actually tried that with me last year but I told her that in first grade, it's required for parents to walk you in. Ha! I mean, I needed at least one more year to do that- for me, not her!

She is my girl, the one that made me a mama. She is the first baby that kept me up all night long, the first one I rocked to sleep, the first one that I got to see roll, then crawl, then walk and run. I love her so and while I wish each year would last a little longer, I also can't wait to see who she grows up to be.  

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Vacation 2018 - Part 4 (Beach)

Toward the end of our vacation, we decided to go to the beach.  We found a great resort area in Myrtle Beach and decided to spend a few days there to round out our trip.  Myrtle Beach isn't typically the sort of place that Kevin or I would choose.  We like the laid back, almost deserted, no-traffic, relaxing kind of beaches. Myrtle Beach is not that.  But, the kids love it. To them, Myrtle Beach is excitement and fun so that's where we went.

All in all, this was a great addition to our vacation. We did relax some. The girls had a blast. We spent some good quality time together. Can't ask for a better end to our vacation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Vacation 2018 - Part 3 (Lake Days)

After our quick trip to Raleigh, we came back to my parent's lake house and just had a few low key days.  We went to the park...

Of course we played in the lake...

(Karsten is a tree climber, if you haven't noticed. Doesn't matter if the tree has limbs she can reach or if she can't, she'll find a way to climb it.)

We walked around downtown and checked out the topiaries. 

We went to a local splash pad, drove to a nearby town for pizza, went to another town to go to the mall, and generally just had fun together!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Vacation 2018 - Part 2 (Raleigh)

By chance, Karsten was born in the city that we currently live.  It was 100% coincidence because with adoption, almost all personal information of birth families and adoptive families is private. So when we were chosen to be Karsten's parents, her birth mom had no idea where we lived.  We could have been anywhere in SC.  When we got the call that she had been born, we only had a 15 minute drive to get to the hospital!  

Since Karsten was born local to us, we pass by her hospital regularly.  She often yells out and points "Hey! That's where I was born!"  Kate, however, had never been back to the place where she was born. 

So, next up on our family vacation was a trip to a city that is very special to us. It's the place where Kevin and I became parents - Raleigh, NC. 

We visited the hospital where she was born. 

We ended up staying at the very same hotel where we brought Kate "home" from the hospital.

We potentially stayed in the very same room. Ha! We know we stayed on the same floor and side that we were on nearly seven years ago, but have no idea if it is the exact same room or not. How crazy would that be though.

What a difference (almost) 7 years make!  Kate sure looks a bit different, but the hotel decor remains the same.  This was about 5 minutes after we walked into this room with our newborn.  It was pretty much the moment where we realized "what in the world are we supposed to do now?".

We also took her by the hotel where we spent 10 days with her, while waiting on NC and SC ICPC paperwork to go through so we were allowed to travel home.

It was a quick trip, but totally worth it. Now our girl knows where she was born, and where she spent her first few weeks of life.  Our first memories as parents were in this city and it will always mean so much to us because of that. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Vacation 2018 - Part 1 (Lake)

I've got some catching up to do! I mentioned in my last post that I took an extra long vacation this year. We split the time up over a few different locations, but started off vacation at my parent's lake house.  Because this was the weekend before the 4th of July, there were a lot of things going on in my little home town.  

The lake is always the place to be on the 4th, and the weather was perfect. The girls (and I) got in some good tubing before the lake got too choppy with all of the boats. 

Kate has determined she wants to be a professional tuber and has no fear when it comes to the lake. 

And of course, Karsten wants to be JUST like Kate.  She's too little for me to let her tube by herself, or tube with only Kate.  She and I went a few times and she will wear you out! She doesn't really get that she has to hold on, so I had the task of keeping both Karsten and myself from falling off. 

We made a quick pit stop for gas and popsicles. 

Karsten is still in the napping stage and since we were out on the boat all day long, she missed her nap, but snuck it in on Daddy's lap.

Saturday, there was a huge 4th of July festival, complete with rides, games, food, and music.  We went to check it out but it was a thousand degrees outside and I'm only slightly exaggerating. The kids had a blast. I think we sweat off about 5 lbs each. 

Then Saturday evening, we took the boat out to the middle of the lake to watch a fireworks show at a different festival/event.  I may be from a small town, but they know how to make a big deal of holidays. :)  

The fireworks really were great, but it always seems like it is pretty much impossible to get a good picture of them. Just trust me. They were good.

See all of those dots/lights in a row? Those are boats. There were a million of them. We stayed right outside of our cove so we didn't get in the middle of all of that! I may have had a panic attack if we'd tried. 

And that was just the first few days of our vacation! It was definitely off to a great start!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sabbat: to rest

Have you ever needed a "reset" in your life?  Maybe just a little time to pause, reflect, rest, relax and enjoy the blessings you have been given?

No? So that's just me?

Recently I helped lead a women's Bible study at my church by Priscilla Shirer called Breathe.  The entire study focused around making time for the Sabbath.  The word Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word "sabbat", which literally means "to pause".  By studying the Sabbath, we didn't spend our time talking about a specific day of the week. However, we spent 5-6 weeks digging into how vital Sabbath rest is in our lives.  In fact, it's so important that God gave us an example of its importance right in the very beginning of it all.

God spent 7 periods of time on creation and on that very period of time, what did He do?  He rested. He didn't need rest for Himself. God CREATED rest on that seventh day- for us!  It was an example of what we need.

On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work. (Genesis 2:2)

(If you're looking for a great Bible study, I highly recommend this one. It's is about creating space in all areas of your life - not just with time!)

Anyway, life has been crazy lately and I really just needed some time to do all of the above. Pause. Reflect. Relax. Rest. And for the first time ever, I took 2 full weeks off of work.

We borrowed my parent's lake house for a bit, took a few day trips, made a quick trip to the beach, and spent a lot of time together as a family. It was needed and it was great.

And you know?  I'm really learning that the when the Bible tells us that we need something, and when God actually creates that specific thing for us, and when He gives us an example of it Himself, that kinda means it is important.

What does it say about us when we think that we know better than God?  Why are we (Moms especially) so convinced that we need to do more, work more, make more, serve more, sweat more, live more, spend more, or BE more, when God has already told us that He is enough.

We think we can do ALL. THE. THINGS.

  • We're the room moms 
  • We're the schedule keepers
  • We're our kids sports coaches 
  • We always feel like we have to sign up to bring things
  • We make dinner 
  • We teach Sunday school 
  • We take sick kids to the doctor
  • We remember to cut the crusts off the sandwiches
  • We are the taxi driver to all of our kids functions
  • We wouldn't dare miss an awards ceremony 
  • Or a poetry picnic
  • Or a school field trip
  • Or an end of year performance
  • We're the sippy cup filler 
  • We're the birthday party planner 
  • We throw baby showers for our friends 
  • We're the holiday present buyer
  • We bring dinner to the new moms

I mean I'm just stopping there because the list could go ON AND ON AND ON. And that list doesn't even mention our 8-5 jobs, for those of us that work outside of the home too.  

But somehow we think we can do it all and we continue to pack our schedule and our lives with things that don't do anything but wear us out. Sure those are all good and important things, but we can't do them all.  We weren't created to work 24/7.  We need rest.

Because you know what? When we're so busy running from here to there, and doing this and that, we never have a moment to pause and soak in the goodness of God.  We never have a chance to reflect on what He has given us and how He has blessed us.  I don't know about you, but when I'm jumping from one thing to the next, and trying to keep all of the balls in the air, I'm surely not whispering "thank you" to Him.  In fact, my attitude is FAR from thankful.

When we're THAT busy, we're not worshiping him.

So maybe you want to join me in making an effort to create time in our schedules to sabbat, or pause, each week.  Maybe we can't let our kids play 4 sports and take music lessons. Maybe we can't sign up to bring something every time our kid's teacher sends out a request. Maybe we can't coach the soccer team this year. Maybe we need to ask for help (gasp!).  Whatever you have to do to make it work, let's make sure that our lives are not so packed full of things, that we forget what truly matters.

"Sabbath-keeping: Quieting the internal noise so we hear the still small voice of the Lord. Removing the distractions of pride so we discern the presence of Christ." -Eugene Peterson

Sunday, June 24, 2018

K & K's Clubhouse

When Kate was around 1 and a half, we bought a used wooden swing set off of Craigslist. It was perfect - for a 1 year old.  Over the years both Kate and Karsten have loved it, but honestly, they've outgrown it. We kept saying that we would add on to the set, but never really got around to it. Sounds like life, huh?

Well, back in April I was on Facebook and saw someone in my hometown post an ad for a spiral slide for sale for $50.  They are usually hundreds and hundreds of dollars, so I quickly said that I wanted it without even talking to Kevin.  Clearly everyone else saw the value too because the lady told me I was like 10th in line and she'd only posted it 5 minutes earlier!

Anyway, long story short, she sent me a message the next morning and said that they had gotten tons of messages, with people saying that would pay way over the asking price, but since I was next on the list that I was welcome to come get it. Um, yes please.  So after church that morning, Kevin and I drove to pick this slide up.  And then that gave us (Kevin) the motivation to get the swing set addition rolling.

So without further ado, here is Kevin's masterpiece. Karsten has started calling it her Clubhouse.

This was all him.  I mean I helped hold things, and probably put in my opinion a little more than he wanted, but he came up with and basically built it all himself.  The girls are IN LOVE. 

Today after church, we added a little plastic kitchen set and I mean, their faces say it all. (Sorry for the blurry/dark iPhone pic.)

We got them changed out of their dresses and then it was back outside to play. 

Probably one of the best things about this is that the entire thing is in the shade pretty much all day long. I can see lots and lots of fun being had out here over the next few years. 


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