Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Life Lately

I kind of take a lot of pictures. :)  So the easiest way for me to do a catch up post on life around our house the past few months is to flip through my iPhone and Instagram photos and share them on here. So, here we go!

My sister and brother in law bought a house a few weeks ago. They closed on their 3rd anniversary and moved in a few days later. Kristi really wanted to update the fireplace, so she and I, along with another friend, attempted to whitewash the brick. I LOVE how it turned out (and it looks even better in person!)  I think maybe this convinced Kevin that sometimes Pinterest projects DO turn out well!

We are getting ready for a much needed vacation and one thing on my list was some meal prepping! I can't WAIT to be at the beach.

One thing about owning a home is that there are never-ending home improvement projects.  Actually, a more accurate description would probably be "home maintenance". Every spring there seems to be a million things to do.  Shout out to this guy who has tackled and finally finished the tedious and unrewarding project of our windows. We have older windows that are all wood and are starting to fall apart. We have 19 windows, and each window has 12 panes. On each window Kevin has scraped the old paint and wood putty or caulk off, re-caulked each pane, painted the windows, and then scrapped them again. Soooo time consuming, but it definitely was a necessity. I'm so thankful for a hard working husband who can get things done!

On Kate's FIRST day of summer, we decided to take the kids to Sonic to get ice cream after dinner.  Kate chose a slushy.  Pretty sure they enjoyed it.

Last week I got to the office one morning and as I was checking my email, I realized that I'd only taken my nail polish off of 9 of my fingers.  It was only Wednesday, but clearly it had already been a long week!

Last Thursday, after running errands we decided to go to our downtown area. On Thursday nights our town shows movies in the city park, and on this night they were supposed to be showing Moana.  Well, it seemed like about 50,000 other people had the same idea as us so we decided to skip it. Plus, apparently the movie wasn't going to start until dark... which isn't until about 9:15pm. No thank you. We walked around for a bit though and the kids had fun.

We're in the middle of transitioning Karsten to a big-girl bed, and her mattress arrived in the mail this week. She was so proud of this bed!  We've put it on the floor in her room for now and she has slept on it successfully about 2 of the last 6 days.

Speaking of that big girl bed, I found a Jenny Lind twin bed on Craigslist for $30 - a steal!  It had already been painted, but it needed a fresh coat. I've put a few coats of white on now and just need to seal it so that Karsten actually has a bed to put her mattress on. 

Way back in December, a few people in my family bought tickets to see the Broadway play Lion King the next time it came to town. Well, that was this past weekend! I saw it about 4 years ago the last time they came through, but Kate was too little to go.  This time, we felt like she would do well, and she did! She loved it and I loved getting to do this with my big girl.

After the play, we walked outside and who did we see but Poppy from Trolls!

This weekend we ran by Golf Galaxy to see if Kevin could find a new hat. He stuck this one on (jokingly) and I told him he looked like a Rickie Fowler wanna be. He couldn't keep a straight face!  And in case you're wondering, we did not buy the hat. 

I've been reading a book that friend from church gifted me for Mother's day called Chosen for Greatness. It is SO good. Each chapter is about someone famous who was adopted. I'm not quite finished with it, but if you're considering adoption, I'd definitely recommend it!  Here's a quote from the beginning: 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Future Crest Spokesmodel

I did SO well in keeping up with my blog for the last couple of months.  And then... silence.  Why?  Well, Life.


End of school year craziness.  Work craziness.  Getting ready for vacation craziness.

However, I can't miss documenting this little milestone - Karsten's first trip to the dentist.

So a little backstory.  I took Kate to the dentist the first time when she was around 18 months because she had a mouth full of teeth.  We get to the dentist and.... she doesn't open her mouth. Nothing.  They were super nice and showed her all of the tools, and said to try to come back in 6 months. Apparently that's pretty typical and kids just need to get used to all of the weird stuff.  So 6 months later we're back and Kate is sitting in the dentist chair and.... she still won't open her mouth.  Won't even let them LOOK.  6 months later, same thing.  FINALLY when she was closer to 3 years old, Kevin took her to the dentist and she let them do their thing! She's been fine since then. So because of that experience, I haven't been in a huge rush to take Karsten for the first time. We brush her teeth well and she has plenty of space, so we haven't really had a need.

However, Karsten found out that Kate had a dentist appointment one day and was crushed that she did not get to go to the dentist.  For weeks after Kate's appointment, Karsten would ask when she got to go to the dentist.  So I made her an appointment.

Most people don't particularly love the dentist.  Some people even hate the dentist.  But y'all.  I have never seen a kid more excited for the dentist in my entire life than this girl was.  It's like we were going to Disney.

And her appointment was at 7am!!

I thought when we got there, she might change her tune.  Nope. She was pumped.  The only little hiccup was when they raised the chair. She got caught off guard a little and was a tiny bit concerned when her chair started to raise. Once she realized what was happening though, it was smooth sailing. 

She did great "opening her mouth like a shark" and letting the hygienist clean her teeth.  Then the dentist came in, counted her teeth, told her she was doing great, and we were on our way!

Dentist visit #1 went great, and she is already asking to go back.  At least we're starting out on the right foot!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Kindergarten Graduate

It seems like every day there is just one more thing happening that is further proof that our kids are growing up.  Today was one of those days.  Years are FLYING past, and it seems like just yesterday that Kevin and I were waiting and praying for a phone call from our adoption agency, to let us know that a birth family had selected us to parent their child.  In reality, all of that waiting and praying happened nearly SIX years ago.  Where has the time gone? 

And that baby we prayed for?  Well, she is now a kindergarten graduate. 

Cue the tears. 

She knows all of her letters, knows the letter sounds and the combination sounds.  She can READ, y'all.  I mean I remember learning to do that in first grade. And the books we read in first grade were things like "See Spot run. Spot can run fast."  She is legit reading, and I'm so proud of her!  It's also a little scary. Kevin and I have basically had to stop spelling things in front of her when we're trying to "code" our talk, because it doesn't work! She figures it out.

She has learned MATH.  She can count to a hundred.  She can also add and subtract double digit numbers with single digit numbers in her head.  (For example 47 + 8 = 55)

Her school didn't have a kindergarten graduation (with caps and gowns) like I remember having as a kid, but they did have a K5 awards program a few days before school got out. Kevin and I were able to both be there.  The kids sang a song at the beginning, and after all of the big awards were given out, we were all able to go back to the individual classes and the teachers handed out some additional awards.  Kate was given the award for being an All Star at Circle Time.  As her teacher explained, Kate ALWAYS has an answer to whatever it is they are discussing, even if it is neuroscience. Sounds about right to me.  Anytime Kevin and I try to tell her something, she say "I already know that!" 

She loves her school, and so do we.  Kevin and I had NO idea what elementary schools were great in our area. We debated private schools, but in the end, we decided to stay with the public school we are zoned for, and I am so glad we did. Kate had two awesome teachers, who loved her and gave her so many life-skills, even beyond reading and writing. 

I know this post has been a bit picture-heavy, but here is just one more.  From her first day to her last day, she has grown so much. And now, on to first grade.  But first, summertime!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Thought this one was too cute not to share. Love this girl and it's my prayer that the words she is singing will ring true in her life!

"Every move I make I make in you, you are my way, Jesus! Every breath I take I breathe in you!! Waves of mercy, waves of grace. Everywhere I look, I see your face. Your love has captured me. Oh, my God, this love - how can it be???"

Monday, May 22, 2017


I used to post a lot of the things Kate said when she was younger and called them "Kateisms".  Sadly, I just haven't kept up with this as well as I hoped. At the end of each year I print my blog into a book using Blog2Print and my blog book becomes somewhat of my kids baby book.  Soooo.... I definitely need to do better about sharing things that I want to make it into the book!

Here is one of those memories that has to be in there...

Since the weather around here has been pretty awesome in the evenings lately, the girls and I have started taking walks after dinner.  We typically walk over to a nearby neighborhood, walk through the neighborhood, and then turn around and go home.  As you come out of our road, there is an area where a ton of wild daisies are growing.  Lately, Kate has started picking the wildflowers and bringing them with us until we get to the neighborhood.  Then she has been leaving flowers on people mailboxes "to make people smile when they check their mail". There were LOTS of mailboxes, so she made sure to just leave one flower on each box so that she could give them to as many people as possible.

Oh this girl. I love her sweet heart for others. 

The book called The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, talks about the different ways that people really hear "I love you".  There are many iterations of the book.  Some versions are written specifically for marriage relationships and one version is written specifically to children. However, in all versions, there are 5 different ways that people "show" and "hear" love:
  • Words of Affirmation 
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
Typically you know what your own love language is by the way you would naturally "show" someone that you love them.  For example, if my natural way to show Kate that I love her is through spending time with her (taking her to Target, watching TV with her, coloring with her, etc), then that would indicate that MY love language is Quality Time and that I would feel most loved/appreciated if others spent Quality Time with me.  Gary Chapman's theory is that a person naturally gives love in the way they would prefer to receive love. The book is very interesting, and I do think it is very helpful to learn what type of love language those that are closest to you are, so you can know the best way to show them love and appreciation. 

Anyway, I said all of that to say that I've always thought that Kate's love language is Receiving Gifts, and as she gets older, I definitely see this more and more.  Even as a toddler, she would pick a handful dandelions and joyfully present them to me. She is constantly drawing and coloring pictures for special people in her life. Judging by the way that she shows love/appreciation to others through giving gifts, my guess is that this is her love language. :)  

As a kid, you're often very self-focused and completely wrapped up in your own world. This was definitely one of those proud mom moments, as I got to see Kate being a cheerful giver, and focus on bringing a smile to other's faces. 

Note - Amazon Affiliate links used above. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Meal Planning - 2

It's Sunday meal planning time.  I actually stuck to our meal plan pretty well last time, so I'm going to try this again. Not quite as many recipes, because I'm banking on a few of these lasting for more than one dinner. :)  Nothing better than leftovers, right?  Here's what's on the menu this week!

Kristi gave me this recipe years ago and I still make it regularly. I like to stick a few boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot, with chicken stock or broth, a day or two before we plan to eat this. I'll cook the chicken on low all day and it makes the chicken SO easy to shred. Since I knew we'd be busy this week, I went ahead and made the filling for the pot pie, and it's sitting in my refrigerator so all I have to do the day of is just roll out my pie crusts, drop in the filling, cover with the other pie crust, and then cook. Easy!

This is a new one for us. I've made similar things in the past but don't think I've ever used this exact recipe. It looks yummy though so we'll see how it tastes!

Tacos are a staple in our Mexican-food-loving household. I also picked up chips and salsa. We've found a new salsa at Target that's soooo good - Corn & Black Bean Salsa, by Archer Foods.  The girls will often skip the chips and eat salsa by the spoonful.  Told ya we like Mexican! 

I made a big batch of this to bring for lunch at work and it's so good!  I used three-cheese tortellini and Olive Garden Italian dressing. Throw in a side of some sliced fruit or a green salad, and that's good enough for me for lunch. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Day & Last Day

Karsten started preschool (Mothers Day Out) back in September and this Tuesday was her very last day.  "School" got off to a rough start, and there were lots of tears involved during drop off time. However, Karsten quickly caught on to how fun her class is, and fell in love with her teachers.  She only went on Tuesdays but if we even remotely started driving into the direction of the church where her Mothers Day Out program was, she would get excited and say "We going to my school? We gonna go see my friends?" 

This girl had a great year, and looking back, I can't even believe how much she grew and changed.  Y'all. This is only EIGHT months ago! Look at that baby!

I sure do love this girl. Her smile lights up her entire face.

Year #1 is in the books, and what a year it was. Can't wait till next year!  Now excuse me while I go console myself that I officially no longer have a baby.  :) 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Summer Reading List 2017 - Kelley

Reading is probably one of my favorite hobbies, and probably the one I spend the most time on. I've always been a reader, and I remember getting in trouble when I was a kid for turning my light back on after I was supposed to be in bed.  I definitely got caught a few times reading until well after midnight.

I'm not someone who is picky about what I read on either.  I love real, paperback books.  I had a Nook for a while and loved to read on it. I'll read on my iPad, or on my phone.  I have to say, that I do  really enjoy reading on the iPad or phone because of the simplicity of the OverDrive app.  Have you ever heard of this?

Basically, it's a Library app.  You download the app on your device and then input your library card information. This gives you access to your library's electronic copies of books. SO easy. You "check them out" for two weeks at a time, and the app automatically returns them for you.  I can't even tell you the number of books I've read on that app.  Love it.

So anyway, I'm listing a few books that are on my reading list for this summer.  I jokingly say that the list is for the summer, but I'll likely get these read in the next month or so.  I told you I love to read! (Plus, I'm a relatively quick reader. I'll get through most books in just a couple of days.)

If any of YOU have read books lately that you've enjoyed, please share them in the comments! I'm always looking for more to add to my list!

I'm going to go ahead and preface this by saying, I typically love to read fiction over nonfiction. So this one may take me a bit longer to get through. When I read anything nonfiction, I like to just do a chapter or so a day so that I actually absorb what I'm reading and let it sink in. What better thing to take my time on than something that will (hopefully) help me learn how to practice more patience and give more grace to my kids.  In the craziness of parenting, it is always great to be reminded that we should shift our focus off of "being good" and more towards God's redeeming grace. 

Oh my.  Just based on the title, I don't really think there could be a more perfect book for me than this right now. I love my job, and I love being in the workplace, but it is TOUGH y'all.  Finding that balance and keeping your priorities in order, without being overwhelmed, is a challenge. I'm looking forward to this one.  

Nicholas Sparks. Enough said, right? I mean The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle....  I've missed his books the past few years since he's apparently been super busy writing film scripts.  I'm excited to check this one out. Hopefully it lives up to the high standard he set for himself! 

If you love John Grisham, you'll probably enjoy Robert Whitlow. I have read quite a few of his books and enjoyed them all. They are fiction, but really make you think about ethical situations. I've added this newest one to the list for summer. 

And lastly is a book by Francine Rivers.  Her book Redeeming Love is probably one of my all time favorites.  Since reading that one, I haven't read much by Francine Rivers, only because I was sure nothing else could live up to my expectations!  Bridge to Haven was first published in 2014, so it's not new, but it is new to me. I'll let you know what I think!

That's it! Like I said, if you have any "must read" books to add to the list, please let me know! 

** Please note that affiliate links are used above.  


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