Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from the cutest watermellon ever!  I may be a little biased, but really, can it get much cuter than this?

Happy Halloween from Kevin, Kelley & Kate! :) 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In the A-T-L, and not loving it

In June, Kristi, Kevin and I purchased tickets to the Clemson/Ga Tech game in Atlanta.  At the time, we had no idea that Clemson would be going into the game 8-0.  Actually, none of us would have ever IMAGINED that this would be the case.  So when we bought our tickets at face value, we didn't think that our tickets would be worth a whole lot more than what we paid for them when the time for the game was actually upon us.  Let me just say, we shoulda sold those things!  But, we didn't and we found ourselves in Atlanta, GA this past Saturday for the LAST of our away game adventures.

I got Kate all ready for the fall festival at church, and we dropped her off with her Nana and Papa on our way out of town.  (There was really no need to mention this, but I really didn't want to write a whole post without a picture of Kate!)

We ended up leaving Kristi's car at Perimeter Mall and taking the MARTA to the stadium.  The walk was only 5-6 blocks from where we got off the train to the stadium, and there were lots of people to follow, so we found it easily.  We had pretty great seats.  We were only a few rows up from the bottom of the upper deck in the end zone, and the people beside Kevin never even showed up.  Lucky us.  Well, sort of.

Too bad we didn't look like this AFTER the game.  Ah- it was so frustrating and disappointing.  Even with a "Go Tigers" all the way from Illinois, the Tigers still couldn't pull off a win.  And then to add to the frustration, we didn't get home til 3am.  I'm still tired.

Even though we lost, the three of us got to see Bobby Dodd Stadium and Kevin can cross that one off of his list.  I have to say, we probably won't be going back to Atlanta to watch Clemson play ever again.  I think the city must have a curse on it for the Tigers. :)

Happy Halloween weekend!  Hope everyone out there had a FUN, SAFE and FESTIVE weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I've been MIA for a few days, and can I just say "Ahhh. It's good to be home!"  The sad thing is that I was only gone for 1.5 days.  Here's a little recap of the past few days...

Monday afternoon, we had our first home visit with our adoption worker since Kate was placed in our home.  Bethany Christian Services requires that they do a couple of visits after placement just to see how everybody is adjusting to having a new baby in the household.  Our worker met with us for about an hour and we had a GREAT visit.  Normally, she would have been present at the actual placement, but because Kate was born in NC, we used a Bethany Christian Services worker in Raleigh for that time period.  SO, this was our adoption worker's first chance to meet Kate.  Of course she'd seen pictures, but this was the first "real life" meeting.

Every year I have to get in 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE).  So after our meeting with our adoption worker, I packed up my bags and headed to Charlotte for a few days of CPE credit.  Luckily my classes were at a hotel in south Charlotte, so it only took about an hour and a half to get there.  After I got there, I realized that I'd had CPE at this same hotel 2 years ago.

This was Kevin's first full 24 hour period of being with Kate alone. :)  He did a great job.... except for the fact that I had to ASK for a picture message on the first day!  After that, he did pretty good about sending them to me.  Kate seemed pretty happy even though I wasn't there.  Boo.  I guess on the plus side, she loves her daddy!

Here are a few super cute pictures that just made my day while I was gone.  Sorry about the poor quality. Our blackberry phones don't take the best pictures, but it's definitely better than nothing.

Kevin said she was waving to me.  If she was, she is the most talented 11 week old baby EVER. 

This was definitely NOT one of the two outfits I left out for her.  I kind of saw it coming though.

This one definitely made my day. 
And now I'm home, and oh-so-glad about it.  There's nothing like your own bed, and being back here with Kevin and Kate.  And, another plus is that tomorrow's FRIDAY! Anybody have any good weekend plans coming up?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Great Song

Heard this song on the radio on my way to Charlotte tonight. It's not new, so I'm not sure why I hadn't heard it before, but it's really good.  It's called Battle, by Chris August. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kate's First Clemson Tailgate

My parents had 4 tickets to the Clemson game this past weekend, so we decided to make it a family affair.  We got to Clemson around 9:15 and then had to walk all the way across campus to my parent's parking spot at Fike.  It was a pretty long haul with Kate, all of her stuff, all of OUR stuff, and the sweets that Kristi and myself had made for the day.  But, we made it to their space and it was time for Kate's bottle.  

Tina & Gerry stopped by and got to meet Kate for the first time...

And then it was time for a nap.  We made her a little pallet in the back of my mom's SUV.  She didn't seem to mind that it wasn't a crib...

Around 11:30, the rest of the crowd headed over to the stadium to go into the game.  My mom and I stayed out at the car with Kate and listened to the game on the radio.  Big mistake.  We definitely killed the car's battery.  Oops. 

Around halftime, we decided to walk around campus so we bundled up Kate and started toward downtown.  

First we made the loop up to Tillman...

And then headed toward the stadium...

And finally made it back to the car before everybody met us there.

What a great day and a LOT of fun.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kate's Clemson Photo-Shoot

The title is a little misleading.  No, we did not have more professional photos taken of Kate.  However, we were in Clemson today and my mom got a little snap-happy with my camera while Kevin and I were dealing with a dead car battery.  I'll post again tomorrow with the details of Kate's first tailgating experience, but here are a few cute pictures that my mom took of Kate.  She's getting so expressive and is definitely a little wiggle worm!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yet Another Football Weekend... In Tennessee!

Last football season Kristi, Kevin and I decided we wanted to go see some of the other college football stadiums that we haven't been able to visit yet.  We decided to pick a Georgia game and a Clemson away game.  Last year we went to a Georgia/Arkansas game in Athens, GA and a Clemson/Wake Forest game in Winston-Salem, NC. 

We had fun and decided to continue the tradition this year.  We had just gotten approved for our adoption in April and were officially waiting, but knew that our wait could be a year or more.  Our adoption agency told us to live life as we normally would- plan vacations, have fun, be normal. So we did what they said.  In mid-June we bought tickets to the Clemson/Georgia Tech game at Georgia Tech and we bought tickets to the Georgia/Vanderbilt game in Tennessee.  

And then about a week and a half later, we found out about Kate. :)  The games were a long way off so we planned to just wait and decide what we wanted to do about it later.  Well- this past weekend was the Georgia/Vanderbilt game and I personally wasn't ready to leave Kate overnight, but I got overruled by Kristi and Kevin.  They still wanted to go to Tennessee. So we did. And it was a lot of fun. 

We left around 11 Saturday morning and made the long drive to Nashville.  We saw lots of pretty trees and mountains...

After a VERY long drive, we made it to Tennessee! It was pretty windy. 

When we got there we were SO confused because we had not taken into account the 1-hour time difference.  Our GPS changed times and jumped an hour forward, our cell phones changed times and jumped an hour BACKWARDS.  Then, we knew the game started at 7pm but we didn't know if that was 7pm Eastern time or Central time. Major confusion! We had no idea what time it was.  Luckily, we figured everything out and got to the campus exactly when we wanted (2 hours before kickoff).

Georgia apparently brings a lot of fans to away games.  It was almost embarassing for Vanderbilt fans. Look at the stands in the picture below.  This was before it filled up, but can you already see how much RED there is, and how little black/gold there is? 

 After the game (which was a nail-biter, by the way) we drove back toward home for about an hour before stopping to spend the night.  We got up Sunday morning and drove the rest of the way home.  Kevin and I dropped Kristi off at our house to get her car, before heading over to Nana and Papa's house to pick up Kate. This is how we found her...

 She loves to bury her face in your arm when she's sleeping.  I'm pretty sure she had a great time with her Nana and Papa, but I was glad to be back home with her!  


Wow! I just logged on during my lunch break and noticed that this blog just went over 11,000 views! That's crazy! A big thank you to everyone who reads and who cares enough to check out what is going on in our life and Kate's adoption. :)  Check back later tonight.  I'll be posting about the fun we had last weekend on our first trip without Kate... and my first full day away from her! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Top 10 Baby Must Haves

Except for the big, obvious things, Kevin and I had no idea what products would be "essential" and what would be "luxury".  We got lots of suggestions from other people, but a lot of our stuff was just trial and error.  So, I decided to make a list of items that I consider must haves!  My list is in no particular order and of course since Kate is just 9 weeks old all of the items are things you would use from newborn to 2-3 months.  I'm sure we'll find out a ton of other things that we would want to add to this list later!  If you're about to be a new mom or about to buy a gift for a new mom, these are my suggestions!

*Note- some of the pictures link to so click on the picture if you want to check out the prices or see further details on anything I listed. 

-Top 10 Baby Must Haves-

1. Dr. Browns Bottles:
We were told by lots and lots of people that these were the best bottles out there, so we went with that and trusted experience! We did get some other non-Dr Brown's bottles though and have used them a few times. I will say that we can definitely tell a difference when we use different bottles... especially in those first few weeks. These bottles are great. And, the less air that she swallows = less gas = more sleep = happy mama!

2. Dishwasher Thing for Bottles:
The only down side of Dr. Browns bottles is that they have LOTS of parts. Since we stayed in a hotel for our first few weeks with Kate, we had to hand wash a ton of bottles.  Having all of those parts to wash was pretty annoying. (Luckily Kevin did a LOT of the washing... Thanks, Kev!). When we got home, it was great to be able to use the dishwasher.  Just put all of those parts in these baskets, and throw them into the dishwasher. We also throw Kate's pacifiers into the baskets too.  They cost about $5, come in 4 different colors, and are totally worth it!

3. Bottle Warmer:
Since we adopted, we knew 100% for sure that we would be strictly bottle/formula feeding... duh!  Because Kate apparently has a delicate tummy, we ended up having to use the ready to pour formula, which meant that he formula had to be refrigerated and then later warmed up.  So we definitely needed a bottle warmer... unless we wanted to boil water or hold a bottle under hot tap water for forever. We started off with a more expensive model that had more bells and whistles, but that also meant that it took longer to warm up the bottle. No good. When it's 2am (and then 4am and then 6am), you want that bottle ready yesterday.  In other words, the quicker the better.  So we exchanged it for this bottle warmer by "The First Years" from Target. It's been great! No complaints.  It's warms bottles quickly, and fits both the regular bottles and the wide bottles. Eventually, it even warms baby food.

4. Mylicon Drops:
Kate was only a few days old when Kevin was sent to Walmart at 1AM in search of something (anything) that would help. He came back with a bottle of Mylicon drops and we HAD to use these the first few weeks of Kate's life or she was miserable.  Nothing is worse than a gassy baby, and the helpless feeling that you have when you can't just make it go away. We still use the drops occasionally but definitely not as much as the first few weeks when we were trying to figure out what type of formula to use.

5. Swaddle Blankets:
These are lifesavers! Kate started out loving to be swaddled. Then she went through a 2 week period where she HATED it.  One day I decided to try it out on her again, and she slept 7 hours. Now we use them every night and nap. LOVE them.  We've used both the Summer Infant Swaddle Me brand and the Halo Sleep Sack.  Both are great (and the Summer Infant one is pretty cheap). Read more about our experience with swaddling here!

6. Music/Sound Machine:
For us, this is a definite must have. So much so that I wrote a whole post about it.  Read more about how we use ours here - it has deinitely helped Kate become a better sleeper.  She was 8 weeks on Wednesday, and is consistently sleeping 7-8 hours at night! It's too bad that long stretch starts at 7ish though, but we are pleased with how well she is sleeping.  Definitely much better than the 2 hour stretches that she started off at! :)

7. Newborn Sleepers with Zipper:
Kevin agrees with me on this one. Who ever thought that putting buttons/snaps on newborn clothing was a smart idea? What's wrong with zippers? They're just so easy.  From what I've found, Carter's is the only company that's figured that out.  Kate practically LIVED in newborn sleepers for her first few weeks. For various reasons, we didn't really attempt to put Kate into many onesies until after her umbilical cord fell off.  So for two weeks we stuck with the sleepers. She didn't seem to mind.

8. Diaper Genie II:
This one is kind of self explanatory! This was a gift from a fellow new mommy, and I LOVE it. It does a great job of keeping the smell in the trash can and out of the room, and I love that it is "hands free".  Just step on the pedal, throw in the diaper, and you're done.  And, considering the huge volume of diapers that Kate goes through in just a few days, I really don't have to empty the trash can as often as you would think.

9. Johnson's Natural Lotion, Body Wash, & Shampoo:
In addition to a sensitive stomach, Kate apparently has very sensitive and dry skin. We've found that this baby skin care line works GREAT for her. The only downside (if you want to look at it that way) is that it is fragrance free. So, no nice clean baby smell. However, all of her skin issues have cleared up!  She is nice, smooth, and moisturized!

10. Camera:
You can just tell by the number of pictures of Kate that I post on here that this one is important to me! I love my Canon, but I'd just suggest to get a camera that is really easy to use. Point and shoot. That's all I do!

So that's my list of baby items that we can't go without.  Does anybody else have anything to add?  Any suggestions on the best baby items for a 3+ month old? We're about to hit that stage soon!


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