Monday, October 27, 2014

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'...

When we took Karsten home from the hospital, the nurse that had been caring for her told us that she had already been doing tummy time. I guess that's normal, but it has been 3 years since we had a newborn so I was a bit surprised. I seemed to remember that tummy time came a little bit later. Like, they at least needed to be a few months old, right?

So one night, when Karsten was about 9 days old, my mom and I were sitting in the living room and Karsten was on the floor getting in a few minutes of said tummy time. She was not a fan, and the next thing we knew, she rolled herself over from her tummy to her back.  I thought it was a fluke. 9 day old infants are not supposed to be rolling.  That comes later.  I even Googled it. Average time to start rolling from tummy to back is about 4 months.

Fast forward to 13 days old, and I had her back on the floor for some more tummy time. She rolled over again. And again. And again.... I started to get the point. She absolutely hates tummy time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Just two weeks ago we became a family of four. The past two weeks have been crazy, and exhausting/tiring.  We are sleep deprived.  We have all been sick- Kate with a virus, pneumonia, allergies and a cold (maybe?).  Kevin with an ear infection, and me with an awful cold.  We have tried our best to keep Karsten healthy, but all of these health issues have made the last two weeks difficult. Not to mention the difficulty of trying to figure out how to handle two kids!

Two kids are no joke!  We went from double coverage to man-on-man.  I left Kevin with both kids for the first time yesterday so I could run to Target.  (I hadn't been out of the house in nearly 5 days. I was going stir-crazy.)  It was evening, Kate and I had already eaten dinner and Karsten had JUST finished a bottle. Kate was in her pajamas and ready for bed- she just needed her teeth brushed and a story read to her. I thought I'd left him in a good place.  Apparently I was wrong. While at Target, I get a text that says "I seriously don't believe you have had a worse idea in our seven years of marriage than to leave me here and go to Target when you did."

Ha! Apparently there were tears, and throw up, and dirty diapers, and screaming... all while Kevin was trying to eat dinner himself.  I was gone less than an hour.

There is a steep learning curve with two kids, and we're getting there. :) We'll pick it up eventually but we're not there yet. Or at least, we're not all the way there yet. Do you ever even get there?

Though it is hard(er), we are thankful.

Thankful for this girl...

And this girl...

And these two girls TOGETHER...

They are both two of the greatest gifts we have ever been given. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Patch

A month or so ago, our family made plans to visit a really great pumpkin patch that is in our area on the weekend of October 11th.  And then, for obvious reasons, our plans ended up getting cancelled. :) 

After getting Karsten, my mom stayed with us for about a week and was a HUGE help.  So on Thursday, I decided to take Kate on a Mommy/Daughter outing for just the "big girls".  In other words, we left Karsten at home with my mom and headed to a nearby pumpkin patch.

It was much, much, smaller than the one we originally planned to go to, but Kate didn't seem to mind.

They had a few different farm animals. Kate loved the horse (pony) and begged to ride it the whole time we were there.  Unfortunately, they didn't offer pony rides so she was out of luck.

There were goats.

And of course, pumpkins.  Lots of pumpkins. 

(PS- If you're ever wondering why my blogging and pictures have slowed down in the past few months, it's because this is just about all I see of Kate these days. The girl is always running.)

It was a really quick trip, but I wanted to do something special so that she didn't feel too much jealousy toward Karsten. Kate loved it, and before we left, we picked out a pumpkin to take home to decorate.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sweet Sisters

I can't lie.  Though I would have been thrilled to get a baby boy, I was secretly hoping for another little girl.  If not for practical reasons (such as, we already have ALL the baby girl stuff!), it was just for the friendship factor.  Now, before any of you start leaving me comments, I know that brothers and sisters can be best of friends too, but I don't think there is anything like two sisters. Besides, I grew up with a sister just 2 years younger than me and so it's what I've always know. We may have fought like cats and dogs until we were both older and no longer living in the same house, but now we are the best of friends.  I guess we just needed our space. 

It was really heartbreaking that Kate was so sick when we found out about Karsten and brought her home.  I was at the doctor with Kate when we got the phone call and at that time, we thought she just had a yucky respiratory virus.  The doctors told us that once she was fever-free for 24-48 hours, she shouldn't be contagious anymore.  We figured Kate could stay with my mother in law for a day or two until her fever passed.  Her Nana keeps her while Kevin and I work, so she thought it was so exciting to actually get to spend the night. The plan was for her to come home on Friday.  Kevin and I both went over there to spend some time with her. We hated her being gone but didn't want to take the chance of her getting Karsten sick. We missed her and were sad that she hadn't gotten to meet her sister yet!

On Friday, my parents came to pick Kate up to take them to their house until she got better.  Kate was excited to go fishing with Pick!  I got lots of pictures while she was with Pick and Gigi but we still missed her terribly. While she was with them, my mom took her back to the doctor and they determined she most likely had pneumonia.  They gave her yet another prescription and said she needed to be on the antibiotic for at least a full day or two before she was around a newborn.  So, we made plans for her to come home on Sunday.  I know my parents wished she was there for a visit under healthier circumstances, but I'm sure they loved their few days with her.

On Sunday, they loaded her up into the car and told her she was headed home to see Mommy, Daddy and baby Karsten!  Here she is, ready to go!

Karsten and I stayed home from church, and Kevin gave everyone strict instructions that Kate NOT get home before he did.  My parents pulled in around 12:30, which was perfect timing.  Kate was so excited to see both me and Kevin and then we asked her to guess who was inside.  Of course she said, Baby Karsten!!

We took the following video of our girls meeting for the very first time: 

If you listen closely Kate is saying "She's so cute. I always wanted a baby!"

Kate is loving her role as big sister.  She actually even calls Karsten "my baby".  She wants to feed her, burp her, hold her, change her, etc. 

She already asks if Karsten can do all kinds of things with her, and doesn't understand why she can't yet.  Kate and I just had this conversation on Thursday, after I realized we were supposed to be at Kate's dance class in 10 minutes (Apparently, your memory goes straight out the window when you get another kid. I'm blaming it on the sleep deprivation though.  I'll be using that excuse for a while.)

Kate - But I want Karsten to dance with me today.
Me - She can't, Kate. She's too little right now.Kate - Oh, but when she gets older she can, right?Me - Yep. When she gets older.Kate - When she's like dirt.Me - Huh? Like dirt? Kate - Yeah. You know mom. Old like dirt. (ie- "old as dirt")

Not sure where she heard the phrase but it stuck with her.

We're trying to do things to ease the transition for Kate - we have taken her separately to lunch, or to run errands; I took her on a Mommy/Kate pumpkin patch trip, and we've let her schedule stay pretty much normal with going to school and to Nana's house.  So far, she has done as well as can be expected with going from being an only child, to having a baby sister. She already is great big sister and loves her new role!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Family of FOUR

I've had about a week to process everything that's happened, and it still seems like a bit of a blur when I look back on it.  Maybe it's the sleep deprivation.  Or maybe it's just all that has happened!  Like Kate's story, this is probably going to be long.  So, just hang with me if you can.  Let me start back with last Monday, October 6th...

Kevin had just left for an annual golf trip and I was at work, when I got a phone call from my mother-in-law, Diane.  Diane told me that she'd just picked Kate up from school and that Kate was pretty sick. She was coughing and just obviously didn't feel great.  I went ahead and cleared my schedule for Tuesday so I could stay home with her if she still felt bad.  When I got home from work that day, she seemed like she was coming down with an awful cold and she had a 100.5 degree fever, which is never good.

The next morning, she still had a fever and her breathing was getting worse.  With all of the scary Enterovirus D68 stuff in the news, and her history of asthma, I decided to take her on to the doctor and made an appointment for 11:30 that morning.  When we got to the appointment, we found out her normal doctor is changing offices within the group (tear- because we love him) but he was being shadowed by his replacement, a new doctor that had just moved to the area from Tennessee.  They listened to Kate's breathing and were both asking me questions when my phone rang.  I looked at the number and it just came up as "Columbia" so I hit ignore.  I don't answer the phone when it is a number that I don't know. Whoever it was left a message but then 2 seconds later Kevin sent me a text with that Columbia number and said "Call them".  Again, the two doctors were still in the room and asking me questions, so my priority at that moment was Kate, and I ignored Kevin's text.  About 1 minute later, Kevin called me.

Now you have to understand how we treat our phones.  We both agree that if we are in the middle of something, or more importantly, if we are in the process of talking in-person to someone, phones take the back seat.  So, we won't answer our phones if we're checking out at a grocery store because we want to be able to talk to the person checking us out.  We won't answer phones in a restaurant, because our attention is with whoever we are eating with.  Whoever it is can leave a message and we can always call them back.  However, we kind of have an unspoken rule that if one of us calls the other 2 times in a row, it is really important so we better answer it!  So when he called me after sending me the text, I knew I needed to answer.

I apologized to Kate's doctors and told them that it must be important and quickly answered Kevin's call.  After my hello, he basically said "What are you doing? That was Bethany.  That was THE CALL. A baby has already been born and they picked us. You need to call them back!"

Ah! That's about all I could think at that moment. :)

We hung up and I told the doctors what was going on.  They indicated that like I thought, Kate was wheezing a bit and they wanted to do a breathing treatment on her.  They were going to go get the supplies and I could make my call.  So I did.

Our actual adoption worker in our own town was actually away on a training trip in Michigan, so I called Bethany's main office in Columbia.  I talked to Janet* (names changed) who told me that a baby girl was born on Monday and she was ours if we said yes! She gave us more details to base our decision on, which I am not going to share, but obviously we said yes!!  I told her that I didn't see any reason that we would say no, but that I did want to talk to Kevin before I gave her a final confirmation. I let her know where I was, and that Kate was going to be getting a breathing treatment, so I wouldn't be able to call her back immediately.  She understood and said it was fine.

So, I sat down with Kate to start her breathing treatment since again, she was my priority at that moment.  She didn't really want to keep the mask on, so I tried to distract her with a few iPhone selfies.

See those sad eyes? She really did not feel good.  The doctors said they thought it was a virus, possibly the Enterovirus D68 but that there was no real way to confirm it.  Well, they COULD confirm it, but you basically have to send it off somewhere to get results, and it didn't even make sense to do that since treatment is the same if it was that strain of the virus or if it was just some other virus. Basically they sent us home to keep monitoring her, with instructions to come back to the office if she started wheezing again or to go straight to the ER if she started having trouble breathing. It was very comforting- not. We did get a steroid prescription that was supposed to help keep her asthma under control.

I called Kevin as I was pulling out of the doctors office to talk to him about my call with our adoption agency.  We discussed the situation and quickly decided that YES, this was our daughter.  The next phone call was to our agency and after we said YES, we got some more details and were told where our baby girl was and when we could get her. We were supposed to bring her home the next morning!! We also received a picture of her. :)

Ah, again!  Kevin was still out of town, a few hours away. We had NOTHING ready but thankfully, we already had one sweet girl that was only 3 years old, so we could re-use lots of her baby stuff.  I spent the evening pulling down stuff from our attic, running to Target, washing bottles, etc while Kevin drove home.

Around 10pm that night, we also got an email from our agency that said "When you decide on a name, please let us know as soon as possible so we can put it on all of the paperwork."

Oh yeah. We had to pick out a name! Though we had been talking about names off an on for a year, we had really only agreed on ONE name during that whole time.  When Kevin got home, we quickly agreed that the only name we'd agreed on would be her name. (See Kevin's Blog for more of a back story on her name.)

We sent Kate to stay with her Nana, who would get her lots of love and attention, and baby her while she didn't feel great.  I got no sleep that night.  Kevin never has a problem sleeping, but I had too many thoughts running through my head.

The following morning, after a conference call with our agency, we headed to the hospital to meet our sweet girl!  It was such a sweet time!

It took a while, but we were finally discharged and then had to drive to Bethany's office to sign LOTS of paperwork.

And just like that - we were a family of FOUR.

Welcome to the family Karsten Rose! We are so excited to have you, and Kate is LOVING being a big sister. (Because she was sick, she didn't get to meet Karsten for a few days. I'll share her part of the story, and the video of them meeting for the first time in a separate post soon, but here is a little teaser.)

Thank you all for the love and support, (and prayers!) over the past year. I know I've complained about how slowly this adoption was going, and how impatient I have been getting, and I take it all back!  I knew it would be the case, but the wait is ALWAYS worth it.  Just like with Kate's adoption, there are a few different ways that God really showed off.

For example, Kevin always posts scripture to his Facebook every morning.  He keeps a running list of scripture that he reads and particularly likes, and saves it as a Note on his phone.  He will then copy/paste the next scripture on the list into his status each day.  At 7am on the morning that we found out about Karsten, this is what he posted:

John 14:18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans - I will come to you.

Also - Kate was born the day before our wedding anniversary. Karsten was born on the anniversary of the day Kevin proposed. 

Just the week before, I was talking to someone at work and telling them how this would be the PERFECT time for us to get a baby.  Of all the times of the year, this is the slowest time for me and would be the easiest time for me to be able to spend some time at home. After we got Karsten, I looked at my PTO that had been accrued, along with the parental time that my work is giving me, and my time runs out on... December 31st.  How perfect is that? Then I get to jump right into busy season. That will be fun, right?? With a 3.5 year old and a 3 month old, I'll probably be asking for prayers then... and so will Kevin!

And lastly, we have gotten SO many comments about how Kate and Karsten look a like.  Although I definitely see their differences and sometimes they look NOTHING alike, sometimes they do look very similar! I thought it would be fun to show them at the same age, so here it is:

Even without all of those "wow" moments, we can see God's perfect timing all through this adoption. We are so happy and thankful.  Our hearts are full, and forever grateful for Karstens' birth mom, just as we are forever grateful to Kate's birth family.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall Is In the Air...

So our church was supposed to have a Fall Festival a few weeks back... and it got rained out.  We rescheduled it for today, October 4th, and we couldn't have asked for a better day.  We have FINALLY gotten a bit of fall weather and it was absolutely perfect!

Before we headed over to the church to help set things up, I wanted to get a few quick pictures of Kate in her "cowgirl boots".  She was so excited to wear them today!

And then it was fall festival time!  The kids had a blast.  The biggest hit was, of course, the big bounce house, but we also had a dunk tank, face painting, hay rides, sack races, 3-legged races, tug of war, tricycle races and corn hole.  Oh yeah, and what fall festival is complete without some great fall foods... especially caramel apples. 

At first Kate was totally opposed to getting her face painted.  I lost track of her for a little while and turned around to see her doing this...

Apparently she asked for Spider-Man, but specified that it had to be a PINK Spider-Man.  That's my girl!

One of the other favorite activities, for at least the little kids, was the tricycle races!  On the first race, Kate had a "wreck" and flipped her tricycle.  I went over to help her flip it back over and finish the race and she was crying.  I figured she must have gotten a little hurt when she fell over, so I was looking her over and saying "You're fine.  You're okay.  Hop up and get back on."  

She kept on crying and then looked at me and said "But I'm NOT okay. I DIDN'T WIN!!!"

Priorities, right? :)   I guess we have a little competitor on our hands. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Penny Saved...

For quite some time now, this girl has LOVED putting change into her piggy bank. I hope she always loves saving money this much!


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