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. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Karsten: Five Months

Yep.  Blinked again and another month has come and gone. It is flying by faster than ever before!

Karsten is now FIVE months old. Craziness, I tell ya!  I feel like our lives are so much more FULL than they have ever been before.  And I mean FULL in so many different ways.  We are busy.  Things are hectic. We are exhausted. But we wouldn't change a thing. 

Well... maybe we would sleep a bit more. :)   This girl is still not quite sleeping through the night.  No matter if we feed her at 7pm or wait and feed her at 9pm (or even 10 or 11), she's gonna wake up sometime between 3-5ish to eat. Sometimes, she doesn't even wake up to eat.  She just wants to wake up to tell us "hey" and then she will go back to sleep.  Now, I will say, her sleep is so much better than it was even a month ago. So hopefully in the next month we will start making it until about 6 am.  Then Mama and Dada will feel rested again.

We are loving all of her new expressions and sounds.  It is so fun watching a little personality emerge.  I can definitely tell differences and similarities in Karsten and Kate.

Kate was my independent, outgoing, extroverted, DRAMATIC baby/toddler/girl.

Karsten has a bit of the dramatic flair going on, but she is more reserved than Kate.  Even at the baby stage, Kate would go to just about any person. She didn't care who held her, though she did go through a phase where she was not fond of men with beards.  Karsten is a bit more timid.  She is definitely not shy, but she has to check out the scene before she is comfortable enough to get handed around.  We've noticed this lately, especially when we go to small group.  When we go somewhere where there are lots of people around, Karsten likes for either Kevin and I to hold her for at least the first few minutes after we get there.  If we hand her off to someone immediately after we get there (even if it is someone she knows really well), she will often break out in tears.

I kind of love this. At least I know she loves her Mama! :)

Karsten also makes you EARN those smiles.  She is generally a happy baby, but she does make you earn the smiles and the laughs!  And we love to see them.

I was telling Kevin the other day that I think she is similar to Kate in that when she gets REALLY tired, later at night, she gets almost deliriously happy.  This is when we get the biggest giggles!

She is growing so quickly and getting to be such a big girl.  Right now she is wearing Size 2 diapers, but when this last package runs out, we're going to be bumping her up to Size 3.  She is wearing 6 month clothes, and they seem to fit her pretty well.  I also stick her in some 9 month stuff and roll up the sleeves, since we have a good many winterish 9 month clothes from Kate. 

I think Karsten will be wearing 9 month stuff in the spring/summer which means we will probably have to buy some of those sizes, since Kate was in 12-18 months by summertime. We'll just see how it all works out. I'm sure some of Kate's old clothes will work well with the way the sizes and seasons fall, and some probably won't end up working at all.  We'll take whatever we can get!

We don't see any teeth yet but we have PLENTY of drool.  Karsten pretty much wears a bib most of the time when we are home.  If she doesn't, she ends up soaking wet.  And of course, her hands are in her mouth about 90% of the time.  She can pretty much fit her entire fist in her mouth. Not sure why that's so appealing to her, but it is!

We gave Karsten a little rice cereal about a week ago.  She was not a fan.  And I'm not convinced that it didn't hurt her tummy a little bit, because she woke up screaming around midnight, when she normally makes it until at least 3am.  So we haven't given that to her again. 

We tried bananas a few nights ago.  I'm not really sure if she liked it or not.  She's still in that "what in the world is in my mouth" phase.  So I'd spoon a little bit in her mouth, and she'd promptly spit it back out.  We'll try again in a day or two.  I'm not in a rush to start solids, so if she's not ready, we'll just try again later. 

This is my "I-attempted-to-take-a-picture-of-both-kids-but-after-28-shots-I-gave-up" picture. It really is amusing for me to see the progression of pictures.  When I FINALLY get a good one of one kid, the other kid is either not looking, eyes are closed, is falling over, or something.  I figured I'd try again at bedtime.

And this was the best I could get after about 30 attempts.  I really give up. :)  But hey, at least they're both looking!

Karsten probably loves Kate best of anybody.  She loves, loves, LOVES her sister.  Remember I said that she makes us earn those smiles?  Well, that doesn't apply to Kate.  Kate gets ALL the smiles.

And my favorite part of these monthly updates.  I just love looking back at the monthly pictures to see how much Karsten has changed in such a short period of time.

Happy FIVE months, sweet girl.  We can't imagine our family without you in it!  God sure knew exactly what He was doing when He created you!  We are so very thankful for your life. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Buying for Guys

I’ve never been great at shopping for guys. I don’t know why, but I think they are SO hard to buy for. For the guys in my life that I’m particularly close to (like Kevin and my Dad), I know what their hobbies are, but I would NEVER be able to buy them something that fits with that hobby.

Take my dad for example. He loves to fish. But could I walk into a store and pick out a rod and reel, or a lure, or anything worthwhile? Nope! In fact, I remember when I was in elementary school, there was an infomercial on TV for “Magic Bait” and I thought my dad just HAD to have it. If he had this stuff, there would never be a day when he went fishing and didn’t catch a million fish. Y’all. This Magic Bait stuff was supposed to smell good (think cakes and candy) and the fish were supposed to SWARM to it.  

So, we bought it. And let me tell you, it was the most horrible smelling stuff that I’ve ever smelled in my life. The smell might have been worth it if we’d caught anything, but nope. No fish at all. Magic bait fail. And so at the ripe old age of 9, I realized I couldn’t buy my Daddy anything fishing related unless he’d already picked it out himself. He knows fish. I do not.

And Kevin. He’s a golfer. I may know what a driver, wedge, and putter are and I may know that they make regular shafts and stiff shafts, but in no way, shape or form am I qualified to go pick out a golf club. Waste of time and money. Just like fishermen, golfers are picky about their equipment.

So buying for the guys in my life is pretty hard. One thing that I can always fall back on is that both my dad and Kevin are sports fans. I grew up in a Clemson household. My mom actually grew up in Clemson and both of my parents went to college there. And then, so did my sister and I.

Kevin grew up in Georgia and is a huge University of Georgia fan. We go to at least a game or two every year, though Karsten kind of threw a kink into that this year and we missed out on going to ANY football game in 2014, though Kevin was able to take Kate to a game.  I have a feeling we will be making up those missed games this year.

In addition to his beloved Bulldogs, Kevin is also an Atlanta Braves fan. Can’t forget baseball!

Needless to say, sports apparel is usually a safe bet and my default gift when it comes to buying for a guy, or really any sports fan (guy or girl). There are several sports apparel producers, but one I’ve recently discovered is Majestic Athletic, who is actually the current uniform provider for Major League Baseball.

In addition to sports apparel for your favorite MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL or college teams, Majestic Athletic makes general athletic wear. Score again. Because even if you’re not a fan of a particular sports team, who doesn’t love athletic wear? Though it is a paradox, athletic wear is the cornerstone of comfortable, relaxation clothing.

Needless to say, until their closets fill up quite a bit, I’m pretty sure I know what my go-to gifts are for the guys in my life. And if you’re still guessing, it’s not a fishing pole or a golf club.

Do any of you have the same issue buying gifts for men?  What are your go-to gifts? 

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Majestic Althletic. The opinions expressed within this post are completely my own based on my experience.


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