Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

I'm currently recovering from being stuffed full for about 5 days straight. At this point, we are so over the turkey, dressing, and all the other Thanksgiving fixings.  Don't get me wrong - delicious!  But now, I'm done. Leftovers are officially thrown out... except for maybe enough for Kevin to eat for lunch tomorrow. :) 

Last year we hosted Thanksgiving with my family and Kevin's family.  This year was a smaller affair since just my family came over, but even my side of the family has grown a bit bigger since last year. Meet my 8 day old niece, Rylynn.  (I'll do a post just on her another day!)

She is the sweetest, cutest little baby girl!  We told Kristi and Davis that it would be great if they could come, but no pressure because they are sleep deprived and have an EIGHT DAY OLD BABY.  I think maybe they just wanted to get out of the house.  Kate was especially thrilled that they were able to make it for Thanksgiving and we all had fun holding this cutie. 

My parents had to take a couple of pictures with all of their grandkids. 

With Gigi: 

And with Pick: 

We watched some of the Macy's parade, ate way too much food while Rylynn napped, watched some NFL football, and a few people snoozed on the couch.  How else do you spend Thanksgiving!? :) 

And then of course we had to take a few of the annual family pictures.  I took some of a few different groups and then used the swing set to put my camera on and set a self-timer for a big group picture. 

This was before Kristi and Davis made it with Rylynn. 

Kristi and Davis with Rylynn.

Kate (Age 6) and Karsten (Age 3). 

My parents, Kristi, Davis, Rylynn, Kevin, me, Kate and Karsten. 

And my family - Kevin, me, Kate and Karsten.

I have so much to be thankful for - these people, this life, my friends, a great job, my health, our home.  But most of all, I am thankful for my relationship with my Savior - Jesus Christ.  All of those other things are temporary blessing that I am definitely so very thankful for, but they are just that- temporary.  His love, grace, mercy and free gift of salvation through Jesus- those are eternal. And that's the biggest blessing of all.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Zoos, Malls and Birth Families

A few weeks back, we left home early one Saturday morning to meet Kate's birth mom Lori, Lori's husband Tony, and their nearly 10 month old daughter Anneliese at the ZOO.  The last time we were at this zoo was before Karsten was born, so both kids were SO excited. 

We got there before Lori and her crew, so we went inside and waited near the seals. The girls loved it. 

And you know what I love? These three.  They are my favorite. 

After we all got to see each other for a few minutes, Kate took the map and decided to be our leader. The girl loves her maps. And she also likes being in charge. 

This is Kate and her half sister Anneliese. They really look so much alike. 

We tried to get a picture of all three girls. Anneliese was not a fan. Getting a picture of a 6 year old, a 3 year old and a 10 month old is no easy task!

We are thankful that Kate regularly gets to see and talk to her birth family!  

Then last weekend, we got to spend some time with Karsten's birth family!  We met at the mall and ate dinner together. Then we took the kids to the play area inside the mall and walked around a bit.  Sweet time together with Karsten's birth mom and her half siblings!

We are also so thankful that Karsten gets to have relationships with her birth family too!  When we were waiting for baby #2, one thing we specifically prayed for was that we would be able to have another wonderful open adoption.  Words can't express how grateful we are that this prayer was answered the way we hoped!  We love Miss Andrea and her kids! 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

World Adoption Day 2017

Today is World Adoption Day.  Never heard of it?  Well to be honest, neither had I until about 3 years ago.   Back when I took this picture on November 9, 2014...

Do you spy a sleeping Karsten in this picture? She was only a month old but I couldn't leave her out! I took this picture very sleep deprived and trying to figure out the whole "mom of two" deal.  Three years later and I'm not sure that I'll ever actually figure that one out! 

The next year (2015), we all got into the picture with our smiley hands.

Last year Kevin and I were in Las Vegas 

And this year - we did it again! 

What is World Adoption Day?  It's simply a day to raise awareness of adoption, and to celebrate family.  I love this tradition of ours.  Kate and Karsten have known of adoption for their entire lives.  They might not be able to explain every detail about it, but they know that it is how our family grew to include them, and they know it is something very special.  We want them to be proud of how they came into our family. 

Six years ago (August 2011) and three years ago (October 2014), Kevin and I got two of the very best gifts ever when they were placed in our arms.  Their birth families chose to selflessly place their daughters with our family. We thank God daily that He led them to us and that they trusted us to be their parents. When you know our story, and all the details that God worked out to knit our family together, you'll understand why I talk about adoption all the time.  It made me a mom. And that's why I will always be an advocate for adoption.    

World Adoption Day 2017: 

What's even better than an earthly adoption?  A spiritual adoption!  Want to know more?  Send me an email! kelleyandkevin(at)yahoo(dot)com

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father."
Romans 8:15

Sunday, November 5, 2017


I did a great job of writing down most of the cute/funny things that Kate would say when she was younger, and in typical 2nd child fashion, I've done a not-so-good job of doing that with Karsten. BUT, I do have a few that I've saved up over the last little bit.

Karsten has pretty much stopped doing this, but when she was younger (maybe around age 2 - 2 and a half), she had a pretty hilarious saying when she would get mad.  If you told her something that she didn't like, she would look at you, cross her arms, stomp her foot and say "all da timmmee".  I have no idea where she got this and can only think she was trying to say something like "you tell me no all the time", but all that she really would say is "all da time".  Too funny.

On the weekend college football started back, Georgia played a night game.  The girls got to see the first few minutes, but then it was time for bed.  I got Karsten ready and told her I'd meet her in her room after I finished with Kate.  Well, when I finished getting Kate's bedtime bathroom things done (brush teeth, medicines, etc), I left the bathroom and went into Karsten's room. Karsten wasn't there. I found her in mine and Kevin's room.  She was on our bed, and had somehow figured out how to turn the TV on, turn on the Roku and change the channel to the Georgia game.  I laughed at her and said "Karsten? What are you doing?"  She looked at me and said "I gotta watch Georgia play on PBSPN". Clearly she watches a lot of PBS.

Kate's school uses the ClassDojo App to keep parents informed of their child's progress, behavior, activities, etc. Every day, Kate tells me how many "Dojo Points" she earned that day, and I ask if she LOST any "Dojo Points" for bad behavior. (They can trade in earned points for rewards.) Karsten goes to my mother in law's house each day but wants to be just like Kate, so each day she tells me how many "Jojo Points" she got at Nana's house. Yesterday she said, "I lost all of my 'Jojo Points' because I pee peed in my pull up." It's so funny to hear her come up with stories on why she earns or loses points each day.

Karsten: Let's go to Mr. Bunkers!!!
Me: Huh?
Karsten: Mr. Bunkers!
Me: I don't know what Mr. Bunkers is.
Karsten points to the Clemson sticker on the back of my car - THATs Mr. Bunkers.
Me: Ohhhh - Mr. Knickerbockers?
Karsten: Yea. That's what I said. Mr. Bunkers.

Karsten clearly understood that Halloween meant dressing up, but didn't really "get" the whole concept.  On Halloween night, after about an hour of walking and trick or treating, I could tell Karsten was starting to get tired. We took the stroller but she wanted to be a big kid and walk the whole time.  Finally, she looked up and me and said "Mommy.  I'm tired of walking. When are we going to get to Halloween??"

I wish I could somehow relay tone of voice through here, but I can't. So this won't be as funny or cute but I hope that years from now when I read this, I'll be able to hear her sweet voice in my head: 
Karsten has been exploring ways to express herself when she's happy, surprised, etc.  Kate often says "Oh man!" to show her shock.  Karsten has tried out "Oh wow!" and "Oh my!" but the latest is "Ohhhhh snap!"  The voice she gets when she says this is hilarious though.  She tells us "That's what Mr. Pickles says." so it must be from something on TV. Where ever it came from, I hope it stays around for a bit! 

This girl is getting funnier by the day, and keeps us all laughing. We love her so!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Trick or Treat

Yesterday was Halloween.  Shocker, right? I'm sure you have all seen millions of pictures on Facebook and Instagram of people's kids all dressed up.  If you're totally over it, then just skip right past this because guess what I'm about to do.

Yep - here are some pictures of the girls last night.

The Disney princess game is still strong in our house and continued into 2017.  

First up is Pocahontas. Kate saw this in a Disney store earlier this year and got this outfit for her birthday. Double win is that the shoes can be worn this fall/winter.  

She and I spent Halloween afternoon in the doctors office, where she got some meds for a pretty bad sinus infection. Nothing was going to stop her from trick or treating though!

And next is Rapunzel.  Karsten would never give me a straight answer as to who (or what) she wanted to be for Halloween, so I went to JC Penny and took pictures of all the Disney costumes that were 50% off. Ha! She picked Rapunzel, so I went back and bought it.  She was excited for all of 5 minutes. Then anytime someone would ask her what she was going to be for Halloween, she gave them a different answer:

"I'm gonna be a spider!"

"I'm gonna be Buzz Lightyear!"

"I'm gonna be Holly from Winnie the Pooh!"

and then I'd remind her that she already picked Rapunzel and she'd happily go back to that. 

"I'm gonna be Rapunzel!"

To me, these are two pretty recognizable costumes but apparently they were not. Kate was consistently confused with Moana and Karsten was called Princess Sophia a few times.  I can see the similarities, and can definitely see how people were mistaken. 

We met up with friends at a nearby neighborhood for trick or treating.  They had a blast (of course).

We took the stroller but Karsten walked about 99% of the time. She was a trooper and didn't want to get left of from what the big girls were doing. 

And that was that.  We're starting to run out of Disney princesses that we don't already have costumes for.  I'm wondering how much longer this tradition will continue!


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