Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas 2018

As an update to my update, I will continue where I left off and repeat that life is crazy. Here's a quick recap of the last few months.  We packed up our home of 11+ years and moved to my home town back in November, a few days after Kevin's dad passed  away. And then a week later, we packed our house up again and moved back home. It's been chaos the last few weeks. But, we are home, finally unpacked and very thankful to be here. We don't know what God has in store for us yet, but we know He is a God who loves His children and wants to use them for His purposes, so we're waiting until He shows us how that will be!

But like I said, we were home for Christmas. My parents came up on Christmas eve and we went bowling with the kids. So. Much. Fun.

We went to Olive Garden to eat and celebrate mine and my brother-in-law's birthdays. Mine is on the 27th and his was the 20th. There's not much better than Italian food.

On Christmas day, we told the girls not to get up before 7:30. In truth, Kevin and I were really just trying to avoid having kids that wake up at 4am and beg to open presents.  At 7am, we heard them in their room and went to check on them.  They were sitting on the side of their bed, talking, and waiting on 7:30 to roll around. :)  So, we let them go ahead and get up and open their presents.

At 8:30, my parents and Kristi, Davis and Rylynn came over to open family presents, eat breakfast and hang out.

Later that afternoon, my mother-in-law Diane came by with Kevin's grandma to say hello and let the girls show off their gifts. We are so thankful for them!

After a crazy busy day, we had a low key evening. We ended up eating dinner in the living room and watched The Star.  If you haven't seen it, it's on Netflix right now and really, really cute. It's sort of the story of Jesus birth from the animal's perspective - but Jesus' birth is really 1 of 2 story lines. It is cute!

When the movie was over, Kate read aloud the Christmas story from Luke before the girls headed to bed. Perfect ending to a pretty fantastic day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Update #2

Well. Life is crazy, and yet again our family is in transition. We don't know what the future has in store for us, but we know that God is good and every day He sends us more reminders of who He is and how much He loves us. Reminders like this one:

See that dress that Karsten is wearing? It's the dress that Kate wore to court when we finalized Karsten's adoption almost 4 years ago to the day.  Even when things are ridiculously crazy, if we pay attention, we can be thankful and grateful for God's provision and blessings. He is good!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Long Overdue Update

Oh. My. Stars.

What a crazy, emotional, exhausting few weeks. So much has happened that I didn't know what to write. And then more happened, and I kept putting it off. But this is my diary of sorts, and I don't want to completely let this blog fall apart, so here I am. And I still don't know where to start...

Back in late October, Kevin accepted a position at a church in my hometown. We are excited and looking forward to being back in a smaller town. We are praying God will use our family as only He can do, and can't wait to get all settled in. But with big, exciting changes come some of the more difficult changes, like moving away from people and places that you love.

Two weeks ago we said goodbye to our church family for the past 14 years. It was one of the hardest things we have ever done. The following are two pictures from our last small group meeting. I've said this quite a few times, but it is just so true - if you go to a church but aren't in some kind of group (whether that is a small group, a life group, a home group or a Sunday school class), you're missing out! These people became our family and we will miss them (and others) so much. Our kids grew up with their kids. We found accountability and real connection. It was more than just meeting together for a Bible study. True fellowship.

When we started this small group, there were 3 kids and all were under the age of 3. Now look at them! There are lots more, and they are so grown up! 

So on Sunday November 11th, Kevin preached his last message, we gave lots of hugs, there were lots of tears and as tradition, a ton of us went out to eat together afterward.

On Monday, Kevin's dad was discharged from the hospital and sent home with Hospice. So what was supposed to be a week of us moving and settling in, ended up being a week spent with family and trying to soak in every remaining minute with his dad and with the girls Papa. Thankfully our new church family was gracious to allow us to delay Kevin's start date an additional week, and we were able to be at home with family when Kevin's dad passed away the following Monday morning (November 19th).

Daddy/Papa was one of the kindest, most generous people you would ever meet. He raised 4 boys, loved his family and his grandkids (and even claimed a few as grandkids that weren't related to us). He always greeted you with a hug. He loved us well and we all loved him. He will be missed. 

On Wednesday we said goodbye and Kevin was able to do his dad's funeral service. He wasn't sure he would be able to actually do it, so a fellow pastor led the service, but somehow Kevin made it almost all the way through. It was truly a celebration of life, knowing that Don loved his Lord and while we were grieving, was already celebrating in eternity with Jesus.

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, we packed up the rest of our house and spent Thursday/Friday/Saturday moving. We ate Thanksgiving lunch at McDonalds because it was the only thing open. Ha! But we did get a good meal on Thursday evening (thanks Mom and Dad!).

On Saturday we loaded the last boxes into our car and drove away from our very first home. Kevin and I were emotional but the girls were all ready for the next adventure. If only we could be a little more like kids sometimes, right?  This is the only home that Kevin and I have lived in together. It's the home we went to after we got married. It's the home that we put so much work into - we cut down trees, graded the yard, spent YEARS trying to get grass to grow, planted shrubs and flowers and landscaping, and put in hours of work mulching ever year. It's the home where we got a puppy together (Max) and then 7 month later got another puppy (Cooper).  It's the home that we welcomed both of our girls into, where we watched them take their first steps, try their first foods, and say their first words.  It was the home that hosted a few Thanksgivings, where we woke up to 12 Christmas mornings. It's where our girls had egg hunts each Easter.  It was home to so many "firsts" for us, and so many great memories. And on Thursday we will list it for sale so a new family can love it as much as we did. Cue the tears. Again.

Yesterday (Sunday), we woke up in our new town and attended our first service at our new church. The girls had a blast and made themselves at home immediately, like we were pretty sure they would. They are good at things like that. We were welcomed by lots of new friends and shook hands with more people than I could count. We all had a great day and are excited for the future.

But boy, are we tired. I told someone that after the last 7 days, I think I could go to sleep for about 3 weeks!

And so here we are and now I'm all caught up in blog land. We are here and even though our boxes are still everywhere waiting to be unpacked, we are home. And we are thankful.

OH YEAH - I almost forgot. The girls started their new schools today. Kate is in 2nd grade and Karsten started daycare, which is a new adventure for her! If this doesn't show excited faces, then I don't know what does.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Halloween 2018

Halloween 2018 did not disappoint. It was, however, one of the first years where we did not have a Disney Princess in tow. This year's theme was super heroes and what could be more fun? Kate had determined that she was going to be Violet (from The Incredibles) and Karsten wanted to be Buzz Lightyear. 

Kristi and Davis brought Rylynn over for a few pictures and to eat dinner with us before we headed out for trick or treating. Here is the sweet little lamb with our two super heroes.

We ended up going to a local church's trunk-or-treat with friends and had so much fun. It was great to be in one centralized place to let the kids run around from trunk to trunk, play games and eat candy.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Dawgs 2018

Karsten's birthday was a crazy busy day because not only did we celebrate her BIG with a unicorn party in the morning, but we headed to Athens in the afternoon to watch the Dawgs play football.  We got tickets and planned it last minute, so had we thought it through a little more we probably would have decided that it was too much to pull off in one day.  I'm glad we DIDN'T think it through though, because we had a blast.  Our kids love football games and they thrive on the excitement of being at a college game.  

Here they are, all ready to go!  We thought they would nap on the way there since it was afternoon and we had a few hours in the car. That didn't work out like we hoped but wasn't really a big deal. We got to Athens, loaded Karsten in the stroller, and then started walking over toward the stadium. 

It was a night game and we stayed until the beginning of the 4th quarter. Kate was ticked that it was time to leave. She LOVED it and was so into the game. She made me proud!  Karsten on the other hand....

Let's just say that she liked everything up to the point of the football game actually starting. And then she didn't care about it at all. She was really good though, and I came prepared with the Leap Pad and coloring books, and of course tons of snacks. I know my girl well.  And she's newly 4, so it's not like I really expected her to sit and watch a game. She did great! 

We had SO MUCH FUN. This has inadvertently become a family tradition to go to one Georgia game a year, and I love it. Now we have to figure out which Clemson game to get over to this year! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Unicorn Party for a FOUR Year Old

What little girl doesn't like unicorns? I mean it's the best of both worlds - horses and fairy tales. Naturally, Karsten decided that's what kind of birthday party she wanted and that's exactly what kind of party she got. So here's a little peek of our morning last Saturday, as we celebrated Karsten with all-things-unicorn.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Karsten is Four

Yesterday, the baby of our family turned FOUR. I'm still in denial.

We spent the day celebrating her and had So. Much. Fun.  I'll write about it later, but for now I wanted to take a minute to put down on paper (screen?) what Karsten is like at 4 years old.

Karsten is the most on-the-move kid that I have ever been around. She is constantly running, jumping, skipping, hopping, twirling, bouncing, spinning, or SOMETHING. Walk is not a word in her vocabulary. She has wanted a watch like Kate's for months now, so she can track her steps.  Kate has NOT wanted Karsten to get a watch because she said Karsten would beat her in steps every single day. I mean, when a seven year old realizes that you are active, you know it is true!

She is always smiling. Unless she is in trouble, she almost always has a smile on her face or is laughing at something.

She is so sensitive. When she DOES get in trouble, she takes it hard.  A few weeks ago before church, she drew on our brand new refrigerator with an invisible ink pen that Kate bought at school. You could still sort of see where it was, but it wasn't a huge deal. The ink was washable so I just wiped it off, but I did have a talk with her about drawing on things and that we only draw on paper. I barely even fussed at her but she took it SO HARD and cried and cried about ruining our fridge. I calmed her down and showed her that it was okay and we fixed it.  At bedtime, we were praying and she interrupted to say "Dear God, please forgive me for drawing on Mommy's refrigerator."

She is girly. She loves painted fingernails and toenails and would have me redo hers every day if I would (but I won't).  She loves to watch hair shows on TV (Sunny Day on Nick Jr).  She's always asking for her hair to be braided, or have twists or pig tails. A few nights a week we have started doing what the girls call "family movie night", where we just watch Little House on the Prairie together as a family. Karsten loves to sit beside me and comb and braid my hair. It's just her thing.

She loves her big sister with her whole heart and wants to be JUST like her. She'll even tell you that. I'll sometimes ask "Karsten, why do you want to ______?"  and she will answer "Because Kate does and I want to be like Kate."

She is sassy, silly, sweet, cuddly and we sure do love her so. Happy birthday, Karsten. You are FOUR.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Painting Fun

These pictures are pretty old.  I'm talking at least 2-3 months old.  Yikes!  But, since I print this blog out into a book each year, I didn't want to miss including them and remembering these moments.  Kate has had this easel since she was 2 or 3 years old and it has gotten a LOT of use. However, the mean mom that I am, we don't use paint inside the house very often. So in the summer, I drag the easel outside and let the girls have at it. This was one of those days.  Seeing how much fun they have doing this, I'm going to make a point of dragging it outside more often!

(PS- I promise Karsten has shorts on under her oversized t-shirt!)


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