Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Card 2014

For the THIRD year in a row, I'm joining in with Faith for her annual Christmas Card Carousel.

Until we had kids, we didn't do Christmas cards.  Not really, anyway.  But after adding Kate, and now Karsten, we haven't missed a year!  I was on the ball and ordered mine early (just in case we had another disaster like the Christmas card fiasco of 2012).  But they were delivered to our house with no major issues, and though I'd hoped to get them out sooner, they were just stamped and dropped into the mail today!  Oops!

Anyway, I LOVE getting Christmas cards, and I love just as much to send them- especially with these two sweet faces on them!  So, here is our 2014 card!

This really has been a great year full of laughs, fun, and unexpected (but much awaited) blessings. Can't wait to see what 2014 has in store.  Merry Christmas!

And just for fun, here are our Christmas cards from 2013, 2012 and 2011!

Monday, December 15, 2014

How Adoption Changed OUR Lives

I know I talk about adoption, and our kids, a LOT.  But I started this blog to follow our adoption journey that first led us to Kate, and now to Karsten, so I don't apologize for that.  Adoption is a HUGE part of our lives.  We talk about it constantly, and both Kate and Karsten will know, for as long as they can remember, what adoption is and what it has meant for our family.  

At age 3, Kate knows who her birth family is by name. She will tell you that she grew in her birth mom's tummy, and then they placed her in Mommy and Daddy's arms to take home.  She knows that Karsten grew in a different birth mom's tummy, and then she chose US to be Karsten's family.  Kate doesn't understand all of the intricacies of adoption, but she is learning.  Adoption will never be a surprise to her, and in the same way it won't be a surprise to Karsten. It just IS, and it completed our family.

Often times when we are talking to people about adoption, we get the comment that our girls "are so lucky" that we adopted them.  We feel flattered that people would say that, but quite honestly, WE are the lucky ones.

I think people who are unfamiliar with adoption sometimes have the impression that adopted children come from horrible circumstances, or are from third world countries and lived in depravity.  While I'm sure that this is sometimes true, it was absolutely NOT the case for Kate or Karsten.  Before they were placed in our arms, neither of our girls were ever without love. They both had birth families that loved them very much.  They both were held by their first-families, and many tears shed over the decision they made to place their daughters for adoption.  And in the end, their birth families picked US (Kevin and me) to be their Mommy and Daddy, and for that we are forever grateful.  

So you see, WE are the lucky ones. 

Why are WE the lucky ones? 

- Kevin and I get to be parents. Without adoption, that wouldn't be possible. 
- As parents, we get to understand on another level God's true sacrifice of His Son for us. 
- Knowing our own love for our daughters, we can better grasp the depth of God's love for us, as adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. 
- We have a full home, filled with little footsteps, laughter, screams, sometimes tears, hugs, and love.
-  We have a life that is anything but boring. (Okay, you can most definitely have that without kids, but let me tell you, they definitely make it pretty much impossible to have a boring life).

Yep. Kevin and I are pretty much the lucky ones in our family.

Though, if we're being REALLY honest, I don't think luck has much to do with it.  Luck implies that it was just "by chance" that we are Kate and Karsten's parents and I just can't accept that.  I believe that this was all part of God's plan for our family.  He knew before any of us were created that we would be a family.  It didn't come along in the traditional ways, but God can use any circumstance for His glory. In our family He chose to use adoption. And we will thank Him for that amazing gift every day.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sweet Karsten

Taking pictures of a newborn sure is fun, isn't it?  Just getting them to even look at the camera is half of  the battle.

And then if you even get some kind of resemblance of a smile, you think you've done great.  (Side note, we just love Karsten's sweet side smiles. She starts off like this when she's trying to decide if she wants to give you a real smile or not.)

And then, if you get a REAL grin, you know you better quit taking pictures and call it a success.

Because after that, she is not having it anymore and she is D.O.N.E. with picture taking. 

The end.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Headbands for Big Sis

Kate is a brand representative for Sassy Sweet Pea Designs, and that meant that she got to model some headbands to be used on their Etsy site.  The headbands came in earlier this week, and so I thought today would be a good day to head outside and take some quick pictures. Kate did SO well, and though I don't normally put her in headbands (because I'd just never thought about it), I kind of love them on her. I linked the below names to the listing on Etsy.  If you have a little girl and like bows, I'd definitely recommend this shop.  Cute headbands and bows with clips, and super reasonable prices.  Here's what we got in about 20 minutes...

The Georgia Bulldogs Headband:

And my favorite, the Gold Chevron Headband:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sunday Snapshots

After church on Sunday, I told Kate I wanted to get a few pictures of my big girl.  She agreed, because she'll do just about anything to put off that afternoon nap! 

And y'all.  I think this is the ONLY outfit that Kate has been able to wear 2 years in a row.  We are still in that new-wardrobe-every-season stage.  This little outfit is a hand-me-down and it is a 4T.  It was a bit big on her last year but still worked.  It fits her perfectly this year, though she mostly wears 5T.  Sadly, (and shockingly, based on the number of pictures I take), I don't have one of her wearing this last year for comparison.

I just love this little girl so much, and am so thankful that I get to be her mommy.  She has my heart!

We tried to get little sister in on the action, but she wasn't too thrilled about it. 

I think she was the only kid actually looking forward to that afternoon nap!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Karsten: Two Months

I blinked again, and this happened!

On Saturday, Karsten turned 2 months old.  I'm not quite sure where the past two months have gone, but they have FLOWN by. This little girl is growing so quickly and changing every minute. She is so much fun and we are all very much in love with her. 

Karsten has been "talking" to us lately, and we loves the coos and babbles that come out of her mouth.

Her sleeping has been GREATLY improved.  We've been using Babywise again, and attribute her 7 hour stretches partly to the routine that we've been establishing. Though we have been a lot more lax with it than we were with Kate, it still seems to be working!  Karsten has been eating somewhere between 3-4 oz every 3 hours during the daytime, and at night, we just let her go until she lets us know she is hungry.  And believe me, she lets us know!  

We had her 2 month appointment today (along with the shots- tear! ) and Karsten is most definitely growing. She is our long, lean girl.

Height: 23 1/4 inches (85%)
Weight: 10 lbs 12.5 oz (39%)
Head Circumference: 15 inches (49%)

She has the most serious expressions when she is checking you out.

And then she busts into the sweetest smiles. We've also been lucky and gotten a few laughs!

For now, I'm making the most of my last few weeks at home with her and Kate. I know I'll be posting a THREE month blog again before I know it! :)   And just for comparison sake, here is Karsten at 1 and 2 months old. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

White Chicken Chili (Crockpot)

In an effort to keep recipes in one place (that I definitely don't want to lose), I'm posting this one here.  It's a crockpot recipe, which makes it even better!  Better yet, my crockpot switches to "warm" after it cooks for the set amount of time, so there's no need to rush home to turn it off.  Win-Win.  This makes enough to feed our family of 3 for at least 3 meals (but keep in mind that one is a 3 year old, who doesn't eat a whole lot).  We usually eat it once and freeze the other 2 servings for later.

White Chicken Chili

Chili Ingredients:
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth (14 oz)
2 cans white beans, drained (16 oz)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can corn (15 oz)
1 can diced or chopped green chilies (7 oz)
1 package taco seasoning
1 chopped onion
1 clove garlic

Sour Cream
Colby Jack shredded cheese (or any other kind)
Tortilla chips

For the chili, place all ingredients, except for the chicken, in the crockpot and mix well.  Add chicken last.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  After cooking, remove the chicken and shred well.  Add chicken back to the crockpot and stir.  This will change your chili from a thin, soupy mixture to the thick, creamy chili. And it's done! Top individual servings with cheese and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips.

Easy, easy!

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