Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Karsten: Six Months

I was texting Karsten's birth mom yesterday and neither one of us could believe it has been 1/2 of a year since this sweet baby girl was born.  Today she turns six months old.  Excuse me for a minute while I go cry about the fact that we no longer have an infant.  Though if you'd talk to Kevin, he might still call her an infant since she sleeps like one.  I digress. And I exaggerate. Her sleep is getting better. At least it has been for the past few nights.

Regardless, our BABY is now six whole months old.  Here is what she's up to.

She is wearing Size 3 diapers.  They are probably a TAD big on her, but they work and she's growing so we're going with it.  She weighs around 16.5 pounds and just seems so teeny to me, but I know she is not.  Especially when I look back at her newborn pictures, I realize just how big she has gotten!

Karsten just started solids in the last week or so.  We played around with food a tad last month, but we've started consistently feeding her just lately. We started off with rice cereal.  She didn't get it.  She would immediately stick her tongue in front of her lips to block out the spoon.  We tried the rice cereal a few times and then moved on to oatmeal.  She is a much bigger fan of oatmeal.  She still hasn't completely mastered the concept of opening her mouth for the spoon and swallowing, but she's getting there.  And we THINK it has helped with her sleep.

Speaking of sleep, she was doing GREAT around 5.5 months old.  We would feed her and put her to bed at 8, and then feed her another bottle when we went to bed around 10:30.  And then she would sleep until 7am.  It was WONDEROUS!  I mean seriously.  Best sleep we've had in 5.5 months.  She was consistently sleeping this way too.  We were thrilled.  And then, she reverted back to newborn status.  Waking every 2 hours.  That one week of GOOD sleep was such a teaser!

I told Kevin that I thought she had hit a growth spurt.  We're hoping that is the case and that the great, fantastic, AMAZING sleep will be back soon.

For my own reference, here is her general schedule at 6 months old:
7am            Wake and Bottle.  Back to bed after she finishes.
9:30am       Wake
10am          Bottle and Oatmeal
11:45am     Nap
2pm            Bottle
3:45pm       Nap
5:30pm       Bottle and Oatmeal (maybe a short cat nap while the rest of us eat dinner if she needs it)
8:15pm       Bottle and Bed
** We typically give her another bottle around 10:30 or 11 before we go to bed to help her last til morning.

We have been making a conscious effort to get in more tummy time lately.  She has generally hated it, but is tolerating it more and more.  She is pushing up on her arms further each day, but isn't quite to the point of lifting her body or getting her legs up under her. So I'm hoping this means she's not too close to crawling.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want her to be delayed, but I'm definitely enjoying the non-mobile stage!

If you hold out your hands to her and say "give me both hands", she will grab your hands with both of hers.  This is something Diane has taught her and Karsten has it down!

This girl is a vocal little thing, for sure.  She is so stinking loud!  I will have her playing on a blanket in one room, and go to another room to do a few things.  The next thing I know, I'll hear her YELLING from all the way across the house. She almost sounds upset.  So I'll go check on her, and nope.  She's not crying. She's not upset. She's not fussing. She is just LOUD.

She is definitely a Mama's girl.  Kate can get the biggest smiles out of her, but I'm a close second.  Kevin gets frustrated sometimes because I'll be doing something to make her smile or laugh, and he'll do the exact same thing and she looks at him like he is crazy, but gives him no smiles.  Then I'll do it again and she'll bust out with a grin.  I tell him it's payback.  Kate was a Daddy's girl.

She loves, loves, LOVES to stand up in your lap and bounce.  Her little legs are so strong and she will bounce and jump on her own for such a long time.  This is one of the reasons we're encouraging the tummy time.  We want the kid to crawl first instead of going straight to walking!

She is cuddly and sweet, and I just love my nighttime snuggles more than I care to admit.  I am generally the one to give her the very last bottle of the day, and I stretch it out a lot longer than I need to.  I love when she stares up at me and runs her fingers through my hair.  She's not much of a hair puller (unless it is Kate's hair), but she does love to play with my hair.  And when she is tired, she loves to bury her head in crook of my neck.  Melts my heart.

Thank you, God, for bringing this baby girl into our lives.  Thank you for making us parents to another little girl. Thank you for her birth mother, who carried this child for 9 months and then chose US to be her family forever. Thank you for the relationships that we are building with Karsten's birth family, and that she will always be able to know who and where she comes from. Thank you for the love, laughter, joy, excitement and FUN that she has brought to us all over the last 6 months!  I am sure the next 6 months will fly by just as quickly!  Where is the pause button??? :)  We are so thankful and grateful for this special gift!

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter!  So today was a pretty exciting day, but before we get there, let's back up to last night.

I'd hung Kate's new Easter dress on her closet door and she saw it hanging there when we went in her room to put on her pajamas.  She was SO excited to see her dress.  She has been asking to wear it for a few weeks now, and I keep telling her "it's your EASTER dress", so she's been practicing patience.  NOT an easy task for a 3.5 year old.

When she realized she would get to wear her dress the next day, she was ecstatic.  Karsten has a very similar Easter dress (similar in style, not in color) and so Kate was looking forward to "matching" her sister.

We went in the bathroom to brush her teeth and Kate spotted the curlers.  She asked for me to put them in her hair, so I did.  As I was rolling everything up, I asked if there was a princess that had curly hair, and if that's why she wanted it.  She said "No. I want to match Karsten."


This was the first time she actually slept in the curlers. I've put them in her hair before, but after about 20 minutes she is usually through.  She stuck with it this time, and I'm glad she did!

Tada! She was so proud of herself.

Okay, now. Easter.  What a special day!  This morning I served in our Children's class during church, so I missed the message.  But I'm pretty sure I know what it was about. 

Our kids sang during the service and did a GREAT job singing "Oh, Happy Day".  Kate and I have been practicing in the car often, so she knew the words pretty well.  And the girl is not stage-shy at all.  Anybody remember that stage dive she took a few years ago?  Ha!  

My parents joined us at church, and afterward they came over to our house for lunch.  Kristi and Davis met us there.  But before we ate, we had to take a few pictures, of course!

See that finger going toward Karsten's mouth?  Yeah. We're still struggling with the "don't touch her face" thing.  

I'm pretty sure our kids cooperate while taking pictures with other people more than they do with Kevin and me.  It seriously should not be THAT hard to get two kids to look in the same direction. I've given up on trying to get smiles. 

I asked Kate this evening what her favorite part about today was.  This is something I like to ask her each day, just to hear what she says.  Today, she said "um.... Easter eggs.  I liked finding the eggs!"  I could probably have called that one if I'd thought about it.  Hearing her squeal when she took off running for the eggs was priceless!

And when she'd found them all, she dumped them out on the ground and had her Daddy help her count them. :)

Still can't believe she is mine.  We are so thankful for both of our sweet girls. 

But more than that, we are thankful for Jesus- for his birth, for his death, and for his resurrection.  He is alive!  The tomb is empty.  I am so grateful, and thankful, for the cross.

Jesus has overcome,
And the grave is overwhelmed. 
The victory is won. 
He is risen from the grave. 

And I will rise
When he calls my name.
No more sorrow.
No more pain. 

I will rise on eagles wings. 
Before my God, fall on my knees. 
And rise.
I will rise.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Egging It

About a week and a half ago, I bought 2 dozen eggs and 2 packs of egg dye.  I went home and boiled the eggs and then... we never got around to dying them.  I kept having intentions of doing it with Kate each night, and other stuff just kept getting in the way.  But on Thursday, we finally got to dye eggs.

Kate was SO excited.  As in, jumping up and down excited.

For some reason she got it in her head that she had to blow on the eggs.  Not really sure where that came from, but it was funny anyway...

She was INTENT on the egg dying, y'all.  And really, I forgot how boring egg dying is.  I mean you stick them in the cup and then wait.  And that's about it.

 The other kit I bought was some tie-dye kit and so there was a little bit more involved. You had to put the egg in this plastic case and then use a syringe to squirt dye into the case.

We did 2 tie-dye eggs and then we were both over it.  Oh yeah, also, I went to work with a pink hand the next day, and Kate had a blue one.  But our eggs did turn out pretty nice.

And next year, we'll have two little girls attempting the egg dying experience.  Start praying for me now.

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. 

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