Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Repost- A letter from a foster/adoptive parent

Sometimes the "open letters" can be a little weird, but I read this one from a foster/adoptive parent and I thought it was so good. In case you missed our post about doing foster care, you can read it here.

A letter from a foster/adoptive parent

Monday, August 29, 2016

Big news- We're having TWINS!!!

I already know this will be one of my favorite posts ever. :)

We have the biggest news- we are not only pregnant, but we're having TWINS! We've known we were pregnant for awhile, but just recently found out that it's TWO babies! We were so shocked and have been feeling many emotions- amazed, excited, overwhelmed- but most of all we are very thankful for these two little blessings.

Here's what we know so far: The due date is March 27, but will most likely go before that as most twins come early. They can't tell 100% yet, but they are most likely fraternal twins because they have two sacs. They have high hopes (and so do we!) that this will be a healthy twin pregnancy because I've thankfully always been healthy and Norah was a (past) full term, big/healthy baby.

We will keep you updated, but wanted to share the crazy, wonderful news! Can't believe we have TWO babies on the way. I was listening to the song Good, Good Father and the line, "You are perfect in all of your ways to us," just made me cry. We are very grateful that this was His plan and He always knew this would happen. He's been orchestrating these beautiful babies for a long time already!

And Norah will be the best big sister! She has met several babies recently and is so kind and gentle to them. That will be so fun to watch her cuddle her new siblings, but first we are going to soak up all the time we can with her as our one and only! I don't think she fully understands, but she will point to my belly and say, "Two babies!" and it's so cute.

Norah, you will be the best big sister! Times two!


These ultrasound pictures are only a week and a half apart from our first ultrasound with Norah. With Norah, she just looked like a circular blob, but it's so amazing that you can see their hands and feet already!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Norah- Twenty Two Months.

Norah, we say we love you all the time, and we always want you to know how truly, deeply, and fully you are loved, both by us, and more importantly by your Heavenly Father. You are a one of a kind gift, and we are so thankful for you every single day. You light up our lives.

Schedule/Eating- Norah is a schedule champ and we are very thankful for that. She is pretty predictable and her schedule is pretty consistent. She is an okay eater- she obviously eats enough as she's continuing to grow, but some meals she eats more than others. I feel like I used to say she was a great eater because I didn't have anything else to compare her too, but now that I see her friends eat, I would say she is not the best eater. It's not a problem, though, and she usually does pretty well. Her favorite foods are noodles, fruit snacks, cheese, pizza, and strawberries/raspberries. She still sleeps from about 10-9 and about 1:30-3:30.

Developments- Norah is basically 100% consistently pooping on the potty, and we are thrilled! We hope to try more in the fall, now that our travels are over, and hopefully peeing on the potty will come soon too! She will tell us when she has to poop. We had one time this month where she told us, but we didn't make it to a bathroom right away and she went in her diaper, but every other time she made it!

Norah started requesting hugs this month when she gets hurt, sad, or upset, and it's my new favorite thing. I love that she can know she is sad and knows that we will try to help comfort her, and I love that she is still young enough that a hug from mom/dad can fix the whole world. It's amazing!

Norah has also become a legitimate helper, in some cases. She can help me unload groceries from the bags and put them on the counter, put laundry in the machine, throw things away, etc. It's so awesome! I love when she takes initiative- she enjoys helping and I hope she grows up to continue to serve and help others.

Norah loves to try to count things. She will flip through her favorite books and “retell” them. She loves to color and says random letters that she is writing (it's almost always A). She currently says that every color is red. She is great at matching things like puzzles or shape sorters. She knows tons of animals and sounds. She remembers lots of things- we've got a smart girl on our hands!

Words- Norah is speaking so well. It's so fun to watch her be able to express herself. There is, of course, the occasional tantrum, but for the most part she speaks very well. We rarely have a time where we can't understand her or figure out what she wants. She can repeat anything we say, and will say short sentences. She still loves watching people mow the lawn, but now instead of just yelling, “Lawn!” every time, she yells a mixture of, “Lawn! Grass! Mower! Loud!” Her favorite phrases to say are sit down (when she wants to play with us or doesn't want us to leave) and excuse me (she will even make random noises on purpose just so she can excuse herself). Her favorite words are still mama and dada, and loves to say her friends' names and anything related to outside/transportation.

Favorites- Norah loves playing with Ainsley (a friend we babysit), identifying/spying all sorts of transportation (trucks, airplanes, buses, tractors, etc.) She loves getting fruit snacks as a treat, and M+Ms after she poops. She loves being outside- her favorite outside activities are swings, slides, pulling weeds, finding sticks, and watching the neighbor's dogs. She loves watching a nursery rhyme video on our phones or watching videos of herself. She enjoys “watching” us do things and wants to be up in the action, especially now for washes dishes. She is also recently obsessed with donkeys, since so many of her Bible stories have pictures of donkeys in them. She always wants to find the donkey pages!
I tried so hard to get a good photo shoot- it wasn't happening. Oh well.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016


We have now been married for six years. Wow! What a wonderful six years it's been. We've seen God's faithfulness and goodness in the favorite days and even in the hard days. We were able to have a date night (thanks to wonderful grandparents who love watching Norah), and it was so nice to have time alone. We ate dinner and talked about the events that were happening in our wedding at that exact time six years earlier.

Kley, even just thinking about writing an anniversary post about you makes me cry because you are, in all seriousness, God's biggest blessing to me. You love well, encourage often, support always, and forgive easily. I am so incredibly thankful for you. You are my best friend and I love you and sharing life together.

I am so glad you asked me to marry you and we said, "I do" on August 14, 2010. I would marry you all over again and choose you every single day.


and now (this summer at my sister's wedding!).

Monday, August 22, 2016

When in Des Moines...

Norah and I had a few days without something scheduled last week, so we headed to Des Moines for a few days! We thought we should go before fall activities start, and I'm so glad we did. We missed Kley- he had to stay back and work- but it was fun to see family! We missed Zack and Karlie too, as they are now living in Minneapolis, but we facetimed them a few times.

We did lots of fun things! Norah loved playing outside with balls and bubbles.

She also loves to pick up sticks and pull weeds. She carried this stick around for almost the whole night.

Chalk! Norah has just been getting into coloring recently and I love it. I hope she sits and colors for long periods as she gets older. I can't wait until she draws her first family picture of us. I will definitely frame it.

While everyone else was at work, Grandma and I took Norah to Monkey Joe's- a huge inflatable place. Norah loved it!

Going down the big slide with Grandma!

Going down by herself!

We all went swimming one night,

and another night we went to the fair!

Norah liked seeing the animals the best, the "horsies" specifically. We even got to see a baby goat being born live while we were there!

Norah loves Uncle Keat and Aunt Rose! She always called him Keat, but this trip just started calling him Keaton, which is funny.

As always, we had a great time in Des Moines. I'm so thankful that we get to see family fairly often- so great!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Moms, what you do matters.

This was shared by someone at our last church baby shower, and I thought it was so good I wanted to share it here! It's called Loving Jesus by Megan Breedlove.

I started my day early, before the room was light. I lifted my son from his crib and wished it was still night. But as I held him close and said, "Hi, Kenneth, precious one," I knew that as I greeted him, I greeted too God's son.

When my daughter woke up later, calling, "Mommy! Mommy! Down!" I picked her up and hugged her in her worn Elmo nightgown. I know she felt the closeness that a mother's touch affords. I welcomed not just Ellie, but so, too, the Lord of Lords.

That day, I mixed some formula and opened jars of peas. I fixed some "pizza butter" bread when she grinned and said, "Pleeeeease." I heated up some leftovers; I had to nuke them twice. And when I fed my children, I was feeding Jesus Christ.

I made some funny faces, and "played puzzles" on the floor. I dressed kitties, ran around outside, and played with them some more. We laughed and jumped and tickled, making memories to be stored. When I spent time with my children, I spent time with my Lord.

I wiped up sticky cereal and washed the dishes clean. I straightened, picked up, put away, and dusted in between. I did six loads of laundry and folded it like new. When I cleaned for my children, I cleaned for my Savior, too.

When my children were both crying, I held them in my arms. I cuddled them and whispered that I'd keep them safe from harm. I told them how their Father saved them with His perfect Lamb. When I comforted my children, I comforted I AM.

Later on that evening, I put them in the bath. I washed their little bodies as they kicked around and splashed. I dried them in soft towels and put their jammies on. When I had washed my children's feet, I'd washed the Holy One.

I cooked and cleaned and rearranged, made beds and taught and played. I made sure that we had food to eat and that we often prayed. I died to self. I made a home from ordinary things. But when I served my children, I served the King of Kings.

To some, I have done nothing, but to two, I've done the world. I made eternal difference to my precious boy and girl, and to the One who watches over every pathway that I've trod. For when I've loved my precious children, I've loved Almighty God.

It brings tears to my eyes! I especially love the last part. To some it may seem like we aren't doing much, but to our children, we've done the world. Moms, what you do matters and it does have eternal significance! Keep going strong!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The best of Saturdays.

Saturdays really are the best, aren't they? We love spending time together and having Daddy be with us for the whole day!

It was gorgeous outside, so we went to the "beach" in a neighboring town. It was really fun! It basically has it all- park, sand, water, food stand- it was great!

Watching your kids have fun is basically the best feeling!

Kley and Norah just walked around in the water for a long time.

And built some sand castles!

At night, we headed to the De Jong's to see Aunt Elizabeth, Grandpa, and Gramie to eat and watch the Olympics. Go Team USA!

Family is such a blessing. Hope you had a great Saturday too!