Musings of a mother/scuba instructor/graphic designer/musical entrepreneur. Totally in love with my husband (Two Fish) of ten years. We have two beautiful daughters (Red Fish and New Fish) and a nutty dog (Blue Fish) who help make our family complete and completely happy. W have learned to expect the unexpected and are always up for an adventure.
I am enthusiastic about living and learning. I love people who make me laugh. I have an ironic appreciation for the unique and absurd. I am an enthusiastic and untalented tap dancer with a love for new Christmas ornaments,art, the outdoors,the water, music, good books, skiing, and travel. My greatest calling in life is to be a Mom. I LOVE it!
Sometimes my kids come home with bits of information and I can't figure out where the information came from. For example, I was riding in the car with New Fish and she started counting her princesses (10 princesses) which is a normal occurance, except this time she was counting in Spanish. Where in the world did she learn that? Dora? Diego? Sesame Street?
Red Fish has always been very interested in animals and her love for them is growing. She pretends to be an animal every single day. Usually she is a cat or a dog for awhile and then switches to something more exotic like a rainbow camel, a unicorn, a horseshoe crab etc. Red Fish has been full of information on classifying animals. Maybe they are learning about animals groups in preschool. She is constantly asking me about what differentiates a reptile from a mammal or why birds have feathers. I cut out a bunch of animal pictures out of magazines, sticker books etc. and had her make collages out of them. She loved it. Invertebrates were tricky but the other categories were easy for her to figure out on her own. I'm not sure that all of this information on the different types of animals is sticking but she is enjoying figuring out some of their traits.
New Fish bumped her head and I was holding her while she cried. She told me she: " Really need to tell my sister." She ran outside and said: "[Red Fish] I bonked my head." Red Fish immediately held her arms wide and said: "Oh honey! Come here and I will take care of you!" Then she held New Fish while she finished crying over her head. I got all teary because it was so incredibly sweet and I stuck my camera out the window to get a picture of them. New Fish's expression is priceless. I love seeing their sweet little relationship.
It was a warm fabulous day in the mountains today. We fit in one last ski day today after preschool with Red Fish's little friends. We all piled into the car (with their Mom) and had a fantastic day on the slopes. It's really a shame that the season is over because Red Fish has really gotten the hang of skiing without any assistance. She is turning like a little pro and has gotten really good at her wedge. I, on the other hand am completely sore every time I ski with her because I have to maintain a wedge and set and example. My legs do not enjoy skiing in a wedge anymore.
We tried one big hill without the harness today but it nearly gave me a heart attack because Red Fish just took off straight down the hill. The child has no fear. We'll save the bigger runs for next year. Red Fish loved skiing with her friends and I can see what a benefit skiing with other kids could be for her. Maybe we will find her some ski lessons next year. It has been a good season despite the lack of snow and I've really enjoyed seeing Red Fish out on the slopes. I'm a little afraid of starting with New Fish next year but I'm waiting to see if her feet grow in the next year so we can rent her boots. She has her mother's tiny feet.
Recently, Red Fish has spent a couple of nights at my parents house spending time with them. Two Fish and I have taken this opportunity to take New Fish out on a couple of dates. The first time was a few weeks ago and it was so fun. I realized I had never gone out with my husband and a two and a half year old for dinner before without a younger sibling tagging along. By the time Red Fish was this age, New Fish was 8 months old. New Fish was very well behaved during both dinners at a sushi restaurant and Ihop and she thoroughly enjoyed having her parents to herself. She loves to be the center of attention. She talks nonstop to us and gives us both a lot of hugs and kisses. It was fun to concentrate on her for a couple of evenings.
I've spent a bunch of time over the past month updating our adoption profile and our adoption website.
Most people who know Scott and I at all know that becoming parents has been the best thing to ever happen to us. We feel so incredibly blessed and lucky to have our two beautiful daughters. They have been miracles in our lives. We think there might still be another child out there for us and we have been approved for adoption again. The waiting lists can be long and connections with birth parents are often found through family and friends. Any help our friends can provide in helping us get our information out there would be so appreciated.
Our adoption profile can be found at https://itsaboutlove.org/ial/profiles/22629031/ourMessage.jsf
We also have a blog to help introduce ourselves to prospective birth parents. familybuiltonlove.blogspot.com
If you could link us to your blog or pass the address along it could make a big difference in helping us build our family. We will also take any prayers and positive thoughts you want to send our way! Fingers crossed there is another adoption miracle in our future!
Much Love and Appreciation,
Kerstin and Scott
Red Fish, my Mom, my brother "Doo" and I went to see my cousin K's senior recital today. (That is a lot of code names in one sentence.) She played the flute and the piccolo and did a fabulous job. She has totally finished up her schooling with the exception of some student teaching that I'm sure she will rock. Red Fish was really good for the concert. It was longer than I thought because a violinist played before K but Red Fish was quiet and relatively still for the hour and a half. She kept asking me when her turn to walk on stage was and if she could take her picture with K. It was sweet. She even asked K to walk back into the concert hall and take the picture on the stage. I think she was very proud of K. I hope Red Fish always enjoys music this much.
It has been a long week of doctor's appointments and other less fun excursions. Today we hit the dentist's office. Red Fish was excellent at the dentist. She let him take x-rays, clean her teeth, paint them with fluoride, the whole deal. She loved riding in the chair and wearing sunglasses. She was very pleased there weren't any "sugar bugs" on her teeth. She told the dentist she is looking forward to when she turns six years old and her teeth fall out.
New Fish doesn't let people stick their fingers in her mouth unless they want them bitten off. Today was no exception. The funny thing was that after she had refused to let the dentist touch her and we were leaving, she turned around and said: "Ok, well thank you. Bye bye." At least she is polite.
I'm loving the recipes I have received from friends! Keep them coming please please please. Any blogstalkers out there are welcome to send them as well. This month my sisters in law haven't finished off their last batch of meals and we couldn't find a time to get together so I just went ahead and did these by myself. I definitely went for simplicity because it is harder to cook this many different meals. There isn't as much variety and it certainly wasn't as fun to do them by myself. It was doable though and my husband helped with a couple of them. I'm still totally in love with the freezer meal plan. It has made my life so much more manageable especially since things seems extra crazy for me right now. Hopefully my family doesn't get tired of 10,000 ways to cook chicken. We have a freezer full of frozen beef so I usually cook some of that on Sundays when we are home. I There are a few recipes that were similar to each other or to things I have done in the previous months but I wanted to test out which ones we like the best. I starred the recipes that were repeats that our family likes.
*Cranberry/apricot chicken- Chicken pieces, 1 env. onion soup, 1 bottle Russian dressing, 1 med. jar apricot jam or can of cranberry sauce. Mix and freeze. Thaw and Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.
*Italian Chicken-chicken breasts, 1 10oz can cream of chicken soup , 1 8oz package of cream cheese, 1 package italian dressing. Thaw, bake and serve over noodles. *Lemon chicken- chicken breast, 2 tbs. flour / gluten free flour, 1 tbs butter, 3/4 c chicken broth
2 tbs lemon juice. Thaw and bake. *Garlic ranch chicken- Chicken breast, 1 package Ranch, 1 c milk, 2 tbs dried minced garlic, Thaw and bake *Taco Meat- shredded chicken with lime, redwine vinegar, seasoning Teriyaki chicken- chicken breast, Teriyaki marinade Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chile- 1 can tomatoes, 1 pkg. ranch mix, shredded chicken, 1 can black beans, 1 can corn. Put in crock pot (can be frozen) and add 1 pkg. cream cheese before serving.
Crock Pot Italian Chicken- 1 pkg. zesty italian seasoning, chicken, 2 cans cream of chicken soup. Put in crock pot for 4 hours and add one pkg. of cream cheese before serving. Chicken and Rice Bake- 1 can Cream of mushroom soup, instant white rice, 1 cup water, 1/4 tsp. paprika, chicken. Thaw and bake at 375º for 45 minutes or until done. I froze mine without the water.
Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake- 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, 1 cup water, 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, 1 cup rice, chicken. Thaw and bake at 375º for 45 minutes or until done. I realize this is the same as the last recipe but I want to test which way we like it better. Chicken Primavera- 1/4 cup Grated parmesean cheese, 2 cups frozen broccoli florets, carrots, 2 cups cooked corkscrew or elbow macaroni, 1 cream of mushroom soup, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. pepper, (can be made with canned chicken) Thaw and cook on low for 30 minutes. (This will be the first time I try cooking the pasta before freezing.) Lemonade Chicken- Frozen lemonade, cooked chicken, 6 tbsp. catsup, 6 tbsp. brown sugar, 2 tbsp. vinegar. Thaw and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45-50 minutes or until tender. Combine 2 tbsp. corn starch and water. Stir into chicken mixture until thick and bubbly. Chicken rice wraps- Mild salsa, taco seasoning, tortillas, 2 cups instant rice uncooked. 2 cups water and shredded chicken. Combine chicken, water, salsa and seasoning and bring to a boil. Add rice and simmer for 5 minutes. Put into tortillas and freeze individually overnight before putting into a bag. Gaint Crockpot Chili- (this will feed us for 3 or 4 meals. I plan to make taco salads and other things with it.) 2 lbs. cooked ground beef, 2 cans northern beans, 3 cans kidney beans, 4- 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatos, 2 med. Onions, green pepper, 1 tsp. garlic, 3 tbsp. chili powder, 2 tsp. cumin, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. salt. Freeze and then dethaw and put in crock pot. Beef & Broccoli Calzone- (We made two batches of this.) 1 lb. cooked ground beef, Frozen bread dough, 10 oz. frozen broccoli, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, onion, 3.4 cup sour cream, 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp. salt. Wrap in bread dough. Thaw and bake. Lemon Garlic Chicken- salt, pepper, garlic powder, a lemon, chicken Chicken roll ups- package of crescent rolls, cream cheese, garlic, salt pepper, shredded chicken, gravy
I thought this little set up was pretty hilarious when I discovered it after the girls were in bed.
Also- Red Fish skied with no harness or help down the bunny hill 5 times today and only fell once. It was an absolute blizzard but we couldn't get her to come inside. She also skied down the big hill twice with some assistance. She is doing awesome!
Yesterday, we went to the farm with some little friends. We haven't been since last summer/fall and I could tell that my kids missed going. The girls always have a great time. They love the wagon rides and pony rides. They both are very interested in animals and New Fish made each animal sound at the very top of her lungs.
Red Fish lives for any activity involving an animal. Riding the horses is her favorite and she always makes sure she gets the biggest horse or pony available.
New Fish had so much excitement she almost fell asleep. This is the first time she rode a little horse all by herself.
We painted four leaf clovers with yellow and blue to learn about mixing colors. It didn't occur to me that four leaf clovers and shamrocks aren't the same until Red Fish brought her shamrock home from preschool. I love that she gave him a face and a top hat to hold.
A few days ago New Fish promised: "I be you baby ever ever if you get me some cereal." She knows her mamma well and her affections are easily bought. I thought we had struck a deal and then two days later she goes and does this. My baby is on a bike. Not a tricycle. How am I supposed to pretend she is still a baby when she rides away?
I've been planning and plotting for some preschool type ideas for New Fish for next year and I got to thinking about sensory bins/tables. My kids crave sensory input. It has a direct impact on how our lives go, especially for Red Fish. We fingerpaint, we swim, we do hard physical activity, we play in the mud and dirt. I've never set up official sensory activities but I've thought about it a lot. So today I decided to dive in and start making (possibly monthly?) bins for my girls while they are still little. This was one of those - I'm terrified of the mess but I'm going to force myself anyway- just dive in and think about about it later projects. Good thing Two Fish was at work. I can only imagine what he would think if I told him I wanted to give our kids 12 pounds of rice to play with inside. He's supportive of our messy lifestyle but often dubious.
We dyed 12 pounds of rice with a squirt of liquid watercolor in plastic freezer bags. You can also do it with food coloring and alcohol. I just hate how food coloring stains things so I avoid it on non-edible projects.
The girls enjoyed helping to shake the rice and dye it. It was kind of magical watching it turn from white to colored. I dumped it into a tupperware bin and it dried within a couple of minutes.
It was so pretty in the bin I almost hated to mess it up.
Red Fish needed her picture taken with a rainbow. You should have seen her eyes when we first poured the rice out to dry and it made a rainbow. Excited doesn't cover it.
We gathered up spring themed toys from around the house and added a few scoops from the dollar store. It was too windy outside to take the bin in the yard like I planned so we tried it in the house first. It didn't go that badly but I was freaking out so we quickly moved to the garage. Nobody enjoys playing when Mommy is having a conniption and hovering over them with a vacuum.
The girls loved filling Easter eggs and building habitats for their animals. I don't want the bin's appeal to be worn out so I put it away after an hour. They really only spilled like 1/4 a cup of the 12 pounds of rice and it was mostly New Fish. Can't blame a two year old for that. We will be trying a different bin next month. I'm thinking dried beans.
Rapunzel involves a lot of hair brushing while dancing around the dining room to music. Sometimes the hair brushes double as microphones. Beauty dances with the dog. He's the most beastly member of our household.
Sleeping beauty must have a special bed set up in order to wait for "true love's kiss." New Fish is sleeping on a giant stuffed dog to protect herself while she sleeps.
I went on a girls overnight with my book club and Two Fish took the girls to the children' museum on a "Daddy date." I love that he is taking time to take them on special activities. I'm sure they will remember it someday with They had a fabulous time. They played at the water table, built towers in the construction area, rode a plastic horse, planted a pretend garden, played in the child size market and played on the ball track. I end up taking the girls a lot of places on my own throughout the week so it's nice that they get to do some things just with their Dad.
The girls and I went to visit my Dad at work and took a little tour of his office. Red Fish has been asking to see where my Dad goes when he is working so I think it will help her visualize it in the future. She liked meeting all of his coworkers and said that "Pop pop sure has a lot of friends." We went to lunch with my Dad afterwards at Arctic Circle.
We went to the symphony to the Carnival of Animals. There were dancers and it was supposed to be fun but quickly devolved into a complete disaster and we were forced to flee. My kids do really well and are well behaved most of the time when I take them places. This event reminded me that they are four and two years old and sometimes our outings are bound to fall apart. I guess I can't fully appreciate the good behavior without the bad behavior sometimes. We ended up at the Temple and the girls walked around and really enjoyed themselves (and I had some time to stop being mad) so the day wasn't a total wash.
I went shopping with my sisters in law and my Mom last night so that I could get Red Fish some spring/summer clothes and get myself something to wear to my convention next month. It was fun to go shopping with someone above the age of 4.
We had our adoption home check and interviews for the year. Having a social worker come to your house to literally judge your fitness as a parent, based on the cleanliness of your house is stressful. We needed the whole house to be clean and it almost proved to be an impossible task. As soon as I would have one room totally clean the girls would have destroyed another room more than usual.
We've been to the park, dinosaur museum and aquarium as usual aside from last week. The weather is starting to warm up so the girls have been playing outside the last few days although we spent most of last week in bed. Two Fish even had to stay home from work for a couple of days because all of us got a terrible stomach bug. I don't think any of us have been that ill in quite awhile.
We attended a puppet show at the library. The girls loved it.
We've been trying a new way to study scriptures with the girls. We've been reading scripture stories with pictures but I don't think they were really getting anything out of it. My visiting teacher dropped off these cute lists with monthly scripture themes. Each day has a few verses to discuss as a family. I cut up April's list and put it into thirty plastic eggs. The girls take turns choosing one for us each day. So far, I think they are actually getting something out of the experience although Red Fish announced that she would explain tonight's scripture and told a long story and about milk and unicorns and prophets. She might think we are just making up a story after we read something out of the scriptures.
We're also trying out a sticker reward chart to help the girls get chores done and to make difficult parts of the day go more smoothly. For example Red Fish gets a sticker on her chart if she will get dressed for school without complaining. New Fish gets a sticker for staying in her crib during nap-time. Red Fish wants to earn a lego set and New Fish is working toward a buzz light year toy. So far, the sticker chart is heaven sent. Hopefully the novelty won't wear off.
We are taking a break from formal speech therapy for a little while. I bought a ton of stuff to do at home (95% of the work gets done at home anyway) and then we will go back in awhile for an evaluation. It is a little overwhelming to have to whole responsibility of helping Red Fish but sort of necessary right now. Two Fish helps too but I'm really the one who does most of it and is sort of in charge of it. Her speech therapist was in favor of us taking a break and helped me pick out our supplies.
New Fish is growing up so fast I can't believe it. She promises to always be my baby. She is LOUD as ever and talks nonstop. When she really wants something she says: "Puh-weese! Puhweeeeeeese." It's hard to resist the little blond beauty and she knows how give the saddest face in the world.
"Mom- will you show me where my feelings are? I think they are hurt."- Red Fish
Whenever Red Fish is talking about a previous day or time she refers to it as "yesteryear." Yesteryear I was thinking about that... Yesteryear I was wearing that shirt. Etc.
Two Fish: "Do we need to buy a coffee table so we have something to put our feet on in the family room?"
One Fish: "You aren't actually supposed to put your feet on tables. Do you mean an ottoman?"
Two Fish: "Sure that would work if you don't want a coffee table."
One Fish: "I'd like an ottoman but I don't want to take up all of the space we have in there."
Two Fish:" We can just move the couch back farther."
One Fish: "It would be a lot farther from the tv... hey are you just trying to convince me we need a bigger tv?"
Two Fish: "Dang it. Yes."
We made suncatchers today with tissue paper, random collage bits and contact paper. They look pretty festive hung in the windows. If messy projects freak you out, a glueless collage on contact paper is the way to go.
We went to the dollar store this week to gather up foam shapes, stickers and glitter glue for the girl's favorite activity. They absolutely love making these collages. Our dollar store has something called foam table scatters (glittery foam shapes) that the girls like to glue onto their collages and then they cover them in foam stickers. We now how garlands adorning the windows of our house for Easter. The store didn't have any St. Patrick's Day shapes this year or we would have done those as well.
The girls have been working on these rainbow collages for a week, a couple of colors at a time. Red Fish's isn't as bright because it was painted on brown contractor's paper. The girls enjoyed working in a larger format than usual.
We went skiing last weekend and my Dad, brother and his wife were up at the resort. They took a few runs with us. New Fish was in the backpack again and she loved it. It's really fun to be able to be up there with my little family of four. The baby backpack has been well used between camping, hiking, shopping, outings and now skiing. We avoided buying one when Red Fish was tiny because they are expensive but I now think it is a must have baby item.
My brother took a couple of runs with Red Fish. She is getting better everytime we go. I just need to figure out a way to teach her how to turn better. She is getting her wedge down great and she turns a little bit but it still takes quite a bit of work to slow her down and keep her in control. I didn't have to hold onto the back of her harness on the bigger bunny hill. We could use the leashes. I tried to take her down a new hill by myself. It was a horrible mistake. I didn't realize how much steeper it was and it took us forever to get down and I was about ready to collapse by the time we made it down. Red Fish was fine. The child has no fear.
We will go up at least one more time as a family before the end of ski season and maybe one of us will take Red Fish up.
Red Fish has been begging for a haircut for quite awhile. I really should have gotten her one awhile ago because the ends of her head were really dead and I just didn't realize it. She asked again on our way home from school so we just pulled into the parking lot and went in. She looks adorable with a few new layers.
New Fish got a little trim for the first time. She was very confused about what was happening.