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A Peek Into the Past 2 Weeks

Welcome to a little peek into the past two weeks! We traveled to Johnson City, TN to meet up with two of my sisters and their families, loved having my mom come for a few days to stay with us and meet the babies, and Silas had an all day baseball tournament!

We got her pajamas to match the rest of us. Hers are still a little big, but they are adorable on her!

This sweet girl is becoming even more smiley and interactive!

Her big victory recently is that she’s finally starting to love baby-wearing!! I’ve always been a big fan of baby-wearing with my other three babies, but she just didn’t like it at all! I kept trying here and there hoping that would change — and this week it did!! Yay!!

She also started folding her hands together in front of her and even has slept a few 6-hour stretches recently!

When the babies are laying next to one another, Champ is often trying to hold Kierstyn’s hand. It’s so cute!

This is one of my favorite pictures of Silas and Champ together.

And this is one of my favorite pictures of Kierstyn.

We were planning to drive to Gatlinburg and Smokey Mountain National Park to meet up with two of my sisters and their families. When I mentioned that an hour before we were supposed to leave, a number of you said that it would be crazy busy since it was a holiday.

Y’all, I hadn’t even thought of that!! I’m so glad you warned us so that we didn’t end up spending our short trip in bumper to bumper traffic.

Instead, we changed our plans at the last minute and went to Johnson City, TN again and did the same waterfall hike we had done a few weeks ago (Sills Branch Falls). Maybe it wasn’t very original to do the same thing, but at least it wasn’t crowded and we avoided lots of traffic!

We loved getting to hang out with my sisters and their families… and it makes us SO excited for our annual Bull Shoals Lake extended family vacation in a few weeks!!

When we were in Johnson City, we stopped by Troyer’s — a fun market.

They have a huge selection of Trim Healthy Mama products.

I guess people come from miles away for the Trim Healthy Mama desserts — and they usually sell out by noon!


It was so fun to have my mom come visit!

She was here Monday through Wednesday and we spent the time talking, holding and feeding the babies, taking walks, and talking some more. It was so relaxing and special!

Guess what?!? We officially have another driver in our family!!! Kathrynne got her learner’s permit last week!

Also, I quickly decided that teaching our kids how to drive will be Jesse’s job.

It’s such a fun season right now — albeit full! We’re discussing high school and jobs and driving + nursing, diapers, and baby milestones! There’s rarely a dull moment around here! And I’m seeking to just embrace and savor every bit of it!

Silas had an all day baseball tournament on Saturday. 12 hours and 4 games later, his team won the championship!

We went to church for the first time in months this past Sunday and it was so nice. Kierstyn got to wear this cute dress and shoes that had been given to us, too!

Some Honest Thoughts on Foster Care

A few years back, I wanted to look into foster care or adoption, but Jesse didn’t feel a peace about it.

My personality is the type that I wanted to push and persuade, but I decide to pray instead. To pray for wisdom and clear direction — and that if foster care or adoption was supposed to be part of our story, that God would open up Jesse’s heart to the idea.

Looking back, I see how God needed to do a lot more work in my heart over these past few years. I’m glad His timing is better than my timing. He knew when the right time was — and that’s when He opened Jesse’s heart to the idea of pursuing getting licensed as foster parents.

I won’t pretend that the journey has been easy. In fact, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Not only the hours, days, weeks, and months required to get licensed, but then the journey after getting licensed…

The heartbreaking stories you hear and the many phone calls we’ve had to say no to because we knew our family wasn’t a fit (we made the decision from day one to only say yes when all of our family is in agreement and feels a peace about it).

The many unknowns that come along with saying “yes” — what will it mean? Will I have the emotional capacity to handle it? How long will this be for?

The zero control and say I have over so many things (did I mention I like to be the decision-maker?)

The uncertainty over the future and what it might hold (if you know me, you know how much I like to have a plan!)

But it’s also been one of the most beautiful, life-changing journeys our family has ever taken…

Our hearts have been broken for so many who are hurting and our eyes have been opened to the incredible needs there are in our own community.

We’ve replaced a lot of criticism with compassion as we’ve learned more firsthand what people are going through and struggling with.
And we’ve fallen madly in love with a sweet little boy and his mama as we’ve had the privilege to be a part of their story.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we look back on this past year and we see so much beauty, growth, and joy in our lives that has directly resulted from opening up our home in this way.

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  • Kimberly says:

    Awwwwww….I’m sure I join many, many others in looking forward to these posts!! Thank you so much!!! And you all take the BEST pictures of giving the most possible tenderness and loving nurture and to both babies!!

  • Dianna says:

    We love Troyer’s — that’s where we went for our anniversary this year. They make great sandwiches, and on Saturdays there is a donut truck outside. We live near Johnson City; it is a great place to visit!

  • Becky says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on foster care. I am ready to start the process to be a foster parent. My husband is not.

  • Kathy says:

    Very sweet post.
    I have friends who foster/adopte and hearing their stories are hard. I know 2 are getting out of it. They both have adopted children and have their hands full and been saying no to more foster children because of it. It hurts too much so for them they feel it’s time to be done. It’s not an easy decision but it is what’s best for their families.

    • Fostering is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done — and we’re brand new at it! I am sure your friends were so thankful to have your support throughout the journey!

  • Melissa says:

    Thanks for a peak at your beautiful family. Your family is awesome for embracing a foster child while also introducing a new baby to the household. I know it isn’t easy but you are making such a big difference in your foster child’s life and teaching your kids some great values!

  • Guest says:

    So enjoyed your post, Crystal! I should probably have something deep to say but instead I have a non-deep question – ha! Is every woman in your family super thin??? I’m just curious if your mom and sisters are also salad-eaters, exercise-enthusiasts because in the photos it appears your family is very thin. And there’s my completely superficial question but I’ve been curious for years! 😛

    • My parents have always been very disciplined in their eating/exercise and I think their example probably rubbed off on their kids! Almost all of us LOVE salads and most all of us are also pretty into fitness/exercise/healthy lifestyle.

  • Sarah Palmersheim says:

    I so appreciate these peeks into your story because I feel like I am in the same life stage but a few months behind you 😛 LOL Kids similar ages, we just got our license to foster with a plan to foster babies… we homeschool – going back to the baby stage is scary! I wanted to do it for years and hubby wasn’t ready and really it was me who needed work – just – everything 🙂 So, thank you.

  • Megan says:

    I had. I idea you were a THM mama! I love you even more! Ha! I would love to see more good deals that you get that are on plan but at the grocery store. Thanks for the heads up about the market. So awesome! We too are in the middle of becoming licensed FC- such a process of trusting God in ALL THINGS!

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