Smoothies!

Smoothies are a mom’s best friend! I’ve always loved breakfast smoothies for myself for many reasons: they are so easy, I never run out of the ingredients, they give me energy and fill me up without weighing my down at the start of the day, and did I mention they are easy – just to name a few!
When I became a mom to toddlers, my love for smoothies only increased. With our first little guy J, I couldn’t fill him up! He was constantly hungry and he had a problem with chewing which had my Heimlich maneuver on standby at all times – not to mention my nerves a wreck when he ate anything close to age appropriate bites. Snacks in particular were an issue because I couldn’t just give him a snack to eat; I’d need to be watching. Then with our second baby, JoJo, we had the opposite issue of her never wanting to eat. Bring on the patience, sister!
So anyways, I needed to get creative. I have to credit J for the idea because he’s the one that originally asked to taste my green smoothie and why I hadn’t thought to let him try it before is beyond me! HE LOVED IT!! So this is where our “smoothies for toddlers” got its start!
I wanted to share a few of our family’s favorite recipes with y’all. A few sweet friends have asked me recently to write a post on this so here goes:
** Note: We only drink coconut milk for our milk so that’s what I’m writing on these recipes, but any kind of milk is totally fine – it substitutes equally. I also will use coconut water. Regular water works to but I like the added benefits of the coconut milk/water.
Blend all ingredients in each recipe until smooth, add a fun straw, and ENJOY!
Just Peachy
8 – 10oz coconut milk
1C kale
1C spinach
1 banana
1/2C frozen peaches
Tropical Greens
8 – 10oz coconut water
2 C kale
1 banana
1 C frozen pineapple
big splash of orange juice
Berry Blast
8 – 10oz coconut milk
1 C kale
1 C spinach
1 ½ C frozen mixed berries
juice of half a lemon
Peanut Butter and Banana
8 – 10oz coconut milk
½ C spinach
2 frozen bananas
2 TBS peanut butter powder (our favorite is by Just Great Stuff)
Greek Goodness
8 oz coconut milk
¼ C (2oz) Greek yogurt
1 C spinach
1 C frozen berries
1 banana
1 TSP chia seeds
Peanut Butter & Jelly
8 – 10oz coconut milk
½ C spinach
2 TBSP peanut butter powder
1 C frozen berries
Mighty Green Toddler
8 – 10oz coconut water
½ cucumber
½ C spinach
1 green apple, cored
1 frozen banana
1 heaping TBSP hemp seeds
The best part about these recipes – you don’t need to measure exactly and you can make “smoothie packs.” These have saved me SO much time. Prep your portioned out fruits in zip lock bags and freeze (you can add the greens in, I just prefer to portion greens and refrigerate separately). Then you can grab two bags in the morning, add you milk or water and blend. Literally a 30 second meal or snack!
Fun goodies to add: hemp seeds, chia seeds, or honey are some of our favorites!
(If you have any different recipes that your kiddos, or you, love leave the ideas below! I’m always looking for easy and fun new recipes!)

 

Through My Daughter’s Eyes

I was sitting on the chair holding our 5 month old while our 15 month old played at my feet. Our toddler had recently taken a HUGE interest in her baby doll and was quietly playing with her… then it happened. She shot her arms into the air, gripping her baby doll with both hands, making a screeching version of “wheeee!” My jaw dropped open as I watched her beam at her doll and repeat the action over a few more times. You see, I do this to our 5 month old all the time. I never noticed our toddler watching though. It was like a light bulb went off in that moment. I realized just what she sees and picks up on.
I think naturally, as people, we are our harshest critics. I always feel like that one-time I raised my voice, that one-time I couldn’t hide the tears, that one-time I lost it in traffic, those one-times are all the times I’m “ruining” my children. But in all the time our toddler has played with her doll, I’ve never seen her loose it. She’s hugged her, kissed her, plunged her into the air with a squeal, or covered her with a blanket. These are the actions she’s picked up on because they are repeated – day after day, after day. She repeats the love because she is fiercely loved moment after moment, despite the moments I’m not shining very bright.
After that moment sitting in our room, I’ve asked her “what does baby love?” and she excitedly repeats pushing her baby up into the air and squealing. As a foster mom, I more so feel I have no room for error with our children. One wrong move or word or tone can trigger past traumas. And as a mama bear I feel like my kids will see my failures and my failures will scar them. But in this moment, my toddler taught me a lesson. I think she’ll eventually know, if she doesn’t already, that I’m not perfect, but she knows now, and will always know she is loved despite my (or her) less-than moments.
I’m okay with not being the perfect mom, because God made me to be my kid’s mom – perfection excluded.
Some days are amazing while others are about survival!
So I’ll leave the perfection up to the Father, and focus on loving my kids well, giving us all a little more grace, and reminding myself that my kids will see how I act and will emulate the actions done most frequently. This also goes for them witnessing my relationship with Christ. If my children see my relationship with God shining through ALL the moments of our day, they will learn of the character of the Father. They will desire Him and will want His love. They will see, through my daily walk holding my Father’s hand, what being HIS daughter looks like. It doesn’t look like perfection, rather, they will see His character shining through my humanity, they’ll offer and be offered grace, they’ll mess up and be forgiven and they’ll learn to give forgiveness freely. I hope when my kids see me they’ll learn these lessons. You know – the lessons that can’t be taught through words but WILL be emulated in actions.
Continue Reading HERE

Some Exciting News…


Will it be pink
or will it be blue?
We don’t know,
but either will do!
The applications turned in
and contracts signed to.
Now sweet baby Huyler
we’re just waiting on you!
After 6 goodbyes we’re more than ready and excited to say hello forever! Most of you already know we had to say goodbye to our Minnie, even though we had started down the road to adoption. We knew if anything happened to her, we’d begin the process of private adoption. We had scheduled a call with an adoption agency just to get more info a few months back. Ironically, that call was scheduled for the same day that Minnie left.
We immediately felt at peace with this agency after we hung up. So far everything has been falling into place, as a lot of our paperwork for a county adoption will be accepted for private adoption. As much as we love the time with just the two of us we are anxious and excited to have a baby in the house again. A couple days is already too long without the weight of a baby in our arms.
Thank you for walking through the journey of foster care with our 6 kiddos and us… supporting us and loving us through the ups and downs. We’ve been humbled and stretched along this journey – learning to love fiercely and love well. We’re ready to take a break from fostering (yes, we definitely plan to foster again!) for a little while we permanently expand the Huyler household!
We would love prayers in the coming weeks as we work to finish up our paperwork and family profile book. Also, please pray with us for the precious mamas that will be considering us to raise their baby. The weight of that decision is something we think and pray daily about.
We’ll be updating the blog along this journey and invite you to follow along!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV

Beach Day Getaway


“And this is the confidence we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (ESV)
We said goodbye to our sweet baby boy at the end of last week. I don’t think it ever gets easier, even when you know God’s hand is moving and shuffling around the pieces of your world to perfectly fit into His plan. We’ve seen time and time again the way He’s turned our brokenness into His beauty but that doesn’t take away the pains of loss and transition. Obviously some goodbye’s are more bitter than sweet while other’s are easier to handle but either way, each baby leaves with a piece of our hearts. 

Over the weekend Ryan and I went with my parents and their pups to the beach and it was the perfect little day away. Now, as the week begins, we will prayerfully await the court date for our little Minnow. As we once again find ourselves in transition, we are excited to focus on Minnow for the next month until court. We’d love your continued prayers for the weeks ahead and that God would allow His will to be shown beautifully and completely. Until then, we are making as many beautiful memories as we can. 


For the Days Spent Grieving


Jesus replied, “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”
John 13:7 NLT
I picture myself climbing up into the Father’s lap and Him holding me in His strong arms. He’s whispering that He’s got this and allowing me to grieve the outcome I most hoped for. Allowing me to grieve “my way” all while He’s looking at the bigger picture – you know, the one I can’t yet see. The pain is real and He’s offering me a place to let that pain go.
We had to say goodbye to one of our precious foster babies this last week. As I watched the social worker walk her out our front door I realized that I would probably never see this little girl ever again. I sat on my couch that afternoon and thought about the time she spent as our daughter. We worked through things that I thought would surely break us – or at least it would surely break me. She stretched us and grew us. These huge hurdles bonded us and then, in what seemed like a blink, it was time to say goodbye.

I felt the loss of her deep inside my bones. My bones ached, my heart ached, deep inside my soul ached. I saw her wondering eyes as she was walked out the front door. I wondered if she understood what was happening. I wondered if she was comfortable, or God forbid scared. But then I remembered that she may have had a few sets of parents in her short little life so far, but one things remains the same and that’s that she has always been HIS. He loves her more than I can fathom. He walked out that door with her that morning and walked in the next door holding her hand. That doesn’t eliminate my feeling because I love her so much, but it gives my heart peace knowing the only one that is truly in control was standing smack dab in the middle of this situation as well.

Continue Reading HERE

Even In Brokenness, He is Good.


“Come sit down,” my husband said for the 26th time that night. It was nearing midnight and I was anxiously peering out the peephole of our front door. How could he be so calm in a moment like this?! We were about to meet our first child and he wants me to sit down! He has a way with rationality. Apparently the car won’t actually pull into our driveway any faster if I’m looking out the peephole or sitting on the couch. Anyways, at the door I stood.
The car eventually pulled into our driveway and two Officers of Social Services carried a car seat with a newborn baby girl out into the night and straight into our hearts. My life was about to change in ways I didn’t yet understand.
I made a “deal” with God, you see. I would love any child He brings into our lives unconditionally and He would protect me from the “heartbreak” of a relationship with birthparents.
Yeah – right.
We had Baby A for approximately 21 minutes when the CPS officer handed me the phone number for Baby A’s mom and told me she’s expecting a call tonight. I’m sure he noticed the obvious deer in headlights look on my face so he gently told me, “she’s scared to.”
I have this sign hanging above the window in our kitchen that reads, “If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.”
Well I did make that call to reassure Baby A’s mom that she was here and she’ll be taken care of. A short 3 days later I found myself walking into my very first visit holding Baby A in my arms and handed her to her mom for her scheduled visitation. I monitored that visit and would continue to monitor for the rest of the time Baby A was in our home.
God refined my heart through this hard experience.
It’s doesn’t take much work to take the easy road. Profound, I know.
Where I thought I’d rather save myself the pain of knowing Baby A’s mom I would have lost the experience of creating an irreplaceable relationship with a girl that now looks up to me as a mom. I learned it wasn’t about me, but was about them – not about what I would loose, but what they would gain. This is a lesson that stretches far beyond foster care, although I’ve had the difficult opportunity to learn this lesson more than a couple times as a foster mom.
So often we jump to the conclusion about how things should go – how they’ll work best. This can be so dangerous for ourselves, and ultimately for our faith.
God doesn’t promise us a life without pain, He just promises to walk through the pain with us.
Sometimes those painful moments are the most refining moments.

May is foster care awareness month. There are so many ways to involve yourself with the foster youth in your area. Whether you have an hour to give, a day, or forever, there is an opportunity to help those that need your love the most. As always, please reach out if you need help connecting to these opportunities.

You are Enough, Mama

I am enough.
Why is it that this statement can be so hard to believe sometimes? There’s always something else, someone else, another load, another project.
Can I be honest with you? We’ve been living out of our dryer for over a week. If I would have told you this last year it would have had 10 excuses attached to the end of that confession. Attempts at justifying my “less than” actions, or “lack of actions.”
I had folding laundry on my list of to-do’s today and you know what, it didn’t get done. What I’m not telling you is the things that have taken importance in this last week or so.
If I count my success based on what’s not done, I’ll never be enough.
Sisters, you are enough.

Our girls are 10 months apart. We had our baby for a week before our 14 month old came into our home. Everyone encouraged me to get the girls on the same napping schedule. I quickly learned that this didn’t work for me. I’d rather stagger their naps so I could give them all my attention for a little bit of the day. This being said, normally a portion of their nap does fall at the same time. Today, our baby didn’t fall right to sleep so I laid on the bed with her and we “talked.” When she finally fell asleep she was holding onto my finger. My scheduled time to get things done quickly went out the window.

Together We Rise

I have loved the organization Together We Rise since before we even started talking about foster care. The thought of packing up the few things I want into a trash bag made me sick… I’d soon find out just how sick it made me.
They say that you never really understand something until you live it or see it firsthand. Of course this always rings true when the moment comes for you to experience something first hand. When the moment came for me, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Let me start by telling you the mission behind this organization. They have a goal of changing the look of the infamous “trash bag.” They strive to give kids in foster care duffle bags to take their stuff with them in when they move. Not only are they giving these kids duffle bags, but they are giving them hand made bags. You see, companies, individuals, whoever really can buy the bags from Together We Rise and decorate them to their liking for the kids. Then the organization adds a blanket and teddy bear to the bag and takes them to the county and FFA’s like Olive Crest to give to the kids in their care. Baby “A” came from the hospital so her belongings came in a clear bag the hospital discharged her with. Baby “J” came with a trash bag. When I saw this my heart broke in half. Here you have this scared little kid dragging a trash bag with his things in it. I experienced a feeling I hope to never feel again and it gave me a passion and fire for Together We Rise.
The following day, our FFA Case Manager came by with 2, beautifully decorated duffle bags from Together We Rise. They were filled cute designs hand drawn by someone that will probabaly never meet my children but I say to you now… You made a difference for them! “J” was soo excited about his bag! He carried it around for the rest of the day.
I strongly encourage you to look into this organization! They are local to us, based out of Brea, CA and their hearts are in the right place. I feel like people are so quick to say they could never be foster parents and I truly believe God has to place this journey on your heart bevasue it is gruling and brutal at times, however, EVERYONE can help these kids in one way or another. There is a vicious cycle with kids in foster care and there aren’t enough homes to change the cycle as a whole but there are so many other ways to wrap your arms around these kids! The LITTLEST things mean the world to these children and you will be making such a difference. Whether its taking part in an event through organziations like Together We Rise, making blankets for group homes and welcome centers, donating toys and books to the county or FFA’s, or many other ways, it all makes a difference! Big or small!

From this mama’s heart, Together We Rise I thank you! You’ve made an impact on my children and are making such an impact on the kids lives that you touch!

Opening a New Chapter

Well it’s definitely been a while since I’ve been on to write a post! A lot has happened to our little family the last past few months. As you probably know, Ryan and I became certified to foster-to-adopt. We had our final certification walk through of the house on September 30th and planned to wait (patiently?) for the two weeks the county takes to file our license. Welp, God had other plans for us! We went to dinner after our walk through and got a call from an LA County social worker asking if we’d take a placement of a precious baby girl that was just born. We prayed, talked for all of 5 seconds, and accepted the placement! Baby “A” came to us 2 days later. What a whirlwind!
We had 2 beautiful weeks to “ease into parenting” when we got another call for a placement. Actually, to clarify, we had received 4 calls within the time “A” was placed with us until the phone call I’m talking about now. For one reason or another we didn’t accept those placements… until this call came. The road to accepting this placement was long, tiring, emotional, and eventual, joyful. To shorten a long and still raw story, Baby “J” came to our home exactly, to the day, one month after “A” arrived. We could not feel more blessed to be loving on these babies. In the midst of pain and brokenness we’ve experienced God’s grace in a whole new light. He has taught us lessons we’d rather not have learned but blessed our hearts and our family far more than we could have imagined.

This holiday season has been such a joy to experience with these babies. Our home projects, housecleaning, yard work, and pretty much anything and everything else we were doing prior to October 2ndhas taken a backseat and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Now going in to Christmas we are truly experiencing joy in a whole new light! These babies have changed our life and we are so incredibly thankful!



Our Precious Announcement…



First comes love then comes marriage then comes well you know the rest of the riddle! We are so excited to announce that we are growing our family through foster care! We’ve been on this journey for a little while now and have felt God’s hand leading us down this road. We have a few months left to go and look forward to welcoming a baby into our family around August!
As with any child, we are not guaranteed a specific amount of time with them. We may, or we may not, have the opportunity to adopt the children we foster. Each child’s situation will be unique and we will likely have several placements over time. One thing is for sure: we will love each child that comes into our home unconditionally. We will provide them with a healthy, nurturing, and healing environment. No matter the duration, any child that enters our home will be our child.
We are so blessed to be able to parent these little angels and appreciate the amazing support we’ve received from family and friends thus far. We have wished for, longed for, and prayed for these babies. Our love for them has grown in our hearts just as it would for a biological child and we trust God will place each baby with us intentionally, that we may nurture and adore.
For this child we have prayed
XO, Ryan and Kaytlin