Monday, April 30, 2007

Here are some recent photos that Joel's dad took for us. And for all of you grandparents reading this, don't worry, we'll have prints for you guys very soon :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

My baby is turning a year in exactly one week! He's not exactly a baby anymore, either. He's a big boy, who can smile, say please, kinda walk, and make great tiger noises :) I thought it might be fun to reflect back for a post and share one of Eli's newborn pictures. This is one of my favorites. He was about four days old in this picture.

I'm hoping to post his one year pictures here in the next couple of days sometime .... :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Grandma's House

Today, my little girl spent the day at Grandma's house. All day, from 8:00 until 5:00. Why? Because her Grandma likes her, maybe just a little :)

I asked her at dinner what she did all day with Grandma. "Play", was her response. She also informed me that she had taken a nap, eaten toast, and helped Grandma cook 'rice'

I told her that Mommy had a fun day with Eli. We went to the store, Mommy got her hair cut, and we did some grocery shopping. Then, we both came home and took a nap :)

It was an interesting sort of day, just Eli and me. It was like getting to know my little boy all over again. I had more time to tickle his belly, ruffle his hair, and make tiger noises with him.

But, I had missed my Cosette girl too. I told her I was so glad that she was home again. She sighed and said "Missed Mommy and Daddy. But me no cry. Me no sad. Me happy!"

I tucked her into bed tonight, glad to have her home again. I gave her a kiss and told her I loved her. I told her we would have a fun day tomorrow.
She grinned up at me and said, "Yeah, 'cuz me go to Grandma's again! "

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The eyes of a child

"We're going to get some flowers today" I told Cosette. So we piled everybody into the car and went for a drive. When we got to the greenhouse, Cosette ran up and down the aisles, enraptured by the beautiful colors. I must admit, the hundreds of flowers, all in bloom at the same time, were impressive to me as well. But to her little eyes, they were amazing. She would run and point "Look Mommy, purple flower! Pretty!" We finally narrowed our selections down to two trays of purple and yellow flowers. Cosette was in her glory!

We took our flowers home and laid Eli down for a nap. We went out on the front porch and started digging up the little bit of earth around our porch steps. Cosette wanted to help do everything. Dig with the hoe. Move the dirt. Pull the flowers out of their plastic pots. Pour the new dirt over their roots. I couldn't help but thinking "Wasn't this the little baby that I was holding in my arms for the first time just a little over two years ago?" And now here she was, sitting on the porch steps, covered in dirt and potting soil, chatting away to me about the flowers, the birdies, the cars going past, and the wind in her hair. So completely innocent. To me, it was just some out-door gardening. But to my daughter, still so young and new from her Heavenly Father, it was a precious moment. And so it was for me too. We talked happily about how surprised Daddy would be when he got home. I couldn't help but smile as Cosette laughed in glee at our one foot by one foot flower beds. In her eyes, they were beautiful.

When Joel came home that afternoon, Cosette ran down the sidewalk to greet him. "Come see Daddy. Flowers!" She guided her Daddy to her precious flowers and showed him proudly her creation. Joel smiled and praised Cosette for all of her hard work. He told her how absolutely beautiful her flowers were. And Cosette was perfectly content to know that her Daddy thought her flowers were gorgeous.

There are the things in life that keep us busy, and then there are the really important things. I pray that my life is always filled with joys like tiny, half-circle flower beds :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Our Story....Us :)

Well, this is the third installment to my Our Story Posts. It's just a post about us--Joel and I. It's little tid-bits of information that you probably wouldn't know simply from reading my blog page. You may not even know these things even if you know Joel and I in person :) So read on for all the fun trivia you never thought you'd know (or maybe don't even want to know,) about Joel and Jaime Curtis.... ;)

About Joel

  • Joel loves soccer. It's his favorite pass-time. He was a really good player in high-school. He even considered seriously pursuing it, but later decided not to. He'd rather watch soccer than any other sport.
  • Joel also has a good singing voice. He helps to lead worship at our church. He has many other musical interests as well, and enjoys anything from Jars of Clay to Bach's cello suites.
  • Joel hates beets, cottage cheese and cooked carrots. I often kiddingly threaten to put these in his lunch-box as a surprise :)
  • Joel spent a year and a half in Indianapolis right after high-school, where he enjoyed varied ministry experiences, learning opportunities, and friendships.
  • Joel is blessed with the gift of public speaking, and has on occasion filled in for our Pastor in the pulpit. I know I'm biased, but I really think he does a good job :)
  • Joel and his Dad own a chimney construction/cleaning business, which means that 'Daddy' can come home quite dirty at times. Cosette loves to run up to him and say, as if in shock, "Daddy, ewwy! Bath!"
  • Joel is a great imitator of voices, at least in my opinion. Cosette loves to hear his funny animal sounds, and I love to hear him imitate somebody he heard on the radio that day, or whatever. It cracks me up.

About Jaime

  • I, unlike Joel, tolerate/kinda enjoy soccer, and I never had any athletic ability whatsoever. My loving family would probably describe me as being a puny weakling. (Okay, so that's what my brother used to call me..... :) I'm also not much of an 'outdoorsy' type of person. I like to take walks and garden, but beyond that, I prefer to view the great outdoors from my kitchen window... :)
  • My real passion is music. I earned a bachelors degree in piano performance, and enjoy playing on our worship team and giving lessons in my home.
  • I was seriously into Bible Quizzing in high-school. Believe me, I would have made a career out of it if they would have let me. I just finished coaching a season of Bible Quizzing for our church.
  • My food dislikes are coconut, really runny eggs, and any weird meat, like mussels :)
  • I am not, I repeat not, a crafty person. Craft shops give me the hives. I do, however, enjoy quilting, which my husband reassures me is not a craft, it's an art ;)
  • I love to cook new recipes. Anybody have some good ones?
  • I can't swallow pills. No kidding. ( I had to include this fact because it is a really annoying thing about me) I nearly died once just trying to get a Tylenol down (and I'm only exaggerating a little!) When I was pregnant, I had to order the chewable pre-natal vitamins. When I had a recent ear-infection, the doctor looked at me like I was crazy when I asked for a liquid antibiotic! Why am I like this? Who knows!!

About US

Okay, so those are the two people that eventually ended up getting married. As you can see, we have some very similar interests, and some also not so similar interests :) But what things do we enjoy now, as a couple? What things are we passionate about? Well.....

First of all, we are passionate about our family. We don't want to waste even a precious minute with our kids. They are our pride and joy. Sure, it's gets tedious sometimes being home with them all day, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Joel is also great about spending time with the kids when he's home at night, in the mornings, and on the week-ends. Our life pretty much revolves around our family. Here is one of the ministries that has helped us alot in defining who we are as a family, what our priorities are, and what things we care about most.

Joel and I also enjoy being on our worship team at church together. This was something we were doing even before we were married, and it kinda carried over even after the kids. We help each other out watching the kids and stuff so we can get to practices and be at church early.

We really enjoy good food :) I'm always trying to cook up some new concoction that I think we might enjoy. We're also fairly health conscious. We try to limit sweets, especially for the kids, eat whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, organic whenever it works into our budget. However, that said, we also enjoy on occasion just splurging and eating good food, whether it's good for you or not. Our favorite restaurant, by far, is OutBack. The bloomin onion just can't be beat! In fact, we're headed there tomorrow night for a date, which brings me to my next point...

Even with two little ones, we still enjoy going out every once in a while. We laugh and say that before we were married, we courted, but now that we're married, we date :P It's not always some expensive meal, or anything like that, but we try to have time together, even if it's just for a walk, at least a few times a month.

So, if you have actually made it to here and read this entire post, you now know more about Joel and I than you ever cared to know :)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A warm Sunday afternoon

Beatuiful flowers for you, mom!

You want some dessert, Mi-ma?

I don't know, Dad, this grass feels kinda funny...

Never mind, I like it now!

I love my brother!

Wasn't it just snowing last Sunday?

The view up here is great!

Friday, April 20, 2007

'Indecisive children'.....or 'The loss of a Mommy's sanity'....or 'My prayer to God'

Dear God,

HELP! I've got an indecisive two-year-old! Today at lunch, I sat her down in her booster seat. I asked her what she wanted to drink. "Water". Okay, so I filled her cup with water and handed it to her. "No, milk please!" she said, sounding a bit distressed. Oh bother, I thought. But I poured out the water and just started to fill her cup with milk when she cried out with a tearful voice "No, Mommy, water please!" AAAGGHHHHH!!!!! What's a mommy to do??!!

Then, today in the grocery cart, she managed to sit on my milk and squash a box of cake mix with her foot.

She ran through the biggest mud puddle in the drive-way today on her way to the car, only she was wearing her brand new green pants.

She delights in saying "Mommy, may I dood it, please?" Meaning, 'May I do it please?' In other words, everything now takes twice as long.

And to top all that off, she tried to brush Eli's teeth--with her tooth brush!

"Okay, now, child, are you done complaining?"

Yes, I suppose so.

"Now, tell me the good things she did"

Well, now that you mention it, she did remember several times to say please. And when we went outside, she twirled around excitedly and said "Ahh, Mommy, no coat!" She ate her lunch without complaining. She helped me to put the groceries up on the conveyer belt. She hugged her baby doll and said "Okay baby, it's okay, Mommy's here" She is learning how to help me dry the dishes. And, after playing hard this morning, she ran over to me, wrapped her arms around me and said "I love you, Mommy!"
''See child, I have made sure that the blessings far outweigh the lessons you are learning."

Thank you God, for my little girl!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

'Our Story'.... The Wedding

Well, here is the 'wedding' post for 'Our Story' There's not much to tell story-wise, just a bunch of pictures :) We decided after my Senior Recital to schedule the wedding for December 13th. Not a wise idea, considering the weather where we live. But, I love winter, and the thought of a Christmas wedding appealed to me, so we went for it. Fortunately, the forcasted winter storm for the week-end held off until the reception was almost over, so we were fortunate :) We ended up getting alot of snow that night! Everybody made it home safefully, though. My sister was my maid of honor, Joel's Dad was his best man. We kept the wedding fairly small and simple, but that kind of suited our tastes. Joel's Uncle, who had done are pre-marital counseling, gave a beautiful message that Joel and I will both remember well.

I wasn't nervous until I started to walk down the aisle with my Dad and saw a church full of people. Joel told me later he couldn't get me to look up at him on the stage while I was walking down the aisle. I was afraid I was going to trip! (I'm not the most graceful person in the world...:)

First Kiss :)

As you can see, we both have rather large extended families, although Joel's is significantly larger. The picture on the top right is my family, the ones on the left are Joel's. On the bottom is a photo of all of our grandparents.

Together at last! It felt so right.


I forgot to switch my rings around for this photo :(

My sister playing her harp for the reception

So, there you have it. Our wedding in eleven pictures and some captions :) It was such a beautiful thing for me. I didn't experience any of the 'nervous jitters' so many brides talk about. I was so excited about finally being married to Joel that all I felt was joyful anticipation. Our family even went out for breakfast the morning of the wedding :)

We spent a large part of our honeymoon in DC, walking all around the capital and eating in nice restaurants :) We even went to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform 'Messiah' at the Kennedy Center. That was quite an enjoyable experience for both of us! The music was awesome. We still laugh about little things that happened that week-- like freezing our fingers off just to walk around DC a little, (it was veeeeery cold that week!) or both of us downing an entire container of Ben and Jerry's Double Chocolate Brownie ice-cream, or going to see the final installment of the Lord of the Rings in a DC theater.

It was a very nice beginning to what has turned out so far to be three and a half years of fun and enjoyment as we continue to draw closer to each other.

There are two more posts yet to come in my 'Our Story' series... ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A gift well used....

My little girl is reading. WELL, okay, I'm exagerating a little. A LOT. But, I think she does have the entire 'Go, Dog, Go' book memorized that Uncle Wray gave her two Christmas's ago. She sat on the couch tonight and 'read' it to Joel and I. "Dog. Big dog! Little dog! The big dog is in. The little dog is out....." and so on and so forth. She even did all of my funny voices, like "BIG DOG!" and "Little Dog!" Joel and I were cracking up. So, thank you Uncle Wray for the book. Cosette is still enjoying it a year and a half later!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

All dressed up and going to church.......

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Greek Chicken
This article is my submission to the blog challenge sponsored by Bonnie, CWO's monthly columnist for Bonnie's Kitchen.

Growing up, meal-time was a very important part of my family's life. My mom made certain that on most ( if not all) nights of the week, we were sitting down together, eating a good dinner. It was our time to enjoy being together and have fun dinner conversations as a family. I remember that often, even after the food was finished, we would sit around the table and just keep on talking. Visitors at our house would comment that this was an unusual, but enjoyable thing for them. I remember stir-fry on spring evenings, spaghetti squash on summer evenings, and chili verde on fall evenings. I remember sitting around the table at Christmas, reading Advent stories and peeling oranges. Lots of oranges!
I know that these times must have had an impact on me, because I have tried to incorporate the same feel for meal times in my own family. Even with a two year old and an almost-one year old, we still manage to usually have a quiet, some-what relaxing dinner. I always appreciate it when I can find a yummy meal that doesn't take all afternoon to prepare. So, I have included one of my mom's dishes, that was always one of my favorites. I enjoy fixing it for my family now, because it is so good and easy to fix!

Greek Chicken
2-3 cups chicken, cut into cubes
1 14 oz can tomato chunks
1 14 oz can green beans
feta cheese
1 bag egg noodles
basil, garlic, and oregano
* Saute chicken in olive oil until cooked through
* Add tomato, green beans, and seasonings, stir until hot
* Serve over egg noodles, and top with feta cheese.
* Enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Our Story....The Courtship

Well, here it is, the first post for my 'Our Story' series. I have never attempted to write this all out like this, but maybe it'll be something my kids are interested in reading some day too. It promises to be fairly long, so you might want to grab a cup of coffee or tea....

It was Thanksgiving, 1995. I had just turned 13. My family, the Skidmores, had also just moved into a house directly across the road from the Curtis family. This family had two daughters around my age, and we quickly became good friends. They also had a son even closer to my age. His name was Joel. Our families did alot together--walks, picnics, dinners, New Years celebrations, and home-school group, but I don't think that Joel and I ever said more than two words to each other. During my junior year of high-school and Joel's senior year, we ended up doing a satellite science class together. Joel would later tell me that he always thought it funny that I made him do all the experiments---I was simply afraid of looking like a goof in front of him when I would surely blow something up. Anyway, it was during this time that Joel started to think "Hey, she's a kinda nice girl", then "Hey, I think I kinda like her!" But, he was wise enough at the time not to say anything, because we were both waaay too young. I wouldn't even say that we had become close friends yet--even though we both thought highly of the other person.
To my disappointment, after graduation, Joel decided to leave for Indianapolis to do some youth-counseling type of training. I remember watching him pull out of the drive-way with his parents, and thinking "Well, there he goes. Oh well. I guess he'll come back with a fiancee on his arms..." After his 8-week training course, he decided to stay on at the ministry, and ended up being there for a year and a half. During this time, I was accepted to a small college in West Virginia on a music scholarship, and was only coming home on the week-ends. After my first year at school, Joel returned home. However, I only saw him like once over that summer and fall. It wasn't until Christmas of my second college year that he, oddly enough, started visiting my church. "That's strange", thought this naive girl. "He already has a church of his own!" Well, as it may already be obvious to you, Joel was interested in more than my church. Soon afterwards, he started 'hanging out' with my family. He would come over for sled-riding, Sunday dinners, and other such activities. In June, we officially began courting. And that's where the story get's interesting.
Because, you see, ours was a very un-conventional courtship, as far as today's standards are concerned. We were interested only in becoming closer friends, getting to know the other person better. There was no mushy-gushy, hand holding, kissing, hugging, arm around back things going on. We were determined to conduct our courtship in a way we felt honored God. Some people at church didn't even realize that we were officially 'together'. I know this sounds odd to many people, and I know many people do things differently. But for us, it worked. For us, it was what was right. We wouldn't have wanted it any other way. We were able to concentrate on important things, like personality, character traits, hobbies, interests, faith, and so on. We enjoyed spending time with each other's families, taking walks, reading books together, going to music concerts, eating good food :), and just plain spending time with each other. Joel would frequently help me with tough home-work assignments over the weekend. (That's when I started to think "Humm, he's pretty smart! I'm the one in college, but he's helping me with my homework!) When I was at college during the week, our only form of communication was IM. I would sit by my computer every night at a certain time, waiting for Joel's screen name to pop up. It was the high-light of my day! Joel often drove all the way to my college to hear me play in recitals or sing in concert choir. By the time our courtship was over, I really felt like I knew Joel Curtis well. I knew what he was interested in. I knew what made him tick. I knew what his relationship with God was like. I knew his maturity level and ability to lead. I knew his passions. And, I was falling in love with what I knew. I realized that I had for a friend one strong, mature, loving, caring guy. And, I think he was having similar thoughts about me...
It was June, a year after we had started courting. We went out to our favorite restaurant (which has since, unfortunately, burned down, and is no longer existant.) After returning home, we pulled into my parents drive-way. Joel pulled under a tree and started to talk about how much he liked me, and how he saw our future as being together, and all this stuff, and I started to get suspicious. He then reached over me into the glove compartment, and pulled out an incredibly beautiful ring. He asked me in one simple sentence: "Will you marry me?" I think I managed some kind of 'yes', or 'oh my' or something like that. He then took my hand (for the very first time, and only time until our wedding), and put on the ring. Pure Happiness!! Joy!! I had never felt so blessed in my entire life. I was engaged to Joel Curtis. He was going to be my husband! I never thought I would see the day!!
I was graduating from college a year early (due to being a study fanatic and working hard), and I was spending my summer doing one last course and performing my Senior Recital. So, we decided to wait until all that was over to set a wedding date. Stay tuned next time for the wedding story and pictures.....

At my Senior Recital at college, just a few months after our engagement
(My hair has straightened out quite a bit since then... )

This was our engagement photo, taken by Joel's Dad,
who is a talented photographer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A slight bend in the road

As I look back over my old blogs, I realize that many of them, okay, the majority of them, focus on my children. Not that that's a bad thing. That is the main point of my blog, anyway-to inform family, friends, and fellow bloggers about what's happening in my precious family. However, I also realized that there are very few posts about Joel and I that are unrelated to our kids. I have provided no history to set the backdrop for our family. So.......I've decided to take a brief pause in my normal blogging habits and do a few posts about us. About me and the man I adore beyond words. I realize that some of you who know us better will already be familiar with our 'story', but I thought it might be fun to do anyway. For those of you who don't know us as well, or who may be new to my blog page--you can enjoy getting to know Cosette and Eli's mommy and daddy a little bit better :) So, be looking for Our Story posts in the (hopefully) very near future. I will probably have to do it in several posts :) I may intersperse other posts in-between, but all of these will have the same green heading.

Oh, and to give credit where all credit is due, I was inspired for this idea by a fellow blogger whose page I happened to stumble across. Check out her own love story here

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Baby Steps

My baby is walking. As of right now. I sat down to write this post, and my whole subject matter changed, because Elias stood up and walked across the room to me. Well, okay, he didn't walk all the way across the room, but he did take five good steps. And then three more. And then four more. What a smart little guy :) I think my whole peaceful life just majorly changed ...... :)

I read an article in the paper on Sunday that pretty much stated that stay-at-home moms don't know what they're missing. It said that the social, financial, economical, and emotional benefits of going to work far outweigh those of staying at home. I beg to differ. I realize many moms work, and many find great joy in it. I'm not trying to criticize that. But when I see my little guy stand up and walk to me with out-stretched arms for the first time, I know that home is the only place for me....

Here are some pictures of his first attempts at walking, and also one of Cosette on Easter morning.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Easter Story, as told by Cosette

Here is Cosette's synopsis of the Easter Story, as dictated to me and Joel this morning at breakfast.

"Hesus die cross. (big sigh) Sad day! Easer, back home! Happy Day!"

Have a blessed Easter, everyone!

Cosette putting her baby to sleep :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

All praise to God

This article is my submission to the blog challenge sponsored by Art Bookbindery, "Empowering Writers to Self Publish."
Finding the Joy
I was losing the joy. That's what my husband said. That was his diagnosis for his severely grumpy, tired, overly stressed out wife. And there was nobody to blame but myself. Let me back up a little and give you a better picture of what was happening on that Sunday Evening...
I had just finished helping Cosette on the potty. Being the typical two-year old that she is, she insisted on doing everything herself. I can pull up my own big-girl pants. I can shut the potty lid. I can wash my own hands. I can dry my own hands. I was losing my patience! It was twenty minutes past bed-time, and I was one tired mommy. "Cosette, let mommy do it!" I had snapped louder than I had originally intended. My husband, who happened to be walking by the open bathroom door, raised his eye-brows and gave me a questioning look. I groaned. "I think I'm a little stressed out!"
Later that night, my husband and I sat at the kitchen table together. I told him how I'm always washing dishes. I told him how I had spent all day Friday doing laundry, and now there were three more huge piles waiting on me. I told him how the kids mess up the room before I even finish cleaning it. I told him how Cosette was driving me crazy, how she won't let me help her with anything! And on top of all of that, my stuffed-up ears from a recent ear infection were driving me crazy, as I couldn't hear a thing (or so it seemed). "I just can't take it anymore!"
My loving husband let me talk. He didn't criticize. He didn't tell me I was being childish. He didn't tell me to pull it together. He didn't tell me that every other mother has just as much work as I do. He said four simple words: "You're losing the joy"
He went on to say that I was actually a good mother, that he was happy with the cleanliness of our house, and that he hadn't once had to go without clean socks :) He simply thought that I was losing the big picture--I was losing 'the joy'
I reflected on what he said. And I realized that he was right. The problem wasn't too much work, a 'do it myself' two year old, or even my stuffed-up ears. I was simply failing to find completeness or joy in the every-day tasks set before me. I was failing to rejoice in the blessed children that God had given me. I was doing everything with a 'let's just get it done' attitude.
So I made a conscious decision to enjoy life more, to pray for help more,to rejoice in my children, and to love my husband. I decided to no longer strive for perfection in everything, but to do what I could, and be content with that. I wouldn't worry if Cosette needed to do everything herself, and if a simple bed-time routime happened to take forty minutes instead of ten. I decided to really try to have a more peaceful spirit, and a 'light' about me that even my children could recognize.
But I couldn't do it myself. It was only through the help of my blessed Lord that a change has occured. For every other person that knows me, they may not notice a difference. But to my family, the improvement is immense. I am a much happier, easier person to live with. As my husband quoted, "When Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" And as for myself, I am relieved at the difference. I no longer 'sweat the little things.' I smile at my children more. I rejoice in living every day with them. And I am so glad to finally feel a peace within myself, the peace that only God can give.
The laundry hasn't changed. There are still huge piles waiting on me. Cosette still insists on doing everything by herself. It still takes me two hours to get ready to go somewhere. My ears are still stuffed up, and my favorite phrase lately is "What did you say?" But inspite of all of that, I have found the joy again! Through the daily love of my Jesus, I can rejoice in this life that He has given me.
" ...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10
And for those of you who are wondering, yes, this is where my new blog title came from :)

Monday, April 02, 2007

A New Look

Yes, my blog page has a new look--I'm the type of person who likes to re-arrange the living room furniture every couple of months just for a change. So, it naturally follows that after eight months of the same blog page, I felt it was time for a change :) I decided on the new title through some recent encouragement given to me by my husband, who is my daily inspiration and love. Anyway, here are some fun photos taken recently.

Look at me!

Five Generations

Five Generations and spouses

Gee mom, look what I found to eat in the diaper bag!


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