Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A guilty mother

Before we had our kids, Joel and I had preconceived ideas about how we would raise them, what would be important to us, what we would and wouldn't let them do, etc. And, believe it or not, this is not a post to say "We were wrong!" I actually still agree with most of the ideas we had several years ago. And I think, for the most part, we have stuck to these initial ideas, at least so far. (Cosette's not even three, so we'll see...maybe we'll have major changes to make in a few years....) Anyway, I'm not talking about trivial things, like whether or not to let them drink soda, or what time they go to bed, because those things are a daily learning experience for us as parents. I'm talking about the more important, faith-building type of things. For instance, Joel and I have always expected the kids to obey the first time we ask them to do something. (They're not always successful at this, but it's still a standard we try to keep) Or, we have tried to be diligent about reading Bible stories to them and helping them learn memory verses. We have also been very selective about their entertainment choices.
But, here is my confession. I'm afraid I've been a little slack in that area lately. Cosette is allowed to get a movie from the library each week, and I usually make sure I pre-view it to make sure it's worth while for her to be watching.
Well, this past week has been a little stressful for us, so I'll first of all admit that I've been letting them have more TV time than is probably healthy for them. We usually try to limit video/movie time to very little or none at all,(we don't have television stations,) but I haven't really stuck to that very well lately. I also let Cosette watch a Strawberry Shortcake movie that I hadn't really checked out yet. Cosette loves Strawberry Shortcake--- and it sounds pretty innocent, right? And, for the most part it was. I wasn't like gasping in horror and turning the TV off, or anything like that. But, after actually sitting down and watching more of it with her, I realized, ''You know, there are probably better, more edifying things she could be watching, if she's even going to be watching TV at all."
So, there you have it. The confession of a guilt-ridden momma. I have been letting my kids watch too many movies, and they haven't exactly been my idea of educational, spiritually up-lifting stuff.
But, thank God that we can learn from our mistakes and move on. I did much better today helping Cosette pick out up-lifting entertainment choices at the library (along with our mountain of books, which I couldn't be seen behind as I tried to carry them to the front-desk. I think they need shopping carts in libraries....) And, I am going to try to be more diligent about getting back to our normal limited TV times.
And also, thanks to my wonderful husband for lovingly pointing out this mistake to me. I know this might sound silly and trivial to many of you, but I'm realizing that I only have so many years before my kids grow up, and I don't want to waste a precious moment!
(That was a long confession, I know, but I figured if I was going to make one, I might as well make it worth while...just like Anne, right? :)

The beauty of childhood

Does this bring back child-hood memories for you all?


I love home-made bread. But I had owned the same five bread pans since I was married. That doesn't sound so bad, but they were aluminum bread pans, and they were used frequently. The coating on the pans was starting to wear off, and they were leaving all of this nasty silvery aluminum stuff on the sides of my bread....yuck! I decided that could not be good for us to be consuming! So, at the suggestion of my mother-in-law, I decided to buy five glass bread pans. I'd never used glass pans for baking bread, but oh, what a difference! I am so glad I bought these. Now I can serve my family good homemade bread without trying to scrape nasty stuff off of it first. And besides, didn't my bread turn out nicely? ;)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cup of tea?

Contentment is a cup of tea--or mildly tea-flavored
water, in Cosette's case. She looks so pleased in this picture
because I was letting her have her own 'big-girl cup of tea'
She will occasionally out of the blue ask me for a 'hot cup of tea.'
She certainly doesn't get this trait from me---I'm not too overly
fond of tea!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lost Items...Found

We were all getting ready to leave tonight. I still couldn't find my favorite belt. "Joel, I lost my belt several days ago, and I haven't been able to find it. It's not in the closet, the drawers, under the bed...." At this point, Cosette broke in. "Oh, Mommy, I know where it is! It's in the guitar."
What? I keep my guitar standing in the corner of the room. However, I haven't taken much time lately to play it--it's probably been standing in the corner untouched for a week or more.
Cosette continued, ''Yes, I saw Eli putting your belt in the guitar yesterday."
So, I went over to the guitar and shook it. "Rattle, shake, klaplooie..." What is in there?
I started to dump the contents of the guitar on the bed. I found....

  • A hair brush
  • A playing card
  • A pencil
  • A hair scrunchie
  • A wooden spoon
  • 3 acorns,
  • our missing TV remote,
  • and, yes, my belt.

So, the case of the disappearing items in the Curtis household is now closed :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just us

This photo was taken after our engagement. When it was just us. Just Joel and I. No children. No Cosette and Eli. It's hard to imagine that right now-- what it felt like to be just 'us'. And yet, I was just reading some interesting articles at makinghome. I encourage you to head on over there and check out this blog. There's alot of interesting and thought-provoking posts. Anyway, the specific post I was reading was encouraging woman to remember who they are to be 'one' with. And it's not their children! I know, I know, for all you moms out there who spend hours (and hours and hours) a day with your children, it's hard to imagine being closer to anyone. And yet, as obvious as it may seem, it's easy to forget that our husband's are to be the number one person in our lives.

I have read and talked to so many people who openly claim that, the better the relationship between the parents, the better the relationships will be with the children. All in all, I think everyone benefits from mom and dad having a loving relationship. "But won't my children be hurt if I can't spend time with them because I'm going on a date with my husband?(or simply spending time talking, or reading a book, or whatever) I'm no expert here, but I don't think so. I bet that the children will actually benefit from seeing mom and dad loving each other and spending time with each other.

So, how do we reach around the chaos of dishes, laundry, and needy toddlers to make sure we keep our spouse as 'number one' in our lives? I think our husbands may have the easier side of this---after working hard for eight or more hours a day, it's obvious to us women that they love us. But, what specific things can we do to show our devotion to them? Still being a fairly newly-wed myself, I decided it might be helpful to think through this. I thought you might enjoy reading my funny little list here. Keep in mind that this is specific for my paticular marriage--your husband might not enjoy peanut butter and jelly :)

Ways to show Joel I'm still madly in love with him

  • Put peanut-butter and jelly in his lunch at least once a week(sounds crazy, I know...)

  • When he's tired and needs extra sleep, read in the living room at night instead of keeping him awake with the light

  • Take the kids to see him at lunch time when he's working in the office

  • Don't nag him if he wants to jog when it's dark outside ( I do this, I'm guilty :(

  • Watch a guy movie for a change instead of making him sit through yet another soppy love story

  • Try to avoid cooked carrots when planning the dinner menu

  • Don't groan if he mentions he needs to work on Saturday

  • Learn how to cook chicken without drying it all out ( I have yet to succeed at this...)

  • And finally, keep up those occasional date nights.

By the way, how often do you and your spouse 'go on a date? ' I'm interested to know. Take my poll in the upper right hand corner and let me know--whether you've been married two years or fifty! Joel and I often joke that, before we were married, we 'courted', and now that we're married, we 'date' :)

Finally Fall

It is finally autumn. I've waited all fall for autumn to arrive :) And now, finally, it seems to be here, at least in our corner of the world. Fall is my favorite time of year. Cold enough to justify fires and sweaters, hot coffee and warm desserts, but not cold enough for snow, ice, and winter jackets. So, I was really in the fall mood yesterday and had Cosette help me make some of my favorite pumpkin dessert. It's called Magic Pumpkin Buckle. I think it gets it's name from the fact that the filling and cake 'swap' places while it's baking. It's really good warm with whipped cream, but even better cold the next day. Wait until the next day you are home, and it's chilly outside, and you want to enjoy some good dessert and a relaxing evening after dinner. This recipe will fit your need! (Okay, okay, so that probably fits into the category of a 'cozy' post. Forgive me, I can't help it!)

Magic Pumpkin Buckle
1/2 cup butter, melted.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup milk
1 t vanilla
3 cups cooked or already canned pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves (optional)
1/4 t nutmeg.
Pour butter into 13x9x2 baking dish, set aside. Combine crust ingredients. Pour into pan; do not mix with butter. Mix filling ingredients. Pour over crust mixture (do not stir). Dot with butter, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until knife comes out clean and top is golden brown.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two food stories

We were grocery shopping. My kids were in their normal spot in the car attached to the front of the grocery cart.
As I sorted through my list and picked up different items, I thought "Wow, they are being really good! I haven't heard a peep from them since the produce section!"
This was the point where this clueless momma should have clued in. But I didn't. I figured, why mess with a good thing, right?
So, anyway, I decided around aisle seven or eight to bend down and congratulate my children on having such good behavior.
That's when I saw it. An entire container of cherry tomatoes, sitting on Cosette's lap. Or, rather, what used to be an entire container. It was now almost empty, the contents consumed by my children. They must have both eaten at least 12-18 little tomatoes! That's why everybody kept looking at them and chuckling when we passed!
I suppressed a laugh. "What do you guys have?"
Cosette responded " Cherry tomatoes! Yum!" I asked Eli if he liked them, and he responded yes through a mouthful of juice and seeds.
So when did my little thieves pick up these tomatoes without their mommy knowing? I'm not sure. Perhaps it was when I was debating over organic or regular apples. Or perhaps it was when I was trying to get the new scales in the produce section to weigh my food. Whatever the case, there they sat, munching their snack happily.
Needless to say, I had to stop my grocery shopping and give them a very stern lecture on always asking Mommy before they eat food in the grocery store.
And I hoped that those tomatoes were priced by container, and not by weight! :)

Cosette and Eli and I were sitting at the dining room table eating spaghetti one day. Preoccupied with helping Eli, I failed to notice for a while that Cosette was taking sips of milk and then spitting them out on her plate. When I finally turned around, her spaghetti was swimming in milk. "Yuck, Cosette, don't do that, it's gross!"
"But Mommy, I'm baptizing it!"
She then proceded to pick up a strand of spaghetti, dip it way down in the milk and say:
"I baptize you in the name of the Lord!"

Now, I know all of you moms out there have surely been to funerals for butterflies and frogs, but have you ever been to a baptism for spaghetti?!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our Weekend

Okay, so it's probably not the best photo in the world, but it's hard to take a picture of yourself :) Joel and I had a wonderful weekend away for my birthday. We were gone from Thursday at lunch-time until Sunday at 3:00. It's absolutely the longest I've ever been away from either child, but we all did just fine :) The kids had a good time at their grandparents, and Joel and I enjoyed a much-needed weekend with just the two of us. We had a great time sight-seeing, eating in nice restaurants, and listening to an impressive and beautiful orchestra performance on Saturday evening. We got to hear a piano concerto by Brahms, and it was gorgeous! Anyway, it was so thoughtful and kind of my husband to plan this weekend for us. We've had alot going on recently, and it was great to just spend some time together, laugh and talk. We spent Saturday morning eating breakfast in a nice little coffee-shop, and I had the fun experience of trying a Starbucks Frappucino ( which I thoroughly enjoyed :) I think I may have even finally figured out the metro system while we were there, but I'm not sure. If I hadn't had Joel with me, I probably would have still ended up some-where other than where I was headed! :(
So here I am, a quarter of a century old, and, thanks to my husband, I'm not feeling bad about it at all :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I have, in the past few years, acquired a second language. I call it 'Toddler-ese'. Eli is trying so hard to communicate these days, but his vocabulary is, um, well, limited. To about three words! He'll come over to me, say "Mooommmmyyy!', turn me around, grab my pants, try to pull me, and then point in the direction he wants me to go. When I finally end up in the right place (which is very often in front of the fridge), he'll then make all these wild hand gestures, jump up and down, point at the fridge, and say the three words that he knows over and over--"Mommy, Daddy, dank-you! Mommy, Daddy, dank-you! Mommy, Daddy, dank-you!-, etc, etc. It's really quite comical, but the poor guy, he's trying as hard as he can! When I finally ask "Eli, do you need a drink?" he bobs his head UP and DOWN as excited as can be. It's as if he's saying "Wow, mom, you understand me!" Of course I do. Why shouldn't I? I do speak fluent toddler-ese, you know. I understand that "Mommy, Daddy, dank-you" actually means "May I have a drink, please, Mommy?"
You know, I really do highly recommend to anyone out there that you learn the language. You never know when you may run into a toddler :)

And that, folks, is my last thought for this week, because tomorrow morning I'm headed out for a wonderful weekend with my husband :) (See previous post)

Monday, October 15, 2007

My wonderful husband

I have the most wonderful husband in the entire world. Ladies, sorry to disappoint you, but he's mine :) What brings about this wonderful proclamation from Jaime, you might ask. Well, I should proclaim it here on my blog more often, but I'll tell you why I'm bragging on my husband tonight...

We were sitting on the couch a little while ago, and I mentioned to Joel that I had re-scheduled some piano lessons for Thursday afternoon. He grimaced. "Hmmm" , he said. "What, isn't that alright?" I asked. He wrinkled up his nose. "Maybe I should tell you. No, I don't want to. No, I think I should." And I'm thinking "What in the world? Why does he care whether or not I re-scheduled a piano lesson for Thursday?" Finally, after about two full minutes of debating with himself, he made up his mind. "Oh, alright, I guess I should tell you." "Tell me WHAT?"
"How would you like to go away for a few days for your birthday?"
I nearly fell off of the couch! My birthday is on Friday, and we had been talking about going out for dinner or something, but apparently that was just a cover-up. He had wanted to wait until the very day and tell me, but he realized now that I'd have to re-reschedule lessons, and besides, this way I'll have more time to get laundry done and kids bags packed.
Joel has had this whole week-end planned out for months! Hotel reservations, dinner plans, going to a concert, wonderful grand-parents watching the kids.
Wow! How did he keep it a secret so long? I have no idea. How did everybody else who knew keep this a secret for so long? I have no idea.
And what, you might ask, did Jaime do to deserve a week-end like this? Absolutely NOTHING!
I simply have the most caring, thoughtful, considerate, loving and wonderful husband that a women could ever dream of :)
(Not to mention both sets of grandparents who will be giving up a few days to care for my children. I've never been away from either child for more than one night, so this will be a huge 'growth spurt' for all of us!)
So, all you people out there who already knew about this, you can breathe a sigh of relief and stop keeping it a secret.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Things you never thought you'd say before you became a parent

These are actually things I've found myself (or Joel) saying to our children......

  • Stop spitting your milk on the floor!
  • Give me that booger right now.
  • Don't color in your belly-button!
  • Why is there butter in your hair??
  • You're going to twist your hair right off of your head!
  • Don't climb on the dish-washer, please.
  • What is that all over your face and clothes? Oh, it's desitin.
  • Little silver balls do not belong up your nose!
  • The bank does not exist for the sole purpose of handing out lollipops.
  • That's a little too much toilet paper (said as Cosette winds half the roll around her hand)
  • "Well, you see, Cosette, sandals are not exactly a shoe, even though Mommy says they are a shoe. They are actually a type of shoe. They could actually be said to be a subset of shoes." (Yep, you guessed it, that one was Joel :)
  • Do not lock the door while your brother is in the room!(Especially since we had to call Daddy at work to come get him out)
  • Eli, do not hit Cosette on the head with the vacuum hose.
  • It is not time to get up yet. It's only 2:30 in the morning.
  • Oh yes, Cosette, mommy loves thunder storms (a lie if ever I heard one!)
  • Well, today is always today, but tomorrow will be today after tonight, but then the next day will be tomorrow again, and the day before was yesterday. (Try to figure that one out )
  • Postage stamps are not stickers.
  • I think Mommy has one of your toe-nail clippings in my eye. (I'm not kidding-this actually happened-twice)

Hey, at least it was a good laugh to start off your weekend with, right?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I have delayed doing this post, because it was a post I could not believe I needed to do. Many of you will recognize the picture above, because I posted it back in June at the death of Joel's grandfather. I am sad to say that I must post it yet again, because his grandmother passed away this past week. It was a very sad time, and the whole family is mourning the loss of someone who was loved very much.
However, we are all so happy that Grandpa and Grandma are back together again, and in a much, much happier place. I love this picture of them. It was taken the night of my wedding, shortly before the ceremony started. I have always treasured this picture, because it really shows them like they were---incredibly sweet and loving, not only to each other, but to everybody they came in contact with.
Their marriage has been a huge factor in the decisions that Joel and I have made so far raising our own family. From the minute I first meant them, I knew that I wanted my marriage to someday look like theirs. If Joel and I could achieve even a fraction of the peace and love that they seemed to have for each other, I knew we'd be fine.
I am sad that I didn't have the opportunity to know Grandma for a longer amount of time. But even in the five or so years that I knew her, she made a lasting impression. I will always remember her smile, her sweet ways, and the way her face would light up when one of the great-grandchildren walked in the room. Her love for the Lord was always apparent, in everything that she did. Grandpa and Grandma always made me feel like I was just as much a part of their family as anybody else. For that, I am forever grateful.
Thank you, God, for such a beautiful person, and may her memory always inspire us to be more like her---i.e., more like YOU.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A sweet moment

I know this looks orchestrated, but it really wasn't. I happened to catch this sweet moment between brother and sister. Cosette is in the midst of 'teaching' Eli a Bible verse and song. I thought it was so fulfilling to see even a little bit of our hard work and effort starting to 'pay off ', so to speak. It is so sweet when she is a good big sister and 'reads' to him like this.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A time to think

This is my time of the day! My children are napping :)

The house is quiet. I picked up all the toys in the living room (because Cosette and Eli were waaaaay to tired to make them help,) and if I'm lucky, they'll stay cleaned up until Daddy comes home.

Our casserole for dinner is all made up, and waiting to be put in the oven later to bake.

Since most of the household chores are finished, I thought I'd take a few minutes and post about some things I have been thinking about lately. So here goes..

I was flipping through a book the other night that I found on my shelf. I had purchased it a while back, but never finished it. I came across this quote:

"You might recall that the Scriptures use a number of metaphors to describe our relationship with God. We are portrayed as clay, and he is the potter. We are sheep and he the shepherd. Each metaphor is beautiful and speaks to the various seasons of our spiritural lives and to the various aspects of God's heart toward us. But have you noticed they ascend in a stunning way? From potter and his clay to a shepherd and his sheep, there is a marked difference in intimacy, in the way they relate. It gets even better. From master and servant to father and child, there is a wonderful progression into greater intimacy. It grows more beautiful and rich when he calls us his friends. But what is most breathtaking is when God says he is our Lover (our Bridegroom, our Fiance), and we his bride. That is the pinnacle, the goal of our redemption (used in the last chapter of the Bible, when Christ returns for his bride) and the most intimate and romantic of all."

From the book 'Captivating' by John and Stasi Eldredge.

This quote really caught my attention when I read it. I am guilty of thinking only of God as my Saviour, my Judge, Creator of everything, etc. And those are all true and good, of course. But I often fail to realize that my God, the Creator of everything, died so that He could have a relationship with me! I am described as His sheep, his child, his bride. Pretty awesome when you take time to think about it!

Okay, on to my next thought, which is alot more mundane than my last one.

What do all you mothers out there feed your children for lunch? I am really running out of lunch ideas here! If we have left-overs, great, we eat those. Sandwiches are great, but get boring after a while. Soup is good, but only in the winter. We'll occasionally heat up some black beans and make a quick burrito, or do apple slices on bagels for a fun sandwich. But these ideas are all getting a little old (I am a person who likes variety in my eating habits!) and I am in need of some new and creative lunch menus! Nothing too complicated, please. I'm talking simple, nutritious, quick to fix lunches to feed my kids. So please, comment away and leave me some ideas :)

Last thought, I promise. I really liked this recent post from Andrea on ways to be a good wife and friend to your husband. The list in her post is so practical, yet makes so much sense! Suggestions she gives range from making his favorite dessert to praying for him. I don't know about you all, but I adore the man in my life, so I intend to pick a few of those things off of her list that I don't already do, and be a blessing to my husband this week.

Alright, that is all of my 'thinking' for now; I am quickly using up my children's nap time :) Have a blessed Monday!

By the way, the picture is Eli eating his breakfast--peanut butter and banana toast. I think he ate all of the bananas first, and then the toast :)


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