Thursday, January 31, 2008

Love is....

...well, it's certainly not the cheap imitation that Hollywood so often tries to feed us. I have seen love in action the past few days, and I'll tell you what it is.....



  • Love is a mother, taking her whole day to drive her daughter to the doctor's office, and hospital for shots, just to make sure her un-born grand-son is safe.

  • Love is a husband who spends his evenings doing laundry, washing dishes, and taking care of children. Then, he brings you roses the next day, and leaves nice little notes in the books you are reading.

  • Love is a mother-in law who spends days in a row at your house, even though she has many other things on her plate she should be doing.

  • Love is a sister who drops by a pair of knitting needles and a big ball of yarn. ''Here, you need to learn how to knit, it'll help you not to lose your mind!"

  • Love is a friend who takes her only afternoon free in the entire week, and spends it at your house, watching your children, dusting your furniture, and fixing your dinner.

  • Love is a brother who drops by, just to say hi and see how you're doing. Then, when he offers to bring in the mail, does his very best not to laugh at the girly movies you've just received from Blockbuster.

  • Love is a little girl who snuggles up next to her mama on the couch in the early morning. "Mama, I love you. You are sooo beautiful!" (This said to a mama who hasn't yet showered, or even put on make-up for three days!)

  • Love is a little boy who sits contentedly by his mommy, and listens happily as she reads the 'Peekaboo' book to him for the 15th time that morning.

  • Love is feeling the first feeble kicks of a baby in your womb and realizing "That's my son! That's why I'm sitting here on the couch all day!" And it makes it so worth while....

Yes folks, I am learning to be served through all of this bed-rest time. I am grateful for all of the expressions of love I see all around me! The kind of love that says "I would lay down my life for my brother......" That, according to my Lord, is true love :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The continuing Saga (as my husband calls it)

Well, I seem determined to scare people (myself included) during this pregnancy! I ended up in the OB's office again this afternoon. I won't go into every gross detail with you all, so to make a long story short---our baby (boy!!!) is doing just fine. He is growing beautifully, and right on schedule. However, my placenta continues to try to make a mess of things! So, for the babies well-being, as well as my own, I am now on bed-rest. I have another appointment scheduled for next Thursday, February 7th, during which time my doctor's/midwives will re-assess things and determine what needs to be done next. They could take me off of bed rest at that point, but if not, I will probably be on it......indefinitely :( We have help lined up through next week, and then we'll see how my appointment goes and take it from there. Be praying that God will take care of these issues. I'd really like to be able to be up and around, taking care of my family, and knowing that my little baby boy is safe as well. But for now, here I sit, it my bed, thanking God for another little boy who is just as special as his big brother before him, and praying for God to keep him safe inside of me. Please remember us when you pray......:)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Healthy lunches

If you have been reading my blog long, you've probably learned that I don't enjoy lunch time. Not that I don't enjoy eating lunch; quite the contrary! I simply don't enjoy fixing it, and can never figure out what to fix. My dinners tend to be much more planned--up to a week or more in advance, with ingredients waiting in the fridge, so I don't mind dinner time nearly as much. But lunch time sure is a killer. So, I thought I'd sit down and take the time to write out a few of our favorite lunch 'menus'. I've been trying to work on this for the past little while, and I think I've got a few easy lunch plans that my whole family enjoys, and don't take forever to fix. Maybe some of you moms will find them helpful as well :)

1. PB&J sandwiches. How do we make it healthy? Use whole wheat bread, 'semi'-natural peanutbutter (no hydrog. oil), and 'Simply Fruit' spread, instead of jam or jelly. Throw in a couple of carrot and pepper sticks, and you're good to go. My personal favorite.

2. Rice and beans. How to make it healthy? Use brown rice, and canned black beans. You can also cook some green pepper and garlic in with the black beans. Sprinkle with a good parmesan/romano cheese mix, and this turns out really yummy! (thanks to Joel's sister for this inspired idea!)

3. Bagel sandwiches-- For mom--spread the bagel with pesto sauce, a slice of tomato, and mozzarella or provolone cheese. For kids--top with an apple slice, american cheese, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Heat both under the broiler until warm. Add a small can of veggies as a side.

4. Leftovers in a burrito--Take all the leftovers in your fridge--grilled chicken, beef tips, rice, cheese, beans, etc, add some lettuce, and heat it all up in a burrito. ( I frequently put these in Joel's lunch cold as well. ) Add some flavored yogurt.


5. Baked Potato-- Cook a few potatoes in the microwave wrapped in paper towels (only takes a few minutes) Top with sour cream, black beans, left-over cooked broccoli, cheese, chives, or whatever. A meal in itself.

6. Cook some whole wheat spaghetti noodles. Add a little bit of olive oil, some basil, garlic, and sliced tomato. Top with your favorite cheese, and add some sliced fruit for a side.

7. Egg and cheese sandwich (the kids love when Joel fixes this for them) Fry (or 'steam') an egg, add some mayo to a slice of toast with some melted cheese, top with the egg. So yummy!

And now that I've written all this, I'll admit that we had none of the above for lunch today--we had left-overs :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Books, books, books

Well, I am happy to report that, at least so far, I have stuck to my News Years 'resolution' of making a little more 'quiet' time for myself, and actually reading some books. I have made it through several so far, but I thought I'd share three of my favorites with you. The first one I finished, the second two I'm still working on, but am enjoying them so much I thought I'd go ahead and mention them here.













This is a great book, especially for those of us who want the gift of hospitality, but haven't quite cultivated it yet :) This author emphasizes the importance of getting away from 'entertaining' and moving toward true hospitality, a home and life that really makes people feel welcome.

























This is definitely not a 'sleepy time' book. You'll need you thinking cap on for this one. But it's totally worth it. The author explores the importance of world view, and what it means for Christians today.





















The title says it all. Eight essentials to becoming more like Christ. Enough said.
















So, those have been my favorites so far. Well, mostly. I have been reading a few more 'light-hearted' things, but I didn't think you all would get much out of my 'You and your baby' books :)

Different perspectives

Today, Eli got different reactions to the same statement.

Eli: (Lifting up his shirt) "Mommy, me, baby!" (He then happily points to his belly)
Mommy: Oh, you have a baby in your belly?
Eli: (Grinning Huge) "Aha! Mommy, mmwwhaa!" (He wanted me to kiss the baby)
Mommy: (Giggling to herself) Okay Eli, Mommy will kiss your baby.


A little while later.


Eli: (Lifting up his shirt) "Daddy, me, baby!"
Daddy: Oh Eli, no, no, no!! Let's get this straight! Men do not have babies in their bellies, not ever! Only mommies have babies in their bellies! Go kiss the baby in Mommy's belly!!


Mommy: (Grinning to herself once again) What a great daddy!

Real quick...

Hey, this isn't much of a post, just something to let you all know that I'm feeling much better. I even let my husband go to work yesterday :) I"ll try to update later today with something a little more interesting--maybe some pictures of something :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Sickness....

....is much easier to handle without two toddlers! I have been sooo sick the past two days, it's been miserable. I woke up Wednesday morning, and greeted Joel with a 'cough, cough, hack'. He then took one look at my droopy eyes and slouching shoulders, and went to find the thermometer. After verifying that I was sporting a pretty nice fever, and looking at our two children, already awake and running around the kitchen, he made a quick decision to stay home. Thank God! I was knocked out on the couch....well, all day. This morning, I assured him I would be fine, but I thought maybe I'd call a grandma or aunt to come get the kids for the day. No luck. Either everybody was working, or sick themselves :( So, I regretfully called Joel again at the office (he had already gone in to work) I said, through my tears "Joel....." "I'll be right home!" Poor guy! He had a busy week planned, and I've had him home now for two days of it! But, it's a good thing he was here, because I spent another lousy day on the couch, coughing, and with a miserable fever. I am so thankful for the job Joel has at Curtis Chimney Service. He couldn't have just taken two days off in a row at any other job! I am now on a 'Tylenol' high. After pretty much sleeping all day, and large doses of tylenol, I feel 'half decent' right now. At least good enough to sit here and type this! But let's pray I feel better tomorrow morning.......I think my husband has had enough of being a 'stay at home dad!'

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Friendship

This is a picture of my good friend Elizabeth. She was able to make the long trip and come visit my family yesterday. Liz and I first met my Sophmore year of college. She was a freshmen, and we didn't have many classes together. One day I saw her sitting in the hallway of our music building, puzzling over some music theory homework, and I offered to help. Our friendship quickly grew from there. We were great friends during college. We have many happy memories of late nights studying in the dorm room, eating meals together in the dining hall, getting through our music juries together, and rejoicing at each others graduations. Liz even played a concerto with me for my Senior Recital.

Since then, our paths have taken very different turns. Liz now has her Master's in piano performance, and is getting ready to do auditions to start work on her Doctorate. She is super busy and has a schedule full of recitals, classes, teaching, and auditions. I, on the other hand, decided I'd had enough of school after my Bachelor's, and am now happily raising my family. However, despite these differences, we've remained close friends. She will often make the trip up to my house to visit, and I will occassionally drive her way to hang out. Cosette loves when she calls on the phone, and will happily talk to her for a long time! ( I have to beg her sometimes to give me the phone back!)

One of the things I love about Liz is that she is so easy to get to know. She has a friendly, out-going type of personality, that immediately makes you feel welcome and 'at home'. This was especially important to me during college, since I don't tend to be the 'out-going' type. Our personality types were perfect for each other---I tended to be a good listener, and she helped to 'bring me out of my shell' a little bit :)

We took a picture yesterday of her and I, but I took it, and it turned out, well...rather goofy looking. So I'll just share the one above of her and the kids, which turned out much better :)Liz also has a blog page, which chronicles her life as a graduate student. I'm sure she'd love if you'd visit. Her address is here

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Random updates


Well, thanks to Joel, we had a peaceful Sunday afternoon, and I now even feel a little caught up on things around here. My man gave the kids a bath last night while I prepared my Sunday School lesson, took us out to eat lunch today (which we rarely do on Sunday's), because I was feeling over-whelmed and wondering what to cook, and then skipped watching a foot-ball game this afternoon so he'd be available to help with the kids and just be at home. (Can you tell I was having some 'pregnancy-tired-weekend away-lots to do' stress last night?) I didn't ask him to do any of that, he just happily volunteered. Oh, and on top of all that, he preached for two services this morning! Okay, enough of my bragging. I love my man, that's obvious enough.

But, on to different matters. The first one I'll mention, mostly so that all of our friends and family out there can be praying for us. Our pastor, elders, and church have asked Joel to do a one-year 'pastoral internship'. What this means, is that he'll basically continue preaching frequently, be a little more involved in leadership, and spend the year getting direction and encouragment from our pastor. Next January, we will re-evaluate where we stand and where we go from here as a church. Joel and I (or the church) could decide it's not God's calling on his life, and simply be thankful for the experience. Or, we and the church could decide that this is something we should continue, in which case Joel would probably move to a more permanent 'pastoral associate' type of role. Joel was willing to give all this a try, and be open to whatever God is calling him to, in regards to ministry. And I, of course, was proud of him, and willing to support him in whatever he decided. So, there you have it. Now you're updated on the happenings of our church-life. The next year will be interesting for us as we pursue all this and determine what is right for Joel and our family. Your prayers are appreciated.

Second matter: Baby and mommy both seem to be doing fine after our scare several weeks ago, thank God. Everything is checking out good at my appointments, and I feel fine. The baby's heart-beat is nice and strong, and he/she seems to be growing at a rapid rate! The ultrasound we had done on New Years Eve moved my due-date back by a week, to July 8th. We are hopeful to find out the sex of the baby at our next ultra-sound. But, unfortunately, the mid-wives refuse to do one until probably the end of February sometime. Bummer. This mommy will have to be patient!
And that is the Sunday Evening update on the Curtis family :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cold, cold, cold...

Well, I am still here. Or, more accurately, I should say, I'm back here. Joel and I were away for a few days for a leadership seminar for church. It was nice, and we're grateful the kids were able to stay with their grandparents. However, we, (especially me), are very glad to be back home. Mostly because it is soooo cold. I cannot stand the cold. I'd prefer to just stay inside, wrapped up in a warm blanket, drinking hot coffee or something. But alas, we will have to bundle up tomorrow morning early and head out to church. BBBrrrrr!!!!!!
I will try to update more later as I get caught up on things and have some pictures to share. In the meantime, have a blessed weekend, friends!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Table Manners, 101


First, you eat all your food with your spoon, trying
to get as much on your nose as possible


Then, if that wasn't messy enough, you can pick
up your plate and lick the rest off!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Misery loves company

Or, in this case I should probably say "Anticipation loves company" You see, my sister-in-law and I are both expecting little bundles of joy very close to each other. In fact, if I go a little late, and she would go a little early, our babies could be born on the same day. Unlikely, but possible, that's how close our due dates are. Anyway, back to my main point. Our conversations over the past few months have mostly sounded something like this:

"So, how have you been feeling lately?"
Oh, okay, and you?
Pretty good, except I've had this craveing for such and such restaurant!
Really, I've been really hungry for a steak and cheese sub!
Have you had much backache?
No, no backache, but I've been having these weird muscle pains...
Really? Me too! Isn't that funny?
You know, I've found I can't stand the smell of meat cooking....

And so on and so forth. You get the picture. We can go on and on like this for, well, a long time! I love it! It is sooo nice to have someone else at the exact same point in their pregnancy who you can 'compare notes' with, and who completely understands what you're talking about. I can tell Joel about every little ache and pain, and he is absolutely as sympathetic as he can be, but it definitely takes another mom to say "Oh yeah, I know just what you're talking about" So, I avoid mentioning other people's names on my blog, but dear sister-in-law, you know just who you are, and thanks for our weekly ' encouragment' sessions :)
Oh, and this is kind of changing the suject slightly, but once these babies are born in July, that will make eight grand-children all under the age of 3 for Joel's parents! Incredible, isn't it? (Of course, I'm sure that when Joel's mom goes around cleaning up her house after all of us leave, she's probably having to remind herself that 'blessings' come in all different sizes and shapes :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

If only....

Cosette went with me for my appointment with my mid-wives today. (Which, by the way, everything checked out wonderfully)
But anyway, the nurse was in the room taking my blood pressure and weight, and was making chit-chat with Cosette.

Nurse: Do you want a brother or a sister?
Cosette: A sister!!
Nurse: I kind of thought you would.
Cosette: Yeah, we've been waiting a long time for our baby!
Nurse: Yes, well, babies take a long time to come
Cosette: Yep, you wait and wait and wait, and then suddenly one day "POP!" There's the baby!
Nurse: ( in stitches, practically losing it) Oh my, you are so funny! You just made my day! POP! If that isn't the funniest thing.......

If only it were that easy...... :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A good 'mom' day

Some days of being a mom can feel like this.....



But thankfully, there are other days that feel more like this......

Today was one of the second type of days! We were home all day since the car was in the shop being worked on. I felt like I had alot of time to focus on the kids and spend time with them. Cosette even had a surprise waiting for her in the mail---all of her 'school books' came. I've decided that it's time to start doing some imformal, creative, fun 'school' with Cosette. You know, preschool type of stuff. She is so smart, and catches on to things quickly. So, I went to CBD and ordered her some fun stuff that we can work on together--fun activity, number and letter books, Bible memory verse stuff, and one whole book full of just plain 'fun', educational, hands-on activities for kids her age. We were both pretty excited! I'm hoping to make her days a little more creative and thought-provoking for her little mind and soul. She was just plain excited to get new things in the mail!
Eli also helped me to make a batch of bread. Well, okay, he played with toys on the counter while I made the bread :) But then, after it was done, we let it cool just a little and then had warm cinnamon and sugar bread for an afternoon snack. Yum! I also discovered something really cool---if you grease and flour the loaf pans before you bake the bread, it just kind of 'pops' right out of the pan! :)
We are also having my favorite meal for dinner tonight, baked salmon. I'm trying a new recipe for it, so I'm hopeful that it will turn out well.
Oh, and I think I might have felt the baby moving today :)
So, that was our very good day in a nut-shell. I thank God so much for calm days like this, to balance the days when I feel like that mom in the first picture!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Little boys

Imagine going in to check on your baby boy, who is sleeping in his 'big-boy' bed. Or so you think. I was checking on the kids last night before I went to bed, just like I always do. But instead of finding Eli peacefully sleeping in his bed, I found this-----



And then, after looking around a little bit, I found this......



Sound asleep in the chair in his room. He even had his blanket with him! He must have decided it was more comfortable there! :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My beautiful Cosette girl...

I just realized that I'd never shared Cosette's 3 yr picture with you all.....

Saturday, January 05, 2008

"....to know God Himself"


"It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself."
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Resting

Well, everybody else is posting their New Year's resolutions, so I thought I might as well post mine. And it reads : "Slow down". No, no, I'm not saying I'm crazy busy running around everywhere, over-committed and never at home. Far from it. I've made it a point to prevent that from happening. But, since my 'scare' earlier this week, I've realized that I need to slow down a little bit around here, my house. For instance, I bent over today to pick something up, and realized that my kitchen floor was a mess. Did I scrub it? Absolutely not. I looked regretfully at the crumbs on my living room floor, but then I rubbed my belly and remembered that a heavy vacuum bumping into it would be anything but safe. So I let the crumbs there. I allowed my husband to carry in all of the grocery bags tonight, and when the kids went down for their afternoon nap today, I sat down for a rest too. I've decided that anything that 'needs done' around here is not as important as the safety and well-being of my baby. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to neglect my family or let my house fall apart, but I am going to re-prioritize a few things. Soooooooo, I am determined to have more time to rest and enjoy the quiet things in the next couple of months. I've already experienced that to some degree in the last few days( in addition to my two days of bed-rest, that is!). Here are some samples:

  • A friend asked me the other day if I'd read any good books recently. 'Gulp' Not one came to mind. So, I sat down at the computer today, went to the libraries home page, (since it was waaaaay too cold to actually go to the library) and spent 45 minutes 'browsing' through 'rows' of books. It was great fun! I ended up with 16 on hold, and I'm looking forward to reading them when they come in. In fact, I'm going to make myself sit and read them all!

  • I fell asleep on the couch this morning after Joel went to work, because neither child was awake yet. I only woke up when I heard little Eli say "Mommy?" I opened my eyes, and his big eyes were right next to mine, I nearly jumped out of my skin. He grinned and giggled, pleased to have startled mommy, and I laughed with him. He gave me a big kiss on the cheek, and I thought "Life doesn't get any better than this!"

  • I purchased a new 'ABC Bible verses' book for Cosette today from CBD, and I'm looking forward to it coming. I want to worry less about my dirty floors, and more about 'intentionally' teaching my children. Jenn had some excellent thoughts on this today.

  • And, while I'm thinking some happy things, I thought I'd direct you all to my sister's blogpage , where she had a funny post about my children. I printed it out and stuck it on my fridge, just so I could laugh everytime I walk out to the kitchen :)

Here's to a Blessed New Years, friends, and may you find plenty of rest in it :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Starting the New Year better than we ended the Old Year

Well, I got to go see my OB today, and it was a very encouraging appointment. It was so nice to talk to an actual OB and get explanations from him (Not that the emergency room doctor wasn't very nice and helpful, but it just felt more reassuring to hear everything from my own doctor). Anyway, my OB said that my tear is very small, and that he feels confident that it should heal itself in a matter of weeks. In the meantime, there is no danger to the baby, and I am simply supposed to avoid any really heavy lifting or 'blows' to the stomach area, such as Eli jumping all over Mommy :) He also said that tears like this are fairly common in pregnancy, are nothing to be majorly concerned about, and nobody seems to know why they happen. Our prayer now is that the tear doesn't get any worse or start bleeding again, and that it heals quickly.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and kind words! It felt so nice to hear your reassuring thoughts, and to know you all were thinking and praying for us. Joel and I had the blessing of hearing the babies heart beat for the first time today, and it was a type of peace that I can't explain.
So, Lord, forgive me for the times that I complained about being tired, or extra hungry, or uncomfortable, or having no clothes that fit--all due to the pregnancy. I had a major reality check this week, and I am now just incredibly grateful to still be pregnant :) Thank God for my beautiful baby and my quickly rounding tummy. (Okay, so the baby looked more like an alien on the ultrasound than anything else, but he/she was beautiful in this mommy's eyes!)
And thank you big time to my husband, who worked non-stop for two days while I was on bed-rest. I tell you, you have never seen a man like my husband! Washing dishes, feeding children, cleaning up toys, sweeping floors-he did it all :) And thanks also to my sister, who spent the day here today while I was at the doctor's. She took care of my kids and caught up my HUGE pile of laundry! :)
Let's pray that this good start to the New Year continues for us :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A new way to spend New Years Eve.....


.......in a hospital bed in the emergency room! Yep, that was how I spent my entire morning yesterday morning, hooked up to IV's and blood pressure machines. But, I'm making it sound much worse than it actually was, so let me back up a bit....
I woke up yesterday morning having some rather heavy bleeding--too heavy to be safe at this point in my pregnancy. So, naturally, I panicked. My OB's office was closed for the holiday, so we called over to the hospital, and the doctor on call in the maternity ward requested that I come over immediately to the emergency room. This was at 7:00 a.m. So, we left both children with my mother (who, thankfully, lives very close to us), and rushed me over to the emergency room. I have never felt so scared in my life! I thought for sure I was having a miscarriage and losing my precious baby.
When we arrived at the hospital, they got me situated , and the nurses kept reassuring me that this can happen during pregnancy, and it doesn't necessarily mean a miscarriage. I wasn't buying it. By the time they took me back for an ultrasound, I was a mess. I was certain I would see our dead baby on the screen. I couldn't even hardly look. When the technician said: "Oh wow, this baby is really a kicker, I can't get it to hold still long enough to get it's heart beat!", I exclaimed "You can see the baby moving, it's alive??!!" And then I just lost it. I started to cry, feeling the most relief I think I have ever felt. They also took all the necessary pregnancy blood work, and everything came back normal. I ended up staying for a few hours, though, to try to get my blood pressure up, which was running kind of low(mostly due to the fact that I hadn't eaten or drank anything since the night before)
So, here's the bottom line. The bleeding was caused due to the fact that my placenta is in a rather odd position, and is tearing ever so slightly. According to the doctor, it's not unusual for the placenta to tear somewhat during pregnancy, but because mine is in such an odd place, it also caused bleeding.
So, I'm not out of the water yet. The baby is doing wonderfully---kicking and moving all around, developing well, and heart rate of 176, which is perfect. My bleeding has also stopped. However, there is still the chance that we could lose this precious baby if the bleeding were to start up again or get heavier.
We need your prayers! I desperately want to carry this baby full term! I am on bed rest for a few days, and then I go in to see my OB/midwives again to determine where to take things from here. We are thankful to God for resolving the situation for now. We need you to pray that God would help my body to function properly and correct this small detail on it's own, so that the baby will be safe, and I can relax more!
We share this with you all because we know we have many friends out there who have already joined us in praying for many different things! We thank you for that, and thank you in advance for the prayers we know you'll offer up this time as well.
The picture, by the way, is not an actual picture of our baby, but it is a sample picture of a baby at 13 weeks, which is how old our baby is.

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