Sunday, February 28, 2010

If you're ever bored on a Sunday afternoon.....

Then try this! (Of course, it's much easier on the furniture if you weigh 25 lbs or less ;)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My girl

Well, one of my girls :) The other one I have yet to meet---she just likes to kick me all day long!


But this first girl of mine---Oh, how I love her! The minute I first laid eyes on her 7lb, 3oz little pink body and she snuggled up next to me, I knew it was love at first site.


Of course, any good parent will love their child no matter what. That's just part of being a parent! But, sometimes they do things that make you extra proud, extra happy, extra thankful that you were allowed this privilege of being their Mommy!


Here's the happenings of my little girl lately:


This morning at breakfast, I announced that I was feeling very 'pregnant', and would be taking my first real 'pregnancy day' off of all official work :) (Yes, even stay-at-home moms need a day 'off' sometimes) That meant no picking up toys, no house-cleaning, no organizing----my plans were to get a Sunday School lesson ready, fix meals, and relax the rest of the day! A little after breakfast, Cosette came to me and said that she would like to clean the bathroom for me. I was a little surprised, and tried to talk her out of it. I assured her that I did not expect her to do that, but she said she realllllly wanted to. I wondered in amusement if a 'good' parent allows their five year old to clean the bathroom all by themselves, but decided--hey, if she wanted to do it, what could it hurt??

She told me she wanted NO help and to go 'relax' :) But I couldn't help peeking around the corner every couple of minutes to check on her progress. Let me tell you, that bathroom got just as clean, if not cleaner, than when I scrub it! I asked her how she knew what to do, and she said "I'm just trying to do it like you do, Mommy!" And don't worry, we use all organic, chemical free cleaners, and she washed her hands especially good afterwards ;)






Second matter of pride:

She wants to buy her own American Girls Doll. I assured her that Daddy and I could NOT spend that much money on a doll right now, especially since she doesn't have a birthday or anything coming up anytime soon. So, she decided all on her own that she would sell her homemade potholders to try to earn her own money. How's that for a little entrepreneur?? She sits and works on these things for hours at a time! Here's what she has finished so far. Aren't they pretty?

By the way, she's selling them for $4.00, in case you'd like one. Just my own little plug there ;)



Third matter of pride:

She has her first loose tooth. She is thrilled, to say the least. We thought that it was loose a few months ago, but it tightened back up. This time, however, it seems to be 'the real thing'. Let's hope she handles it better than I used to. (I literally kicked and screamed my way through every loose tooth----Sorry Mom and Dad!!!)

My 'little girl' is growing up-----and just in time to be a real help when her new baby sister comes! I am so loving this joy of seeing my family grow and develop!

So true

"True, he's not actually carrying the baby you'll both soon be cradling (nor will he end up with the stretch marks to prove it), but he's carrying other loads — if only so you don't have to. There's plenty of effort to go around when it comes to pregnancy — and plenty of sacrifices to be made on both sides. You get sciatica; he gets more dog walking. You turn green at the sight of uncooked chicken; he mans the broiler. You crave watermelon in the middle of the night (and the middle of winter); he's driving around trying to find an open market that sells fruit out of season. You get mood swings, he gets swung at. He's the yin to your expectant yang — you couldn't do it without him, or at least, you wouldn't want to try. "


I LOVE this quote! It's so true! I do try not to be all 'wishy-washy, moany groany' while I'm pregnant. After all, I agreed to this situation as well, and fully understood the challenges it brings after having gone through it three times already. However, it still also remains true that once in a while, I need an extra break or a little extra help, or just a listening ear so I can whine a little bit about how much my growing belly itches, or how I can't get my own socks on now ;) My husband remains that faithful, steadfast, always there for me guy! I love you Joel! Couldn't do this without you :) Three more months, Love, and we'll be holding our baby girl :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A day in the life of...

Cosette:

  • Had a 99.7 degree fever and didn't feel like doing school. All my kids have been sharing around a fever that lasts around a day or so----nothing else, just a low-grade fever and being tired. I'm thinking maybe our flu shots are doing their job??
  • Got upset at Mommy because I wouldn't let her stand out beside the road with her 99.7 degree fever in 20 degree weather and four feet of snow in order to wave her homemade potholders around in hopes that a passing car would stop and want to buy one. ( By the way----she's selling her homemade potholders---anybody want one?!)
  • Enjoyed listening to "The Magicians Nephew' for an hour and a half on Book on CD.

Eli:

  • Cleaned his room all by himself. Hallelujah!
  • Took so long to eat his dinner that he missed dessert. Bummer
  • Found a big blue bruise in the middle of his forehead, and doesn't know how he got it

Noah:

  • Dropped a pair of nail clippers into the toilet. Dandy!
  • Now claps after almost every single bite of food he takes
  • Went through three, yes THREE different pairs of pants today.
  • Was found at one point running around the house with his diaper half on. Fortunately, it was a fairly new diaper :)
  • Will raise his hand for any question that starts with "Who wants to......"

Daddy:

  • Worked all day
  • Came home and had to UN-clog the toilet from the nail clippers that Noah flushed down earlier
  • Didn't say a word when he saw the rather weird looking cake that his wife made for dessert (Hey, it tasted good!)
  • Helped get three children to bed
  • Is now enjoying watching 'The Godfather' while his wife is not there to comment on what a boring movie it is.

Mama:

  • taught first grade
  • scrubbed the kitchen floor
  • made three loaves of bread
  • did a load of laudry
  • exercised on the treadmill
  • took care of three children
  • fixed dinner
  • cleaned out the tupperware cupboard
  • washed two...no, three...no, four sinkloads of dirty dishes

And is now chilling out at my parents house waiting PATIENTLY for the figure skating to come on :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My little artist










Socks--the dryer eats them!

What to do when you have a ridiculously huge pile of mis-matched socks like this:






Why, you find three people who will help you match them back up again, of course! (Although, truth be told, my littlest helper is usually much more interested in trying the socks on than in finding their matches :)

REAL blueberry oatmeal

We usually eat 'homemade' oatmeal for breakfast around here instead of the instant store-bought kind. Several reasons why:

  • It's healthier. My oatmeal only has 1-2 grams of sugar (none, if you don't sprinkle any on top), and the instant kind usually has anywhere from 12-18 grams.
  • It tastes better! Mine has vanilla, cinnamon, REAL blueberries----it puts store-bought instant oatmeal to shame.
  • It's cheaper. You can get a whole lot of servings out of one tub of old fashioned oats, and only a few packets out of the instant.
  • It fills you up more! You can fix a BIG pot of my oatmeal and everybody gets plenty, whereas the little tiny packets from the store are barely enough to fill up Eli, let alone a pregnant Mommy!

Cons:

  • Um, it takes a few more minutes to make.

So, without further ado, here is my homemade oatmeal recipe:

  1. 1 1/4 cups Old Fashioned Oats (organic if you want to be super healthy)
  2. 1 cup water and 1 cup skim or 2 % milk
  3. generous handful of frozen blueberries
  4. 1 t vanilla
  5. generous sprinkling of cinnamon
  6. tiny dash of nutmeg
  7. 1-2 T of ground flaxseed (optional, although a great addition)
  8. sprinkling of brown sugar for the top (also optional)

Mix oatmeal, water, milk and blueberries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Immediately turn to medium-low heat and add vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. You may need to add just a little more milk if it seems to be getting too thick or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for three-four minutes, stirring often so it doesn't stick. If you decide to add flaxseed, put this in at the very last minute and stir.

Allow to cool just briefly, and then put into serving bowls. If you like your oatmeal creamy, add some additional milk. A sprinkle of brown sugar makes it really yummy :)

I'd share a picture with you, but we ate ours too fast this morning :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A date :)

Joel's sister and brother-n-law treated us to a meal at the restaurant that they own. After several weeks of ALOT of snowed in time with three kiddos, I was so grateful for the break AND the yummy food! They own an authentic mexican food restaurant----and let me just say, it's incredible! If you're ever in the area, check it out---you won't regret it! Thanks, guys, for a fun evening! :)




Joel's 'Quesadilla Ranchera'--one of our favorites




When we got back to my parents house, this is what I found:



One little girl, bathed and working on her quilt for
her new baby sister


One little boy, working on being a fish in the bathtub
and seriously soaking his Aunt Kristin



And tell me, have you ever seen a cuter, curlier head of hair?!







Thursday, February 18, 2010

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

We decided for my Thursday Evening Bible Study Group to do a 'fun night' for Valentine's Day. We brought a ton of 'fancy' dresses, and everybody was swapping dresses and trying on different dresses, etc---'cause hey, even grown up girls like to play dress up once in a while! I let Cosette come with me this one time, because I knew she'd have a blast dressing up! We all had fun being goofy and glamorous ;) Next week, it's back to some serious stuff, but this was just too fun of an idea to skip! I wasn't able to get pictures of everybody, but here are a few of my favorites:



From left to right: My cousin Sarah, Cosette,
and my sister. The 'big girls' are both wearing
their mother's wedding dresses :)

Here is Cosette in a dress that I wore as a flower girl
when I was her age.

For some reason, everybody thought it would be hilarious
to see me in my wedding dress :) Getting into the dress
was not a problem. It was the, um....shall we say
'zipping up' that didn't work quite so well ;)



And here is me and my baby girl :)




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Poor, miserable, dejected little boy


And all over his last bite of broccoli! Doesn't he look pitiful?? But, let me just say, there was no reason why he couldn't eat this teeny tiny last bite of broccoli, except for his own stubbornness! After sitting there like this for a while, and contemplating his fate (which was to keep sitting there until he ate it), he decided that Mommy and Daddy were right, and happily called me over to see his mouthful of broccoli :) Parenting 101: Sometimes, you just have to try anything and pray it will work!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another snowy evening


I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait for March to get here! Unless, of course, it decides to bring even more snow with it! But in the meantime, what cuter people to be snowed in with? Here they are enjoying a snowy afternoon of watching Narnia. (Well, not for the whole afternoon! :)



Other plans for our snowy evening?



  • Wait for news of our new nephew in Chicago, who is expected to make his grand entrance into the world any time now! We're so looking forward to seeing pictures of this tenth Curtis Grandchild!!



  • Eat twice-baked potatoes, orange-pecan tossed salad, and fruit with cottage cheese.



  • Icecream with fudge topping for dessert. (This is shaping up to be my favorite part of the evening!)



  • Joel is going to practice Cosette's new math flash cards with her---she has now moved on to the more difficult addition facts---the 7's, 8's, 9', and 10's----8+7, 10+6, etc.

  • Bathe a sticky little boy, who got peanut butter in his hair at some point today!

  • Snuggle up on the couch with three munchkins and practice their new Bible memory passage. They're now working on the part in Acts where Saul/Paul is converted.

  • Hopefully Joel and I will have time to watch a 'grown up' movie sometime.

And that's our snowy evening!

A series of unfortunate events

I was looking at a recipe card for dinner that night, and as I did, I opened the freezer door to check for an ingredient. As I opened the door, a bazillion things from the top of the freezer came crashing down onto my poor head. (And really, I THOUGHT the top of that freezer was well organized! Apparently not!) I rub my head, grumble, and proceed to pick up the various items and put them away. But then---where is my recipe card? It's nowhere to be found, that's where it is! Somehow, in the mess of all of that stuff falling, I lost my recipe. I don't know if it flew out of my hand somewhere, or if I absent mindedly sat it down someplace strange, but it was gone---still is! So, I called my mother-in-law to get the recipe from her. At least, I meant to. But suddenly, on the other end of the phone, a familiar voice picked up. I couldn't figure out who at my in-law's house this was, so I stupidly said "Um hi, this is Jaime" "Oh, hey Jaime!" I finally recognized my own father's voice, and realized that I had dialed my own parents number by mistake. "Oh, I didn't mean to call you!", I replied rather rudely. "Okay, bye!", my Dad laughed and hung up. When I finally got my mother-in-law on the phone, she said "Don't worry about it, you're pregnant!" At this rate, however, I may have no brain cells left by May!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Being 'real'---Valentine's Day

In the past, my husband has made me go 'wow' with his awesome Valentine Day displays! The first year we were together-well--the story is too long to go into great detail. Let's just say that I was showered with teddy bears, roses, candy, dinner at a fancy restaurant, the most handsome date imaginable---yeah, it was 'all out'. Since we've been married, other Valentines Days stand out in my mind as well. There was the one year he surprised me by bringing flowers home a few days BEFORE Valentine's day, and then taking me out to Outback for dinner--my absolute favorite restaurant! Then last year of course, we were at the beach for an entire week over Valentine's Day with just Noah, who was still very much a baby at the time. All this to say, that my husband knows how to do Valentine's Day!

However, this year may stand out the most in my mind.

More flowers? Nope
Bigger boxes of chocolate? Nope
Another 'away' trip? Uh, nope again.

Read on:

You see, Joel and I are in kind of an 'agreement' right now. We are working hard to pay off our mortgage ( a financial dream that we've both been thinking of for a long time), so we agreed at the beginning of the school year that we'd be pinching and scraping wherever we could. Every available penny was going into that nasty mortgage! This meant no Birthday presents, no Christmas presents (except for the kids, of course!), no date nights (at least, not ones that have to be paid for!), and *gasp!* NO valentine's day gifts. We figured we'd 'reward' ourselves next year when our 'agreement' is done with a big dinner out! But until then.......

We're half way there. Six months into our 'pact'. And, it's been hard. No running through Starbucks when I'm in town for a mid-wife appointment. No grabbing 'extra' maternity clothes that I like in the store. No replacing the ugly orange carpet in Cosette's room. No....well, the list goes on. Only the 'essentials' are being purchased this year, and nothing else. What was it one of those financial radio consultants once said? ''You have to live like you are poor, so that in the future, you can help those who really are", or something like that :)


I'm being a 'big girl' about it. Really, I am! We made this pact, this agreement together. But, last night, as I imagined today with no chocolate, no dinner out, not even a card, I had just a moment of doubt. I laid my head on my husband's lap and said "Please remind me again, Love, WHY are we doing this? I seem to have forgotten!"

He laughed and said "We are doing this so that this mortgage will be paid off and we'll be rid of our debt. We're doing this so that we have more freedom to actually buy a house that better meets our needs in the future. We're doing this so that we have 'spare' money in the future to reach out more with, to do more ministry, to help those in need."


Oh yeah. I remember now.


And so, I'm getting myself through this Valentine's Day and acting like a grown-up about it. Fancy chocolate and flowers, I have not! An Outback baked potato and raspberry cheesecake---it's just a vision in my head! But, I DO have this----the most incredible husband alive, who is ALSO making sacrifices to do the best, wisest, thing for his family. I can still go cuddle up next to him on the couch, even without the vase of roses on the table. And every time little Toucan kicks or squirms inside me, I'm reminded that my husband loves me enough to make hard decisions.


And in the future, when we are more free to give to this or that ministry, when we are actually in the house that I imagine with the wooden banister and mantel, then I will look back on this Valentine's Day, and remember with happiness the lack of flowers and chocolate. THIS Valentine's Day is so full of love, that the absense of those things is trivial :)


Thank you, Joel, for being the man that you are! I love you, not only on Valentine's Day, but always!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The many faces of Noah

Ever since he was a baby, Noah has been cracking us up with his funny facial expressions. Honesty, he has a funny one for any and every situation! I don't remember my other kids doing this. I managed to get him to demonstrate just a few of my favorites this morning.....


I call this one the "Oh look, Grandma's at the door!" look




This is the "Somebody's in trouble'' look



This is the "Hmmm, do I want juice or milk?" look



And finally, my favorite: "Everybody be quiet, I'm
praying right now" look


Thursday, February 11, 2010

First belly photo of 'Toucan', as taken by her sister, and other random shots


At 24 weeks, me and my sweetie :) If it looks like I'm
staring into the distance, please remember that it's hard
to have your picture taken by a five year old--I really don't
look as bad as I seem to here ;)


A cup of ovaltine after playing in the snow

Here is Cosette working on her sewing skills. Her next project
is a 'real' blanket for the baby


And finally, my new source of pride! We redecorated
Cosette's room during this snow storm, and this is one
of the areas we tackled. We framed all of her Strawberry
Shortcake coloring pictures and made a pretty
arrangement of them on her wall. For someone as
unartistic as myself, I was pleased with the result :)



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Homeschooling at it's finest


This, my friends, is the picture of success. It might accurately be titled "Never underestimate your five year old." But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back track a bit....

Cosette and I were doing her science experiments this morning. She's been learning about water lately---how water changes shape to fit different containers, how it always has a level surface, how things float or sink, how a submarine works, that type of thing.

Today, she was learning about how the surface of water acts like a type of 'skin'. We were supposed to put a needle on the top surface of a glass of water, and watch as it didn't sink. The directions in the book made it seem simple. Then, we were supposed to add some dish detergent and watch as the needle would suddenly sink, due to the surface of the water being stretched. However, try as I might, that needle would not stay on the top of the water! I did it just like the book instructed. I tried it a million different ways. I must have worked at it for ten straight minutes, and the kids were really starting to get wiggly and tired.

Joel was home from work, due to yet another snow-storm that we are getting. He was in another room, getting a head start on his sermon for Sunday. I went back and begged him to come help me get this needle to 'float'. "I'm a lousy teacher!" I whined.

For the next five minutes, my husband also tried a million different ways to get this needle to stay on the top of the water. No luck. He asked for a pair of tweezers, and tried it that way too. Nope. He finally gave up and admitted defeat. My husband, whom I've hardly ever seen fail at anything, could not get this needle to do what it was supposed to.

As he walked away, I told Cosette we'd just move on to the next experiment. "Can I try Mommy?" "Oh, Cosette, I don't think so. We couldn't get it, and it obviously just doesn't work. Maybe the book forgot to tell us something, I don't know." "Please, please, mom?" At this point, my patience was wearing thin, and I just wanted to get done. However, grabbing one last hold at my 'good home-school mommy' self, I handed her the tweezers. '' Here, Cosette, you can try, but don't be disappointed when it doesn't work"

Plop! She ever so gently placed that little needle on the top of the water, and-----it stayed!!! On the first try!! I simply stared in amazement, and she giggled with glee and happiness! ''Mommy! I can't believe you and Daddy couldn't do that!" Hmmm....me either! I was so happy with her, I had to snap a picture---the one you see above! She then proceeded to drop that needle onto the water four or five different times.

So that, my friends, is the picture of success. A five year old did what both her Daddy and Mommy could not. And, she'll probably remember that experiment much more than if it had gone as originally planned :)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"Snowed In'' reading options.

I love blogging--sharing the small details of my life with you all. However, there is nothing significant or outstanding to draw you to my blog page unless you're already interested in my family and kids :) I don't talk interesting politics, I don't give eloquent and encouraging devotionals, like some bloggers I've read, and I certainly don't have time to share photos of all the yummy food we try around here.

BUT, if you live in a part of the country where you are going to be snowed in once again (as we do!) I do have some OTHER interesting 'reads' to suggest to you. Please check them out---each one is fun or interesting in it's own way.


1. Go here to read the most touching birth story I've ever read. Don't worry, it's not all bloody and gory, it's more about how one mom bonded with her new-born daughter, even under unexpected circumstances. Note: Photos in this post are beautiful!!


2. You must, must, MUST try these oreo bites. Mmmm....they're like a taste of heaven in your mouth! Four simple ingredients, and you come out with something SO good!


3. Jess, at Making Home is offering a fun book giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered into her drawing for Mary Ostyn's book "A sane woman's guide to raising a large family"

4. Half the time, I have to re-read what my brother-in-law Jesse writes, just to make sure my out-of-shape brain is really 'getting it'. However, it's always worth the 2nd read over! Jesse will get you thinking about social and political issues, and whether or not what you believe would really stand the test of Scriptures. I've linked to his page here before, for good reason.


5. And finally, I have to send you over to my friend Rachael's blog, Grace Unmeasured, which is a photo blog of her family. If you're looking for something to 'feast your eyes on' during a snowy evening, go here! Rachael is a talented photographer, and puts amazing pictures of her family on their blog!


So, there you have it. My top five picks for fun reading tonight. Go enjoy!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Random, unrelated, but hilarious 'Eli sayings'

"Mom, maybe someday just me and you can go on a date and get a cheeseburger. Well, me and you and 'Toucan' ". ('Toucan' is our current code name for the baby :)

After his tummy growled at dinner tonight, he said "Oh, excuse me, my tummy burped!"

"Mommy, give this cheek a kiss good-night, 'cause I'm gonna put my other cheek on the pillow and the kiss would rub off"'

At the beginning of dinner: "Daddy, I don't like hummus" At the end of dinner: "Daddy, hummus is my favorite food!"

Sunday, February 07, 2010

See this handsome guy?

(No, no, the big one, not the little one---although they're both pretty cute ;) He's the love of my life! He won my heart over eight years ago when I was still in college, and he hasn't stopped amazing me since then. He is the most awesome husband and father that you could imagine. I love this picture of him and Noah, because it captures that special bond that he has with all of his children. Cosette, Eli, Noah, and 'Toucan' may not fully appreciate for several years just how blessed they were to get a Daddy like Joel! I, however, thank God every day for my love. I could go on and on about everything that makes him who he is, but that would probably take more space than I have for this post, so you'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that he's incredible! Oh, and if you see him in the next day or so, make sure you wish him a

Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Let it snow!

We got a 'little' more snow last night. Okay, a lot! Here is the snow cave that Joel helped the kids build. Yes, that's him and Cosette in there. Yes, this is in our front yard, not the North Pole!





Noah took a little time to get 'warmed up' to the snow (haha!), but once he did, he loved it. He came inside to get warm, and as soon as he saw the snow tunnel Daddy had built, he wanted to head right back out again!



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Two proud kids

Wouldn't you be proud if you built a snowman like this all by yourself?



Wednesday, February 03, 2010

First hair cut....er....bang trim, rather

Yep, I'd been putting it off for a while, but Noah was definitely looking a little shaggy, don't you think?

The above picture was taken at Thanksgiving, and since then, his hair had grown all the way down past his eyebrows. I was having trouble seeing his handsome brown eyes! I decided not to do an all-out hair cut yet---he's still too much of a 'baby' for that! Plus, there's no way I want to say good-bye to those baby curls for at least another year :) Since both other kids were also in need of a good trimming, we decided to pay Grandma Rhoda a visit. Here she is giving Noah his first 'bang-trim' :) As you can see, he wasn't too happy about the whole thing, but he cooperated fairly well.

And you have to admit, the finished product is pretty cute!





Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Remember....

Remember this photo, taken way back in September, on Cosette's first day of school?





She's been doing so well since then! We are now well over half-way through her year of first grade, and I am so pleased with how she is doing. Joel and I started her in first grade early, and we thought that if it took her two years to finish it or something, that'd be fine. Let me just say, it is NOT going to take her two years!! I anticipate her being finished sometime around the beginning of May, soon before the baby arrives, hopefully :) She is reading well, and hard words, too! Her hand-writing has greatly improved, and is very impressive for a five year old. She can count by 2's, 5's, and 10's, count simple change, is learning to tell time, knows all her addition facts up through the 9's, and will soon start on subtraction. She can tell you the days of the week and the months of the year, as well as read the day's date on a calendar. She has been exploring things in science such as: "What makes things float or sink?", "What makes the different seasons?", etc, etc. She can now fluently read Treble Clef notes, and is learning how to play the recorder. She might even be able to tell you a thing or two about Picasso :) As you can tell, I am very pleased with her first grade year, and am very proud of her.


Speaking of 'Remembering'.....


Remember when these two handsome little men were just babies? I'll let you take a guess as to which one is which one...
















And finally, remember this picture?


Our baby girl 'Toucan', as we are temporarily calling her upon Cosette's request, is doing great! She should now weigh more than a pound, and often entertains me with her strong kicking and turning. She had the hiccups the other night! Whenever one of us says something about "The baby in Mommy's tummy', Noah will run over to me, lift up my shirt, and gaze in curiosity right into my belly button! Funny. He always seems disappointed when he doesn't see a baby :)

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