Thursday, March 29

Bubble Painting

This week Ashton is at a 4-H robotics camp and so, I've had some time with just me and the girls.  It's funny how the whole household dynamic changes when one kids is go for endless hours each day.

Today, in our "trying to not be bored by mom" time (lol!) the girls decided they wanted to paint.  But, they used up all their paints the last time they were in the throws of a creative binge.  So, I found this post about how to make your own watercolor paints, and since my kids blow through the watercolors, I pinned it!  So, I went back and looked it up and told Jenna all about it and she was totally on board with making her own paints.  That is until I told her it had to dry over night.  "But, MOM!  I really kinda wanted to paint right now..." she says.  Humph.  What's a mama to do?  I did what any Pinterest addicted woman would and searched for another idea that we could put together in a jiffy.  I found a pin about bubble painting...still using paint though.  But then I got this idea that I had a ton of food colors and we could use those in place of paint.  And as it turns out, they LOVED it!  And I have the pictures to prove it!

And of course I didn't have any plastic/paper cup or bowls to use of this messy fun time, so we improvised.  I cut the bottoms off of several empty water bottles we had laying around to use as "paint" containers.  I saved the tops too because I'm just that frugile.  We then made snake bubbles with some and the rest are slated for a food saver idea.


Tuesday, March 27


I'm realizing that life is fragile.  You'd think that after 30 years, I would have realized this a little sooner.  But, I guess I take more than a little convincing sometimes.  The last few months have been a blur.  It's birthday season around here and that has caught my attention week after week.  I've made cake, lots of cake.  I've bought presents, lots of presents.  And the birthdays keep coming!  And let's not forget Easter, too!  But, I have been able to grab a few photos of our days.

Ashton's birthday was in February, but alas he doesn't really like to have his picture taken. So, I don't have many of that.  But, Shiloh on the other hand, is a camera ham!

Shiloh loved watching me put together her cake and wanted a growling dino picture with her cake when it was done.

Blowing out the candles is her favorite thing to do anytime or the year, month, day or night...

 At her birthday party, she got a fairy princess outfit.  As soon as all the presents were opened and the cake eaten, she came over and said, "Mom, can I pay outside?"  I said, "yes".  To which she said, "OK!  I need my wings, wand, crown and bracelets."  I caught this picture mid her fairy princess duties.

And I did manage to catch a few of my elusive son eating cake.  I think he looks sooo much like his uncle Nate in this picture it's a bit shocking!

Last weekend there was an Easter party with egg hunt at our little community center.  We got some pictures of the kids having fun playing games and waiting for the Easter bunny to hunt eggs.

But, in all these action packed days, I've been growing a baby.  One more little Curtis child to kiss and hold.  I've had good days and bad, but recently it seems there may be something wrong with my own body.  And getting news like that from a doctor forces you to reflect on life and what it's all about.  I've been having heart troubles and need to see a cardiologist to make sure i'm strong enough to deliver this baby on my own.  It's a little bit scary when you think about how fragile everything is.  It's given me a chance to make all the hugs and kisses for and from my kiddos last a little longer and mean a little more while I'm praying inside that things will be okay and people live with heart conditions for years and if there is something really wrong it doesn't mean it's the end.  It means it's the beginning.  It's the beginning of me finally letting others in.  Of letting those who care about me strengthen me and care for me while I can't do it on my own.


Wednesday, January 11

Perfection in His timing

I have spent many an hour wondering what God has in store for my life.  I've worried that my greatest desires would always be just beyond my reach.  I remember the anxiety and pain that I felt when Randall and I were first married.  I struggled with wanting to have children and every month realizing it wasn't going to happen and then having a miscarriage once I was pregnant.  I remember wondering if I was ever going to be able to hold my own child in my arms.  And do you know what happened?  One month later I was pregnant again and eight months later we had our amazing son Ashton only to be followed by Jenna and Shiloh and now baby #4.  But in hind sight I can say that the trials we endured to have them all have only made our love and compassion that much sweeter.

For 8 years we have lived with and cared for Randall's grandfather.  There were times that I seriously thought I was the one loosing my mind.  But there were also just as many times that my soul smiled when beautiful things happened.  Shiloh loves grandpa and spends more time with him than either of my other children do.  She asks him to swing her in the backyard.  The man stood there and pushed her for two hours!  She loves to crawl in his lap and take a nap with him when he's snoozing in his recliner. And she loves to play catch with him and her squishy nerf balls.  These moments have made me smile.  And they also make me wonder if we needed to be here after all these years so that she could develop a relationship with her great-grandpa.

At Thanksgiving, we had been praying about what to do since Randall was laid off.  We truly felt like moving to North Dakota was our only and best option.  So, we dove in to trying to arrange all the details and get things set up on the other end so that everything would go smoothly.  But, things kept falling through and when things seemed the bleakest just before Christmas, Randall received a phone call that changed everything.  It was a permanent full-time job offer from a company that had previously laid him off.  With the new job under his belt, I wanted to test the waters...

I knew we needed to be in our own space in order to have room for baby #4.  I scoured classified, talked to people and friends and determined that rent was way out of our price range here.  But, the crazy thing was if we could qualify for a loan, our mortgage would be half of what the going rate for rent is here.  Seriously?!?  So I started to look at the houses for sale in our area.  I found about 20 that were in a price range that I thought we'd be able to carry a mortgage on.  But, I also knew that banks had really reined in what and who they would qualify for a loan for awhile now.  So I honestly didn't think we would qualify for anything.  With butterflies in my stomach, I called the bank.  Ten minutes of questions later, I was staring at my inbox at a letter from the bank saying that we pre-qualified and could take our letter to the Realtor and buy a house.  I couldn't believe it.  But then waves of excitement hit me and the very next day I drove around with the kids and looked at potential properties.  And the day after that, we took Randall around and narrowed our search down to 6.  We called our Realtor and made appointments and found a move in ready home with a really great kitchen.  Today, we'll be submitting our offer.  And after almost 11 years of being married and moving around and living in someone else's house, we could actually be home owners.

So, I'm beginning to understand that God's timing is perfect.  This home that could be ours, we wouldn't have been able to afford when the market was better.  All the growing up that I needed to do, probably wouldn't have come so easily if our experiences and our choices to follow personal revelation were any different than they were.  While many of my friends and family can attest, I hated living in limbo, I have found healing in relationships I thought would always be fractured.  I have found a true love of myself that I didn't think would ever come.  And I have found joy in even the most painful and darkest of circumstances.  Yes, my Heavenly Father has used this incubation time to mold me into a much better person than I was 11 years ago.  I'm far from perfect, but with His love I think I'm getting closer.


Monday, December 26

Christmas Recap

Do you remember my Christmas to-do list?  Well, I thought I'd give you an update of how it all turned out.

Here's what my original to-do list and what it morphed into.

1 dolly made from mis-mate socks did not happen- was for Shiloh, who loved more than anything her $1 set of water colors.

1 blue linus blanket from the yarn stash (almost done btw) finished and Jenna is currently using it on her bed

2 ruffled fabric scarves for Anne and Belle became two pieces of art.  A horse for Anne and a lighthouse for Belle.

3 fleece beanies  these were for Ashton, Chris, and Jason.  It didn't happen.  Ashton instead got a video game we found on super sale, Chris got a large bag of M&Ms and Jason got a quart of home canned jalapenos since he's not a spicy food officianado.

2 large works of art (made by yours truly) these I remarkable pulled out at the last minute finishing them Christmas Eve.  One for my M-I-L and the other my my own mom.  Then one for my mom will grace my home until she is moved into her new digs in South Dakota in a few weeks.

I also added another piece of artwork at the last minute to my list.  Randall's step-mom, Cheryl, had been away caring for her mother and was not planning on us being able to visit them in NC.  But, as it turned out, her mother quietly slipped onto the other side of the veil just before Christmas and that meant we were able to spend a few days with them just before Christmas.  So, for them I made a painting of the ocean, one of Cheryl's favorite places to be.

And all of this without pictures.  I need to be better about that.  But, I think what warmed my heart this year was the comment Jenna made after what few presents we pulled together for them were all opened Christmas morning.  She said, "Oh , mom!  This was the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!".  I couldn't say it any better myself.


Tuesday, December 13

To say that these last six weeks have been an emotional roller coaster is an understatement.  But, what's more extreme than a roller coaster? A hurricane? A tsunami?  I feel myself slipping into the deep end some days.  I can't see how there could be a miracle coming out of all this.  And feel like questioning what God's plan for me and my family is.  We're standing at a crossroad, or maybe it's more like a fork.  We have two very possible plans for the future.  Job and house here, job and house there and everything hinges on being patient and waiting for someone else to make up their mind before we can follow through and put things into action.  You see, we had decided to move to North Dakota.  Randall can make double the pay he was making here and we could finally afford the house that we need for our family.  And almost as soon as we decided that moving would be our best and only option, a job opportunity here popped up.  And the pay is the similar to what he'd make there.  So, he applied.  It seems like he's a shoe in for it, but we have to wait for the man hiring to go through the applications and choose his candidates.  Which could take a while as the job won't even start until January, so it's not it the urgent pile.  So, we've mapped out on paper, what we'd do if we stay here and what we'd do should we be going elsewhere. And now, were just twiddling our thumbs waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.

Now, my hubs can attest to this, waiting for anything is not my forte.  I hate waiting for even water to boil.  So, my emotions run the gambit from day to day.  I dream about "life A" and I dream about "life B" and I wonder what the Lord has instore for us.  Either way, we'll be moving so I've been packing and praying and hoping that my body won't give out and land me on bed rest for weeks on end with this pregnancy.  Yesterday I packed five boxes, did 3 loads of laundry and took out the trash and by lunch time I had searing pain in my belly and was down for the rest of the day.  So, today is cleaning grandpa's bathroom and doing his laundry and I've enlisted  3 strong children to help with the work...See, I'm learning...I have to give it to them, they buckle down and get to work when it's time; which might be the only way I'm going to make it this time.

Through out the day, I've been praying for peace to enter my heart.  Praying for the stress to melt away and what keeps echoing in my head is the quote "Come what may, and Love it!"  So, right now I'm choosing to find joy in the moment.  I can't control the future, no matter how much I wish that I could.


Monday, December 5

Christmas just got an extra dose of Christ

I'm sure you probably figured that Christmas this year for our growing family is going to be much different than ever before.  We've never had oodles of money so our tree has never been gorged with presents, but we've always managed to buy a few less expensive items on the kids Christmas lists just in time to surprise then Christmas morning.  But, this year, the number on the bank account summary just dwindles with no income in sight.  It's left me grasping for other options for Christmas this year.  Buying anything from the store would put us in a bind and prices no matter how "new" and "low" they are, really add up.  We typically spend about $50 a kid and about $80 on ourselves, including stocking stuffers.  But, as sad as it is to say, we don't have $310 to spend on gifts and that's just with us, that 's not all the extended family here, too.

So, all this to say, I'm initiating an old fashioned Christmas.  A "Christ"mas if you will.  Nothing can be store bought.  Just giving at it's most natural and simplest form.  It all has to be hand made from items around the house and in the garage.  I think my fabric stash and yarn stash are going to get hit pretty hard this year, but what's a years supply of craft items worth if you can't dig into them every once in a while!

Here's what my to-do list looks like this year.
1 dolly made from mis-mate socks
1 blue linus blanket from the yarn stash (almost done btw)
2 ruffled fabric scarves
3 fleece beanies
2 large works of art (made by yours truly)

I'm sure that when I tell the kids all this today, my list will grow exponentially with all the projects I'll be ask to "help" with, too.  But, I'm excited.  It's a challenge that I think might just wake up my creative juices.  They've been hibernating while i whined about Christmas being here already.


Saturday, November 19


Ya know, when life throws you for a loop, my most common reaction is to hold it in and go it alone.  I don't want to impose on others or listen to the potential whispers in the halls at church or have that common southern phrase be used in reference to me.  You know it..."Bless her heart, she's to poor to remove that toilet paper from her shoe, she might need it later."

So, I was at our ward Relief Society meeting on Thursday and all my emotions, fears and prayers just bubbled to the top and in an epic emotional spewfest I told anyone who would listen how I was struggling.  I couldn't help it.  Call it hormones or call it the spirit moving me to share, but it happened.  And do you know what happened?  They put their arms around me and blessed me so abundantly.  A dear friend of mine took me home with her that night and gave me six bags full of groceries, plus an extra turkey she had bought on sale.  I ran out of Vitamin B to keep my nausea at bay and another sister brought me two bottles, which by the way is enough to last my whole pregnancy and then some!  But, apart from the physical needs they rallied around and shared with me their stories of times when they had gone through similar things and then testified that there is a way out, God never leaves us comfortless and will always provide a way for things to happen.  He never allows his children to be tried more than they can bear.

And now as I sit here reliving those feelings of friendship and sisterhood, I can't help but remember the scriptures from the book of James in the bible when he speaks of pure religion and what it really means to be a disciple of Christ.  I think that any time I read those verses, the memory of that relief society meeting and the faces of those sisters who put their arms around me will be forever ingrained in my memory.