Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome December

The 70 degree weather of Thanksgiving week tried to trick us into forgetting that winter is on her way. But, the cold Kansas winds have erased any doubt that coats and scarves are necessities not accessories!! Chris and I made our long trip back from Indiana and Oklahoma just in time to start our Christmas decorating the evening of Thanksgiving. Our hearts have been full of hope and excitement as we faced, yet another month, of waiting and hoping for a child! This month seemed different somehow, full of renewed hope and expectancy. The disappointments and dashed hopes of months gone by seemed all but forgotten this month. God graciously replaced the pain of raw vulernability in my heart with a rich, deep peace that literally surpassed all understanding. It's as if He whispered gently "the wait is almost over", and for once, my heart was able to believe those words and cling to them for life! A week ago I was flying high on the wings of hope, for the first time in a very long, long time. But, just as the tide rises and falls, today my heart has fallen once again with the monthly disappointment strangely familiar by now. Each month gets easier in some regards and harder in others. With the exception of a few tears, I am doing okay today--not the "world-falls-apart" crash that normally happens! Remnants of last week's peace soothe my heart, and I'm grateful beyond words for His continual ministry to my spirit. It's a new day, a new month and I choose to see this as a brand new opportunity for God to show Himself to us in a new way. I only pray that our eyes will be open to see Him as He reveals himself to us, and that our hearts will not shy away from or be resistant to His workings! None of this comes easily, but I guess that's the reality of adulthood! (The five year old inside my heart screams how none of this is fair, but I guess that's the beauty of growing up)!!! When I look at the bigger picture, all the blessings in my life, I feel almost childish to cry and moan about waiting for a baby!! The other day I hugged Michelle tightly, crying desperate tears of joy, not wanting to let her go--grateful that she is okay and on the mend! I cannot imagine not having her by my side through all that is ahead! God's grace & provision in our family this year has been overwhelming--and I know He is still at work in growing the Curtis family!! So, on this cold, windy Monday, I welcome December with open arms--for all the hope and holiday happiness that it brings!! I embrace today as a new beginning--a new month full of dreams!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Conservative Turkeys

Mr. Turkey finally got his Missus . . .I'm thinking they shall be named Thomas & Constance, very conservative pilgrim names!!
And Santa gets his Rudolf!
Quite the Christmas Trio!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Step aside penguins!!!

It's no secret, there's no doubt: I adore squatty little penguins and will continue to make more as long as I live. There can never be too many penguins! The Curtis family is just shy of 20 squatty, multicolored penguins!! However, with each additional penguin I create, Chris questions my sanity more and more. And, with the holidays fast approaching, he kindly asked me to crochet a turkey instead of (for once) another penguin!
Tom the turkey is the result of his query! He is currently awaiting his MRS!!!!

And with Christmas just a few weeks away, I tried my hand at a little Santa man!
But, enough of that non-penguin talk! Let's get back to what really matters!!! Red penguin decided to get all dressed up in his formal tophat for a night on the town!! Then, on a crazy, wild Vegas style night, he met & fell madly in love with Plum Penguin, asked for her hand in marriage and tied the knot!!!
First came love, then came marriage . . . now Kathryn can crochet the babies in a baby carriage!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When Grandpa's away, the kids will Play!!

With Grandpa recovering in the ICU following open heart surgery, Uncle Chris & Aunt Kathryn supervised Christlyn & Ethan's efforts to plant tulips at Grandpa's house!! Last spring, we battled the cool mornings & cat ladies to buy hybrid tulip bulbs at a discount at our local Botanical garden. Now, six months later, we're looking for anywhere and everywhere to unload the 300 bulbs we acquired!!

We put a double row of tulips along the backside of Grandpa's lawn behind the kitchen. The kids were more than helpful in "doing their duty" as they called it, which involved nothing more than putting a shovel full of dirt on a large rock and then scraping it off again. (The wacky things that kids come up with)

Uncle Chris really did the majority of the work by digging the trenches for the bulbs. We also planted bulbs in the center island by Grandpa's garage! Only heaven knows & spring will tell if any of the flowers will bloom, but we had fun in the process! And the kids, were as always, very protective of "doing their duty"!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Anything you can do, I can do better. . . ."

With fall break in full swing and Aunt Kathryn in town for Grandpa's surgery, what better way to spend the day than a playdate with the kids!! Of course, as with most kids, competition was in full "swing" as we spent the afternoon playing at Hunter Park, taking a hike through the "jungle" (as the kids call it) and finally enjoying a cool treat at Braum's!! They really are just little copy cats!!

Ethan swings from tree--and nearly breaks it!!
Christlyn climbs up tree--and literally nearly broke the tree as it bowed from her weight!!
Don't believe their innocent little faces for one minute!!!

These remind me of that old song "Anything you can do, I can do better . . ."!! They are always watching each other, copying each other & trying to "one up" the other in all they do! In spite of all their wild energy, I enjoyed time with them immensely!! If only Jadon hadn't been feeling so under the weather he could have joined us!! Perhaps next time!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Our day began very early, as we all arrived around 5:30 at Hillcrest to cheer Daddy on for his open heart surgery! I know I wasn't the one going in for surgery--either today or last week (Michelle)--but it sure did warm my heart to have so many members of the family by Daddy's side (snapping pictures right and left). As scary as I know today was on all of us, I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace & comfort, knowing that Daddy would be alright and that all would go well. (That or I was too scared to be afraid of the alternative)Michelle amazed us all by sitting up with us in the waiting room all day, not even a week after her own surgery!
Grandpa & Grandma are in town to take care of Daddy once he comes home!!
I hope that Daddy enjoyed having all his girls by his side as he was wheeled to surgery!! It was a great opportunity for the three of us to catch up--and crack up, as always!!!
I crocheted (surprise, surprise) a baby blanket that is overdue!! Jen played "take two" by herself as we all talked, overdosed on crummy coffee and enjoyed visiting with Daddy's boss, Raine--who also sat up in the waiting room with us for most of the day!!

By 11:30am, Daddy was out of surgery and in the recovery area! By 12:30 they moved him to ICU, and we moved to the ICU waiting room for another wait! By 2pm, we were allowed to visit him "two by two"!! But since he was still intubated (on a respirator) & unconscious, we decided to grab some lunch and come back later when he was extubated (off the respirator)!! We enjoyed a late lunch at Cheddars! Our waiter was just what we needed to get a good laugh in!! That and the huge stack of onion rings!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Penguin Mania!!

Not sure how or when it happened, but they have multiplied!!
Lesson learned: never leave penguins alone in the dark for long . . . "or something will happen, you never know what"!!!!

Now Sierra has even MORE little "babies" to hide throughout the house!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Welcome Brookelyn!!!

Our lives are filled with so many questions that don't have answers, yet we search for them nonetheless. Tragedies occur, people get sick, crises arise, and life ends prematurely. Statements like "everything happens for a reason" and "there's a purpose in this situation" provide only minimal comfort to the hurting ears they fall upon. However, seeing the bright smile on the face of one who has walked through the valley of the shadow of death brings hope and inspiration to a troubled heart! Last summer, my friend Lisa lost her daughter, Michelle, at only eight days of age to a genetic disorder. With her husband and three sons, Lisa endured the crushing loss of their beautiful little girl--a heartache I cannot even fathom. We don't know the reason, we can't see the purpose, but we know that Michelle is among the angels, being craddled by her Jesus. And, on September 1st, He gave Lisa her own little PINK bundle of joy--one that she wouldn't have to say goodbye to!
Today we welcomed Brookelyn Alyse Treaster with a PINK PARTY up at work!!
And of course, Brookelyn needed a special blanket to call her own that matched her nursery set!
Holding Brookelyn in my arms, I could feel the warm, cuddly, squirmy faithfulness of God in human flesh! Her curly brown hair, her light brown eyes and her shy little smile all reflect how awesome He is--even when we dont' know why we have to suffer or wait or say goodbye! All life is precious, all life is a gift--and Lisa and her little Brookelyn have given this heart hope!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Deck In Progress

With our deck needing painting desperately, basement flooding and rain water draining issues and Chris wanting an "under the deck" access plan, we decided in early summer that replacing the deck would be our summer project of choice. I must be honest up front that Chris has done 99% of the work, most of it during the hot, sweaty evenings! All but the framework has been replaced, including the deck boards, railings and balisters!
Here, Chris worked on the back 1/3 of the deck while the kids were up for a visit in mid-July. Keeping them off the deck was near impossible, but no one got hurt so that's a plus!!

We also had the concrete slab on the side of the house replaced this week, as you can see above that the previous slab had falled away and left in it's place a huge hole. Rainwater was seeping in through this hole into the window-well and down into the basement! Chris had a pump in the window-well for most of the summer as a temporary fix, but the new slab as well as an under-the-deck drainage pipe will hopefully eliminate the need for the pump!!

Chris ordered these awesome tiki torches which match the deck perfectly and give off much more light at night than we imagined possible.
A side view of our new concrete slab! Now that this is poured, Chris can finish the last 1/3 of the deck closest to the house. We can also start working on a rock border and flower bed that we plan to put in underneath the silver maple tree (right side of pic)! I know Chris is anxious to have this deck project finished! He had done such a good job, but I know that the project is getting OLD!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Goodbye GrandAM, Hello Camry

While, I was in Tulsa throwing Chrisltyn a birthday party last Friday, Chris miraculously sold his GrandAM. He placed a pictureless add on during lunch and by 2:30 he got a call about the car. By 4:30 it was a done deal, leaving him carless until I returned home Saturday morning. We had hoped it would sell but had no idea it would sell so quickly!!
So, Saturday when I got back from Tulsa, Chris and I went out car shopping! Let's just say I am married to the most awesome wheeler-and-dealer in the continental US! He had done his homework, bringing along spead sheets a-plenty to help us get the best deal possible! The car salesman wasn't the easiest to deal with, but after 45 minutes or so of going back and forth, we finally signed the papers on our new '09 Camry!!!
Because of an added safety feature, Vehicle Stability Control, that wasn't available on the base models on the lot, we had to wait until today to get the car! Doing all the work of buying a car without taking one home is a teeny bit anti-climactic, but the adrenaline rush hit this evening as we picked up our new car!! Chris compares his Grand AM to an old pair of comfortable jeans and the Camry to a brand new pair of shoes; it will take us awhile to "break in" the car and for it to feel like ours! We're both tremendously glad to have the whole process over!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tabletop Butterflies!

For those who have been following the kids' table construction, here are a few final pics! The sense of pride the kids displayed at their finished table was adorable! Once the table painting was complete and dry, Uncle Chris helped the kids with assembling the legs onto the table.
Of course, since we used 2x8s and 2x4s for the table top and small old ballisters (from our old deck) for the legs, it was a teeny bit top heavy, not to mention completely unstable.
That didn't keep the kids from laying, leaning and pushing on it! They wanted to build chairs to match the table! Another time, another place. . .another lifetime perhaps! (With the above mentioned stability of the table, I can only imagine what their chairs would end up like
Christlyn painted the roses and apples on the trees as well as the wild blueberry bushes in the "Messed Up Jungle"(see previous post for reference)! Ethan painted the trees, the bright sun as well as the "man cloud"! Now you don't have to wonder when gazing up at their hand painted sky what the clouds look like! He made it clear cut!!
And of course, the artist in Aunt Kathryn had to add her own finishing touches (without little fingers to smear it)! While the kids were napping, I painted the butterflies on the table, both of which species we had seen earlier that day at the butterfly garden!
Today while walking through the backyard, I spotted a butterfly identical to the one I painted on their table! I thought they'd get a kick out if it! If only they were still here to see it! :( Yes, I've been quite sad without the kids around, though I feel more rested and the house is much quieter!
I couldn't resist bringing my new pet butterfly inside to enjoy my freshly cut zinna floswer! Afterall, that is what she was snacking on in the backyard when I found her! Don't worry, I let her go!!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Weekend Water Fun

What a difference a year makes!! Last summer when the kids visited our neighborhood YMCA waterpark, they steered clear of the deep end, avoided going under the water and would only jump in when caught by one of us. This year after completing swim lessons at their own YMCA, they were more than ready to hit the water! We spent three days at the pool and let's just say they wore me (and themselves) out!!
Friday the kids were lucky enough to hit the pool twice in one day. After a couple hours there in the afternoon, I brought the kids home for a nap and to wait for Uncle Chris to get home and join the water party! After dinner we headed back and the four of us had a blast together! The kids showed off for Uncle Chris all their fun tricks! Christlyn was glad to have a partner to hit the water slides with.
Christlyn mastered the art of underwater rocket swimming, swimming on her back and tackling both slides. Last year she wasn't quite tall enough to try the slides. This year Ethan was the one left out but I reassured him that next summer he should be as tall or taller than Sissy and be able to ride the slides. That didn't keep him from trying two days in a row to ride the slides. Hey, I guess it doesn't hurt to try, does it?
Saturday, Grammy joined the party at the pool, too! And once again the kids had to show off all their tricks. Ethan perfected under water summersaults, "spinning" under water as well as the famous cannonball jump! (I'm sure if you check out Grammy's blog soon, she'll have a video of all their tricks posted) Grammy tried the slide with Christlyn but somehow bonked her head so hard that I could hear it across the pool! I panicked and waded as fast as I could to where she sat at the bottom of the slide, looking slightly stunned and "out of it". She did recover, but not without giving the lifeguards quite a scare!!
We all got a nice tan from three days in the sun--that and Aunt Kathryn forgot to put sunscreen on the kids the first day, resulting in a slightly pink tinged faces! The next two days I faithfully applied the sunscreen every hour to the kids, much to their dismay. The combination of bright sun, chlorine and sunscreen when rubbed into little eyes creates quite the burn, burn, burn. I thought I was going to have to initiate a burning eyes intervention!! But, the only real cure is to wait it out, which didn't please either of the kids!
That's all the water fun for 2008! Join us next year for more tricks and tales, as well know now what a difference a year can make!!