Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

I really want to teach my children to be good stewards of their things and that we don't need six of everything to function. :) This has been much more difficult than I ever thought it would be. I believe that play is how kids learn and I want my kids to have toys that teach...not just entertain.

I spent a few days playing with the boys trying to evaluate what needed to happen. I realized that we had so much stuff they couldn't maintain the room themselves. We were missing pieces to at least half of our favorite toys.....which I did end up finding. The boys were not all that innovative with their play...i.e. The Little One just liked dumping out all of the toys looking for missing pieces. He was doing this last week and I ran over to him after he dumped over six baskets and pushed every toy off the window ledge.....I said, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

His response, "looking for my friend Nemo!" and he held up a little orange fish.

So, I sat some parameters for the BIG CLEAN.

1. Does the toy have all the parts?
2. Is it something that develops an age appropriate skill?
3. Is it something they love or the giver had special meaning?

Give Away
1. Are most of the parts there?
2. Is it something others would enjoy?
3. Is it a toy that I would approve of in a childcare area my children attend?

If the answer was yes we kept it or gave it away accordingly.

Before I do not buy the boys toys for anything other than birthday and Christmas, but this is where our playroom was last week. Note: I pick it up everyday and this is really not even "that bad". I have seen worse, much worse.

During (I filled six tubs of give away toys).

What I learned:
1. We have done a pretty good job keeping pieces together. I only had to throw away a small bag of toys that were too broken or too few pieces.
2. The boys can pick up their own playroom if it is not too overwhelming.
3. They get along better when the toys are organized in a way that encourages cooperation and learning.
4. They have not noticed anything missing!!!!

Where did the toys go?
1. To a local community group that allows kids that participate to bring can goods in exchange for Christmas gifts to give their parents and siblings.
2. My sisters daycare that is in need of some fresh toys.

Other ideas:
Infant Crisis Services
Local Church Nurseries
YMCA/YWCA Programs

Monday, December 21, 2009

I almost forgot....

Here are some pictures from the cookies and punch after Big Boy's Christmas Program. Precious!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Baby is THREE

Happy Birthday Little Nate!

Monday, December 7, 2009

picture of ME, Monday

I bet you think I forgot! I didn't, I am just now sitting down for the day. This has been a Monday for sure. Ironically, my sister in law wrote a little about her distaste of pictures of her last week too. I guess I am not alone. Well, I said if you sent me pictures I would show them. So here we go!This one is from my aunt Cindy. It is a sweet picture although the uncropped version is a little risque for this blog. This is a picture of me and my parents my first Christmas. My uncle (mom's oldest brother) sent it to me.....along with some others that will make an appearance at some point. I think my mom looks beautiful in this picture. Dad isn't too shabby either.

Here is a picture off my camera from the past week!
Me, Mary, and Tracy at Mary's fabulous engagement party!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Cobbler's Children -- A Christmas Lament

This has been a week of deep thought and contemplation. I have laid awake, more than once, thinking about what I am supposed to be doing with this very valuable time of staying home with my young children. I am not one to sit back and just relish the moments as they happen, although I wish I had a little more of this in me. However, I do realize on a daily basis that each moment with my children at this formative age is so important and PRICELESS. (Even the moment yesterday when the youngest batted the glass ball ornament across the church bookstore in front of a good dozen people.)

I have filled my time with some blogging, painting, knitting, and playing with the boys. But, a good chunk of my time has been spent serving on some mission oriented boards, and doing church work. This week was frustrating to say the least. I realized that I had spent hours of time cutting out ornaments that went unused and the board that I sit on has canceled a program (well, not just any program, but my first baby....Project Transformation) for one of two reasons....perhaps both.
1. They can't find anyone to commit to be the Site Coordinator
2. They don't feel like PT understands their African American culture

What is particularly upsetting to me about both of these situations is the lack of cooperative work at the detriment to people in our community who really need the services and ministry offered by each group. Communication is hard. It is hard for everyone, but for some reason it seems particularly challenging when we deal with social and spiritual matters. I guess people are just too afraid they are going to hurt someone's feelings. Well, my feelings have been hurt. I am at a point in my life where my time is my most valuable commodity and it is being misused.

Fast forward to this morning. I am working out, listening to the CMP and the following quote comes up in her opening monologue.

"The cobbler's children have no shoes."

I have been so busy working on these projects/causes and losing sleep thinking about the children that will not have the literacy program their parents have come to count on that I didn't realize all of the time I was taking from my own children. It has been months since we went to the library, weeks since we went to the zoo, and days since I last sat down just to read a book outside of bedtime.

So, where am I now. I am not rethinking my participation in these groups, but I am realigning my priorities. I am going to spend the next few weeks thinking about how I can help facilitate better communication and a mutual understanding with the groups that I am currently working with...starting with helping people understand that when I am not with my children my time is precious and it will be respected or they will need to find someone else to do what they need.

I also have some big ideas about how to use the skills and interest I have developed with blogging and podcasting. I think it is going to involve some revamping an old site. Stay tuned. to pick up my wild little men.

Blessings and thanks for listening to me ramble.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

TURKEY Crafting

The last two years my sisters and our children have gotten together Thanksgiving morning to eat breakfast, watch the Macy's Day Parade and do a little craft. Last year we did Turkey Hats with paper feathers. This year we made Turkey Sculptures. I got the idea from one of my friend's blogs, Laugh, Paint, Create. The boys loved it, but I think my sister enjoyed it just as much. I am really going to miss these crazy days when my boys are older and might even sleep through the parade like I used to do. What was I thinking?

Nate hard at work.

The oldest one concentrating!

Aunt 'Chelle helping a nephew.

Aunt Tracy helping out too.

Ummmmmm! Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pictures of Me

I have a HUGE phobia of pictures of myself. This might seem a little crazy with all of the pictures I take, but I think it is probably the reason I always find myself behind the camera. I have noticed the increasing lack of photos of myself since I had the babies. I have always been a little shy with pictures, but now I all out hide.

This camera fear might have something to do with the dream of that first picture holding my was crushed when I went through three rounds of epidural and gallons of saline to have my first child at 9 pounds 10 ounces. The picture......well, there was not enough room in the room to back up enough to capture my entire face. It was the size of a city block. I nearly died when I saw it for the first time.

This "little issue" came up again when I received a phone call from my mother in law asking for me to send her a picture of myself. In all the pictures taken at the hubby's grandmother's 80th birthday, there was not one of me. I pretended to be surprised, but I am certain there were at least three or four. Where are they now? Deleted.....Bad Hair Day!

So, here is my attempt to break my fear of photos. I will post pictures of me right here on this blog every Monday. Not to be vain, but in attempt to get over this crazy issue with looking at myself. Why? Because I don't want to look back and miss pictures like this with me and my children. Plus, when I look at pictures of myself more than a year old, I usually think they are pretty good.

Challenge to my readers: If you have or take a picture of me, send it this way and I will be sure to post it.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas is UP

Thanksgiving CAMEand WENT.
Then it was time to bust out the Christmas decs......
Now, they are up and.....
we even have lights on the house. I know, it is not much but for us, Nov. 29th. It is a Christmas Miracle!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Little Holiday "Fist Bump"

I know that the holidays will be difficult this year without my mom, but with so much to be thankful for, it is sure to be a great season in spite of all of life's challenges. Yesterday, as I sat in church, I was thinking about some of the stresses of the holidays, when I began to listen to the sermon about being thankful. It was in that moment that I realized that God had prepared me for this very holiday season over the last few years with a couple of "little fist bumps."

It was Thanksgiving Day, 2004 when we found out we were expecting our first baby. This is a picture of me and JDC a little excited and very "freaked out." We had tried to have a baby for more than 9 months, I am not sure why we were surprised but we were!!!!Just a few months later we also invited our second baby into our home. I don't have pictures of finding out that piece of golden news, but I guarentee you surprised does not fully express the emotions we felt. Baby two was due on December 23, 2006. Sixteen months after we had son number 1 we had son number 2, two weeks early, December 14, 2006.

This is our family on Christmas Eve with our 16 month old and our two week old. With memories like this, the holidays will always be sacred time for me and my family!!!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Parties, Parties Everywhere

I am running around like a mad woman trying to get geared up for the holidays. I look at my calendar and FREAK.....why did I think it was a good idea to have so many parties, get-togethers, etc? Well, that is just who I am.

Rules I live and entertain by:
1. Have way too much food and then eat it ALL!!!
2. Always be ready for unexpected guests....the more the merrier.
3. Take a lot of pictures of the food
4. No mess = a bad day/party
5. Last minute planning works every time.....well, most every time. Vomiting child at the SS Ugly Sweater Party last year threw me a little off my game, but that is the only exception.

But, here is why I do it.

I love to just, "hang out" with my family.
I LOVE to Cook

(turkey from last Thanksgiving....that is my "helper")
Apple Sauce for recent Pork Wellington
Pork Wellington....ummmmmm!
The burnt...very broken two are mine....not the best baker.

I love to make things (especially food) pretty!

Friends, neighbors, friends, friends, friends.....Everyone is always welcome at the Curran House.

(pics from the Ugly Sweater Party last year)

I am getting excited already!!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

My mom would be 58 today. She was born November 13, 1952. It was not unusual for her birthday to fall on a Friday....Friday the 13th, none the less. She always joked about Friday the 13th being her birthday. I also remember my mom always being pleased that all three of her children were born on a Friday. I figured that this was just a convenient day of the week for two very busy parents. I never really checked this little fun fact out, but honor of my mother, I did. I used this birthday calculator. Sure enough, we were all born on Friday. I thought there was a chance she was born on a Friday, but mom came into this world on a Thursday.

She always loved this little poem. In fact, when she had my youngest sister, someone gave her a little porcelain box with these words on it.

Monday's Child is fair of face,
Tuesday's Child is full of grace,
Wednesday's Child is full of woe,
Thursday's Child has far to go,
Friday's Child is loving and giving,
Saturday's Child works hard for a living,
But the Child that is born on the Sabbath Day,
Is witty and wise and good and gay!

58 Things that Remind Me of My Mom
Yellow Roses
Soup Terrines
My Sisters
Pot Roast
My Hands
Table Settings
OU Football
Faberge Eggs
NCAA Basketball
My Boys (Sons and Nephews)
My Living Room Chairs
Birthday Parties
Herend China
My Wedding Ring
Cross Necklaces
New York City
Utica Square
Tuna Casserole
Harry Chapin
Little "yippy" dogs
a good meal
Christmas Stockings
Antique Stores
My Uncles
Awesome Kitchen's
Fresh Flowers
Note Cards
Polishing Silver
Diet Coke
Her Maroon Leather Briefcase
Little League Baseball
Crane Scissors
Williams Sonoma
Italian Gardens
Birthday Lunches
Skipping Breakfast
Red Shoes
Souther Living Cookbooks
New Mexico
Silent Night
Staffordshire Dogs
April 14
October 5
January 29

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hey Kids.....the Grand Canyon

I was so excited to sit by the window on the airplane flying out of Las Vegas. I looked up from my knitting and this is what I saw. I think this is just the edge....but, I am pretty sure it is the Grand Canyon. The boys were very impressed!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Curran Craziness

Last week was full of Halloween activities. So, I started the week in a mad dash to finish the 2 year old art work for the school carnival and auction. It turned out awesome, but it took 4 different shoots and a little photoshop to complete. I love how it turned out and it was a hot item at the auction.
I also had my supper organized aunt came to help me organize my home....we started with the basement. Her initial comment, "Oh My!" Really? I thought I was doing pretty good. Here is a picture of the entrance to my basement. What do you think?
Wednesday night the nephews joined us for the church carnival. It was a lot of fun, but Jesse thought it was a little loud. Nathan ate sucker after sucker and Adam is still looking for a place to bob for apples. I guess he took the Charlie Brown special to heart.
Thursday night was the school carnival. It was awesome. All of the mom's and teachers did a great job. The kids loved it and I loved shopping the auction.
And, I WON this!!!!!........... The artwork from the Stingray class. Adam's flower is the orange and red one in the middle. I call it the "Ode to Bedlam". I love it!!!!
Saturday morning the sisters and I went wedding dress shopping. I loved the "bird cages". Mary, not so much. However, she has promised me one to go with my Matron of Honor dress. :)
The boys and I Boo'd a few neighbors!
And then we went Trick-or-Treating!!!!

Nate was just along for a ride........and some candy.All in all it was a great week and weekend. I hope you all had a great Halloween!!!!