Margaret (Curtis) McDaniel + Curtis McDaniel = Curtis.Squared

April 29, 2018

Introducing the newest McDaniel

Welcome baby Drew! Here's some fun facts about Drew and his delivery because I know some of you are going to want to know - feel free to skip if it doesn't interest you:
  • I labored with Drew the longest - 25 hours.  I didn't progress from 4:17am until 10pm even though I was having lots of painful contractions/back labor because he was in the posterior/"sunny side up" position.
  • I was sent home once, almost twice, because of the lack of progression.
  • Even though I have many fears related to needles/pain/medical stuff, I felt the most positive and empowered throughout this labor after meeting up with an amazing doula, Leah Garner, and having a private 3 hour lesson with her about coping with labor.
  • I had 2 mantras that I would say when contractions came - "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (from Philippians 4:13) and "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." (from Psalm 56:3).
  • Curtis was a rock-star support person - giving me massages, helping with various laboring positions, and reminding me of the mantras when I couldn't!
  • I have had each child delivered by someone different - Anna and Kate were delivered by male OBs and this time, midwife Sherah Albright.
  • I pushed for only 16 minutes with Drew!  45 minutes with Anna, 30 minutes with Kate.  Each time it has gotten quicker!
  • We had 3 RUF students take care of Anna and Kate until Papa arrived and took over.  Thank you to Sabrina, Tana, and Sarah!
  • Huge shout-out to Papa (Curtis's dad) for caring for Anna and Kate for over 2 days until we came back from the hospital! He did so much to serve our family and we can't thank him enough!
  • We decided to decorate his nursery with a superhero theme. Ironically, the new movie, Avengers: Infinity War, moved up their opening date to be the same day as my due date! We thought that was pretty neat!
  • We were slightly nervous about what Prince William and Kate Middleton were going to name their son (born a day after Drew), hoping that they didn't name him Andrew! 
  • We have decided that this child will complete our family, but I was so concerned that he wasn't actually a boy that I had a hard time getting rid of all my girls' clothes until he was born! (I only had one ultrasound for this whole pregnancy.)

As for his name, we had decided we wanted to name him after an apostle because they point others to Jesus (Matthew and Luke were 2 other top contenders). What we liked about Andrew was that he was one of the first apostles to be called by Jesus and he immediately shared the good news with his brother Peter (John 1:40-42), who was pretty foundational in the church. We pray that Jesus would be so precious to our Drew that he would bring others to Jesus also. Curtis was chosen as his middle name after both sides of our families. My maiden name is Curtis and Curtis is the third, named after his grandfather and father.

One special story to share about how God has already been using Drew to point people to Jesus -- yes, he was on his way into the world and already God was at work in and through him! I was preparing to get the epidural and I was really nervous about it. Curtis and I have always read Psalm 56 whenever I am having my blood taken, getting a shot/IV, or the epidural.  Well, the anesthesiologist had me in a position that made it pretty difficult for me to the read the Bible so Curtis had to just read it for me. After Drew was born, the anesthesiologist actually tracked us down and asked us what version of the Bible (ESV) Curtis was reading. He shared that he had a hard time reading and understanding his version at home, but he could understand what Curtis was reading and wanted to get the ESV. Curtis also decided to recommend a particular study Bible to him that would give him notes to help him as he read. He was so appreciative and shared with us that he had never been interested in reading the Bible, but there was something about his time with us, giving me the epidural, that changed his mind.  We are praising God that he used Drew's arrival to point this anesthesiologist to Jesus! We are praying that he does get the Bible and God uses it for His glory!

It's crazy, but here we are now already a week later with this handsome little man!
I think this one makes him look strong and mighty! :)

If you've made it this far, thank you for rejoicing with us! The girls are smitten with him and we have had a ball getting to know this little guy.

April 2, 2018

Kate is 3!

On March 18, Kate turned 3! Since we'd already had her birthday party and celebrated at Chick-Fil-A, we kept it pretty low-key.
We sang to her with candles in the pancakes.

She enjoyed opening her gifts!

She especially loves these Trolls figurines and her tiara.

Oh yes, and this owl backpack!

After church, we had more singing to the birthday girl. Anna and Kate have had us singing to them for their birthdays for the past month!

Kate has started having these funny reactions, she's so silly! We're so thankful for this beautiful girl that God has placed in our care. She brings so much joy to us and we can't imagine life without her!

An Extraordinary Visit!

For those of you that have been following my blog for years, I'm sure you've heard about my dear friend, Mrs. Warren.  She and her husband are missionaries in Ukraine and we rarely get to see each other these past few years. Besides a quick visit with them last May on our way to RUF Summer Conference, I don't think I had spent any time with her since we moved from Savannah! It was such a blessing to have her squeeze in a quick trip to Indiana while she is in the States.
We didn't get too many pictures of just the 2 of us on the visit, but apparently we like to take pictures in front of Chick-Fil-A restaurants!
A lot of our time together included preparing for our baby's arrival! She helped me to wash all sorts of little boy clothes, narrow down the homecoming outfit for our son from the hospital, and even cooked some freezer meals.  It was a huge help and I am so thankful for the ways she served me and our family.
Anna took this picture while we made freezer meals :)
She also got to spend time getting to know our daughters better, which she called "Little Margarets." Here are some of the highlights below: 
She brought this purple nailpolish and painted their nails (and mine too)!
Anna taught her "The Chicken Dance"

Anna and Kate loved brushing her hair

They spent their quiet time coloring with her
She bought them some of their new favorite beanie boo clips!
It was nice to share life with her. She gave Curtis and I the opportunity to go out with friends and she tagged along for our bi-monthly mom's group that I organize.  Here were a few cute pictures of Anna with some of her buds:

Kate's birthday was just about to happen and she had requested going to Chick-Fil-A for her birthday.  Since her birthday was on a Sunday, we went a little early and had Mrs. Warren join in the fun!
We learned that the way to get Kate to enjoy being sung was with ice cream, not cake!
Anna had a great time too, she just really likes making goofy faces these days
Before she left, I got to spend some one-on-one time with her, much like old times when she would come and visit me when I was in college. We went to my favorite coffee shop where we were able to catch up and connect. It was so refreshing! She and I were able to spend time praying for one another and just enjoying each other's presence.  The time together went by so quickly, but I wouldn't have traded that for anything!

March 13, 2018

Adventures at Imagination Station

On March 10, we celebrated both Anna and Kate's birthdays with a joint party at Imagination Station!    Their birthdays are about 3 weeks apart (and 2 years) so we decided to do this again, much like last year.  Here's a picture of most of the kids that joined the fun:
And here's a picture of most of the adults too!
We decorated pretty simply this year - I put up my favorite pictures of Anna's fifth year...
...and Kate's third year.
Imagination Station was having some special extras on Saturday so we also were able to explore a firetruck! 
These 3 are in Pre-K together and they had a great time exploring the science center together.
Kate seemed to be pretty happy with the food (except when the cupcakes were brought out).  Apparently, she really doesn't like cake!
Here's her response as we sang to her.  I think she was trying to make herself invisible!
We had a liquid nitrogen ice cream demonstration and all the kids (and adults) loved trying the samples after the ice cream was made.
I think everyone had a great time!
The girls were glad that Papa made a special visit to attend their birthday party also!

Anna is 5!

On Anna's birthday, we celebrated by opening gifts...
 ...and then we headed to RUF Midwest Winter Conference. This little monkey, Coconut, was one of her favorite gifts from us.  Anna chose to celebrate as a family by going to McAlister's for lunch!
The conference is at the Abe Martin Lodge in Brown County State Park.  (We used to be unhappy that it lined up with her birthday, but now it seems to be a blessing!)  They have a lovely indoor pool area and I think we could have just swam there and Anna would have been happy for her birthday!
I think these 2 were pretty exhausted after all the swimming.
 It's hard to believe that our oldest is now 5! I just completed her baby book and it was emotional for me!

January 18, 2018

Papa, Chicago, Florida! Oh My!

We had a very busy December (and early January) and I will try to document my favorite times through this post.
Papa came to Indiana to spend special moments together and celebrate Christmas.  He and Anna decorated yummy sugar cookies together!

We took him to the giant gingerbread house at Purdue...

...and the HUGE Christmas tree too!

Papa gave the girls a "Frozen Christmas," where most of his items were from the Disney movie.  Here he is reading one of their new Frozen books before bedtime together.

Next up, we went on a candy cane tour at a local candy shop in Lafayette - McCord's. We each made our own candy cane! I don't know why we didn't do this for the last 4 Christmases in Lafayette, it was so fun!

A couple of days later, we went on a short trip to Chicago.  We had originally planned it in October, but it was rescheduled to mid-December when Curtis's mom passed away.  Anna and Kate were reunited with their pal, Penny.  We also got to meet her precious lil sis, Amelie (not pictured).  It was so kind of the Fields to squeeze in some time with us before they left for Christmas!

Thanks to Aunt Megan, we went to 2 museums.  Curtis and Anna posed with Sue, the T-Rex at the Field Museum!

This perspective was incredible - you can see how big Sue is compared to Anna and Kate.

We went to the Adler Planetarium, where Anna and Kate loved to play on the machines where they could prepare for blasting off.

They had such a great time that they didn't want to leave!

We rarely get pictures of ourselves, so we took a selfie in front of the Chicago skyline.

We hadn't seen the Ortlunds since seminary graduation in 2009, back before any of us had children!  It was neat to see our kids interacting and playing together. The Ortlunds were nice enough to come downtown and brave the cold with us!

People kept commenting on how we had our hands full! ;)

Fast forward a couple of days and we traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to see my side of the family! I especially enjoyed getting to see my dad in action as he directed the music at Pinewood's Christmas Eve service.

On Christmas Day, we visited with several family members, including 2 uncles (not pictured), my grandfather (not pictured), and my grandmother (my namesake).

I struggled to determine which of these pictures I liked more with Anna and Grandmom!

The following day, we spent some quality time with some other special grandparent figures in my life, Grandpa and Sheila. 

We went to their favorite restaurant and we got this cute picture with Grandma.

The day after that, we saw my dad's 2 brothers and their family. We met in Port Orange to make the drive easier on all parties.  (It was a good halfway point.)  I rarely get to see them and it was really nice to catch up and spend some time with them!

Anna and Kate LOVED spending time with their cousin (which is actually my cousin), Elle.

We spent the next several days hanging out with Grandma, Grandad and Uncle Benny!  Kate and Anna would take turns riding this beloved horse at my parents' house.  

Kate was quite good at pouring sprinkles and icing on the gingerbread cookies!

I thought this was a cute pose that Anna did at my favorite childhood park!

We enjoyed spending time outside since it's not very often we can in Indiana at this time of year!

We welcomed a new year - 2018!

Anna and Kate are still loving these little animals that Grandma and Grandad gave them!

One special memory of this trip was when Uncle Benny read his self-published children's book to Anna and Kate!

While we were in Florida, it actually got pretty cold so we just stopped at Vilano Beach quickly on one of our dates to say that we saw the ocean! My parents gave us 2 dates while we were there.  Anna and Kate loved it because they had "grandparent dates" whenever we had a date.  If only we could do that more frequently!!

Lastly, I had a play date with a good friend from high school, Ashlee. Our kids are around the same age and we try to get together whenever we're in Florida.

The kids had a great time! (You can't go wrong with Chick-Fil-A!)

Anna, Kate, and Grandad's favorite time of day was when they would watch Olaf's Frozen Adventure  together.  I thought this candid shot was sweet.

So, that was our crazy but fun Christmas break (if you made it this far)!! I cut out A LOT just trying to make this one blog post rather than breaking it up into lots of little posts.  We're happy to be back home, not living out of a suitcase, and getting back into our routine!