A Year of Growth for the Kitterman’s!!!

2019 has been massive for our family and turned our lives inside out! I couldn’t be more excited!

Starting with our surprise announcement of baby number 3 on the way! I was so sure I didn’t want more children. I was completely happy to have Abby and Asher. Yet, as I’ve gotten older I began to feel differently. The beauty that our babies bring into this world is beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I felt that adding to our family would only bring more love!! And why would we not want that?!

Growing our family felt right. So, my husband and I discussed it for quite awhile and decided now would be the best time. Once I became pregnant I immediately knew! Seasoned moms have this sixth sense about these things! Lol! For this reason I’ve had the “pleasure” of enjoying every single exaggerated symptom of being pregnant with our third child. It hasn’t been the easiest but, we’re making it through. Baby A is healthy and that makes me happy. My husband, Josh and our kiddos are so excited and have been angels in helping me with everything I need. I am into the second trimester and can’t wait to see if we will have a boy or girl! We may or may not already have names picked out! πŸ˜‰

The other milestone reached this year has been starting a business! Josh has relentlessly pursued his dream and it has shown to be worth all the blood, sweat, and tears put forth. I have stood beside him believing in his vision, pushing him and tugging him when needed but, always knowing he would do amazingly. A decade long dream has finally materialized into the Spud Doctors food truck! Josh, with his business partner Mark, are taking our little country community by storm!

My husband is a chef at his core. There is nothing that makes him happier than feeding people. It’s the way he loves and it shows 100% in his food. He effortlessly makes a dish and watches me eat it with the biggest smile in his face knowing there is nothing I love more. That kind of love isn’t taught or achieved through time. It is just in him. It’s who he is.

Seeing him grow as a person and as a business owner this last year has given me such a huge level of respect for him. I will support him in all he wants to do and help in every way I can to aid in his success!

There is no doubt 2020 will be crazy but, I’ve never been more excited for a new year and new challenges!

Psst….a second food truck could possibly be in the works! πŸ˜‰ …sssshhhhh though! No announcement of that just yet.

Celebrating Individuality

Both of my children have very big personalities! As they grow and establish their own uniqueness, I feel that it is very important to nurture that. They have ownership of their own body, soul, and mind. I find letting them choose how they want to express that builds character.

We must guide them but, not decide who they should be. I want my kids to feel confident and proud of who they are! I want them to love what makes them different from others but also bond over similarities. I celebrate them everyday by supporting and believing in them.

This photoshoot is about just that! Celebrating these beautiful little creatures that I love watching grow!

Abby Rain

She has grown so much in the past year! I can see her think about things more deeply than before. I notice little things here and there where her mind is opening to greater thoughts and creativity. I love her excitement to share what she loves with the world!

She is fierce when it comes to her baby brother. “Ain’t nobody gonna mess with bubba, momma. Nobody!” As she looks at me with fire in her beautiful blue eyes. She is my little super star and very much uniquely Abby.

Asher Dean

My little heartbreaker. This boy and his eyes make me just swoon! He has the kindest heart of any person I’ve ever known. With his infectious laugh and bright personality he naturally draws people into his happy little bubble.

As he gets ready for kindergarten, in a little more than a month, I find myself wondering where my baby went. He is so full of ideas and excitement about what school is going to be like! I am super excited to see him blossom but, also feel that twing of heartbreak that my kids are no longer babies.

My fears mostly come from a selfish place. Not wanting them to get older and start needing me less and less. But, I begin to realize isn’t that what we want? We want them to grow and be strong on their own! This thought immediately puts the more selfish one to rest and my excitement builds in knowing I get to be part of their beautiful lives and help guide them through it!

I believe as parents our role is to never force identites on to our children. It grows resentment and bottles up who they really are. One day all that built up pressure will explode. Some parents feel because they have similar DNA, that they own their children. Every move their child makes is decided on and they have no say in the matter. No human being should feel that way especially our own children. Let them think for themselves. Let them believe they are amazing the way they are. Let them decide!

When I say this I do not mean let your kids do whatever they want, obviously. -just don’t take away who they are. It’s important to teach them perseverance, strength in character, dedication, and compassion but, not force anything on them that isn’t in their nature.

No one is perfect. Not our children and definitely not us. We must celebrate our differences and teach our kids to be proud of who they truly are!

Boy, Have I Got A Story For You

You don’t live in the south and not have a story or two to tell. Being a southern woman you have to hold your own. I’ve been part of some wild times with more to come – no doubt.

From the night with a southern Aryan Brotherhood and being initiated into a biker gang…..take into account I’ve never had a motorcycle or wanted to be part of said gang…but you kinda don’t say no. To nights fishing in the gator infested swampsland of Texas and camping in that Airstream for like 2 weeks. Been completely knocked over by the waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

-Had bonfires bigger than a two story house and drank illegal moonshine
….got waaaaay drunker than I can recall. There’s that time in New Orleans at the French Quarter tattoo shop to street raced with a group of mexicans. I’ve explored abandoned theme parks and insane asylums. I’ve been spelunking and lost on the river….a few times. πŸ˜‰

I was broke down in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma for half a day…and that was before cellphones! I’ve been caught up in quite a few tornadoes…which is still one of my biggest fear to this day!

I’ve carried a gun for safety, needless to say I’ve put a few people in their place.

Let me tell y’all somethin’, being a sassy woman is in the south is a must. I’ve grown to be strong willed and very much southern. I’ve got all the stories to go along with it! πŸ˜‰

The Wall That Heals

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

Many Northern states held commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

It became offically known as Memorial Day and observed on the last Monday in May in 1971 as a federal holiday.

This Memorial Day my family and I had the opportunity to visit The Wall That Heals. It is a two-thirds scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring the lives of more than 3 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

The wall rises above you as you walk towards the apex in a chevron-shape. The names of 59,220 fallen soliders are listed in order of the date of casualty and alphabetically on each day.

It was brought to Crystal Bridges in honor of Memorial Day 2019 and is displayed on thier front lawn near the Bucky Ball Sculpture. Seeing the wall at night was so touching. I am humbled by the experience and beauty. It is a stunning tribute.

I am grateful for all who have served and for the sacrifice that every family has made. You deserve the highest of honor. From the bottom of my heart thank you for service and dedication.

Explorin’ Fiction

When people find out I’m an artist I get asked to do all sorts of different creative things. I have taken on a lot of new work and explored a variety of styles and mediums by doing this. Pushing the limits of what “kind of art” I do makes me a better artist.

On this particular piece I needed to create a concept for a fictional character in a game. A game I didn’t even know existed before this point. Although this genre of art isn’t something I’ve been into it still intrigued me enough to give it a shot!

I’ve been working on this for the last few months. Taking my time to land on something I was happy with and fulfilling the image in the clients mind was my goal. I worked through 6 sketches before decided on a pose and style. I reached out for resources from another artist more versed in creating characters of this sort as well. He was a very crucial aspect in the sucess of this project. πŸ˜‰ thank you❀

I choose to use graphite, color pencils, pen, with a mix of paint for the final image. Mixed media fit perfectly for the design I had in my mind. On final completion I am pleased with the outcome! My art is usually a non-fictional subject matter that I can scrutinize and perfect.

This piece of art was the opposite. Using different ways of thinking to reach a final product that I love opens my mind to possiblities that I may not have come to! Glad I took on a project that I didn’t know I could successfully accomplish and did so with results I’m proud of!

Being outside my comfort zone made me think in a different way and learn from that. I thrive in this type of environment! I had lots of fun!

Now that this is completed I have jumped into a collaboration with an artist resulting in me eating yummy things! Art & Food…win win for me!!! πŸ˜‰ I will be telling y’all about it very soon!

My Inspiration

For all the things my arms have ever held, the best by far is you.

Everyday I grow closer to the momma y’all deserve. Some days I stumble. Hell, some days I crash and burn. On those days especially, I am most grateful to have your beautiful hearts close. Grateful I can hug you and kiss you and snuggle you. Grateful you accept my apology when I know I’ve lost my temper. I aspire to be as giving and loving as you are.

You lift me up with the simplest little grin. Your big ole’ baby blues melt my heart every time. You are the inspiration for all the beauty I share with the world. I find the most joy in these ordinary moments that make up an extraordinary life. How did I ever get so lucky? πŸ’›

Follow @happythoughtproject

Bentonville O.G. ;)

Bentonville is a tiny little spot of heaven in the middle of nowhere. Undiscovered in its charm and small town uniqueness, a place I have always been honored to call home. In the last decade or so Bentonville has drastically changed! Northwest Arkansas’s metropolitan area is one of the fasted growing economies in the U.S. and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping!!!

It comes as no surprise to me that other people have noticed and love our beautiful little town. Located in such a lovely part of our country it’s so appealing in rich history and southern charm, what’s there not to love?! We’re so blessed with the benefits provided to our community by the many corporate headquarters located here. They help keep our country’s commerce running and fuel innovation throughout different industries for the future of the world! In turn making our community even more diverse and expansive as we move forward.

I recently had a friend, I’ve known most of my life, tell me she is coming to visit and wants to know what to do when they come! I was so happy to tell her about everything there’s to do here now! With all the growth and excitement I feel like sometimes I can’t even keep up with what all is happening! I got to the end of the conversation and realized I sounded like a travel agent for Northwest Arkansas! I get excited about sharing!!!

Most people leave their hometown wanting to seek bigger and better things. I feel like the bigger and better things have coming to me! I went to art school and then the art came here! How much luckier can I get?!

From the beautiful recently developed walking and biking trails that wind from Bella Vista all the way to Fayetteville to local breweries there is so much to experience in Northwest Arkansas! Pinnacle Hills, in Rogers, Ar has a beautiful sprawling outdoor mall that can keep you shopping until your hearts content…or your pockets empty! πŸ˜‰ Bentonville’s 8th St. Market and the Art District is constantly evolving with innovative new businesses enriching our community with fine art, amazing food, and custom shops. Bentonville isn’t the only amazing little town here either! All of Northwest Arkansas is expanding at an astounding rate! Fayetteville Ar. is one of the top 5 best places in America to live, according to U.S. News & World Report in its annual β€œBest Places to Live” report. Every industry here is seeing a massive boom, adding to our ever growing Arkansas based businesses and communities!

What does that mean to the O.G.’s?! When I say O.G., being that I’m only 31 I can only go back so far, I know there are much more legit O.G’s! If any want to chime in please feel free to add a comment! I’d love to hear your stories! Locals have loved Bentonville before it started to evolve and become “cool”. We’ve watched how beautifully our sleepy little town has become a hub of new culture and interest from people around the world.

Growing up on Main St. and having relatives living all around downtown my entire life I have countless memories that make the Bentonville Square my favorite place! As a kid I remember spending time around the fountian downtown where only a few lawn chairs and a couple good ol’ boys playing folk music on Saturday nights filled the square. The farmers market was only about 10 booths and they only sold vegetables! When the coolest thing to do was walk around the Wal-Mart on Walton Blvd. and see ALL your friends doing the same!

Spending afternoons with my siblings at Bentonville Public Library, which at the time was located in the old Massey Hotel that is now Phat Tires Bike Shop, was my favorite space to pass time. The same place that sparked my love for art. Seeing a 3D model of Crystal Bridges with stars in my eyes. When I was just 11 years old, Crystal Bridges was just a concept living in the lobby of the library. I would see it every week and daydream about what it would be like. How it would open up my eyes to the world of art! I never imagined that I would get to experience it with my children! Literally puts the biggest a smile on my face! My love for Bentonville and the pride I have living here is grandiose! I absolutely love it and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

But, with this excitement and huge growth I also wonder how it will change our identity. There are locals opposed to the growth. They don’t like all the “newness” and change. I do not see change as a bad thing, uncomfortable at times-yes but, always an opportunity to become better in a new direction! That being said I wonder if we will lose our small town charm along the way? What will we become when there are 100’s of thousands of people living here….or even millions?! Will we get that big?! What will Bentonville look like? Will we lose our charm we are so dearly loved for?

All questions I am anxious to see play out. One thing’s for sure change is here and I am one to embrace it! ❀

*all photos are taken and copyrighted by Courtney Kitterman