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Sunday, March 4, 2012

three then four

so it's the fourth and time for a picture of the four.  i love the end of the day when all are snuggled in jammies and comfy.  so tonight after baths {with ethan's hair looking all curly we took our picture.  except we were missing one and were being a little cheesy..


after a few pictures without him.  after we decided to just try again tomorrow for the four together a certain little someone decided that he was ready to have his picture taken.  but not without his hat.  so here are my precious four all together...and a bit tired.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

great grandparents

we are so very blessed.  both of my dad's parents are still living.  my kids have great grandparents.  great grandparents whom they love and adore. they both turn 89 this year and have been married over 67 years.  crazy right?  67 years!! my grandfather's heart is tired and already equipped with pacemaker and defibrillator.  my grandmother has alzheimer's.  we are moving to africa.

family is a priority to us.  we hope to instill in our kids that it is one of the most important things.  to honor, treasure and pursue it always.  so we are hoping to see my grandparents as much as we can before we go.  but it's a long drive.  and they live in assisted living apartments ~ which are small {and seem even smaller with little kids} and they tire easily ~especially with all the activity we bring with us.  and it's a challenge trying to balance all that.

so we're trying something new.  my dad and i will take each little person on their own to see great grandpa and great grandma.  they get their own special day with them.  it's a long day.  drive there, stay about 4 hours, drive home.  but it is sooo worth it to us.  for our kids to know their great grandparents and for their great grandparents to know them.  what greater gift can you give then relationship?

now mia got to go visit with my dad all on her own a few months ago so to kick off this little adventure of ours we got to take asher.  he was amazing.  on the way there he did great.  played some games for awhile but mostly we played "i'm thinking" ~ you know the game ... "i'm thinking of something ...." and then the rest of the people have to ask questions to figure out what you're thinking of.  he was the master.  of course the whole thing quickly got it's own little inside jokes as papa {aka my dad} always asked if it was a dinosaur.  or medieval times. it wasn't.  but we played for hours ~ literally.

we got there and had lunch in the cafeteria with all the other residents.  a little intimidating at first for a five year old but he was totally fine in no time and ready to play with great grandma and eat.  we tried to go swimming but kiddos weren't allowed to swim the day we were there.  big disappointment here as we had been talking about swimming with great grandma for days.  again, blown away by my sweet man's resilience and willingness to find something else fun to do.  we saw the new apartments they will be moving into in a few weeks.  we raced in the hallways with great grandpa marking off times and declaring winners.  great grandma taught him to play piano. and he sat so still and let her move his fingers over the keys again and again.  then politely asked if they could do something else ~ like look at his spiderman books.  so he and great grandma curled up on the couch and worked on numbers in his spiderman pages {hooray homeschooling}.  and the smiles and the hugs were so precious.  and oh how nice it was that asher came to visit them.  they introduced him to everyone.  they fussed and he grinned.  and my heart tried to treasure every little moment.  because regardless of who else remembers this precious day i want to treasure it in my heart.  as four generations talked and played and ate and simply spent time together and delved a little deeper into this connection we call family.  and the long day ... it was totally worth it.  and eli...totally knows it's his turn next.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

all the littles

oh the fun we are having with extra little kiddos.   yes, it's busy.  yes it's active.  yes, we love it!  the only bummer is that i still have to go to work and this week i have a few extra training sessions for work.  not sure they are missing me though.  pete is keeping them all perfectly happy and pleasantly busy.  they had an outing and went walking/playing/running at a local walking trail ~ one of our favorite places to roam.  and with such a mild winter going on it's the perfect outdoor adventure.

just look at all these cute little faces.  so much fun running and exploring the boardwalks.  it's always amazing to me how they can run the same trails and still see new things and feel like they are on a new adventure every time.  such sweet innocence and adventure.  pretty sure there's a lesson in there for me too.

love the cold little noses and rosy little cheeks.  all perfect for kisses and snuggles.  didn't get to be there when they first got home but was still ready to kiss all those little noses and sweet little cheeks.  and let me tell you with six kids there are lots of little cheeks to kiss.  and the giggles and running and laughter are pretty fun too.


i am so very blessed to have such a great husband who is so amazing with kids.  he is the personification of patience.  oh, i learn so much.  and he is always so creative with ideas.  oh, i am so blessed and so in love with him.  lucky me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

four, six, three

so steph {over here} has been doing this for awhile and i love the idea.  i never seem to have very many pictures of all the kids together.  so she has been taking a picture of her four kids on the 4th of every month.  clever huh??  so i wanted to add this this year and then i smiled because so did my friend love {over here}.  so i will be joining them ... and any of you who would like to join us.

so here's the picture for this month.


but see this month we don't really just have four.  this month we have six!!  oh yes we do.  we are super lucky to be caring and snuggling and giggling with my friend love's littlest ones while the rest of the family is  changing the world in uganda.  aren't we so lucky??


so those six little people actually are giving us the opportunity to see what it would be like to have triplets.  yep, for a little while we have three 3 year olds.  busy, busy, busy and blessed, blessed, blessed.


aren't they all so cute?!?!  think i'm gonna love this little project. yeah!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

asher's best friend

i don't know where to start this post.  i have tried to write it several times.  typed, deleted, tried again.  sometimes the words are hard to find.  sometimes the posts are not easy to write.  sometimes, life is just hard.  but i share this with you because it is my heart.  because a precious, amazing family needs a miracle and because i know you will pray with us.

so meet rusty.  he's asher's best friend.  they have been best friends since either of them can remember.  they are two peas in a pod.  they are rough and tumble.  they sword fight and run and jump.  they would entertain their mothers this summer jumping on the trampoline and practicing their karate moves.  they are all boy and they are all boy together.  rusty is like another son to us.  he blends into our family so easily when he's with us {so does his older sister when she is here with our mia}.  he outwardly is all boy and all tough.  but he is so sweet and so caring.  he always checks on ethan and is always the first ones to defend the girls or the mommies from the forces of evil.  you should see him with his mama ~ would melt your heart right there.

defending everyone from the forces of evil
well right before Christmas we got a surprise.  not the fun kind.  not the nice kind.  the kind that scares you.  the kind you hope to never get.  rusty had been having headaches for a little while and just not feeling right.  a little sleepy.  so his parents took him to the doctor and a scary, nightmare began to unfold.  over the next several weeks we learned that rusty had a brain tumor.  then we learned it was also along the entire length of his spine ~ on both sides.  then we learned it was definitely cancer.  then we learned the name.

it's pineoblastoma. it's incredibly rare.  and it's mean and it's nasty and it's not nice to kids ~ at all.  if you are under three they don't even treat it.  they tell you to take pictures and cuddle and enjoy every second that you have left.  if you are over eight your odds are better.  but rusty is only 4 1/2.  and the doctors were honest and they talked about all the facts and the course of treatment {there are only a very few doctors in the whole country who work with this horrible thing and all of them have seen rusty's tests and data and all of them have weighed in and work together}.  and then the doctors asked if his parents wanted the odds.  and as gently as they could they told them that asher's best friend has a 20% chance of being here next Christmas. 20%


and we talked that night.  over kleenex and wine.  and my heart broke as i watched my friend's do the same.  and i listened as they told other family.  and my already broken heart shattered even more.  i watched as dad pulled his sweatshirt hood over his head and watched video of his son and mama would get quiet and i thought the emotion would choke me to death.

and i went home in the wee hours of the morning. after hugs and prayers and plans.  and i cried.  and i got angry.  and i got still.  and i called out to my Father who loves me.  who loves rusty ~ more then any of us can even imagine or begin to.  and i placed rusty in His arms.  in the arms of Jesus and i prayed for a miracle.

and i know God heard me.  and i know He is working.  there are signs of it already.  and the support has been amazing.  the outpouring of love for this family will undo you ~ i promise.  i am overcome when i stop long enough to think about how much God is pouring out His love for this family through the community around them.  through people all over the country and even all over the world.  rusty's story is spreading and the number of people praying on his behalf is a true testimony to the LOVE God has for him.

he is strong enough to beat this!
and i share all of this to humbly ask you to join with us.  his parents are not shy about stating the facts or sharing rusty's story {and they are okay with sharing it here}.  we believe in God.  we believe in Jesus.  we believe in miracles.  and rusty needs a miracle.  he needs it now.  will you please join with us as we go after 20% like no group of people has ever gone after 20% before?  will you pray with us for rusty's miracle?  because God is good.  because is bigger then cancer.  because God loves this little boy.  and because with God, nothing is impossible.  from the bottom of my heart thank you.  thank you.  thank you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

snow day

weird weather here.  i mean weird.  it's winter.  usually it's cold and snowing and it stays that way for awhile.  but this winter has been totally different.  it's been unusually warm.  then over the weekend it snowed.  i mean it s.n.o.w.e.d.  lots of it.  all white and soft and perfect for playing outside.  the first really good snow we have had this year {even though we are already halfway through january!}.  and so the outdoors began to beckon us as the snow drifted down through the evening sky.
the whole family

away zooms asher
go eli go
so when we woke up to the beautiful blanket of white {and nice clear roads} we grabbed the sleds and my dad and headed out to go sledding.  it just made me think of all those norman rockwell, childhood memory kind of moments.  the kids all bundled up until only their eyes are sticking out.  rosy little cheeks from the cold.  mittens and gloves and snowpants and boots.  and giggles and smiles and crisp white snow everywhere.
papa, ethan {hiding in the middle} & asher
pushes from papa
and down the hill they went.  solely or in pairs or in any combination they could come up with.  up they would come dragging sled behind.  only to quickly zoom down again.  who could go the farthest, the fastest, the longest?  and ethan even went down ... a few times.  then he was all about being in arms and then being warmer in the van.  so we watched his siblings zoom down the hill again and again until it was simply time to eat and warm up.  to pile back into the van and blast the heat and head to mana and papa's for hot chocolate with marshmallows.
love how they love each other ... and how little they look

bye for now

Friday, January 20, 2012

choices

it was my lunch hour.  i ran across the highway to grab lunch quick at the gas station before the afternoon's patients arrived.  it was cold and snow crunched under foot.  the kind of cold that cuts through you and numbs hands in seconds.  i am hurrying back to my car.  away from the cold.

and he stops me.  bundled in his coat, looking a bit disheveled.  tells me he has lost his job.  he and his girlfriend have lost their trailer home and are headed to his parents to try to get back on their feet.  do i have any money i could spare for gas to get them to his parents in a town an hour away.

and i pause. and the lies of society and the walls of self-above-others scream to get in my car and leave.  rationalize that he is running a scam for money that is heard about on the news or in email.  feel almost offended that he asks me because i am so sure he is going to take advantage of me.  but i stop. and slowly my heart takes over. 

"let me see what i have in my wallet."  knowing i have about $4. then i go further against the protesting in my head.  ask him where his car is. {and the protesting justifies the asking, the involvement ~ if he can't answer then he's lying}. and he shows me a car next to a pump.  and i pull my car around.  and inside the girlfriend sleeps.  and i get out.  and i ask him how much gas he needs.   how full is the tank?  and he looks puzzled.  and responds they have only a little bit. 

and with the protests screaming and my mouth not speaking in the nicest tone me heart pulls out my wallet.  and my fingers are cold in the air.  and i see his breath as he watches me.  the girlfriend wakes up ~ our talking having woken her.  and she watches too.  and i lift the nozzle.  and with frigid fingers i swipe my card and begin to fill his tank.  and he watches.  and as the amount nears $40 he begins to protest.  "no really, that's plenty.  you don't have to do that. i'm sure that's plenty." he says.

and the lies that have been taught scream out.  see ~ he feels guilty because he's scamming you and you just spent 10x what you had in your wallet.  see ~ if you were going to fall for this you should have just gone with the $4.  and my heart wrestles and i fill his tank.  close the cap and replace the nozzle. and he starts to ask for my name and address to repay me.  and i stop him.  and the tender finally comes in my voice.  "no.  you just do the same for someone else when you get back on your feet."  and i smile.  and he blesses me. 

and before the protests can come the heart obeys God and i kneel next to him in his car.  ask to pray for them.  bless them with protection, provision and peace.  seat them in the lap of God and ask that He watch over them.  shut them in the car and watch them drive away.

and the cold comes back fierce and the wrestling continues the rest of the day.  i will have to tell pete.  tell him i spent $40 ~ might have been a scam.  but he rejoices when i tell him {and oh i am blessed}.  maybe it was a scam.  maybe it was not.  but he points out to me ~ what led me?  what did i listen to?  and i talk of my tone and my hesitation and my reservation.  and he talks of my action despite the conflict.  and he talks of a heart breaking forth with the walls of self-preservation down.  a heart that chose others over self.  and we talk of Jesus.  Jesus who reminds us that when we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, care for the poor we are really doing these things for Him, as if He were the one we were caring for.  and really if i'm going to make a choice don't i always want to chose Him?  maybe it was a scam.  maybe it wasn't.  but in the end don't i always want to chose to care for others.  to love others.  isn't that what He asks of us?  others above self.  love above all.  maybe, just maybe i am learning this lesson.  i am choosing this choice.