Our Blog has Moved!











Our Blog has moved!!!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit

www.JustOurLittleLife.com

And please update your bookmarks!

Thanks!















Saturday, December 5, 2009

christmas tree tradition

every year we head out with the wilson family (or as many of us as we can possibly get together at one time) and head to the christmas tree farm to cut down a tree. it's by far one of my favorite things of the season. we all go together. we get all bundled up, uncle dave brings the kids donuts and the christmas music starts playing.

the kids get to see santa,


we take a horse drawn ride out to find a tree,
(and yes, mia, asher and cousin liam got to "drive")

spend time running around looking at oodles of trees until we find just the right one,


take pictures, laugh, giggle and get in the mood for the holiday season.


uncle dave and asher heading off at the end of a wonderful day!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving!!! it's my favorite time of year. i want to share with you one of our traditions that i love. last year we found a branch outside and turned it into our thanksgiving tree. we cut leaves from paper, tie them with string, write what we are thankful for and hang them on our tree. then whenever we have anyone come to our house we have them add their leaf to our tree. it's so fun to watch our tree grow as thanksgiving gets closer and to see all the things we are thankful for. this year mia even wrote her own leaf. she was so proud to be able to write all of her letters and add her leaf that she had done to the tree.

so here's a short list of the things that we are so very blessed and thankful for this year:

*our Father God and His amazing love, protection, provision and presence in our lives

*family - near and far who all bless us and whom we all love!!

*my kids - i would write this any year but especially after being at an orphange with children who so desperately need someone to love them, someone to cuddle them, someone to show them how amazing they are and to tell them they are beautiful, wonderful and precious. i am so blessed by each of my little heavenly blessing and that we are all together.

*our little one on the way!!

*friends - who make us smile, support us, share their lives with us and bless us always

*amazing opportunities -in so many areas of our lives we have had opportunities this year that have been life changing from our marriage growing stronger, closer and more connected to the business world where pete is following God on an amazing journey to travelling to africa to love on the forgotten to being able to simply be present everyday with amazing children who show us God's face and teach us something new everyday

we love all of you and enjoy sharing our lives with you. we wish you the very best today and a very happy thanksgiving full of blessings and love!

the haircuts

so here are the pictures of our guys getting their haircuts. for eli it was his very first. he started off okay but had his moments where he was just not enjoying himself. a sucker soon solved all the problems ... or at least most of them. =) we may eventually get brave enough to try to cut his hair on our own but for the first one we did take him to the local kids place where he could sit in a fun car while the beautician worked quickly around him and was ready with a sucker when it got to be a bit too much. his hair is just so straight, yep, he got his mama's hair, that i'm afraid it will be terribly obvious if we don't do a good job. for now he just looks way too old all of a sudden. i know he's growing up but i'm so not ready for it. he looks like a little man and not like my little baby. i do love it though and he looks amazing.











as for asher with his sweet, sweet curls to hide any oopses we cut his hair at home. it is definately not his favorite thing to do and no fun thing to sit in or movie to watch has changed that. this time however he got it in his head that only mana could cut his hair so we called her up and headed over to her and papa's house for dinner and a haircut. the whole afternoon all he talked about was having mana cut his hair for him. the tune quickly changed when it actually came time to have it done. the tears started so daddy quickly stepped in and off the three of us went to the bathroom for a quick hair cut. i didn't get a before picture but it was soooo long. we're still thinking he may need a little more of a trim but this was a good first step. he just looks so handsome now (of course i though that before too!). my little guys ... man, how i love them!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

africa trip

i have had little time to sit and write lately but am trying to quickly get a post here about my trip. everything happened very quickly. lovelyn returned from her first trip knowing she had a son in uganda who they would name clayton elijah. the process of trying to get a court date to determine custody began and she and her family anxiously waited to get their entire family together. the courts would be closing for november and possibly december as well so a court date at the end of october was the hope and prayer.

i had taken the day off work thursday just to kick the last of a cold that did not seem to want to let go. pete had to really convince me to stay home and it turned out to be a true gift from God. my friend lovelyn called later that morning with news that their court date would be the following monday!!! we very quickly had to decide if i was going, when i was going and how we were going to make all of this work. you see since the initial decision to go with my friend we found out i was expecting our fourth child. the pregnancy prevented me from getting any of the vaccines recommended for the trip. also, in order to be at court on monday with my friend we would have to fly seperate flights and the flight was going to be quite a bit more then we were planning. we prayed, trusted God and committe to me not only going but being there with my friend on monday.

phone calls to doctors were made, lists drawn up, childcare figured out and errands run in a flurry of activity trying to get ready to go. we flew out on saturday and arrived in uganda late sunday evening. thus began a week of watching God move mountains that seemed to grow ever higher, move in ways the proved He was good and finish the good works He began in so many families. i won't go into all the details of every day but we learned that "no" in uganda means wait awhile, stay here, be visible, ask again, wait some more and the answer will belikely change to yes. it was a time of completely trusting God and letting Him move before us and prepare a way. there was simply no human way to get anything done in a manner that followed our western ideas.

while we weren't waiting in an office or chasing down paperwork we played and helped out with the babies. the baby home (aka orphange) we were at worked with kids from birth to ~3 years. it was a mix of emotions being there. to be completely honest and vulnerable part of my wanted to take all of them home and part of me just wanted to run back to my own children and not have to see what was really in front of me. though i knew these children were blessed to be in a home, off the streets and taken care of my heart broke that someone had abandoned, left, and deserted them. that no thought they were important enough to remember the day they were born. no one really knew how old they were, no one was there to cuddle them when they fell, snuggle them at night or even just change their diapers as fast as a mom here would do. please don't misunderstand, the home was understaffed, underfunded and doing the best they knew how to do. the kids were fed, clothed, looked after and the "mamas" (workers) were trying to take care of 47 kids under the age of 3 - a daunting task by any stretch let alone in an extremely poor country where in order to feed the kids water had to first be boiled and then used to prepare bottles or anything else. it's still hard when you're a mom to not want to change the life that these adorable and amazing children are currently living. how do you not look into one of those precious faces and decide that you don't have enough love to for him/her? how do you look at those little hands and not want to bend down to hold and touch them? how can you know that there are 147 million other kids just like this around the world that have been left abandoned and alone and not do anything?? how can it not change you? how do you return to your comfortable western lifestyle and not think about those kids every day and realize that perhaps some of those "have tos" in society are really not as important as a child getting taken care of and off the streets?

from the moment you sat down near the kids they were eagerly vying for attention and cuddles. they loved to giggle and play and run and climb all over you. usually though they wanted most to simpy sit with you, touch you, stay with you. even the older kids sat amazingly still for time with an adult. God was good and protected my heart and though i had my favorites i was able to be there and not completely attach myself to any of these amazing children. most of my little friends that were quite attached to me were not adoptable. they either had families that were already working toward bringing them home or were not adoptable period.


evenings consisted of feeding all 47 kids then attempting to either change or bathroom them, possibly bath them, change them and put them to bed. needless to say it was an experience i will never forget and though it was completely exhausting at times it was amazing to be able snuggle, sing, pray and tenderly put as many kids to bed as possible each night. the smiles and snuggles were all worth it.

at the end of my trip i had to leave clayton and lovelyn with one final mountain to climb. God was so good and they were able to quickly get his visa to the US and follow me home a few short days later. all in all their entire journey to bring him home took less then two weeks from their initial court date. the fastest time we had heard of prior to that was 3 weeks! it was truly proof of God's hand in their journey and process and i felt amazingly priveleged to be there to intercede, support, help and do anything i could to make the process easier. believe me i was as blessed by their new little man and his journey if not more so.

my road to africa

so i feel i should at least start writing about this more as a chronicle of the journey that God is taking me on. it never ceases to amaze me how He works in my life. so let's start at the beginning. i have always had the "thing" for africa. since the day pete and i started dating we talked about going, possibly about staying. we've entertained the idea of going several times but never felt like it was the right thing to do so we always just kept praying and listening and watching for what God was going to do. it truly breaks my heart to think of the millions of children who are in the world waiting for someone to love them. waiting for someone to wrap their arms around them and tell them they are valuable, important and meant to be here. waiting for someone to realize the gold that God has place inside them and that the world has tried to strip away with circumstances. i won't tell you how many times it has truly brought me to tears.

at the beginning of this year pete and i went away to talk about life, reconnect and just see where God was taking us. we try to do this at least a few times each year. while we were there two things relating to africa happened. one, pete clearly felt God say that we needed to get our passports in order because we were going to be going before the year was over. second, i strongly felt we were to support another orphan in africa. here's the catch. we definately didn't have money to do either. at pete's insistence i found everything i needed and renewed my passpot. i continued to pray about the orphan in africa. God told me that the things in the garage would cover it and to sell them. so that was our plan. to have a huge garage sale in the summer and use the money to support another orphan. we began to gather a rather large pile that we added to often.


in april friends of ours announced that they would be adopting from africa. they asked us to write a letter of recommendation for them. now i want you to understand this next part. though we completely love our friends it was not something we immediately jumped on we wanted to pray about it first. not really was this God's plan for their life (that's between them and God ... and something we felt pretty sure He was all for!!) but really what was HIs plan for us in the whole process. we knew God was calling us to not only write the letter but to stand with our friends and to do whatever we possibly could to make their dreams a reality, in our minds we were pledging to stand with their famly no matter what happened from here on out. from the day we wrote that letter to the day those babies are adults, on their own and beyond we will be here to love, encourage and support their family in any way we can. so i hope it doesn't sound bad that we wanted to pray first but to us it was a deeper commitment then a simple letter.


shortly after that lovelyn mentioned that they would be having a garage sale to raise money for their adoption. i knew immediately that the ridiculous amount of stuff in my garage was on it's way to my friend's garage. i told pete about the sale later that night and without blinking he goes "so i guess i'm going to need to get a truck to haul all that stuff over there." (you see why i love him!! i didn't even have to say anything, he and i both knew.)


as our families continued to talk they mentioned they would be needing people to go with lovelyn at various times so she would not have to be over there alone. again, it was that monent where your spirit just knows that agian, those thoguhts, conversations, feelings earlier were all leading you to that moment. of course we volunteered for me to go with her. she will travel in two weeks to pick out her precious new little ones. come home. wait a month then fly back to do the court things and to bring her sweet babies home. i will be going with her at the beginning of the second trip and can not tell you how amazingly excited i am. it is an answer to pray, a dream fullfilled and a trip i can not wait to take with my friend. i'm sure there are details i have forgotten but those are the highlights and proof of God's amazing goodness and love. more details to come!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

grammie

so on friday my grammie went to heaven. a few short weeks ago she was diagnosed with cancer. we knew at that point that there was a finite period of time left with her. we just didn't realize it was going to be so very small. thankfully we were able to see her monday while she was still alert and offering us the occasional smile. just a few short days later she quietly slipped from earth into heaven.

the pictures are from one of the last times i took the kids down to see her. we had no idea she was so sick. mind you she was a very private person who never wanted to be a bother to anyone so it's really anyone's guess as to how she was really doing at that point. it was a trip that we all looked forward to. i tried to get down to see her about once a month (which usually actually equated to about every 6 weeks). the kids would get so excited. they loved to call her on the phone and tell her they were coming. she always patiently listened to each of them trying hard to understand while they babbled away about anything and everything.


now please understand, as part of the not wanting to be a bother on anyone thing grammie would often tell me to stay home. the weather was too bad (even though it was just barely beginning to get cold out), the traffic might be bad (even though we were coming on a tuesday at nine in the morning), anything that might not make it perfectly easy. over time i learned how to counteract these little delay tactics of hers ... i had mia call her instead! =) grammie could never say no to mia. where as she would tell me to come the following week or so, mia could get on the phone, tell her we were coming the very next day and grammie would always say okay. always! the bond they had was so fun to watch. they both just lit up when the other walked into the room.

so here are a few of the things i will forever remember about my grammie;
*the twinkle she got in her eyes when she smiled
*how she always seemed to love us for who were were, not trying to change us even if she disagreed with you.
*her fierce love of IU basketball and her contradicting hatred for most of its coaches
*watching her help my kids fill the bird feeders that were so dear to her and a ritual we did at every visit
*playinig games at her house that my mom used to play (mouse trap, don't spill the beans, life and the whale game)
*burping contests (yep, it's true. and she always won!)
*how soft her hands always were
*the chimes from the clock in the living room
*that no matter how early you got up at grammie's she was always up ahead of you with a great smelling pot of coffee already going
*that she made my brother eric sign a contract that he would not injury himself, specifically his feet, while she came to watch us (the previous 2 times she had come resulted in ER visits for eric with injuries to his feet)
*KFC for dinner at least once when we were visiting as kids
*christmas at her house with handmade candycanes from the local candy shop, the train around the tree and the eternal one more cup of coffee that the adults always made us endure
*the random newspaper clipping that only in recent years were also accompanied by a note (before you just got the clipping wtihout explanation)
*you knew you were doing good when you were finally taller then grammie. she would stand back to back with each of us at every visit to see if we had finally achieved this milestone (mind you she was a rather short women but when you are growing up it's still a big deal!)
*that you always, always left her house with something. her love language was definately gifts.
*though she loved us fiercely and devotedly she could not bring herself to say the words very often. yet with my kids the words seemed to flow out of her effortlessly and easily.

i'm sure i could go on and on but i will end here. grammie, i miss you and i love you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

for a season...

every life has seasons. when you're in a family sometimes you have a season, sometimes another member of your family has a season and sometimes you have one all together. we've been having all the seasons all at once. so as we are beginning to change seasons outside here are the changing seasons inside our house...

*for a season we have been going through transition because

*for a season pete began a new company. i am so proud of him for taking this amazing step of faith especially when the whole world right now seems singularly focused on how bad the economy is. as he began the journey God moved him into the right positions at the right time and took him down an amazing journey. though things now look different then they did at the beginning (and they looked good in the beginning) they are now amazing and he is doing exactly what he is most gifted at. God has blessed him with a fabulous first major contract in california. and we know it means only the beginning and is proof that pete will work all over the country, not just near home.

*for a season i have gone back to work. three 10 hr days a week (which is really closer to 11.5 by the time i actually get out the door at the end of the day and do the driving). it's been a transition for all of us. we are so blessed though. so blessed i was able to easily find a job, so blessed to be with the company i am, so blessed to have a wonderful boss and great co-workers. so blessed that when i'm gone daddy is the one with the kids and their bond, though strong before, is amazing now and so very fun to watch.

*for a season i have been nowhere near a computer as my little ones needed the time and attention to ease the transition.

*for a season i have been on my own amazing journey with a loving Father. He has taken me from where i was and rooted me firmly in my identity as His child. lovingly, patiently He has lead me the past few months. taken away my stumbling blocks, rid me of my fears. He has shown me how He sees me and how amazingly he has been working in my life from the very beginning to take care of my every need before i even knew i had one.

*for a season we have traded dance lessons for swim lesssons and have discovered two amazing water bugs. they want to be in the pool every day and love to swim by themselves (with their little swim belts). they are so fun to watch and are constantly checking to be sure that you are doing just that!

*for a season we are enjoying having a little baby because this season is almost over. eli is scooting himself all over the floor and will get the crawling thing anyday now. his grin and his giggle are completely contagious. he happily sits at the table with the big kids and eats and though he still nurses i know this season too is going to go so quickly. for a season he is definately mama's boy - especially on the nights i come home from work. he has eyes only for me and i so treasure every second of this season.

*for a season we were potty training and hooray this season has almost ended (still have to work on naps and bedtime). the dreaded (yet somehow hilariously cute) words "i peed!" are seldom heard and in just a few short weeks asher took another step out of being my little boy and into being my big boy.

*for a season my computer has not wanted to load pictures or really work at all so i guess for a season, that is hopefully short, there will be no pictures.

*for a season i will write as i can and post when i am able and for a season that will be enough.

*for a season we have grown, changed, transitioned, learned, loved and deepened our connections to each other and the things in this world that really matter. let the storms of the world rage outside if they must because inside our house the season is warm and sunny. the laughter flows and the joy is contagious. my little ones are sleeping and there is nothing more peaceful and heart warming on the planet then sleeping children - especially if they are yours.

good night!