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Thursday, July 29, 2010

playtime

we spend alot of time in our backyard. alot. we are blessed with a nice size yard and a great playscape that the kids love. the kids spend hours out there swinging, sliding, driving and pretending. i love to listen to their playtimes and follow their imaginations. it's amazing to me. sometimes they are on a pirate ship. sometimes in a house. sometimes it's a rocket to the moon complete with space walks to rescue lost lovies that have floated away and must be reached by a quick evacuation down the slide.
eli's baby swing just got replaced by a big boy swing, much to his excitement. he had mia push him endlessly when it first got up and then she taught him how to swing on his belly. he still wants her to push him ... just while he's on his belly now.


asher is now the "little fireman" and is usually in his fireman outfit. he protects us all by putting out the fires and ensuring that everyone, especially his siblings are all okay. he drives to the fire and slides down the slide to be sure he can get there fast enough.


they had so much fun playing together on the slide and landing all in one big heap at the bottom. mia and asher would scale the slide while eli gleefully "crashed" into the on his way down resulting in tons of giggles and smiles and laughter. it's these moments when they all play together and laugh together and love each other that i think "okay, see we're doing something right." and it makes my heart light and i treasure it.


you capture - "play"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

transition

we have a transition going on in our house.
my little eli is growing up.
(asher did this to me too!)
he's realizing that he's a boy
which means he wants to be just like his daddy.
i am no longer the go-to person.
daddy is requested for everything ...
stories
playing
help with anything
comforting when he's hurt or scared
everything
eli follows daddy everywhere
does everything just.like.daddy.
so this is how i find him usually...
running up to daddy,
tackling daddy
following daddy or
in daddy's arms.

i miss the days when i was his world.
when i was his comfort, his safety
but i know he is learning
even at 2
what it means to be a man.
and that is something
i can not teach him.
so i am grateful and blessed
that he has a wonderful daddy
and that someday
he will be just.like.daddy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

so sweet


meet keyson. honestly one of the sweetest boys i have ever known. he is soft spoken and shy with the tenderest heart. mia is always running around church and forever bringing keyson with her where ever she goes. he is always the first person she invites to her birthday every year. she always makes sure that he is taken care of and never left out because he is a little more quiet then some of the other kids. and he so very sweetly just goes along with whatever mia is up to at the time.

well, he had these beautiful flowers growing in his yard. he had to pick one and he told his mom that he needed to bring it to mia. he insisted (or so his mom told me) that the flower needed to go to mia. so that's exactly what happened. he and his mom dropped by to present mia with the flower he knew she would love. he was right. it has been sitting on a table in her room ever since. isn't he so sweet??

happy birthday

so my sweet little eli turned 2 this weekend. how can that be?? didn't he just come home all swaddled in my arms? i love the picture above. he was still. he was close. he felt he needed me. that doesn't happen much anymore and my heart treasures those few precious moments when it does.

now he is 2. he runs ... everywhere. he jumps, he laughs, he flies through the air onto couches and chairs. he doesn't do anything quietly ... anything. his name actually means "mouthpiece of God" and pete often comments as we hear eli yelling through the house that he was named most appropriately.

he has some crazy hair. it is the most amazing soft blonde that will not stay down in the back. like the rest of him it beats to it's own drum and goes where it wants. my sweet little two year old definately has his own drum. he knows what he wants. he has a boldness about him that will serve him well when he is older. nothing frightens or intimidates him. he does not know what a challenge is. he does not know how to hold back. he is learning his independence and reminds us often that he has his own ideas about how things should go.

yet he is still a little boy who carries his blanket around by one corner letting the rest of it drag behind him. a little one with his thumb in his mouth when the activities of his busy day seem to over take him and his little body gets tired. a little one who loves to read. and though he's apt to throw the book at you it is only because throwing is his most favorite thing to do.

i have never seen a child more obsessed with balls. any kind. it does not matter. his birthday was perfect as each new box, bag and gift contained yet another ball of some kind. his little face just lit up each time. it was pure joy for him to discover so many new balls to play with. we play catch endlessly especially when i sit down to nurse his little brother (i am getting pretty good catching a ball single handedly and with my left hand let me tell you!). it melted my heart to see his smile and his excitement with each gift.

as daddy tucked him in that night he sleepily whispered
"ball".
"yes, buddy, you got a lot of balls today."
"ball"
"do you want to sleep with one?"
a very tired "yeeah."
and so he did. curled up with his ball he fell asleep.
adorable and sweet and adventurous and bold.
that is my little eli as he turns 2.



my little man with his birthday hat on!


(and yes, i made the cake. hooray for cake class!!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

where's ethan?

so i was in ethan's room as he was waking up from his nap. i heard him begin to stir and this was how he greeted me.

where's ethan??

there
he
is!!!
you capture - "black & white"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

berries

we went blueberry picking a little while ago with some friends. it has to be one of my favorite summer activities. i don't know why. it's always hot, there is no shade. this year i had to try to nurse ethan sitting in the dirt, practically under a bush so we could get a little shade.
but i love to fill my bucket with those berries
knowing we will make yummy treats when we get home
and nibble on them for days.


love to nibble on them straight from the bush,
and watch my kids eat way more berries
then they put in their buckets


i usually try to take a few pictures as we go and still try to at least fill my bucket so we have some to take home. well, this year while i was nursing ethan, mia grabbed the camera. she had a blast taking pictures (remember we talked about her love of photography here). so, 95 - yes, 95, pictures later she relinquished the camera and resumed her focus on the berries. so in honor of her new love all the pictures in this post are ones she took. including the ones below ....


aren't they silly??

isaac and the my boys got a hold of the bug spray and enjoyed "shooting" everything within range. needless to say, we had to make a little more when we got home.

grace, her favorite subject


proof that eli will NOT wear shoes ... anywhere.
and sometimes, it's just not worth the fight.
we found his shoes later
as well as a picture to prove when he'd taken them off.

and like her daddy she loves to take pictures of her feet.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

thursday thoughts

i can't sleep. haven't been able to for awhile now (not such a good thing with an 8 week old). i should be napping even now but i'm here online looking, learning, wondering. there is a stirring in my heart that continues to grow. it is with me always. as i look at my children, as i move through my day, as i sit quietly and especially when i worship. it is the most intense when i worship. it moves me to tears. it stops my heart. as i focus on the King of my life He shows me their faces, lets me feel their need. He breaks my heart for the things that break His. He shows me his children around the world who are alone, abandoned, forgotten.


their sweet little faces stay with me as i love on my own little ones. who is playing with them? getting their lunch ready? singing with them? laughing with them? who is there to hold them when their scared? to kiss away the boo-boos? to tuck them in at night? who is there to pray with them? to show them God loves them? who?

i can't escape these thoughts and though i am eternally grateful for my own wonderful four children i know i am being called to more. my heart is breaking even as it overflows with the blessing He has poured out on my life. i cry for them. weep for them in my husband's arms. pray over them and cry some more as i read about the beautiful ones who have found their forever homes. the ones whose faces now glow back at me from the computer screen. who now have someone to tuck them in, to remember their birthdays, to kiss their owies, to hug them, to love them.
but what of the 147 million others that are still out there? the ones who are still cold, hungry, scared, lost, alone? what am i to do? i know i am called to more. i just don't know yet what that looks like. in my dreams i hold them, lots of them. i kiss them and laugh with them. we chase each other and my own precious four little white faces blend with a sea of other colors as they all call me mama. i am there. i will hold them. i will comfort them. i will shelter them. but i awake and i am here. blessedly climbing out of bed to tend to the amazing four children that i have. to nurse a sweet little angel of a boy, to rescue a daring almost 2 year old from his own activities, to sword fight and be saved by my 3 year old and to draw, create or cook with my 5 year old.

it is hard for me to wait. to be patient. to know that they are there and i am here. i know His timing is perfect yet it is still hard. hard not knowing exactly what to do. it seems so obvious to say "adopt" ... but that still leaves so many. is it just adoption when my heart aches for so many more? when i think of bringing a single precious child into my family and my arms, the thought only brings me mild comfort. what is the plan? what am i being called to? their faces break my heart. i want to move now but feel i need at least the first step in the plan. so that is my prayer for now. not for the whole plan, not for all the details, but God, show me the next step. move my feet toward your broken children so that i can love them here before you get to love them for all eternity.

and these are my thoughts on a thursday. what are yours?

Monday, July 12, 2010

decisions

so i am not always the best at making decisions. i'm not talking about the little ones like where to go to dinner or what to do that day. those i can do, no problem. when it comes to big things i tend to drag my feet. if i'm being honest i think it's sometimes that i'm afraid i'll make the wrong decision. and with this decision i don't want to make the wrong one. you see, it's time for mia to go to kindergarten and this is how i find mia most days ....

always with paper and pen in hand writing, drawing, composing letters to her friends or family members. she often takes her notepad with us to the beach, on walks, or anywhere we go. she loves to learn. she was literally in tears a little while ago because she wants to be able to read so badly. i want to make the best choice for her ... and for us.

there are several choices from public school to charter schools. from 1/2 day to full day. but i'm also really seriously considering homeschool too. go ahead, call me crazy (you won't be the first). yes, i know i have three other little kids. yes, i know it would be one more thing to keep track of. yes, i know she needs to have time to socialize (believe me, i've heard this alot). but ... yes, we could do her school day in about 30 minutes. yes, it would offer us flexibility both on a daily basis and as a family. yes, we could go at her pace (um, think reading might be a focus for her??). and yes, to be honest she would be with me. i've been working for the past year and a half and i missed her.
there is something something in my spirit that is leading me to consider a choice i never would have entertained years ago. there is something about not sending her away right now. i know she is growing up. it's not about keeping her little. it's about keeping her close for a little while longer. about letting her (and us) enjoy our days a little while longer without schedules and deadlines and have-tos. it's about letting her begin to explore things in more ways then a classroom of 25 has the time or man-power to do. about getting to watch her learn and explore.

i'm open. i'm undecided. or maybe i'm not. either way i would love to know you're thoughts and ideas on the subject.

cherry picking party

recently we were invited to a cherry picking party. friends of ours have a cherry tree that produces fruit every other year and they invited us over to help them harvest some of the beautiful cherries. of course, when you have little ones (especially girls) any event is reason to have a party and naturally that includes cupcakes! so we packed up the kids and headed over. the daddies went back to get our ladders so everyone could have one and then into the tree we went.

the cherries were beautiful ... but wow, were they tart. my friends son did not seem to notice though. he was popping them into his mouth, pit and all.

go, rusty, go

the girls were the most into the actually picking. they had a blast trying to fill their bowls as full as they could and were having the daddies move the ladders to just the right spots so they could pick. all of this done in pretty dresses of course.
the boys wanted to pick but i think it was mostly just to climb the ladders. they often took breaks to ride bikes or play with the balls. asher did a great job and would fill his bowl, then go run and play for awhile, then start the cycle over. of course eli, was true to himself and either had a ball in his hand or was trying to scale the ladder by himself with a grown-up quickly following him as he usually picked the tallest one.

here daddy, you eat it!


when the picking was done my friend had cupcakes all ready to be decorated and then enjoyed. she let us borrow their cherry pitter (need to get one of those. love it!) and when we got home i made a cherry crumble. lots of extra sugar to curb the tartness but it was worth it. the dessert was great.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

squeezes

i can not find the cord to connect my camera to my computer.
i can not get any of my pictures online.
i am aggitated.

i search the house.
my frustration is growing.

my husband stops me.
he squeezes my hand.
not once, but three times
very gently

and i stop.
and i breath.
and i smile!

you see this is something my grandmother taught me when i was little
he's shortened it now
but the meaning is still the same.

the original goes like this ....
squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze
(do.you.love.me?)
squeeze, squeeze, squeeze
(yes.i.do)
squeeze, squeeze
(how.much?)
SQUEEZE!!!

the meaning is still the same
our love is more important.
we'll find the cord tomorrow.

(feel free to "squeeze" with your loved ones!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

fun, sun and friends

asher, eli, our new friend billy, mia, claire, emily & bella

some of my girlfriends from college drove up to see us. we met at the beach and had a blast. we had 7 kids 5 and under and they were all amazing! it was a perfect beach day where the sun was shining, it was pleasantly warm and there was a gentle breeze. after we figured out how to put up the little beach cabana to keep ethan out of the sun we opened up the picnic lunches. we were glad to all fit under the cabana as the seagulls were very happily trying to share our lunches with us.

little ethan

the kids had so much fun playing at the water's edge in the waves,


digging in the sand,
mia (above) and claire (below)


running on the beach and just enjoying our day.


asher found a friend who shared a sword!!

beautiful bella

emily had a great time helping me keep tabs on eli.

then we had a wonderful time playing outside at our house. it was one of those days where naps are forgotten and it's worth it to enjoy friends and a wonderful summer day. pizza for dinner and cupcakes for dessert. it was a wonderful day that ended in a pj fashion show as our friends packed up to head home. we were so very glad they came!!

wedding weekend

this past weekend we were able to celebrate my cousin's wedding. it was a wonderful weekend full of family, fun, festivites, love and craziness. mia was the flower girl and she completely loved every minute of getting to be with katie (the bride) and all the bridesmaids. katie was a gorgeous bride and we absolutely adore garrett. they are a wonderful couple and we have a great time with them every time we get to see them. we loved getting to share their day with them.

it was a gorgeous day filled with fun little moments and tons of family. mia got to go in the morning and get her hair done "with the big girls". she did great sitting in the chair patiently while the lady curled and twisted and bobby pinned her hair ... and then started over. her only comment to me was a simple "mom, this is taking a lot longer then i thought it would." the girls were wonderful to her and she had fun sitting with them, nibbling breakfast treats and coloring them all pictures. her little face was adorable as she watched every detail of the day. she was so excited for katie to get into her dress. she patiently waited her turn to take pictures. she proudly accepted the idea of helping the ring bearer down the aisle. she did great standing in front of the church (until her papa stuck his tongue out at her and she had to return the favor).

after the wedding she had a blast playing in the garden with her cousin tori. they were simply adorable and it was so fun to hear them giggle and laugh and play.
the boys did great. ethan hung out with mia and me and was cuddled and held by all. the big boys got to hang out with daddy and the extended family and play in the pool at the hotel. eli happily sat in the back of the church calling out mia's name at the top of his lungs during the ceremony. asher was completely transfixed by the whole event. he was heard numerous times telling people that katie was "the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in the whole world." he wanted to spend every minute of the reception with her and garrett. it was adorable.

the next morning we were able to have brunch with the extended family at my aunt and uncle's house. though i still don't feel like i got enough time with everyone it was great to connect and play together a little more. ethan and asher got some good time with great grandma which is always a wonderful thing.

and you know it's a good weekend when this is what you see in the rearview mirror about 2 minutes after pulling out onto the road. isn't he so sweet??