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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

crazy busy (non-blogging) life

so it seriously has been like forever since i was on here.  okay, maybe not that long but it's been long enough.  aaaand, asher's crying.... be right back.  okay, let's try again.  see, this is why i haven't been on here.  i have 4 kids, 4 little kids and for the past several weeks that has been enough.  i mean that in the most wonderful way.  they have just been the focus.  being their mom and focusing on family and what we're doing and where we're going.  and ya know, sometimes (okay alot of the time) it makes me tired. 

usually it's the good kind of tired.  the been playin' outside, runnin' around, visitin' friends, seein' family, laughin', plannin', playin' kind of tired.  but there are times lately when it's been the not so good tired.  the tried to do too much in a day, got too focused on the list, tried to own stuff, problems and situations that were not mine to own, let my feet slide off my firm foundation kind of tired.  i'm not such a great mom.  no, really, i'm not.  not on my own.  but when He's in control of my life, when i let Him lead me, guide me, speak for me ... i am an amazing mom. and i am not tired....well okay, the tired doesn't get to me.

but i am off the subject and should be hitting the highlights you've missed over the past little bit here.  soooo let's start with the next thing after visiting the "greats".  my sister-in-law came to visit for almost a week.  which pretty much meant we got to live at my parents too.  we got to introduce her to ethan and we got to meet our newest niece laila.  the two little ones were born 8 days apart.

we got to play on my dad's boat (yes, technically it's my parent's boat but really, it's my dad's boat if you know what i mean). and swim in the lake and jump off the boat and float around and enjoy that we have a great lake so close.

we attempted the impossible and tried to take a picture of all 6 of the grandkids together.  it was hilarious and yes, we have to teach papa to stand behind the camera instead of to the side when trying to get kids to smile.  pete did the rapid fire technique with the camera and (i am not exaggerating) took about 50 pictures of the kids.  and you know what?  we still didn't get them all smiling or looking at the camera at the same time.  instead we got a ton of pictures of our kids just being our kids.

then we had to push our luck and put mana and papa in the mix too.  just to see if we could get them a picture with all of their grandkids.  same 50 pictures.  same result.  real life kids loving their grandparents and not caring about the camera.

the past week i have to be honest i was just too tired to stay up late to write.  we did decide to homeschool mia this year.  it's just the right decision for us right now. soooo, i have been working on trying to figure out where in our little house this was going to occur, getting things ready, organizing, thinking, reading and planning.  i don't want to make homeschool sound hard.  it really isn't that bad.  i was just trying to get it all done in a week and i am a planner and organizer by nature, especially with new things.  oh my!  so more to come on school but for now my amazing 5 year old will get to stay home and play and explore and learn and just be 5.  and that's just the way we want it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the greats

we spent this past weekend with the kids' great grandparents.  my grandparents live in a retirement community about 5 hours away.  and though it's not that far, with little kids it is that far.  but the kids are super lucky to have great grandparents.  great grandparents who adore them.  and that is a relationship we really want to nurture as much as possible. 

what amazing heritage they bring to our family.  amazing insight.  amazing stories. amazing examples.  they have been married for almost 66 years now. 66 years!  how amazing is that?!?  what a beautiful example of love, commitment and the true meaning of marriage.  this is what i want my kids to see.  that marriage can stand the test of time.  that this is their inheritance.  a loving, committed marriage.
so we spent our weekend just visiting.  no plans, no agenda just being together.  we stayed with them in their two bedroom condo.  yep, all eight of us.  plus their dog.  and you know what. it worked.  the big kids loved that they got to sleep in the sun room.  we walked the dog - a lot.  i think poor spunky began to dread the sight of his leash.  we learned how to feed the birds and watched them quickly find the food we left out.
 we got to talk alot and get to know each other better.  i love the picture below of asher and great grandma deep in conversation.  when the kids went to bed we got to hear stories about my grandfather's childhood, his family and the things he remembered of his grandparents.  oh, if only we had had a tape recorder.  it will definitely be with us the next time we visit.

we got to swim in their pool.  we got to get fresh midwest summer corn.  we got to ride on their boat.  poor asher was nervous.  really nervous.  but great grandpa was great with him and daddy held him and in the end he smiled up and said (unprompted) "great grandpa, you are a great captain.  thank you for taking me on your boat."  and isn't that what it's really all about?  standing together as a family when you're scared (or whatever) and supporting you through those things, letting you emerge on the other side braver, stronger and more confident in your self.

and in the end, we got a picture of our amazing little family - supporting each other in great grandma's fun blue chair.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

it is what it is

should be writing something.
should be folding something.
should be washing something.
should be reading something.
should be cleaning something.
should be going to bed.

but today was not about the "should be's". 
today ended up being about other things. 

about lots of snuggle time. 
about watching a piece of my "type-A, too focused on the to-do list" self slide away.
about listening for the hundredth time to a story that was worth telling 100 times.
about cancelling plans with adults to focus on kids.

about letting them make mistakes and messes.
even when i am trying desperately to clean the house. 
so they learn. 
learn the activity and learn that it's okay to make the mistake
as long as you clean up the mess
(do grown-ups know this??  it's okay to make a mistake. i wonder)

today became simply today.
it is what it is.
and that's okay.

Monday, August 9, 2010

da bears

over the weekend we headed to chicago to finish celebrating eli's birthday.  we opted out of the normal birthday party thing, trading it in for the bears family night.  we had never been and thought our sports fanatic would love it.  we were right! 

they had all kinds of things to do before the game.  we got fun bears necklaces that turned the back of everyone's neck blue.  the kids got to attempt a field goal and got bears shaped silly bands for their efforts.  we got to hear the percussion line play (the same line that plays as the players enter the field).  they had a band playing and the kids loved dancing in the grass while we waited for the rest of the family to get off work and join us.

eli was in heaven with all the ball things that were going on.  once inside the stadium things actually slowed down as the team was practicing (we thought it would be more of a scrimmage).  eventually though they went to some 7 on 7 plays and then even a few 11 on 11.  eli had a great time yelling "FROW IT" and "OOOOH!" when a player missed a catch. 

we were waaaaay past bedtime anyway so we decided to stay for the fireworks.  well, the show ended up being right over our seats.  i have never been that close to fireworks. ever.  with each kiddo in a different grown-ups lap and lots of ear covering we had a good time watching them and seeing all the pretty colors and designs.

at the end of the night i asked the kids what their favorite part of the day was.  the response - "getting candy".  seriously??  yup.  see uncle dave handed asher money for candy toward the end of the night and he immediately grabbed uncle jimmy to take him and mia to go find some.  it was the highlight for the big kids that they got to get candy so late at night.  in my heart i am believing that really it was the time together as a family and all the fun things we got to do and see.   .... okay, and the candy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

thursday thoughts

my house is quiet.  it's not even 9 here and everyone is asleep.  the dishwasher is quietly humming (oh how i have a love/hate relationship with that machine) and the clutter is mostly back where it belongs (only a few things left to grab before bedtime).  it's a peaceful quiet that doesn't happen often.  i love our noise, our activity, our craziness.  but the peace is nice too.

i'll be honest ... it's a little easier to think in the quiet.  and i find my mind moving in lots of directions tonight.  just flitting from one place to the next. gently landing in one spot for a brief second and then off again to another one.

mostly though i am waiting.  i am completely enjoying my life.  i spend every day in the moment with my kids.  but in the quiet, i know something is coming.  i know my answer is yes.  i just don't know exactly what the question is yet.  it begins with my Father softly whispering "will you...." into my heart and my heart is aching to say yes.  but first He must finish His question.  i don't know what the question is.  i know the topic.  i know the subject.  i don't know the specifics.  it's hard.  the waiting.

then i wonder.  do i have to know the whole question?  can i know only part of it and begin to move?  i know this is really how it works but i just feel like i have so little to move with.  please don't misunderstand.  i know i will not get a detailed instruction plan that will take me through the next 5 years. or the next year.  or even the next month or week.  i guess i just feel like i need a little more direction before i began the journey.  but maybe i don't.  maybe i know enough ... maybe. 

no matter how much i know in my head, i know in my heart i will follow Him wherever this journey takes me.  because i know He has only good things for me.  i know He has plans for me.  i know that i know that i know that He loves me.  little me, with this little life, and all my "stuff" and He, wonderful, amazing, creative, powerful Him, loves me.  how can i not follow?  how can i not say yes?

what do you say?  do you know how much He loves YOU?  yep, you.  just as you are.  He's proud of you.  did you know that?  it makes Him smile to see you.  He thinks you are amazing.  how do i know?  because that's who He is.  because when i think about the way He loves us it fills my heart so much my eyes leak.  and did you know that nothing; nothing you can do can seperate you from His love?  His love is that strong.

so i'm saying yes. and i think i might be taking a step.  and we'll see where that step leads.  because you know, that step will lead to the next one and the next one. and maybe the one after that will actually require a turn instead of following the path i thought i was on. but if i hadn't taken the first step i wouldn't have gotten to the turn. so in the end, even if it ends up looking totally different then i thought it would in the beginning, i will end up right where He wants me.  and that's the best place to be.

and here's a totally unrelated picture of ethan.  just cuz he's cute!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

warning - change is coming

okay so here's the warning. i'm changing the name of the blog. i know, call me crazy. it's just the name of a blog right? but see it's been coming for awhile. i started the blog just to get it started and didn't really think about the name. just wanted to get started. but you see i want the things i do to be intentional and purposeful. so yes, even the name of the blog matters.

see to me it's not our world (as the current title seems to imply) it's HIS world and this is just our little life. our little life that we are using to raise amazing kids to love Him. our little life that we are using to LOVE as many as we can. our little life that we want to glorify Him with. our little life that we hope leaves His footprint on your heart when you spend time with us. our little life that we have been blessed with and want to do our best with.

so, starting tomorrow we'll have a new address. you can find us at justourlittlelife.blogspot. i know this will mess some of you up. i know there may be "bugs" with this concept. i know this will mean we miss some of you for a while until you can find us again. but i also know that even, here, i want everything to be intentional and for Him ... becaue He has done so much for me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

surprise ride

so let me introduce you to one of our favorite things to do with the kids. before we had kids pete and i heard this concept and knew immediately that we wanted to do it with our kids, once we had some. =)

so here's how it works. we are going about our normal day. the kids are playing and have no idea anything is about to happen. we grab our "surprise ride" song, turn the volume on the stereo way up and hit play. the kids then have 30 seconds (or 5 minutes at this point in our life) to get their shoes on and get in the van. they have no idea where we are going or what we are doing. all they know is that it's going to be fun and they have to go quick.

the ride doesn't have to be anything expensive or extravagant (though i really want to do this and while we're driving around the block tell the kids to pack their bags cuz we're going to disney the next day! or some other fabulous vacation spot would be fine too!) it's just something fun with the family. all of us together - and who ever else is in the house - friends included.

we haven't done too many yet but here's one of our latest ones. we headed off to chuck-e-cheese. oh yes, one of their favorite spots. and since saad was home he got to come too. (saad is the saudi arabian student who is currently living with us). not sure they have chuck-e-cheese in saudi arabia and though i think it was a bit overwhelming (isn't it to most of us at times?) i think he had as much fun as the kids. skee ball was his favorite. check him and pete playing ...

you know eli had to shoot some hoops!!

my favorite part of the night though was after mia and asher had picked out their prizes for the night. we realized we had another ticket coupon that was pretty nice sized. since the kids had already gotten fun things pete suggested they find someone else to give it to. mia jumped up, grabbed the ticket and took off looking for someone with asher right behind her. no complaining, no wanting to keep it for themselves. off they went. they came back with HUGE grins. and mia explained to me she had found "a little girl who didn't really have any tickets at all mom. so now she can get a really good prize." oh MELT my heart!!

so anyways, that's surprise ride. it's not about going somewhere fancy or crazy or expensive. it's about being together as a family and just enjoying each other. surprise! we love you! let's get in the car and go be together and have fun!