Saturday, April 28, 2012

the rest of April

The rest of April has been pretty laid back. May is always packed full of stuff and this one will be no different.  I am going to enjoy this last restful (restful as in I need to plant my garden---agh!) weekend before we have a month of craziness. Don't get me wrong, it's a good crazy. But it just makes me tired thinking about it already.

We finally managed to take a trip to the zoo this year. The animals were more active than I'd ever seen.

We like to see how much Ari has grown from last year. I guess that means I will have to dig out my pictures from last year and compare.

We were looking at another exhibit and were interrupted by the lions roaring. I grabbed Ari's hand and we ran as fast as we could to see them.

Evangeline just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Along with her animal crackers. It looks like they took a ride on her face for a while. Does it seem weird to anyone else that I was feeding my children animal crackers at the zoo? Ok, don't answer that.

I don't know why but Ari wanted his picture taken in front of this rock.

I have started watching my niece and nephew again. Yay! Evangeline just loves to see other babies. Both of my kids like to get him rocking in his pumpkin seat.

Ari has so much fun with Lynlee around. Even when she's not here, he is always talking about her or wanting to save his leftover food for the next time she comes. (I think that's his way of sharing.) He has become quite the helper when I have two babies to feed at once. Ari has been asking to feed Evangeline a bottle and he got his chance. (Trust me when I say that wasn't my first option when I had two crying babies, but it had to do.) Ari is so sweet when Evangeline is crying. He does everything he can to make her laugh. He will dance around and make silly faces. He loves to entertain people which works out well because his little sister gets a kick out of it. Well, and so do I.

We ended up making our Resurrection Rolls a little late. Don't worry, the one that was manhandled by Ari and placed on his nose was eaten by him.

He did a great job helping me put them together and was waiting in anticipation to see if the marshmallow was going to escape somehow.

Evangeline is really coming out of her shell. Ok, maybe she only comes out of her shell at home but at least we get to enjoy all of her silliness. 

She is a really good eater and will eat practically anything we put on her tray. I can even add dirt to the list. Ok so I didn't put that on her tray but she was "helping" me with the garden. Somehow she managed to get it up her nose and I was still finding dirt coming out her nose the next day. Gross, yes. Memorable, yes.

I don't think it's possible to go to the park too many times. If the weather permitted we would probably go every day (and never get anything accomplished).

On days we can't make it to the park, we come up with ways to have lots of fun inside. Our newest thing was a big hit with Ari. He holds on to a rope (or a sash from my robe) and gets dragged back and forth across the floor. I highly recommend this to all parents with toddlers. But beware, they will never want to stop.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

To Uganda and Beyond!

Many of you know that AJ will be headed to Uganda this summer to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for two weeks.  This is an exciting opportunity for our family as God continues to draw us closer to Him as we acknowledge Him in all of our ways and allow Him to direct our paths.  Please pray for our family that God will use us in HUGE ways for His kingdom!

Please read AJ's support letter below and should you have any questions, our door is ALWAYS open!

Dear Friends,

Ephesians 6:19
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel."

I love Jesus! Brothers and sisters, there is nothing more important than sharing the Gospel with as many people as we can with the time we have left on Earth. James 4:14-15 tells us that Life is short! Many of you have heard me say that since each of us is not guaranteed an extra breath, we must make the most of them starting RIGHT NOW. After much prayer, conversation and encouragement from my wife, and counsel from other brothers and sisters, I will be headed to Uganda July 14th-29th. My home church, Grace Evangelical, is sending out a group of ten young adults to work alongside Ugandan missionaries John and Lisa Mayo to “let our lights shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

For an overview of WGM ministry in Uganda visit and type in the search box “Uganda” or search for the YouTube video titled: Uganda - Buvuma Island - Men with Vision 2009 (

As believers, we have been called to take part in missions, whether it’s by prayer, financial support, or going when the opportunity presents itself. For me, the opportunity has arrived and I need your help to get there. How can you partner with me? First and foremost, I ask for your prayer for opportunities to witness. Ask God to save souls as a result of this trip to Uganda. This will be a blessing to me, my family, to you, and to God Himself. Also, please pray for health and safety as the living conditions and medical care in Uganda are much different than the United States. The last prayer request is for funding. Please pray that our group will have all the money we need to make this trip a success.

My trip expenses come to a total of $4,500 which is due by May 14th. This is my first time raising support for a missions trip and I truly believe God will use people like you to fully fund this trip. Most importantly, I believe God will provide the partnerships in prayer which will prove to be priceless in the coming months as I continue to be faithful to God and diligently prepare my heart to share the Gospel with everyone I meet not only in Uganda, but here as well. Would you like to join me in this ministry? I assure you that even the smallest amount when given to God will multiply and allow His servants to bear much fruit. Is the number $5, $10, $25, or more? I have no idea, but I do know that God has entrusted each of us certain treasures to be used for His purpose when the opportunity arises. For me, the opportunity has arrived and I need your help to get there.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and prayerfully consider how God is prompting you to respond. If you have any questions or if you know someone who you believe I should contact regarding missions support, please contact me any time. I would love the opportunity to tell you more about this trip and how God is working in my life!

To Uganda and Beyond,
AJ Hillebrand

Please make checks out to World Gospel Mission and do not put my name anywhere on the check however you may make a note of Account # 51714 inside the envelope. Checks should be sent to World Gospel Mission, P. O. Box 948, Marion, IN, 46952.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

a birthday and Easter weekend

This past week was full of spending time with family. My mom turned 50 so that was reason enough to celebrate. I did a lousy job with taking pictures and only managed to get one with half of her grandchildren and none with her children. Sorry mom! Happy birthday anyway!

Easter is probably one of my favorite holidays. It's a great reminder the work that Christ did on the cross so that those who believe in Him can spend eternity with him. It's not about gifts that people over-spend their money on. It's about one gift. And it's free!! 

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." 1 Peter 3:18

This year was really fun with Ari.   He did excellent at dying eggs and he even helped making "bird nest" dessert.

Saturday was the egg hunt at church after the Gospel presentation. He sang some songs with other preschoolers and then said John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

Then we spent that evening with AJ's family. Again, I slacked on the picture taking.

Sunday was no better with the pictures.  I didn't get a family picture or one of the kids. I think I'll redress us up and take one some other time. That will just have to do.

I did manage to capture Ari and Lynlee playing in the rocks and my brother napping with his son. 

I guess that sums up our Easter more than pastel-colored clothing and a family portrait. Our Easter was filled to the brim with family activities (or non-activities if you were caught sleeping.) Either way, it was a memorable weekend of reflecting with loved ones the work that Jesus did on the cross. And more importantly that He rose again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

11 months

She hasn't officially started crawling or walking yet, but she is on the verge of doing both. It's really hard to tell which will come first.

I sat her in this chair and she immediately stood up and turned around. She is always looking for something to pull up on so she can stand.

She loves to throw toys on the ground just so she can pick them up. She also gets excited about patty cake, when daddy comes home, or going outside. She's happy just sitting outside playing in the grass or rocks.

Most of the pictures I took were from this angle.

As usual Ari must get in on the picture taking. He tells Evangeline that he loves her all the time and has been asking to hold her more frequently. He is very cautious about things that might not be safe for her age and he likes to introduce her to random people out in public.

She still prefers to be with mommy and daddy all the time, but is making some improvement in the nursery at church. (I think we've successfully sat through one service without being paged!) It's really rough having to miss nap time these days so I don't venture out  much the rest of the week.

Have I mentioned before that she loves pancakes? This girl will down a whole pancake in no time. I wouldn't consider her a picky eater (yet) as she seems pretty open to eating anything. She will try anything if it's put on her tray, but if I am feeding her it is only a matter of minutes before she refuses to eat anymore. She is little Miss Independent when it comes to food.