Tag Archives: brothers

1,000 years

Here I am again. Back to sending off a kindergartener, one of my boys who will never be home all day with me again. Perhaps you remember this post from 3 years ago…

I really, really, really didn’t think I would be emotional this time, and honestly I’m not (well, mostly:) ). However, I decided to go in and look at Elliott after he went to sleep on Kindergarten Eve like I did with Trevor. All these images of him flooded my memory like that Father of the Bride scene (which, by the way, my dad swears he still sees when he looks at my sisters and me. :) ) I remember when Elliott was three and I would say, “you’re my boy Elliott!” and he would reply, “you’re my girl Mommy!” I thought about all the times when he all out punches and attacks Michael when he pretends to “get” me. Elliott is my defender, my Knight in shining armor, my true little superhero. He’s passionate, which when he is angry means he is my little ticking time bomb. But I love that about Elliott, and I know God will shape that passion into great things for his future.

There is something bittersweet about Kindergarten. Elliott is an old five- he turns six in a couple weeks, so he and I both have been ready for Kindergarten for a while now. :) But as excited as we both are, there’s still a heart wrenching ache knowing that this is it. He never again will be home with me all day every day. I nurtured him, prepared him, taught him, and helped him grow for nearly six years, and now I send him off with a piece of me.

I am so thankful for the three souls I have been given to nurture. And in all honesty, I find that THEY nurture MY soul. They have made me less selfish. They have made me learn to embrace God’s plan for life instead of my own. They have taught me that life is designed to move along, not stand still, but to run with joy in each new step.

Whenever the song, A Thousand Years, comes on I tell the boys, “This is my song to you! I have loved you for 1,000 years!” To which Trevor replies, “Mom, you haven’t lived 1,000 years.” :)

But it’s true. The love I have for them gives me even just a glimpse of God’s great love for me. It feels like there was no beginning to it and there will be no end.

So here’s to you my Elliott, my kindergartener, my middle medium boy- may you know God’s love deeply and convey His love to others. May you be a light on a lamp stand, and the salt of the earth bringing out the God flavors of this world.

I have loved you for 1,000 years and will love you for 1,000 more. :)


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P.S.  These videos might be the death of me someday.  Two computers, 1,000 cables, and my blog host helping me with server issues later- video is up. This is where my stubborn determinedness comes in handy! Plus, it means so much to Christina who kept asking me when I’d have a video made.  Just kidding, I love the finished product too :)



Oh man, I’ve let a lot of time slide on here.  Here’s a quick summary of the past half a year:

-Simon turned one (and what a cute christmas cookie/hot chocolate themed party he had)

-Michael started to shave his head.

-The tooth fairy came to visit (and sometimes forgot to come to visit) several times in one month.

-my sweet nephew, little Cayden, (if that isn’t an oxymoron I don’t know what is.  The kid is 6 months old and 25 lbs) was born.  My sister Christina and I have very realistic hopes of him forming a band with my boys somewhat along the lines of The Jonas Brothers.  Or at the very least their own super Glee club.

-we hosted our 4th annual Birkeneder Brunch on Christmas Eve

-the boys helped Grandma Lanie tell her traditional story of the 3 kings and their gifts to Jesus

-the boys obsession with building forts started

-I lost 20 lbs.  Albeit, most of it was due to having meningitis.  But if I can put any positive spin on that wretched disease I will, so therefore I’m thankful for the weight-loss plan.  And that having it may have saved my close friend’s mom’s life.  (Her story: http://copelandcraziness.blogspot.com/2012/03/hope.html )

-our good friends from Texas came to visit and our boys were smitten

-Grandpa Bob came to visit

-the boys got all spiffed out for Easter

-we regularly practiced for our own glee club. (see reference above)

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-we were given an awesome Bible book.    If you’re looking for a good Bible summary book for children look no further.  The Jesus Storybook Bible is awesome. A friend of ours gave this to us a while back and we started reading it to the boys every so often.  I love it! Each story is a part of God’s rescue plan- each character pointing towards the Great Rescuer.  I’m not kidding, I don’t think I ended a single chapter without my eyes (and heart) welling up with tears of joy as we imparted these truths of God’s love for them into our children’s hearts. The stories came to life to me (the adult!) through this children’s version.  And the boys love reading it!  Each story is a piece of the Great Rescue- and being so into good guys/bad guys, sword fights and battles-the setup is very appealing to them.

Tonight we finished the final chapter, and this page struck me:

(from Revelation)  “I see a sparkling city shimmering in the sky: glittering, glowing- coming down!

From heaven.  And from the sky.  Heaven is coming down to earth!

God’s city is beautiful.  Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire.  Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut. 

Where is the sun?  Where is the moon?  They aren’t needed anymore.  God is all the Light people need.  No more darkness!  No more night!

And the King says, “Look!  God and his children are together again.  No more running away.  Or hiding.  No more crying or being lonely or afraid.  No more being sick or dying.  Because all those things are gone.  Yes, they’re gone forever.  Everything sad has come unture.  And see- I have wiped away every tear from every eye!’

And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, “Look, I am making everything new!”

You know the part in movies where there’s a big crescendo of music and the good guy wins and everyone celebrates and your whole soul just cheers while watching it?  I told Michael recently that I think that is what heaven is like all the time.  Always that sense of victory, that everything is finally as it should be.

When I read this to my children my heart swelled and tears filled my eyes and hope engulfed me.  Whenever I have those moments, they’re my God moments.  Its like the Lord is washing over me and I sense His presence and I trust Him.  I don’t really understand heaven and I certainly don’t understand the mysteries of God, the infinite Creator.  But I do trust Him and believe Him to be faithful to do what He says He will do.  And each time I have one of these “moments”- where my while body gets goosebumps and my soul feels inexplicably overwhelmed- its a tangible reminder to me of His presence.

I love how this book ends.

“And he knew then that the ending of The Story was going to be so great, it would make all the sadness and tears and everything seem like just a shadow that is chased away by the morning sun.

‘I’m on my way’, said Jesus. ‘I’ll be there soon!’

John came to the end of his book.  But he didn’t write ‘The End’. Because, of course, that’s how stories finish. (and this one’s not over yet.)

So instead , he wrote: ‘Come quickly, Jesus!’

Which, perhaps, is really just another way of saying…




I found a few of these “kid questions” posted on pinterest, so I tried them out with my boys.  What should have taken a few minutes, took weeks.  They acted like each question was the hardest thing they had ever been asked, and we were only able to do one or two at a time before giving up. :)

Disclaimer:  I go to the gym _maybe_3 nights a week, and usually at their bedtime.  I don’t _like_ to workout at all…

What is something Mommy always says to you?

Trevor: I love you

Elliott: you have to eat your food

 What makes Mommy happy?
Trevor: when you got the baby
Elliott: when we give you a present
3. What makes Mommy sad?
Trevor:  when you’re not with us

Elliott: when you are sick

4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
Trevor: You don’t make me laugh.
Elliott: when you take a picture

5. What was Mommy like as a child?
Trevor: I don’t know I never saw you.
Elliott: real
6. How old is Mommy?
Trevor: 27

Elliott: 4

7. How tall is Mommy?
Trevor: 27 inches
Elliott: (stretches his arms wide)

8. What is Mommy’s favorite thing to do?
Trevor: go to workout
Elliott: play with simon

9. What does Mommy do when you’re not around?
Trevor: Bring Brooke, Ashely, and Elliott to school and when its rest time put them to rest.

Elliott: go on your computer
10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Trevor: Singing.

Elliott: (stares blankly)

11. What is Mommy really good at?
Trevor: doing stuff at work out
Elliott: being funny

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
Trevor: cooking.
Elliott: playing games on the computer

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
Trevor: go to workout
Elliott: go on the computer

14. What is Mommy’s favorite food?
Trevor: soup
Elliott: salad

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?
Trevor: when you decorate
Elliott: cleaning up

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Trevor: that girl that clicks the squares and when she touches them they turn into letters and people spin the wheel (vanna white)

Elliott: Phineas

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
Trevor: go to restaurants
Elliott: watch shows together

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
Trevor: we both help simon

Elliott: our hair

19. How are you and Mommy different?
Trevor: you have freckles on your cheeks and I do not

Elliott: our shirts

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
Trevor: because you always hug us and kiss us when you get home from workout
Elliott: to the moon and back, infinity! (our saying )

21. Where is Mommy’s favorite place to go?
Trevor: the workout place
Elliott: pizza hut

What makes you happy?

ELLIOTT: not cleaning up the basement.

TREVOR: when we’re going to see Dakota, Nana Nu, Miranda, Grandma Julie, and Grandpa Bob
2. What makes you sad?
ELLIOTT: yes (when he has to) cleaning up the basement.
TREVOR: when you leave us. Like that day you were at texas for month. (it was a week…)

3. What makes you laugh?
ELLIOTT: jokes.
TREVOR: some funny things

4. What is your favorite thing to do?
ELLIOTT: eat fruit loops.
TREVOR: go to buy some toys at Toys R Us

5. What are you really good at?
ELLIOTT: cleaning up the basement (????? He isn’t!)


6. What are you not very good at?
ELLIOTT: cleaning

TREVOR: jump rope
7. What is your favorite food and drink?
ELLIOTT: sprite and fruit loops
TREVOR:  a kiddy cocktail and I like every food

8. What’s your favorite color?
ELLIOTT: purple
TREVOR: blue, yellow, and pink.  Oh and silver.

9. Where is your favorite place to go?
TREVOR: to Texas

10. Who are your best friends?
ELLIOTT: Brendan and Brayden.
TREVOR: Dakota and Brayden and Brendan. Oh and Griffin and Landon.
11. What are your favorite movies or TV shows?
ELLIOTT: Garfield and Johnny Test
TREVOR: Garfield and World of Quest.

12. What are your favorite books?
ELLIOTT: That Phineas and Ferb one at that store.
TREVOR: Ready Freddy

13. If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?


Peanut Wilkie Zielke

Way to go Annette Boatright for finding this onesie for our little Wilkie. :)

Simon, you are 7 months old!  The last two months have been filled with new and exciting things in your world.  You have two teeth popping through, but they are taking their sweet time.  Which makes you very sad at times!  Your budding sense of humor is a riot.  I think you’re like Daddy…it is hard to make you laugh, you don’t think just anything is funny.  But when you do laugh it is our favorite thing!  The whole family gathers around to watch. :)  However, you think Elliott is absolutely hilarious.  You always laugh for him!

You recognize your name and your brothers’ names.  When we call Trevor or Elliott you look for them, and you have a huge beaming smile when they enter the room!  This warms my heart.  I love that the three of you love each other so much already.

You surprised us by crawling way earlier than we thought you would!  All of a sudden one night you were determined to get the iPhone and pulled yourself along on the floor to get to it!  Just like a little sea lion. :)  Now you’re all over the place.  My favorite is when I’m taking a shower and come out to find you in our closet.  Hahaha!  Boy do you love cords and electronics though!  You can always manage to find those in the room.  You’re giving me a run for my money at childproofing since I haven’t done it in 4 years!

You like all kinds of foods and you’re easily soothed when fussy if I just put a bunch of cheerios or fruit puffs in front of you.  Watching you use your chubby little fingers to grasp each tiny one and find its way into your mouth (or at least in the vicinity of your mouth) is amazing.  I could spend an hour just watching you do that! :)

My favorite thing is your joy is still very much alive.  Even when you’re crying in your crib, you manage a huge smile behind the tears when I come in to get you.  Your joy is contagious and I pray often that no one ever steals your joy from you.

I love you Peanut Wilkie Zielke,  Eyeball Smart, Simon Isaiah!  You are a joy and a blessing!


Found this one day attached to one of my cabinets.  I love having child that can read- it adds even more fun to the day!  “Mom, that says Emergency Exit…DON’T GO THAT WAY MOM!”  “New. Markdowns. Everyday.  Mom, that says New Markdowns Everyday.”  I will never miss a sign again now that I have another set of eyes watching out for me. :)  Oh, and I’ll know of a Restaurant in my living room that serves Salad, Potatoes, Pizza, and Side One is Beans and Potato Salad.

I love listening to them talk.  Here are some of my favorites lately that keep my day always exciting:

“When there’s no one to itch my back, I just itch it on a tree or something.”

“I have two friends inside my head that I talk to all the time.  I don’t know their names though.” (Then the next child in response to that) “…yeah, I talk to the tooth fairy.”

“Mom, she’s soooo pretty.  I just want to kiss her face.”

Uh Oh.



As the boys continue to talk more and more and have conversations with each other, Michael and I find ourselves laughing hysterically several times a day.  I love hearing children talk- listening to them try to put together correct phrasing and explain what they are thinking.  They’re so innocent and not yet hardened by life.  I have so much to learn from them…

Here are some of my favorites as of late:


(Taking a rock out of his coat pocket and pausing to look at it and squeeze it)

“What’s that?”

“It’s a rock I picked up from the ground where Dr. Chuck was buried.”

He keeps it with him in his pocket.



(Praying at lunch)  “God.  Thank you for drinks, and people, and Simon.  Amen.”

(Riding in the car looking out the window) “Grandma Julie and Grandpa Bob are coming next time.  All the Texas guys are coming next time.”

(Staring at me in the rearview mirror)  “Mommy, you’re beautiful when you take me to the park.”

So sweet.

And then this happens…

Trevor:  “Mommy, do you have another baby?  You’re fat.”

Elliott:  “Yeah, you’re fat!”  (While they both poke my belly…)

And then the moments you can’t help but laugh because they make no sense at all…

Elliott:  “Daddy, when you drive it feels like there is a bug on me.”

Hahaha, love these boys.  They make my heart full. :)


A photo journal

Oh, well here it is nearly two months since my last post.  No idea how that happened!  Actually yes I do, three little reasons ages 5, 3, and <1!  But that is no surprise.  The life of a  mother is often less than flexible, not to mention to throw a blog in here and there.  That is why I’m so in awe of my friends that consistently push out posts, not to mention well thought out little devotionals in the making (HELLO Abbi!)  There were so many nights I thought of things I wanted to blog about, but when I turned on my laptop I felt that Grey’s Anatomy seasons 1-4 on Netflix were calling my name instead. :)  So I apologize to you my faithful readers and to myself looking at this printout in my scrapbook (that I have yet to make of course) years down the road.  Ahhh, life…

Let’s see, since April 4th…

We celebrated Papa Roger’s 90th birthday!  (Papa Roger married my Grandma Sharon 15 (?) years ago. )

We got to see some of our cousins in the Jost family and YES Justin is 13 and 6′ 5″!


Simon (like all our boys) love Uncle James.

And then (like all our boys) fell asleep on him.

We celebrated Sarah’s 28th birthday…


Then came Easter…


Then Mother’s Day… (LOVE Mother’s Day :) )

We even got Lily in a family photo :)

And that is a reality moment captured on camera :)

Papa Roger and Grandma Sharon always take everyone out to Lonestar Steakhouse on Mother’s Day…yummm!

And then to wrap up with these two sweet pictures.  Remember my grand idea to take pictures of Simon on the same green and brown blanket each month?  Yep, so that ended at month 3 apparently. (Sigh.)

In these pictures you range from 4-5 months old Simon.  Look at your sweet chubby legs!  I love your big, huge open mouthed smile.  Your eyes shine and you truly do radiate joy.  Your personality is still so sweet and easygoing.  You’ve started to squeel and you love when we respond to you with the same sounds you make- it quickly becomes a 5 minute little game…or conversation, I guess!  Just today you started reaching for me and I could have passed out in delight. :)  Your little arms were shaky, but you could tell you were trying so hard to coordinate your arms while you watched them intently.  LOVED it.

You also have started to study the pictures in your room.  You pay such close attention to details and you really stop and take it all in.  I have so much to learn from that, Simon!  Even as a sweet little baby you know exactly the right way to live- moment by moment, cherishing every.single.one.  God is using your little life to change me and pick out the thorny parts of my personality.  My rushed, extremely impatient, prideful personality.  I am trying to be more intentional about moment by moment life for life is fleeting. Pause more, rest more, and ENJOY more.  Just like you.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”   Matthew 11:28-30

We have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power.  If only we could slip over into that Center!  (Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion)


What month even is it!? Time flies…

So it’s only month 3, and I’ve already fallen behind on the Simon updates I wanted to do for him. Oh, goodness!

When Simon was two months old (Feb 15th) he experienced his first move!  We boxed everything up and unpacked everything, and are starting to actually feel settled in our new home!  I still have lots of “projects” I want to tackle (Michael rolls his eyes at my daily mentions of spray paint, sandpaper, and refinishing…)  But we are getting settled nonetheless. Simon, you are such a joy!  Your brothers think you are the greatest little ball of fun ever, and I love watching you smile back at them thinking they are just the most hilarious capsules of energy ever!  We like to watch you discover your hands too.  You get so excited about them and kick your legs excitedly.  You sure are packing on the pounds too!  Just like Trevor was, you’re close to the 100th percentile for weight!  Unlike your brothers though, you’re really tall too!  The boys were always in the 60th percentile for height, but you’re in the 80th! We love to “talk” with you and you sweetly coo and gurgle at us while smiling.  You have such a sweet spirit.

You started your first BSF  class this month too!  I walked by your 0-2 year old class on the way to my lecture and all the babies were in a circle in their carseats or in the teachers’ arms (my friend Becky was holding you) and they were telling you the about 4 sentence Bible story that was an abbreviated version of the one your brothers and I were hearing (Isaiah).  Then they started singing the hymns over you!  I cried.  How awesome that seeds of God’s truth are being planted in you so early.  2 Timothy 3:15 rings true! “and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”!

You turned 3 months old (March 15th) this month!  I cannot believe how fast the time is flying.  We received devastating news that Dr. Chuck died suddenly, and we flew down to Texas right away to be with Nana Nu and family.  It was precious to see your sweet smile bring joy to people though even in the midst of tragedy.  Auntie Laura (Musfeldt/Walker) carried you all around one afternoon because she said you were helping her cope with the loss of her amazing dad, even if it was just for a few hours.  You sure are a blessing.

I tried putting you in your room overnight a few days ago, but around 11 pm, I went and picked you up- sound asleep- and brought you into our room!  My heart is having a REALLY hard time with you growing up!  Last night I decided I was going to try again, and I seriously had to talk to God about it for a good ten minutes, asking Him to enable me to hold you with open hands- for I know it is GOD who sustains you and carries you, not me.  I asked Him to help me to embrace the next stage of life with you and not hold on so tightly to the past.  He is helping me because sure enough, I put you down in your crib at 9 pm with great peace, and did not go back to get you until 7 am!  He’s growing me Simon! :)  Thanks for being His instrument in that!

I captured a few of your smiles (but, Lord help me to figure out my camera settings better so they aren’t so fuzzy!)  Love you little dumpling! (Thanks for the nickname Charlene Hoadley!)

Two Months
Three Months

Loving on our sweet friend Oliver!
No joke, I found Elliott asleep on afternoon like this! He loves Lily!