Tag Archives: holidays

Swollen Meninges

Just as the boys and I were boarding the plane on December 26th I thought, “Wow, that was relatively painless!  What will I ever blog about if I don’t have a crazy airport story to tell?”

Apparently, God took me seriously and gave me an even bigger story to tell.

I delivered my three cherubs to my parents and Aunt Elli in San Antonio before I jetted to Austin.  I had the honor of staying with Christina and Tyler for the week as Super Aunt.  I got to help take care of my sweet 2 week old nephew Cayden, and help Chritina and Tyler in any way I could.  It was wonderful.  I got to cuddle all day with the sweet little jellyBin, but not have to do any nighttime feedings. :)  It was bliss!  I had so much fun being on the other side of the newborn care= not the weepy new mom. :)  Christina was a pro right from the beginning though- she far surpassed me in my first days as a mom.  She is easygoing and worry free, none of which describe me.

Towards the end of my stay I woke up in the middle of the night with a throbbing headache. Like a bowling ball was sitting on top of my head.  All day I tried different kinds of medicine, but nothing would even touch it.  I thought maybe I was having a migraine and I just needed to sleep it off.  But when the pain continued into the next day, I was getting nervous.  Christina and I drove back to San Antonio on New Years Eve.  When we arrived at my parents’ house I still didn’t feel right. Then the vomiting started.  I was in so much pain and very fearful.  My mom convinced me I needed to go to the hospital (I was still worried they would just laugh at me because it was just a migraine).  The car ride was terrible and I could barely make it in the front doors.

When they got me in the stretcher and pumped Morphine and Zofran through my IV it was bliss.  Finally some relief!  The Doctor said she wanted to do a CT scan of my brain to check for tumors or an aneurysm.  Not sure if it was the drugs or my emotional heart, but I was convinced I was on my death bed.  I started pouring out tearful soliloquies to my mom about life lessons I’ve learned.  When I got to the part about how I wanted her to make sure my boys always remember me and how much I love them, she took my head in her hands and said something to the effect of , “Jen, you are not dying.  God is not finished with you yet-your boys need you still and the Lord knows that.  But I promise you, whatever happens, I will make sure everyday that your boys know how much you love them.”

After the CT scan the Doctor came in and said my sinus cavities were inflamed.  I told my mom to please not tell that to Michael yet- I didn’t want him to get the expensive ER bill because I had a sinus infection!  I felt so dumb that I went to the emergency room for a sinus infection.  The Doctor said she was going to do a spinal tap because of my neck pain, but it was probably nothing because of the sinus infection.  I remember her exact words, “I guess I’ll go ahead and do the spinal tap to be on the safe side, but I wouldn’t get too worried.”

After the spinal tap, (which, ladies, if you have had an epidural- you can do a spinal tap relatively painlessly) my mom and I talked about what we were going to do when we got home.  It was nearly 3 am, and we knew Simon would be up in two hours, so we discussed who would get up with him, etc.  We had to wait an hour for the results, but thought they’d be clear and we would be heading home.  My tears were gone, I was embarrassed I just had a boring sinus infection that ruined New Years Eve.

At 4 am the Doctor walked in and said, “Well I’m so glad I did the spinal tap because you tested positive for meningitis.”

Well, back to my death bed.  Hysterical tears ensued. I had only heard of (bacterial) meningitis- the one you can get in college dorms that you die from. “I was just with my two week old nephew all week, and I have 3 young boys- what do we do to keep them safe?  Do they need to come in?  Are they going to survive?”  I really was not worried about me- I had made my peace with death a few hours earlier.  I was only concerned about Cayden, Trevor, Elliott, and Simon.

Immediately they put a mask on me and whisked me on my stretcher to the third floor.  It felt very Grey’s Anatomy.  Everyone that came into my room had to wear a mask, gown and gloves.  Definitely added to the frightfulness of this deadly disease I thought I was dying from.

A new Doctor, my favorite the whole stay, came in and asked me if I had questions.  My tears increased and I said all I wanted to know was if my two week old nephew was going to be okay.  She bent down near my face and looked me in my eyes.  I will not forget her compassion.  She explained to me that there are two kinds of meningitis- viral and bacterial.  She said my cultures were presenting as viral.  She told me 98% of my cells were the viral kind, with only 2% of the dangerous bacterial kind.  She said viral meningitis was not contagious, so all 4 boys would be fine.  I felt a flood of relief when I heard those words.  She even said worse case scenario, if my cultures started to say bacterial, that everyone I came in contact with would get antibiotics and would be fine. It was now 4 am and I was feeling a little less on my death bed, but more uncomfortable.  With some fresh morphine and zofran I was able to rest.

That was 25 days ago.  I didn’t even know what meninges were before this excitement.  Now I feel well educated on all things brain and spine.  Viral Meningitis can last 7-10 days for some, 3-4 months for others.  Two of my friends that have had told me it took months to feel like themselves again.  Sometimes I say, Lord- meningitis, seriously?!  Seriously.

I’m not good at resting.  I’m not good at letting other people care for me.  I’m not good at not being in control.  But I know God has purpose in everything.  I must be that stubborn that I had to get meningitis to learn to REST.

Lamentations 2:5

My Lord has become like an enemy.
He devoured Israel;
he devoured all her palaces; he made ruins of her city walls.
In Daughter Judah
he multiplied mourning
along with more mourning!

“Notice that God started to be like Israel’s enemy. The writer knows that, in fact, God wants the best for his people. He does not say, “My Lord has become an enemy,” but “My Lord has become like an enemy.” Thus, Lamentations 2:5 models, on the one hand, the kind of stunning bluntness that we have already seen in this biblical book. Yet, on the other hand, this verse gives evidence of faith, embattled faith, struggling faith, but faith that God is not really the enemy. Most Christians will go through seasons of life when God feels like anything but a friend. Perhaps we’ll wonder if God has simply turned his back on us. Maybe we’ll suffer so much that we’ll begin to feel as if God were our enemy. Lamentations urges us not to hide these feelings or pretend that they don’t exist. At the same time, this book encourages us to hang onto the truth about God, to trust that he is who he has revealed himself to be, even if we can’t make sense of his actions or inactions.”  -Mark Roberts

I refuse to give up.  I refuse to let these circumstances swallow me up.  My hope is in the Lord, and I trust Him even in my sickness. I am thankful for the rest (that I usually fight), and all the people that have surrounded us with prayer, meals, groceries, cards, childcare, and encouragement. I am learning what it is to be part of the body of Christ, and to truly carry one another’s heavy load in life. So here I am lying in my bed, which I’m pretty certain is not my death bed, trying to soak in all these lessons.  I get it Lord, thank you for the meningitis, but I’m ready for you to take it away now. :)

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalm 100:1-5

2011 in review (and behind the scenes)

Behind the scenes:

I asked Michael to help the boys write their current likes and dislikes for our Christmas card this year.  We laughed and laughed at their final picks.  I love each of their unique personalities! :)

Note Trevor’s “don’t like” number 9…haha, oh Trevor.

Trevor’s List:

Elliott’s List:


Final product:

Merry Christmas! :)


I have worn a lot of black nail polish this year. This dawned on me while staring at my severely neglected toes.  I have a six-year-old navigating life as a full time student, a four-year-old constantly flexing his strong will, and one-year-old that eats Glade scented plug-ins.  Who has time for primping toenails?


Living with our bundle of boys may limit my free time, but there remains an abundance of joy.  One of my favorite events of the day is when Michael and I sit on the ground and just laugh with our boys.  Even if just for a moment, we climb down off the hamster wheel of the daily grind and enjoy each other’s presence.  We have experienced birth and death this year, and more than ever we realize that life is fleeting. We are finding that whatever life brings, God draws us closer to Him and closer to each other.  Life can be black, but God steadily chips away at the darkness in us, and we discover our joy is in Him, not in life’s circumstances.


“In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


This Christmas I am thankful for a God who came 2,000 years ago to meet us right where we were, and continues to meet us right where we are today.  It is in Him alone that our Hope and our Joy are found!


Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!


And in case you were wondering…




Fountain diet coke

Black nail polish


Banana cake


Doesn’t like

Diet coke in a can

Wearing a coat in the car

Fruity drinks or candy

Talking on the phone




Egg nog (whiskey optional)

Donut dates with the boys

Old Simpsons episodes


Doesn’t like

Gum chomping

Ice in drinks

Red turn arrows


Follow us at www.zielkehut.com and www.beautifythehut.blogspot.com



Our little Christmas bundle is going to be one!  I can’t believe it- time sure flies!

I found a picture I liked on pinterest with a baby holding Christmas lights, and I wanted to try it.  -Try- is the key word!  It wasn’t easy and my picture isn’t nearly as good as the original, but I sure do think my subject is cute. :)

Christmas, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wow, having a baby around a holiday kind of backfired on me.  I thought mixing my FAVORITE holiday with having a precious little baby would be the best thing ever.  But I kind of feel like I missed Christmas!  I was so focused on my new little bundle, the holidays kind of swept by me.  Baby blues, extreme exhaustion, and house arrest sure didn’t help either. :)  Last thing I remember I was counting contractions December 14th praying Peanut Wilkie Zielke would just come out already, and before I knew it January 1st had come and gone.

But how can I help but be incredibly grateful for all God has done in these short 3 weeks?  Our family of 5 has had many precious moments together as we get to know our newest member, and each day I feel a little bit more capable of being a sane mom of 3. :) Sweet little Simon is already growing and changing, and we love him to pieces!

We have been so blessed by your visits, emails, cards, gifts, and meals in these first few weeks.  Thank you so much for being so kind and generous.  We love you!

Great Aunt Debbo
Simon is mad, but I thought my mom looked really pretty :)
Our friends the Beirnes came to visit, and Betsy and Martin were precious with Simon

I just had to post more than one of these "Brother" pictures from Christmas Eve. Too funny :)

they love Grandma Julie :)
our first family photo!
Christmas Eve with the Tyrer clan!

Christmas Card/Letter…2010 edition

“Mom, can I play a game on your computer?” a voice says two inches from my face as I groggily open my eyes and lift my head from the pillow.  Two little beings in footed sleepers dance happily around the room (Elliott is also outfitted in a makeshift superhero cape and announces that he will only answer to “Batman” today).  It is obvious they have been up for a while, excited that their queen has finally awoken.  We head downstairs and I sit in my big green chair in the corner of the living room sipping my hot black coffee.  It doesn’t have my favorite pumpkin spice creamer in it because I haven’t been able to summon the stamina to corral my ducklings to the store for the “5 minute trip” that ends up taking an hour.  A third boy bounces joyfully in utero making yet another bathroom trip a necessity. Trevor and Elliott wrestle at my feet over the “shooter” they just built, and Lily stands ferociously growling at the person shoveling snow 10 houses down the block. Looking around the room, I see all the piles that have accumulated, even though I swear I just straightened up the entire downstairs 10 minutes ago. Before I know it, Trevor is to and from Kindergarten, and he and Michael race in from the bus stop. He drops his backpack and I notice handwritten phone numbers from 5-year-old girls spilling out.  The boys take off upstairs and after a prolonged silence I decide to investigate. I find a closed door with a scribbled sign hanging outside: “Kids only allowed.  And Dads.”  I peek inside and see all the bedding torn off the bunk beds and strung around the room.  I hear Michael and the boys giggling together in their fort while watching “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” for the 5,000th time.  I bite my tongue realizing my dear husband has been out plowing snow since 3 a.m., and has chosen to play with his sons instead of sleep. I take a deep breath, look at their precious little faces and smile, declaring “Thank you, God, for these amazing blessings you have given me!”

Dramedy aside, I know you can relate.  Life is overwhelming and unpredictable, but at the end of the day I can’t help but be overwhelmed by it’s incredible blessing!

“O Lord, you are my God!  I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”  Isaiah 25:1

I have a husband and children who love me, and a God who cares about me so deeply that He pulls me out of my plan for my life, and into His ultimate best. God has brought me on a journey this year that I was not expecting, but I’m SO glad that He did.  In my mind, my life was going to be filled with pink ruffles and nail polish, not action figures and jokes about disgusting bodily functions.  But I have embraced God’s path for me and it is here, with Him, that I have found ultimate joy.  Every time my boys jump on my lap and tell me  “You’re my girl, mom!” my heart is filled and I am so thankful for my 3 sons.  I have LOVED my study on Isaiah at BSF this year, and the verse above sums up exactly what God has done in my heart.  He holds everything together (I don’t), and He makes everything new and better!  He has done glorious, marvelous things!

Merry Christmas, and here’s to a new year filled with God’s blessings and surprise twists and turns in life!

Love, Jenni

~Follow our adventures at www.zielkehut.com~

He’s mine

and you can tell because of our shared love of  all things Christmas.  He supports me in my craziness of decorating way earlier than the rest of the world.  However, I have tried to pace myself and only set up one Christmas decoration a day since November 1st.  This particular day, Trevor’s job was his manger.  Isn’t it fabulous and absolutely precious?  I love you Trevor and your love for Christmas just like Mommy! :)

hApPy HaLlOwEeN!

A picture story to tell of our festive celebration:

Scooping out seeds to get ready to carve our pumpkins!

Super serious business…

Trevor and Elliott drew their own faces, and we carved them out.

Elliott’s was intense!!

So proud of their masterpieces! (Lily must like the seed droplings…)

Love the faces…

The Jenni smile!
Love this pair of brothers! (Can’t wait to add another! :) )

Sweet Mae laughing at her cousins!

Joker (or Heath Ledger)

Grandma Lanie and Grandpa Norm with Heath and Batman (Christian Bale)!

Why so serious??? (Trevor smiles too much to be an intense Joker :) )

Halloween Decorations can be intense!!

Finishing our trick or treating with our good friends. To clarify, since it seems to be confusing to some- I am pregnant- with a single baby, not twins. Though I did eat 100 or so Snickers bars that night…:)