Tag Archives: memorable moments

Dad

I am at a loss for words to explain how thankful I am for my two parents.  I have truly been blessed with a phenomenal pair.

I was the only (and best of course) child for 4 years.  I have such fond memories with both my parents.  I would snuggle with my dad and watch all the Chicago sports, and once he even fed me Kool-aid as an infant because I was hungry. :)  My mom would take me to Mommy and Me classes and would form playgroups so we could make new friends and learn new things. I remember we would go on adventures together during the day and dance around our living room in the evenings.  We would talk to our basset hound like he was the fourth member of the family, and I’d sit with my Sharp microphone singing along while my dad played the guitar and my mom lovingly cheered along. The three of us were best friends and I never doubted their intense love for me, which I’m finding out as I get older is a rare thing to find.

Having two sisters come along only made things all the better though.  We were now this tightly knit family of five.

And I love it.

My dad has always been musical.  When Christina, Elli & I were little he would often sing to us at night and play original songs he wrote from his huge plaid “Binder” that originated in his early teens.  We would happily sing along and giggle during ‘Turkey Strut” and “The Jewel Osco Song” and then have nightmares after “Who Took the Butter?” :)  We just thought my dad was amazing, he was our hero.

My dad loves to write songs.  I remember watching him write and perform his songs for weddings, for anniversary parties, for church events, even for funerals.  He would sing them with proud joy, but then they’d get tucked away in his Binder.  My dad poured out everything for the four women in his life for as long as I can remember. He took our dreams on as his own and sacrificed everything he is to make our lives better.

This Thanksgiving my dad shared with us that someone in Nashville sparked interest in one of his wedding songs, We Are One.  They wanted to produce a track to promote for vocalists/instrumentalists to use in weddings.  This afternoon he emailed me a track that they have produced and I can’t help but cry tears of joy.  I love my dad.  I am so proud to be his daughter.  His dreams are becoming realized and I can’t think of anyone more deserving!  I feel like it’s MY turn to pour into his life now, so I wanted to share this song file with all of you and tell him what a truly wonderful legacy he has left in mine, Christina’s, Elli’s, and my mom’s life- simply for being him.

I love you, Dad!

Love,

Your Proud Daughter :)

Listen to We Are One:

we-are-one

Stacy Leigh Lisi

I know I say this whole song and dance every time, but, Stacy is my mom’s college roommate Cindy’s (lovingly known as Cinne Binne) daughter.  So we have -actually- been friends since the womb.  And she just got married, to a great guy, Andrew Lisi.  So now her name rhymes. :)

Stacy is one of those friends that you can go a whole year without seeing (or even talking to  because of both of your phone phobias), but pick up right where you left off when you see each other again.  Like no time or distance ever separated you.

I have so many fun memories with Stacy it is hard to even count.  When we were 3 & 4 years old we decided it would be a good idea to paint my Grandpa Al’s work van.  It was dark brown so obviously we thought it would be best to use white shoe polish.  And once I even convinced her to get IN the van with me and I pulled the gear shift down and we started rolling down the driveway.

Also that year we made a guest appearance in my dad’s and her mom’s musical show at the retirement home.  We cried and pouted because we wanted the dress up clothes the other one was wearing while singing Ain’t We Sweet, though we were being anything but sweet.

At age 9 & 10 we started going downstate together.  Downstate was one of the coolest Daddy/Daughter activities in the Birkeneder family.  When you turned 10 you got to go with Dad and Grandpa (and any other poor male soul of our relatives that wanted to go once us girls started going) to the Illinois High School Boys’ Basketball Tournaments in Campaign (later Peoria).  Being the eldest in our families, Stacy and I were the first girls to go on this all male weekend.  I think we forever changed “downstate”.  Instead of watching the games, we bought nachos, then ice cream, then hot dogs, then Pepsi, then cotton candy, then threw up all over the taxi.  We would drag Dad & Grandpa Al to the nearby mall to take pictures in the overpriced photo booth while sporting our huge gaudy basketball earrings. We spent all our money from the winning pools (don’t tell our moms or anyone else for that matter that we were underage gamblers) buying stickers from the sticker machine at Pizza Hut (smartly thinking we would sell them for profit when we got home).  And then we fought with each other and cried when one would win a pool and the other wouldn’t. One year we fell madly (seriously, it was obsessive) in love with one of the high school players- Alfredo Jimenez from Maine West.  We even stalked out where he would be after the game to get his autograph while we hysterically sobbed.

When we were 10 & 11 we started spending some of our summers at Camp Timberlee in Wisconsin.  We carefully shopped for matching outfits for every day of the week, including our denim ruffle shorts and side ponytails.  We would always room together and never leave each other sides and make sure everyone in the cabin knew WE were best friends so they wouldn’t infringe upon us.  In the middle of the night we would crawl into our bunks together and worry that we were blind because we couldn’t see anything, and nervously search for a flashlight just to make sure.

When we were in our teens we shared a profound love for all things Hanson and JTT .  We convinced ourselves we were marrying one of them and lovingly agreed upon who got which one (Stacy: Zac and Me: Taylor…Jonathan Taylor Thomas dropped out of the running when Hanson came along).  We decided the best way possible to make this dream a reality would be to form an all girl band ourselves.  So we reigned in our sisters and we became: Purple Daizee.  We co-wrote many one hit wonders and videotaped ourselves singing/dancing to them in the basement so we could send our videos to the Hanson brothers.  Making them fall in love with us, of course.

Stacy and I laugh about all these episodes and more whenever we get together. But there’s a distinct, life altering memory I have with Stacy that I don’t even know if she recalls.

My freshman year in college was rough. We had just moved to Texas and even more life shattering than that to me was that Michael and I broke up.  I started a new life in Texas, a double life.  I was good at playing the part of “good Jenni” when I needed to, but with my new friends I partied.  Hard.  And I got myself stuck in a web of alcohol, drugs, and sex.

At the end of the summer, right before I was going to start my sophomore year, Stacy came to visit.  She was getting ready to start her freshman year at University of Illinois.  While Stacy was there I tried to hide my “bad Jenni” side, though I’m sure she knew.  She met all my friends and was incredibly gracious to them all.  She was relevant, but unchanging and never wavered from who she was in Christ.  She was real.  When I was with Stacy that week, I felt my old self start to emerge…my real self that I had shoved away that year. I remember feeling God awake my soul again.

Stacy’s flight left early one morning before I was awake, but she left me a note on my pillow.  I remember finding it and getting up to read it before it was even light out.  In it she thanked me for spending time with her, told me she was thankful for our friendship, and that she was praying for me and all that God would do through me that year.  I broke down and cried.  I laid on the floor and just cried and cried.

God had been working in my heart that whole year, but He used Stacy in a major way to bring His prodigal daughter back.  She was the vessel that saved me from a life of destruction and despair.  I firmly believe God used Stacy to redirect my life.  She was loyal, faithful, loving, and gracious.  She didn’t judge me or correct me, she just loved me and prayed for me.  I will never forget what she did for me that summer.

And actually, if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have gotten back together with Michael that year, married him that next summer, had 3 beautiful boys years later.  So Stace, you’re the reason my family exists. :)

I have a love/hate relationship with the journey we are all on in life.  I love the mystery of God and the excitement of seeking Him and joy in knowing Him.  Obviously life has some rough places, a lot of mine have been self inflicting, but I’m thankful for a God who redeems.  He is faithful, loving, and gracious and waits for me.  Thank you Stacy Leigh Lisi for being such a beautiful living example of Christ.

Corny12

I always come back from our annual trip to the Zielke cabins in Wisconsin feeling more in love with my family (immediate and extended) and in awe of the beauty of God’s creation.  And as much as I hate to admit it, more rested from being unplugged from technology (though we did use Dad Z’s phone as a hotspot for WiFi this year!)

And I always come back feeling more appreciative of indoor plumbing.

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Clouds

The Great Scott Hodge says: “Change of Pace + Change of Place= Change of Perspective.”

I have to agree.

Recently I was gifted a [rare] day of relaxation-at the spa-with no children. :)  I was so excited for the time of pampering, but if I’m going to be honest, most of all a day free from whining, tattle telling, and baby butt wiping.  I arrived at the spa the minute it opened and stayed to closing.  I brought my journal and Bible and was eager to soak up some time alone and time with God.  I climbed into the pool and stared up at the sky and something unfamiliar happened- it was still and quiet. It felt odd!

This is what I journaled:   “I’m sitting here in the pool- there is no splashing, no whining- no one needing my help… This is how it will be 20 years from now…to forever.   Don’t wish these hard stages away.  They are temporary.”  I sat and pondered that for a while.  So often (very often) I rush through the day just to check things off my list.  How often do I talk with my children, not just talk at them?  How often do I think “if only they were a few years older, then ____ would be so much easier”….(hello grocery shopping and fine dining!)

It was convicting.  I was so thankful for my time away to be rejuvenated, but God helped me appreciate the chaotic little voices in my normal day to day life much more.  This stage of life is hard, and I don’t want to pretend that it is not, but I AM going to be more intentional about being present in the chaos- not five steps ahead in the future.

I kept looking at the sky at the clouds and watched them move (I HAD TIME TO WATCH THE CLOUDS MOVE- perhaps I was overly zealous with my newly found “me” time) :) and I pondered them.  And I noticed, clouds don’t just collide, they absorb each other.  So I thought about that more…How do I let God absorb me or where do I collide with Him?  How do I let Michael absorb me? My kids?  My ministry?  I wrote: “Yes, I need to replenish myself with time alone with God, food and sleep.  But other than that, I need to be willing to sacrifice myself wherever there is a selfish desire- I need to give myself away. ”

I still am going to seek time away from Michael and my children, still going to watch Netflix at night and still share with my girlfriends how the mundane wife/mother duties make me want to punch someone at times.  But, this cherished time by myself gave me new perspective.  This stage is hard, but every stage is hard and every season is a new opportunity for growth and to know my God in a deeper way. I’m going to try and pay attention to the small moments each day, and be less focused on the bullet points that get me to the next milestone.

Change of Pace + Change of Place= Change of Perspective.

New

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…

 

 

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…

 

Jenni

Likes

Fountain diet coke

Black nail polish

Smiling

Banana cake

 

Doesn’t like

Diet coke in a can

Wearing a coat in the car

Fruity drinks or candy

Talking on the phone

 

Michael

Likes

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

 

Reminiscing

My best talks with God and life ponderings happen while I’m driving in the car. Maybe its because I’m buckled in, body and mind, and can’t go anywhere.  Or maybe because it kind of is like life is passing you by when you drive: you’re sitting still, your car is moving, and things quickly pass by your window- there one second, gone the next.  Whatever it is, I really do think deeply and feel intensely while sitting in my orange mini van chauffeuring my children through their childhood.

I got this text from Michael this morning, “I’m listening to Concrete Girl and remembering our young love”  and as I drove around this afternoon, I let my mind go deeper.

I remember being young and  so in love when we were just 16.  We were sure we’d get married (WE thought we were ready that following summer :) ) and we would write notes to each other in our little “Black Notebook” that we passed back and forth about our future family and all our hopes and dreams that we were bound to experience together.  We went to homecomings and proms, said goodbye at our separate colleges, and really did a majority of our growing up together.

Now here we are 12 years later.  How rare is it that all those things in the little black notebook did come true? (With lots of bumps and bruises along the way, however.) I mean, do I really, I mean really think about that?  When I ho and hum about my daily life of mundane responsibilities that seem never ending?  Do I absorb the idea that I’m raising his children, driving his orange mini van, and being called his wife from now until forever?  That I’m living the dreams from the little black notebook?

So, I am thankful.  I’m thankful to God for bringing about our relationship in His timetable and His plan.  I’m more in love with Michael now then at age 16, and I’m going to push aside the weariness of this season of life and choose joy in my parenting and in my wife-ing.

Thank you Concrete Girl and Little Black Notebook for reminding me that I am my beloved’s and he is mine!

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!

A first grading we will go

Trevor had a folder he took two and from Kindergarten every day this year that carried all his work and correspondence to/from his teacher.  We started with a shiny bright folder.

This is what he brought home his last day.

:)

I had a little laugh when I saw this.  But as I continued to work through the pile of school paraphernalia, I came across this:

And my heart had a little tug on it.  Remember this post?  My initial thought was, uh oh.  But then as I kept staring at the title of the folder, a flood of memories of this past year came rushing over me.  I thought of how God has strengthened Trevor to be bold and independent and truly flourish in school.  I remembered one time when I was helping in his classroom, I watched Trevor as a quick, confident, funny little boy interacting with his teacher and peers and I thought, “Wow, this is my son!”  I was in awe of how God has really blossomed him and carried him through his first year of school.  Sure, Michael and I encourage him at home, but who he was when I was watching him in class that day was all God.

It wasn’t until I looked at this yellow pocket folder until I put that all together.  A reminder from God that He alone carries Trevor, He is with Trevor, and He already knows what is ahead for Trevor.

So to first grade we go.