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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…

 

 

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)

 

Countdown to wedding

We did lots of fun things while in Texas- but really, when do we not have fun when with my family?  Nothing less than stories galore, laughter every minute, and sisterly bonding.  I love imagining what my boys will be like when they get together as adults.  If they are anything like my sisters and me, they will have very full hearts!

While we were there Trevor reached a milestone- he lost teeth!  Not one, but two teeth!  Normally I am grossed out by wiggly teeth, but his were pretty much bloodless.  They just kind of fell right out.  No pain involved!  That’s my kind of way to lose teeth. :)  The tooth fairy was a little confused, maybe he has a rookie tooth fairy assigned to him?  Or it could be the fact that we were on vacation and Trevor “bed-hopped” which resulted in multiple tooth fairy deposits.  :)

As usual, we spent lots of meals at Taco Cabana.  (Remember the homework ABC book?  “T”: Taco Cabana…oh, and “M”: Missing tooth)

Trevor was super excited that the hotel gave him his very own key card.  (He called it his credit card…)  “H”: Hotel key

Whenever we visit TX, Michael has a “food list” of places we HAVE to visit for at least one meal.  One place is Rudy’s BBQ. (ABC alert, “R”: “Rudy’s)  Yumm-O! :)

I just had to post this one...I knew my sister Elli would love it :)

Obviously, Simon was a HUGE hit this trip!  He was one popular little fellow.  Can you blame him though?  He’s just so darn cute!

Simon's Great Aunt Kathy
Simon's Great Uncle Tom
Simon and Laura
Simon and Sarah
Landon holding Simon and saying "Oh! I almost pulled his head off!" :)

I just happened to be a part of the most GORGEOUS wedding party ever- oh yes, then there is me- the pale faced, mom of 3, 2 weeks postpartum chubby one. But let me tell you, for being moms, Sarah and I still hung with those girls at the Bachelorette party! So what if we had to come home 3 hours before the rest of them to feed a newborn, we still participated in the festivities. And that impressed me. :) This is the morning after the Bachelorette party. See what I mean? It’s the makeup free morning after and each one of these girls are drop dead gorgeous. I’m honored I got to tag along. :)

pedicure bride :)
only Simon would be the two week old getting held at the nail salon...actually it would be hard to get him away from Bailey if I tried!

More to come… :)

A shower of romantic elegance

Probably right when Christina got engaged a year and a half ago, Elli and I had this vision for a fancy evening cocktail party bridal shower.  Way ahead of time in typical Jenni fashion, I started brainstorming ideas and searching the web for inspiration.  I made spreadsheets, complete with pictures and recipes, and sent it off to Elli and all my Aunts and we started to bring this idea to life!

We had such a great night!  All of us pitched in china, glassware, linens, candles, and talents and gave Christina a bridal shower of romantic elegance. :)

There were over 250 pictures I wanted to show, so I had to condense as many as I could which is why the slideshow is SO fast and the music is chopped up. :)  Also, I realize the lyrics don’t really apply because Christina and Tyler have already met and fallen in love…but the melody fits the night so perfectly.  SO, I think that the lyrics symbolize all the people in the room that night that have been present in Christina’s life growing up, watching her blossom into the wonderful woman she is today- about to become Tyler’s wife.  We were there from the beginning helping her prepare for her new role before we all even met Tyler.  SEE?! It works. :)

Also, you cannot help but notice all the JOY present at this party!  There are so many smiles and so much laughing happening in each picture it is contagious.  It represents Christina and those that love her so perfectly!

Happy shower Bin, we love you!

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The greatest weekend

All my family came in from Texas, along with two sweet girls who I am now going to call my sisters as well. Well actually, Elliott is so in love with Bailey and Stefanie that he told me I’m no longer his ‘girl’, but that Bailey and Stefanie are his girls! Oh my, it starts already! I thought I had at least a good 13 years until I was dealing with my sons’ emotional trauma with girls. The night Bailey and Stefanie left Elliott laid in his bed sobbing and convulsing while pointing towards the door. Goodness gracious what a sweet little guy. :)

I always love having my family here with me. We always have lots of fun and come away with hilarious stories to retell! I was honored to throw Christina a bridal shower over the weekend (pictures to come soon!) and Elli, Aunt Amy, Aunt Debbie, Aunt Susie, and Aunt Kathy and I had so much fun doing so. It turned out really awesome! They joked about my organized spreadsheets and picture lists to go along with my intense organization of the whole thing. Hey- you all know I am an organizational nut! :)

We finished out the trip with a trip to the Pumpkin Farm on a perfectly Fall day. I just LOVE my family! Thank you God for each of them!!

Grandpa Bob and Elliott

Trevor and Michael
Eyeball Smart's cousin :)
Mom and Christina with the Nelson cousins
Michael with Elli and Bailey (with Elliott of course!)
please get here fast December! :)
The super overpriced "Jumping Pillow"
with our Elburn neighbors the Unruh's!
Bailey and Elliott
again... ;)
I just love Elli and her ghetto fabulousness! :)
more Unruh's!
Elliott with Grandpa Bob and Bin Bin
haha!
I love my cousin Andrew...and Bin
still stuck to Bailey!
sweet cousin Ana!

the big 21

When all my fam was in town, Elli decided she wanted to go downtown Chicago to celebrate her big birthday!  Michael and I joined all the cute girls in the city, pretending we were young and childless as well.   I was tired at about 8:30 p.m., soon after we arrived. :)  Hey, for being 8 months pregnant I think I did pretty well.  Anything for Elli!! :)

Seriously, could these girls BE more gorgeous??



Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

On Tuesday, August 9th, 2005 at 2:06 a.m. Trevor made his grand entrance into the world!  Our lives have been forever changed. :)

We like to call him our Puzzle King, or Puzzle Genius, because he does puzzles right and left all day long- like 100 piece puzzles!  He really is amazing! But he absolutely loves it.  I go on a garage sale date every Friday morning with my Grandma Sharon and I seriously think I have brought home about 100 puzzles.

To celebrate Trevor we had a “Puzzles, Pizza, Pool” party with family.  Since we’re still homeless, my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Jim hosted it at their house.  Everything was wonderful!  To check out all the pictures (thank you Aunt Susie and Emily for taking all of them!!):

http://zielkehut.phanfare.com/

(Email/Message me for the password if you don’t have it!!)

and pictures our friends Jay and Michelle took at the party:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157621807520041/

Happy Birthday Brother! :)
Happy Birthday Brother! :)
Puzzle Cakes done by my chef husband
Puzzle Cakes done by my chef husband

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Thanks for the water gun Jay and Michelle :)
Thanks for the water gun Jay and Michelle :)

Dharma…The Others?

Three years ago Michael and I fell in love with the show LOST which has captivated millions of other suspense fanatics as well.  Good thing we appreciate the suspense factor since it is now Season Five, and we still have multitudes of unanswered questions.  *Supposedly* this is the season the puzzle pieces start to fit together…here’s hoping!

For the premiere this year we had our friends Jay and Michelle over to celebrate.  Our super creative friend Jay designed and created the food and beverage containers they brought to our gathering.  If you are a fellow LOST fanatic, you will totally get it. :)

Need a logo designed or help tackling another graphic project? Check out Jay’s website! www.dekanidesign.com

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