Friday, February 27, 2009

We Remember...

I know exactly where I was one year ago...having taken Anna to the airport, I was coming down Golf Course Rd. to take Lynnea back to school when my cell phone rang. It was strange that my brother was calling me in the morning. He asked if I could pull over. The next few seconds were like hours as my mind raced to what could have happened. "Jen, Dad died this morning". Those words changed who I was for the rest of my life. I had to grow up in a new way.

I grew up for most of my childhood in Ionia, MI...on a little farm...with one brother and three sisters. My Dad wanted his kids to enjoy a big place to play and he wanted to try his hand at farming. It was the life! There were great times to be had on that farm. Of course, there was always the occasional trip to Lake Michigan.
My poor brother is missing because someone had to take the picture.

My parents divorced when I was in high school and seeing Dad was much more limited. He always had a special place in my heart. We spent many of our visits at a Burger King having Cokes or outside at a park playing tennis or having a picnic.
When I got married and became a mom, I got to enjoy a new relationship with Dad. He loved hearing stories of the kids and he always encouraged me at being such a great mom. He really did try to keep up with an occasional package in the mail or phone call or email.
It's amazing that one full year has passed. I miss my Dad differently today than I did one year ago. I feel like I know him better. One of the things that I know I inherited from my parents is my love for books, specifically from my Dad, the love to research, study, and gain knowledge. I have been reading one of Dad's favorites lately. He commented in his handwriting all over the pages. He was so brilliant to retain a lot of great information. It has provided some great memories for me. I still wonder if I will ever be able to take his phone number out of my cell phone, his e-mail off my computer or his address out of my phone book. Maybe not, but it's okay.

Jason's dad brought me a gift last weekend to remember my dad. I love it. It is called, "Quest". It is a great representation of my Dad's life. I believe that he loved God with all of his heart and wanted to know and understand God greater. I pray that I too will always stay on this "quest".

I Love You Dad. I Will See You Real Soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Meal Planning Discovery

In January, Jason received a very basic spiral calendar from a company. He didn't need it, so I began using it to meal plan. I sat down and planned out a menu for everyday-breakfast, lunch & dinner. With the size of our family, I almost have to have an idea for every meal to make sure there is enough for everyone. Planning for a month has made a HUGE impact in my sanity, our finances, healthy meals and the anticipation for the next meal. Since I took the time to do it the first month, I can rotate many things for the next month and then just add a few fun fresh new recipes or desserts. It took me about 20 minutes to plan a month. Then, each week, I just make out my grocery list from that plan. It works great. I have done monthly meal planning before, but having it in this spiral bound book makes it very easy to look back for the things we love. Do you have any ideas that would contribute to my plan? I love to I would even love to hear some new recipes that your family loves. I have an extra copy of this calendar so if your comment is chosen as a family favorite idea or recipe, I will send it to you!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

And The Two Shall Become One

No, it isn't our anniversary. Last weekend, my Mom and her husband (Basil) visited our family. We had a great time. Basil was sharing how he was doing a study in his bible over the phrase "and the two shall become one" that is often spoken at weddings. He discovered that phrase to mean that a husband and wife become ONE after they have a child. I have not researched that and obviously, WE have become ONE six times...

That conversation prompted this post. I felt the need to brag on my husband. I am often amazed at what a great man I married. Jason does such an amazing job leading our family. He has such a passion for God's direction in our lives. Almost daily, I hear him saying something to our children that teaches them about Jesus and how to serve and obey God in their lives. He is such a HUGE help to me. He jumps in at home as soon as he walks in the door and is attacked by 6 charging superheroes coming to meet him at the door. Often times, he will look out for me to make sure I get a break, even if he hasn't gotten one. One of my favorite things I love is Jason's ability to develop relationships with people. I see this most often at his work where he is a salesperson. You might think he invests in people just to sell a house. However, he truly cares about that person and the needs in their lives. We have had many of those clients over to our house for dinner just because Jason wants our family to share in their lives. We pray for those clients. I have so many other things that I would love to share...maybe I will save that for our 10th Anniversary blog in a couple of months. You win if you know the exact date. In the meantime, here are some early pics of us...
September 1998 Dating
Engagement Picture
(props to Photos by Greg in Tipton, we were one of his early clients)

The Big Day (again, thanks Greg)

WOW! Looks like we need a tanning bed or something.

After looking back at those pictures, I can tell that we had no idea what we were getting into. We were the greatest parents then (isn't everyone who doesn't have any children???) I think we have learned a lot and the best part is that I would rather spend time with Jason than anyone.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President's Day

At the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, they offer free admission on President's Day. Seeing this as a great opportunity, the kids and I loaded up to go. I really should have thought beforehand that all of the greater Indianapolis area might take this opportunity too. I knew I was right when the city bus in front of us stopped and 15 people got out. It was a long walk from where we parked to the museum. The kids did great. We made it past getting coats off, the restrooms, and out to look around. The kids loved the dinosaurs, playscapes and comic strip area. Here are some pictures from our visit. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera (very VERY sad) so these are from my phone.

Sitting on the throne at the new lego exhibit

Benjamin dresses up as a dinosaur in the dinosaur exhibit

Noah & Samuel take a drive in the cab at Comic Strip dress up

Isaac thought we forgot about him until we let him out of the stroller to play in the water in the preschool Playscapes area. He squealed and splashed. I loved it!

Lessons Learned:

1. Pay attention in Driver's Education on how to parallel park

2. Peeing outside before coming in a busy building might be a better option than waiting in line 20 minutes.

3. Do not correct your daughter for pulling around your 3 year old by the collar in fear she might lose him. It might eliminate the need for a museum worker to return him to you later.

4. Preschoolers and Grade-schoolers enjoy exhibits differently.

5. Know when the museum closes so you don't have to sprint the last floor in 25 minutes.

6. Remember your wallet.

7. Sand & Water don't mix inside or outside of the mouth of a toddler.

8. Do not plan to make dinner at home later because you will never get home in time to eat it. It's not worth the preparation time before leaving while the remainder of your home is being remodeled by little people.

9. No matter how Verizon Wireless sells it, cell phones were not made for photography and great memories.


Maybe Eating at Home Isn't So Bad

The smiles on their faces are a great representation on how this night "started" out. I had been wanting to share this with you for some time, but forgot. Some friends of ours had taken the older three kids out for the evening. Since this rarely happens, Jason and I decided to take the younger 3 out for fun. I need to tell you that we had just come through a week of some of the kids getting sick. We went to Burger King (I know, we are such big spenders). Anyway, while we are eating, Samuel told me his tummy hurt and he needed to go to the bathroom. As I am getting up to take him, it is already to late. He had messed in his underwear. I hold him straight out from me and carry him to the bathroom to clean him up. It's a mess. I have to put a diaper on him and he walks back "pantless" to our table.

When I get there, Jason told me that Isaac had thrown up while I was gone. Can you believe it??? Trying to finish up quick, Samuel messes out of the diaper again. We clean up the table and run to the car. Samuel sits on my coat in the car and we make it home for baths and bed. The Lord was gracious to us to allow us to be able to laugh at our evening. Could it be any crazier? Life in our house with 6 children is never the same!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Daddy, I Love You.

I love to watch the relationship that Jason has with Lynnea. It amazes me how a little girl can believe that her Daddy can fix anything, rescue her from anything, and give the best snuggle in the world.

This past week, Jason and Lynnea went to school for an annual Daddy/Daughter Activity Night. Lynnea looked forward to it all week. She planned to wear her favorite purple hoodie....a little like Cinderella getting ready for her ball (except with a hoodie and jeans). I took these pictures before they left.

I pray that we never forget the daily impact we have on our little girls. They are beautiful, delicate and full of God's creativity. Lynnea is absorbing new things everyday and I want God's truths to become part of who she is. Thank you Jesus for our little blessing... however silly that might be.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

A HUGE thank you to the Majercik family who sent our family to see the Pacers on Friday night. Every year, they have been so kind to give us tickets to their box seats.

I am not sure whether the kids enjoy watching the game more or visiting the dessert cart. This year we took the entire family.

Noah and Samuel were rather reluctant to go down the steps in fear that that they would fall over the glass. This was forgotten when they got their own can of lemonade.

This year we bought boom-boom sticks and the kids thought that was awesome. Unfortunately, the boys didn't know they were for cheering...swordfighting was more appropriate. Sorry to all those in the box with us.

Jason "thought" he was getting his picture taken with Larry Bird????

Monday, February 9, 2009

Routine is Where it is At

We get asked often, "how in the world do you guys do it with all of those kids?" This morning I was reminded of how blessed we were to get some great information early on for our baby Lynnea. I know so many people have heard or experienced mixed emotions "On Becoming Babywise", but I can testify that after 6 children including a set of twins, following a balanced approach to this book is the best thing out there for parents of newborns and older babies. As new parents, we were able to have very happy babies who slept through the night at 8-10 weeks. We knew when they were supposed to eat, be awake and sleep without the guesswork of "are you hungry already again?". Our children are some of the best sleepers, healthier and it even made our marriage stronger. It was a great foundation for behavior and being better parents. I just wanted to pass this along in case the Lord would use this to encourage you or a friend . If you would like to learn more about this, you can get with me or check out Visit their store and scroll to the bottom to get a copy of the books.
Lynnea at 6 months in Florida.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Trusting Actively

For as long as I can remember, I would say that I "trust" the Lord to provide my needs or I "trust" that God cares about me. Recently, God is teaching me a lot about trust. I am beginning to learn that trusting the Lord is a very active state of mind. I can tend to worry about many things. I can worry about our finances, the safety of my children, what might happen later in my day or various things that are fairly common to most mothers. I am learning that trusting in God means stopping my thoughts right in the middle of the concern and beginning to think truth. It might be as simple as thinking, "God, I know you promise to provide for me, I trust in you". I might emotionally not agree with what I am saying and many times have opened my Bible to read familiar passages. I am amazed at how quickly the Holy Spirit speaks to my mind and heart and I am comforted to truly be able to walk in trust again. My thoughts might wander again later to fretting, but I am beginning to catch myself sooner and as an act of will choose to think on the promises of God. I am challenged by this, but my stomach feels much better my relationship with God much deeper. I am truly His child.