Tuesday, September 06, 2011

In the Palm of His Hand

       Dad called last Tuesday.  He said Kendra and Matt were on their way to the hospital.  Mom was with them.  They had gone in for a routine check-up but the doctor could not find a heartbeat.  Kendra was 28 weeks along.  Only 12 to go.  I was in shock.  Ben spent the rest of the day watching Clone Wars on DVD so I could just sit and try to process the news.  
       The next morning I took Ben to school and planned to drive up to Wisconsin after his half day was done.  I decided to go to chapel so I could worship the God I was clinging to for comfort.  I made it through the whole service, until the last hymn.  The last verse of the last hymn to be specific.  It started, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow....".  Every Eldor Bickel family member who is reading this can imagine the effect that had on my heart.  I started weeping in front of a row of 8th graders and decided to make a quick exit.
        Ben and I made it to Germantown around 1 pm.  Josh and I talked tupperware, Ben pulled out puzzles, Dad was doing the dishes.  All in all a fairly normal day at the Janetzke house.  Then the phone rang.  Josh answered it.  "Kendra just had a boy."  Dad took the phone and got instructions for him, Lydia, and I to head to the hospital to be with Kendra and Matt.
        On the ride there Lydia kept thinking of people we needed to call.  She would dial and as soon as the person would answer she would choke up and couldn't talk.  She handed the phone up to Dad the first time...that didn't work very well.  So there I was driving down to Sinai, telling my brother Ben that Kendra had a baby boy.  
         We arrived at Kendra's room and there was a small picture of a leaf with a raindrop taped to the door so the staff would know the situation before they entered the room.  Kendra was lying in bed, Matt was sitting on the couch next to her and Mom was pacing around the room in doula mode.  Their baby boy was lying in the bassinet off to the side of the room.  I was not prepared.  Dad had told us in the van that he was small and gray.  He was only 1 lb. 15 oz. and 14 inches long. It must have been the effect of looking at that tiny face through aunt's eyes because all I saw was a beautiful baby sleeping peacefully.  I took him in my arms and awed at the wonders of God's creation.  Strangely there were no tears as I looked at his face.  Only peace knowing Jesus had wrapped his arms around my nephew.  Lydia took a turn too.  She is such a good aunt.  She deeply loves her nieces and nephews before they are born.
         We shared tears and hugs with Kendra and Matt but mostly we listened to them recount the delivery.  Mom was so proud of both Kendra and Matt for their strength, love, and determination during such a difficult process.  And all without any training or planning.  Kendra was still pretty woozy and exhausted so after an hour or so we decided to head out and planned to see them once Kendra was home.  
          The remaining Janetzkes, minus Ben and Christina, met at Chad and Erin's for dinner.  That's where we found out the name they had picked.  Johnathan Luke.  I couldn't help but get a bit choked up knowing Kendra's son shared a name with my son.  We stayed for awhile and just enjoyed each other's company before heading home.
           The next morning Mom and I planned to run a few errands to pick up some things Kendra might need.  Things I wouldn't have known to get if it wasn't for some very good advice from my cousin, Anna.  Mom realized quickly that morning that she had come out of doula mode and was being thrust into mom/grandma mode.  She kept a hankie close throughout the day.  Turned out I could've used one too.  Standing in Wal-mart looking at blue keepsake boxes and blue journals made the journey Kendra and Matt would be taking the next weeks, months, and years very real and I hurt for them.
            I had the chance to go up and hang out with Kendra and Matt that evening at their place in Port Washington.  It was an evening of tears, stories, advice, hugs, and even some much needed laughter.  I am so proud of both of them.  They are handling this whole situation with such poise.  I can't imagine being in their position.  There are just some things in life you never plan on having to experience.  Saying goodbye to your child is one of them.  But in the midst of their grief they both cling to the knowledge that Johnathan is safe in the arms of his Heavenly Father.
           Tomorrow is the burial.  We will all gather to support our sister and brother (in-law) as they do the unimaginable.  I have to tell the boys about it tonight so they are prepared in case there are tears when we get back to my mom and dad's house after the service.  I think it will be hard to do but I just keep going back to the place where I know for certain that Johnathan is safe and happy.  My tears are for my little sister, who has to wait for Forever to hold her first baby.

 Sorry to ramble.  Needed to get all it out.  Thank you to everyone who has reached out to our family. We are so grateful for the support and love.

Monday, May 16, 2011

1 Timothy 4:12

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."

I have to thank my Aunt Miriam and Uncle Keith for truly living out 1 Timothy.  While I was still in high school they gave me the opportunity to set an example for their first daughter.  I am honored to be Sharon's godmother.  I was excited to be a part of her faith journey.  And Sunday I got to stand beside Sharon as she confirmed her faith in Jesus.  

(I wore my heels, so Sharon wasn't towering over me...much different from our first picture together.)

 Sharon got to share this special part of any young person's faith journey with her brother, Todd, who also confirmed his faith on Sunday.
What a great family!  I will always be thankful to be a special part of it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Train up a child....

 Just had to share this story.

We got to play outside today which we take very seriously after the snow-filled winter we've had.  Amongst the digging and climbing and pretending the boys decided to sit down to a "meal" on their fort's steps.  Sitting next to each other with their back to me I hear,

Ben - "Ok, now we pray before we eat."
In unison - "Thank you Jesus, for our food. Amen."
Luke - "Now the other one!"
In unison - "Come Lord Jesus be our guest and let these blest to us be blest.  Amen."

I'm not sure the "food" was delicious because they immediately were up and chasing each other around the yard but I love seeing them live their faith, even when they are pretending.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Good night and thank you for coming to my party"

Ben's birthday weekend started on Friday when Grandma and Grandpa J got to our house.
First we ate pizza and watched Clone Wars...which meant an appearance by Pirate Vader.

A good guy cake and bad guy cake plates.

"Happy Birthday to you, God's blessings to you"

Luke helped blow out 2/3 of the candles.

 Ben had plenty of gifts to open.  Star Wars toys.

 And remote control fire truck among other great gifts.

Saturday Ben and Luke had more pizza and watched movies with Aunt Lydia while Scott and I went out.
His actual birthday was today, Sunday.  He started celebrating by attending Sunday School for the first time.
Then McDonald's for lunch and climbing in the play place.  A quick trip to the fish store with Uncle Josh followed by an afternoon nap.  Then Ben got to help Scott make pigs in a blanket for dinner.

 Love that Star Wars apron!
It was then time for the birthday "campout".  We ate a very specific menu, watched...what else...Clone Wars, opened presents, ate cake, took a bath, and the boys are currently tucked into their sleeping bags watching more Clone Wars episodes and eating "chocolate lightsabers" (aka chocolate covered pretzel rods).

All in all Ben has throughly enjoyed turning 3.

Winter time is here....

We closed 2010 with a quiet family New Year's party where Ben ate his weight in chocolate.

We start 2011 with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa J and Uncle Kurt who came for a turkey dinner on New Years day and to watch the boys for us the following night while Scott and I headed downtown for Wicked.  
Uncle Kurt tried out Scott's new Madden game.

We've spent the cold evenings inside playing with Star Wars toys.  One night the boys decided to set up an epic battle....Good vs. Evil.
Good guys

Bad guys

Tough guys

Uncle Josh came to visit on another Tupperware tour and helped the boys set up the new fish tank.

We've added quite a few new pets to the tank (we've lost about half).  The boys love watching their fish swim around the dinosaur rocks in the big tank.

Since we've had a busy winter at work Grandma and Grandpa H decided to come to us to celebrate Christmas in January and the whole clan followed.  Uncle Jeff, Aunt Sally and Lydia stayed at our house and Uncle Matt, Aunt Jennifer, Cole and Mya stayed at a hotel with Grandma and Grandpa.  But they all hung out at our house for a big turkey dinner and some present opening.  We were so glad they could spend an evening with us.  It was great to see everyone.
Luke LOVED seeing his littlest cousin, Lydia.  She's getting so big and has such a personality.

All the cousins!  Lydia seems a little concerned...

The rest of January has been filled with dress up, battles, trucks, cars, Star Wars and snow.

Yes, Blizzard 2011 was a big deal in Chicago.  We had 12 straight hours of heavy snow.  Plenty of wind gusts to move everything around.  And spent 4 hours digging out our driveway.  We didn't even get to our sidewalks until a week and a half later.
Our car

The boys were SOOOOO excited to see all that snow.

No swinging today!

The gusts made a perfect circle around our magnolia tree

No getting out the back door

Our plow guy was exhausted

So was his supervisor

But the neighbor's new tree looked beautiful.

As we moved into February Luke had to make the treats for his school Valentine party so of course we had to break out the new Star Wars cookie cutters (thanks G&G H!)
Ben was so excited to try out each of the characters.  "Look it's Yoda!"

Luke made Millennium Falcons for the boys and heart shaped cookies for the girls.  He had a blast with the new cookie cutters.

I'm sure many of you saw the Darth Vader commercial during the Super Bowl.  What you have to understand  is that it was a very good representation of everyday life at our house.
 Pirate Vader!

Using the force

Needless to say there's never a dull moment around this house.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Christmas Time....

December has come and gone and it was great.

We got all the Christmas decorations up the day we got back from Thanksgiving.  Luke insisted he put the star on top.  (Daddy helped of course)

 The boys have spent a lot of time playing with their little people Nativity set.  Luke really enjoys making up his own stories including the wise men taking the front lines to protect Baby Jesus from the "bad guys".

The Sunday before Christmas was the Sunday school service.  It was wonderful.  All the kids did a great job.  Only one or two sound problems which were simple fixes so I could handle them.  :)
Again, Luke sang his heart out with his fellow preschoolers.  It doesn't seem to matter how many times I hear him practice, I get teary watching him stand in front of the congregation and praise his Savior. 

After the service the boys wanted pictures with the real Star of the show.

The new addition to our Christmas decorations this year is a "sock with Ben's name on it!".  Thank you, Lea, for whipping up this creation so Ben didn't have to worry that Luke was the only getting "sock" gifts.

We headed for Wisconsin after an afternoon in urgent care with Scott.  He's on the mend, but the doctor told him no alcohol or fatty foods for Christmas...lame, right?  He was very good all break and has set himself up for a healthy new year.

Once in Wisconsin the boys enjoyed Grandma and Grandpa J's house.
Reading books with Uncle Josh...

Playing in Uncle Chad's gym with Uncle Kurt and cousins Maddie and Emma...

Watching countless Christmas movies with cousin Lilly...

Cuddling with Grandpa...

and Uncle Chad...

and Grandma.

And there was the traditional decorating of the Christmas cookies.  Most years I can get the kids to decorate about 4 cookies before they either lose interest or give up cause they can't eat them.  This year Luke, Maddie, Emma, and Ben blew through 3 dozen cookies in about 10 minutes.

I actually had to set aside 4 cookies so I could decorate too.  Lilly wandering into the room after the other kids left so I let her help me with the last few.

She was so patient and didn't try to scoop the sprinkles right into her mouth.  The only fussing she did was when I told her there were no more to decorate.

Ben wasn't as excited about cuddling as Luke.  

To clarify, Ben wasn't excited about sharing Grandpa's lap with Uncle Chad.

Christmas Eve the WHOLE family went to church and we had the opportunity to sing during the offering.  Scott even joined the family "choir" this year.  After church we took advantage of the large space to get our family pictures taken.

Chad, Erin, Maddie, Emma, and Lilly

Ben and Christina Janetzke's first Christmas 
(try to ignore the 4 year old attached to Uncle Ben's leg)

 Grandma and Grandpa and the Grandkids

The whole clan. We've officially outgrown pictures in the living room.

The Grandkids, hard to believe they're all big kids we can just line up for a picture.

 Chad was taking pictures with all his girls so I got in line too.  This was the 30th anniversary of our first Christmas together.  Back then we were the only kids in the house.

Ben and Aunt Christina working on a puzzle Christmas morning.

After gift opening on Christmas Eve, the boys had no idea the pile that would be waiting for them the next morning.  They both got lots of fun toys, games, and movies.  The only bummer is we don't let them play with everything till we get back to our house.  
Luke's big gift was a little tikes grill which Grandpa put together so he could cook us hot dogs for Christmas dinner.
Ben's big gift, an At At Walker from Empire Strikes Back.  He spent all day playing quietly in the corner.

Kurt's big gift was Wii Resort.  He tried all the games.  
He also discovered he doesn't like playing with mom, she kept beating him.  
Dad tried the wake boarding but was having a hard time figuring it out, so Josh offered to help...

It was a short but restful trip to Wisconsin and we had a wonderful Christmas.