miles to go…

snippets from the zellner family

So what? June 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 4:07 pm

I recorded a 5 day span in our life this week.  It was an unusual week for us- it included a trip with my sister and a 20 year reunion.  Those don’t happen all the time 🙂 But there was so much that was mundane.  I intentionally wrote it all just as it happened to see the plainness of it all.  Every mom I know could write some of the same paragraphs.  Why record it?

1) I think that I will forget the regular when I leave this stage.  I will remember the amazing trip to Atlanta, the fun reunion, but I will not remember the morning spent at home hanging with my kids and “doing chores” as my dad always called it.

2) There are lots of moms like me who can’t remember what we did all day.  We believe we did something, but we can’t think of what made up the hours that day.

3) The sentences read like a job description because that is what my full time job is.  I wrote about my job and my life.  Sometimes the hours are long, my co-workers are cranky and I fail at my job.  Other times I get to enjoy great perks, I have a great support staff, and I get great hugs and compliments from my co-workers ( which can’t be done in a lot of jobs 🙂 )

4) I believe that my job is an eternal investment that matters.  I believe that my children are my life long calling.  I believe that what we do during the day- whether it is learning how to do something, enjoying God’s good gifts to us, cleaning and being good stewards of what He has shared with us, or serving someone else is shaping them.  I want them to know what God says about His world and trust His truths and not the other “voices” that may come in their worlds.  That is a HUGE job description and one that takes up a ton of time during the day as we work out situations that we encounter.

5) More often than not, God has to use my failures at all these things to teach my children that we are all sinners in need of a savior. They do not have a mom who has it figured out, who executes justice perfectly, who exercises self control perfectly, who leads them by example perfectly- so we do a lot of saying we are sorry in this house. I have to do a lot of saying I am sorry in this house.  And every time I have to remind myself that this will help them trust God’s word more when they see that I am having to trust God’s word for my forgiveness and salvation too.

6) It is a privilege to be at home with my kids.  I want to remember that when I am frustrated by long days or when I am tired of teaching the same things over and over to my children. This “week in a life” may help me see my life for what it is- in black and white.

I am sure there are lots of other things this week will do for me, but these were the reasons that came to me just now.


day 5 of a life of a SAHM June 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:26 am

I didn’t wake up until 9:45! My sweet sister was already feeding my children a yummy breakfast.  I hung out with them at the table and caught them up on who I saw at the reunion.  I heard about their night. We gathered all our things and thanked them for an AWESOME two days.  I wanted to see Grammy before we left, so we headed to her house for a quick visit. I called Eric and heard how Cord was (fine) and told him all about the reunion.  Mom played with the girls and then we got to visit too. We packed up around 11:45 and headed for Huntsville. The girls were hungry so we went through a drive through. I-65 has tons of work going on, so I headed up HWY 31 to avoid it.  I hop on the Expressway feeling pretty good about my decision, until I see my exit for I-20/59.  There is a huge back up and I am having visions of the Georgia traffic from the day before.  I make a quick decision to go the other direction on I-20/59 and I am heading toward the airport.  Not Good.  I do not know where I am or how I am going to get back in the direction that I need to go!

I call Eric who is at the grocery store with the two babies.  He is checking out and can’t answer my questions as quickly as I need him to 🙂 He tells me to head toward Atlanta and then to get off on 1st Ave North.  I would have no clue what to tell someone if they called me like I was calling him.  I hear one of the babies tell Eric that they need to go to the bathroom- now he has more problems than I do~ So I hang up and stop the car in East Lake.  I am far from the direction I need to be going.  I call my Dad- who is a walking map of Birmingham.  He answers!! And He knows what to do!!

He turns me around and talks me through downtown and gets me back up on the interstate- right after the major wreck! It was like having a GPS system in the car- Amazing!

I wish I had time to stop and say hey to him. He was at my Grandmother’s house on the side of town I was on, but Eric has a sermon to work on and I have been gone two days.  So I keep driving and arrive around 2:30.  The girls are so happy to see him. The babies are sleeping so we are able to unload the car and relax.  I start some laundry and unpack some bags.  I have a phone call that is difficult to have.  I ask the children to go outside so they can play while I protect them from what they may hear.  I always explain those kind of things as “heavy backpacks.” Even though they may want to know something, it would be too heavy for them to “carry” so I tell them I will carry it for them for now and they need to trust me to go outside and play.  I thank Corrie Ten Boom for that image that she shared in her book The Hiding Place.

Eric works and then is on set up team for church. So he comes home around 7:00.  We eat dinner, start showers for everyone and clean up from the day.  We put the kids to bed over the next hour and then have a little time to catch up ourselves. He heads to bed and I take another two hours to unwind and get ready for Sunday School the next day.


Day 4 of a life of a SAHM June 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 7:28 pm

We slept a little late on Friday morning.  My girls woke up and were ready to go downstairs in the hotel and eat some breakfast.  They stayed in their pajamas and brought their dolls downstairs too.


We went back up and woke up aunt Bethie and Anna.  After gathering all our stuff together, we headed back to Birmingham.  We knew traffic could be a problem, but we had no idea we would be stuck in traffic for an hour in Atlanta- a total stop on GA 400. The girls played with their dolls, watched a video, and ate some of the treats that were in our hotel room.  Beth and I talked and tried to keep sane 🙂 We finally started moving and drove for awhile before stopping at Chick-Fil-A for some lunch.  On our way home, I got a phone call from Eric that our son had thrown up and that he will not be able to join me for our date tonight to my high school reunion.  No fun!  We finished our trip around 3:00.  I was planning on staying at Beth’s house because she was babysitting my girls while I attended my 20th high school reunion that night.  She has always been very gracious to me and allowed me to play dress up in her closet on special occasions. It makes a special event so much more fun to get ready with her.  She encourages me, gets excited about who I will be seeing, and shares whatever I have forgotten or don’t have 🙂

Eric calls and says our sweet babysitter has offered to come anyway, hoping that Cord will not throw up again. He had napped and woken up and was feeling good.  Eric makes it to Birmingham and meets me at Zoe’s.  He gets a phone call while he is there that Cord is sick again 😦 Now we feel terrible for Cord, but more so for our sweet babysitter who was working so hard to make our night happen.  Eric heads back up I-65 to Huntsville and I go with three friends from high school.

We arrive around 7:30 and start visiting right away.  Our class has always been close and there are tons of people that I am looking forward to seeing. One friend’s husband also had to stay home, so she is my “date” for the night.  We check on each other every once in a while 🙂 I see girls that I have so many great memories with, guys that were in my class since I was in 2nd grade, and couples that make me happy to visit with and hear all about their families.  I love hearing how people are, and because of facebook, I know what their children look like or what trip they have taken recently! Too Funny!

I end up leaving around 1:30am and am very thankful for old friends. I drive home flooded with memories of great people and fun times in my life. This week has been full of special events 🙂


Day 3 of a life of a SAHM

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 4:37 pm

Thursday morning I woke up and took a shower. I packed our overnight bag and woke up the girls.  They went down for breakfast and I told them that Aunt Bethie and Anna were coming over to see them this morning.  I told them they should change clothes- that we were going to have some girl time with them.  I went upstairs with them and helped them select the dresses we brought. They thought that was strange.  Beth and Anna arrived and we jumped in the car. My kids were so happy to see them they don’t seem to notice that we are driving a long way.  Around Anniston, they ask if aunt bethie and anna have to drive this far to go shopping every day.  Beth stops at an exit and fills up the car.  Anna pops the trunk and gives Olivia a huge pink box with pink ribbon and the faces of all the American Girls on it.


Anna had used some stationary that she owned and cut out each little face.  Olivia reads the card and learns that Anna is giving her the Samantha doll that used to be Anna’s.  The card references the Samantha’s story in which Samantha shares her own doll Lydia with her best friend Nellie.  Anna wrote,”I am giving you Samantha today. She was my very first American doll and now it is time to pass her on...”  Inside the box (and it was wrapped like awesome presents on tv where you get to lift the lid off!) was Samantha and a set of her pajamas and a card written by Samantha.  It told Olivia and Emma that we were going to the American Girl Store in Atlanta and eating at the bistro and then spending the night in a hotel.  The girls could not believe it!!




The thoughtfulness of each detail was overwhelming.  Samantha’s letter was written on stationary that had a picture of Samantha giving her Lydia doll to Nellie.  I, of course, cried 🙂

We got there just in time.  We looked around and then headed to the bistro.

  It is the cutest place a girl could want to eat at.

Olivia brought her Samantha.  Each doll gets a seat at the table too.

 Anna brought Kit and Emma brought her Just-like-me doll Abby.

How cute is that wall behind them!

  The dolls are brought tea cups and water.

 The food was delicious.  Chicken fingers. cute fruit kabobs. mac-n-cheese.

 And then we had dessert!! Mini ice cream cones, chocolate fondue and a mini cupcake for Olivia.

 The girls tried on pajamas.  They thought it was just a fashion show.

 But we surprised them with them later.


It was time to get the dolls’ hair done.  After all our dolls were done, we shopped a little.  We also had a major icee issue.  The girls were thirsty and we stopped at the Cookie Company and I let them get a small cherry icee.  I hand them to the girls and think that I should give a warning not to spill, but don’t. I turn to pay and when I look back, Emma is wearing most of hers on her white dress. I am very mad- at myself for not warning her and at her for causing a lot of problems.  She tells me the top popped off.  I head to the car, get her changed in a bathroom and wash out her dress.  It isn’t until later that she tells me she was actually blowing bubbles!! Yikes! Why in the world did she think that was a good idea?

  We head to the hotel and check in.  We swim a little and then go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  It was A-MAZING!! We come home late that night and watch Hop on the TV in the hotel.  We all snuggle down for a good sleep.  I am so thankful for so many memories that were made today.  We are one blessed family.



Day 2 of a life of a SAHM June 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:02 am

I woke up a little later than normal.  I stayed up reading a book for a book club I am in with some ladies from my children’s school.  Greeted 3 of the 4 children.  Lucy woke up after me.  I got her, changed her and brought her downstairs.  She is usually ready for breakfast.  Eggs…so I scramble some eggs for her and for Cord. He has already eaten with eric but thinks eggs sound good too.  I wash blueberries for both of them.  They eat while I clean the pan and dishes. Cleaning the scrambled egg pan is the only reason I dread making the kids breakfast.  We want to go to the pool today, but it is looking doubtful because of the weather.  I try to brainstorm whether we should look up places to go such as library story time or whether we should hang out at home and relax.  The kids are watching cartoons.  I remember two things to tell Eric- I call him about an email that needs to go to the youth group and to ask about our Direct TV issue.  We talk for a few minutes and I call Direct Tv.  The babies have been playing upstairs.  It is loud, but in a good way.  The TV that is having trouble is upstairs, so I spend 20 minutes on the phone doing what the Direct Tv guy tells me to do, while trying to tame the little monkeys that are having a great time playing.  I run the dishwasher. Olivia needs to write her thank you notes from her birthday party.  She writes the first 8, while I look up the addresses online.  The babies want to have a dance party again and turn on the Wiggles.  Thankfully they can do that without much parental supervision.  There have been a couple of accidental hurts this morning.  Lucy fell into some furniture dancing and needed some loving.  Cord gave her too hard of a shove in a moment of excitement.  They needed to be walked through apologizing to one another.  Olivia and Emma were being silly wrestling on the floor and they injured each other. Thankfully they can work theirs out without much intervention. 3 of the 5 of us are still in our pajamas- the other two are in their favorite costumes.  I plan on going to Kinko’s later today to scan some photos for my reunion, pack the big girls for our trip, and study for tonight’s Women’s event.  I better do some of that before lunch.

Update#1 It ended up pouring down rain.  Direct TV has given us some free channels, so my kids watched the Flintstones.  They love that show.  I read some of the World magazine that I got yesterday. They all change into clothing to go to kinko’s, brush teeth, get shoes, and head out the door.  I grab my photos and the email of the guy putting our video together.  We arrive at kinko’s. I give them a pep talk before we go in that reminds them of the best way to behave and how helpful it will be for me if they can cooperate.  We march inside and I am pointed to a computer station- no instructions.  I am a little worried that I will be able to concentrate and figure out how to get this done with the little ones in tow.  It gets worse when I realize that the computer is $.30/ minute.  I imagine owing $50 before I leave this place. There are others working and I am also thinking how my little ones are probably driving them nuts too!  Somehow what I thought you should do to scan and send the pictures actually works.  In between all the scanning and sending, I have to REPEATEDLY tell the children to stop touching the other computers, to quit swiveling in the chairs, to quit wrestling on the floor, to quit crying, to sit up, to stop using the mouse on the other computers, to not tear my photos.  I finally make it out of there only owing $9.50.  We talk on the way home about what I had asked them to do and how it turned out. I am thankful for their tender hearts, but also eager for them to help on the front end, rather than have to apologize on this side of it.  We get home and have lunch.  Chicken nuggets, strawberries, blueberries (yes- more blueberries) and cheeseballs- the kind from Sam’s has been a favorite since Aunt Bethie gave them some at the beach.  The musical instruments come out and it is loud for awhile.  When it is time for nap, I already hear crying in the room that they are playing in- that is what tiredness looks like in little Lucy.  She gets changed into a pull up and I read to her.  She goes down with a song.  Cord is up next. We read Go Dog Go. We sing and he goes to bed.  The girls are working on reading while I am upstairs. Both are reading an Amelia Bedelia book.  Emma needs to read out loud to me so I can make sure she is catching the words and practicing well.  It can make me a little crazy sometimes. She is trying. It is just hard to be patient when a word seems so easy! I think she is looking all around at the pictures and making sure she is sounding out the right thing.  When we finish, they make a list of what they need to pack to go to Birmingham tonight. They do not know that we are going to Atlanta as well to the AMERICAN GIRL STORE!! Aunt Bethie is taking us to Atlanta and we are celebrating Olivia’s birthday by having tea at the store. so fun!!! So I am guiding them to pick the right things to take without telling them what they are doing. I don’t think that they suspect anything, and they are very excited to be visiting with grammy and beth.  I am tired and want a nap, but think I should study a little for tonight and pack myself!! Clothes for bham, for Atlanta and the American Girl store, and for my reunion.  LOTS of packing 🙂

**Update #2  While the kids slept, we packed.  The girls brought down what they were going to bring. Then I spent too long packing for my trip. Olivia finished her last set of thank you notes.  I attempted to work on Wednesday night stuff again. Just not liking how it is organized and want a light bulb that will help ladies process what barriers are in our relationship building, what truths we have in common that make the foundation of our relationships possible, and what ways we could build/foster deeper relationships in our church.  Praying for God’s work and His words.  I talked to my dad a little bit and read some emails.  I packed our car and got SOAKING wet.  The babies both wake up.  They need snacks.  Olivia and Emma both need to shower before we leave for church.  Both require me starting the shower and checking their hair to make sure all the soap is out. They clean up, put dirty clothes away, make their beds and clean their rooms so all will be left neat.  I strip Lucy’s bed and put her sheet and blanket in for a quick wash.  I have to get that dry before her bed time! Lucy wants a ponytail, Emma needs help brushing out her hair, we lose the remote for a little bit and do a search of the den.  I am heading into dinner prep- Thankful for BBQ chicken that I made already.  I’m adding broccoli and watermelon (not to the chicken~just to the plate :0 ) It is still raining.  I unload the dishwasher.  We will be heading to church around 6:00.

**Update #3~ We had a great time at church.  The kids went to their programs and I led a small group of ladies in a review of our women’s retreat and a discussion of having REAL relationships in our lives and the best formats to aid that kind of relationship.  At the end of church I loaded the girls in my car and Eric took the babies. Cord was one sad little boy that he could not go in the “Saturn to Birmingham with the big girls.”  The big girls were crying because their little buddy was so sad.  Both groups had to be encouraged to trust their parents that we had their best in mind.  We made it to Bham around 10:00 and visited with Grammy! We had a great time playing and then I put the girls to bed.  I talked a little longer with Mom and then headed to bed, excited about our big day the next day!


A week in the life of a stay at home mom June 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:48 pm

I decided to write down what I do all day so I can see for myself what makes up the hours of my day. So for a week I am going to list the activities that make up my week.  I know in later years I will need to remind myself what it is like to be at home with small children.


Wake up and greet children who are already up and running.  Eric and I work together to get the children their breakfast and our own. We talk about the day ahead and make plans.  Lucy needs to be changed into her clothes.  I put up breakfast food and sweep the kitchen floor and wipe the table down. THe phone rings and a sweet youth group mom offers to make brownies for the girls’ teen bookclub that is at our house tonight at 7pm. There is laundry to be done. I did four loads yesterday, and I’m finishing the last two.  I fold all the clothes and put mine and Eric’s in our room.  I always put up mine and he puts up his- he’s sweet like that 🙂 The last load is towels and once they are finished, we take the loads upstairs to put them away. Olivia has been sleeping at a friend’s house, so the three other children and I work on the house.  Cord goes first and puts away all his clothes.  I put them in stacks and he puts the right stack in the right drawer.  He has been playing with LOTS of cars, trucks, and trains and needs to put them all away too.  Lucy goes next.  She cleans up the food and cooking utensils in her pretend kitchen while I put her clothes in stacks.  She puts hers away and we all head to emma’s room.  Emma sorts her clothes and does olivia’s too.  I am surprised, but don’t say anything.  She makes her bed while I put the laundry baskets away.  The kids play pretend a little more while they are upstairs.

I receive a phone call from a hight school friend  and have a great 30 minute conversation catching up and making plans for my 20 year reunion on Friday! The kiddos come down and emma begins playing school with them.  She teaches them some math using goldfish and cheerios.  They go to and play on Mr Rogers Neighborhood.  I take a quick shower.  While I am showering the phone rings 4 times.  Someone needs a ride to our youth event later today and someone else needs to make plans for a women’s event on Wednesday night.  I return a few phone calls.

Lucy wants her toenails painted to look like emma and olivia.  While they dry, I work on the house a little.  I find materials that I will need for Wednesday night and I talk to Eric about a few changes in the plans of the day.  Emma wants to google a few pictures of things that she is curious about.  I prepare a couple of sippy cups and a few snacks around 10:00. Cord needs a little wrestling time so we play like he is a guitar and he laughs his head off.  I spend a little time with emma to compliment her on all the maturity she has shown over the past day.  She has had a great attitude when her sister had a sleepover, she has played with the little ones in a sweet and encouraging way, and she has been offering to help me all morning.  I spend a little time cuddling with her and enjoying who she is.

At 11:30 I start getting lunch ready.  I bought a watermelon last night and it is the first one of the season.  It is HUGE and takes a bit of work to get to manageable portions.  Olivia is dropped off at noon and all of us eat lunch together. Each child is asked to clean up his or her area and they put their plates, cups and napkins away.  I have to do a major clean up from the watermelon.  We are heading into nap time now.  I will read to lucy, sing to her and put her down and then do the same with Cord.  It should take about 30-40 minutes.

**Update: lucy wanted more lunch- imagine that. She walks around saying “I’m Hongry!” So I cut up strawberries.  She finds a dance skirt and Cord finds the CD player and they want to have a dance party.  We play the Wiggles CD we have had for years.  I have forgotten how fun the Wiggles are to dance to.  Lucy wants pigtails and we have to find microphones.  After the dance party, I take Lucy and Cord up for their naps. The big girls have to do a math practice sheet and then read until I get back to them. Lucy and I read a book and sing.  She goes to bed pretty easily.  Cord picks two books. He has them both memorized and sort of reads them to me.  We sing and then he goes down easily.   I go down and check the girls math.  Olivia is reading a shorter version of Pride and Prejudice.  The characters are confusing her a bit so we go through them all. Emma and I are about to go through hers when I realize it is time for them to get ready to go ice skating with the youth group! They run off to get dressed.

**Update #2 When the girls leave, I eat a snack and then pull out my material for tonight’s youth group girls’ bookstudy.  We are studying Hannah Farver’s book Uncompromising: a Heart Claimed by a Radical Love. I review my notes from last night and find a clip on that I want to use for our discussion of the definition of love.  I realize I have about an hour and need to clean before I have to leave to pick up the girls from ice skating.  I make our bed, clean the two downstairs bathrooms, and mop the kitchen floor that never seems to look clean.  I straighten the den and wipe down the kitchen table from lunch.  I check the mail and go through all the stuff.  We get a World magazine and I put it aside hoping to get to read that sometime soon. I read a couple of my favorite websites-,,  I check facebook and look at some of my friends’ pictures that have been recently posted. I comment on a few.  Such a fun break to see what is going on in other people’s worlds today.  I change clothes to get ready to go to pick the girls up.  I will need to wake up the babies, change their clothes, pack a few things for them, prepare a couple of snacks for the ride, grab Olivia’s dance bag and head to the ice rink.

***Update#3- I load the kids into the car and head downtown at 4:45 on a rainy day in Huntsville. Traffic is backed up and I end up passing 2 wrecks going down and see two more on the other side of the median.  I am pushing the time table that I have to get Olivia to dance.  I arrive at the ice rink at 5:10 (after making one wrong turn) and switch cars and children with Eric.  I load up Olivia and one of the girls in my youth group and we head back towards my side of town. Traffic is terrible, but we are able to drop olivia off in time for her class. My sweet friend and I get coffee and have a wonderful hour sharing what is on her heart and how the past couple of years have shaped who she is and what she wants to be.  We leave the shop around 6:30 and head home.  Eric calls and has picked up Olivia and is headed to take the kiddos out to eat.  I head home to welcome the youth group girls to our book club at 7.  They arrive all giggly and full of stories and sounds that only teenage girls can produce.  We grab snacks (that were provided by one of the moms) and start our discussion. The girls are fascinating to me and share their hearts honestly.  We cover what our hearts are passionate for, what we all-too-often settle for instead of God and His way, what distorted body images do and where they come from, and what the real definition of love is.  This is what makes my heart sing.  Watching girls grow in understanding of the radical love that their God has for them and the best plans that He has laid for them in His word.  Their parents arrive or they drive home and my kiddos return.  We visit for 20 minutes more outside with some of the families.  We come back inside and begin to put the kids down for bed.  Everyone needs to put away their dirty clothes, everyone needs to pick out their pajamas, everyone needs to pick a book, and it seems that everyone is filled with the giggles.  I clean up a little from book study.  Somehow Eric gets Lucy to bed. I put Cord to bed (although he wants his daddy to sing to him and tuck him in too) and the girls require both of us.  They were wired! Eric and I come back downstairs and talk for another hour or so.  There is a whole day to catch up on! We talk about the day, about our plans for tomorrow and the weekend, about our sweet youth group, about what he needs to do at work.  We laugh alot about nothing really and then decide to both do a little work.  He is sitting at his computer.  I am sitting at mine and I will study some for tomorrow night’s women’s event.  He always goes to bed before me. I take a little more winding down 🙂


beach days June 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 1:41 pm

We had a wonderful trip to the beach.  Eric and I both love it so much- the time flies by! The kids have grown to such a great age and are able to enjoy swimming all day, sleep through the night, and eat out without much trouble 🙂

We are still working on our smiles and EYE CONTACT!

We had so much fun with our cousins, aunts and grammy too.  We spent two days playing with them and celebrating Lucy’s 3rd birthday.  We ate at Pineapple Willy’s and Aunt Bethie bought them ALL tshirts from the restaurant that are SOOOO cute! They think they are big kids! We had a blast.  I am so thankful for a place to stay that we get to build great memories and rejuvenate as a family.  There are many people in our life that make it so that we get to do that and we are VERY grateful!. Happy Summer!