Friday, October 30, 2009 | | 1 comments

a pumpkin tale

The tale of Jonas' Halloween pumpkin...in pictures...






Happy Belated Halloween :)


http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 1, 2009 | | 2 comments

cold weather brainstorming

Oh, October...you're my favorite.

Fall always reminds me of our camping trip out west two years ago. Best trip ever. We camped for two weeks out to and around Colorado. Plus, I was already three weeks pregnant and didn't yet know it!
So...with colder weather on the way (not TOO soon, please), I'm brainstorming about things to do with this little cutie:

We LOVE to be outdoors but realize that won't always be possible this coming winter. I'm wondering...what sort of places do you go/things do you do with your kiddos when nasty winter weather arrives??

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | | 1 comments

thank you

We've been pretty sick around these parts, but Drew and I had a wonderful 5th wedding anniversary! Truly, I am still amazed and humbled after reading that letter (see post from hubby). Seriously...what a great guy...I am completely undeserving yet so, so thankful.


And thank you, friends, for all of your kind words and encouragement! I was completely overwhelmed...in a good way :)

And who says you have to spend a lot of money to celebrate?? We spent our evening enjoying 3-course fondue at home. Yum.



http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Friday, September 25, 2009 | | 3 comments

An Anniversary Letter



For our 5-year anniversary, September 25, 2009.

By Drew

My intention in writing this letter is not out of pride or hopes of something in return. I honestly don’t need to hear what you all think of me for writing it. That’s not important; though it’s nothing against you. I had to check myself and ask if that was indeed the case. I can say with a clean conscience, though, that it isn’t, thankfully. This isn’t about me. This is about my bride, my helper, my best friend, my wife.

This letter really is more about Melissa than it is to her. Though, I know she’ll read it eventually, and that is my intention. This is simply my way of saying that I love her on this particular day, our five year anniversary.

Not only do I want you to see that I love her… I want you to see how much there is to love about her. There are proverbs about children and husbands praising the mothers and wives in their lives in public… honoring her and telling her praises for all to hear and join. This is the best way I can think to do that.

-

I wish I was able to describe her using music, rather than words. To do it in such a way that you could understand how she fits in the song of my life. I’m not a musician, though. I wish I was. Perhaps I could write this much more poetically and accurately. The things I feel for her seem to be echoed in the notes and crescendos of the really big songs that move you. I trust you can understand that. She would. She knows me that well.

Even as I write this, with my headphones on listening to one of those big songs, I feel those divinely-given emotions that I have for her in those rare, sweeping rifts that make you close your eyes and shiver with a chill up your back that you wish would never pass. It’s a moment of fullness with an eternal feel to it. Those musical peaks seem to speak the same language of perfect union and symphony which I feel about her. I hope you know it. It’s a feeling words just can’t capture.

God is amazing. It’s so easy to see his fingerprints in the perfectly-balanced creations of music, nature, and marriage. What a blessing and testimony of His grace that He would share with me one of His incredible creations; and what an even more incomprehensible blessing that He would choose to share a daughter of His of such integrity and beauty. Who am I that he would save my life, let alone entrust me with such a treasure as marriage to her?

In our marriage, I’ve been so blessed to see her grow. Her devotion to integrity… her desire for modesty… her call to be a loyal and committed friend… she desired these things when we were younger, but she has been teaching me so much more in these areas lately. Even in the daily things, she is an inspiration. For a girl that said she couldn’t cook, she’s been helping her two boys fill out quite well! She isn’t afraid to learn new things. Her initiative and self-teaching are really an encouragement to me. And her dedication to our family, in doing everything she can to support us through wise spending and saving, provides just as much for our family as any paycheck… yet she does it without any boss looking over her shoulder. I appreciate her discipline so much.

And what about my son? Why should our Creator ever bless me with such a joyous, healthy bundle of energy such as him? Such grace He pours out on us. Such grace. And then to multiply that grace in my life, God has put a pure and distinct desire in Melissa’s heart to be a mother that would raise Jonas and future children under His Lordship. A desire that she’s already pursuing, and He is already blessing to bear fruit.

Even now, at 15 months, the joy of the Lord which is in Melissa is showing in our son. Her love for music and life come pouring out of him as he beams with his 8-tooth smile and dances to any object emitting a beat (the rhythms of the radio, tv, and washing machine are all the same in his book). Her desire for family and sharing life with others is wrapped up in his arms as he shows he is quick to hug and greet anyone with a friendly face. Her intelligence and diligence are mirrored with every new word he learns and object he figures out. Her gorgeous eyes and smile are written all over his face. What a wonderful mother she is.

What a beautiful family I’ve been given. What a gorgeous wife I’ve been paired with. What an undeserving man I am. What a generous God we serve.

I love you, Melissa. I loved you for who you were when we were brought together. I love who you have become. I love your desire to become more and more like Christ. And I love, love, love the fact that I get to share my life with you.

Happy anniversary, babe.

-

For those friends and family reading this, please take the time to leave an encouraging comment for Melissa today. Tell her what you love about her. Make a comment here, send an email or text, or whatever. She may not know why you’re all sending them at first… but she’ll figure it out after awhile. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009 | | 1 comments

where i come from

Jonas and I are spending a few days at my parents' house in Indiana while Drew is attending a conference in Texas. I could not love this place more.





This makes a mama happy.

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Monday, August 31, 2009 | | 2 comments

camping

Before this weekend Drew and I hadn't been camping since our big excursion out west two years ago...and that is just too long! We really enjoy it, especially with friends. So this past weekend we headed out to John Bryan State Park with most members of the band I'm a part of (and spouses). We had PERFECT weather...just chilly enough to really enjoy huddling around the fire. And, it was our first overnight away from Jonas. He had a blast with his buddy, Beck, and Beck's grandparents, and we loved the relaxing time with friends.

Jody and I, showing off our 18-layer blanket-mattress. So comfy! Our husbands might reconsider sharing a tent with us after the uncontrollable giggling fits.


Being weird. Drew was standing on a hill, so this is him, being enormous.


Justin and his multipurpose camping cup


Oh my...we ate WELL. Food just tastes better over an open fire.


http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | | 2 comments

hiking weather

We are loving this beautiful fall-like weather. This past Sunday we took full advantage of it and spent the day hiking...one of my favorite things to do! And Jonas loved it just as much.

Fueling up


Jonas is an excellent hiker.
If only he wasn't so interested in the rocks that he forgets to keep going.


Love this backpack. Love this little boy.



What tops off a great hike? A yummy cake, of course.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | | 0 comments

proud sister

I'm a proud sister. Very cool things are happening in my family!

My younger brother, Jeremy, is finishing up his Sports Management degree at Indiana University (Go Hoosiers), and would love to coach when he is done with school. He's getting an early start, and this fall he is the Assistant Wide Receiver coach for an area high school in Bloomington, IN.
He's the tall guy, second from the left in the coaching section.

My younger sister, Stephanie, just started her second year of teaching in Indiana. She's teaching middle school math...I know...crazy. She's an excellent teacher. And I love taking her shopping with me to figure out the best deals...she's ridiculously faster at the math than I am. I'd post her latest school pic, but she's not really into passing around her picture anymore :)

I'm wondering when we got so old??

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | | 1 comments

buy our stuff

Garage sale-ing is an adventure. Sometimes you hit the jackpot and find a great deal on something you don't really need must have. Other times those little goodies are few and far between. This past week our house church attempted to have one of our own, solely filled with great finds for a steal, of course. After three days of bartering, sitting, and corralling three toddlers, we actually sold quite a bit and raised some money for a friend! I really enjoyed having some neighbors stop by, some of which I'd never met. And one miraculous morning, all three little guys actually napped at the same time, which gave us girls time to sit and chat.

By far, my favorite thing was having those customers who were ecstatic to find something they could really use. A really nice man bought Drew's old drafting table for gift for his wife. An older woman who takes care of her husband full-time was so happy to find some of our jewelry. And then there was the little boy who found a small trinket and excitedly said to his mom, "This is beauutiful!!"

Filled to the edge...and beyond


A good idea in theory. Lots of tears here.


Me, Tricia, and Jody - hard at work

It's so neat to see how God is working in our house church. We are learning how to live life together. And how to sell our junk together :)

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | | 0 comments

schroeder family reunion

What a fun group. We spent a long weekend in southern Indiana with 20ish family members (Drew's mom's side), ages ranging from 7 weeks to 83 years. Grandma and Grandpa Clemens were excellent hosts! We swam, ate, rode bikes, played cards, ate, napped, played with the babies, and ate again. It was a really great time. We do miss our families, but we're thankful we can take weekend trips to spend time with them. We can't wait to see you again soon!

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 30, 2009 | | 3 comments

dancing fools

So, our son LOVES to dance. ALL the time. Yesterday he and his buddy, Isaac, were dancing up a storm. Wow...I love this video.


video

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | | 3 comments

best buds

Jonas has a buddy. They are just too cute: Best buds

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009 | | 0 comments

dairy and harry

I LOVE date nights! What a great husband I have...he planned this one from start to finish. After living in Ohio for five years we finally went to Young's Jersey Dairy Farm, since everyone gasps when we mention we've never been there! Fun place...great food, putt-putt, and lots of things for kids. It was great...we're looking forward to taking Jonas back.

We took the long country drive back to Kettering and picked up some cheap snacks for, oh yes, Harry Potter. I know, I know. If you've never seen the movies, we are now automatically nerds. I'm not ashamed to admit it, though (okay, maybe a little)...I love them!

We had a great time. I really love my hubby. And we LOVE date nights...and having friends who like to watch Jonas for us!


http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 | | 3 comments

my helper

Jonas is learning to be an excellent helper...especially in the kitchen. When I cook, he empties out the Tupperware cabinet and climbs in. We're a great team.

Friday, July 17, 2009 | | 0 comments

cheesin'

Last weekend we had a little picnic with some other house churches in our area. I only snapped one picture, but I love it. Yep, Jonas is totally cheesin'.

Jonas & "Grandpa" Garrett, playing in the fountain





Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | | 3 comments

chicken fingers

A conversation from yesterday, after learning that our friends had their baby (Congrats, Mark & Amy!)...

Me: "Whenever my friends have babies, all I can think about is labor."
Drew: "All I can think about are those hospital chicken fingers. Mmm."

He was kidding. I think.
I love my husband :)

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 11, 2009 | | 0 comments

lake fun

Jonas and I took a quick trip up to northern Indiana this week to visit some family. My grandma, aunt, and uncle hadn't seen Jonas since he was six weeks old, so it was really fun for them to spend some time with him. My aunt and uncle have a place on a lake, and they are so generous to give my family an open invitation!

So happy to see Grandpa


Out cold


Uncle Ron, just before he tried to drown us


Swans at the dock in the morning


Not quite sure what to think of the fish


Relaxing with uncle Jeremy, just back from Costa Rica! It was so fun to hear about his trip...and to drink the yummy coffee he brought back with him!

Lots of fun. I'm so thankful we're able to take little trips like this. Thanks Ron & Marcia!

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Friday, July 10, 2009 | | 2 comments

the magic of the boat

A day in the sun + long boat ride = tired boy.

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 | | 1 comments

top recipes

For those who don't already know, I have been doing bulk cooking for the past few months. With the help of our friend, Tricia, Tami and I have cooked once a month since February. We even took the month of May off to catch up on leftover food! Tricia provides everything we need to make it go smoothly - menus, recipes, grocery lists, instructions for the cooking day, and even the weekly shopping breakdown for the Dayton/Cincinnati area (we purchase the food during the month before the cooking day when items are on sale). Tami and I (and our families) absolutely love it. We both love to cook, so it's nice to spend set-aside time making new dishes, yet still saving time in the evenings. Oh, and the money we're saving is an extra perk!!

Since we've been doing this, Tami and I have both had numerous people ask us what our favorite recipes have been, so I made a list! We have been pleasantly surprised with how much we like the recipes, and these are our favorites. For those who are interested, I've broken down the recipes by month. If you go here you can find the recipes in their respective months.

April
Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Ham & Potato Pockets
Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ
Burritos
Cheddar Butter Burgers
Beef Fajitas

March
Baked Chicken Fingers
Spinach Tortellini Soup
Raspberry Chicken
Pizza Roll-Ups
Jamie's Minestrone
Orange Marmalade Marinade Salmon

February
Chicken Parmigiana
Spaghetti Sauce
Chicken (Turkey) & Corn Quesadillas
Taco Soup
Vegetable Soup
Blueberry Whole Wheat Waffles
Lasagna
Banana Sour Cream Bread/Muffins

Yum. I actually miss some of these dishes. I love to talk about it, so let me know if you have any questions! Oh, and visit Once A Month Mom :)


Monday, July 6, 2009 | | 2 comments

pool date

Beautiful day = pool date with friends!

Amaya was sitting pretty, and Braden was apparently fascinated with Jonas' hair...or ear.

It was a miracle that Jonas actually sat long enough for this picture. He's a champion walker now. A trip to the pool generally means he climbs in and out of the pool 10 times, plays in the dirt/landscaping, tries to eat a rock, and starts the cycle all over. We have a great time :)

http://www.theclemensuz.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 5, 2009 | | 0 comments

happy 4th!

A great holiday weekend in Michigan with family! Birthday celebrations, a trip to the zoo, an afternoon at the beach, playing and reading with the boys, loving on 3wk-old baby Peter, card games, motorcycle rides, and way too much food! We just don't get up there enough...

Birthday fun with cousins

Happy 29th Birthday, Drew!

Books before bed

Kayaking on Lake Michigan

Snuggling with baby Peter

Stealing a mommy-son moment at the zoo

Happy 4th of July!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009 | | 2 comments

food, glorious food

Ever wonder what a month's worth of food looks like? Technically this is for two families, but still...wow!


Tami and I had our latest cooking day this past Saturday. And after having lunch together today we gave the Asian Chicken-Salad Pitas an A+. Thanks, Tricia, for all of your hard work! You make our lives run much more smoothly...and help us save money. Yay for you :)

Monday, June 29, 2009 | | 0 comments

june in review

Ahh, summer. I love it so. And with a very active one-year-old to keep up with, I love it even more! That's right...one-year-old. Last Monday (June 22) we celebrated Jonas' first birthday. We can hardly believe it! What an amazing year it's been. He is learning things now so quickly and becoming such a fun little boy. He's so happy, and finally starting to gain weight more steadily. God is so good!

We took a family vacation to North Carolina during the first part of June...with ALL of my dad's family. It was such a great time! There were around 40 of us staying in a big house right on the beach...the perfect place to be with such a large group. We all came back refreshed and tan...perfect.

Other than vacation the month of June has been packed with weddings, new babies, cooking, firepits, trips to the pool, birthdays, date nights, concerts, and even a little time to myself. We've posted some photos from the past few months on our Picasa account. Click the picture below for the direct link. Enjoy!

Spring/Summer '09

Saturday, May 2, 2009 | | 2 comments

we're still here!

Didn't I mention that I was taking a blogging break? No? Oh :)

Well, I wasn't planning on it, really. I've been babysitting my good friend's 4-month old little girl during the day (from March until June), so life has been BUSY, to say the least! I'm getting a crash course on taking care of two babies! Amaya's adorable, and Jonas has so much fun with her. It's been really neat to watch them interact, especially as Jonas' personality is really starting to show. Seriously, he's such a happy little guy. With the warmer weather, we've had him outside almost constantly, which he loves. And when he's inside, he's standing at the front door, wanting to go out! He's such a boy...I love it.

Just wanted to write a quick note to let you know we're still here! Life is busy for me right now, but I'm definitely planning to update more, especially once summer hits. We're heading for a big family vacation in June to the Outerbanks...counting down the days!

Oh, and here are a couple of recent pictures:


First trip to the park


The big haircut (for both)!


Such a big boy