Hello one and all!  Happy Summer from every Zenz in West Michigan. 

Life is good here.  We're all healthy as far as we know.  And we're all happy as far as we know.  If anyone has information otherwise, please pass it along...

When we last left our story, the wee child Lily was battling to gain weight.  Well, I am happy to inform you that the battle is over and Lily won.  Actually, she didn't just win; she conquered.  She dominated.  She vanquished.  It was ruthless, really.  In fact her success in gaining weight has led to the misconception that we took her back and traded her in for a different model.  I'd like to put that rumor to rest.  Same kid.  Yes, in true zenzling style, she's on a quest for Roundness.  Our other children came close to being perfect spheres – Lily plans to give it her best shot too.

Many of you are aware of a terrible, terrible parental habit of ours.  More often than not, our children do not get called by their given names, but rather, by any number of titles.  Some are cute.  Some fly out from nowhere.  Some are one-timers while others stick.  Hence, Isaac readily answers to Chuckstin.  Gracie to Saucerrelly.  Actually, it most often goes like this:  Parent one – "Can you grab Fruitbomb?"  Parent two – "Which one is Fruitbomb?"  So for those of you who have been waiting to find out Lily's list of monikers, here you go. (For those of you who have not, I apologize.)

Lily, Liliput, Liliputian, Pute, Liliputz, Putz, Putzy, Putzafiki, Fiki, Lillyputty, Tiger Lily, Lilypad, Lillehammer, Lily-like-a-billy (that's Isaac's – even he’s joined in...) Lilypop, Baby Glowworm, Fatty Bolger, Fredegar, Linoleum, Leelee, Leeloo, and Lily Vanilli

Keep in mind, they are spoken with the utmost love and affection....

As for our other kids, they're cool too.  Isaac is a drawing machine – he easily goes through 50 sheets of paper a week.  And Gracie will gladly belt out a rapturous version of "Bicycle Built for Two" for any one who cares to listen ('I can't apoad a cawidge...').

Lately Isaac's been a bit worried about growing up.  ...You know, having to leave the house and strike out on his own.  That day is creeping up on us; he's already 4 after all.  Anyway, here's some recent dinnertime conversations we had close to our anniversary.

DAD:  A long time ago, I met this pretty girl named Amity 'Wyma.'  I asked her to marry me and she said 'yes!'  And then we got married, and she changed her name.  Do you know what she changed it to?

ISAAC:  'Mommy!'

This exchange came later and sheds good light on their personalities:

ISAAC:  Dad, when I grow up, I'm gonna get married to Mommy.

DAD:  I already married Mommy.

ISAAC:  Then I'm going to live here with you guys and marry Gracie.

GRACIE:  No you’re not! I'm gonna get married to myself!!

(Isaac looks dejected.  Gracie crosses her arms.  Lily dribbles and lets noise out.)

And now for some big news about me...  As a small number of you know, and most will be shocked to find out, I started a new job a few months ago.  I was approached by three talented and admirable gentlemen who were starting their own publishing company.  It was an opportunity I could in no way pass up: due to the work I'd be doing (illustrating!) and due to the great pleasure of whom I'd be working with.  The first guy is an incredibly skilled and accomplished illustrator I knew and counted as a good friend.  The second fellow and I were in a Bible study together and I knew him to be a great guy as well.  The third I knew of, had not yet met, but have since come to trust and admire.

Since March, we've been quietly and feverishly working (75 hour weeks from
time to time...) on a line of product, soon to become available.  When the time comes (soon!) I'll be sure to write again, letting everyone in on our identity, the product, and where you can see it (cough, buy it, cough, cough...).

It's also been fantastic because the timing (thank you Lord) was so perfect.  I started shortly after Lily was born and was working from home during most of her first weeks/months of life.  What a great treat that has been.  Also, no 45 minute drive to and from Grand Rapids anymore!  WooHoo!  No filling the gas tank twice a week!  DoubleHoo!  And it’s a job where, for the first time ever, I'm illustrating on a regular basis.  I love it.

Bye bye for now...
Much love,

Aaron, Amity, Isaac, Grace, & Lily