Friday, November 28, 2008

black friday




Since I don't remember when, I stopped getting up early to do the day-after-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping. Jason does it, and I'm GLAD to get out of that! I get up early every day (somewhere close to 5 a.m.), but it's for my own time -- get ready without hurrying too much, read my Bible, have some coffee and breakfast before starting work. Plus, the idea of being in the crowd of shoppers makes me cringe. I much prefer shopping semi-early morning weekdays other than black Friday. I usually have stores almost to myself then.

Luke still wasn't feeling completely healthy today. He had a headache and didn't eat much all day. He has also been saying that his feet and legs hurt almost every day. It's hard to know whether he's trying to get out doing something, trying to get attention, or telling the truth. He's pretty tough, though, so I think for him to notice that something hurts, it must really hurt. I feel so bad for the little guy after all he's had to go through with his feet -- casts for such a long time, braces, surgeries, now stretching and dealing with the constant soreness. I hope the pain stops when his growing stops! That's still a long way away, though.

Joel and Luke were mean to Makenzie this morning before breakfast, so they lost the t.v. until I got all my work done (with their help, of course). They had to help with the laundry, changing the sheets, picking up toys downstairs, and watching Seth. Joel knows how to do almost anything that I ask him to do, so he did most of the work. Luke tried, though. It's still Thanksgiving (we ate Thanksgiving dinner again tonight) -- I'm THANKFUL for Luke Anthony Hofacker!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving :-)


Thanksgiving should DEFINITELY be a monthly holiday, not just a yearly holiday! I think I'm going to start that tradition -- the fourth Thursday of every month (are there always four Thursdays?). Maybe it'll get the kids -- and me -- more in the thanfulness mindset. The pies were a great success!! Either that or everyone was awfully kind. I thought they were delicious, but I've been on a gluten-free diet for almost ten years now, so they'd have to be pretty bad for me not to like them. I also ate a little bit of turkey, green bean casserole, rolls, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, and waldorf salad. ALL YUMMY! I love a special day to remind me of the SO very many things I have to be thankful for.

Seth was amazing today, so well-behaved and cute. He kept his slipper-shoes and glasses on the whole time we were out this afternoon/evening. What a good boy! And he made a real decision tonight. I didn't do the laundry today, and he only has one pair of winter pajamas. I had two more in the closet with the tags on them just in case -- if we ruined the first one, I could get out another one or take them back if we didn't need them. So I got out the two extras and asked Seth which new jammies he wanted -- the dinosaurs or the dog. He looked at them both, walked up closer, and pointed to the dog pj's. Pointing is what we're supposed to be working on right now, and HE DID IT!!! I'm so thankful for Seth Allen Hofacker!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING



Thanksgiving can be hectic/busy/lots of work. I'm not feeling like that this year like I have other years. I do a little something and then take a break, do a little more, take a break, etc. This morning, the kids woke up EARLY (6:30 is when they came upstairs, but they had already finished a movie that they'd started last night). I let them watch PBS Kids while I finished getting myself ready, read my Bible lesson, and put the dishes away. Then I had them all take showers and get dressed before we went to Carrs for doughnuts and coffee. The kids aren't really understanding the concept of "this is not a day for fighting; this is a day for being thankful and nice!" It's "business as usual" for the siblings. While Seth and I ate a little lunch, Jason and the kids were outside shoveling and playing in the snow. Now it's time for a little Seth nap so that I can get the other kids' lunch, make the apple pie, and lastly make the rolls -- yummmmm, nothing better than fresh bread and then pie!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

charcoal lighter, pies, & music


I'm coming along nicely with the pies! All six crusts are made, and the pecan pie is baked (and looks DELICIOUS! thanks to my mom's yummy recipe). After I finish on the computer, I'll make the pumpkin pie. While it's baking, I have to finish the laundry which I forgot about in my excitement to get to work on those pies. "Excitement" is most definitely sarcasm, but I did want to get them done. The house smells SO good!

Grilled hot dogs was only a dream -- we're out of lighter fluid. There's an ancient can on the shelf, but I couldn't figure out how to open it. My neighbor was starting his truck when I was going to the garage to see if any was out there, but I didn't have the guts to ask him if he had any. Oh well, we didn't go hungry -- I microwaved the hot dogs. They were good -- more because of the sauce I concocted and the provolone cheese than because of the meat -- but not great like they would've been on the grill. Plus, I was really looking forward to making and watching the FIRE!! I was disappointed, but too busy to really think about it too long. So "fire" is a topic I don't usually discuss, but here goes. I'm afraid of fire because of the damage it can do, but I LOVE fire, too. In high school, one of my best friends and I used to light paper on fire to singe the edges -- it looked VERY pretty when we were finished torching it. For awhile, I was making a fire in the fireplace here almost every night. I love the sound, the smell, the sight of the flames. Still afraid of it, though.

The only way I can tolerate cooking/baking with anything close to a good attitude is to have some good music playing. One of the best gifts I've ever received is an under-the-counter cd player/radio. I use that thing every single day! When I was making the pie crusts, I was listening to Brad Paisley. Country music makes me a little homesick (my parents always listened to country music, so it makes me remember being a kid, feeling safe and happy at home), plus there are some sad memories connected, too. I decided to change the cd to something that really lifts me up, makes me sing and dance, makes me praise God with everything in me. My favorite cd does just that -- Sarah Kelly's "Born to Worship." The only problem is that this past summer, Seth got ahold of that cd and used it to "clean" the hardwood floor. It's so scratched up that only songs one though five will play. Halfway through song six, I have to stop the cd and start it over again. That's pretty frustrating! I have the cd saved on the computer and on my mp3 player, but those don't sound as good as my under-the-counter cd player. So I listened to songs one through five about four times -- which is fine since those songs are SO GREAT! And of course, I can almost forget that I'm doing something I don't like when I'm hearing and singing along with that music. It's a good thing that no one's ever around when I'm cooking/baking -- I couldn't enjoy the music and distract myself from the unpleasant work. The only people I think I've ever shared the "sing and dance with music" experience with are my college friends. We even have pictures of that -- my roommate and I dancing on top of the bed, singing "Hard to Handle" into our curling irons. Great (and very funny) memories!

PIE

I've started the Thanksgiving pie-making project -- woohoo!!! All I've done, though, is make one batch of crusts. They're wrapped up in the fridge waiting to be rolled out. I have two more batches to make. Then it'll be time to make hot dogs out on the grill (yes, I'm one of the laziest moms ever -- I hate to cook, and I'm sick to death of trying to think of nutritious/balanced/delicious meals, so I tend to stick to at least semi-yummy/a little bit nutritious/EASY). After the kids go to bed, I'll make the filling and bake at least one of the four pies, hopefully two of them. Since my cherry pie experiment was a HUGE success a couple days ago, I'm feeling pretty confident about making all these pies. Making anything gluten-free, though, is always a risk and an adventure -- I never know for sure if something's going to turn out, even it was great the last ten times I made it. I'm pretty sure that tomorrow night after the kids go to bed, I'll be on the treadmill because I LOVE LOVE LOVE pie, but pie has about a MILLION calories in each and every piece. I intend to eat at least four pieces tomorrow -- one of each kind. Maybe I'll skip all the rest of the food all day and just eat pie. That sounds like a great plan to me! I'll still be on the treadmill, though, because even if I didn't have another calorie all day, four pieces of pie would be over my calorie limit for one day. I DON'T EVEN CARE for just this one day :-)

Some people really like to get compliments and thanks and recognition, but I'm absolutely NOT one of those people. I appreciate a quiet thank you when I do something nice, but I hate being in the spotlight. Small, unexpected, quiet, quick compliments, though, just make my day!!! I received one today from a girl in Joel's class. She looked at me in the cafeteria while she was waiting for me to ring up her lunch order and told me quite seriously that I'm pretty. She didn't say it in that "now give me a compliment back" kind of voice; she didn't say it loudly or insincerely or any other negative adverb. She was just stating what -- in her opinion -- was a fact. And she REALLY made my day!

Dr. Mom's advice


Last night, I learned an important lesson: anti-nausea medicine does NOT have a positive affect on someone with the flu. Poor little Luke started throwing up at about six o'clock last night and stopped at about 12:30 this morning (not continuously, just about once every hour or two). I thought that anti-nausea medicine would make him feel better so he (and the rest of us) could sleep all night. BAD IDEA! It just put liquid in his stomach to come back up a half-hour later. And red is not a color a mother wants to see in vomit! He's doing ok today, but when he told me "I'm not sure" when I asked if he was hungry, I knew he wasn't ready to go to school. So he's in my bed watching PBS Kids :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

a "little" overly dramatic



Joel had an upset stomach early Sunday morning and was in the bathroom since 4:30. In between bouts of nausea, he was holding the sides of the toilet and waling "WHY did Adam and Eve have to sin???!!!!" If he doesn't do something productive with his "dramatic side," I'm going to be upset with him. Both of these pictures are Joel. The baby picture looks a lot like Seth, I think. Again -- THANKSGIVING -- I'm thankful for Joel Thomas Hofacker, my first sweet angel baby! I'm amazed at how much he can now do. Since he was sick all day yesterday, he didn't really smell nice and needed to get up this morning and take a shower (usually I have the kids bathe at night before bed). I'm so used to having to do everything for everyone, but Joel's a big kid now and takes care of his own cleanliness (which might be why his hair still smells a little stale and his teeth have a touch of brown coloring). He has jobs now, too -- he takes the laundry basket downstairs each morning (with a reminder almost every day, but he can do it) and gathering the garbage to take to the curb Sunday nights. He has had some lessons in lawn mowing, leaf blowing, and snow shoveling. He's even done a little bit of the laundry now and then. Time flies when I look back. It doesn't always seem to be flying when I look ahead at what's still to come, but one step at a time and we'll make it.

Speech therapy this morning went very well. Seth is learning to be more obvious in his communication. It's not enough to answer a question like "where's the ball?" by just looking at the ball. He needs to point to it. Right now, he's at the "sometimes" level of achieving this goal. Everything about Seth's development is in slow motion. I'd have to really be in a stupor to not be able to keep up and notice his every milestone. I'm not doing very well in my reading about how to homeschool Seth. I keep getting sidetracked -- like right now :-) I should be reading, but I'm typing. Guess what's next on my "to do" list today.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

finished another book

Last night, I finished reading Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson. It took me longer to read than other books have because of the way it was written, but I'm glad that I read it. It's not my favorite book that she's written because of the "cliche-" type things all through it (questions about the Bible and Christianity that people always ask in basically the same way -- for some reason it all comes off sounding fake to me, and "fake" is something that I just hate). But the plot of the book was an excellent thought. A woman is caught up in buying things because she's wealthy (her husband's a heart surgeon). She realizes that this really isn't the way God intended for her to live, so she starts a "journey" of change. She finds that all people have value and good qualities and that living more for other people is much more rewarding than buying "stuff."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

morning with Luke


I halfway woke up this morning at 6:15. I contemplated going back to sleep until I heard a noise coming from the living room. I went out to see who it was, although I was pretty sure that I knew. There was Luke sitting on the couch in the dark, shirtless, wearing just his pajama shorts and leg braces. I asked him why he was out of bed, and he said that he just wanted to be with me. I asked him why he was on the couch, then, instead of coming in my room with me. He said, "I thought you were sleeping." Sometimes that boy surprises me with his thoughtfulness and common sense.

Makenzie my sweetheart


Last night, I had a "little upset," and I wasn't handling it well. Makenzie looked at me and said, "Mom, are you going to cry?" I quickly forced myself to "pull it together" and say "no -- want to play another game of cards?" Halfway through the game, she told me, "I think you're good company, Mom. I like your company." Sometimes that girl just knows exactly what needs to be said and/or done to help a person! I LOVE Thanksgiving -- I'm THANKFUL for Makenzie Renee Hofacker!

Friday, November 21, 2008

friday :-)


Gotta love Fridays -- McDonalds Happy Meals and library movie night, no "hurry up and get to bed so you can get up early for school" night. I actually picked out movies the kids LIKED this time. They ate every bite of their food and were QUIETLY watching the movies. That's always a nice surprise.

Seth is SUCH a good little guy. He didn't sleep well last night, but still had to wake up pretty early to get Joel, Makenzie, and Luke to school (I drove them since Jason was in Bethel) and then go to his ENT appointment (his ears are all clear -- praise God!). Then we ran home just long enough for me to use the restroom and switch the laundry before going to the school for Luke's lunch and for work. Seth wouldn't take a nap, so we went to the library (I think I left my card there, though). So this was a pretty busy day, but now it's over -- time to read a little and go to sleep, looking forward to coffee for me and doughnuts for the kids in the morning :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

HEADACHES :-(



I'm so sick of headaches!!!! That's complaining, but they HURT! And it's hard to think clearly and get everything done when my head hurts. I am thankful that they're not so bad that I'm bedridden or nauseated, though. It could always be worse, I guess.

Today was a kindergarten field trip to Arctic Oasis, an indoor play yard. It went very well. Everyone behaved nicely and had fun. I had to take Seth, so I didn't get to give Luke all my attention or help the teachers really at all. But there wasn't much that needed to be done since the kids could run around and play on almost everything. One of the activities was mini golf, and I thought (there's the key word, really) that it would be fun for Luke and me to play together -- by the rules for the most part. Well, that didn't work out so well. We played about seven holes without too much cheating, but then he just went on playing by kindergartener rules. After lunch, he decided he wanted to play mini golf again. "But this time, I think I won't organize it. So I don't want you to play, Mom." I had to laugh -- yes, I'm a play-by-the-rules kind of person when it comes to games. Luke didn't feel like dealing with that again. Riding a bus with a headache isn't the most pleasant experience, but we made it through and had a relatively enjoyable time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

one of those days


Today, I'm thankful for my children. I'm thankful for them every day, but especially on days like today. Sometimes life is just a little too much to handle, and (being an emotional person) I generally end up crying -- today kneeling down between my van and someone else's truck in the parking lot of the library, but usually in less conspicuous places. Seth is only three, but he's a REAL charmer. The adorable little guy reached up from his stroller to give me a hug. No matter how overwhelming difficult parts of life can be, children are still children and need someone to take care of them. That's quite a stabilizer for a crybaby like me. They're a reminder that I can't live in the pool of pain, I have to take those library books back, do the laundry, get to the appointment on time (well, almost on time -- I had to stop by Radio Espresso and get an eggnog latte, a necessity today). They give love and hugs and kisses freely and look to me for almost every need and desire that they have. While that's quite a responsibility, I'm SO thankful for it! Some people might call it some kind of inappropriate defense mechanism, but I call it salvation from insanity.

Seth wouldn't let me take his picture -- not a picture of his face, anyway. Luke was a much more willing model. He looked so cute doing his "homework" at the table, chewing on that sucker! This child has amazed me this year. I always knew that Joel was smart and pretty well-behaved. I knew that Makenzie was very well-behaved, but I didn't know how smart she was until she started school. But Luke has been a real shocker! He's relatively well-behaved and VERY smart! I was prepared for average, which would have been absolutely fine with me. I was not prepared for a little genius. I guess it IS only kindergarten, and he mostly just has to color and walk in a straight line, but WHO KNEW that LUKE would be able to ace everything? I'm both impressed and thankful! My kids also impress me with their ability to play cards and board games. Today I played two different card games with Makenzie. She's really pretty good! All three of them are good for their ages. Of course, they're better at some games than they are at others; but it's quite enjoyable most of the time to play games with them :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

new Bible projects


I was planning on NOT reading through the Bible again right away, but I changed my mind. I read through the KJV, and now I've started on the NKJV. They're basically the same except the newer version has changed the archaic language (such as "thee," "thou," etc.) to more modern usage. That makes it a little less poetic, but easier to read and understand. There are quite a few words in the KJV that have changed meaning since the 1600's, I guess. My original plan was to read through it, then go through it again with the Strong's Concordance handy to look up any words that I thought might mean something different from what it seemed. If I get to live a long life, I'll get to that eventually, I'm sure. So now I'm trying to do a two-step Bible reading. I read a suggested passage and a "devotional" page from my NIV Women's Devotional Bible in the mornings and a chapter from the NKJV in the evening, highlighting the green and orange like before. I'm also writing down what I learn in a morning notebook and evening index cards. This is something I've tried before, but always failed. I'm "try, try, try-" ing again. It's always exciting to start a new project, but it's even more rewarding to actually stick with it to the end.

I always thought that I'd be able to appreciate Alaska forever. I'm afraid that Jason was right when he said that everyone complains about the weather sometime. It's only November, and we have super-frosty trees. If I remember correctly, that doesn't usually happen until about the end of January. So does this mean we're going to have an even colder, snowier winter than normal? That's a depressing thought. I'm not the best driver in normal conditions. Let's not even discuss my abilities (or lack thereof) on snowy/icy roads. Then there's the sun that seems to always be stationed right below the sun visor of the van so that it's right in my eyes, blinding me and starting a good headache (not good points adding to my already not-so-good driving). It really is best for me to just stay in the house until winter is over, but that's not possible. So I have to pray and trust that other people are better drivers than I am and that God will somehow protect me. Then there's the messiness that winter brings into my miniature entryway, causing me to freeze my poor little children because they MUST remove their shoes outside and THEN step into the house so that I don't have to get out the dustbuster and Clorox wipes every time we come into the house. And then there's also the extra time and toting of coats and shoes. But none of this is following Preacher's "complaining fast," is it? I can't change the weather, and I don't feel like moving, so I'll praise God for the beauty of winter, the safety that He provides, the warm house and good winter clothes that we have, and the hope that winter doesn't last forever.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

instant coffee



Joel got to spend the afternoon with Dad at two different Carrs stores keeping him company, eating, drinking a mocha (which he didn't like but drank it all anyway -- that's our "tightwad" parenting coming through!), and reading. Luke wanted to go, too, of course, so that he could have hot chocolate. I told him we'd have hot chocolate with whipped cream just like at Carrs if he wouldn't throw a fit about not getting to be with Dad. He agreed, so I made hot chocolate with eggnog and whipped cream (yumm!) for Luke and Makenzie and coffee with eggnog for me. The only problem with mine was that I used instant coffee. I usually get coffee beans from Costco (the cheapest ones) to make lattes. When we were at Costco yesterday, though, I accidentally got regular instead of decaf. So this morning when I went to Carrs to get the whipped cream (and an eggnog latte, of course), I also got coffee (not enough time to go back to Costco until I'm not sure when). I thought I'd try instant coffee -- much easier than brewing. But it didn't taste good at ALL! I'm sure I didn't put the right amount in, so I'll have to keep trying on that.

Why no caffeine? I seem to be prone to migraines, and I got SICK of being sick all the time so I read a book about stopping headaches. It was written by a neurologist who wrote that everyone has a headache level. Many different things can stack up to reach or exceed that level (stress, weather, different foods, and caffeine). His advice was to eliminate any of those things that stack up that I possibly can. I can't really eliminate the stress (I love my kids -- I don't want to eliminate them :-) or the weather, but there was a huge list of foods that can trigger headaches (citrus, msg, nuts, nitrates/nitrites . . .). His first advice, though, was to cut out caffeine. This surprised me because the migraine pills are made up of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen. So why would I want to cut out the caffeine? Because caffeine stops a headache by constricting the swollen blood vessels in the head. When it wears off, those blood vessels swell back up, sometimes causing a worse headache than before. This was probably why I was getting headaches so often and why they kept getting worse. I haven't had caffeine (at least, not much) for several months now. I have little headaches, but nothing so horrible that I can't function. Praise God (and the neurologist author) for that!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

apple pie


Here's my first attempt at making pie since taking that pie-making class a few weeks ago. It LOOKS perfect, I think. The boys didn't like the taste of the crust, though. So I'll have to use a different recipe for the crust. And I did cheat and use canned pie filling. But my mom sent me pie filling recipes, so I'll be working on that next time.

We got a LOT accomplished today! After my GREAT time of Bible reading this morning, I made a list of things that I wanted to get done today. The kids and I did every single thing on the list plus some more things. There weren't too many horrible fights today, either. This turned out to be a really good day.

I finished reading


It took me about three years, but I finally finished reading the entire Bible. I'm SO excited about this project! Someone challenged me to start at the beginning and read all the way to the end, looking for God. Who is He? How does He work? What does He love? What does He hate? What is He like? Everything that gave me any information about God, I highlighted with an orange pencil. When I got to the New Testament, I highlighted all of the "Christian directions" in green (as well as continuing with the orange). And what did I learn? I learned that being raised in church was a BLESSING! I knew who God was -- this reading didn't really reveal any new information, but it confirmed what I had learned all along. God is good, righteous, merciful, sovereign; He is light and love; and He is also the Judge. The main thing that I learned in this project was that books of the Bible that I had previously thought "not for me" (such as Leviticus), DO have a lot to say about God. The Old Testament, especially, surprised me with how much foundational information is written between the laws and history. Revelation was another book that surprised me. I always thought that it was just a book of symbolism that we could try to figure out and make guesses about the true meaning, but never really understand completely until it actually happened. WRONG! There is SO much in that book about God! It is a book of prophecy, but all of the "orange" words made me keep reading until I finished all 22 chapters in only two days (my brain usually can only handle a couple chapters at most from the Bible because of the wording and the deep content, plus -- I have to be honest -- it's not a novel, so I have a hard time concentrating). So now I am taking a break from straight reading and getting out some "devotional" books that I've had for awhile. I don't think I can even explain in words what reading God's Word in its entirety -- and especially what reading Revelation yesterday and this morning -- have done for my heart and mind. Jehovah is God, the only true God, the sovereign Judge, the loving Father. Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and really is alive and interceding for ME and is THE example of righteousness. The Holy Spirit is leading me through this life with all its challenges and blessings. MY NAME is written in the Lamb's book of Life, and I WON'T be cast into the lake of fire. What a GREAT time to get to this -- right at Thanksgiving time. I am THANKFUL that God allowed human beings the privilege of knowing so very much about Him!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lukey :-)



Today, Luke had the opportunity to play in the gym at school but decided to be with ME! :-) He's such a little sweetie! So he watched a movie while I put Seth to bed, and then we played cards and then looked at pictures of when he was a baby. What a nice afternoon!

no more stitches




Seth got his stitches out today -- YAY!! He was, once again, PERFECT!! I held his arms and head while the doctor cut each stitch, then pulled each stitch out, then showed it to Seth. Seth didn't even flinch! He's SO tough -- I'm amazed!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seth's allergies

We went back to the allergist this afternoon. It looks like Seth is still allergic to green beans and peas, but is no longer allergic to turkey, beef, and oats. That's GREAT news to me!!! Seth really doesn't care one way or another as long as he doesn't go hungry. We're re-introducing these three foods starting TODAY!! It takes five days of eating progressively more of one of the foods and then two more weeks of eating normal amounts of it to see if he has any kind of reactions. So today, I gave him 1/2 teaspoon of turkey (lunch meat). Tomorrow, he'll get one tsp; Saturday, two tsp; Sunday, three tsp; Monday, a whole turkey sandwich. Maybe Tuesday night's dinner will be turkey ham. If after a total of three weeks, he hasn't had any reaction (rash, bad diapers, vomiting, excessive grouchiness, etc.), we can assume that he's not allergic to it any more and move on to beef. Three weeks of trying beef, then three weeks of trying oats. We go back to the allergist in three months to tell her how he responded to all this. I'm starting with turkey because of Thanksgiving, but beef and oats are much more important to me. We have some moose meat in the freezer that I'd LOVE to use, but Seth can't have it because it has beef fat mixed in it (moose don't have enough fat to make good ground meat -- little explanation for non-Alaskans). So when I make something with moose, I have to make something separate for Seth. But only for three or four more weeks! And I'd love for him to be able to eat all those yummy-looking breakfast bars that the other kids eat almost every day or oatmeal, which he used to love. This is SUCH great news!!

I'M FINISHED!!!





I'm finally all finished with painting for a while. I'm very pleased with all of the new looks! I'm not sure if the pictures of my room will really show up "true to life," but it looks really nice! The color is a pale lavender. I painted the back wall solid, and then sponge painted the other three walls. I did the sponge painting yesterday, part during Seth's naptime and the rest after picking the kids up from school. I had a snack on the table for them and the t.v. on PBS Kids so that they could just sit quietly while I finished up. Well, that plan went right out the window when Luke gave Seth a cup of juice instead of just a drink of juice. And then Luke decided to run all over the place and then mess with the t.v. antenna (which I had placed in the perfect, hard-to-find position for the best reception). Someone had just given Seth a new signing video, so I stopped painting for long enough to tell Luke he was on his last chance and to put in the video until I was finished painting and could fix the antenna. I was relieved to get the painting done so that I could start putting the house back in order. That's a job that will take weeks, I'm sure!

Makenzie and Sarah!


This is SO exciting to me, even though I'm incredibly jealous! Makenzie got this picture taken with Sarah Palin on Monday at school. Sarah's daughter was playing basketball at A.C.S., so Sarah came to watch. Then she let people take pictures. Makenzie was at the school with Jason while I took Seth to the allergist. I cropped the picture to just include Makenzie and Sarah because I didn't know if the other kids' parents would want their children's pictures on the internet. Anyway, I was really excited that Makenzie got to meet such a beautiful, dignified, amazing woman and get a picture to remember that moment!

three in one day


Because I don't know how to place the pictures where I want them, I'm making three separate posts right now. This one is the "details of the day" post. I took this picture this morning for Aunt Amanda and Uncle Darryl who both graduated from Gardner Webb University and gave Seth this shirt.

Seth woke up really early this morning, which worked out well because I needed to get some errands done. I MUCH prefer doing errands in the morning before there's too much traffic. I've been putting off going out to the Kirby dealer to get more vacuum bags for about a year now. I've just kept on vacuuming with the old bag until I smell a burning odor. Then I know it's time for a new bag. I'm finally on my last one, and it's FULL! My carpet is filthy, so I had to drive out to Dimond. While I was there, I got an extension for my hose and wand to vacuum the wood and linoleum so that I don't have to bend at the waist every time I vacuum those floors. This will be much easier on my back, I'm guessing. Then I finally got to Wal-mart to pick up the pictures that I ordered weeks ago but kept forgetting to pick up. We made it to the school in perfect time to get all the kids' food and then work at the computer. So, all together, this has been a nice morning. The weather has added to the "niceness" since the sun's out today. Now just a few more hours until we go talk to the allergist about a new plan for Seth's eating.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

busy morning -- busy afternoon

This morning was a little busy, but everything went smoothly. Seth woke up at a good time and ate breakfast well, so we drove over to the allergist to have his allergy test patch removed. At the first reading, he seems to still be allergic to green beans and turkey. Not too bad. I would love for him to be able to eat beef again, and making tuna casserole is much better with peas in it! And the biggest one: OATS!!! There are almost NO easy breakfast foods that do NOT contain oats! So if this is correct, breakfast will get easier -- and cheaper since I've been buying gluten-free breakfast bars which cost a dollar and few cents EACH. Then we went to the school to start our new project. The children in Luke's class were not having enough time to eat their lunch, so I went in early and got their orders on the table for them. It went pretty well for a first try. I think it'll get better and better with practice. So now I get to eat my own lunch and then start PAINTING!!!! I'm excited today because I'll be sponge painting, and that's FUN!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

not so bad at all

Today wasn't as hectic as I was expecting. The first appointment was at 9 a.m. with the audiologist. Seth was supposed to have a hearing test, but his ears still had too much gunk in them. She said the test wouldn't accurately show whether or not the tubes had helped his hearing until the ears are finished draining all that stuff. So we'll go back in three weeks and try again. Although continued drainage is not exactly good news, it did help with the scheduling today. I needed to go to Walmart, so the cut off appointment allowed me to get that errand done before going to help with Luke's lunch. After lunch was Seth's occupational therapy. He did a pretty good job there, even showing two new skills: 1.holding a container with his left hand while twisting a lid off it with the right hand (still not expert at this, but getting the idea which is an improvement from last week) and 2.holding a tower of pegs steady with his left hand while putting a peg on top with the right hand. The whole idea of using the hands to perform two separate tasks is VERY complex, so it's great that he's starting to think of it. Naptime was even successful today -- yay Seth! While he slept, I was able to do more taping in my room so that I can paint tomorrow during naptime (looking forward to that!). And now this day is almost over -- kids are in bed, so I can pick from a long list of "need-to-do's." I think I'd better iron -- hate that job!!!!! but it must be done. One of the top priorities on my "when I become wealthy" list is to HIRE A MAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

TOO MUCH GOING ON!!

There's just too much going on this week! Sunday night in the e.r., today we had speech therapy and an allergist appointment, tomorrow a hearing test and occupational therapy, Wednesday back to the allergist, Thursday back to the allergist again, and Friday to the pediatrician to get the stitches out. In between all this, there's laundry, cooking, cleaning, cleaning up, Luke's lunch, work . . . I'm hoping there's enough time in there to eat and use the restroom! That, I'm sure, qualifies as complaining -- no excuses, just stop now. I'm thankful that we HAVE all these doctors to help Seth with his many needs!!!!!!! And I pray a blessing on every one of them for doing everything they can for us.

what a night!!!




Last night is NOT a night that I would ever want to re-live!!! We were FIVE MINUTES away from bedtime -- I was putting Luke's braces on, and then we just had prayer, good night songs, SLEEP! Seth tripped over my feet, though, and landed on the humidifier. The gash in his top lip took a while to stop bleeding; but when it did, we could see that it was open pretty deep (not all the way through, though). We ran over to ask Aunt Amanda's advice and then went to the ER. Seth was PERFECT through the entire ordeal! He sat on my lap nicely and quietly through all of the waiting. He stood nicely on the scale to get his weight and let the nurse get his temperature under his arm. He gave everyone smiles. He didn't complain a BIT about the anesthesia being taped to his face or even about the doctor stitching it up. He did better than I did!!! It's a good thing we were lying down for the sutures, that's for sure! I was concentrating all my mind on holding his arms completely still and breathing deeply enough to not pass out and to not hear the whole pulling/tying/clipping process going on. There's most definitely a good reason why I never even considered being a nurse! The doctor's normal procedure is to tape or hold a cover over the child's face so that he can still see Mom and still breathe, but not see the sewing. Seth did complain about that; he WANTED to watch her sew his lip. He watched the whole process. We were at the hospital for a little over two hours -- not too bad, I guess, especially with Seth behaving so angelically. I'm glad that's over!!

On a more comfortable note -- last night's sermon was FANTASTIC! Luke and Makenzie went to the service with us, and I wish that Joel would've been in there, too. Makenzie was really listening. She had brought her book to read (I let them bring almost anything to keep them quiet and still), but she didn't read at all because she was listening to Preacher. He was talking about not complaining and about being thankful. At the end of the service, the ushers passed out little bracelets for us to wear to remind us of the three-week fast (no complaining for three weeks). I can hardly even imagine how different life would be if I and everyone else in my house lived life giving thanks instead of complaining! In the Haley Mills version of "Pollyanna," the main character tells her pastor that her father found several hundred "rejoicing texts" -- verses in the Bible that tell us to rejoice, be thankful, be glad. I looked up a lot of those at one point, but have I obeyed them? Sadly, no, I haven't. When Joel was a baby, I started singing "Rejoice in the Lord Always" to him whenever he started throwing a fit about something. It really worked, and I don't know WHY on Earth I ever stopped doing it -- frustration breakdown would have to be my excuse, I guess. I've started doing it again with Seth. He's getting quite independent, wanting to do things on his own and getting loudly angry when I don't let him. Singing "Rejoice" quietly in his ear while I continue carrying him, putting him in his carseat, or whatever he's upset about almost always calms him into cooperation. It's so much nicer and more effective than spanking or yelling. I'm hitting my head, saying "why didn't I stick with this method for the past nine years with all the kids????????!!!!!!!" So anyway -- November's theme is BE THANKFUL. I'm hoping it'll become a habit, our way of life instead of such an effort at which we so often fail to succeed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

more "cute kids" pictures





Makenzie looked like a snow fairy today, so we went outside to take her picture:-) And then all the kids needed pictures taken, too.

Preacher gave an excellent sermon today about being thankful. He challenged us all to go on a three-week fast. Not a commitment to not EAT for three weeks, but a commitment to not COMPLAIN for three weeks. He gave the example of his being on a low-carb diet. One day he ate a peanut butter cracker without thinking. When he realized that he had something in his mouth that he had decided to not eat for awhile, he spit it out in the trash. That's what I should do when I start to complain -- just stop it. He reminded us that being thankful makes us happier, more pleasant to others, and healthier; while complaining makes us unhappy, unpleasant to others, and less healthy. Plus there are the explicit directions in the Bible to "rejoice in the Lord always," and "in everything give thanks." Pollyanna had the same idea: whenever there's an opportunity to complain, look for something to be glad about instead.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

GORGEOUS kids!



I'll be the first to admit that my kids -- all four of them -- can, at times, be giant pains in the neck. But I'm also the first to say that my kids are GORGEOUS, creative, smart, and fun!!!!!

This morning was a bit of a disaster, both for scheduling and for parenting. Jason had to leave for work at 6 a.m., and that's when I was planning on getting up. I'm not exactly sure why, but as soon as Jason left, Luke came upstairs -- SIX O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING!!!!! I don't handle that kind of situation well! I don't want to reward that decision, so I don't like to let him get in my bed or watch t.v. I don't want him to think I'm not glad to see him, but I'm so irritated that he's not still sleeping for the last two hours that he needs (and I'll be honest -- that I need for him to be unconscious), that I get "snippy." A 6 a.m. wakeup means a day-long string of grouchiness usually. It hasn't been too bad today, though. It always helps to separate them. Today, Joel got to watch cartoons in my room while Makenzie and Luke watched a movie downstairs and I fed Seth breakfast. Then Makenzie left to play at a friend's house and the boys all watched a movie downstairs while I painted. Now it's "naptime" -- one of my favorite times of the day, second only to bedtime :-)

painting obsession



I haven't had much time to think the past couple days because I've been COMPLETELY obsessed with painting. We painted the living room and stairwell on Thursday night a light caramel-brown color (which, by the way, I created myself -- I mixed the "burnt almond" color from the bathroom with white. That was too pinkish, so I added the "quiet waterfall" green color from the living/dining room -- great new shade!). It needs a little touching up in the stairwell, but that will have to wait until Jason can get to it since I'm scared of climbing the ladders. Last night and this morning, I painted one wall of our bedroom a light purple color -- it looks like a lavender and gray mix. Neither of these colors shows up very well in pictures. I gave the roller a try this morning, and I liked it pretty well. It was a little easier on my hands, but I'm not sure if it worked any better than the method I had with the brushes. Monday (I hope, anyway), I'll start on the rest of the room, but I'll be sponge-painting those walls. I'm MUCH better at using a sponge than I am at using a brush or roller! I'm REALLY looking forward to starting that. I'm NOT looking forward to having to move junk and clean where I haven't cleaned for a good four years! YUCK!!!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NOT safe!



I decided that I don't like white walls anymore! So when my parents visited, they started the painting project -- kitchen, living room, both bathrooms, hallway. Now I'm on phase two -- the rest of the living room and the entryway. The only problem with phase two is that the entryway goes from the lower level all the way up to the upper level, requiring a ladder to get it painted. I don't get on ladders unless they're the steady kind. So Jason's helping with phase two. I don't know if he's afraid to get on that ladder or not, but he's going to do it. I'm glad -- there's no WAY I can get on there, so I'd have to use the roller with a super long handle. That probably wouldn't turn out too nice-looking.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

disappointment

I am very disappointed in the American people. I'm even naive enough to be surprised. Now Christians had better pray -- for his salvation, for logic and clear-headed/unprejudiced thinking and decision-making, for our own selves to be respectful and prayerful at all times. God sees every heart, mind, and action. He sees, hears, knows, and cares. He is all-powerful while mankind, Satan, and demons are limited. "Blessed be the name of the LORD."

I am thoroughly enjoying my new job. It's easy and I get to give smiles to all those cute kids. I'm not in an authority position, so all of the problems belong to someone else. My sole responsibility is to kindly record the food each child in line is purchasing. The only negative to the job is that sometimes I have to tell a child that they have to put some or all of the food back because they're out of money or their parents said they couldn't have some particular item. That doesn't happen very often, though. And so far, the children in that situation have been very cooperative. If I had extra money, I'd come loaded with ones to hand out to every single child that needed more money for their lunches. I did give one child a quarter or two last week, but I wish I could do that for each case.

Seth is in the middle of an awful cold. He has stuff coming out of every single opening in his head. GROSS!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

two book reviews

Lisa Samson is one of THE BEST authors ever!!! I recently finished two of her books, and they were GREAT!
1. The Living End -- A woman's husband dies, leaving her all alone except for some cousins and a handicapped brother. The husband was a Christian, but the woman isn't. Before he died, the husband showed the woman a list of things that he wanted to do while he was still alive. He didn't get to do any of them, so the woman decided to fulfill her husband's last wishes. Her plan was to kill herself as soon as she finished the list. But somewhere along the road, she made new friends and got re-acquainted with her cousins and decided that she didn't want to die. Two things really struck me about this story. First, that woman was left with no children to take her mind off her loss, to take care of her, to give her a reason to live. I'm thankful for my children. Second, her new relationships and her new faith in God made her life exciting and worthwhile.
2. Tiger Lillie -- This book is written in a diary form with intermingled entries from two sisters. The main character is a wedding planner and has two very close friends that work with her. Several years earlier, her best friend and possible fiance disappeared. She had to learn to believe that he was dead and move on. Her sister was married to a man who became a cult kook. By the end of this book, my heart was pounding so hard, I almost had to sit up instead of lying down in bed to finish reading the book -- at midnight last night, which is why I overslept a little bit this morning. Besides the entertainment factor of this book, the close, honest, encouraging friendships that the main character enjoyed were beautiful.

Now I'm starting another book by this author -- I'm sure it will also be hard to put down and I'll lose quite a few hours of sleep until I finish it.

scary election day

I'm pretty much anti-politics. I never watch the news or read the newspaper or even read the little news bits on the internet when I log off my e-mail. The whole subject just gets me too upset, so I avoid it completely. The unfairness of people's making unbelievable amounts of money for doing what, I'm not sure, when people like Jason work their tails off and still qualify for public assistance is just plain WRONG! I'm thankful that I live in the U.S. and have almost complete freedom, the opportunity to earn money, and all the modern conveniences thought up so far. I have to stop myself right there or the list of complaints would be so long that I'd forget that I started out being thankful. So that's the end of that -- I'm thankful that I live in this country.

Now the election today has me a little nervous. I'm still not sure how any American could even consider voting for a man with any kind of Middle-Eastern ties unless, of course, 9-11 has completely slipped their minds. I know that "the end" is near and that people and nations will become more and more evil, but I guess I've always thought that I'd be long dead before any of that. If there's a Christian president, it would seem that I have a better chance of my assumption being reality. If the other one gets elected, I'll really start listening for the trumpet.

I ran into an old friend today. I love it when that happens! She didn't recognize me. I didn't know that I'd really changed at all, but I guess I haven't seen her for a couple years. Seeing her reminded me that I need to keep in touch with people better. About a year or so ago, I started e-mailing my college friends again. Before that, we had almost completely lost contact. Now we e-mail pretty regularly. I have another old friend who doesn't like to use computers, so I actually sat down and WROTE (with pen and paper -- gasp!) her a letter and sent pictures of the kids. Life gets so busy, that I forget to stay connected to people. I need to do more to remember the people that I love and let them know that I'm thinking of them and caring about them. That might be a good New Year's resolution to start on right away to get in the habit before the new year gets here (increase my chance of success). I'm trying to do that with the kids and our Bible lesson book. I've tried off and on ever since Joel was one or two to read a Bible lesson and pray the Lord's prayer together at breakfast. It's been really difficult to stick to that since the kids started school. It's always so rush-rush on school mornings, and then weekend mornings are all about sleeping and watching cartoons. Those are NOT good excuses for skipping family devotion time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

half and half

So today started out great, but then something went crazy. The morning was nice and leisurely, but then the rest of the day was run, run, run. I barely had time to sit down to eat, but I got quite a lot done. So I guess today was a success (in a way). I'm awfully tired, though. Maybe tomorrow will be a little slower -- yeah, right.

celiac disease

I have celiac disease. Of all the ailments in the world, I think this is the best one to have (unless the choice was "none of the above"). Having celiac disease is a pain in the neck, I'll admit, but life could be so much worse. I don't have to go to the doctor about this, I don't have to take any medication for it, I don't feel sick or uncomfortable in any way, and I shouldn't die any sooner than anyone else -- IF I stay on a gluten-free diet. My body cannot digest gluten, one component of wheat, rye, and barley. Therefore, I'd better not eat anything with wheat, rye, or barley (or oats because they are usually grown in the same general area as wheat, so there's a cross-contamination issue) in it because my body will try to digest it and fail. This failure can result in any one or combination of consequences: rashes on my elbows, knees, fingers, eyes, or tops of feet; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; stomach cramping or upset; gas; or sluggishness. Those are just the effects that I might feel. What I don't feel is the damage being done in my small intestine. If I understand what I've read correctly, while trying to digest what my body considers to be "poison," the little finger-like things (no, science is not my forte) get squished (not the medical term, but the general idea). That damage can take up to a year to heal. If I were to ingest gluten all the time, all of the finger-like things could be squished. This would cause all food to go undigested, leaving me malnourished; and I would starve to death no matter how much I ate. I am also at a higher risk of developing intestinal cancer. The "starve to death" problem and the cancer would require my eating a WHOLE lot of gluten, though. I'm not going to experiment how much is required for those results, though. I play it safe 99% of the time. Today was one of the 1% of the time that I DON'T play it safe. A little boy in Luke's class brought in food for lunch because it's his birthday. His family is either Korean or Chinese, I believe, so I could NOT fight the temptation to just try that food even though it almost definitely contained gluten. It was DELICIOUS, of course! I'm pretty sure that I ate a small enough amount to avoid all of the uncomfortable effects, but I always feel a little guilty when I eat things that I know I shouldn't. Sometimes people feel sorry for me because of this disease, and I hear all the time things like "how can you stand to live without this or that?" No one should feel sorry for me! I'm obviously NOT going hungry. In fact I'm having to really work to LOSE weight because there are so many yummy things that I CAN eat. The list of what I CAN have is much longer than the list of what I CAN'T. Praise God! It could be so much worse and having this disease has made me much more open-minded about other people's physical problems, so I'm thankful for this disease.

pink

I'm not normally a "pink" kind of person, but I made this necklace and bracelet to wear with Makenzie's earrings so I went Value Village shopping for a pink shirt. I got Makenzie some clip-on earrings because she's too afraid to get her ears pierced, but she couldn't wear them because they hurt her ears. So I changed them into pierced earrings, and I'm wearing them until she gets the courage to get her ears pierced. The watch -- I just love because it's all butterflies. Plus, pink zirconia is my birthstone, so I should like pink it seems.







Sunday, November 2, 2008

super mom

I'm feeling really good about myself at the moment. I did almost all of tomorrow morning's "get everyone off to school" work finished tonight, and it's not even all that late. Yay for me :-) Juice made and poured into cups, milk poured into cups (all those cups are in the fridge, by the way, not sitting on the table -- I did leave some things to do in the morning), pbj's made, mineral glasses set up ready to mix up the minerals (more on that topic another day), dishwasher run, and dishes put away. Now tomorrow, all I'll have to do is set everything out, mix the minerals, put everything in lunchboxes, and make my own coffee and breakfast. That should leave me plenty of time to do things at a leisurely speed instead of my normal "beat the clock" speed. Unless, of course, someone gets sick or has a diaper explosion again, or wets the bed. Or the electricity could shut off and the alarm not go off. But I refuse to give in to pessimism! Tomorrow's going to be a GOOD day!

DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No picture this time either -- I don't even WANT to remember this (except I'm writing about it to get it OUT of my head!!!!!!!!!!!!!)! Let's start at the very beginning. Last night we set the clocks back -- one of my favorite nights! So the kids stayed up until 9 p.m. (which in reality was 10 p.m. so that they'd sleep in a little). For some reason (in hindsight, I know it was the Holy Spirit waking me up to get ready for the ordeal to follow), my eyes opened at 5 a.m. and I couldn't go back to sleep. I thought it was ok, though, because I could get ready for church and then read for a good hour -- yay for mom time! That hope was DASHED to pieces when I came out of the bathroom at 6:00 to a foul odor coming from Seth's room. I went ahead and did my nails and Bible reading, using the excuse that maybe he wasn't done or maybe it was only a tiny little bit and he had gone back to sleep. WRONG!!!! Seth was definitely awake when I listened at his door, so I knew I had to get him up and change him. When I turned on the light, however, I thought this MUST just be a nightmare. My SWEET Seth could NEVER make THAT huge of a stink mess!!!!! It was EVERYWHERE! And not because he'd been playing with it -- it was just an EXPLOSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't wash doody-filled material, so a sheet, a onesie (which I cut off him at the shoulders so I didn't have to touch any nastiness), and his brand new jammies all went in the garbage. What a LOVELY way to start the Lord's Day :-( I MOST definitely deserve to go to Starbucks!!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween


For the record, I HATE halloween!!!! The deal this year was that the kids could dress up and go to the Fall Carnival at school IF their dad took care of everything. I would have NOTHING to do with it. But they are really cute in their little costumes.

PIE!!

No picture for this one, but I wish that I'd had a camera to remember those DELICIOUS pies and maybe even my expression while eating my first fruit pie in about TEN YEARS!!!! I almost cried :-) So I did learn the little tricks to making a gluten-free pie crust work (I think -- the true test will be when I try to do it on my own in my own kitchen). I was the last one of three people to try to roll out my dough, and everyone was commenting on how well I was keeping my crust rounded. I had to admit it was just my OCD. I had fun, learned what I needed to learn, bought some stuff (English muffin tins, flour, and gluten-free oats -- another thing I haven't had in years, but I doubt eating that will bring me to tears since it's just oatmeal. but I might get emotional about oatmeal cookies or a good crumb-topping on some dessert. yes, I love to eat that much), and didn't get lost or get in any accidents on the drive to and from Wasilla. Praise God for a great day!

Saturdays



Saturdays for kids is pretty fun, maybe a little boring. They get to watch tv pretty much all day if they want to. Today Dad's home -- a rare occurrence in our house because of coaching -- so Joel and Dad are playing Star Wars Monopoly with an audience of Makenzie and Luke with the background noise of Seth watching and singing with Signing Time. Fun times :-) Meanwhile, I was changing all the sheets, starting laundry, picking up stuff here and there, and now doing this. Next will be make lunch and do Makenzie's hair and nails for the Fall Carnival this afternoon. After lunch, I'M LEAVING TOWN!!!!! Yippee!!!!! That's not a sarcastic, fake excitement either! Jason's taking all four kids to the Fall Carnival, and I'm going to Wasilla to take part in a gluten-free pie crust baking class. There will be adults ONLY (I'm pretty sure, anyway). I'm going ALONE! I'm getting coffee on the way! I'll be driving for an hour with NO YELLING, FIGHTING, OR NEED TO DISCIPLINE ANYONE!!!!!! Plus, there IS the added bonus of learning how to make gluten-free pie crust, one of the few baking feats I have not yet conquered. Should prove to be a great day!

The Hofacker Family 2008