Thursday, April 30, 2009


Six years ago this morning, Jason took me to Providence Hospital because I was NOT in labor. Poor little Luke must've somehow known how difficult the beginning of his life was going to be and decided to stay inside where it was warm and safe, although a bit small. Being "induced" was a horrible experience in my opinion. Natural childbirth in any form, though, is a horrible experience in my opinion. I much prefer Seth's version of being born -- let the doctors do all the work! Within 24 hours of being born, Luke was circumcised, given I don't even know how many vaccines, and casted because he was born with bilateral clubfeet. Luke has been through A LOT physically -- he's a pretty tough little guy!

Six years ago today, I got to meet an amazing little person for the very first time. Luke amazes me every day with his humor, intelligence, and cuteness. God blessed me most definitely more than I deserve when He gave me this beautiful child.

Luke's sixth birthday started off with hugs from his big brother and sister.
Luke picked "tiny waffles" for his birthday breakfast.
I let him open one of his gifts -- a Sponge Bob basketball.
Luke had to go to school, of course, although he wasn't there long. He had lunch at 10:30 a.m. --
stood on the table so that the entire cafeteria could sing "happy birthday" to him --
then went to Build-a-Bear with his grandmother to get this turtle with a Spiderman suit. When he got back to school from that trip, his class went to recess outside. Jason interrupted playtime to bring Luke to me so that we could drive over to Cheney Lake to take his birthday pictures --
and then go to the Christian bookstore to buy Luke a real Bible and Bible cover.
Luke's gifts were mostly games for all of us to play together -- a children's croquet set, a skillball game, a fishing toy to play in the backyard little plastic pools, and this dartboard from Grammy and Poppy. We all got a chance to play this one tonight, even though doing that made us miss bedtime :-)
Luke had many menu choices to make for his birthday -- school lunch treat to share with his class, birthday dinner, birthday dessert, birthday party meal, and birthday party dessert. It took QUITE a long time to get that many decisions out of this somewhat scatter-brained child.
Luke had to try on his Batman costume that Makenzie gave him, and Joel joined in the fun by being the bad guy for mini-Batman to fight. FUNNY FUNNY kids!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

poor Luke

My poor little Luke got in some big trouble today! Someone tattled on him (btw -- I HATE tattling!!!!! and this particular child ENJOYS tattling!) for putting a pencil on his eye. Luke's teacher is VERY conscientious about her students' well-being and was pretty upset by the tattler's information. When she asked Luke if it was true, Luke denied the charges. Luke's teacher is also VERY good at reading people's eyes and body language to detect lying. She knew that Luke was lying (I haven't quite developed this skill yet -- I thought Luke was telling the truth). Halfway down the hallway from lunch back to their classroom, Luke started looking around "furtively" and then started shaking. He confessed to his teacher that he had, in fact, done what the tattler had accused him of. So Mrs. Anker walked Luke back down to the cafeteria to apologize to me for lying and to get his spanking for playing dangerously with a pencil and then for lying about it. The poor kid was so upset about making his teacher angry and about getting into trouble. Even though I had to spank him, I gave him more hugs and kisses and "I love you's" than discipline. His teacher and I both said at least five times that he'd better not ever play with pencils again or lie to us!

After dinner tonight, I was holding Luke while we finished watching a movie. I asked him to give me a good hug. He said that he couldn't because he didn't have any hugs left. He had given his last one to Mrs. Anker. At bedtime the little turkey said that Seth's toy monkey had locked up all his hugs, but maybe if he got under his covers he could find the key. Thank goodness he found the key! Life just wouldn't be the same without my Luke hugs!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Lots of funny things were said and done over the past week that I couldn't remember when I was writing on here. So as I recall them, I'm going to post them.

My nephews spent the night at Mom's Saturday night after my brother's wedding. Mom told them to go get ready for bed and to "holler" when they were ready for her to tuck them in. A couple minutes later, both boys started yelling, "hollering, hollering, hollering!" Then we all started laughing :-)

vacation's over!

Today was a "back to normal" day. I got to be the first one to see, hug, and kiss my three older cuties and eat breakfast with them :-) In this picture, Luke is holding his new teddy bear from Grammy Ruth. When he was all ready for school, I asked him if he was taking his new bear to school to have at naptime. He said, "No, I'm keeping it here -- with ME." Poor little guy. He likes school while he's there, but he doesn't want to go or be there if he's with me. My little mama's boy :-)Ahh -- sweet naptime :-) One of the most precious times for a mother! Seth was ready for a nap after being at the school with Dad for about two hours. My father-in-law called this morning to ask me to work the first three lunches, so our early naptime got switched to a later, shorter naptime -- which works out better in the "long run" because it'll be easier for Seth to fall asleep tonight.
I pretty much got all caught up on laundry and unpacking. Tomorrow, I'll have to catch up on Luke's birthday planning and shopping.

Tonight was the last night of wrestling practice for the boys. Their state tournament is this weekend, and then wrestling will be over for another year :-) After practice tonight, the coaches gave out trophies for each boy's efforts. The coach who gave Luke's trophy told Luke to show him his muscles. Luke gladly obliged :-)
This picture of Joel is a little dark, but notice how tall this child is! He's a big kid! This was Joel's fifth year to wrestle. He's getting better and better at the sport and hopes to continue working at it so that he can add his name to the "wall of fame" -- Jason has painted each A.C.S. high school state champion's name on the gym wall.
I'm really dragging right now -- I went to bed at about midnight, but had a hard time falling asleep and had to get up at 5 a.m. today to get ready and do all my "mom stuff." I don't do naps since they just make me feel groggy for the rest of the day. If I'm going to sleep, it has to be for several hours straight.

The weather is BEAUTIFUL up here right now -- sunny, high 50's, maybe even low 60's! The sun was so hot coming in the windows this afternoon that the house heated up to 74! We have the windows open, and I'm going to really enjoy my walk tonight -- if I don't fall asleep in the middle of the road :-)

Monday, April 27, 2009

home again

Today was both a sad day and a happy day! I do NOT like being far away from my family!!!! We had SUCH a great visit, and I really didn't want it to end. But at the same time, I really missed my kids (and Alaska spring weather).

Mom was amazed and proud of me this morning for getting in the van at 8:30 a.m., just like we planned. I'm ALWAYS late, so doing something on time was worth mentioning here :-) It was raining most of the drive from Quincy to St. Louis, but I enjoyed the rain. We hardly ever get real rain in Anchorage, just drizzles.

We stopped close to the airport for lunch. Mom almost made us think that we'd missed all our chances to find a lunch exit because she kept passing them by, saying she was pretty sure there was food just a little further down the road. It was perfect timing, though, because she found the exit she'd been waiting for and it was 11:00 (good time for lunch in my opinion :-). Aunt Ruby and Uncle Carlos drove with us, and they got our lunch for us. I just love my family -- not just because they're generous, of course, I just love them :-)

We got to the airport in plenty of time to check my bags, find my gate, and even walk around a little. None of us are good at saying goodbye -- we were all crying :-( A very nice security lady helped Seth and me get through security faster. I really appreciated that since I was carrying Seth and our carry-ons which had three bottles of drinks for us. They let us through without a hassle, though. In all the good-bye tears, we forgot to give Uncle Carlos's handkerchief back. He'd loaned it to Seth to play with like a kleenex since we couldn't find a kleenex when he wanted one. Seth played with that thing for hours! It also came in handy while Seth was eating cookies :-)
Seth was a "normal kid" in the airports today -- several fits, quite a bit of yelling -- but he behaved very nicely on the airplanes.
He LOVES riding on those moving walkways! That entertained him the whole waiting time.
The problems came when we had to get off the walkways to go to our gate and board the plane. It's a little hard to tell in this picture, but Seth is sitting on the floor and crying. This was one of his "fits." Other ones included lying down on the floor, right in the middle of where people had to walk :-)
For some dumb reason, Seth and I were not seated together on the flight from Minneapolis to Anchorage. I was supposed to go to the counter before boarding time to get this fixed; but we spent a little too much time on the moving walkways, so I missed that opportunity for an easy resolution. I had to go the confrontational way -- not enjoyable for me or the person I had to confront, but probably pretty amusing to the people in other rows. I walked up to the row where one of us was supposed to sit and asked the two men sitting there whether they wanted to take care of my baby for the entire flight or trade me seats. Neither of them wanted to move because they didn't want to give up their window seat or aisle seat for a middle seat. But HELLO -- lady with a little kid! Way to be GENTLEMEN, the stupid bozos! Men are SUCH babies!!!!!! One of the guys actually asked me if Seth would mind! I gave him a LOOK and said, "Seriously?????!!!!! You want to take care of a baby for FIVE HOURS????!!!!" He huffed and puffed and said he'd move, even though he'd have to make several trips to get all his stuff transferred. Awwwww, the poor 50-year-old baby! I just smiled really sweetly and said, "Thank you SO much!" He just glared at me. On the way off the plane, I told him "thank you so much" again, and again he just glared at me. I do sincerely pray that God gives that man a blessing for giving up his aisle seat, even though he was a total jerk about it!

About an hour into the flight, Seth fell asleep for a couple hours. I got to sleep for about a half-hour, too.
After he woke up, he made a stinky diaper. LOVELY! We were going through some turbulence, so we were supposed to stay in our seatbelts. Some other people got up, though, to use the restroom, so we waited and waited and waited for an opening to use the "lavatory." I think they don't call it a "restroom" because it just BARELY resembles that facility. The changing table was only big enough for a newborn -- and Seth most definitely is not the size of a newborn. I was glad that there was a changing table at all, though -- what in the world would I have done without it in that tiny little space?

When we got to Anchorage, Jason and the kids were driving around the airport so that they could pull up to the baggage claim and not have to park. The first one to come in was Joel -- in his orange pj's :-) As soon as Luke and Makenzie saw me through the window, though, they ran in, too (all in their pj's -- cracked me up! -- Dad had thought ahead to the need to rush bedtime and had them halfway ready beforehand). It was SOOOOOOOO great to hug my babies and tuck them in tonight!!!!!!!

I'm sure my mom is dying to ask -- yes, Jason did everything on the list! The kids helped a little bit, but he had every single thing done that I'd asked him to do while I was gone :-) What a relief! Tomorrow's going to be a busy day of its own without having to play "catch up" from the last week! He did a GREAT job of helping make tomorrow easier!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

last day in Illinois

We had another full day today :-) Nathan and Declan spent the night here at Mom's last night, so she made pancakes for everyone this morning. John and Jenny came to pick up the boys after breakfast. Uncle John often wears a hat, and Seth likes to "steal" it and try it on :-)

We went to Jenny's parents' house to have lunch and watch John and Jenny open their wedding gifts.

Seth was a little bit of a "pill" at this event, so Dale went out to the van and got the carseat. Seth sat in the carseat in the living room so that he would be still enough to eat some lunch.

We got to take Nathan back to his mom's when lunch was finished, so I got to meet his little brother and sister and step-dad and see his mom again :-)

The next stop was my Aunt Ruby's house to visit with my cousins Gary and Felicia. They said that most kids don't really run to Gary, but Seth gave him a big hug and just stayed with him for quite a few minutes. While we were there, their son Alex came in -- I could hardly believe it was him since I hadn't seen him for about five years. It's amazing how little kids become giant teenagers when we're not looking!
After our visit, we went to church in Camp Point -- the church I grew up in. Seth walked in the door and immediately found the nursery as if he'd been there before -- weird! He had fun playing in the nursery with my friend Lisa's nephew and sister and another lady that I've "always" known from church :-) It was really nice to hug and talk to some of my church family from my childhood!
On our way back to Quincy, we stopped by my Aunt Irene's to give her one more hug. My cousin Mary is visiting here from Arizona, but we didn't get to see her because she was out mushroom hunting. (Oh, the memories of yummy fried mushrooms!!! Huge treats for us every spring/summer). We then went to John and Jenny's to say good-bye, and then got home at about 9:00 p.m. to eat some dinner and get this posted before my kids get home from church tonight :-)
So this is our last night in Illinois, which makes me pretty sad -- good-byes or "see ya later's" are never happy things :-( But I'm VERY excited to get back to Anchorage and hug and kiss my own kiddos and tuck them into bed for myself :-) I'm so glad for the internet and phones!

belated 5th day

Yesterday was so very busy that there wasn't a spare minute to get on here. I got to go to Starbucks for some morning coffee and to see Andrea, Declan's mom. She loaned us her pack-n-play crib for Seth to sleep in all week (QUITE the lifesaver!!!) and also gave me a pound of Starbucks coffee beans to take home :-) Her friend at work also gave me her pound of coffee beans because Seth was so cute :-) I'm telling you, people here are unbelievably nice!

My step-sister's baby shower was yesterday morning. Both of my step-sisters are going to have babies this summer; but this is Jennifer's first baby, so she got the shower this time. I didn't get to see two of Jessica's children, but I got to see Aiyana -- SUCH a little sweetheart!
This is Jennifer on the left and Jessica on the right.
After the shower, we zoomed back to Mom's house to change for the wedding. If you can believe it, I didn't make us late! Seth loved his Uncle John, of course :-)
And Seth REALLY loves his cousins, Nathan and Declan. They've been really great playing with Seth and just being all-around nice kids! (and CUTE!)
Seth was an angel throughout the whole wedding. He sat between Aunt Ruby and Uncle Carlos the whole time and didn't make even one sound. Aunt Ruby fed him Cheerios and Uncle Carlos held the kleenex that Seth wanted to wipe his fingers on after each Cheerio :-)
My new sister-in-law, Jenny, looked GORGEOUS! Seth fell asleep during the pictures after the wedding. He'd been asleep for about fifteen minutes when it was our turn to be in the pictures. He cooperated very nicely for being half asleep :-)
In between the after-wedding pictures at the church and pictures in a nearby park, we ran home to get some lunch since everyone was "starving!" John and Jenny went to the hospital to see her grandmother before going to the park for the rest of the pictures.
We had a few hours to relax at Mom's house before the reception. I used that time to load all our wedding pictures onto the hy-vee website to make one disc for Mom have.
When we got to the reception, Aunt Ruby took Seth for a good long walk until more people started coming in, making it too difficult for a little guy to walk around. Just a few minutes after he came back to sit on my lap, Seth fell asleep and slept for at least an hour and a half! And it was NOT in any way quiet in there. Seth was just DONE being awake for awhile.

Aunt Ruby, Uncle Carlos, Aunt Vic, Uncle Lyle, Mom, Dale, and I (and Seth when he woke up) all sat together for the reception :-) I was glad to have some more time with my family :-)

My dad and Marcia sat close to us, too. It was good to see them since I only get to talk to them on the phone or computer usually :-)
When Seth finally did wake up, he ate three plates of food (that sounds like he's a little piggy, but I only had a few little meatballs and one ravioli on each plate). He also had to share my Sprite, the little beggar :-)
John and Jenny's cake was beautiful with bright pink ribbon around each cake to match Jenny's shoes and the flowers.
Nathan, Declan, and I played SlapJack for awhile. Nathan was the SlapJack champion of the evening; he beat Declan twice, and then he beat me several times. If we had been able to find a quieter spot, Nathan could've taught me how to play Texas Hold'em since that's another of his favorites.
I wouldn't mind having six kids if these two boys were the additional two! They are CUTE and so NICE, I'd love to just pack them up and take them home with me!
By the time we got home, I just had enough energy left to call my kids and tell them goodnight before I fell asleep :-) Today's another busy day, but I'll write about that later tonight.

Friday, April 24, 2009

BUSY vacation!

Today was another "mad rush" kind of day with breaks of relaxing and enjoying visiting with people. We started off by doing a little shopping and then came back to Mom's house to make lunch. Three "old" friends drove down to Quincy, and we all got together at Mom's house for lunch and a good visit. One of my friends, Sara, drove all the way down from Michigan. Her sister's wedding showers are tomorrow, which was great timing for us to be able to see each other. The last time we got together was about five years ago when she and her husband drove down to Chicago (we were there for Jason to run the Chicago marathon). Sara and I were born on the same day and grew up together -- same church, same school, best friends. My other two friends, Lisa and Colleen, drove from the Peoria area (about three hours away) with their two-year-old boys. Lisa and I became friends in junior high school, and we met Colleen when we started going to our church camp close to Peoria. We hadn't all gotten together since we couldn't even really remember when -- maybe seven years ago. It was SO nice to share lunch, watch the boys play, and catch up on each other's lives!

The boys played so nicely!

The "Camp Point Girls" -- as were called in high school when we went to certain church events (we all went to church in Camp Point).
After our afternoon visit was my brother's reahearsal and reahearsal dinner. Everything went very smoothly. We were the first ones to the church -- a huge, high-ceiling, beautiful Catholic church. Seth tried out the acoustics before anyone else got there, coughing and yelling to hear the echo :-) During the opening prayer, Seth was drinking out of his sippy cup -- which squeaked LOUDLY every time he stopped drinking to take a breath -- a little embarrassing. My mom helped Seth get through the time of sitting still by feeding him cereal, a job my nephews Nathan and Declan took over when their part of rehearsal was finished :-)
The rehearsal dinner was interesting since my mom and her husband Dale and my dad and his wife Marcia were all there together. It might've been a little awkward, but I was so proud of everyone for being so very pleasant and friendly. We even sat together to eat the DELICIOUS dinner. John made sure that I had a HUGE plate of gluten-free food, even part of the dessert (chocolate covered strawberries -- YUMM!!!). The whole evening was just VERY nice! Seth is pretty much hidden behind a candle at the end of the table because he was confined to his stroller for the meal so that he would sit still, eat, and not get into any trouble.
After dinner, we let Seth run around. Nathan and Declan were SO sweet about playing with him for little bits. Nathan found a nice napkin for Seth to play with (he knew that Seth loves to play with kleenex, but a napkin was a great substitute since no one could find a kleenex), and Declan had some "races" in a big open space with Seth. Seth charmed everyone, especially flirting with one lady who almost wanted to take him home with her :-)
Seth's doing so well with all these schedule changes and long hours with no naps. He gets really excited to talk to Dad, Joel, Makenzie, and Luke on the phone :-) Today on the phone, Jason asked to talk to Seth and said that they all REALLY miss Seth -- they miss me, too, but they REALLY miss Seth. I'm not offended, of course, Seth's such a sweetheart! I'd miss him, too, if I ever let him out of my sight :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

THIRD DAY in Illinois

First of all, I forgot to get some of the pictures on here yesterday. Seth got to sit up on a tractor at my aunt's house. He was a little nervous about that, so he was only up there for a few seconds.
I wrote yesterday about going to my "adopted" grandparents' house, but didn't have a picture on my camera. Mom took a good one, though. This is my Grandpa Dale and Grandma Waneta:
Now for our THIRD DAY in Illinois (if you've been reading this blog very long, you should've expected the title of today's adventures). We started out the morning by going to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Linda's house. Seth loved them and their apartment -- they have their grandkids over a lot, too, so they're all ready for little ones to play. Uncle Jim got out the perfect toy for Seth, very similar to a toy he's been working on for at least a year in occupational therapy. So Seth got a little bit of therapy in today :-)
Then we went over to my cousin Dan's house (even though he wasn't home) to meet his wife, Elizabeth and their two children, Katie . . .
. . . and Brandon :-)

After visiting awhile and enjoying the kids' funny talking and running around, Aunt Linda took Seth and me to visit my dad's mom, Grandma Wilma. Seth again found a kleenex to play with. When he got one all torn up, Grandma gave him two more :-)
Aunt Linda taught Seth to smooth out the kleenex, hold it up, and blow on it to make it flutter. He loved that little trick :-)
After some lunch, Mom took us to do a little shopping. We'll have to finish that tomorrow morning, though since we ran out of time today. We picked up my nephew Declan from school, went to say hi to his mom at Starbucks (I'll be going back to see her -- and her workplace :-) -- again Saturday morning!), and then finally got to see my brother John and my oldest nephew Nathan. Nathan played a little roll-the-ball-back-and-forth with Seth :-)
Nathan and Declan are SWEET boys, and posed so nicely for me to take a picture (with their treehouse in the background).
This is my "little" brother John :-)
I also finally got to meet Jenny, who will become my sister-in-law this Saturday. We didn't get to talk long because she's a hair stylist and had to cut John's, Nathan's, and Declan's hair before they went to pick up their tuxes for the wedding.
For dinner tonight, we went to my cousins Laura and Brad's. Their little boy, Brady, played very nicely with Seth and even shared all his toys and helped Seth play ball.
Brad and Laura's daughter, Briana, tried to help Seth pet their cat, but Seth just looked at him.

My Aunt Vic and Uncle Lyle ate and visited with us, too :-) We had such a nice evening -- lots of laughing :-)
Something was wrong with our phone today, so I haven't talked to Makenzie all day and only got to talk to Joel and Luke for a minute this afternoon :-( Time to post this and call home :-)

The Hofacker Family 2008