Saturday, May 30, 2009

a day with each child

Today I took each child out one at a time -- pretty much, anyway. When Makenzie and I were almost ready to drive out, we decided to take Seth with us. Makenzie had some money and wanted to buy some books, so we went to Title Wave. We sold a few books and bought quite a few books :-) We also went to Walmart and bought candy treats for everyone. Lunch was a rip-off, though! We went through the McDonald's drive-through again. I ordered what I always order -- a double cheeseburger, fries, drink. They didn't put any ketchup, pickles, or onions on my burger!!!! Just cheese and meat :-( I couldn't go back because we drove away before I noticed it. Oh well -- at least it made me stop being hungry.

For Joel's turn, we went to the library. They were having a little "sign up for the summer reading program" fair. Joel made a little clay creature -- he's into strange animal/alien-type creatures. Then we went to Fred Meyer to buy him a gift from the "tooth fairy." Somewhere along the way, the kids figured out that I'm their tooth fairy, so we did away with the under-the-pillow ritual. It's much easier this way.

Luke finally got his turn last. He got to pick out what we were having for dinner (with a lot of help from me, of course). He also had some money to spend, and I was very proud of his frugality and choice-making skills. He wanted two stuffed animals. They each cost $8. He only had $15 and owed me $1 for breaking something a few weeks ago. I told him that I'd pay the difference if he gave up buying candy (which was the reason he wanted to go out with me in the first place -- until he saw Joel's new toy, then he also wanted a new toy). He weighed out the options of one toy with money left over and candy or two toys with no more money and no candy. He chose option number one, deciding that the rainbow dinosaur creature was stupid anyway :-)

Joel got more one-on-one time because after dinner, he walked with me. He's getting really good at keeping up with me and not whining :-) He says it's because he ate a plum today and got a new toy. Whatever -- I was just glad to spend time with my son.

So this was a great Saturday even though it was cold and windy. Maybe next Saturday will be just as great with some sunshine, boating, and pool time -- I can hope!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Makenzie's ears (and shirts)

Just in case I've forgotten to mention it before, I have a BEAUTIFUL, SWEET, SMART, HELPFUL, CHARMING, POLITE, AMAZING daughter! In this house full of males, I'm SO VERY thankful for my little girl!!!!!!!! And she most definitely is a GIRL! She likes pretty clothes (as long as they're comfy), pretty jewelry, nail polish, pink, princess movies, dolls, all things "girly." Here's my favorite find from Monday's Value Village trip (the shirt, not the child):

Today, Makenzie and I went to lunch and Walmart for some girl time. We just went through the McDonald's drive-through because we couldn't think of anything better since we only had a total of about two hours (Jason took a long lunch to watch the boys). We took our lunch to Cheney Lake to look out over the lake while we ate in the van with the heat on (it was cold and raining this morning and afternoon -- cleared up later, though, by the way). We ended up stopping back by home to give the boys our drinks since I ordered giant drinks accidentally and we had brought our own drinks. We also wanted to use our own nice clean restrooms to make sure we wouldn't have to use the nasty public restrooms. Finally, we were on our way to Walmart (which, by the way, I am very disgusted with because they just can't seem to get my photo cd orders correct!). One of the main events of going to Walmart today was to -- hopefully -- get Makenzie's ears pierced. She has wanted them pierced for years, but hasn't had the courage to endure the pain of getting it done. Today, though, she found the courage!!!!!

She was so very brave and only let out a few tears through the whole process -- even when the lady got the earring stuck and had to hold it still and wait for another lady to come help finish it and then do the other ear. I think she was pretty dizzy and a little nauseated, but she went through with it with courage and good manners :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

month-long book

This morning, I finally finished reading Villette by Charlotte Bronte. It was a good story, but a little difficult to read mostly because the author wrote the book in the 1850's and also because the author wrote parts of the dialogue in French. I might have finished it in less than the month it took if I'd had time to read when I was fully awake. Life has been so hectic this last month that I only had time to read right before I fell asleep (except this morning -- the kids slept until 9:30 a.m., so I sat at the table with my coffee and read). The story is of a young English woman named Lucy. She had a pretty rough childhood because of losing her parents. She decided to move to France and got a job as a teacher in a boarding school. The book is basically a chronicle of Lucy's life, her troubles and thoughts/feelings/solutions to her troubles. The last few chapters were the best part of the book -- again, possibly because I was reading them when I was fully conscious.

I have another Bronte book to read, but I'm going to wait awhile to read that one. I need a break from "poetic prose" -- time for some simple-minded top seller reading :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

parks blog

For anyone interested -- I made a blog to keep track of the parks we go to.
Visiting Anchorage Parks

boating with Makenzie

Yesterday we got to be with Gavin all morning! YAY!! We love that little guy!! We took him to the park with us. Since we were meeting some friends (a friend for Joel and a friend for me), Luke and Makenzie were in charge of entertaining and protecting the little guys. They did a great job! This picture is of Luke and Gavin resting after climbing up the giant grassy hill :-)

Later in the afternoon, Makenzie and I took the boat out on the lake. It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be outside!!!! We are the little speck right in the middle of this picture. We row and drift out until we start getting a little close to the far bank, then we row back. The water was COLD -- I know this first because I was a little bit hot and put my fingers in to cool off and also because when I tried to get out of the boat back up at the bank, I submerged the end of the boat and soaked my rear end. The funniest part of this excursion was from Makenzie: when we had rowed out to the middle of the lake, Makenzie announced pretty loudly, "LET THE GIGGLING BEGIN!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

graduation party

Last night, we celebrated Luke's kindergarten graduation. I had to remind him a few times why we were having a party. He had pretty much forgotten that he had graduated last Wednesday. We had a big cookout -- hamburgers and hot dogs (using Darryl's new giant grill), chips, cold salads, and soda.

The kids loved running around in the back yard. Gavin looked ADORABLE with his little sunglasses on!
Luke and Seth both wore their dinosaur t-shirts (Luke's request) :-)

Joel lifted Gavin all the way up into this swing by himself! What a big kid -- and what a good helper with the little guys!

Makenzie is growing so fast now -- she was pretty upset that she was too big to swing on either swingset. She can sit on the swings and barely swing, but the swingset dips and shakes if she swings even a little bit normally.

This was Joel's swing trick -- he is also too big for the swingsets obviously :-)

I put Luke, Seth, and Gavin at this little picnic table. Luke and Gavin did an ok job of eating some of their food and staying seated. Seth, however, did not! In the process of trying to get up from his seat, he knocked his plate on the ground. Jason picked up all the food, put it back on the plate, and put the plate and Seth back at the table. Not even a minute later, Seth dumped the plate again.
So we brought the high chair outside so that he might understand that he was supposed to be eating -- since apparently the plate full of food wasn't a big enough hint. I think he played with his sunglasses more than he ate. When he was tired of eating hot dogs that had grown cold, he started flinging them across the yard. I guess I'd better think about working on table manners with my sweet little angel baby.

After we ate all we could hold, Luke got to open congratulations presents. He decided to open them in the swimming pool since there was no water in it.

After the gift opening, we had cake and ice cream :-) I wrote "Good job, LUKE!" on the cake.
Two of Luke's gifts were this Superman shirt and the cowboy set -- he looked SO cute in the hat! But I soon had to confiscate the whip!

Now I rarely put pictures anywhere of myself -- I'm not very photogenic, and I rarely like any pictures taken of me. But I must vainly say that I liked the look of my feet yesterday :-) The nail polish, the rings, the sandals, the start of a slight tan -- it all just looked pretty decent to me even if the rest of me was not "photo worthy." (Does anyone really like the way they look in most pictures?)

Monday, May 25, 2009

lovin Alaska lately

This is one of the most BEAUTIFUL springs we've ever had, in my opinion. Spring is usually pretty nice, but this year is just amazing! Maybe I'm so appreciative of the good weather because it's been an entire YEAR since we've had any real sun and warm temperatures.

Yesterday, we went to the track team's cookout on the church's big field. The kids loved the freedom of being able to RUN, especially Seth. He ran all the way across the field (used to be a football field, I think).

When Makenzie left her drink on the ground so that she could go play, Seth walked over to steal some sips :-)

And then came over by me to sit in a comfy chair and steal a drink from Luke's cup. Obviously, the whole concept of "germs" doesn't matter at all to Seth!

Very rarely does Joel say that he had a great time without some kind of "but." Yesterday, though, he had a great time. He got to eat and drink whatever he wanted and however much he wanted. He got to run around and play FREE, no babysitting. Some of the teenagers even included him in their games, which just made Joel's day!

Luke had fun (although this picture looks like he's not -- I think I just didn't push the button at the right time). He plays SO hard, so the freedom of "running loose" was great for him. He got to play a little bit with his friend Jaycob on the playground, and then he got to shoot some baskets with his friend Caleb and Caleb's parents and sister.

Makenzie is usually the one with "babysitting duty," but she doesn't mind (most of the time, anyway). She's good at helping Seth climb up and down and stay where he's supposed to stay.

Seth quickly learned to climb up the steps to the slide all by himself. He was pretty happy -- obviously :-)

This morning was the 1/2-off everything sale at Value Village (probably my very favorite store!). They opened at 8 a.m., and I walked in the door at about 8:05! I was in there for over two hours and spent over $100, but found lots of books for the kids and clothes for Jason and me. I'm pretty sure that I'm the biggest tightwad ever born, so getting a pair of jeans for $5 or a great shirt for $3.50 just about makes me giddy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

park days :-)

The end of school means the beginning of park days! We've been to three in two days :-) I didn't take any pictures at the first one because it was just too great to be sitting back, relaxing, and chatting with my friend while all the kids played. I didn't take any pictures at the third park because we weren't there very long -- we just went there to make it easier for Joel's friend's mom to find us (the second park is a little bit difficult to get to).

The "park of the day" is one of my all-time favorites. It's not all that exciting for the kids, but I make them go there anyway because it's so beautiful. It's on a creek, which is why we renamed it "Raging Creek Park." The kids are NOT allowed to touch the water in any way because it's WAY too fast-moving. The equipment is ok -- perfect for Seth, acceptable for the older kids. There's a house right across the creek that has a little table and chairs set up on the hill above the creek. I'm VERY jealous of the people who live in that house -- except during mosquito season, of course. They must have to wear a full-body mosquito net to sit in those chairs during part of every year!

Here's my chunky monkey -- this child was born with monkey arms!

Joel's almost too big to enjoy the play equipment at any park. He had a friend with him both yesterday and today, though. That made the excursions more fun for him.

I called to Gavin to look at me so I could snap his picture. He said "no" and kept walking. Then he stopped, turned around to face me, and said, "Well -- ok -- CHEESE!"

One of the reasons I love this park -- Seth can climb on the equipment without my help.

Makenzie is, of course, the assistant baby-sitter. If either of the little guys needs help with anything, they call Makenzie (or "Kitty" as Gavin seemed to be calling her today).

Luke helps sometimes, too :-)

The kids love to make new friends or meet up with old friends at the parks, so give me a call if you ever want to join us on a park day :-)

Blog Tag

This is the 3rd picture in my 3rd folder of pictures. I was supposed to the the 6th picture in my 6th folder, but that folder only had four pictures. I also don't know 6 people to tag. I only know 3, so I did everything about 3. (Plus, I must admit that I like breaking the "rules" a little bit.) :-) This is a picture of Makenzie getting her hair cut off to donate to Locks of Love. It had grown all the way down to her rear end, and she got it cut off to her shoulders.
So now I tag Daisy (The Gillis Life in Alaska), Tracy (Adventures in Skippyland), and Ashleigh (It's Our Life . . . The Yagers). :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

smart kiddos :-)

Today was the elementary awards ceremony (and the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!). I didn't make Luke go to school today, so he was with me and Seth all day.These two pictures are right before we went into the awards assembly. Look at the "Dopey" ears :-)The elementary has three kindergarten classes and two classes for each of the other grades. Each class gives awards for the highest grades in Math, Spelling, Reading, Language, Phonics (for the lower elementary grades), Bible, and Science (I think those are all the subjects that earn awards). The librarian also gives an award to the student in each grade (except kindergarten) who reads the most pages throughout the school year.

This year, Makenzie won the Reading award, and she got the gold medal for good behavior.

Joel won the Language and Library awards (my camera didn't work well when Joel was standing with his teacher, so I don't have a picture of the two of them for the blog -- a friend sitting next to me took one with her camera, though, so I have a good one for the photo album :-), and he got the silver medal for pretty good behavior (can I really expect a gold behavior medal from a 10-year-old boy? I can keep hoping).

I'm so proud of my children for their good behavior and for the academic successes! What probably makes me the happiest about all this, though, is that they're not the kind of kids (as far as I know, anyway) who get an "attitude" about getting good grades. They like to win the awards, but they don't make anyone else feel "less" for not winning (again -- as far as I know -- I've never witnessed any "I'm smarter than you" kind of attitude, so I hope it just isn't even in them!)

I woke up with a headache today probably because I didn't get enough sleep and never do. I was still dreaming when the alarm went off, but I knew I had to get up to get myself and the kids ready for school and the awards ceremony. Forcing myself to get up when I'm still over half-asleep almost always causes a headache, and today's was quite a "doozy"!! After lunch, I put Seth in his bed and put "Scooby-Doo" on the tv for Luke so that I could take a nap. When Luke's movie was over, he woke me up to ask me to start it again. I told him to "sh" and take a nap with me. AND HE DID! I was relieved that he didn't fight with me about that because I was in too much pain to fight! The crazy thing about these stupid headaches is that I take Tylenol or Advil all day, but it doesn't seem to do a bit of good (except to keep the headache from turning into the lying-on-the-floor-talking-gibberish-and-unable-to-get-up kind of migraine) until I'm about ready to go to bed at night. I just noticed before I started this paragraph that the headache is pretty much gone. I'm ready to GO now -- but I need to go to sleep so that my head doesn't do a "repeat performance" of today!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Luke graduated :-)

Luke graduated from kindergarten this morning -- YAY LUKE!!! He's SUCH a cutie in his little cap and gown :-)Although he quite obviously doesn't understand the importance of it, Luke had the highest phonics grade in his class. That's what the trophy in his hand is for. The medal around his neck is the principal's merit award for good behavior. Every child in Luke's class got the medal this year. (and this mom is saying "WHEW!" I wasn't expecting that one!)
Yesterday, Luke showed his teacher some scratches on his arm. His teacher gave the scratches a little tap -- kindof an "aww, don't whine, you're tough." Luke didn't even flinch from the slight pain that might have caused, but said, "Now THAT'S not going to help it any." The kid is pretty tough (and funny).

This afternoon, Seth went to the ear, nose, and throat doctor to check the tubes in his ears. The doctor could see the tubes, but couldn't tell if they were in place or coming out. So we have to pay close attention to Seth's hearing. If he seems to not be hearing as well, we'll have to take him to the audiologist a little early and possibly take him to surgery to have the old tubes removed and new ones inserted (not a real "surgery" in my opinion since it only takes about ten minutes -- let's call it a "procedure" -- much less scary for his mother). On the walk down the long hallway to the doctor's office, I asked Seth if he wanted to hold my hand. He yelled at me (his version of "NO, I can walk all by myself!") I quietly told him to please not yell at me next time, but to just sign "No, thank you." A little way down the hall, I asked him again if he wanted to hold my hand. HE SIGNED "No, thank you." !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had only told him ONCE!!!!!!! And then on the way out of the doctor's office, I told Seth to put the book that he had in his hand back into the book basket. HE DID IT!!!!!! Again, I only told him ONCE!!!!!!!!!!! YAY FOR SETH'S DIRECTIONS-FOLLOWING SKILLS TODAY!

a day with Seth

Seth is going through nap withdrawal lately -- poor little guy. I've been so busy the last couple weeks that he hasn't gotten more than a few minutes to nap each day and usually not even a few minutes. So here's what Seth does each day:
- sleeps either until about 8 a.m. or until the noise from the other kids wakes him up
- takes a bath, etc., breakfast (which he's not a big fan of, especially lately because he's having some tummy/diaper problems)
- go to the school to eat lunch with Dad, play in his classroom, and go for walks with all different people
- normally, go home and take a nap; but lately, go shopping with Mom
-pick up kids from school and go home to watch "Signing Time" while Mom takes care of homework, dinner, etc.
- eat dinner
- play some more (a.k.a. get into things he's not supposed to)
- bed

The poor little guy needs more one-on-one attention! I'm definitely going to have to re-vamp the schedule when school starts again next year! But he's cooperating very nicely even with very little personal time and almost never complains.

I thought Seth looked so adorable with his little self sitting at that big table with Dad! Mr. Cobaugh LOVES Seth -- of course! everyone loves Seth :-) But Mr. Cobaugh especially loves him :-)

Yesterday at speech therapy, Seth needed to do something physical; so his therapist got out this tricycle. Seth got right on it, but didn't really understand how to keep his feet on the pedals or steer. As is typical for pretty much anyone, he didn't try for very long because he wasn't good at it. But he looked really cute for the thirty seconds that he rode.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

sorry -- no pictures

We went to a cookout for the high school coaches. The hosts went to a lot of trouble to make sure that I could eat the food they made. I'm SO VERY thankful for that because it was DELICIOUS!!!

I forgot to take any pictures today, but I should have. Seth played on a trampoline for the first time -- and LOVED it! He threw up a little bit, but he still loved the trampoline :-) He fell asleep for a few minutes before church, and then he fell asleep within ten minutes when we put him to bed tonight.

This is a BUSY week: I need to finish the picture project for the kindergarten parents, Costco shopping for the kindergarten graduation bbq, kindergarten graduation and bbq is on Tuesday, Seth has an ENT appointment to check the tubes in his ears, Wednesday is the last day of school!!!! All of that on top of the normal therapy appointments, laundry, cooking, cleaning, work (which might end tomorrow, I'm not sure). Anyway -- I'm pretty stressed, but trying to stay logical and use a list to remember to get everything done :-)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Makenzie's turn on the boat

Tonight was Makenzie's turn to go out on the lake in the boat. She wasn't nervous like Luke was -- at least not most of the time. When we got out far enough to just float, she started naming all the things she could "spy" -- "I see a house, a tree, a baby pool, a cloud that looks like a hat, a duck, some dirt floating in the water, a seagull by the pool I mentioned a minute ago . . ." Hearing an eight-year-old seriously use the word "mentioned" cracked me up. On the way back to the bank, Makenzie got scared for some reason and thought that we were sinking. She listened to logic, though, that if we were sinking there'd be water in the boat and we were both completely dry. When we got back up to the bank -- or actually CLOSE to the bank -- we got stuck. There was a little boy standing there watching us -- EMBARRASSING! But he was a little sweetheart. He asked us if we needed help. I said, "Yes, I think we do." His mom called him to go, and he went to her and asked if he could help us. Thank goodness, she must've agreed. He had rubber boots on, so he could step out into the water and pull us close enough to dry ground that I only had to put one foot in the nasty water for just a split second. I was so afraid of getting leaches!!! So tonight we were "rescued" by a seven-year-old boy and we prayed that God would give him a special blessing for helping us -- and for teaching us an important boating lesson: TAKE BOOTS because Mom's not so good at boating!

Earlier today, Joel and Makenzie went to see the orthodontist. They were both SO very well-behaved and charming!! The doctor's assistant wanted to take Makenzie home with her -- I think she might've been a little bit serious. Joel said, "sure -- take her." I had to remind him that it wasn't his decision to make! The funniest part of the whole experience came from Makenzie. The doctor found a click in Joel's jaw and said that Joel needed to not chew gum anymore because that would cause the jaw to work too hard and click more, causing more damage. When the doctor was finished looking at Makenzie's mouth, Joel asked another question about the gum issue. Makenzie turned around in the chair and looked up at the doctor and said in her little Minney Mouse cutie pie voice, "Can I still chew gum?" The doctor had to really fight to keep control and not laugh out loud at her cute seriousness (and said that she could still have gum sometimes).

Joel has to keep coming to the orthodontist until his jaw stops growing and get serious work done then to correct the underbite and crossbite. Makenzie has to go see a periodontist (I think that's the correct term) to see about correcting the receding gum caused by that flappy thing that connects the lip to the gum (hers doesn't connect at the right place in the middle of the gum, but rather all the way up in between the front teeth -- pulling the gum down -- I'm a little bit scared for her!).

Alaska is having a BEAUTIFUL spring!!! I hope it continues all summer because I'm not able to really enjoy it this last two weeks of school. Life is REALLY hectic with all the programs, errands, and field trips that go along with the end of school. I'm SO ready for park mornings and pool afternoons!

quote from Corrie ten Boom

"It is good to regret missed opportunities, but quite wrong to be miserable about them. You cannot look back across your past life without seeing things to regret. That is as it should be. But we have to draw a subtle distinction between a legitimate regret and a wrong condition of heart. Give God your 'if onlies.' . . . Lord Jesus, make me a faithful laborer here and now."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Luke's turn in the boat

Today was Luke's turn to go out on the lake in the boat. I was laughing even before I got to the truck to drive to the lake. Usually, I tell Luke it's time to go at least fifteen minutes before I call everyone else because he lolly-gags so much. I guess he really wanted to go boating, though, because he got all ready and was in the truck, buckled in and everything before I was even ready. I wish I'd had my camera to get a picture of his little face with the giant grin sticking out the truck window watching for me to come out the door!

The whole time we were driving to the lake, Luke was saying that he was nervous and he hoped we didn't sink or pop the boat or something. And then almost the whole time we were in the boat, he was saying the same kinds of things. When he wasn't talking, he was looking around with wide eyes and tense body. He was just sure that I was going to either sink the boat, put a hole in the boat, tip us over, or get us stuck out in the middle of the lake. I did none of those things, although I did get a little water in the boat when I stood up at the bank to get us out of the boat. That scared him A LOT: "WATER, MOM, WATER -- THERE'S WATER COMING IN THE BOAT -- WE'RE SINKING!!!!!!"

And then when we got in the truck, he kept going with his lack of trust: "Mom, you're going to crash into those posts behind us!" And when I turned from the parking lot onto the street, he yelled out the window: "OH NO!!!! WE'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!!!"

I think what made all his criticism and nervous talk so funny is that he was serious. He wasn't trying to be funny, and he wasn't just joking me. He was saying every honest thought in his head. I do wish that everyone who reads this could meet Luke -- he's QUITE a trip!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

new cd :-)

I got "new" cd in the mail today -- Natalie Grant's Relentless. This woman has a great voice and some great songs (my favorite of hers that I've heard so far is "I Will Not be Moved" -- I don't really understand the video, but the song's amazing), but the best thing about this artist is her mission work. She does A LOT of work to help end slavery (forced prostitution). Four things make me love a recording artist: the obvious 1. great voice and 2. good songs, but also 3. writing their own songs and music, and 4. being real and showing it in everyday life. Maragaret Becker, Natalie Grant, and the men of Third Day all meet and exceed those standards.

inspiring thoughts on compassion

This morning, I read some very convicting things from the Bible and from Barbara Bush:

"True compassion is personal, active involvement that expresses God's merciful heart in words and deeds . . . We are to meet others' needs, not to continually satisfy our selfish desires." (ouch!)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" (II Cor. 1:3-4).

". . . let us not love with words . . . but with actions and in truth" (I John 3:16-18). (I'm thinking maybe the idea of this verse is to not love with words only, but to love with actions mostly.)

Hosea 11 tells how the Israelites deserved for God to just leave them to the natural consequences of worshiping idols instead of worshiping Him, but He loved them so much that He just couldn't stand to let them go. He lovingly took care of them instead and kept giving them a "second" chance.

Then after reading all this and almost hearing God say, "Hey, Michelle -- I'm talking to YOU," I put on a cd that I don't normally listen to (because it's not Third Day). The songs just reiterated everything that I'd just read. The one that tied it all together was "All That Matters."

I may never be the one that gets a second glance
I may never be the one they call the prettiest
But thats all right with me
And maybe I don't follow every crazy passion
Spend all my time trying to get a good reaction
But thats ok with me
This world is like a trampoline
High and low no in between
Jumping at the chance to please
Everyone but that's not me

Cause all that matters is
All that matters is
I know Your love has set me free
And that's all that matters to me

Some people tell me to step out and do my own thing
And others say I got to blend in just to be the same
And stop being me
But this shallow world is no longer what I'm made of
I've been changed by grace
I've been saved by love
What more do I need

All that matters is
All that matters is
I know Your love has set me free
And that's all that matters to me

My life comes from the One
Who made the stars and brought the sun
He loves me more than these
So I don't need another identity

All that matters is
All that matters is
I know Your love has set me free

If the only thing that really matters is that God loves me and takes care of me, I won't focus on myself. I'll show God's love, mercy, compassion, and comfort to other people.

Monday, May 11, 2009

first boat excursion

Joel and I went on our first boat ride today at Cheney Lake. Obviously, we got out of the lake safely because I'm typing this post :-) Actually, it went very smoothly. We didn't fall in (thank goodness -- that lake is pretty yucky), and we didn't get stuck anywhere (I took my cell phone just in case). I was afraid to take my camera, though, so I don't have pictures. I should have had Jason video us from the shore because I'm sure we looked pretty comical. Joel's only ten years old, so he's not a master oarsman. I might be much older, but I'm pretty wimpy and inexperienced at rowing a boat (sidenote -- I'm NOT wimpy when it comes to carrying a 35-pound child, diaper bag, purse, and several bags of groceries from the van to the house all in one trip!). But we did it and we had fun. My little plan for no one fighting about who gets to go kinda got botched because Jason won't be home tomorrow night to watch the other three kids. But since this is the first week, everyone cooperated nicely in making a substitute plan so that each child gets to go out one time this week :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Jason and the kids gave me the roses on the table, a photo album, some sparkly butterfly magnets, and a Starbucks gift card for Mother's Day :-) The best gift of all would be for my kids to be nice to each other and get along, but I guess that gift will be on my "wish list" for next year :-)
After church and lunch this morning, I took the kids to Walmart to buy a little two-person boat so that we can go boating on the lake in the evenings. I only bought a two-person boat (not a four-person boat) and one life vest because if something goes wrong, I know I can save myself and one other person. I'm pretty sure that I CAN'T rescue four people, so I can only take one child each evening. There won't be any fighting about who gets to go, though, because we already have a system for this type of situation. Joel was born on an odd-numbered day, so the odd-numbered days of the month are "his days." Makenzie was born on an even-numbered day, so those are "hers." Luke was born on the 30th, and he's the 3rd child, so he gets all the days that are a multiple of three :-) Anyway, I'm REALLY looking forward to going out in that boat!!!!

Next we went to the library so the kids could find some good books to read :-) We were going to go to Starbucks to get strawberry cream frappacinos (I have no idea if that's spelled correctly or if that's even what they're called, but they're yummy); but since we had to drive through the McDonald's parking lot to get on the road to get to Starbucks, we just went through that drivethrough for hot fudge or strawberry sundaes :-) almost just as yummy. We were going to eat them at a nearby park, but it was PACKED. We drove to my favorite park (which today we renamed "Raging Creek Park" because the creek flows so fast and loudly) and ate there -- until Luke got too chilly and we had to finish in the van.

We made it pretty much on time to church -- amazing! So overall, this was a pretty good day :-)

Now on to what is really on my mind today -- my mom. Just in case anyone didn't know, let me tell you -- I have one of the very best moms in the entire world! My whole life, I've KNOWN (not hoped, not thought, but known) that my mom loves me with all her heart. I can't remember one day that my mom didn't say and show that she loved me and was glad that God had given me to her.

My mom is the kind of mom that often gets taken for granted because she does everything that needs to be done to make life good without making a big deal out of it and without complaining about it (or at least I don't remember her complaining about it in my hearing). I don't remember feeling stress coming from her or a "hurry up" kind of frenzy. Everything just ran smoothly, and growing up was just nice; and for that, I thank you Mom!

My mom is the kind of mom who accepts her children for who they are and doesn't try to control or change them. I think I'm a little different from my family -- not better, not worse, just different -- and of course, I (like all people) have faults. My mom never made me feel bad or awkward for my differences or my faults. She always made me know that she loved me and was proud of me just the way I was. That kind of acceptance makes a child able to learn, grow, and change into a confident adult; and for that, I thank you Mom!

My mom is the kind of mom who taught a good work ethic by example, not just by words. I learned from my mom the importance of getting work done before playing (most of the time, anyway). She taught me to be responsible; and for that, I thank you Mom!

Since I left home, I've met some people who did NOT grow up with a mom like mine. While I'm very sorry for those people, I've come to more fully appreciate my mom, thank God more often for her, and tell her more that I love her.


Friday, May 8, 2009

zoo day

This was one BUSY day! The kids did a really good job of getting ready for school -- hurray for my beautiful children:-) Seth did a good job eating his breakfast quickly :-) We got to the school early enough to take this picture before the concert started (I told Joel and all the kids around him to pretend like they were playing -- good posing kiddos!). The concert was very interesting, especially noting the improvements between 4th grade and 5th-6th grades! I'm looking forward to hearing the 4th graders improve as they get a year or two older :-) -- by the way, if anyone finds out that the parents of these kids wouldn't want their picture on here, PLEASE let me know!!!!!!! I don't want anyone to be offended!
The concert ended early enough for me to run home and switch the laundry -- hurray for Mommy-time-management-skills :-)

Work was a little bit crazy. Not that anyone cares about these details, but the kindergarten through 2nd-grade classes usually get Friday's pizza in a little box. Today there were no boxes, so they had to do things a little differently. Apparently kindergarteners through second graders are my equals for not dealing well with change :-) I got out of work at exactly the right time to be able to drive to the zoo and arrive before the bus of second graders :-)

The zoo was a little on the boring side because Anchorage just doesn't have a super-exciting zoo. But it was fun to be outside, walking around, seeing the kids get excited about the animals, and taking pictures. Seth had to stay in the stroller the whole time. He wasn't too thrilled with that, but I didn't want to have to chase him down or carry him when he got tired of walking. This is a picture of my turkey and the zoo turkey in the background :-)
I think the best "animal show" for the kids was the wolves. We saw two or three wolves in different places in their area, so we went to see them. Then all of a sudden, SEVERAL wolves came trotting over to the fence where we were standing. I looked around and saw some zoo workers walking down the trail with different animals' food. The wolves were hoping for some lunch.
In my opinion, the most beautiful wild animal is the tiger. There were two tigers outside today. One was lying down in the shade, and this one was pacing. I HATE to see the animals pace. I'm pretty sure that means that they've LOST IT and that makes me sad for them (yes, I know that makes me sound REALLY strange, but it's true nonetheless).
Makenzie's favorite part of the zoo was the swans. She wanted to find them first thing, but we had a little trouble finding our way around (map reading isn't really my area of expertise).
I think Seth was a little jealous of that snowy leopard who got to take a nap while Seth had to stay awake in the stupid stroller :-)
And the grand finale of the zoo trip -- drum roll, please -- a little sex education lesson from the brown bears. When we walked up to the bear area, these two bears were just sitting and then walking around a little. Then they started to play a little. Then they started to "play" a little.
And then the "play" turned into the real thing! Another mom and I were in SHOCK and then we started LAUGHING! I heard one little kid say, "Awwww, look -- that bear's giving the other bear a piggy-back ride!" OH MY! Look at the time, girls -- we have GOT to get back to the bus or we'll be late!

The Hofacker Family 2008