Friday, December 23, 2011

snow fun

I finally let Joel and Makenzie invite friends over to enjoy Christmas break. I got up early and went to work from 6:30 - 9 a.m., got my last Christmas things (i hope) from Walmart (plus necessities like light bulbs, t.p., and super glue -- how in the world do we go through so much super glue???!!!!), then got home to make phone calls to the other parents. The boys went sledding, but the girls played in the snow in our back yard.

I finally found Seth's boots and made him go outside. He didn't like it, though, because he doesn't know how to entertain himself out there and I didn't feel like being outside anymore after shoveling the deck. I'm hoping to get him into the front yard to do a little sledding (our front hard has a pretty steep little part that ends in the driveway).
Seth got too cold and had to be warmed up/wrapped up :-)
Now I really need to get out of this chair and make the pie crusts for Christmas. As I've said and I'm sure everyone knows by now, I HATE TO COOK!!!!!! So the music is going to be LOUD to make me forget that I'm in the kitchen :-) Also, it helps that my pies usually turn out to be very yummy, and I LOVE pie!!!! It takes quite a bit of will power to not eat it all myself, but I do share with the rest of the family :-) I should probably make one just for the six of us for tomorrow. We exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve, rest all day just the six of us together, and go to the Christmas Eve service at church. This year Makenzie is singing in the Christmas Eve service :-) I'm hoping to have a video on here by Monday. HERE is the video that Jason took from the kids' choir performance, but it's a little fuzzy because Jason had to use his phone since I forgot my camera.

procrastination -- typing more and more information until there's not enough time to make those pie crusts today :-) just kidding -- i'm really looking forward to eating them, so i'd better get that music started :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

catching up again

I forgot to get back on here after that last "my kids behaved so maturely" post. The next day, I could've posted a sequel to that one: "THEY'RE BA-A-A-A-CK!!" They were back to their normal yelling and crying and fighting the next day! Oh well, it's nice to know in an emergency, they CAN behave.

Joel was SO cute playing in the jazz band at the airport!! He got to play a little solo (which i need to put on youtube! subscribe to my youtube page -- polarmom4 -- if you want to see when i finally do that).
We had some HORRIBLE Chinook winds Sunday. Flying garbage cans are usually the only problem we have in high winds, and that's easily remedied since we have a garage. Sunday night, though, we lost our last front yard tree when the wind blew it over onto Jason's truck. There are only a couple dents on the truck, but the tree is obviously ruined.

Yesterday was Seth's last day at Chester Valley Elementary. He handed out Christmas tins with homemade candies to each of the teachers and staff members that we could find. We have enjoyed Seth's experiences at Chester Valley and appreciate ALL that the staff there have done to help and care for Seth. We have a meeting at his new school this morning to discuss what's coming up next for him. I'm not good with change, so I'm a tiny bit nervous. But I'm pretty sure this is a good change for Seth, so I'm looking forward to it.
So here's a funny story about those Christmas tins of candies. I don't usually give Christmas gifts to the kids' teachers because there are so many teachers, and I would feel SO bad if I left someone out! But since Seth was leaving his school, I decided to make candy for the people who have been so nice to us there. I started the list with the teachers and aides, then added the office staff, then added . . . . then added . . . then added :-) Three batches of candy, three nights, and i'm not sure how many trips to Walmart, Fred Meyer, and Costco -- there should be Christmas tins for every single adult that all four children come in contact with at both schools. Jason and the kids have been making fun of me about the whole thing, laughing about how the list of additions keeps growing. Jason suggested he quit his job and we go into the Christmas candy tin business. By the third batch, though, we did have a pretty good system going. Maybe we'll do this every year. (or maybe not)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

such good kids!

Last night, my kids showed just how great they are :-) I had a horrible headache and was in bed, in and out of sleep. When Makenzie and Luke got home from kids' choir practice, I barely heard them come in. There were NO fights and NO noise. At about 9:30 p.m., I decided that I REALLY needed to get up and get everyone ready for bed. I walked into the living room to see that Joel had corralled the other three together on the couch and put on a movie, telling them that I didn't feel well so they all needed to keep quiet. He had the phone in his hand, trying to find his grandmother's phone number because Seth needed a new diaper. They were all so very sweet sitting on the couch trying to let me sleep off that headache! So I changed Seth and let him fall asleep with me in my bed while the older three watched a movie downstairs. When the movie was over, everyone went to bed quietly. My kids have NEVER before acted so maturely and so nicely to each other! I'm really loving the "growing up" here :-)

Yesterday was a day of good news for Joel. His trumpet was fixed and ready to be picked up. He was pretty excited. After dinner, he gave me a little concert (which is why I was in bed -- I couldn't be in the same room with the trumpet playing. Trumpets are VERY loud! He knew I wasn't insulting him by going in another room. I really wanted to hear him play, just at a lower volume.) He's pretty good for a seventh grader! I was impressed. Also, his new glasses came in. He was SO relieved to throw away the taped-up pair that had no nose pieces!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November's over???!!!!

I feel like I missed a month somewhere -- where did November go?? This has been the snowiest, coldest end of "autumn" that I've ever experienced in the 15 years that I've been in Alaska! Time has just been flying by, and I'm not quite sure what I've been doing all month. I didn't even take many pictures this month. Here's the total of my photographic recording of November, 2011:

Sunday afternoon nap/movie time:

Seth trying to make Luke feel better, but I don't remember why. And why in the world does he have a spanking spoon in the other hand? My guess is that I left the dishwasher open to let the dishes dry, and he stole a spoon because he does that kind of thing. It probably ended up thrown behind the couch like most things do that Seth gets his hands on
Seth occasionally makes up disguises. This was a pretty funny/cute one:
My almost-teenager is amazing me with his musical talent. Actually, I haven't heard him play his trumpet in a long time, but he is advancing quickly in the school bands. He's in the junior high band, but the teacher asked him to join the high school jazz band. Three mornings each week, Joel goes to school at 7:15 a.m. to practice with the jazz band. He'll be having a concert at the airport next week with a couple solos I think. I can hardly wait to hear him. Last week, though, something broke on his trumpet. I took it to the horn-fixing store, and they were shocked that a junior high student owned this trumpet. They said that it's a professional quality trumpet and is worth at least $3000!!! I asked Joel what he thought about that, and he said he didn't know it was worth that much money, but he really likes his trumpet better than the one he's borrowing from the band teacher (in other words, "Mom, I don't care about money. Just get my trumpet back fast!").

The same week that his trumpet broke, his glasses also broke. Not just a little break, but they broke right in half at the nose bridge. This is a much bigger problem since he doesn't have a backup pair. We got his eyes checked to get a new prescription and ordered new glasses, but he's been having horrible headaches while we wait for them to come in. Today, he taped the glasses to his head to alleviate some of the eye strain. We're hoping his glasses come in tomorrow! Plus, we're ordering him a second pair just in case.

The church kids' choir is putting on a musical this Sunday night. Makenzie has one of the main parts. She's so calm on stage and so dependable for the choir directors. She makes me proud :-)

I'm excited to report that Luke has NOT been sent to the office this whole entire semester!! Granted, there are still two weeks left, but he's done so well, that I'm confident his bad-behavior-at-school streak has ended. Jason made up a system to get Luke to do homework more quickly. He sets a little timer for five minutes and reports back how much he got done in that five minutes. If he doesn't complete a set amount of work, he gets a spanking. Apparently, I've lost my touch in the spanking department because he laughed after I spanked him yesterday. But he's still scared to tears of Dad's spankings.

This will be Seth's last month at Chester Valley Elementary. When school resumes after the Christmas break, he will be going to a school that has a special ed. class. On one hand, I'm very sad that he has to leave a place and people that he has grown comfortable with and who love him so much. But on the other hand, I'm looking forward to seeing how much more he can learn in a more special-needs-adapted environment. We haven't had any more luck with the potty training :-( I'm hoping to be able to dedicate lots of time over Christmas break to finishing this process for the VERY LAST time!!!!

Besides the normal teaching, coaching, training for his next marathon that is always the list of "Jason's world," he is looking forward to coaching Luke's basketball team next month :-) I'm thinking that "looking forward to" gives the wrong impression, but that's ok. Let's keep it positive :-) We were going to give Luke the entry fee for a basketball season for Christmas, but then we found out that if Jason coached the team, Luke would get to play for free. Yay, Coach Jason :-)

I have to chuckle as I type all this because it's a little difficult to type right now. I have band-aids on three of my fingers because my fingertips split open when the temperature gets below about 20 degrees. The cuts are very painful and start bleeding if I don't cover them. I currently have "grown-up" regular brown band-aids on them, but earlier today, Spiderman was protecting the cuts :-) A couple weeks ago, I had Disney princesses on several fingers.

I'm LOVING our new van!! It's so nice to be sure that my vehicle will start when I turn the key :-) I've been trying really hard to take care of this van and not get in too much of a hurry. Hurrying makes me careless and messy. That's why our last van was filthy most of the time and had so many mechanical problems. I had been doing a pretty good job of being careful until Monday morning when I was running behind and needed to quickly get Joel to band practice. I forgot that it was garbage day and just backed down the driveway without really looking -- and plowed over the recycling bin, breaking the passenger tail light. That little mistake cost over $100 and counts as my Christmas present this year (along with an eye exam and a new pair of glasses).

On a disappointing note, remember this lamp shade that I was creating with beads?
One of the side posts broke loose, so I had to disassemble the whole thing :-( Today I bought a new lamp, took the material off the lamp shade, and look forward to starting over!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with lots of good food. I made the pies -- always an adventure and a bit of a risk since 1) they have to be gluten-free, which is tricky and 2) I'm not a very good cook, probably because I get distracted and don't always follow recipes exactly. My pecan pie looked like it didn't have pecans in it, so we called it "maple sugar surprise" I think. It tasted really good, though. And I bought the wrong kind of cherries for the cherry pie, but it still tasted good. I was very upset when Jason said that this year's apple pie was the best ever! I usually buy apples, peel and cut them, and make the pie completely from scratch, thinking that would make it the "best ever." This year, I couldn't handle making four pies from scratch, so I bought apple pie filling (because Joel insisted that we MUST have apple pie). How can a can of pie filling be better than "from scratch"? Oh well, opening a can is CERTAINLY easier than peeling and cutting apples!

This wasn't the most exciting post, but it was "catch-up" time :-) Maybe I'll do better with paying attention and blogging in December (again, don't hold your breath for that to actually happen :-).

Monday, November 14, 2011

finally finished a book

i'm a slow reader. i have to read every single word and form pictures and scenes in my head, hear the people talking, feel like i'm part of the story. i don't get much time to read, either. some days i read a couple pages in bed, but put the book down because i'm falling asleep. about a MONTH ago, i started reading "firefly summer" by maeve binchy, one of my FAVORITE authors!!! (side note: i hate it that there is no "underline" feature on this blog. as an ex-english teacher, putting quotes around a book title instead of underlining it is VERY irritating. surprisingly, though, using no capital letters isn't bothering me too much.)

so first of all, how in the world can it take me a MONTH to read ONE book???!!!! but more importantly, i HATED the ending :-( i was SO into this book, the setting, the characters, the emotions, the action. **SPOILER ALERT** (not that anyone reading my blog really intends to read this book, but . . . just in case . . .) Patrick O'Neill moved to Ireland from New York to build a giant hotel on the land where a castle once stood. His father had worked in the castle, but was fired. Patrick wanted to "right this wrong" and "get back to his roots." In the process, though, an incredible woman was hit by a crane and paralyzed for life. And THEN, the entire hotel burned down at its grand opening! Instead of everything being explained or "wrapped up" somehow, it ended with Patrick saying that he was going back home. I can understand not getting a happy ending, but this was too abrupt!

so, yes, i'm letting everyone know how strange i am that i'd get all upset about a BOOK and then take the time to blog about it. :-) i'm going to make up "the rest of the story."

Patrick goes back to New York and finds Rachel (his mistress who went back to New York earlier in the book because Patrick wouldn't commit to her). They decide to get married and move back to Ireland, not to re-build the hotel but to build a normal home on that land. This is the ending I wanted because Rachel is a really nice person and because Patrick and Rachel had both made friends in Ireland. Kerry, Patrick's wayward son, recovers from the burns he got when the hotel burned down and becomes a sincerely good person. He and Dara, the girl who lives in the pub across from the hotel, get together. Michael, Dara's twin brother, and Grace, Patrick's daughter, get together. Eddie, Michael and Dara's wild younger brother, straightens out and becomes a productive, useful, respected part of his parents' pub.

i'm sure that this makes NO sense to anyone reading this blog, but that's ok -- i feel better now :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

new stuff

When I looked out the window this morning, I saw NEW SNOW :-( Every year I dread the snow more and more. It's beautiful, though. I think we got about an inch or two. If the sun had been out all day, it probably would've melted. Too bad it was overcast most of the day.

Yesterday, I went to a fused glass show. The lady that makes these decorations has a handicapped son and makes these beautiful creations to support herself and her son. As a birthday gift from Jason and his parents, I got this hanging butterfly picture frame and butterfly mirror:
and this dragonfly photo/recipe holder:
This afternoon, I got Seth his own laptop for only $250!! Actually, Seth gets a $250 scholarship every year from our local Down syndrome group, so the computer was FREE! Tomorrow, I'm going to order him a one-button mouse so that he can play his alphabet game on :-) This evening, I showed him his new computer and let him pick out his background picture -- he picked one of all the Scooby Doo friends :-)

And then just tonight we got this NEW VAN!!! I am SOOOO grateful for the good deal Jason's friend from church gave us on this van! It's clean, it starts and runs, it has SNOW TIRES, and so many other bonuses that I couldn't figure out tonight because it's dark and I'm tired and I hadn't eaten dinner. I can hardly wait for tomorrow when I get to explore all the many buttons and compartments and drive around in this beautiful vehicle!!
And the blessings continue . . . the friend that sold us the van said that we can put our old van on an auction and probably get at LEAST $200! Another auction guy said that we would only get about $100 for it. We'll see how much it ends up going for, but anything is better than letting it become yard art :-)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

fall festival

Tonight was the fall festival at the kids' school. For the record (again), I HATE halloween and everything associated with it. But my kids found costumes that they really liked, so I bought them and took them to the little carnival at school. Thankfully, this is also the weekend of the huge wrestling tournament in the high school. Jason runs the tournament and has Joel, Makenzie, and Luke help him. They were more excited about being at the tournament than in going to the carnival, so we didn't have to stay at the carnival for very long at all this year :-)

Seth and I waited in the lobby for Luke and Makenzie to get changed. It is SO difficult for Seth to sit and wait unless he's buckled in his car seat or stroller. He didn't do too badly, though.
Luke was a ninja -- a sweaty little ninja because the heat is on in the building, of course since it's 32 degrees outside now. He had on a ski mask made out of material that would keep his head warm in freezing temperatures. He took it off a little while after the picture.
Makenzie dressed up as Cleopatra. She loves reading anything and everything about Egypt. When she saw this costume at Walgreens, she HAD to have it! One minute after she put it on tonight, though, she was complaining about how itchy it was. So again, uncomfortable parts of the costume came off after the picture.
My nephew Gavin was a Ninja Turtle. SO cute!!!
And my niece Makayla was a Care Bear. Her costume was also very warm, so the hood was only on for the picture. I barely caught this picture before she took it off again.
CUTE kids :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


a guy left a voicemail last night at 10:30 saying he was interested in buying our van that i had posted on craig's list. i called this morning and set up a meeting in the church parking lot at 5 p.m. he said that he would call his brother to make sure that was ok and then call me back. his brother was the one wanting the van, but he was doing the calling because his brother didn't speak english, only spanish. so at 4:45 p.m., i still hadn't heard back from him, so i called to see if we were still meeting. he said he thought so. i drove over to the church and waited till 5:25 p.m. before calling again, saying i was so sorry for being a pest, but was he coming? he said he was just leaving work because a problem had arisen there. he was going to pick up his brother and come right over. so i hurried home to finish the laundry and leave the kids with jason to eat dinner and then went back over to the church.

they finally arrived, and i gave them the list of pros and cons that i had posted on craig's list and they obviously hadn't read because on the phone, the guy had said, "there are no problems with the van, correct?" i said, "no, there are lots of problems." so i waited while he translated the whole list into spanish for his brother. then they called their mechanic friend to see if he had time to look at it. i agreed to drive over to their friend's apartment complex so he could take a look at it. when i got back in the van, IT WOULDN'T START!!!!! jason just bought and installed a new battery on SUNDAY -- three days ago!!!!!!!!!! so i called jason to come jump the van because the guys said that they weren't giving up faith. they still wanted their mechanic friend to look at it.

we drove over to the apartment complex (right next to clark middle school -- anchorage people will understand what that means -- not a great part of town). by this time, it's getting a little dark. all the way over there, i was afraid the van was going to stall because it was making some CRAZY sounds!!!! it made it, though. it took the friend a really long time to get outside because he's older and sick and maybe handicapped. he looked at the van and listened to the guy translate the list of pros and cons into spanish (AGAIN!) and gave his advice: no more than $400 (i was asking $1,000). i called jason and he said $500. the guys said no, $400. so i said i'd call if we didn't sell it soon. when i got in the van, IT STALLED!!!! i got out and said, they could have it for $400. i called jason to come get me. they jump started the van. the friend revved the engine a few times and said that they shouldn't buy the van because the gas pump was bad.

so by the time jason got there, i was shaking from cold, nervousness from being in mountain view in the dark, frustration from having wasted TWO HOURS of my day, and a DESPERATE need to use a restroom!!!!!!!!! i told jason that i was pretty sure the van wouldn't even make it home, so i drove the truck and he drove the van (which did make it home). the kids thought i was losing my mind because as soon as i got in the truck, i started crying (for the same four reasons that i was shaking earlier). i'm so very glad that the whole situation is over and that i'm HOME and that our "new" van should be here no later than next week!!!!!!!!

i KNOW that God works things out for the good of His children, so i'm waiting to see what He's got planned here!!!!! maybe one or all of those guys were Christians and God didn't want them strapped with this broken vehicle. or maybe they were scammers trying to rip me off, so God made it so that even THEY wouldn't want my van. or maybe He has some really good deal like a mechanic is looking for exactly this van to use whatever good parts are left to fix another ford windstar. i don't know exactly what it is, but there's a good reason for the "events" of this evening.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

cuties & cars

Almost every night before I got to bed, I check Seth's diaper and take Luke to the bathroom. Usually, this helps avoid washing sheets every day. Last night, both boys were incredibly cute because they were EXACTLY how I had left them a couple hours earlier except that they were asleep.

Jason found another ipod somewhere, so Luke inherited it last night. He LOVES listening to music to fall asleep :-) I LOVE seeing him happy :-)

In general, I have an obsessive-type personality. I get obsessed about things easily. When I decided that my New Year's resolution was going to be to exercise more regularly, I made sure that no matter WHAT, I walked on the treadmill for exactly 30 minutes every single night. That lasted for almost two whole months -- until I got so sick that a doctor had to prescribe a cough med with codeine (not sick because of walking, sick because of cold season). I could barely breathe, but until that doctor gave me meds, I kept walking every night.

This obsessive-type behavior, however, does NOT carry over to my care of vehicles. When I lived at home, my parents took care of my cars (I was a very spoiled child, although I'd rather use the word "blessed"). I had a turquoise Datsun B210, a Dodge Omni, a Ford Escort, and then my first automatic transmission -- a Ford Tempo. I did absolutely no maintenance on any of those cars. I'm guessing that my dad did, but I honestly didn't pay attention. I got in the car, started it, and drove it. I'm hoping that I at least bought my own gas, but I don't really remember (this was a really long time ago!!). When Jason and I got married, we decided to put full coverage on the Tempo since we were on the phone with the insurance company anyway to change my name on the insurance and to add him onto the policy. Less than a month later, the car was stolen while we were watching a Phillies game. With the insurance check, we bought a Subaru Legacy. That's the car we drove to Alaska and continued to drive for another ten years until it was no longer dependable. And by "no longer dependable," I mean that it wouldn't start. Often. We were very thankful that right about that same time, a friend of Jason sold us his truck for $1 (although it's SO sad that he did this because his father was killed in Afghanistan and the life insurance paid for him to buy a new truck -- we're NOT thankful for the tragedy!!!) We still have that truck now about five years later.

A few months before Luke was born, Jason's boss went to a repossession auction and bought a Ford Windstar minivan with us in mind (not as a gift -- for us to buy from him). This van has been a GREAT blessing to us! It has carted us all over town now for nine years :-)

But this van is now in sad shape!! The list of problems is almost unbelievable. The electrical system is SHOT -- we've had to disconnect the power locks, the cruise control, and the headlight switch (which i have to re-attach every time i need to turn the lights on and it just dangles down from the dashboard -- pathetic!). If you super-size this picture, you might notice that the windshield is outlined with black duct tape because every time it rained, the windshield would leak. So i "fixed" it with duct tape :-) AND the whole van shakes while I'm driving it. I don't even know why because I keep procrastinating about taking it to a mechanic. We take it in for an oil change at the same time as the i.m. test requirement -- every TWO YEARS!

I'm hoping I've learned my lesson about taking care of a vehicle to make it last longer! We'll see -- I won't be holding my breath. We're buying a "new" van -- a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan.
Maybe if we take good care of this one, it'll last us fifteen years! That'll be a new record :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Luke and Makenzie decided that they wanted to play basketball this year. The fee was relatively small, so we agreed. They've had two practices, and Makenzie had her first game Thursday night. Today was the first time that I got to see them play. Neither one of them really knows anything at all about basketball. They mostly run back and forth on the court. They each got to play a couple minutes each game and touch the ball I'm pretty sure a total of twice today.

This is where they were most of the time we were in the gym today:

I'm not complaining about my kids sitting on the bench most of the game! They are still learning and need LOTS more practices before they'll be useful team members in a game. It's just a little boring for the mom to sit on hard bleachers watching other people's kids play a game that I don't even like.

Just to be clear and honest here, I really don't like sports. At all! And after today, I'm pretty sure that I don't like a lot of the people in the stands at basketball games, either. I have an obsessive kind of personality, but there's a line that should never be crossed -- the line between personal obsession and rudeness. If you're sitting in the bleachers at a basketball game, you can be pretty sure that any derogatory remark that you make is bound to be heard by at least one of those kids' parents. But for some reason, people obsessed with basketball DON'T CARE! They just spout off whatever comes into their little heads, no matter how hurtful their words are to the players or to the other parents. I'm pretty sure that the next time I come to my kids' games, I'm going to sit somewhere apart from all other "fans." There really should be a rule that the coaches, players, and refs are the ONLY people allowed to speak in a basketball game!!!

Seth didn't like the loudness in the gym AT ALL!! Every time a ref blew his whistle, Seth would yell at him to stop it. So we found these noise-blocking headphones in Jason's office for Seth to use until his grandparents could pick him up.There will be an equal amount of whining when wrestling season rolls around, I'm sure. I love my kids, but I HATE SPORTS!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

sleepy buddies

This is how I found Luke and Seth when I went in there to check on them before I went to bed :-) fyi -- Seth has his own bed, but he LOVES his big brother!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I turned 39 last Tuesday :-) Really -- I'm 39, not 42 and in denial saying "no, I'm not in my 40's -- I'm still 39!" October 4, 1972 :-) Of course, like every mother throughout time, the gift I wanted most was for my children to be nice all day. This year, I received that gift!! Hurray for growing, maturing kids!!

My day went back and forth between normal and special: up at the normal 5 a.m., special breakfast of pumpkin bread that I made the night before, normal morning routine of getting everyone to school, special pumpkin spice latte delivered to the house by my mother-in-law, normal work for a couple hours with a special phone call from my best childhood friend who has the same birthday (we almost ALWAYS talk on our birthday or at least sometime close to it) and another special phone call from my mom, special shopping at the used book store, normal work for another hour, special lunch at a little cafe that makes gluten-free sandwiches and has a nice fireplace and artwork to look at while I waited (for a longer-than-normal amount of time), special band concert that Joel performed in at school, normal picking up kids from school and doing laundry and dishes, special dinner at a great pizza restaurant that makes gluten-free pizza, special gifts from Jason and the kids, normal getting to bed later than I should :-)

For some reason, Joel and Makenzie didn't get in the birthday pictures. Jason was taking the pictures, so he wasn't in them either -- but they were there :-)

Last Sunday, Joel gave me a special gift from him: a bag of kettle corn :-) After we went to the library, we came home to pop it and eat it with hot chocolate. I love the thoughtfulness of children -- simple and sweet :-)

Luke found this perfect fall leaf and gave it to me as a special gift from him:
Again, SO special, simple, & sweet!! I got a frame to put it in:
And then today was my family celebration with all thirteen of the Hofacker/Nelson clan. Makayla wore her butterfly dress because Aunt Shel LOVES butterflies (the butterflies are glittery on the bottom of the dress and probably can't be seen in the picture because I'm not in any way a professional photographer).
Gavin was so excited to be with his cousins that he couldn't even eat his lunch. His parents told him that he wouldn't get any cake or ice cream if he didn't eat, but he just wanted to go play with Luke and Seth. When it came time to actually have cake and ice cream, he changed his mind. Thank goodness we came up with the idea that if Aunt Shel ate his food, that should count and he should get dessert. And thank goodness, Darryl and Amanda said that since it was my birthday party, the decision would be left up to me :-) Gavin thoroughly enjoyed his ice cream and the frosting off his cake :-)
And here is the birthday table:

and the birthday cake:
It's a good thing that this family doesn't have any qualms about germs! This is the second year in a row that I've put artificial flowers on my birthday cake -- very unsanitary, I'm sure. But no one mentions that. We all just gobble up the yummy cake, germs and all :-)

The only bad part of all the birthday excitement is that I forgot to hand out the treat bags. That was going to be the best part of the whole deal for me (well, second-best, I guess -- I really liked my cake!). Now I have to hand deliver them before church -- not as special as getting a treat bag as you leave a birthday party :-(

I enjoyed both my birthday and my birthday party and appreciate all the gifts :-)

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Jason got out the leaf blower today so that he and Seth could have some "outside man time." He called to me to come take a picture of Seth jumping in the leaves so that people would know that we DO have fall. People are always complaining that we only have two seasons -- winter and non-winter. But we have four beautiful seasons. This year's autumn is exceptionally beautiful!

I guess Seth was contemplated the exact angle and trajectory necessary to make the most exciting jump:

After jumping in the leaf pile for a while, Seth decided to be more helpful and start up the leaf blower ALL BY HIMSELF:
You'd never know by Seth's energy level today that he was high on Verced yesterday morning! He was a wild child today :-) I'm smiling because praise God Seth is healthy enough to be wild!!

Today, I was much more productive than yesterday; although after I posted my blog yesterday, I did clean up the kitchen counter that is always overflowing with mail, junk, trash, and kids' school papers. Today, though, I did more than just one tiny clean-up. I got up at 4:45 a.m. (btw, SOMEDAY, I'm going to sleep till 7 a.m. every single day. that day might not come for another decade, but I'm thinking that when my kids are out of school, I'm going to refuse to get up before 7!!), worked from 7 - 8:30 a.m., did a little grocery shopping, then started in on the house and party work (tomorrow is my b-day celebration). I made two pots of chili and a pumpkin spice cake, cut up onions, did at LEAST 50 loads of laundry, put on all the clean bed sheets (Jason and the kids very nicely removed all the dirty sheets while I was at work -- they had a little list of jobs that they did perfectly), and cleaned the bathroom floor. That last one was the best part of my day. Odd, I know! I hate to clean and I hate to cook, but that bathroom floor has been bothering me for YEARS! No matter how hard or how often I scrubbed that floor, it was still sticky from hairspray. Today, though, I got it un-stickified!! I used Comet and a dish scrubber, and I don't give a rat's patooty if that's bad for the linoleum. All I care is that for one afternoon, my bathroom floor is hairspray-free!

Friday, October 7, 2011

tubes again

I'm pretty sure today was Seth's 4th time for the "myringotomy placement" procedure (a.k.a. getting tubes in his ears). He woke up while I was in the shower at about 4:45 a.m. because his diaper had leaked. Jason changed his clothes and let him fall asleep next to the human furnace (a.k.a. Jason). When I picked him up to put him in the van at 6 a.m., Seth just smiled and hugged me, and told his dad "bye." We sang songs all the way to the hospital. Seth is a very sweet morning person, especially when it's just the two of us. He was very charming to all the nurses and doctors at the hospital! The procedure only took about ten minutes, but it took Seth another half-hour to wake up from the little bit of anesthesia they gave him (gas, no i.v.'s for this procedure, thank goodness!). He woke up when the recovery nurse started taking the "stickers" off his chest (the things that they hook up monitors during the procedure). He wasn't quite as happy this time he woke up. He wasn't grouchy at all, just groggy. He drank some juice, the nurse gave me discharge instructions, and we were out of there. I kidded him when we drove onto our street that we still had time to make it to school on time. That got quite the reaction: "NO!!!!! No school!!!!!" I told him I was just kidding and that we were going to spend the whole rest of the day together lying on the couch watching "Blue's Clues" :-) That's not exactly happening since the meds wore off and he started getting into things like the wax burner :-(

It's odd to be home all day long. I've done about five loads of laundry, put away the dishes from the dishwasher, made pumpkin bread, watched yesterday's episode of "Grey's Anatomy," read for awhile, gotten Seth numerous bowls of fish crackers and cups of juice. You'd think I'd take this opportunity to clean, but here I am on the computer. Tonight, Jason's taking Luke and Makenzie to the Veggie Tales movie at church and Joel's going to the cabin with Pop Pop and Uncle Rich. So Seth and I are having LOTS of quiet time together :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Seth's new habit

This is where Seth wakes up every day now. His new habit is to wake up somewhere between 1:30 and 6:30 a.m. and come to our room. I think he's waking up because he has wet his diaper, so this new habit is actually a good step toward Seth's being potty-trained. It just doesn't seem like a good ANYTHING at around 2 a.m.!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Seth the little turkey

The back yard used to be the safe place to let Seth play without total supervision. Now that's not safe either :-( He has learned to climb better -- so much better that he could possibly try to jump off the deck. He has learned to hike up a leg and pull himself up onto the kitchen counter, so I'm quite sure he is capable of pulling himself up onto the deck rail. Scary!!!
How can such a cute little kid make SO MUCH TROUBLE???!!!
I showed Seth how to rake the leaves into a little pile. It really didn't matter that the tiny little plastic toy rake was almost useless for actually raking because he decided to rake them back into their original spots. But I'm pretty sure he thought he was doing something helpful.
This morning, one of Seth's aides walked into his classroom, and Seth SMILED so huge and said, "SAWAH!!" (Sarah) He refused to sit down and eat his fruit snacks until he had gotten Sarah a chair to sit in right beside him. SO CUTE!! I could tell right away that it would be a better day than yesterday. The special ed teacher had to call me to talk to Seth because he was being SO uncooperative! Today was MUCH better!!

The Hofacker Family 2008