Saturday, July 30, 2011

girl day

Makenzie and I declared today GIRL DAY!!! We made a great itinerary with the main excitement being the Downtown Saturday Market.

We started our day with coffee and coffee cake at the flower garden on Delaney Park Strip. This is my "oops! i didn't quite make it into the timer picture" picture:

but look how cute Makenzie is:

Here we are enjoying our yummy breakfast:

Next, we went to the Saturday Market . . .
. . . where we walked around for two hours and got Makenzie this Ocarina flute . . .

. . . and this beaded butterfly coin purse . . .

. . . and this butterfly bracelet for me:
We also got several of the vendors' business cards so that we could look up their web sites and decided that we need to go back there another time because we didn't have time to see everything that we wanted to see.

Next we had to run into Walmart for a few things, but Walmart is right across the street from Barnes & Noble where Makenzie could hardly wait to go get this amazing book about Egypt:

Next, we went to the gas station so that I could win $60 in gas by answering some trivia questions for the local Christian tv station. And then we went to Hacienda for lunch. I was trying to hold the camera out to take a picture of us and our delicious food (because I had forgotten my little table tripod at home), but the hostess offered to take our picture. It turned out much better that way:

After lunch, we went out to Target real quick before going to Value Village (our favorite store :-) We spent a little too long in there, though, because we barely made it to the library before it closed. I wanted to show Makenzie the reading room where we'll spend some time another day reading with a beautiful view in some comfy chairs. When the library closed, we went outside by the fountain to play Uno and Racko. Once again, someone offered to take our picture so that we didn't have the extended arm/too close/huge faced picture:

Makenzie walked around the fountain examining the water droplets on the leaves:

We came home to have pancakes and eggs with the boys (who had boy day while we were having girl day).

Makenzie's "funny" for today was mixing up the names of the places we were planning to go. She kept saying that we were going to the "supermarket" instead of the Saturday market :-) And then she said that we were going to "Village Inn" instead of Value Village :-) We laughed A LOT all day!! Girl Day is GREAT!! We should have these more often :-)

So I just read this blog and realized that it sounds like we had a super boring day, but the truth is that it was a SUPER FUN day!!! Shopping, library, card games, looking at water droplets. A whole day with my beautiful daughter. It was really a perfect day :-)

summer fun

Whenever the sun comes out, I try to get the kids into a pool. Up until a couple weeks ago, we had three or four little baby pools (like in the background of these pictures, leaning on the little picnic table). This year, though, I decided to get something bigger since the kids are getting so much bigger. The baby pools don't interest Joel at all anymore, but we all had fun in this pool:

When we get out of this pool, I wrap black plastic around it to hold in the heat. It doesn't keep the water all the way warm, but it did help prevent the water from being ice cold when they got in the pool the next day.

I bought a giant pool for next summer. The picture on the box shows two adults and six kids in the pool, and they all have space between them to move around. We got rafts and goggles and a huge solar cover, so I'm really hoping for a super-sunny summer next year!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

stalker squirrel & last track meet

This squirrel is a STALKER!!!! It kept sitting on the front deck, running back and forth across the deck rail, pretending it was going to leave by jumping over to the tree, then jumping back to the deck. So I took its picture. As soon as it saw that I had gotten proof to identify our stalker, it ran away.

Saturday was the kids' last track meet. Friday night, though, Luke fell on the deck and scraped his foot. It still hurt too much Saturday morning to put on socks and sneakers, so he couldn't compete. Seth ran the 60 meter dash. For the first time, he ran the race without holding my hand. I had to run behind him like I was chasing him, though. He also didn't stay in his lane, but that's ok because he got last place anyway. It's a good experience for him to be involved at all.

Joel did the high jump:

And he threw the turbo javelin:

We sat around for quite a long time in between Joel's jumps and throws:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Look, Mom! No hands!!"

Luke saw someone ride a bike with no hands a week or two ago. He thought it looked like a super-cool thing to do and determined to learn how to do it. And he did :-) Joel, Makenzie, and I are all very impressed because we've never been able to do that.

On our walk yesterday, Luke again made me laugh. Makenzie and I were side by side on the trail. Luke was a ways behind us, but getting closer.
Luke: "Stay where you are, guys. DON'T BE AFRAID!" And he rode between us and passed us (without running into either of us, thank goodness).
Makenzie: "I always get worried when he does that because I know about his 'swerving'."
Luke: "NO! I'm a changed man!"

And here's another funny that I'm borrowing from Sheri, a friend from church (I guess it's technically stealing because I didn't ask her if I could borrow it. I'm thinking she won't mind, though.) Sheri has a four- or five-year-old daughter named Charlotte.
Sheri: "Charlotte, go clean your room!"
Charlotte: "That's a no-can-do, Mom."
Sheri: "Excuse me??!!!"
Charlotte: "That's Spanish for 'I can do that'!"
Kids say SUCH funny things!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

6 a.m. blessings

This little turkey woke up at 6 a.m. today! I didn't sleep well at all last night because of drinking too much soda last night, but apparently Seth slept just fine. He woke up, came out of his room quietly (blessing #1 -- he didn't wake up Luke who did not get to sleep as early as Seth did), very nicely stood in front of me (I was still in bed) and waited for me to say good morning. This morning is his therapy time, so I had told the kids to wake up at 8 a.m. so that we could get ready in time. I knew that if I wanted to read my Bible and listen to Charles Stanley, I would need to get up no later than 7 a.m. Since Seth woke me up at 6 a.m., I was able to get all ready for the day, read my Bible (blessing #2 since I haven't had time to do my normal Bible reading lately because of sleeping in with the kids. and today was a GREAT one!!! : Colossians 2:6-7 "Since you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, WALK in Him, ROOTED and BUILT UP in Him, established in the faith as you have been taught, abounding in it with THANKSGIVING."), listened to Charles Stanley (blessing #3 -- he spoke about God's acceptance which is based on His love not on my performance, eternal life which started the moment I became a Christian, and the privilege of having a real relationship and fellowship with my God. GREAT sermon!!), and checked my e-mail. So even though I really didn't feel like getting up at 6 a.m. today, my sweet Seth blessing woke me up to start my day seeing all kinds of blessings :-)

And THEN he stunk up my room with a poopy diaper and dropped a few thumb tacks around the room -- one of them is still missing, scary thought :-( But it's too late -- I've already got my mind set on blessings, thankfulness, and my God.

AND it looks like it might be a sunny, play-in-the-pool kind of day :-)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

park day and library

We had an unusual park day today. I accidentally picked the same park as the church picked! So it wasn't our normal quiet park playtime. There were big blow-up bounce houses, lots of church volunteers, several neighborhood families, tents, tables with chips and drinks, and grills with hot dogs. It still went ok, just different. My kids LOVED playing in the bounce houses!!

After park day, and after a little work time, we went to the library. Today, the fountain was ON:

So I ran inside to get the next book in the series I'm reading (the Baxter Family series by Karen Kingsbury), and then Seth and I sat in the shade and admired the fountain.

And took a kissy picture :-)

Alaska summer weather is getting annoying! I should have learned by now, but I still keep falling for it. It's summer, so this morning, I put on a sleeveless top and capris. But it got so cloudy and cold that I changed into a sweatshirt and pants. Then it got super sunny and almost hot! I would've been ok if I'd just worn a t-shirt under the sweatshirt. And that's the lesson of Alaska weather: wear layers!! Maybe I've finally learned :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

play time

We went for a walk to Seth's school today. I asked him if he wanted to go play at the park, and he said yes. I asked him if he wanted to go play at school, and he said no. Even while he was playing on the slide, he refused to admit that we were at his school.

Luke still has his monkey arms:

And here's a great action shot of Makenzie (with a beautiful mountain background):

Seth was climbing on everything. This was familiar territory, even if he wouldn't admit it:

So we enjoyed playing in the back yard, playing with the neighbors, playing at the playground, and then watching "The Partridge Family." Good day :-)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

SUCH a good day

Normally, I try VERY hard not to leave the house on Saturdays. Traffic is HORRIBLE on Saturdays and Sundays! But yesterday morning, I got an e-mail from the library that Joel's book was waiting for him, so I decided to make a whole fun day based on getting that book. I packed up drinks, fish crackers, and cookies and then stopped by Fred Meyer to let the kids pick out sandwiches (that wasn't my original plan, but it became part of the plan when I realized that I had no bread in the house). We drove to the library for a picnic, something we've wanted to do for a long time, but never seemed to have time to actually do. It was a BEAUTIFUL day -- sunny with a little breeze and a nice shade tree for those of us who get too hot in the sun.

Joel thoroughly enjoyed his sandwich:

Luke and Makenzie decided to eat in the sun:

Makenzie doesn't eat much, so she's not in many of these pictures. She made Joel hurry up and eat so that they could go on in the library.

Seth wanted his picture taken and even said "cheese" . . .

. . . and then posed :-)

Luke and Seth were talking and playing together. Yes, I kept Seth in that stroller the whole time. The library lawn is too close to a parking lot and a busy street -- if he decided to make a run for it, I might not be able to catch him before he got hurt. He has NO concept of danger! In the stroller, though, he was happy, comfortable, relatively clean, safe, AND he ate all his lunch :-)

These two boys, although quite challenging sometimes, are incredibly sweet!!!

Luke wanted to go into the library with Joel and Makenzie, but I knew that wouldn't end well. So I told him to go climb the big rock and pose for a picture:

Then he fell off, and I laughed and took this picture because it looked like the rock fell on him like the house fell on the wicked witch in "The Wizard of Oz":

The only negative of the whole picnic was that the giant fountain wasn't turned on. But that really wasn't too big a deal. We decided we'd just have to do this again and keep doing it until they turn the thing on and make our library picnic experience complete. We saw a huge kite flying across the park. It looked like a giant jelly fish or octopus:

The flowers around the library are GORGEOUS!! I made Luke pose for one more picture, even though a flower picture should've been reserved for my princess. He cooperated nicely :-)

Today, we had another adventure: eating lunch and shopping at Costco on a Sunday! Seth was again in his stroller so that he wouldn't get lost or cause trouble (the stroller is more comfortable than the shopping cart -- he recently started saying "ouch" after sitting in a shopping cart, so that's the end of that). We had a yummy lunch, tried on some glasses just in case they had something great, and got everything on our list plus some extra things that we had to have after trying the samples :-) We saw several friends, including Seth's friend who also has Down syndrome :-)

On our way home, it started to rain. We don't see much real rain in Alaska. It usually just drizzles and drips. But today, it's really raining.

One of my all-time favorite things to do is to sit outside (under the overhang or somewhere covered, of course) and watch the rain or listen to the rain while I read. This love started way back in the 1980's when my family lived in Arizona and rain was rare and sincerely appreciated. One place we lived had a covered entryway, just the right size for me to sit where no one could see me unless they came right up and knocked on our front door. Another place we lived had a huge screened-in back porch. Good memories!! Now I have a front deck (but no place to sit unseen there) and a back deck overlooking my own back yard and trees. And I have a good twenty minutes before I need to get everyone ready for church. Guess what I'm going to do :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I used to think my mom was a little bit nuts because of her intense fear of mice. I don't think that anymore because I seem to have inherited the same fear. Except not just of mice -- I'm afraid of all rodent-type creatures. I completely realize that this is an irrational fear. I'm so big and they're so small. They really can't hurt me, or at least not much. They're more afraid of me than I am of them (or at least that's the normal theory). I'm still afraid of them. And not just a little afraid -- petrified, unable to move, possibly even hysterically crying if any kind of rodent shows itself to me. I'm pretty sure it's based on two factors -- the creatures' disgustingness (i don't care if that's not a word, it's the truth about them) and their sneaky speediness. So I had to suppress my fear and disgust when I saw a squirrel sitting on this tree stump in my back yard:

and then here on this post:

My camera didn't work properly to catch the squirrel in either of those two spots, but I finally got a picture of it up in my kids' tree house:

And then I went into my house, closed the door, and did my little "eeeewwwwww!!!!!!! disgusting!!!!!!!!!! keep it away from me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" shiver.

Monday, July 11, 2011

butterflies, bees, laughs, & old friends

This might be a long post because I've fallen behind, and some good stuff has been happening :-)

First is a new little obsession: decorating my house with butterflies. I think butterflies are exquisite creatures, so I have many things with butterflies on them. I recently looked up at the wood beam trim while sitting at my kitchen table and thought, "wouldn't it be cool to trim all my house with butterflies?" So I started doing that. I ordered a $2 set of little paper butterflies from China (ebay) and put them up on the beam between the dining room and living room:

And on a related topic, Seth had a run-in with a bee. My peonies finally bloomed in the front yard. They never last more than a couple weeks, so I broke one off the bush to entertain Seth on our walk Saturday evening. We walked around our normal walking route -- about 30 or 40 minutes -- with that flower. When we got back home, though, and took the flower up on the front deck to show Dad, bees flew up and attacked that flower. And one bee stung Seth on the ear. Poor Seth had no idea what was going on, but he knew that his ear hurt really badly! The poor child looked like a lopsided Dopey from Snow White when his stung ear swelled up and out! I put baking soda/water paste on it to make it stop hurting. Seth didn't cry or yell -- he's so brave and tough! His eyes had tears in them, and he had a look of total confusion on his face, like "what in the world just happened?!" until the pain subsided and he realized how much attention he was getting out of this situation.

Luke is one of the funniest kids ever born!!!! He was sitting on my bed with Jason and Seth, watching a movie, I think, on Jason's laptop. He started yelling when Jason started wrestling around with him: "MOM!!! Dad hurt me! All I was doing was real snoring -- well, fake snoring -- and he rolled over and hit his head on my head, right on the noggin piece!" Where does he come up with this stuff?!
Yesterday was a GREAT day!!!!! In fact, Joel told us that it was the best day he'd ever had :-) We got to spend the afternoon and evening with an old friend that I hadn't seen in over 20 years:

Lesley and I were friends when we both lived in Mesa, Arizona. We hadn't kept in touch very well, but we caught back up a little on facebook recently. When she and her friend Steve came up to see Alaska, we made a plan to have lunch together. We met Lesley, Steve, and another friend Charles at Sourdough Mining Company (Joel's first "best day" reason -- he got to eat out). It was SO fun to catch up with Lesley and get to know Steve and Charles -- one of the most interesting lunches I've ever enjoyed! After lunch, we walked over to Alaska Wild Berry to see the reindeer in the park and get some chocolates and souvenirs from the store. Lesley hadn't seen a bear yet, so they suggested we go to the Alaska Zoo (Joel's second "best day" reason -- the zoo is one of his all-time favorite places). We walked through that whole place and saw almost every single animal, taking pictures, chatting, and laughing. Even though we weren't hungry after the huge lunch we'd had, it was dinner time after the zoo, so we went to Gwennie's for a little something to keep us from getting hungry before morning (Joel's third "best day" reason -- eating out TWICE in one day, unheard of!). Seth and I were glad to see our friends Samantha and Dewey working there (they used to work at City Diner when Seth and I went there every week -- we've missed seeing them). At the end of dinner, Lesley and Steve had to return their rental car and wait for their departure time. Luke suggested they wait at our house and play board games, and that's just what they did (Joel's fourth, fifth, and sixth "best day" reasons -- he loves to play games, we had coffee, and he got to stay up late). Now everyone knows that kids can be cute for a while, but annoying or even monstrous after a whole day together. But Lesley and Steve were SUCH good sports with my kids! They seemed to enjoy their company and agreed to spend even more time with them :-) It helped that all four of my kids were on their super-best behavior (an incredibly rare occurrence). We had a fantastic game of Taboo before they had to get back to the airport and fly home.

Friends are an important part of a good life, and I'm so glad to remember that old friends are true friends! And getting to know new friends is like finding a treasure :-)

The Hofacker Family 2008