Saturday, August 25, 2012

Michelle's last four months

Luke turned 9 on April 30.  I LOVED taking his pictures at Loussac Library!!  He poses so nicely and doesn't mind going to several different spots to get the best scenery.

School ended in May.  All four kids had excellent school years this year!  They all loved their teachers and got really good grades.

In June, we went to the annual family picnic with the Down syndrome group.  This year, we had horse rides and carriage rides.  The kids really enjoyed that!
I really don't remember why Luke and Seth decided to dress up in their Batman costumes, but they were SO cute!!!!
 The family 4th of July cookout was at our house this year.  Gavin was excited to climb up into our tree house:
 Makayla enjoyed having Makenzie push her in the swing:
 Another July event was Makenzie's haircut.  After four years, she was ready to donate her hair to Locks of Love again.  Before:

      An unpleasant event in July was the return of "the Herbert."  We named him that because when Luke was a little younger, he didn't know exactly how to pronounce "pervert" and so it came out "herbert."  So that's the title we've given to the guy who on April 13th was half naked in our shed.  At the end of July, he once again got high and then jumped over our fence.  Even worse than trespassing, though, was that he then removed ALL of his clothes and was in the middle of doing something to himself that people should NOT do in public (let alone in a stranger's back yard) when Jason decided to go close the blinds and saw him.  When Jason yelled at him, Joel and I ran out to the kitchen to see what was going on.  We were shocked and disgusted to see the guy STAND UP and slowly put his clothes back on, slowly jump back over the fence, and slowly walk away down the street.  The cops looked for him, but couldn't find him.  The next day, Jason saw the Herbert walking down Northern Lights Blvd, so he followed him.  The guy was supposedly staying with a friend in the house right behind us!!  So Jason called the police who came and arrested the guy again.  As far as we know, he's still in jail and will be charged with the felony of indecent exposure to a minor since Joel saw him like that.  A VERY unpleasant event!!  One month later, and I'm still rattled and nervous about going outside or even looking out the window.

   We ordered this shirt from a Down syndrome group in Texas:
 Seth turned seven last week!  Luke decorated a special balloon for him:
 We invited all the Hofacker/Nelson crew, of course, and also some friends that are like family from church.
 Seth gave his 7th birthday a good thumbs up:
     Now the kids are all back in school and starting off this school year very nicely.  I'm glad they have something more productive to do with their time than watch movies and play video games!  I'm also glad to be able to go to work and do my job completely and more slowly than I had to do over the summer.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday the 13th

I'm generally not a superstitious person, but it "just so happens" that something INCREDIBLY weird happened to us on Friday the 13th.  Here's the story:

At 4:00 a.m., I heard a door bang closed.  I guessed it was Joel, too tired to be quiet after getting sick (he still has a digestion problem that sometimes causes severe nausea).  At 4:44 a.m. (yes, I still have a little ocd problem that won't allow me to set my alarm for 4:45, it MUST be 4:44), my alarm went off, meaning I needed to get in the shower and Jason needed to go for a run with his friend.  There's a little problem with our timing on these mornings, though, because I really want that extra time to get ready, but Jason and his friend have agreed to leave their houses at 5:10 a.m. and meet in between the two houses.  This wouldn't matter for normal families, but we're not normal.  We have two little boys who could VERY easily wake up while I'm in the shower and go right out the front door without anyone knowing.  DANGEROUS!!  When I'm the only one in the house and need to take a shower, I have to chain lock the front door.  So Jason, being the easy-going guy that he is, said that he would just leave whenever I got up and do a little extra running before meeting his friend.  I overslept a little, got up at 5 a.m., sent Jason outside, chain locked the door, got in the shower.

And that's when the real "fun" began.  Jason went into the garage (which, by the way, is connected to the house by a wall with no door -- there's no way to get into the house from the garage) to get his running jacket.  Connected to our garage is a very small shed.  There's a window between the garage and shed, but no door.  The back garage door was dead-bolted from the inside of the garage.  As Jason was grabbing his jacket, the shed light came on.  He looked up and was shocked to see A MAN IN OUR SHED!!!!  He yelled, "HEY!!!  GET OUT OF THERE!!!!" and proceeded to dial 911.  Normally, Jason doesn't take his phone outside with him, but "for some reason" (a.k.a. "because of God's providential care"), that day he had.  He waited out in front of the house to make sure the guy didn't get away out the front way.  Jason was pretty much a "sitting duck" because I had chain locked the front door and there's no key for the back door.  There was absolutely no way to get into our house without breaking glass.  It "just so happened" that the intruder didn't have a weapon or violent intentions, so Jason was safe outside when the police drove up less than five minutes later.

When I got out of the shower, I heard Jason calling up the stairs.  I was SO irritated!!!!  I was thinking, "What in the world??!!!  He's gonna wake up the kids at FIVE SOMETHING A.M.!!!!"  He knew I'd be thinking that, so when I got closer to the door, he quickly said, "There was a guy in our shed.  The cops are here!"  Obviously, that stopped any tirade I had planned!

The police were looking around the shed, shining their lights in the shed, looking for evidence telling where the guy had come from and where he'd gone when they realized that HE WAS STILL IN THE SHED!  The guy had buried himself under all the boxes of junk in there (this is our garage sale junk/summer equipment storage shed).  When they get him out of there, they realize that the guy was NAKED from the waist down!!  He had on a shirt and coat -- that's it!  Since there were no footprints in our front or back yards or on our deck, he must have jumped the fence NAKED (we have a 6-foot wooden fence, and the gate doesn't open).

He didn't seem to be trying to steal anything (who would want our garage sale junk or plastic kiddy pools?); he was apparently trying to hide from someone.  He had gone up on our deck, probably looking for food since the thermoses outside the door were opened (they had seven-month-old creme soda in them that I had meant to throw out six months ago) and the grocery bag of dirty diapers was off its hook.  He had set up one of our camp chairs inside the shed behind the door and unrolled an old sleeping bag.  Apparently, he was getting good and comfy in there.  For "some strange reason" (again, God's working), he turned the light on within the 30-second timeframe that Jason was in the garage, otherwise we wouldn't have known he was in there.

One of the police officers "just happened" to be a friend from church.  This made me feel so much better in this crazy situation because someone we knew and trusted was helping to take care of everything.  After the shock wore off, we could see all the terrifying "what if's" of this ordeal.  The guy was high (track marks on his arms, needles in his pockets, and unintelligible thinking), and therefore completely unpredictable.  He could've broken into our house; he could've had a weapon; he could've been violent; he could've NOT turned the light on right then and it might've been ME that found out he was there AFTER Jason and the kids left for school; he could've not gotten caught at all and broken into our house after we ALL left for school/work.  BUT none of those things happened.  It all worked out so that we were all safe.  He was arrested, charged with burglary (because he was caught "red-handed" inside a building with our stuff), and taken to jail.

This all made me (1) thankful for a God who watches over us, (2) thankful for Jason's quick thinking, (3) thankful for a good police force, and (4) thankful for locks and alarm systems (which is now also installed on the shed, not just the house).  Of course it also made me feel violated and angry, but I'm choosing to focus on the gratitude!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

toothless Seth

Seth lost his other front tooth while he was eating his goldfish crackers.  He's such a little cutie!

We had Seth's IEP meeting at his school last week.  Up until that meeting, I was thinking of trying to move him to a different school because he seemed to not like it at all.  Plus, he's in a "life skills" class instead of "extended resource," which I thought meant that he's not really getting much academic education.  I learned at the meeting, though, that the only real "life skills" thing he's doing is potty training.  Everything else that he does is academic.  He goes to the regular kindergarten class for reading.  He goes to an adaptive P.E. class with his special ed class, but also goes to regular P.E. with the regular kindergarten class.  He gets speech therapy twice a week, occupational therapy twice a week, does reading and writing and numbers with his teacher and/or teacher's aides.  He has also started feeling more comfortable in his new school and playing/teasing with his teachers and one of the other kids in his class (the other boy with Down syndrome).  My only real concern is that he is more advanced than anyone else in his class.  Several of the kids in his class can't speak at all.  They make sounds, but can't speak.  I'm not sure if this really matters in Seth's development, though, since he's with our family, church family, and the regular kindergarten class so much.

I believe that God's purpose for Seth is encouragement.  Seth makes people smile, feel better, feel happy.  That's why he was born, this beautiful gift.  He probably can't accomplish that purpose, though, if he's miserable.  I was afraid that being in the new school made him miserable, but maybe it just took some time to adjust.  Everyone there likes him and is glad that he's there, and Seth seems to be liking it more all the time.  Maybe he's in the right place after all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

wrestling tournament

Luke wasn't supposed to wrestle this weekend because Jason had a big track meet, but Luke decided that he DID want to wrestle. So we all got up early and got all ready to go out to Palmer. One problem: I couldn't find the baby leash. There is NO WAY I can go to a wrestling tournament with Seth without the baby leash. We looked and looked EVERYWHERE in the house, but couldn't find it. I finally decided that we would have to stop by the store on the way to the tournament and buy a new one. One problem: The store didn't have any. I think I won't get in trouble for this because I used it around his tummy like a baby leash, but I had to buy a dog collar and leash. Some people will be appalled by this, but even more appalling would have been to lose my sweet Seth in that crazy wrestling tournament! He had his wrestling singlet on under his shirt so that the leash didn't scratch up his skin, and he doesn't mind wearing it at all. He knows that it keeps him safely close to me when he forgets how important it is to hold my hand. I got plain black so that it didn't look like dog equipment. I could have put him in a stroller the whole day, but he's really too big for a stroller. He would've been uncomfortable all day, he would've had no exercise and no freedom to move at all, and we would've had a VERY difficult time getting around all the wrestling mats.
Luke did really well in his first two matches. Click HERE to see Luke's first match and HERE to watch his second match (and once again I must say that girls should NOT be wrestling!!!! I do NOT like it that my son who has anger issues has to take that aggression out on a girl!!!! He tries to hurt people when he wrestles. He usually follows the rules, but he IS trying to win). I didn't put the third and fourth matches on youtube because Luke lost and also because I don't know how to edit out the sound of me yelling like a crazy mom who wants her son to WIN. Gavin got second place in his age/weight division, and Luke got third place in his division.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

recorder and tooth

At A.C.S., the third graders learn to play the recorder for their music class. Every time they successfully play a song, they receive a "belt" like in karate (the teacher gives them a colored piece of string to tie onto the bottom of the recorder). Each consecutive song gets a little more difficult. Today, Luke played "Amazing Grace" to earn his black belt :-)

Another reward of all the practicing is striking the gong. Luke LOVED that part!

Seth's teacher and I write notes back and forth about what Seth did at school, what he needs to bring to class, or any questions I might have. Today, one of his teeth was taped to the notebook. Seth apparently would rather endure the pain of ripping out a loose tooth before it's really ready than feel it wiggling. Now he's looking a little "snaggle-toothed" :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

Let's compare Easter over the past few years :-)
2008 (I think):

2010:Not sure why I don't have a picture of Joel for 2011:And now for 2012: I asked Joel to move everything away from the fireplace. The next thing I knew, he was vacuuming without being asked! WHAT?! My teenage son was doing something that needed to be done without being asked???!!!! Weird, but GREAT!
And then for the cousins pictures :-) I have more somewhere, I think, but here's what I could find tonight. 2010:
2011:And 2012:2012 after Seth scratched Luke in the eye because Luke was trying to get Seth to look at the camera by grabbing his chin and turning his face. Apparently, Seth didn't like that. Not sure why we keep putting Seth and Luke next to each other. It pretty much never turns out well.
Our girls sat nicely, though, and posed SO sweetly:Makayla looked BEAUTIFUL :-)Gavin posed very nicely so I could get a picture. He didn't really want to because it was time to eat, but he did it with such a sweet smile :-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Luke's wrestling tournament

Luke wrestled yesterday and got SECOND PLACE!!! He won his first four matches, but got pinned in his fifth match (and a little bit hurt when the kid pulled on his neck to hold him down -- just like a couple of the kids probably got a little bit hurt when Luke pulled on their necks to hold them down). My camera's memory card was full in the middle of the fourth match, so I didn't get to video him winning that one, but here are the links to the first three:

Luke's 1st match -- a pin :-)

Luke's 2nd match -- a win (after almost ripping the kid's head off -- he really didn't mean to do an illegal, dangerous move). You might want to skip the video from 3:50 to 5:40 unless you really want to see butt cracks of people who don't wear big enough clothes.

Luke's 3rd match -- a pin :-) And of course, I can't let the opportunity slide to say AGAIN that girls should NOT be wrestling. It's just plain WRONG!!!!!

I was SO VERY proud of my Luke!!!! He was quick and sometimes listened to his coach (his dad) :-)

Friday, April 6, 2012

a tooth and two blond cuties

Seth had a loose tooth and apparently got tired of my telling him "sorry" because I am completely unable to pull teeth. I can't even look at loose teeth. So he went to bed and yanked it out himself. Luke got up from bed to blow his nose, so I went to put something away in his room real quick. Seth was sitting up in his bed, and I told him to lie down and go to sleep. He held up his tooth and said, "I did it!" This child is constantly surprising me!

Earlier today, we got to spend some time with these two little blond cuties :-)

Those pictures are from last Wednesday, but they were just as cute today :-) They came over to play with their cousins (Seth took the day off school to join the fun, but my other three didn't have school today). Gavin and Luke played the wii -- both of them were VERY excited. Wednesday when I told Gavin that Luke was really looking forward to playing the wii with him, he ran over to his mom (who was only a few feet away and heard me tell him) and was almost jumping up and down saying, "Mom!! Did you hear that?! Luke is really looking forward to playing the wii with me! And I am really looking forward to playing the wii with him, too!" Those were pretty long sentences for a five-year-old. Makenzie and Makayla watched a Barbie movie and played with Princess paper dolls and magnetic dolls (which Makayla called "maggots" -- lol!!!) in Makenzie's room :-) After play time, we went to the library -- the big library that has TWO elevators. The kids took turns with the button-pushing, which made Makenzie and me laugh SO hard. We didn't realize that pushing a button was such a privilege. Oh, but it IS! For the entire library trip, there were twelve buttons to divide between the three children who wanted to push buttons, so they were all happy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

good kids

Sometimes my kids are monsters, picking fights, whining, destroying things, etc. BUT sometimes, they are amazingly GREAT! Sometimes, Joel lets Seth climb all over him like little brothers want to do to big brothers:
Sometimes Luke and Makenzie play cards and board games without a single argument:
Sometimes, Joel lets Seth lie in his bed with him and watch "Blue's Clues":
These are times that remind me that my children are good, sweet, absolutely lovely people!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

wrestling and library

Saturday was Luke's first wrestling tournament of this year. He got third place in his division of 3rd/4th graders who weigh between 69 and 73 (I think I have those numbers correct). His first match, he easily pinned is opponent. His second match he had to work a little harder, but ended up pinning the girl who should not have been participating in this sport to begin with (yep, still on that soap box and will be until girls stop wrestling). He had her in such a tight grip, her face was turning purple. I hate it that boys have to wrestle girls. It's not respectful at all. I always hope, as horrible as this sounds, that the boys seriously hurt the girls so that they can't wrestle anymore since obviously these girls don't have parents with the common sense to teach their girls to be GIRLS. Anyway -- back to Luke. His third match was to the 2nd place boy in the following picture. He lost that one pretty quickly because he was too far away when he tried to take him down. And he lost his fourth match against the 1st place boy because that boy is REALLY good even though he is awfully skinny. I was so proud of Luke, especially in the first two matches when he was listening to his coaches and following their directions precisely.Today I got to spend some time with Makenzie, Luke, Gavin, and Makayla :-) We went to the "big" library (the only one open on Sundays, I think -- and the only one with elevators). We picked out movies, got a couple books for fun, got some books for Makenzie's research paper, and colored some pictures -- and rode the elevators a few times :-)
Before we left, I said it was so sunny that I needed sunglasses. One of Makayla's favorite sentences today was "ME, TOO!" So I found this pair of perfect pink shades that Makenzie had outgrown. SO VERY CUTE!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I have been blessed with unexpected presents this week! Tuesday, I watched a friend's kids while she worked for a couple hours. When she finished work, we had lunch and playtime. She surprised me with these beautiful flowers (purple tulips are one of my all-time favorites!):
Then today when I dropped Seth off at my sister-in-law's, she gave me this butterfly wax warmer (because she knows I LOVE butterflies and good smells):
It's so exciting to me to see pieces of beauty like this, both the gifts and the spirit of giving from two treasured ladies :-) I'm hoping they know how VERY much I appreciate their generosity!!!
The reason I was dropping Seth off with Amanda was that I was going to the chiropractor AGAIN. I've gone now six or seven times, and I think it's helping. But then again, I just had a four-day headache/neck ache. I keep blaming it on things like the weather and sleeping on the wrong side. I try to do any little thing to not be in pain. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. Either way, there are still four children who need to be taken care of, laundry, dishes, cleaning, church, a job . . . Someday life will slow down, but I'm determined to enjoy every single event along the way, whether I'm physically comfortable or not. True migraines only happen every two or three months, the kind that send me to bed before I fall down and someone has to drag my overweight self to my bed. It sounds a little strange, but I'm thankful for my physical weaknesses in a way. Because I have celiac disease, I am very sympathetic to people with dietary restrictions. Of all the diseases "available," mine is one of the easiest to deal with. No medicine, no doctors, just a gluten-free diet. Headaches are painful and annoying, but almost every day I can still function and do everything that needs to be done. Some other pains would be completely debilitating, but headaches are usually manageable or at least I've gotten used to them to a degree. They also make me a little more understanding, but also logical, when my kids say they have headaches occasionally. I know exactly how they feel and what they need to make them feel better.

My "overweight self" won't be overweight for too much longer, I'm hoping. Counting calories and walking on the treadmill as often as possible (which won't include today because I have a cold that has settled pretty solidly in my upper chest/throat, making walking fast too uncomfortable) has made ten pounds drop off so far. Unfortunately for the weight loss, but fortunately for the checkbook, Walmart has started carrying gluten-free treats at 1/3 less the cost as the natural foods store. Chocolate covered pretzels, vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies (similar to Oreos, sortof), crackers similar to Ritz (not buttery, but the same shape and texture). YUMM!!!!! I just have to dole them out over time instead of eating them all in a day or two :-) Self-discipline isn't one of my strengths, but I'm getting a little better at it.

Tonight is the first Buddy Walk meeting. I'm nervous to be in charge of such a large undertaking, but I think I'm pretty much all organized and ready to delegate the work to other people in the group. We'll see how that goes if very many "other people in the group" come to the meeting to volunteer :-)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

busy busy

I'm not really sure what the stories behind these pictures are, but they're cute :-)

Joel had a jr. high band concert at school. They did a good job.He's the first trumpet player -- right in the middle of the picture.
One night I went into the boys' room to take Luke to the bathroom and found them like this -- Luke, Seth, AND Scooby Doo all in Luke's bed :-)
I haven't been posting lately probably because I'm so scattered. I've been dealing with serious neck pain and headaches for a really long time, so I started going to the chiropractor. I've seen him now five times and thought I was all fixed -- until yesterday morning I woke up feeling like my head was going to explode and like my neck wasn't completely connected to my body correctly. This morning was the same thing :-( This is very disappointing because the chiropractor was my last resort. I've tried medicines, special pillows, herbal rubs (like ben-gay), getting more sleep -- nothing has worked. And now neither is the chiropractor. Oh well, now I have a good excuse for my grouchiness :-)

This last week was a pretty great week. Joel only had one final exam for the third quarter, so we got to spend some time together. We went to lunch two days in a row, went to a movie, and went book shopping. FUN! He's doing such a good job on his grades this first year of jr. high! I enjoy rewarding him for his hard work :-)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

braids and wrestling

Makenzie's hair is super long now, so I decided to put it in braids so that her hair would look permed the next day. She looked a little silly going to bed with ten braids all over her head.
But she looked pretty cute with wavy hair.
Joel had a little wrestling meet on Saturday here in town. There were no weigh-ins because it wasn't a real tournament. They called it a "jamboree." Seth just wanted to "sleep" in between the bleacher seats.
I'm not a good photographer, and I don't have a professional camera, so my action shots are almost useless, but this is a picture of Joel getting ready to pin his opponent:
And this is a picture of the ref slapping the mat to call the pin :-)
I was so excited for Joel. He did a GREAT job in this match! He was agressive and very technical (at least from my know-nothing-much-at-all-about-wrestling perspective). Joel isn't a speedy wrestler; he's more methodical. The funniest part of the match (which you can watch HERE if you'd like) was Joel pulling his opponent back in the ring. He told me later that while he was dragging the other guy, he was saying, "Get back in here." He makes me chuckle!

(p.s. -- after watching the video of the match, I learned the lesson that I must be silent when taking a video!)

The Hofacker Family 2008