Sunday, January 29, 2012

Joel's a TEENAGER!

Wednesday, Joel turned THIRTEEN!!! Sometimes, he surprises me with great maturity. Usually, he's still a normal kid, though :-) Wednesday, Joel got to pick all the meals for the day (which is probably one of the reasons that I gained a pound this week). Today was the family party. Everyone came over after church for chili, gifts, and brownies with ice cream :-)

Gavin was the gift bringer :-)

Makenzie and Luke made sure to get in the "Happy Birthday" song and candle blowing pictures :-)

After the family party, Joel and I went to the library to take his birthday pictures:

He cooperated with the pictures so that we could get them done. I wanted to find more spots to take a few more pictures, but he just wanted to be finished.

Then this evening, Joel stood next to the polar bear :-) He is FIVE FEET, FOUR INCHES tall!!!
At thirteen, Joel still loves to read (fantasy/science fiction and comics are his favorites -- today at the library, he checked out several Garfield comics), play video games, watch movies (he's really into the old "Muppets" tv shows, which makes me chuckle), playing his trumpet in the jazz band (Glenn Miller is his favorite! One of his favorite birthday gifts was a trumpet mute so that he can try to copy the "Glenn Miller sound."), and spending time with his friends. He runs track and cross country because Jason makes him, does the high jump during track season (or tries to -- he's a little stocky for that event), and wrestles. Just Friday, he placed second in a junior high j.v. wrestling meet. He was VERY excited about that! He's pretty mean to Makenzie and Luke, not any more than I would say is "normal," though. Joel is a VERY good worker, better for other people than for me :-)

Since I have trouble remembering what happened two hours ago, the day Joel was born is a little bit of a blur. I do remember enough, though, to be thankful those days are behind me and to be VERY thankful that God gave me this special gift that we named Joel !

Sunday, January 22, 2012

silly kids & athletes

Joel and Seth don't spend a whole lot of time together, but sometimes they really have fun:

Luke started playing basketball last week (which also means that Jason started coaching basketball last week) :-) Their first game was last Saturday (I'm a week behind!). I was laughing pretty much the entire hour that they played because little kids who don't know how to play a game but try really hard to do a good job are FUNNY!!! Luke made a couple baskets, which was really exciting! Here's a shot of him right in the middle of shooting:
And maybe he's playing defense here, or maybe he's trying to block the other team so that his teammate could try to shoot:
This referee is our little kids' church/Sunday School pastor and was my student when I was a teacher :-) Luke seems to be listening to whatever Pastor/Referee Chris is saying:
Luke and Jason's team didn't get many points this game, but they learned a lot about playing a game of basketball.
I didn't get pictures from yesterday's game, but it was a little less funny and a lot more exciting. Our team improved 100% and ended the game with a tied score of 26 points. When the game only had a few seconds left on the clock, we were down by two points. One of our players threw the ball to Luke, and he made the basket that tied the score. So exciting!!

A little less exciting is the temperature up here for the last I-don't-even-know-how-long-but-seems-like-forever:
I've lived here for fifteen years, but still can't get used to temperatures below ten degrees!!

Seth also started playing a sport yesterday: soccer :-) The last time we put Seth in soccer, he didn't play at all. Well, he played, but he didn't play soccer. He played with the net that divided the two soccer fields. He played with the net of the goal posts. He played with the soccer ball very rarely. Yesterday, he actually kicked the ball around a little bit.

Here's Jason getting Seth all ready to play:
Seth refused to look at us to take a picture:
This is the best action shot we could get:
Seth decided that he wasn't going to cooperate at all unless Mom came out there with him. Even when I went out there, though, he wouldn't really cooperate. I think I did more running and kicking than he did. I'll have to dress more appropriately next time!
It was a little chilly even though we were inside. Seth did a little better after we put his sweatshirt back on.
I think he'll do a little better next week because I learned that I'm not allowed to socialize unless he is completely interested in participating (which, honestly, probably isn't going to happen). I was hoping that he'd join in this time, follow directions, have fun with the other kids and coaches, and that I would be able to sit and chat with the other moms. Oh well, running around kicking a ball with Seth is also fun :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I've noticed that I complain a lot. If something doesn't go my way (which, of course, is the best and only truly logical way), I get irritated and/or frustrated and complain. Sometimes I complain on here, sometimes on facebook, sometimes to my kids, sometimes to strangers, sometimes just to myself. Many people make me feel justified in my complaints. They see the four kids, notice that one is disabled, and I'm automatically given a free complaining ticket as if my life is so much more difficult than anyone else's. Philippians 2:14 does command me to "do all things withOUT arguing or complaining," though. Plus, the truth is that there isn't anything really to complain about. All the complaints are small and insignificant. And the number of smiles, laughs, and hugs far exceed the number of trials. When I was little, my Grandma Waneta loaned me her entire set of Pollyanna books. After I got a full-time job and before I had kids, I bought a complete set for my own bookshelf and re-read them. The main character held the philosophy that there's ALWAYS something to be glad about. That's the outlook on life that I want to become my habit instead of instantly jumping to the negative. So this is another "daffodil" :-)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

new beginning

Amanda took this picture of us on New Year's Eve, or on New Year's Day to be more precise. I believe it was 12:05 a.m. :-) I've known, of course, for a very long time that I was overweight, but pictures sure do emphasize the point!
Starting 1-1-12, I have been counting calories and exercising again. I made my calorie intake goal very high for the first week so that I would be sure to succeed at the beginning. The exercise is more difficult to follow through on because by the time dinner is over, I'm exhausted and just want to read a couple chapters and go to sleep. But I've been walking on the treadmill or pedaling my little i-don't-know-what-the-technical-name-for-it-is thingy (it's just the pedals of a stationary bike, no wheels, no seat -- i sit on the couch and pedal). Since last Sunday (1-1-12), I have lost five pounds and one inch of fat. I'm pretty excited about that!! But as this picture proved, five pounds isn't much. It's a great beginning, though.
I still have nine full months before I get on the plane to Illinois, and I'm hoping that's enough time to make a significant change in my size. I don't want to barely fit into that little seat. I want to see space on either side of me!! So with this new beginning of "dieting," I found a beautiful reminder in flowers since "new beginnings" is the symbolic meaning of daffodils (probably why they're so popular at Easter time -- spring, new life, Jesus rose from the dead to give us new life and hope).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

first week back

Everyone's first week of back-to-school schedule went pretty great. The older kids were a little sleepy and had to receive the mommy alarm because they slept through their own alarms, but they had a good week at school.

The first day at Seth's new school started out to be chaotic. His old school had a perfect system of drop off and pick up that completely prevented traffic jams and chaos. Not true of his new school. There was a mess in the office with all the people who were late to school on the first day. I didn't get to work until about 10:30 a.m. even though school started at 9 a.m. !!!! All the way until I left Seth in his new classroom, he was yelling at everyone, "NO SCHOOL!!!!" He gave me the most pitiful look when I told him good-bye, "MOM, you're NOT leaving me here with all these strangers, ARE YOU???!!!!!" He ended up having a really good week, though.
His favorite part, I'm pretty sure, is riding the school bus. He rides the special needs bus on the way to school, but he rides the regular bus with all the other neighborhood kids on the way home. One of his friends from his kindergarten class last year is on the same bus. I was glad to see that there's a familiar face amidst the many strangers! There are also some kids from church that go to his new school :-) It's SO nice to not have to be in the middle of the mess of a parking lot at this new school! I should've taken the camera outside to capture Seth coming off the bus for the first time!! But I was too excited to go get him, so I forgot. He was so smiley and excited about getting to ride the bus.

Since the morning bus picks Seth up at Jason's work, I get to go to work an hour earlier. So this whole new deal is good for everyone -- Seth gets to go to "school" with Jason, Joel, Makenzie, and Luke; he gets to ride the BUS; he has more specialized attention from trained special education teachers since there are at least five adults and only seven students; Jason and I don't have to take him to or pick him up from school; and I get more time to work, run errands, and get a few things done at home. What a good start to the new year :-)

Sunday, January 1, 2012


My 2011 ended with a little bit of excitement and chaos. Since Joel is in the Pep Band and since Luke's basketball coach plays high school basketball, I decided to go to the basketball tournament this last weekend. I haven't watched a basketball game since I was a teacher! I really enjoyed it. Watching sports is only fun for me if I know people involved and if I really feel like being there. I've been pretty much house-bound the last ten years with small children, but all four kids are now old enough to get out and do more things like staying up late at night to watch high school basketball :-)

Joel enjoys being in the Jazz Band, but the Pep Band wasn't quite as thrilling for him since they don't play much. Also, when they do play, they often play only parts of songs and repeat most of the songs. But he sure looked cute up on the stage :-)

I'm thinking this picture is too far away to be able to see that a giant tuba blocked our view of Joel most of the time. I had to go up on the stage to get that first picture.
The games ended between 10:30 and 11 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Seth, especially, was hard to wake each morning, but no one was too grouchy because they all looked forward to the day. Joel helped me at work so that his friend could come over one day. Makenzie and Luke ran around the school with their friends. Seth watched movies in one of the classrooms and did his best to escape occasionally to get some excitement. After the final game last night, we went over to Amanda and Darryl's to welcome in the new year.
Seth's mouth is blue because a family friend gave him a blue ring pop as we left the gym last night. And the camera wasn't what caused me to look many pounds heavier :-( I've put all the "baby weight" back on from all four babies! Obviously then, my top New Year's resolution is to take care of that. I'm turning 40 in October and decided that I really want to spend that special day with my mom, my childhood friend who shares the birthday, and her mom. Sara and I were born on the same day in the same hospital and have been close friends all our lives. We grew up in the same small town, same small church, same small elementary school. Our lives took different paths when my family moved to Arizona, Sara went to a Christian school, we went to different colleges, we both got married and moved to different parts of the country. She lives in Michigan now, and our parents live in Illinois. We've started planning now so that I can hopefully get a free ticket with Jason's air miles. Anyway, back to the weight problem. Those airplane seats, as everyone well knows, are very small and uncomfortable. They're even more uncomfortable, though, to people who are a little too "squishy." Right now, I fall into the "squishy" category, but I have determined to lose as much weight as I possibly and safely can before I get on that plane! So it's back to counting calories, getting a half-hour of exercise five nights per week, and getting at least seven hours of sleep every night. We're eating more fruits and veggies this year and fewer sugary desserts. Drinking is my downfall, even more than snacking and desserts. I don't like water, but all the diet-type drinks have artificial sweetener -- YUCK!!!!! Plus, I really like my decaf white chocolate mochas :-)

Seth starts his new school on Tuesday. He'll start riding the bus to and from school the following week if all the details and paperwork go through quickly. I know this is a good change, but change makes me nervous. I'm really looking forward to seeing how much more Seth will accomplish with all the adult attention, help, and supervision that he'll have in his new class.

Another change for this year is that Jason and I are going to head up the annual Down syndrome Buddy Walk. I refuse to allow myself to get worked up about this huge undertaking and rather wait until I get the to-do list and do my best at delegating and working through the list to get everything done. We'll see how that goes ;-)

Two thoughts from the Bible have started out my new year on a good note, I believe:

1. Last night, Seth and I made up a little tune to combine Philippians 2:14, I Thessalonians 5:16-18, and I Corinthians 10:31 -- "Do all things without arguing or complaining. Do all things without arguing or complaining. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all things for this is the will of God. Do all things without arguing or complaining. Do all things to the glory of God."

2. This morning, I started a new daily Bible reading by Charles Stanley. The opening page had the perfect prayer to start a new year: "Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning for in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk for I lift up soul to You." (Psalm 143:8)

Right before I sat down to write this post, I changed Seth's diaper. He's SIX YEARS OLD!!!! It's time for him to be potty-trained!!!!! So I told him that: "Seth, I REALLY wish that you would pee and poop in the toilet!" He very sweetly smiled at me, hugged me so gently, rubbed my back, and said with the sweetest little voice ever: "Nooooooooo :-)"

Oh yeah! Starting the new year with so many challenges :-)

The Hofacker Family 2008