Sunday, December 29, 2013

DPP Posting - Christmas Chaos Style. . .

I got all backed up with the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.  Nothing like having kids of your own to appreciate the time and energy that your parents put into the Christmases of your childhood.  This post will likely be long on its own so I will just write a little by each picture instead of much here at the beginning.  :)  Even though I wasn't posting, I was still taking photos!

Day 18
I got to go up to Ben's school for a Parent Partner day.  I had planned to send my mom as she did this with Elizabeth.  But my sweet and sensitive Benjamin says to me, "But mom, when Elizabeth was in first grade you came up to school all the time.  Now you never come and I want you to come today."  So Ben got both his mom and his Omom.  He had a fair argument.  I was glad I did get to go. It was quite the spectacle.  Ben's decorating style was how much candy can you put on one plate.  He made a cool sled out of a graham cracker and candy canes and a heart shaped doorway out of two candy canes.  He would not allow anyone to help.  He was very proud of his creation that was all his own.

Day 20

These are my friends Darwin and Tom.  Both are co-workers at UNMC with me.  December 20th was graduation day for our students.  We sent another class of physician assistants out into the work force.  This class was the first class that I was on faculty for their didactic year.  It might be the best part of the job to see the transformation that occurs from entry into the program to the polished professionals that exit.  For 15 years, Tom has been instrumental in that transformation.  This picture was taken at his retirement party.  He will be missed.  He taught me and many, many others!  Enjoy Colorado, Tom!

Day 21
Christmas at Grandmas house!  We had a really fun night hanging out with the Hoffman side.  The kids all had a ball opening presents and then getting to hang out together to play with them.  Brandon got to work with Rob and Billie to create a kitty cat mosaic.  He loved that one on one time.  Rich and Barb worked together to fix Barb's computer. . .it wouldn't be a holiday without Rich fixing someone's computer.  Well, really, it wouldn't be a weekend without Rich fixing someone's computer.  ;)  Grandma held in there really well for having had back surgery a few weeks before but she was weary by the end of the night.  She, as always, was a gracious hostess and spent way too much on all of us.  All in all, it was a fantastic evening full family, giving, playing, eating, and chatting.
The "kids table"

Multitasking. . .

Grandma's magic touch.
I had a hard time choosing for this day but couldn't resist the sleeping baby.  :)

Day 22
My Little Old Men
Day 23

Loving playtime (and her feet!)

In such a rush to come help - who has time for pants!?!?

Delivery Time. . .
Day 24
Christmas Eve.  One of my favorite nights of the year.  Full of tradition.  Beef tenderloin with bĂ©arnaise sauce for our meal.  Decorating of Christmas cookies to leave for Santa.  Singing Christmas carols. . .always ending with Silent Night and some reflection on the true meaning of Christmas.  What a gift.  The older I get, the more I appreciate what a sacrifice it must have been for God to send his only Son, to be tempted, tried, and tortured and all for our benefit.  To close the chasm that sin had created between us and our Heavenly Father.  What a gift.  Silent night, holy night, all is calm, and all is bright.

Jingle Bells - the creative version. . .

And the stockings were hung ....
Blessings abound. . .
Day 26
Ben helping to feed baby K.  He was so proud!
Day 27 - Happy Anniversary to my mom and dad!!  48 years of wedded bliss - well, mostly bliss.  :)  They have such a fun relationship to watch - most of the time.  All those smooches are gross when you're their kid. 
Painting while his siblings have playdates.
Day 28 - Happy Anniversary to Rich and me!  :)  We have been married 12 years and I have to say that it has gone so fast.  I love my time with Rich and I love this life that we have built together.  I truly believe this man was made for me.  He is a perfect balance of my imperfections and I am a good balance to his.  He is a ton of fun and I truly enjoy each day with him.  He makes me laugh (usually while I am rolling my eyes) everyday.  What I am most surprised by after 12 years, is that I continue to find things about him that I didn't know were there and it usually only makes me love him more. Sorry for all the gushy - but he is really THAT great.  We celebrated by going to Brad's 40th Birthday Party!  Brad is like family to us - so much so that he is Uncle Blad to my kiddos.  It was great to get to spend our evening celebrating such a great guy!

Today's picture is totally unrelated but it was the only picture I took all day!

Mom and her littles. . .
Day 29

A lazy Sunday morning - complete with hot cocoa that was a gift from my sweet friend Patty.  It was as delicious as she promised it would be.  It was even more delicious because we whipped up some homemade whipped cream and sprinkled chocolate chips on top.  The kids were big fans!  They didn't even noticed that I was out of marshmallows!

The December Photo Project was only supposed to go until Christmas Day.  I went a few days beyond and missed a few days in the middle.  I really loved the time spent reflecting and noticing the small moments.  I didn't love the one extra thing on my mind of something to do.  I make no promises as I know how busy life gets in the Spring semester at work - but I hope to throw a blog up now and then to remind me to stop and enjoy this wonderful life we are experiencing. . .even if it does feel like we are at warp speed and hanging on for dear life!  To those who have been following this, sending me nice notes of encouragement, saying nice things when I see you, and leaving me comments on Facebook.  I am flattered and humbled.  Thanks for going along on this ride with me. 
May your 2014 bring your joy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DPP Day 15, 16, 17

Having 4 kiddos is busy enough without one that doesn't feel well.  Little K had good reason to be high maintenance though.  She has both ears infected and had a very stubborn fever.  Finally this evening, our cooing, smiling, and squealing little gal has returned.  This child is one of the most laid back babies and so to have to give a few days to her was mostly a joy.  It was nice to have an excuse to slow down, hold her, and spoil her a little bit.  But life doesn't stop around here when someone is sick and so neither did the pictures.  We have been frantically getting ready for Christmas and helping to get the grandmas ready for Christmas.  I think we are just about there.  I just spent this evening getting the Christmas sugar cookies done.  These are my "signature" cookie.  A recipe my mom perfected and I am still aspiring to greatness.  They are thick, fluffy and wonderful.  I will try to capture a good pic when I put the kids to work frosting them.  Why tonight?  Tomorrow the house gets cleaned and I was not about to have that floury mess out a day or two after the house gets cleaned!  Plus, my beloved cleaning lady loves those cookies too.  I feel like Monica Geller.  Every time I finish a Christmas task, I say "check".  :)

So here are the pictures. . .not all of them posted to the official DPP site.  I had to throw a few fillers in when life got too busy.  But for here, I will post my actual pics. 

This was my winner for #DPP2013 #Day 15.  It was an amazing sunset.  My husband's comment was "think how fast we would have put an offer in on this house if that was the view out the window when we came to see it!"

Getting Ready for Basketball

Trying desperately to make his little sister smile. 
The conversation between Brandon and Katherine would have been my winner for Day 16.  Instead I posted this pic.  It makes me smile every time I see it!  :)

Today was a busy day.  We had a stop to see Grandma and how she was healing from surgery.  Took her a few things to save her some errands.  You may notice a lack of Ben pictures. . .that is because this kid is SO busy playing that he can't be bothered to stop for a picture.  Today he was playing basketball on a scooter in the driveway.  Wish I could have managed a picture of that one. . .

Love this pic!  So good of all three!

Baby K has a new skill!  Sitting up - and she loves playing with toys!

Look at me sit!!
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This is the winner because it makes me laugh.  :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

DPP Day 14

I missed day 13.  No excuse.  In fact, it was a conscious decision.  I was snuggled up with my family on the couch and chatting.  I thought to myself, this would be a great moment to catch for the December photo project.  I followed that thought with "but I don't want to move.  Today I want to just be in the moment, instead of capturing the moment."   I love this project and I have enjoyed the time taking pictures that I would not have otherwise never taken.  But I have a long enough to do list and I refuse to have this be another thing I HAVE to do.  I guess what I am saying to this blog photo project is "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."   That saying works well in so many scenarios. 

So much to share from today.  We had a relaxing morning.  I got to go and get a facial today.  A MUCH needed couple hours of only me time.  It is a rare treat but just what I needed to recharge.  I was ready to rush away from my facial to meet the family at Ben's last basketball games.  I knew Rich had all four at the game and I wanted to give him a little help.  He responded so sweetly to the text telling him I was on my way.  He simply said he had things under control and to head home to relax.  What a guy!  See, what I know that maybe someone reading this doesn't know is that there is NO WAY he had it all under control.   How do you manage a 3 year old, a bored 9 year old, and an infant in a 2footx2foot space with NO wiggle room?  So he was truly just being sweet and giving this mama as much time as she needed.  I am a lucky girl.  Lucky for Rich, I had to get to the game anyway because I wanted to see the little man play.  He is intense when he plays and it cracks me up.  Made a basket today.  Always looks straight to me, waiting for a thumbs up! 

Today we kept the kiddos off screen time knowing we were going to have a movie night tonight.  We realized that our screen time boundaries may have been getting a little lax.  They struggled this morning.  I think there is so much value in having screen holidays.  They remember how to PLAY and CREATE.  There is less bickering and more cooperating.  I hate the whining and begging that sometimes has to be filtered through but the rewards are great.  I would love to do a 2 week screen holiday coming up soon.  So many less "I'm boreds" and "Do I have tos?" on screen holiday days.  I had a mom of 6 in clinic once tell me that the best thing she did was to kick technology out of her house.  She got rid of TVs altogether.  All other screens were used minimally and only on weekends.  She swore to me that her children were completely different and that life was calmer and better.  It was after that office visit that I instituted a screen holiday.  It is as much of an adjustment for Rich and me as it is the kids.  We have to remember how to get them engaged in activities so that we can get as much done as we would if they watched cartoons all morning.  I found out from that first screen holiday, that it would become a reoccurring event in the Hoffman household.  Today, there was a ton of playtime between kiddos, kids getting out books to sit down and read, arts and crafts (play doh!), and decorating cardboard boxes.  Fantastic.

The sad part about today is that little K is sick.  She kept getting warmer at basketball and ran a fever most of the afternoon and evening.  Sometimes when you feel like life won't slow down, it forces you to slow down.  So we had a lot of snuggles today.

My little chef and his new digs.

Screen holiday.

The calm before the storm.

Hipster Ben.

K threw up on him and this was his response.  He would never make it as a mom.  :)

My other kitchen helper.  Choosing cooking with mom over movie time.  :)  Self induced screen holidays are my favorite kind!

Omom is a grade A snuggler and came running when she heard a little baby needed to be held.

Best buds.

Enjoying some family snuggle time.

That is my spot next to her.  She is very focused on her movie.  She waited ALL DAY for it, after all. 
Today's Winner -
Sometimes you just have to slow down. . .

Friday, December 13, 2013

DPP Day 12

Our society's Christmas season is a funny time of year, isn't it?   It encourages hustle and bustle and leisure.  It encourages secular and religious.  It encourages selfish desire and giving.  Ultimately, I think it is the difference between the true meanings and messages of Christmas and the monster it has become. 

I love that this time of the year it becomes almost effortless and expected to help others.  Something that we should be doing all year long.  I love that this time of year encourages family and traditions.  Traditions create such important bonding in families.  I love that there is great music with both heart warming messages. . .and also music that is just plain fun.  I love the Christmas story, the humbleness of the beginnings that did not hinder its greatness of that night.

I do not like the hustle and bustle.  The crabbiness of people who seem to have completely forgotten why they are in that store needing to buy 100 things.  I do not like the lonliness that comes to those who  have lost loved ones.  I can't stand the expectations that come with Christmas that create unbelievable to do lists that distract from where our focus should be.

Can you tell we watched Charlie Brown tonight?   Charlie understood.  He knew that greed and false idols had taken place of the true meaning of Christmas.  It is a classic for a reason.  It made bed time a little late tonight but sometimes slowing down for a good message is just what a family needs. 

The good news is, I finished the majority of the Christmas shopping hustle and bustle.  I will spend the next day or two figuring out what has to be done over the next week and half and what can be simplified.  It is time to regain focus. 

And it is time for this over tired mama to sleep.  :)  Oh how I love sleep!

Oh how I love snuggling my baby.  :)

She had a different show she was wanting to finish - but by the end, she was watching with us.

The iPad games are no match for Charlie Brown.

Tonight's Entry. . .
Charlie Brown and riding "bare back"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DPP Day 11

Today I am thankful for the people I can chat with any time about any thing.  You know who you are.  I am grateful when life builds up and those people are there ready to be my release.  THANK YOU!  :)  Sometimes you just need a safe place to expose your true insecurities and worries.  I have great people in my life that fill that role.

Lots was accomplished today but to the detriment of my family time.  I am hoping to balance that out tomorrow!  I stayed at work tonight to get a bunch done in the hopes that I can spend the day tomorrow catching up at home.  I feel lighter tonight as I really attacked that to do list that never ends at my job.  It is AMAZING what you can get done when the halls empty. 

I took time to catch a few photos tonight.  Good thing I had my camera with me because I caught some moments that seem like everyday life right now. . .but someday, I will have a hard time remembering.  As busy as this phase of my life is right now, I know I will miss it when it is gone.  So I try and pause and breath it all in.

This is how she feels about Mom getting home at 7:30.

What?  Were you talking to me?  (She shuts it off fast.  :))

Hmmmm, how goes the no screens right before bed rule. . . .Busted!  ;)

He LOVES Legos.  Borders on obsession.

This kid has great imagination.  Wish I could hear what little superhero world was going on in his head.

Reading to his little princess with his little angel in his lap.  Melt. my. heart.

Part sweetie pie, part Tasmanian devil.
 Today's winner. . . .
Bedtime prayers.

DPP Day 10

Today was a run around day.  A full day of work, a kids eat free night dinner with grandparents, piano lessons (and my favorite one on one chat time with the bigs), and home for bedtime.  After the kiddos go to bed is my get things done time.  Tonight my plate was so full that I didn't take any pictures until after I completed the salt dough making for Elizabeth's third grade project.  It was so impressive, it won today's picture.

Until tomorrow. . .

That is a lot of salt dough third grade, a lot of salt dough!