Friday, December 31, 2010


I still need to post about Christmas and Parker's 12 month stats, but I need to do this post while it is fresh on my mind.
This year has been a whirl wind of emotions, wonderful ups and downs- getting to know this new little being, watching him grow and becoming a family of four- Brad losing his job, questioning our stability, questioning God and my need for control and coming to terms with those issues and seeing that what seemed so hard has only made our little family even stronger because it caused me to reflect on what matters most- not my bank account, not how much we have, but what we do with the time that we have with each other. In the past three months I have seen my boys grow to depend on their dad and need him and that truly makes my heart smile. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to hear Braden ask Brad to get him juice or a snack or sit in the floor and play a game of Memory with him...not because I don't have to do it :), but because it means that my boys have developed a relationship with their father in which they need him too. And they need him because he has needed them and shown an interest in them and once again my heart is happy. There is absolutely nothing sexier than a man who turns off Sportscenter to sit in the floor and build a train track with his 3 year old son. Can I get an Amen?
So in reflecting upon all of these things I have been thinking about 2011 and what I want to accomplish this year (of course I want to lose 10..actually 40 pounds, but that didn't make the list).

  • I want to learn the art of canning and preserving fruits and veggies. I do believe that this is a dying part of our culture. I remember listening to my grandparents talk about sitting in the yard shelling peas and I have been fortunate enough to watch my grandparents and parents do this, but I haven't taken an interest in it myself. I want to learn how to plant a garden and then preserve what I worked so hard to nurture. I think there is something very honest and pure about growing and preserving your own foods. Now I'm not saying that I won't be hitting up Kroger's produce department, but that I would like to learn how to plant and can green beans, pickles and tomatoes. My goal is to start simple- also pear preserves- I remember eating these on biscuits when I was little at my grandma's house and they were as sweet as candy.

  • Learn to sew- My parents gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I chat I really wait to get around to learning to use it. I already have a few projects in mind!

  • I want to do a better job at blogging. When Braden was born I scrapbooked and I loved it, actually I still do love it, I just don't get to do it because there is never enough time and I hate dragging everything out and then having to put it up again before I finished a layout. Therefore, Braden has a scrapbook of his first year and Parker has nothing. Poor Park! So I feel like blogging gives me a chance to journal my thoughts and memories for my boys. I just need to do a better job about posting the little things that they do that I don't want to Braden these past few days Braden has started drawing attention to rhyming words, is making patterns (triangle, square, triangle, square) and added 5+5=10. And Parker has been trying to say "uh-oh", follows Braden from room to room and got himself stuck under the bed yesterday. Small things, but things that I will forget about unless I write them down. I feel like this is my gift to them- Memories of their childhood that may be forgotten otherwise.

  • More one on one time with my B-I-B-L-E in solitary reflection and worship with my Savior. And getting back into a small group - which I desperately need, but neglected this year since it was too hard to be away from a nursing infant and yet so hard to take him to bible study with me.

All attainable and very desirable goals if I say so myself!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus

Each year since Braden was born, with the exception of last year, we have made Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes. This was something that my mom did with us when we were little and it is a tradition that I will carry on with my boys. On Christmas morning we sing Happy Birthday to our savior and eat cupcakes in his honor! It is a fun way to celebrate and discuss the birth of Jesus and the real reason we celebrate Christmas with Braden. Braden was super excited this year and kept saying, "Jesus sure is gonna love these cupcakes for his birthday!" He kept repeating it over and over and it was simply adorable!

Sorting the m&ms for the reindeer cupcakes

Happy Birthday Parker Reed!

Today at 12:15 my baby boy will turn one. I cannot believe how quickly our first year together has flown by and all that has occurred in a year. Sometimes it feels like we just met this amazing little guy and other times it feels like he has been around forever, more often the latter.

It is really weird, but whenever it gets close to Braden's birthday and now Park's I find myself thinking about what I was doing this time a year ago or 4 years ago in Braden's case....This is the time I was checking into the hospital, this was when this happened, etc. I have already shared B's birth story and for the sake of my memory than for anyone else I am going to retell it here. Some pieces at the end are a bit foggy- thanks to the nubain, but I will try to record it as accurately as I remember it to be. Here goes....

My due date was not until the 27th of December, but I was so worried about having him on Christmas and being away from Braden that Dr. Williams allowed me to go in for an early induction. Brad and I headed to the hospital on Monday, December 21. My brother and Erica came to take care of Braden and he was thrilled! Braden and I stopped at Olive Garden for one last meal with just the two of us before we became a family of 4. We checked in at the Birth Center just before 7:00 pm. We met our nurses, I had blood taken and after three painful attempts to insert a port into my arm we were given our first dose of Cytotec. After much discussion with Dr. Williams we chose Cytotec to induce since I did not have any luck after three 12 hour rounds of Cervidel with Braden. Dr. Williams informed us that the Cytotec can be given every 4 hours instead of every 12 and that would give us flexibility with other options. When I arrived at the hospital I was already dilated to a 2 and we were hopeful that I would progress quickly since I had not with Braden.

That was not to be the case! By 8 am the next morning and 2 rounds of Cytotec, I was having contraction without any cervical change- no softening or dilation. I got up, ate breakfast, got a bath and they inserted a third round of Cytotec and started a low dose drip of pitocin. I was having painful contractions, but they were not as bad as with Braden so I decided against any pain medication and I wasn't dilated enough for an epidural. Every 2hours they continued to check me for change and the result was always the same- NO CHANGE! Around 2:00 my nurse came in- she was awesome- and informed me that there was a chance Dr. Williams might release me. WHAT?!? I came with the purpose of delivering this baby and I was not leaving without him! I had absolutely no idea that they could release someone who came in for an induction. After praying about it and lots of discussion with the nurse and Brad, I knew what we needed to do when Dr. Williams came to see me. Dr. Williams came in at 5 pm and discussed my option with me- 1.- They could break my water, but I would probably end up having a C section 2. They could release me and I could come back for another induction on my due date or 3. I could go home and come back when things started happening- I went into labor on my own. I already had my mind made up- I wanted to go no way did I want to put myself at risk for a C section. The only downfall to me going home was that I was still having contractions every 2-4 minutes and they were causing me some pain. Dr. Williams informed me that my contractions could go on for days like this and may not go away at all. We checked out of the hospital just after 6 pm and we met my parents and my aunt and uncle(they had Braden) for a quick dinner at Mad Cactus . I was in a good deal of pain so my parents took Braden home with them for the night so that I could go home and rest. As soon as we got home I took a hot bath and went straight to bed. Other than my contractions, it was a wonderful sleep- no lights, no beeping monitors, no nurses coming in every hour to check on me. Then I awoke to a wet feeling. Uh-oh, did I pee my pants? Nope!

My water broke just after 5 am. Dr. Williams had given Brad his personal number and told Brad to call him right away if anything happened- given the fact that I can go from a 0-10 in 45 minutes! We got up, quickly changed clothes, called my parents and Brad's parents and headed to the hospital. Dr. Williams was waiting on us when we arrived and they checked me into triage to see if I was really in labor. While I was in triage some of my amniotic fluid was yellow colored so they were a little concerned, but it quickly changed back to clear and they attributed it to Parker may have been in a tiny bit of distress, but was fine now. They quickly got me into a room- the same room that I had left less than 12 hours earlier and went to work taking blood and attempting to insert a port again. After 3 more attempts and 2 blown veins and I mean they blew- knotted up and turned purple and blue within seconds, they finally found a vein that could support a port. They started me on a pitocin drip right away and cranked it up. By 8:30 am I was in a great deal of pain from the pitocin, but refused any pain medication because I didn't want to be loopy when Chad brought Braden to see me- I remembered how I felt when they put me on pain meds (statal) when Braden was born.

Chad and Braden arrived around 9:30 am and I got to visit with them both for a little while. My parents, Brad's parents and Chad took turns entertaining Braden for the remainder of my labor. Around 10:30 I was in so much pain- my contractions were very strong from the pitocin and were coming one after the other without any time to recover- Brad convinced me to get some pain meds since I couldn't get an epidural since I was only dilated to 3 cm. They put me on Nubain and everything after that is a bit of a blur. I remember feeling very heavy and waking up often in pain, but other than that I don't remember much until my nurse told me that I was dilated to a 9 and she wasn't sure that I was going to be able to get an epidural AGAIN because I had gone from a 3 to 9 cm in a VERY short amount of time. I remember trying to process this- telling myself that I had done it before and I could do it again- just get him out! They wanted me to wait to push until I was completely ready so that I wouldn't tire out so quickly and to save me some pain since I couldn't have the epidural. They left the pitocin drip on so my contractions were still VERY intense. It was finally go time and I pushed for just over 10 minutes, had the ULTIMATE pain again, delivered a beautiful baby boy and instantly felt amazing- like I could do it all over again!

Parker Reed Hoffman was born on December 23, 2009 at 12:15 pm and our life has been blessed with his sweet presence ever since. It was an instant love and seemed that he was always meant to be part of our family. We brought him home to spend the night on Christmas Eve and he was our special gift. It is incredible how the birth of your child can fill you with an unconditional love and desire to care for and protect this little hopeless being almost instantly. I believe that birthing my babies, though as hard and as painful as it was, is the easiest part of being a parent. After that incredible climax the journey has just begun. I can't wait to see where Parker Reed Hoffman's journey leads him and us- you know we will be tagging along for the ride!

I love this picture- Braden discovering his new brother's feet!

Happy BIRTHday Parker! I love you!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (really wishing this would have been our Christmas card pic! ;))

Gingerbread Decorating

Another late post...December is a very busy month! A few weeks ago the boys and I went to my cousin's house and we decorated gingerbread cookies and made a gingerbread house. Our gingerbread house didn't stay standing for too long, but it sure was fun to make!

Hoffman Family Christmas

This post is a little late, but hey- better late than never! The first weekend in December we always head to Brad's parents to have Christmas with his family. We don't exchange gifts, but we eat, socialize, and decorate his parent's tree. And this year the kids made sugar cookies...which they loved and totally made a mess with! Such fun!All of the grandkids- not an easy picture to take!

An even harder picture to take- Thanks John!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Parker's 1st Birthday Party

Yes....My little man is turning 1 on Thursday! I can't believe it! More about that later though (Parker's birth story to come this week!). Today we celebrated Park's 1st birthday with family and friends. We had a safari theme and I think it was a success! Parker enjoyed his first taste of cake, a slide show celebrating his first year and playing with his gifts! Thank you to everyone who helped make our boy's first birthday so special.

I love the way he dove into the cake! Yum!

Love it!

The birthday hat that Braden made Parker for his birthday!

It's like Christmas morning!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fall Leaves Fall

Yesterday we went to my parents' house to spend time with my brother and my aunt had brought my cousins' sons over to play. My mom and my aunt raked big piles of leaves for boys to run adn jump in. They had so much fun and it mad me wish that I could go back in time and spend a lazy fall afternoon just jumping in leaves!

Uncle Chad's Visit

Love. Adore. These 2 words describe the relationship between my brother, Chad, and Braden. They simply love and adore each other. You know something runs deep when my finicky and fussy 3 year old can run straight into a room where a man is that he hasn't seen in over 3 months and jump straight into his chair and snuggle up to him. Oh, and I can't forget about the dog. Buck. Or Bucky as we all call him. Braden and Bucky, there is a nice loving annoyance relationship going on there. Braden loves to annoy Buck- he missed him so much as well.
My brother surprised my parents by coming into town Saturday night instead of Sunday afternoon and after a few setbacks- a stop to buy an phone charger and a blown out tire on I-20, along with 3 broken lug nuts on the tire, he finally arrived home just before 1 am. And my parents were overjoyed. Their boy had come home, even if it was just for a few days.

Sunday after church we headed up to my parents to my Chad. I was so excited- though Braden who had been sick all week and extremely whiny was more excited than me. You wouldn't believe it- he was like a different little boy when we got there! I have missed my brother so much. It is hard to see someone almost everyday of your life and then only 2 times in over 3 months. However my joy for him and Erica surpasses my sadness about them being gone. Though sometimes I feel sad that Parker won't have the same relationship with Chad as Braden has been able to have. I just remember that Braden has been fortunate enough to have a bond with his uncle that most children never experience- and for that I am thankful.
Thankful for a brother.

Thankful for a brother who is just a phone call away.

Thankful for a brother who always lends a listening ear and an honest reply.

Thankful for a brother who loves my children.

Thankful for a brother who has spent time building a relationship with his nephew.

Thankful for a brother who brings much joy when he returns.

Thankful for Chad.

Monday, November 22, 2010

T is for Thanksgiving

Last Thursday, Braden had his Thanksgiving presentation at his school. Each class sang 2 songs and then we ate Thanksgiving soup and pumpkin pie prepared by the kids. Braden was sick with strep throat last week so he missed school Tuesday and Wednesday, but we practiced his songs at home and he was excited about going back to school to see his friends and perform. He told me that after his class sang, he wanted to stay on the stage and sing, "fa la la la la la, fa la la la la la." It was so funny!

I was able to leave work for a little bit to see him and I met Brad, Parker, my mom and dad, and Brad's mom at his school. When he walked in he actually looked a little nervous which is not like Braden at all! He did a great job and was so happy to have all of us there!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Parker Family Thanksgiving

My mom's side of the family usually gather together to feast and I do mean feast because it is a HUGE spread the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This year my Granny was going out of town so we got together last Sunday. There is a huge crowd, a little over 30 people are usually there and it is a great time to catch up and spend time with family. This year the only people missing were Chad and Erica, but Chad will be home next weekend and we are all so excited about that!

Gage, Braden, Jessie, Cohen, Ace and Parker

All of the girls with the kiddos


This November I am feeling more thankful than usual. Which is a good thing. I'm not sure if it is our current circumstances or the fact that we have been talking to Braden a lot lately about being thankful and what he is thankful for, or probably a combination of the two. No matter what it is I want to share what I am thankful for so that when I get down and out I can look at and reflect on everything that God has blessed me with. I am goingto try to continue to update this post as I remember or reflect on things that I need to be thankful for.

  1. Grace and the fact that it is offered to me though I don't deserve it.

  2. My husband who loves me even though I neglect to put my shoes away and leave clumps of hair on the shower wall.

  3. Healthy, happy children

  4. A very vivacious 3 year old who keeps me laughing

  5. Laughter

  6. a 10 month old that is into everything, but gives the Best hugs I have ever had

  7. messes that were created by my children

  8. The best parents in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD

  9. My church family

  10. Avery- she loves me no matter what and I do love her even when I am mad that she peed on the rug AGAIN

  11. my brother and the fact that he doesn't mind listening to my drama- at least he doesn't tell me that he minds

  12. Erica- I am going to finally have a sister!

  13. Shelter

  14. an abundance of food that we take for granted

  15. a job that i love, even on days when I have too much to do or out of control kids

  16. Children's Place monster sale

  17. my large family

  18. large family get togethers

  19. my Granny

  20. heated blankets

  21. Christmas songs

  22. a feeling of peace that even when my fears of instability creep in, I know I serve a God that will take care of me no matter what

  23. A God who is bigger than my dreams, hopes, ideas, or thoughts.

Colossians 3:15-17And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

It was another fun and festive Halloween. Every year that we celebrate Halloween with our family I feel joy and happiness. I realize once again just how blessed I am to live close to our family and be able to share each holiday with them. I also feel like Halloween is the official kick off to the holiday season and my favorite time of the year.

This year we celebrated with our annual HUGE pot of chili and about a gazillion hot dogs, not to mention the pumpkin cheese ball recipe that I got from my friend Lisa and all of the goodies including a cake shaped like a pumpkin and witch's hat cookies.

All of the boys' were so excited again this year and they were like old pros going door to door. My dad rigged up his Polaris Ranger and trailer with orange lights and hay bales and we toured the neighborhood. My little lion cub tired out after the first couple houses, but the train conductor was running at full speed until he crashed after everyone left. I don't think there could have been a better way to celebrate Halloween...well only if my brother was here.