Friday, February 28, 2014

Time To Eat The Donuts

Laura took these two wanna-be fish out for a night of swimming tonight. And since we've been doing a lot of talking about "calories in - calories out" around here - we decided to give them a little treat after their hour-plus workout in the water.

Laura has fond memories of her mom taking her swimming and then treating her to a donut afterwards... so we decided to take it one step further... DONUTS FOR DINNER!

Ummm.... to say they were pumped up is an understatement.

I love that Laura wants to create special memories for these guys.

Good work tonight girls burning off those calories - daddy is already planning what dinner looks like next time!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kids-tematic Theology

I am not sure of the trail that led us there but tonight at the dinner table we had some SERIOUSLY deep questions coming up about God.

So we did what any loving set of parents would do and we tossed them a Systematic Theology book and said:

"Have at it guys. Start a small group, dig in and do life together. Let us know when you get it all figured out..."
Look at poor Zechie - either Systematic Theology terrifies him or he is perplexed by what "do life" means.

Just kidding. I wouldn't toss that book at my kids - Wayne Grudem's heaviness coupled with 1,291 pages would make throwing that at somebody a punishable offense.

Nope... instead we tossed that book to the side and just opened our ears to what they were asking. Things like:
"Where exactly IS heaven?"

"Can satan get inside my heart?"

"How do we know good from evil?"

"Do bad people just stay here on earth forever?"

"Can satan go to heaven if he is nice?"

"Can satan make himself look like a person?"

"Does satan have soldiers?"

"If I see people being mean to somebody and I kick the mean person in the booty, does that make me mean?"
And this is just a sampling - some of these led to some incredible discussions - some deeper and more logical discussions than I have had with adults around the same topics!

They even got tricky on me and turned one of my questions around on me:
"okay daddy - let's say YOU were walking home and you saw somebody being bullied by other people. What would you do?"
I told them I have a hard time seeing injustice and not feeling compelled to act - so I said "Yes, daddy would jump in and at least try to help."
"But what if that was just satan pretending to be a person getting bullied? You just helped satan. What then?"
Whew... I dunno girl!

Through it all we ended up having a GREAT conversation about God, about sin, about temptation, about grace, about the Holy Spirit, why Jesus had to die and why we should live like God asks us to.

As I was hugging them before bedtime and prayers, Meron whispers to me:
"I love you more than anything Daddy. More than anything... well except God. I love Him most."
Music. To. My. Ears.

We're shaping our kids' world view and lives simply by living. Simply by being who we are we are setting foundations for who they can be. Sometimes it's best to stomp out the book smarts and talk to them from the heart.

They processed some heavy stuff tonight... couldn't be more proud of these little minds chasing after Him!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Camp Hoffman Dates of Establishment

I answered our ringing doorbell today to the mail man handing me a big, flat package.

We all crowded around and opened it up to reveal this quite awesome housewarming gift from my sister and her family!

This very cool piece shows the dates that our family has expanded - what a cool reminder of some super important milestones in our family's history!

Thank you so much Wendy, Scott, Sammy and Amelia for an awesome gift that will always be a reminder of the incredible journey God has us on!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

God Writes On His Hands

When you do something every single day for a long time you start to lose sight of how cool it is. That happened to me this week...

See - Laura posted this adorably cute video of Zechie giggling at bedtime - and that's what I saw - him giggling at bedtime. But then I saw all her friends commenting on what she was saying to him:

"You are not forgotten! God knows your name and it's written on the palm of His hands!"
And I remembered just how beautiful this is. We've been saying this to all of our kids, every single night since they got home. Meron and Mebbie just flat out answer us back now. We say "Are you forgotten?" and they immediately respond with:
"No! because God knows my name and it's written on the palm of His hands!"
I had forgotten how sweet, precious and life-giving this truth was until Laura posted that video last week...

Check it out...

Speak truths into your kids hearts - let them have that there forever as they head out into life. It's valuable. And invaluable. All at the same time.

Meron, Mebbie, Zechie... you guys are surely not forgotten... and I am so thankful that you know that!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Children Were Nestled, All Snug In Their Beds...

This was a "blog by meron" - she called me in and said:

"take a picture of us like this and show everybody how we sleep - make it your blog!"
So here we are.

When we first moved here - new house, new town - the idea of separating everybody up at night didn't seem appealing to us. So - as crazy as it seems - we decided to let ALL THREE goofballs sleep in one room.

They were down for it - i think it made them feel safe to be all together like that.

Of course this is all staged here - Z-dawg sleeps in his crib and the girls have their beds side by side - we're waiting for a more permanent residence before we set the gigantic castle bunk beds back up.

And they are still loving it - no desire to change the set up any time soon.

Matter of fact - sometimes on the weekends we'll come into find Meron IN the crib with Zechie, just hanging out with him.

They love each other and they love sharing a room and looking out for each other. They make each other feel safe.

And I love that.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Smell Of Freedom

Today - on our afternoon family hike - we decided to unleash Z-Dawg from his B.O.B. restraints for some pictures.

But then a weird thing happened...

He started doing some warm up stretches with his sister...

Surveyed his surroundings... took a deep, deep breath of the fresh smell of freedom...

and then took off!

I mean - my man was walking like it was his JOB!

Total determination. Total focus.

Finally - after almost a mile (seriously!) - he paused for a break and I caught up with him...

The brisk fresh air coupled with the exercise had the snot running freely...

But judging from the look on that face (and the full on tantrum when he got strapped back in the B.O.B.) - he was LOVING LIFE.

Excellent work out there today Zechie! I look forward to some long runs in the near future!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Model For Hire

Seriously - I think Z may be ready for the big time... ya know Kohls flyer or JCPenney winter catalog.

I mean... busting out poses is like part of every day for him now.

Here's his "action sports" pose. Maybe a Sports Authority Sunday paper insert for the kid's section?

Then - just holler out "Blue Steel!" and WAH-LA... instant attitude.

He's ready to be in the Rocawear Fall Fashion show.

And he's got his paparazzi stare down pat too - so I ain't worried.

Stay focused Z-dawg! You're going places homie...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Daddies and Daughters and Dancing

Tonight - I had the blessing and privilege of taking two of my favorite girls on the planet out on a date!

It was Daddy-Daughter Dance night at one of the churches we had visited and we were gonna take full advantage of it.

I dunno how I got so lucky to have these TWO awesome dates! And maybe - just maybe - their undeniable beauty can mask the goofball in the middle...

Or maybe not!

Little Z wanted to go sooo bad... sorry little man! Maybe we'll do a Daddy-Zeckie Duck Hunt some time soon! get that beard growing homie!

For the record - I took the camera and chose to leave it in the car and just enjoy the dance - absorb the time with these two. And I am SO GLAD I did...

Girls - your daddy absolutely adores you and had an incredible time. In the words of Meron:

""It was the BEST night of my life!""
(she has a lot of those...)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Just Like Daddy

Little Z-Dawg took his first stab at shaving the other day.

Thank God too cuz that facial hair was getting OUT OF CONTROL.

Actually, currently he is more into that 5 o'clock shadow look rather than the whole Duck Dynasty thing...

And for now... it's kinda more like "opposite Daddy" than it is "Just Like Him" - with that full head of hair and smooth cheeks...

But he lives in Colorado... We'll get him on board soon enough!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thinking Cap

We had just explained to somebody today that Meron was our girly girl tomboy - in the sense that she would happily go play tackle football in the mud while wearing a fancy pink dress. That's just who she is.

So no surprise today when we sent her to go do her homework that we came in to find her rocking my new baseball hat... backwards!

She busted me snapping pics of her...

And went right back to work (with a little smirk on her face).

Meron - daddy absolutely adores your personality and your confidence in who you are.

Keep doing you girl... it fits ya PERFECTLY!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wekum To The Pop Str Fashin Sho

I am sure this happens at just about every house across America almost every night like it does here, right? Surely we can't be alone...

I'm talking about "Pop Str Fashin Sho" people. Or in case you don't decipher Meron-ese:

"Welcome to the pop star fashion show!"
Ya better sit down - cuz like I've learned - it's happening whether I want it to or not...

After the written declaration appears - the posing kicks in quick...

Some go for the serious, stoic super model look...

Others bust out the pageant wave...

Eventually it's time for the group poses...

which typically go goofy really fast!

sometimes they even try to involve Clay Bear. That's usually a fail...

And somebody always has a sad face when the shows over.

That is until he busts the perfect group smile while sticking his finger in his ear.

Perfection guys. Mommy and daddy LOVE your shows!

Never stop being you!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Shaking With Joy

Tonight at dinner we somehow got on the topic of babies and night time feeding - we were explaining how we had to feed Meron at night a bit and I could tell Mebbie was curious about her time when she first got home.

We told her she was older when she got home - but one thing i did have to do was spend a lot of time in her room because she was so scared. We remember that teeny little frightened girl...

Looking all terrified - and who could blame her really? But she had a big sister who had fallen in love with her over a YEAR before and was praying like crazy for her.

And who was more than ready to love on her...

And protect her.

So as I am telling Mebbie about that time - about how she was scared and I'd go in and hold her and rock her - and how I vividly remember the night her stress-induced body heat was no more and she started feeling safe here - I look over at Meron - and she is acting a little weird.

Finally she says:

"Why am I shaking with joy?"
I said "What do you mean honey?"

She looked down - she seemed a little embarrassed. So, of course I pressed her a little bit. And she said:
"I dunno. When I hear that about Mebbie loving us and feeling safe like that - my heart feels funny and my body shakes with joy because I am so happy..."
I'm about to get all weepy eyed as I type this...

For 6+ years I have prayed for God to send the Holy Spirit to invade Meron's heart. To just wrap it up and make it His. And tonight... I feel like we got confirmation that He has been doing just that.

It presented us with a great opportunity to talk to Meron about that feeling - about the Holy Spirit and how we have been praying for things just like this. I want her to always feel comfortable to talk about that when it happens - so we celebrated it big (like we try to do all things God does around here)...

She still seemed a little embarrassed that i was making such a big deal out of it - which tells me she really was experiencing something in her heart...

One thing I can tell you for 100% sure... Meron loves her little sister with a deep, deep love - it runs to the core - at times it feels like they're one. And I love this so much.

Mebbie - you got yourself one heck of a big sister - and girl I know you love her with the same amount of zeal.

And now ya got daddy shaking with joy...