Monday, December 31, 2012

We Party Hard

Don't ever say we don't party hard over here at Camp Hoffman.

Until you fall asleep - STANDING UP - you haven't partied with the Meronator...

I mean - my girl was OUT...

drool and all!

She doesn't even know that she passed out during her boy Justin Bieber's performance...

What she don't know won't hurt her!

Hope everybody had a safe and fun New Years Eve!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Biker Club

Look out Atlanta. There's a new biker club in town.

Laura got a new bike for Christmas and has spent the past few days getting jumped in to her new club...

The club president - Meron - runs a tight ship...

her second in charge - Mebski Love - is a stickler for the code of the bikers too...

Good luck Laura (club name "Unabiker")... Live to ride, ride to live!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tripled Blessing

Tell me I ain't triple blessed... and then some!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sweatsuit Sisters

The girls were excited to rock their new matching outfits they got for Christmas!

Thanks a ton Poppaw and Grandma Judy!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Not Comfy Without You

I was putting Meron down for bed tonight and as usual she convinced me to lay down wth her for "just one minute..."

She dozed off on my arm and as I was sliding it out from under her she woke up and asked me to stay longer. I told her I had to go do a few things but that I would check on her later. Then I pulled her blanket up under her chin and told her to "get comfy."

Her sleepy little response was:

"It's just not comfy without you here..."
Heart: stolen. I love how she loves her family...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After

Four and a half hours of lunch, presents and playing with these guys...

followed by four and a half hours of dinner, cookies, presents and playing with these guys...

Made for some delirious little Hoffmans!

Thankful for family to keep on celebrating with!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

So thankful that this time of year isn't about stuff - about presents, gifts, boxes in the mail, egg nog and stress. It's not even about us. Cuz we'd never, ever measure up.

Super thankful that it is about a baby. Who grew up like us but in a way we never could. And then died so that we may live.

Don't know about Him? PLEASE ask us about it. We'd love to tell ya what we've experienced. Or better yet - check out the girls breaking it down over here.

Wishing everybody out there a very, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Surprise

What could possibly make our two girls bust some smiles like these?

Oh - I dunno... maybe THESE guys showing up at our house and ringing the doorbell while all wearing santa clause hats! The girls were kinda shell-shocked!

But they recovered quickly and the next 12 hours were filled up with some serious cousin time. They wasted no time getting down...

There was playing (that included gigantic bows)...

There was a present exchange!

Thanks guys for spoiling us like always! Years ago - before Meron got home - our awesome cousins had built her a stuffed bunny and recorded a message to her in it that plays when she squeezes it. To this day it's one of her most prized possessions. Well - they hooked Mebbie up with a super dope bunny too - that when squeezed says "This is Ansley. And This is Will! We love you Mebrate!"

They got Meron a super special book that was read and recorded by her cousins. She LOVES it. They are also dead asleep in their new PJ's as I type.

Next it was off to church for a little Christmas worship time...

Mommy and Will tried to behave themselves in big church...

But they just didn't have it in them!

We wrapped the night up by closing down Macaroni Grill with some good dinner before having to hug it all out and say goodbye to our surprise guests as they hit the road to go spend some time with other family members...

Guys... from the bottom of our hearts - THANK YOU! You may never know just how big a deal today was and how much it meant to us. You brought an entire days worth of joy to our girls just by being here. It was your PRESENCE not the PRESENTS that made their hearts smile and their sleepy little heads murmur "I miss my cousins already" as we were tucking them in tonight.

We're grateful for you guys and the hearts you carry around...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The REAL Reason We Celebrate

We love this time of year - how could ya not? Tons of reasons to!

But here's a little video by the girls breaking down why we really get crazy and nutty and celebrate at Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

A New Season

Today was a tough day. It was a great day and marked the beginning of a new season for us - but it was tough too - because today we picked the girls up for the last time from their school. We're gonna be starting a new approach after the new year and this was the end of a good run at their current school.

When we got there - it was a full on dance party. It's easy to see why the girls LOVE their teachers. That's Ms. Tikuru in the striped shirt just breaking it down with them. Heck - she got me excited!

I cannot say enough good about Ms. Tikuru. She LOVES our girls. She has poured so much love, truth, knowledge and goodness into both of them over the last few years. And today was tough for her too...

And her love for our girls is clearly evident. At one point she left the room in tears - leaving all the other little kids yelling "Ms. Tikuru, why are you crying?"

She has been patient, caring, trustworthy, loving and all-around amazing. At times - we debated leaving the school for one reason or another - and it ALWAYS came back to teachers like Ms. Tikuru and others who made it worth staying.

And we can't forget Ms. Chisholm either! She makes up the other half of the dynamic duo teaching the girls this year. She has gone above and beyond when it comes to our girls - from helping me with hair when Laura was outta country to just being there to love on them - we have always felt like our girls were in the loving hands of people who cared about them. And for that we are grateful.

After a bunch of hugs from tons of their little buddies and some seriously heart-tugging goodbyes - we pulled their names off of their desks and headed out.

Thanks guys - for a seriously incredible run and for just loving our family through your work with our girls. It will never be forgotten and you have helped us establish an incredible foundation for them to grow on.

We won't be strangers - watch for us sneaking in on Chapel Days to get some worship on!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Love, Joy and Innocence

I love this picture. That's my awesome niece Ansley hanging with Mebbie. Candids are my favorites - they had no idea we were taking their picture so there's nothing fake going on.

That radiating beam coming off of them? That's is real deal love, joy and innocence. Just sitting their laughing, comparing hand size, skin color and being happy.

Thanks girls... for being you and keeping the rest of us grounded with your preciousness!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Worth It

I've been working a whole bunch lately. Stayed home from Africa this December to have a chilled out Christmas with the girls and it seems like EVERYTHING is trying to stop that from happening.

So tonight I found myself away from the house again - feverishly trying to wrap up a project. Things weren't going my way and I was getting frustrated. And this is one area where being a follower of Christ has been incredibly effective (and advantageous) in my life...

I could feel that stress coming - that tension. I knew it was on its way and I knew what satan wanted it to do to me. Derail me. Anger me. Make me frustrated beyond belief. So I stopped. Stopped what I was doing - and asked for some prayer.

Seconds later I got this:

Not only did my best friend, prayer warrior partner Laura stop and pray - but so did Meron! And then almost at the exact same time I got some unprovoked, impromptu encouragement from some friends.

The stress was easing! And then - as I was diving back in to work - I got this email from Laura's phone:

And all it said was "It's worth it."

The smile spread across my face before I could even think about stifling it. Stress was gone. She was right. It WAS worth it.

Thanks Laura - for a much needed reminder of why we do what we do on a day to day basis...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Furry Lips

And then this happened!

I was the recipient of a nice set of moustaches as a gift from my boss. Of course the girls had to try 'em out!

Looking good girls!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Joy of Giving (and Eating)

I bet when my co-worker whipped up her batches of Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip bread she had no idea it would become the talk of the house over here at Camp Hoffman. But it did.

Nothing says "Merry Christmas - we like ya!" like food does to Meron. And even Mebbie got in on it. I ain't gonna lie - it was some good stuff.

This is the kind of Christmas stuff we love - something with some thought and care and work poured into it and given from the heart.

And it tasted pretty freaking good too...

Thanks a ton Lizzy for the delicious Christmas treat!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pray. It's What We Do.

Do you guys pray? We pray a LOT around these parts. We ask for blessings on food, we give thanks for all that He gives us daily, we give thanks for Jesus and the ultimate sacrifice that forever freed us...

And this weekend - we sought comfort in God when we were barely able to put thoughts in to words. And because of the promises in His word - we know He heard us.

Honestly - I am not sure where I'd be without prayer. The calming, reassuring power of it has saved me from myself and the world many, many times. It has let me know on more than one occasion that I am not alone (and never have been).

I am also blessed to live in a house FULL of prayer warriors. All of them. But Mebbie has a particular talent in this area and an unquestionable love for God that simply cannot be denied when you listen to her talk to Him.

Got questions or doubts about prayer? Holler at us - we got stories for days around this and how it has transformed our lives. Or better yet - toss us your prayer request and let Mebbie and us pray for ya! It'd be a privilege...

Thank you God - for the way you have worked in our lives and the sovereign patience you have shown with an old stubborn dude like me...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

CookieFest 2012

Granny + Girls + Christmas = COOKIEFEST at our house!

Laura and I snuck out for a rare run together and while we were gone the girls went crazy with cookies, icing and all kinds of decorations!

And judging from the faces on these two...

I think they had a good time! They were eager to show me two particular cookies they had made...

Meron showed me this one that was a work of art titled "Me and Daddy." If I could keep that forever, I am pretty sure I would.

Then Mebbie showed me this one with this description:

"This is a nanny and a baby in an orphanage in Ethiopia..."
Africa and their stories never seem to be far from her mind. LOVE IT!

Great job girls! Daddy can't wait to eat them all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

They Played Their Drums For Him

The girls had their Christmas Program today at school.

They both got to be little drummer boys (or girls I guess in this case)...

And lemmee tell ya - they nailed it!

Mebbie just has some sort of built in natural rhythm and you could see it up there as she kept beat... and Meron - well Meron was just wildin' out!

It was a beautiful show and a wonderful telling of the story of Christ. And I needed it today. I was caught up in the awesomeness of the program but my mind never let go of what happened in CT.

When that show was over I was at their side hugging them harder than ever. And I pretty much haven't stopped hugging them all night.

Matter of fact - going to hug on 'em now.

Great job today girls... mommy and daddy love you!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Headlock Smooch

We caught Meron in the act as she dropped her patent-pending "Headlock Smooch" on mommy.

It's futile to try to resist. Who would want to anyways?