Thursday, November 9, 2017

Jones Gap

Last weekend was our Brevard Friends Trip 2.0.  We hiked around my personal favorite, Jones Gap State Park.  Perhaps the biggest understatement on the blog to date, but fall in the mountains is beautiful.  My kids were pretty great company on the trail.  I love seeing Silas as a nature explorer. Rory also loved the Ergo cuddles and attention of being passed around all weekend.  We did not try our luck accompanying the group all the way to the falls, but my sweater put in an appearance for me!  We all got to put our stamp of approval on Ryan, watch another Robert Durst drama, and eat pretty well too.  I love my buddies!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


This was a bit of a rough month, but a good one too.

I went back to work.  The job is good but the transition was hard.  Besides dropping off your sweet kissable babies at daycare, it's difficult to jump in after having a substitute for the start of the year.  My first week was a field study week, so I was pretty much like 'Hello, I am Mrs. Hoft...get on the bus."  

In addition, we have a new superintendent so there are some different procedures I had to adapt to. Namely accountability. I was observed almost everyday of my first two weeks.  That is more than all the years of my teaching combined.  Probably a change for the best, but intimidating when you are still learning your students' names.  I guess because I had been out and have three different schools to report to, all the administrators were eagerly waiting to check me off their list.

Speaking of different schools, it is almost impossible to figure out who is who as far as staff.  I get about 200 school-wide emails a day from various people and I don't even know which school they are at or if "New Bus Duty Roster" or "After School Activity Log" applies to me.  (I can't ask for fear it does and I get something new added to my plate.  I am doing a lot of seeking forgiveness later lately.) It is also pretty humbling to introduce yourself to the five sets of teachers with whom you will be working with the disclaimer that they are on their own for recess duty since you will be needing to go pump mid-day.  Do they even know to what I am referring??  Is there a more delicate way to put it?? Who knows.  Everyone has been pretty accommodating so far.  Anyways, I survived and am feeling a bit more ducks-in-a-rowish.  We got the morning routine figured out decently even though it starts earlier than I would like.  My school kiddos are mostly fantastic, and the ones that aren't are the ones that need the most love anyways.

On the home front, I had a few new things keeping me busy.  I joined a softball team.  It is a church league of a friend, so I know basically no one.  They are pretty nice and I am pretty terrible, so maybe they are nicer than I deserve.  It is not the funnest to feel socially and physically awkward at the same time, especially in an arena you used to feel confident in.  I would have rather stayed home pretty much every game, but I could say that about anything.  Dang my parents for instilling the "stick with what you start" lesson a little too thoroughly.  I guess I am glad I did it.  It makes more memories than the couch.  

It was also my month in the rotation for teaching Sunday school.  That is nothing new and pretty easy, but still just one more thing to add to the weekend calendar.  Then we all got sick and we decided to not spend any money. I am hoping these two were unrelated.  My car cost us 600 dollars in repairs negating the "no spend" attempt but is back on the road and promising to last until at least the end of of double day care payments.  I actually loved not having to grocery shop for a month.  I don't know if it is impressive or grotesque that we can live for a month off the food in our pantry and freezer.  We have been opting out of our bags of frozen broccoli for awhile and it was time to Konmari the kitchen.  We didn't even have to get too creative with meals and had most food groups most days.  The only bad part was having to cook every night.  We bought bread, milk, and eggs with a left over birthday gift card.  We bought gas of course, and candy for trick-or-treaters with Amazon cash back bonuses.  The planning was fun and I lost a few pounds so I will call it a win.  Now when I eat all the things I missed I think they are a bit of a let down.  I keep on eating them anyways.  I wanted it to be a lesson in doing without and not feeling the need to treat yourself all the time, but we live in such abundance that I still was never hungry once.  I am pretty sure Silas didn't even notice, except for the lack of cheez-its.  He was having a grand time finishing off old summer popsicles.  


Not sure why I felt like typing so much.  Now back to the usual sparsely captioned pictures of children.

Backyard Camping

Packed only toys.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Once again, Halloween proves itself the best day ever.  Something about traipsing around your neighborhood at twilight with costumed children and friendly neighbors makes me all starry-eyed.  The pumpkin carving pictures are pre-Halloween, and so is the skeleton attire.  Our costumes for the big day were Maui and a wrestler.  Silas wanted to be Peter Pan again and we barely came in under the wire to agree on Maui.  We both love Moana and he sings it all the time testifying to our overexposure to television.  (He does call it Awana, and I don't correct him so some may be led to think we are doing churchy type things instead.) The magic fish hook and getting to wear his Peter Pan pants were the true selling points.  Daron thought it would be a nice touch to have him say "You're Welcome" after receiving candy, but we had enough trouble getting him to remember a simple thank you. Rory wouldn't stop begging to be Jake the Snake Roberts so I gave in to that.  Dorothy and the pineapple joined us as is tradition.  I cannot even tell you the cuteness that was Silas and Pepper handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.  They would get so excited pointing at the approachers, run to grab handfuls from the bag (which only lasted for about ten lucky kids), and divvy out the goods while making adultesque comments about costumes.  They would then camp by the door peeking out on hands and knees until another group made the rounds.  Adorable.


Saturday, September 30, 2017


1. 2.




1. Trying to take more pictures of me and my boys...because I'm not getting any younger or skinnier.

2. New car seat.  I am taking a certain martyrdom pride in this as I now have to load him in my two door Civic by crawling into the back seat, sitting in the crumb laden chair of his brother, buckling and unbuckling him everywhere we go, and thwarting the continuation of any naps occurring in transit.

3. I took this the morning of Louise's doctor appointment.  I was sure her puking was either a death sentence or she would be removed from our home due to mistreatment in the form of overfeeding and lack of exercise.  I was expecting more judgement that I actually received and the vet gave her a surprisingly clean bill of health.  So it turns out she will happily remain a fixture on our couch with only slightly less kibble and slightly more attention after the scare.

4. Ms. April strikes again.  He isn't even in her class anymore.  I feel bad for the other kids at preschool.  We are still debating the true story as to whether her asked for this treasure or if she just gave it to him (as he tells it).  She also came over to babysit just because he wanted her to watch a movie with him. Spoiled.  Ms. Jackie is giving him more of a real-world experience in Farm Friends.  It is probably for the best.

5. Celebrating the ample September birthdays with Daron's family at Urban Cookhouse.

Friday, September 29, 2017


Saw two concerts in one day!  It's a toss up which was better.  It's hard to compete with little voices proclaiming "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", but then again, it's hard to compete with Jack Johnson in the moonlight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Its getting fun around here.  We have started spending a little time at daycare.  Thumb sucking is a new thing.  We are also batting, grabbing, and this!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This is Terrifying

Silas is still loving No Noggin from Curious George's Boofest.  We got an early start watching this year.  Silas wanted us to make our own scarecrow. This creepy guy makes me jump at least three times a day.  The homeowners association may need to get involved before Halloween. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Silas Unveils Poor-Man's Surprise Bags

Silas likes watching these Youtube videos of kids unwrapping toys where you don't know what's inside.  It's non-stop educational time around here as you can tell.  Let's be honest, I got him hooked.  If you are one of my mom friends with small children, you know what I'm talking about.  If not, this post will sound like utter nonsense.  Anyways, this weekend we did some shopping and actually bought a few of these surprise toys with a Toys R Us birthday gift card. (Thanks KatKat!) It is pretty thrilling to see what you are going to get.  That thrill is usually followed by disappointment and buyer's remorse.  We ended up buying two Disney Lego mini blind bags, 3 surprise Paw Patrol Mashems, and Daron picked up a few WWE pint sized hero surprise bags for his wrestling pay-per-view.  We started out with just the Lego ones, but then by blessed luck got our number one draft pick, Peter Pan himself.  The rush was addicting, hence the others.  We wanted the fun to continue, but they are a bit pricey, especially for junk that will be lost rather directly.  All that to say, here is Silas's own video unwrapping our homemade toy surprise bags.

Next up he will be making ASMR movies of himself washing baby dolls in Skittles. (I only wish.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Camp Bobo

Daron thinks this was the best Missouri trip ever.  I may agree, but the competition is stiff.  The drive there was pleasantish until the last hour where we had an unhappy baby soundtrack.  Not bad, I'd say. I was expecting the worst since the passenger chair has to sit bolt upright due to the car seat behind it, and we were packed in pretty tight what with the giant pinata I decided would be a good idea to transport along with all the luggage and baby things with four people in a Corolla.  Silas was living the high life watching his new car DVD player from Meemaw and Gramps.  I feel pride in having held out this long getting one, but also pretty much loved having it.  When we woke him up to put him in the car at 5 AM I assumed he would go right back to sleep.  At 5:10 AM I looked back and he had made it through three applesauces from his snack box.  This snacking pace continued most of the trip.

We got to my folks at about 8:30 PM.  Rory only added about an hour and a half to the journey.  He didn't want to nurse much, so we did have to stop for batteries for my pump and I took care of that traveling down the highway and doing my best not to give the truck drivers too much of a show. 

We pretty much just put the kids to bed and chatted the first night.  The next morning we took Rory to meet Grandma Cain. My buddy, Kristen, came to visit at lunch time and we caught up until our delicious rib dinner. This has always been my sister's requested meal, but I must say it is growing on me as a favorite.  My parents have a fun spot to come home to for sure.  Silas loves feeding carrots to the horses and gathering eggs from the chickens (and trying not to be flogged by the "big one"). We were also given a quart of fresh honey from their bees.  That night we went for ice cream and to an escape room as is our new custom. I as always contributed nothing. My nephews however were pretty impressive and their was one cool bit where I felt like I was in the Goonies playing a piano in order to open a lock.

This brings us to Monday where we headed to the new lake cabin, "Camp Bobo".  Quite the upgrade from the old trailer my grandpa lived in on the property for years.  My parents did tons of work on it and it is amazing!  We enjoyed all the amenities...swimming, boating, throwing rocks, porch sitting, laundry doing, garbage disposal running... Silas survived the tormenting of Mr. Roebke and warmed up to the water.  By the end of our time he had switched roles and was dragging his grandpa under the dock and boat and not phased at all by the mention of being left on Shark Island or in Snake Cove.  That night we enjoyed a visit from Doll-Doll and dad made BBQ chicken for dinner.  I feel the need to mention each meal because they are so far superior to what I serve in SC.

Tuesday we lounged and enjoyed cards and a trip to Walmart where we were pleased to find plenty of green icing for the next day's festivities.  The cousins went to White Water but we were reunited for steak and an evening fishing excursion where one lunker (new term for me, and sarcastically used) was all that was managed.




Wednesday was the big birthday for Trevor and Silas.  We held the Dock Olympics in the morning and guests arrived for burgers and brats in the afternoon.  Our Olympic competitions consisted of speed fishing (gold to Trenton), the rock toss (gold to Trevor), the noodle jump (gold to Trenton again), and a diving competition with slightly biased judges (gold to Silas).  Silas continues to be obsessed with Peter Pan and has the nicest uncle so we went with a Neverland theme for the party.  I had to shave his felt costume of fuzz to make it even half presentable. The plan was to confiscate the presents and leave a ransom note from Captain Hook.  Once a sword fight with a Hook pinata was won, Silas would find a treasure map in the spoils that would lead him to his missing gifts.  I had to save Hook from the rain at one point and we were a bit short of children, but it went pretty well. There were far too many gifts to hide so I just took a few for the hunt and stowed the rest in the laundry closet.  I think Silas would have been happy just wearing his costume like every other day so that kept the pressure low.  Malachi and Eli stepped up as lost boys and aided in pinata destruction and treasure locating.

Thursday Conn left and there was the usual sad adjustment to the quiet.  We enjoyed some final lake time and cleaned up a bit before heading to La Pizza Cellar and the Branson Landing for shopping on the way home.



Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys

Friday we packed in the fun with horseback riding, putt-putt, a wild animal safari (where Silas can boast of being bitten by an emu), cashew chicken, Andy's frozen custard, and family movie night. My sweet cousin, Annie, and her family drove down from Union to meet Rory and play with us for the day.


The culprit

The trip home on Saturday was similar to the way there, only much more depressing with all the fun in our wake. Until next time!