Friday, July 30, 2010

Keeping them busy

I am not a fan of hanging out at home all day. This is probably due to the extreme messiness of my house, but that's a different story! Yesterday, we went bowling. Again, we met up with my friend to have a fun afternoon where the kids could play and the adults could chat (and of course cheer!) We all had a blast! The kids did really well, too. Jack even got a strike and a spare in one game and ended up with an 81 for his second game! Madie got a spare in the second game, too.

I am sure that they can use some help on their bowling form, but I'll leave that to their dad. They had fun whether they hit one or all of the pins! Madie really used the bumpers--it was funny to watch it bounce back and forth down the alley :0)

Jack had some pretty good shots too! He threw that ball down the alley pretty forcefully.

Today, the kids woke up begging to do a craft. I love crafting, so I'm usually pretty easily persuaded to make something. This morning...painting birdhouses. They did a great job. I was really impressed by Madie's patience and details. Jack did well, too until he heard the Smurfs on the TV...then he was done. We will be letting them dry today and then detailing them soon.

Can't wait until they are finished. Jack is pretty sure that we can find some small birds to live in his. Why not? Ha!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hoffer Family Reunion 2010

My Great-Grandma Lelia and Great-Grandpa Nick Hoffer had 5 children: Mary, Dorothy(Dee), Ruth(my grandma), Bob, and Mubby--pretty sure that's not her name, but I can't think of her real one, maybe Margaret! This past weekend all of the many branches of the Hoffer Clan joined together in Columbus, Ohio for a reunion! It was a great time for everyone.

My Grandma Ruthie and Grandpa Bob have passed since the last reunion (20 years ago!) but a lot of our branch showed up to represent the Guinsler side. It was awesome! Most of my family lives in Florida, so it has truly been years since I have seen some of them. This was the first time they have met my kids--M & J loved all of the attention! Only a few Floridians had to stay home (many due to the sudden burst of babies down there! Yay!!!)

Aren't we a good-lookin' bunch of people!?

from left to right: Uncle Steve, Aunt Jennie, Uncle Danny and my Mom

This is the entire group picture of the Hoffer Clan

We all had a really nice time. I think my kids would enjoy
having a reunion every weekend. Since our family branch was the only side that had great-great grandchildren present, there were a lot of people to give our kids attention. M & J LOVE that! Madie and Nina spent most of the beginning part of the party tracking people down that didn't have name tags and offered to make them one. They thought that this was a blast. Nina asked me if it would be alright if she said, "excuse me sir or madam, would you like a name tag?" So proper! What a little sweetheart.

Jack spent most of the party outside. They had a great playground set up and a huge open area to run around in.
We brought the lacrosse equipment and he and Drew enjoyed throwing the ball around for a bit. Drew was even more excited when some of my family members (Bill M. and Jeff Z.) shared his love for the sport, too. He had a good time tossing the ball with Jeff for awhile.

The highlight of the evening was when Theresa busted out her awesome karaoke equipment. The little kids immediately swarmed her and wanted to try it all out. I almost fell over when Nina introduced the group of she, Madie and Tess as the "Single Ladies" Ha! too funny!! Everyone had a lot of fun either singing or listening. Great-Aunt Mary even got up and sang "Heart of my Heart" which is a melody that she used to sing with all of her nieces (like my mom) and nephews in the car when they were growing up. My mom continued that tradition and used to sing it in the car with us, too. So, it has always been a family favorite. I'm glad I got a video of her singing it again. The last songs of the evening, Jack sang Gitchee Gitchee Goo and Madie sang Leader of the Pack. At this point, I had put away my camera--now, I could kick myself because it was so stinkin' cute! I can't believe Jack got up there all by himself and Madie looked like an old pro up there. To top of the experience, Theresa gave each of the little kids a little plastic trophy. Madie thinks it is her most prized possession. She is SO proud of herself. I love it!

After all of this fun, the best part was getting to reconnect with family. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing group of people related to me!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Family Reunion

Today is the Hoffer Family Reunion. It has been years since our last reunion and I'm really excited that everyone decided to have another one. Above is a picture of my Great-Grandma Hoffer and her five children--Aunt Mary, Aunt Dee, my Grandma Ruthie, Uncle Bob and Aunt Mubby.
This photo has some of the Guinsler clan (not everyone, I bet some were swimming!) with my Great-Grandma.
I had to include this photo of my brothers, cousin, my Aunt Mary and myself--diggin' my rockin' hairdo.

I am looking forward to introducing my kids to my side of the family. My husband has a huge family that is really close and frequently gets together. I love being a part of that. I wish my family was able to get together more, but the mere distance of where we live hinders that. Today, many of my family from Florida will be visiting. It will be so great to see them all again. Some of them were really little the last time I saw them and now they're all in their 20s!

I'll be posting more after the party :0)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Raising Jack

When Jack was younger and I took him to the doctor, he consistently failed his hearing test. Since he has pretty ornery, I thought I should get it checked out to make sure that I wasn't yelling at some poor little deaf child. After many different tests and going to a specialist, our ENT told us that he was fine, he just doesn't listen. Game on!

Other than his hearing, the poor kid had to have his tonsils/adenoids out at age three, has an interesting speech pattern, has bad eye sight and has to wear glasses and get drops for a lazy eye (thank goodness for his amazing eye doctor--if you need one, I'd totally recommend his!) and has horrible allergies that he has to get shots for in both arms. It has been an interesting roller coaster of doctor's appointments with this little guy!

Luckily, through all of this, he is still an amazing boy. Sure, the kid can REALLY drive us crazy, but he is one of the most tender-hearted and loving kids I've met.

Jack loves puzzles. For awhile, I'd wake up and find him in his room putting together a 50 or 100 piece puzzle by himself...after he does one over and over, he flips the pieces and does them upside down--seriously, where did I get this kid?

Jack LOVES sports. He begs to go out and play basketball; can't wait til daddy is home to toss a lacrosse ball back and forth; loves bike riding and has recently taken to just running. He says he's training for Cross Country. I hope this love continues with is SO good for him!

Above all else, I'm pretty sure that he was put on this earth though to love and torment his sister! They can be awesome friends and then the best of enemies within seconds. His most recent way of driving Madie crazy is in the car. I'm pretty sure he'
s figured out that since we can't go anywhere, this is his best stage to do as many obnoxious things as he can for however long our drive may take.

My kids and I love to sing in the car. I'm so glad for this--I love hearing their sweet voices sing along with the music. It is amazing how many songs they pick up so quickly and can sing word for word (Madie is really good at this--which drives Jack crazy, so...) Jack hasn't really come into his singing voice, yet. Instead, he talk/scream/sings. I'm serious. I've never heard anything like it--and still wish I didn't. It drives Madie MAD! At first I thought he was fooling around, but I'm pretty sure that is just his singing voice. Yikes!
I could go on...but, I'll save it for another day :0)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Raising a Daughter

Before I was pregnant with Madie, I was a coach for broomball. Every weekend, my girls on the team would fight hard and get sweaty on the ice and then quickly go back to the locker room to primp and ready themselves for the socialization of HS up in the bleachers. It really was quite the site. During this time, my husband (who went to an all-boy HS and didn't go to many social functions) became extremely worried about the possible prospect of having a daughter. He thought about how much more you'll have to worry about with a girl than a boy...I just laughed.

Now, although I have been dressing my little girl in sweet, cutesy outfits that would attempt to be age-appropriate in what seems to be a nearly impossible age to buy anything age appropriate at the store...I am beginning to feel like a failure!

Not exactly sure how it happened, and I am NOT giving up without a pretty darn good fight, but all my little girl wants to wear is trash. She wants to wear black. She claims to hate pink. She's SIX! She's not supposed to hate pink. What the heck! She also claims to hate princesses.
It was the haircut...since then... (I know, a great cause)

Today kind of topped off her ridiculousness. I've been trying not to overreact too much in front of her, but today, she matched her outfit with some fancy bright blue satin high heels. Not exactly age appropriate!

Seriously, what the heck!

We went to the mall today. While in the Disney store, I told her that she had to like pink and princesses because I want to go to Disney World. I'd hate to have to leave her home. I'm hoping that a little bribery-threatening might work. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can scare her back into my sweet little six (almost seven) year old! I'm not ready for high-heels!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Lake part two

We've been at the lake for the last week and again, the kids continue to build such wonderful memories on the beach. They absolutely LOVE spending time with their Uncles Marty and Chuck, Cindy, Grandpa Russ, and whomever else (family and friends) that can come up and visit. The more the merrier!

This week, my brother and his family was able to join us. We love spending time with them. I was so excited when Nina and Tess ventured out into the lake to swim and play with Madie and Jack. They are all so cute together. I tried to get a cute shot of the kids on the board. This was the best I could do. Jack kept sliding off. He thought he was pretty hilarious! Hmmm...
Jack has also developed the love of fishing. I am so grateful for Uncle Chuck when it comes to this. I am completely useless in the fishing department. This week, the kids snuck away with Chuck to go swimming down at the end of the beach at Aunt Karen's. Jack caught a doozie! I couldn't believe it when I saw this picture. So proud of you Bubba! ( I think he was pretty proud of himself, too!)
Another family tradition forming is our weekend breakfast while at the lake. Cornmeal mush, sausage and bacon. (I know--not the healthiest, but they all love it so :p ) Jack has really been wanting to help more and more. This summer, his job has been to get the mush ready to be fried. He loves putting the patties in the flour and then he neatly stacks them on a plate for Daddy to cook. So cute!
This was a first (at least in awhile) that Grandpa Russ went swimming in the lake with the kids. It was great! The kids LOVED getting to play with him in the water. Guess the bathing suit and towel worked as planned--they were a father's day present :0)
Madie also had some excitement this week. Grandma came up to visit one (very HOT) day. Madie was complaining about her extremely loose tooth. We tried everything to get her to let us pull it out. You could tell it was holding on just by a string! I even said that the tooth fairy paid double at the lake. She still wouldn't let us near it. Finally, we talked her into eating some licorice. We thought that it might be sticky and chewy enough to get that tooth out of there. While Madie was trying to take a bite out of it and get it close to her tooth, Grandma thought fast and grabbed the end of the licorice that Madie had just put in her mouth. I wish I was video taping--it was crazy! That tooth went flying right out of her mouth! Not exactly a conventional idea, but hey, it worked! I love the photo below with Meow, Grandma and the licorice :0)
I have some more good photos, so I may post more later. Can't wait until August!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Lake

Many happy memories have already been made on Lake Erie at the family lakehouse. We are truly blessed that we are able to enjoy a week each month during the summer on the lake. M & J practically live on the beach and in the water for the entire day. I usually try to set up some play dates so that their day on the beach is even more fun! The pictures on this page are from the week in June that we went. I have a ton more, mostly with their friends. These are some of the highlights:

I know, you're wondering why is there a peacock on the beach? Good question! Someone thinks that a family at the end of the beach let him go a couple of years back. He mainly stays at the end of the beach at our Aunt Karen's place. It was fun to get to see him so up close and personal this time! I feel bad for him though, must get lonely! At one point, someone tried to bring him a female. After a short while though, she flew away and hasn't been seen since!

This is the kids FAVORITE thing at the lake. They are so lucky to have a strong daddy and strong uncles that can do this! I've been searching for one of these boards (if you know of anyone wanting to get rid of one, let me know!) we always have to borrow this one while we are there.
Gotta love the lake!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Toledo Museum of Art

The Toledo Museum of Art is one of our favorite places in the summer. We are fortunate to have an aunt that offers to sign up the kids for one class each summer since Madie was old enough to go. This summer was the first summer that the kids were old enough to go and stay and learn without me to tag along. I'll have to say that I was totally impressed. I enjoyed the extra free time, but more importantly, I loved seeing the kids gain some extra independence at the museum. When I dropped the kids off, they no longer needed me to help them get their supplies, instead they worked together to get everything they needed. They also each day searched for their already started artwork to make sure they sat next to each other--I loved this because it was nice to know that they wanted to be with each other! Their class always lasted the longest and a collection of moms always hung out in the hallway. I loved peeking in and seeing every kid hard at work. It's amazing what a difference a year makes.

In the photos is the tire swing at the museum. EVERY day, Jack asked to go to the swing. Everyday, we had something. He was pleased to go on Friday, but a bit shocked when it wasn't as cool as he had hoped. I think he wanted it to go higher! Ha!

When I can get all of their projects together, I'll try to post a photo. They took a Mummy Mysteries class. They did a lot of cool Egyptian projects.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Water Lovin' Kids!

To say that my kids love the water is an understatement. They would be in a pool or the lake all day long if I'd allow. Not having a pool ourselves, we are so lucky to have a family lakehouse and wonderful friends that invite us to play in their pools.

This is Madie swimming to the bottom of the pool. I'm so proud of how she's becoming a little fish in the water. I think that being around kids that can swim really encouraged her to find her flippers! (Yes, it's sideways, can't seem to get it turned...sorry!)
Jack is really getting more and more confident in the water. He relies mostly on a swim noodle, but he sure isn't afraid to go under or off the diving board! I love that he closed his eyes with his goggles on. Nice to see that they work...ha!
This was just yesterday. Doesn't he look totally prepared! Goggles--√ Rash Guard--√ Noodle--√ Pool Shoes--√
This is a favorite. It looks like he's walking back up on the board instead of jumping off backwards!

Madie is just starting to learn to dive...I'm impressed that she gets back up and tries over and over even though she's done quite a few belly smacks!
Lots of fun in the sun!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wedding Fun part two... Freeze Frame!

This wedding had some really cute ideas (this one I may steal for an upcoming birthday party!) Attached to a tree, Ruthie hung a sheet of fabric. Next to it, she placed a bag of hats, empty wooden frames and some other props. Guests were then asked to go and take some fun photos using any props. She had a tripod and camera all set up so all they had to do was "click". As you can tell from the shots below, Madie LOVED this setup! I love the one with the fourth of July piggies. So cute!!

Madie as the bride

Madie made instant friends with the niece of the bride. They were inseparable the entire weekend!

The bride and her bridesmaids!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wedding Fun!

This Saturday my friend and now cousin, Matt, married his friend and now wife, Ruthie. This was one special wedding out at the family lakehouse. Both of them are super creative, so I thought I'd post some of the highlights.

The set up their alter right on the beach with this decorated arch. It was really quite beautiful.

In the photo below, at the cake table, they also had little bowls of sweets. In the yellow pot, they had candy bags that said "YUM" on them. The kids really liked getting to fill a bag full of yellow and blue goodies.

Ruthie made the family name and covered it with fabric to attach to this tree. It was a really nice touch.

These were the centerpieces at each table. The flowers were beautiful and the jars full of sparklers gave it a little fourth of July feel. Great touch. (Of course, later I had to stress out about my kids wanting to play with sparklers!)
At every seat, we had these adorable little tins with our names for place settings. Inside, were these cute little buttons that displayed the wedding decor and theme of Converse tennis shoes. Everyone loved wearing them the whole weekend.
I have a ton more pics, so I may use another post for this. I'm still learning and I can't seem to load more pics than this on a post....

Friday, July 2, 2010


This summer, one of my kid-less friends is watching two kids. Lucky for us, they are perfect friends for M & J. We've been trying to get together at least once a week all summer and the kids have really hit it off! They are so absolutely adorable. The little moments of friendships budding are priceless. My friend and I are always exchanging glances as we catch the kiddos holding hands or are caught in another sweet moment.

Yesterday, we decided to brave it and take the kids to Put-in-Bay. I haven't been there for years and when I did, it was with students. We weren't exactly sure how our day would go, but we thought it was worth a try! Mother Nature really helped us out and gave us a BEAUTIFUL day that we are so very thankful for. I really think that the day turned out to be the best ever--probably because we kept the kids busy, they each had a friend and we didn't really have things that we had to do.

Taking four kids, we wanted to try to keep the cost down, but we still wanted to have a good time. To start, we took the Miller Ferry over to the island. This was WAY cheaper and actually a pretty cool boat ride for kids. It took about 18 minutes to get across the lake. I didn't think it was too bad. When you arrive you do have to walk up a steep incline to get to the street, but the kids ran it and had a great time. We had decided to not bring bikes or rent them, instead get to the main street and see how they are doing. To get downtown, there is a bus that pick you up right by the ferry. This was cheap, too--$2.5o a person, kids 6 and under are free.

The kids thought that the bus driver was great and he was a bit of a crazy driver which made
him even better in their eyes! (especially J's!) The bus runs about every 15 minutes to and from until early evening, so we were set.

Once downtown, the kids were begging for lunch. We could have saved money and packed, but I'm so glad that we decided to visit Frosty's for lunch--Delicious Pizza and Amazing Breadsticks!!! Yummy! We did get water, so we saved on drinks. Before lunch though, the kids HAD to ride the carousel. They thought it was pretty cool. Kids 5 a
nd under must have an adult. I was lucky in the fact that J looks about 8, so I was cleared from ride myself (I don't do very well on rides...even the carousel makes me want to barf!)

After lunch, the kids wanted to check out the playground area. They had the best time playing together. This is when it was really nice for each kid to have a friend.
My friend, was the best swing pusher--the kids thought her tire swing pushes were better than the rides at Cedar Point! In the center of the park, the kids checked out the fountain (which was filled with dead mayflies...ewww!) while Mandie went to rent a 6 person cart. We went to a rental place near the middle of the strip--$16 a hour. They bill you when you get back, so it isn't a rush, you just pay for whatever time you use.

This was the best idea ever! We scoured the island in the cart for great places to stop and explore. The kids loved throwing rocks into the lake whenever they had a chance. We found a couple of great hidden places for sure. Each kid had a turn at shot gun, so no one was e
ver upset about seats. We stopped for ice cream halfway through. It was a nice treat for all. I highly recommend the Philadelphia
Freedom Mint--Delish!
After about an hour and a half of riding, we decided to take back the cart. We walked the s
trip a bit, but the kids wanted one more time at
the park (especially at the tire swing!) My kids were daredevils. They would have let Mandie swing them all day! The other two, had
her push them a little slower by the end of the day.

We took the bus back to the ferry about 6ish. We got there a little early and were able to sit in the front of the ferry--best seats in the house!

Overall, we were so blessed for a beautiful day, wonderful friendships and a fantastic adventure. We may try to do it again in August!