Father@FortyTwo #13 – This is not Our Home

This morning after Sunday service, I believe I saw one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed.

For several months now our twenty-month-old son, Sweet Baby Ray, has had a bit of a problem with separation anxiety, especially when it comes to his mother being out of sight. He often pitches a fit that sounds as if someone is skinning the boy alive.  We get it… he loves his Mama but goodness gracious son!  Needless to say, he hasn’t liked going to the church nursery through Sunday school and the later church service.  Sometimes he figures out where we’re going on the road heading to church and begins throwing a pre-fit.

So after service this morning, my daughters and I were walking down the hall to retrieve the young man from the nursery.  As we reached the door, which was packed with other parents having their own joyful reunions with toddlers, it seemed that time slowed down for a few seconds, almost as if I was supposed to see this wonderful glimpse of life play out in great detail.  When some of the parents faded back with their children, we could see Ray playing on a colorful, padded half-circle toy the nursery came equipped with.  He saw the commotion at the door, but seemed to be having too much fun to care.  Then he caught a familiar shape out of the corner of his eye and you could almost hear him think out loud as he snapped back a second look, “HEY, there’s my SISSY!!!”  I’ve never seen the boy move so fast as he leapt from the padded toy into his sister’s waiting arms.  His smiles and joy took the place of any fun he was having in the nursery because he knew we were headed home.  No more nursery, as good as it was.  Home and his family are WAY better.  Beautiful scene.

So as I continued down the hall to head for the car, my mind and heart were flooded with thoughts and feelings about the “nursery” we’re all in right now.  We may have a fun place to play with colorful, padded, half-circles and baskets full of puzzles and toy distractions.  We may have some of the best snacks and juice drinks this “nursery” has to offer.  There may be plenty of grown-ups that love us and friends our age to play with.  We may even have the opportunity, if we so choose, to take a nap while we’re here and sleep away the troubles we anxiously worry through.  But when it comes down to it, there’s nothing like going home.  Nothing.

Someday our Big Brother will come and retrieve us when the service is over, although time won’t slow down.  Like a flash of lightning or as fast as a steel traps snaps closed, He will show up at the door of our “nursery”, scoop us up into His arms, and take us home.  Nothing will matter of the world we’re leaving behind.  Not our house or the t-bone cooking on the grill.  Not the laundry we need to finish or those dirty dishes in the sink.  Not the back nine holes on the prettiest day of the week or the final coat of wax on the mustang.  The dogs will go hungry, the bills won’t get paid, and the grass will grow tall.  WE ARE GOING HOME!!!   We’ll hold onto Him tightly and smile like we’ve never smiled before.  He’ll take us away to see our Father and it will finally be time to go home.

I’m homesick… again.


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Father@FortyTwo #12 – “Keeps On Going”

My place of employment, Barry-Wehmiller, values leadership and training its associates to become great leaders.  Our CEO, Bob Chapman, has been telling us for years that we sell capital equipment in the packaging industry and aftermarket parts to fund our internal university so that building great people leaders can take place.  We get regular insight from Bob on leadership, and this past week he sent out a bulleted list of characteristics of a good leader.  One bullet point really caught my eye and was re-enforced this past weekend during the Father’s Day celebration my family and I had the pleasure to experience.

“Leadership is not just what happens when you’re there, it’s what happens when you’re not there.”       – Ken Blanchard, from The Leadership Pill

I was fortunate enough to have a friend for a long time, a fellow deacon, named Ken.  Ken was blessed with a huge family and he served them all as an example Christian patriarch should.  Ken’s family is very reflective of the kind of man he was… playful, stern, accepting, loving, and loyal.  His influence reaches not only through the lives of his children, a hope that every parent has, but also through his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  With a family as large as Ken had (7 kids, at least 18 grandchildren, and I loose count of his great-grandchildren), you would think that he wouldn’t have room or time for those outside of his family but that simply wasn’t the case.  He often accepted others as family (such is the case with me) and had an uncountable amount of good friends.  He was a good ol’ country boy, a hero firefighter and ambulance EMT, a member of the armed services, and a devout fisherman.  You couldn’t help but love Ken.

Well over twenty years ago, Ken and his family (not just his immediate family but also his brothers, nieces, nephews, their children and grandchildren, etc.) established an annual tradition of camping at Bennett Springs State park in Missouri over the Father’s Day weekend.  All family members and those friends who wanted to join would drag their RVs, campers, or tents to “Bennett”, grab their trout tags for the next morning, get up at the crack of dawn, and fish to their daily limit.  Most would be done fishing before noon, get together and share stories of conquest or those bites on the line that “got away”, and come together in the evening to enjoy the day’s catch.  All of the men would deep fry the fish and potatoes and the women would put together the sides and desserts and there would be a grand feast of one hundred people or more.  You really couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate fathers and spend time with your family and friends in nature’s beauty.

Unfortunately my good friend Ken, who was waist deep into his eighties, passed away this past year.  He was very tough and had battled all kinds of cancer, including bone cancer, and heart disease for many years.  As is the case with all of us some day, regardless of how tough we are, Ken lost the fight and decided that eternity in Heaven was better.  It was crushing in a way to attend his funeral and see his family without their captain.  Many thoughts flood your mind as an outsider… “What’s going to happen now?  Are the kids and his wife going to be okay?  Who’s going to take up the mantle and lead the family?  Are they going to hold together?”

As the previously mentioned bullet point from Mr. Blanchard suggests, a great leader’s teachings and personality still influences those around them, even when he’s not there.  This past weekend, Ken’s family still got together at Bennett on Father’s Day… without their father.  His wife drove his old pick-up truck an hour and forty-five minutes to the camp site.  One of his many grand-daughters wore his pair of overalls and hat for our celebration on Saturday, his family were all still standing in a stream catching trout at 6:30 in the morning, and there were more people than I’ve ever seen eating said trout in the evening at the larger feast of fish.  All of the men ate last after having deep-fried buckets and buckets of fish fillets.  Beyond all of those important traditions, the ones most important… accepting others into the fold, joking around and having fun, loving one another, appreciating the blessings that have been poured into your life and family is everything… those still stood the test of their leader not being there to share in them.  A challenge to you and I may be this… what are we doing today that will establish tomorrow for our children, and their children, and their children?  Are we being that leader in our family that will be talked about for many years and influencing the future of our family in a positive way?  Are you encouraging behaviors and establishing practices that bring love, family loyalty, hard-work, forgiveness and hope to the persons who should be the most sacred to you while you live your life?

I have to believe Ken was smiling this Father’s Day as he fished in Heaven with the Master Fisherman.  You know they have to have at least a 12 fish limit per day up there!  :)

Other greats points of interest for the weekend:

  • I got to take my 20 month-old son fishing for the first time!  Ray thinks that fishing rods are swords so he kept hitting our rods with his little Iron Man rod yelling “Die, die!”  (His middle sister taught him that with Nerf swords)  Needless to say, within 15 minutes, he and I were sitting on the shore enjoying a snack of Cheez-Its and watching the others fish.
  • My oldest daughter Anna caught her limit of 4, being the only one in our family to catch anything.
  • Both of my daughters nearly drown in the swimming pool.  Abby was having difficulty in the deep-end of the pool and her sister, who isn’t a very strong swimmer herself, jumped in and was nearly drown by her panicked little sister.  Anna managed to grab a rope in the pool and pull them both to safety.  I told Abby that if she ever doubted that her sister loves her, this action speaks louder than any words.  (John 15:13)  Thank you Jesus for protecting them both!!!!  (Welling up!)  Anna, you are my hero.
  • I had a wonderful walk with Abby along the road next to the stream on our last day.  I really enjoy talking with Abby when we share time like that.  She has so many questions about life.

Happy Father’s Day all!


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You killed WHAT from your stand?

Sometimes, if you pay close attention, funny things chase you down and you don’t need to do anything but let them catch you…

So my wife and I are of course in Wal-Mart this evening picking up a few things before a bad winter storm is supposed to roll through.  Part of my purchase are three boxes of ammo.  It seemed like it took quite a long time to get through line but once I got to the cashier, I understood why.

We’ll just call him Michael (because that was his name).  You could tell he was a young man who was a little on the nerdy side, and one who didn’t get out much.  (I heard him tell the customer in front of us that his computer was “his solace”.  Anyway, Michael was a bit of a chatty Kathy and he had the long line to show for it.

So like I said, I pull up and tell him that I have three boxes of ammo waiting at the customer service desk (Wal-Mart sporting goods people take it to the front if you don’t buy it in the back of the store) and he somehow lets the Customer Service gal know through his keyboard so she can retrieve it.  As we’re waiting for her, Michael decided to tell me all about his first gun-shooting experience with his Dad and how he wasn’t ready for the noise or the kick-back and what not.  (As I looked at my wife to see her eyes rolling into the back of her head, we smiled at each other.)  Again… long line and it keeps getting longer.

The Customer Service gal finally gets there, we tell her where to retrieve the ammo, and then Michael proceeds to talk about his computer hunting experiences and how he enjoys aiming.  Then, the conversation between Michael and I went a little something like this:

Michael: “I’ve never been real hunting.  I don’t know if I could actually kill an animal or not.  I mean, I could probably shoot a deer because they’re kind of ugly.  I know that I couldn’t kill something cute like a kitty cat or anything like that.”

Me: (kicking up the best red-neck voice I can muster up) “Yeah… I can’t remember the last time I went “kitty cat” hunting Michael.”

I actually kept a pretty straight face through it all, but the wife and I had one fun ride home.  We kept laughing about “setting up my tree-stand by a sand pit”, and being able to tell when my prey was approaching because “I could hear the jingle bells.”  My wife had the best one though… she said, “I wonder what your call would sound like… MEOW! MEOW!”  BWAH! HA! HA! HA!

There may be a thousand ways to skin a cat, but you gotta shoot it first.  Cute or not.  :)

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Father@FortyOne #11 – A Great Father’s Day Present

***NOTE*** I started this blog post several months ago on Father’s Day and finally got back to it.  Although it’s history, I felt it was important to finish.

Dawn and the kids purchased a new weed-eater for my Father’s Day gift this weekend.  I’ve never owned one before and I was so excited to get that puppy fired up and cutting into the jungle I call my backyard.  It has the ability to accept many accessories and the one they got came with an edger attachment also.  How cool!

While the weed-eater satisfied an inner “guy” type of desire, it wasn’t the best present I received over the holiday.  Sure… breakfast in bed was great, the touching greeting cards (one of which was one of the coolest, sound-producing Star Wars cards I’ve ever experienced) made me well up with tears, but then I got the phone call that would change my Sunday.  I’ve recently had a wonderful widow added to the list of ladies I attend to as a deacon at our church.  She lives in an assisted care complex and a week ago I gave her a ride to church for the first time.  I told her last week after returning her home that if she ever needed a ride, to give me a call on a Saturday evening and I would be glad to pick her up.  No call last night, so Dawn and I made plans to leave town and meet up with her family after church.  That is, until the phone rang this morning.  My new widow asked if I could pick her up and take her to church.  I told her, “Sure, no problem!”  Dawn asked what was going on, I told her that plans were changing and I had an opportunity to answer Jesus calling on me.  Satan tried to temp me with disappointment, but I wouldn’t let him have it.

So we’re riding to church and the widow says, “Oh, it’s Father’s Day today, isn’t it?” and I said “Yep!”  She told me her Father has been gone for 51 years and she still misses him.  I asked her in an attempt to get to know her better, “So what is the one thing you remember most about your Dad?” At this point, my Heavenly Father gave me a Father’s Day present that overshadowed the weed-eater by a long shot.

She said that her father was a great provider and the strength of their family, but he wasn’t an overly emotional man and rarely said, “I love you” to his children.  Her story about the way he died proved that he really knew how to love better than most of us though.  She said that in 1961, her Dad and a buddy went to the Meramec river near Eureka to fish and train their dogs.  She said they heard some screaming upstream and ran to find out if someone needed help.  Five children, ranging from age 10 to as low as 6, were having difficulties swimming and would have drown if her Dad had not been there.  She said that all they could see was the children’s hair.  He drown that day, saving a little boy and giving his life for another.

(At this point I’m hoping she’s not looking at me in the car because I’ve got tears streaming down my face.)

She said that it was very difficult after her father died.  She said her mother sort of “shut down” after the drowning, and she had to pick up the matriarch role for awhile because she was the oldest girl in the family.  The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, an organization with a two-fold mission to recognize those who had given their lives to rescue others and provide assistance to their families left behind, wanted to award her family a Carnegie Medal and award on a TV program.  My widow said that she turned it down because she felt that her father wouldn’t want people making a fuss, but the Commission did help her family financially growing up.  ($500 per month for as long as her mother didn’t remarry)  I looked it up on the Carnegie Hero Fund website and sure enough, he was among the awardees:

House Springs, Missouri

William E. Johnson died after helping to save Willard Wiedeman, Jr., from drowning, Eureka, Missouri, September 10, 1961. Willard, Jr., 8, who could not swim, lost his footing on a sand bar in the Meramec River and was carried into water 14 feet deep 45 feet from the bank. He called for help as he alternately sank and rose. Johnson, 52, moulder, who was greatly overweight, swam toward the boy. He then called for help, but continued to Willard, Jr., and took hold of him. Both were submerged briefly twice, and Johnson called out that he could not retain his hold. The boy’s mother swam to them, took her son from Johnson, and towed him to the bank. Johnson again called for help. Willard Wiedeman, father of the boy, entered the water fully clothed except for his shoes and swam to Johnson, who by then had become inert and was almost completely submerged. Wiedeman lifted Johnson, who was 60 pounds heavier than he, to the surface and attempted to tow him toward the bank. Johnson sank, causing Wiedeman to be submerged and swallow some water. Wiedeman then surfaced with Johnson and, nearly exhausted, called for help. With a man holding one end of a rope tied around her waist, Wiedeman’s wife swam to her husband and Johnson as they sank again. Wiedeman returned to the surface alone, badly dazed. His wife grasped his hands, and both then were drawn to the bank by the rope. Willard, Jr., soon recovered. The body of Johnson later was recovered.

She said losing her father was a traumatic event in her life that left her changed for many years, until one night that she had a dream when she was about 20 years old.  She said in the dream she could see her father walking up the road toward her house.  She said he was old and worn-looking, but she could tell he was happy.  She said after that dream she knew he was alright and she was able to move on with her life.

I was completely speechless the rest of the way to church.  What can you say to that?  I thought about her story the rest of that Father’s Day and reflected on how I measured to that.  I think about whether I’m doing enough for my children and pointing them in the direction that God would like them to travel.  I think about my responsibility to train them up right and teach them how to love others.  If put in a similar situation as my widow’s father, how would I react?  Although a quiet man and not very affectionate during his time with his children, he showed his children the greatest example of love you can possibly show.  She said his memorial stone says something similar to John 15:13, “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for someone else.”

I like my weed-eater, but I like God’s gift of that story better.  I’m glad I was obedient that day to be blessed by the widow’s story.  Thank you Martha.


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I’m On Star Wars Remix!!!

I’ve been loving the website Star Wars Remix for a while now.  I think it’s cool that people make Star Wars art out of common, everyday items and this blog posts them.  Well, after having a snack at my desk yesterday afternoon, I thought I would put together some art and see if they would post it… AND THEY DID!!! 

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Leave George Alone!

I just finished reading this article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/magazine/george-lucas-red-tails.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2

It ticks me off to no end that “fanboys” give George Lucas so much crap about HIS MOVIES!!!  They are his people!  It doesn’t matter if you watched them 100 times a piece and spent countless dollars on action figures, they are still his movies!  I guarantee you that all of you are able to dream a little bigger because of the creativity George has been gifted with and has shared with all of us over the years, and you have the audacity to say things like he ruined the movies for you!  Brother!

Mr. Lucas, I hope you enjoy doing what you really want to do with the rest of the time God gives you.  I for one look forward to seeing what you got!

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I Wanna Fit Into a 2X T-Shirt! #2 – (Kenny=0, Coke and Christmas Food = 7)

I Wanna Fit Into 2X T-Shirts!

I haven’t given a progress report since October on this little quest of mine, so I thought I would “fess up”, now that the New Year has rolled over and it’s time to start things fresh.

I have made ZERO progress since the last post, and that is honestly a positive.  Over Thanksgiving and Christmas I put back on 7 lbs., topping out at 351 lbs.  I’ll completely admit that I am addicted to Coca Cola.  I could go several months without having one, and then I can have just a sip of Coke and suddenly I need 3 a day.  It’s sad.  I will no longer judge smokers who keep trying to quit smoking but keep failing.  I will now commend them for continuing to get back up on the wagon after falling off time and time again.  At least they haven’t given up trying.  This addiction is a very serious thing for my “Husky” human shell.  In my older years it’s not dealing with processing sugar very well so I gain weight rather quickly while drinking sugary drinks of the soft variety.  So between drinking more than my fair share of Cokes (which are so tempting when they are stored in an icy-cold glass bottle) and eating beautiful and rich foods over the holidays my body began to resist.  On the 27th of December at a family holiday gathering, I think my blood sugar hit the ceiling so bad that I thought I was going to pass out.  My body is having issues regulating my blood sugar levels and it’s been staying high.  Obviously, I don’t want that to happen or feel bad continously so I’m getting back on this “2X t-shirt” wagon again.

A 2x Darth Vader shirt I can't buy and enjoy! GRRR!

A 2x Darth Vader shirt I can't buy and enjoy! GRRR!

So since that night, I’ve completely changed what I’m doing.  Coke is completely out!  I’m really limiting or eliminating sugary snacks from my diet.  I’ve been re-reading the book Eat This, Not That and have incorporated a lot of the suggestions the book’s author lends about the “8 Foods You Should Eat Everyday” into my diet and it’s working.  I really like his explanation of what is in some foods that make them so beneficial for you.  Like did you know that the Walnut is one of the best nuts you can eat?!  It’s supposed to be awesome on many different levels.  So far I have lost the 7 lbs. I gained over the holiday, thus putting me back to square one again. 

I’ve also been doing a lot of praying because I know I can’t do this alone.  The Holy Spirit is going to have to kick in where I begin to trail off because when it comes to food I am a weak human being.  In the past, I allowed the Holy Spirit to take control of my eating habits before a 72 hours of prayer and praise a couple of years ago at church.  For 10 days straight, I did a vegetable-and-water-only fast and it was a great time building my relationship with the Spirit that way.  The Holy Spirit and I would go grocery shopping together and It would direct what I should buy and eat.  I just listened and followed.  Over the span of 10 days I ended up losing 13 lbs., but more importantly I grew closer to God by obeying Him.  It also proved that if I listen to the Holy Spirit and not to the temptation and lies that constantly swirl around me, things will always improve.  The devil likes to try and convince you to just accept who you are and not try, and for those 10 days I didn’t accept what he was slinging.  He is out to destroy me, one Coke at a time.  The big jerk!

So here I am 2 months later starting over.  I’ve lost that time, but I still want to fit into that 2X t-shirt so I’m back on the wagon.  That, and I don’t want my pancreas to shut down!  ;)

I don’t believe in New Year Resolutions because I think a great majority of the time we’re just lying to ourselves, but I will promise to report more often this year on this quest.  I’ve been seeing a lot of cool t-shirts I can’t wear and I want them in a BAD way!

Current Weight: 344 lbs.

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Father@FortyOne #10 – “Welcome Son”

“Kenny?” my wife said as she came back into our room.  The bathroom light filled the dark hallway.

It’s a difficult task to wake me from a deep sleep.  I use a machine and mask to help me combat sleep apnea and when I am under its spell, there’s very little the non-sleep world can do to bring me back from the void but pleasant world of REM sleep.  No dreams exist.  No body movement.  Nothing but me, a mask, and a machine.

“Kenny, wake up!” she said again, with a bit of joy in her voice.

The only thing that’s been preventing me from staying in REM-sleep world on a regular basis lately is the lady that shares the other side of my bed.  Over the past couple of months there have been many sleepless nights due to frequent trips to the bathroom through the night as well as crying and groaning from the pain of pregnancy after the age of forty.  No matter how tired I am, and I am EXTREMELY tired, my heart goes out to my wife who I admire for carrying our child and it’s difficult for me to settle into a good “machine” sleep.

“I think my water just broke!” she said excitedly as I slowly rolled over and pressed the button to shut off my apnea machine.  I unclipped the mask, and my eyes tried to focus on the digital alarm clock in our room.  The red numbers came in and out of a blur, and I realized why it was so difficult to come to… it was 2:18 AM.

“Are you sure?” I said as I sat up rubbing my hair.  We had already gone to the hospital a few days earlier with some false labor and I know both of us didn’t want to go through that again.  Our hopes kept getting dashed that the blessed day would arrive.  We would walk around a mall, or the city park, Wal-Mart, or Target… she would have big contractions but the minute we stopped walking, so did the big contractions.  I bet we walked at least ten miles over the weekend.  I mentioned I was tired, right?

“I’m pretty sure about this Hon!” she said.  Even though I knew my wife was in unfamiliar territory with her water breaking (because her water didn’t break with either one of the girls), she seemed to have a “my-pain-and-suffering-is-going-to-be-over-soon” tone to her voice.  Now that I look back, it was kind of cute.

“Alright… I’ll get the girls up.” I said as I shuffled down the hall.  They both were about as easy to get us as I was, but we managed to throw on some clothes and get Mrs. Waddles down the front steps and into the car.  We really were prepared for weeks.  Bags for everyone as well as every possible media type (photos, video, laptops, etc.) were already in the trunk of the car.  We just needed to load up the two stars of the show and get moving.

Running on adrenaline and a fear of deer breaking through the tree line at any given moment going down interstate 44, our family prayed for safety as we traveled down the road toward Missouri Baptist hospital.  We talked about the date for our child’s birthday… 11/7/11.  Seven eleven.  I instantly thought of Slushies and Beef Jerky.  Mmmmmm jerky.  Shake it off Kenny!  Eyes on the road fella!!  We reached the hospital in about 45 minutes because there is no traffic at that time in the morning.  Only truck drivers, highway patrolman (Shout out to my buddy Phil!), and husbands racing their pregnant spouses to their hospital of choice are on the road at that ungodly hour of the morning.

Parents were called, already existing children shuffled off to the waiting room to set up camp, water was boiled, clean towels were found… we were going to have a baby!  Dawn got an epidural, but not from her favorite anesthesiologist Dan, so it didn’t take as well as she wanted.  Her left leg was completely numb to the point that she couldn’t move it at all.  We talked about re-enacting the scene from Talladega Nights where Ricky Bobby stuck a knife in his leg just to help time pass, but the nurse shot me the ol’ stink eye so we decided to just concentrate on the whole labor thing.  They started her up on pitocin (Oxytocin) to get things moving along… and then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

While we waited, I set up my laptop in the delivery room and gave a few updates on Facebook about the progress.  Although it was just Dawn and I in the delivery room… I felt like we had a hundred close family and friends encouraging and praying with us through the process.  A lot of people are hesitant to share their lives, sometimes very intimately, on Facebook or Twitter but I can honestly say it was an uplifting experience having all of you available when we needed you.  I wanted to share this moment because it’s rare and special and something we couldn’t do 5-10 years ago.

The experience finally reached its apex at 4:53PM.  I served as encourager, numb left-leg manager, audio-visual guy, photographer, social media updater, and crying husband as Kenneth Ray Hoff, III took his first breath and proved how healthy his lungs really are.  He had dark hair, ten fingers, ten toes… and all the needed equipment to be a boy (thanks God!).  He entered our world perfectly and as they wiped off his old experience and swaddled him into his new situation I smiled and said, “Welcome son.”  :)

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Father@FortyOne #9 – “Anticipation”

Do you remember that Heintz Ketchup commercial from the 70′s? (Here it is on YouTube for my more youthful friends out there:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoLoyg3JKRQ&NR=1)   Well, that’s more or less our lives right now in the Hoff family household.  Not necessarily waiting on ketchup to come slowly out of the bottle, but for a certain baby boy to make his grand appearance.  (Cue the Carly Simon theme music!)

Nesting to the nth degree has been going on for about two months.  (Although you wouldn’t necessarily know by looking at the house.)  Dawn’s mostly finished sorting all of the shower gifts and getting them put away.  She’ll soon shift to writing “Thank You” cards because she really can’t do much in the way of housework in her condition.  We’ve purchased a Pack-N-Play for little bits.  We still need to get a car seat/stroller combo, and will probably do that today.  The video camera has a new tape and a charged battery.  The digital camera is ready to go.  We all have overnight bags packed to go to the hospital, complete with snacks, books, and entertainment items.  Everyone’s numbers are programmed into three different cell phones for that “we’re headed to the hospital” phone call… now all we need are some contractions.

Dawn’s last doctor’s appointment earlier in the week wasn’t exactly what she wanted to hear.  This past month she has been suffering with aches and pains she didn’t have with the other two pregnancies.  Bad hip pain and going to the bathroom 28 times (on average) per night hasn’t helped her get a lot of rest, which means I have a lot of sleepless nights also.  She often tells me, “Your son keeps kicking me!” like I can really do anything about it.   To sum up her feelings, I could put it this way… “GET THIS KID OUT OF ME NOW!!!!“  The doctor told her that the baby wasn’t showing any signs of “opening the door” yet, which I think disappointed her.  She’s a strong woman, but I think she’s really starting to reach her limit.  She showed me a website last night with ten different ways to induce labor culminating with some recipe for labor-inducing cookies of all things.  I’m fixing to make her two dozen of those puppies!

Now there are still a few things we’re not prepared for, but will be eventually.  Some of the casualties of a surprise child in your 40′s include:

  • We don’t have a room for him.  It cracks me up when friends ask, “So is the nursery ready?”  Or “What color is the nursery?”  The poor child will have to stay with Mom and Dad in their room for probably the first six months or so.  We’re thinking we can build a room in the attic.  Right now though, he’s going to have to go the same route as another Baby we all know and love who didn’t have a “room at the inn.”  Thankfully he can stay in a baby bed, rather than a manger.
  • Both of our vehicles are four-seaters… not five.  I think we can squeeze a car seat between the girls in the back seat, but it’s going to be comfy for awhile.  I don’t think they’ll mind though.  All it will take is Sweet Baby Ray flashing them a smile and they’ll forget about being squished more than normal.  We’ll eventually get a minivan or something like that, but for the moment… we’ll be a VERY close family.  :)

I think those are minor, missing items… right?  Regardless, we’re about as ready as these Hoff’s can get.  We can’t wait!

I’m checking out some trampolines on ebay while writing… I’m not sure trampolines made it on the ten labor-inducing methods from that website, but I bet it wouldn’t hurt to try.  Between bounces I can hand her a cookie.  (Eyebrows going up and down!)  :)

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