Summer's in Full Swing!

Summer is officially in full swing at the Hoekstras. This week and last have been just short of crazy. As the mom, I take full responsibility, and although no one has complained (yet!) I think all 3 of us are looking forward to a few of those "lazy days of summer" soon! Our days have been starting with the kids each doing 2 chores and 2 learning type things. Next, they fill their snack jars ... 3 snacks go into the jar each morning and when they're gone, they're gone! Last week Ella had all 3 gone by 11am one day, but the next day she was more careful! :)

Last week's schedule included Noah's basketball camp, Ella's gymnastics, Ella's cheer camp, & a few afternoons by South Side Pool. This week hasn't been any slower paced; Noah's been at Hope Soccer Camp from 9-3 each day, while Ella is still doing gymnastics and has added swimming lessons. We had my family over last night for dinner (Happy Father's Day Dad!) and playgroup at the park this afternoon. We're hosting a "Yea! It's finally Summer!" party Friday night with a group of friends and their kids. Saturday will be fun too ... the annual badmitton tournament at the Linns. Paul and I have been up late many a night this week strategizing on how we can get that trophy BACK into Hoekstra hands :) This Sunday has officially been declared "Boat Day!!" and I think Paul already has the beer on ice. We're planning to meet a group of friends out on the beach, but I don't dare tell Paul the forecast doesn't look so great ... if it rains I'm taking a nap!

Noah couldn't be more excited about Little League this year. The A's had their final game on Monday night. The coach announced that Noah was 1 of 2 players from his team to make the All Star Team. He'll be playing in that much-anticipated game on the 27th.

Summer is such a fun time; especially with Noah and Ella. I've probably scheduled way too much and have made a mental note for next year. BUT, they're such good kids and really seem to be enjoying everything. They have so much energy and so many interests. It's fun to watch them learn new things, grow in areas they already have an interest in, make new friends, thrive in new social settings, and enjoy this new routine. It's not hard to remember the looong days of winter, so we're going to take advantage all we can of these long summer days!


Happy BDay Paul!

Today my husband turns 35! Happy Birthday Paul! Can you believe you've been on this earth for 35 years?!? Seems like just yesterday you were such a stud in your Nautica sweatshirt posing for your senior pictures. :)

Birthdays are a funny thing. We say the older we get the less meaning they have. The less importance they have in our lives. Maybe that's true for some. For me, I think I need birthdays more the older I get. I need the "good stuff" that birthdays bring as years pass on by.

When we're little, we know we're loved, we know our parents are "rooting" for us, praying the best into our lives. We know (or at least we believe) that the word is full of opportunities, hope & great things. As we get older, it's not quite as clear. We think we're probably loved by a few people, but deep down we wonder why. Love is more complicated. We think others might still be rooting for us, but secretly wonder if there are some who might be doing just the opposite ... hoping for us to fail. We want to continue to believe the world is full of hope & opportunities, but we watch the news. We know of friends who are suffering. We've learned first hand that life is hard; and not just in the cliche sort of way; it really IS hard. For real.

So then come birthdays. One after another. Faster and faster each year. When we're little; they're a big deal, and rightfully so. But, as we age, don't we need the same sort of celebration? Don't we still long for good friends and loving family who are glad we've been in their lives for another year? Don't we want to be celebrated ... at least a little? I know I sure do. I know I want to be reminded that I'm loved, wished the best, reminded that the world can be a good place.

And, so, my sweet husband, I hope on this day you feel loved. I hope you get lots of warm fuzzies from those around you. I hope that when the kids give you their homemade cards you'll sense how very much they love you. I hope when you eat dinner on your "you are special" plate, you'll be able to enjoy the spotlight. I hope when you blow out your candles, you'll realize how cherished you are. I hope you know that I'm rooting for you, that I believe in you, that I'm so thankful I've been able to spend year 35 by your side.

Happy Birthday!



Holland has been hit ... with lots of rain that is! We arrived home late last night in the middle of a thunderstorm. Paul and I sat back casually in the family room to talk about our night & watch the thunderstorms pass through on the radar. We're not talking a little rain, thunder and lightning ... we're talking STORMS! Paul kind of laughed and said he's glad we're not living on 29th Street anymore ... they are surely taking bucket fulls of water off the basement floors. It's nice to be dry. :) Hey Paul, I said, maybe we should check our OWN basement. A few second later I heard from below "We've got water! Come quick!!"

We've never had water in our basement. We never thought it was a problem. This past week the sprinkling guys were here trenching in a new line, right near the foundation of the house. The water was pouring off the roof right into the new trench, right near where a pipe is going through the basement wall. Enough said ... we had water! There's a tiny drain in the room that was flooding, so I stood with broom in hand attempting to get the water into the drain. Paul went out into the pouring rain to figure something out. He tarred, he dug new trenches, he put up tarps, he drove to Hamilton to get a wet/dry vac ... all while I swept. Thankfully, we got the water under control and no damage was done. It poured again this afternoon and I have to say my heart started beating a little faster.

Apparently we weren't the only ones with trouble. Our neighbors basement window blew in and they had a professional pumping gallons of water out this morning...with all their furniture, beds, clothes, etc stacked in their garage. A lady on the news says she got stuck in her car while water came in up to her seat. We went to check on the boat and an entire sea wall had caved in. We waded in calf-deep water to get to the dock. Kids were using knee boards to "surf" down the street. We found a dead rabbit in the yard ... we think he drowned. Poor little guy! Some water in the basement and a few tense moments last night didn't seem nearly as bad this morning as we heard other's stories ...

We hope all of you stayed high and dry. We hope you continue to ... the weather says more storms tonight and tomorrow. I've got my broom ready!!


It's a Girl!

Tonight we had dinner with the Bush Family to celebrate Julie's 28th birthday. Partially through the meal Julie and Bryan got big grins on their faces and told us their news ... IT'S A GIRL! We knew they were going to "find out", but didn't think it would be until later this month. What a great surprise on an already great night.

My sister is having a daughter! Wow, that seems wierd to type. Lots of times when I think of Julie I remember a little girl with ponytails and ribbons. I think of temper tantrums and bug phobias. I think of a little girl who can quote every word from Horton Hatches an Egg and a teenager with lots of friends, lots of passion and a kindness that runs throughout her being. Of course, Julie hasn't been a little girl or teenager for awhile now, and mostly when I think of her I know her as a great friend, a sister who would do anything for me, an amazing adult woman ... but still, I knew her when my Mom & Dad and I had to take a long walk because we couldn't stand her crying. I knew her when she stomped away from the dinner table in a rage only to bang into the dining room wall. She's my sister, and she's having a daughter!!

Julie, I hope your little girl will fill your home with giggles. I hope she'll love dress up clothes and twirl and twirl until she gets dizzy. I hope she'll line up all her babies every night for their feedings. I hope she'll color you countless pictures, and get mad at you when she discovers them in the trash. I hope Bryan will make up a game like "Hank" and she'll end up in tears, and then ask for more. I hope Indy is kind to her, and she to him. Secretly I hope she'll have a sister born about 13 months from her birthday so she can know the kind bond you have with Abby (but I won't write that here)

I know she'll fill your heart with memories you'll cherish forever. I know she'll teach you about love you've never imagined you could feel. I know she'll cause you to question things you thought you had already figured out. You will be a fantastic mom, and she's one blessed little girl.

Last day of Kindergarten!

Where has the year gone? It seems like only yesterday I was holding Ella’s hand, walking her down the street for her first day of “real school”. Today I anticipate walking down that same road, saying good-bye to her teacher & friends for the summer. She doesn’t realize it, but 1st grade is so much different. The work is different, the teachers different, the school day different, just different.

I wish we could do Kindergarten all over again. I wish I could turn back the hands of time a year, maybe even 2. I would do some things differently, with our days at home together, and I would do some things the same. I would play more, tickle more, have more fun. I would go to all the tea parties I was invited to, even if they interrupted my schedule. I would allow more books from the libary, instead of "just" 5. I would stay in PJs longer on those cold winter mornings. I would still be intentional about kindness, telling the truth, being respectful. I would teach her to tie her shoes BEFORE Kindergarten started (sorry Mrs. Johnson!). I wouldn’t be so worried about dirty shirts, dirty hands, dirty faces. I would continue to try and say “yes” way more than “no”. I would keep saying “I love you” as much as I could without being obnoxious, along with “I’m proud of you” and “way to go”. I would keep her bedtime routine until she begs me to stop. I would continue to insist on hugs.

Although 1st grade is looming right around the corner, first comes summer! We’re going to have a great one! Lots of time together. Lots of learning. Lots of loving. Lots of playing. Lots of books. My prayer for this summer is that the kids and I will love more, respect more, learn more about God. That we’ll build memories that will carry us into the fall.

I want Ella to stay young forever, but I also want her to grow and develop and become a beautiful young lady. I just want it to go slowly. I want to enjoy every part of her; and not miss anything. I want her to someday look back and know without a doubt that she was loved. That she was liked. That her mom did the very best she could, and I want that to be enough.
I’ll miss her next year when she’s gone every day. I like spending time with her. I like being the primary influence throughout her day. I know she needs to go, but most days I wish she could stay just a little longer….

The good news is that tomorrow is summer vacation, and 1st grade doesn’t start for 3 whole months. We have lots of days ahead … I pledge to make the most of them!