Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Ah yes, the day we all wait and prepare for, gone in a twinkling of an eye...but it was fun. It just seemed to be awfully "loud" this year. Not sure why...could it be one more screaming and running little kid adds that much noise to the mix? Maybe. Christmas Eve was in shifts as we have 2 working Santas in the family and that is thier big night. Swiss steak and creamed peas with all the trimmings...that's our tradition. But I think Dad lost control this year and it seemed like everybody opened thier gifts at the same time. Between Danny telling everyone that he thought the gift amount limit was $100 and that's what he spent (liar) to a gift from Susie of three singing puppies in a basket "barking" out carols...it was total chaos. Why am I even suprised?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
It started with Danny. He bought a beautiful Santa suit and worked Christmas parties and stuff. Made enought $ to pay for thier Christmas gifts that first year. He got burned out after the 2nd year. So, he sold the suit to Jeff. Now Jeff is working "santa gigs" all through the season....paying for thier Christmas for 3 years now. Brother-in-law Bill has now entered the biz. He plays Santa at city tree lightings and local malls. Who would have thought I would have a family of Santas? It just seems twisted somehow...but then again, that's our family....a lot twisted...in a Merry Christmas way...... so Dalaynee knows that Santa's not real, just a guy in a costume that her daddy plays once in a while. The other night she put on the fake "jolly stomach" that Jeff has....went to Jayne and said, Mama, what do you want to Santa? Jayne first said "peace on earth"....Laynee gave her a puzzled look...then Jayne says, shoes, shoes, I would love some shoes. Ok said Santa Laynee Jo...and runs to her mother's closet and delivers her a old pair of hiking boots. So, I guess we don't have to wonder...who will wear the red velvet suit next in the family.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
...so we sojourned to Huntington Beach last night to see Danny's lights on his house. He always adds an artistic flair to the whole thing. And....shocker..Cal got his hair cut....he has a face...and blue eyes! Who knew? Ain't Christmas time excitin?
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
We had a women's ministry thing at church the other night...something we do every year...called the Christmas Bell. Instead of applause, everybody brings a bell and rings it..We sang like Silver Bells and Jingle Bells...it was fun. Mom had to play a grandma in a skit...which was type-casting to say the least. Jayne directed, so Dalaynee helped out in the practices. Thought she was one of the kids...she did real good. When "grandma" asked the kids what are some of the traditions of Christmas...Dalaynee said, well, we had a big snowman at our house and somebody tooked it. (thier big snowman in the yard got ripped off...Christmas in CA) Even Susie joined in on the fun. Twas a great way to start the season....
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Cal is playing football this year, I'm so proud. He's a freshman and his dad wanted him to try it and his mom wanted him in band...needless to say, the dad won this round. But I wanted to show you how cute he looked in his little outfit. "It's a uniform, Lauri" Cal-dan says with great seriousness. But, he says, the coolest part of being on the team is on Friday, they have to wear thier jerseys to school....Oh, says, I...you like wearing the get up? Nope, he says....the cheerleaders talk to ya. Does my nephew have his priorities straight or what...like I said, I'm so proud!
I’m thankful for the winds of autumn Leaves turning orange and brown I’m thankful for cars Where the top can go down I’m thankful for sweet corn and summer vacations To spend a few days With all the relation I’m thankful for tv’s And DVD players And that Mexican bean dip With all of the layers For the sun in the morning And the moon at night I’d like to be thankful For a little more height For sweet nieces and nephews With a bunch of blond hair Who have me wrapped round their fingers And I don’t even care I’m thankful for music And mountains and skies And especially thankful For cute, single guys I give thanks for cell phones text messaging and more For a light in the window And a wreath on the door I’m thankful for goldfish And trambolines and rocks And honey nut Cherrios And warm fuzzy socks I’m thankful for cameras And eggs by the dozens For aunts and for uncles And for 100’s of cousins I’m thankful for my job So I can make a half-decent living But mostly I’m just thankful It’s finally Thanksgiving!
This is my editorial from the last issue of the Church Newsletter that is part of my job. For those VH cousins, out there, I took a little "editorial" license...but you get the idea. Aaron, thanks for the pic...you're my hero for getting it taken...did you even get into the shot this time....I don't think so...that is just not right..... I like to take pictures. It brings me joy. It doesn’t always bring joy to the person in my photographs, however. Just ask the ERC staff. I have a whole wall full of smiling and not so much smiling faces in my office. But in the end, they are always glad my Canon and I are around….I really believe that. We gathered for a Van Hofwegen reunion this summer. In beautiful Canby Grove, Oregon. It was a great blessing. For 3 days we ate, talked, laughed and worshipped together in that place. 3 generations strong, with the 4th one gaining on us quickly. And we took lots of pictures. I was able to put together a slide show of some of the photos of the last 18 years of reunions. We all laughed at the first reunion when my cousins tried to beat the uncles at tug-a-war….and we were amazed as the pictures flashed by, how children have grown….babies have arrived…others have joined in by marriage…and we cried a bit when the faces of those gone Home smiled at us from the screen. We have developed a few traditions in years gone by that always take place at these gatherings. We are fortunate to have a few pastors in the clan, so worship on Sunday morning is always a wonderful thing. My uncles played for square skips (barn dances) when they were growing up in the Midwest, and their favorite thing to do is to tune up the guitars and play the night away. Old country songs and hymns often float on the evening air when my family is around. And I am proud to say we all know how to square skip…we’re not the experts our aunts are, but we try…even the little kids. We always have an auction. We use the funds to give to the new Reunion Committee for start up for the next time. This year was extra special, because my cousin who is a real-life auctioneer was able to attend….and he did well. One of the highest bid-on items was the middle name of the offspring of a 3rd generation cousin, ready to deliver any day. I said we had fun, I didn’t say we weren’t a little strange. On one of the last days, we gathered on the back lawn for a family picture. Not a small job, let me tell you, but with the help of Uncle John’s pick up to stand on and a wide-angle lens, we got the job done. 125 smiling faces frozen in time…that’s who we were in 2006. During our church service, my oldest uncle got up and said a word about how thankful we should be for this group around us….this small tribe we call family. That we should count it a blessing to be raised in Christian homes, that we all know Jesus….and because of that, how much sweeter that reunion will be in heaven. We ended our service by singing… When we all get to heaven What a day of rejoicing that will be When we all see Jesus We’ll sing and shout the victory Isn’t that what we do at Emmanuel every Sunday? We gather together for a family reunion. Brothers and sisters in Christ, meeting to greet each other, pray for one another and listen to what our Father has to say. And, like my uncle says, because of that, the reunion in heaven will be oh so sweet. We headed back to Southern Cal with smiles on our faces…and songs in our hearts. Of course, it didn’t last long because we were on a road trip with 9 ½ people….but, that’s a story for another article, folks. Celebrate the season ahead with your family and friends and take pictures….take lots of pictures. It will bring you joy…just wait and see.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
We went to a production of Cinderella this weekend. It was all kids under 13. Put on by a local Christian college youth theater company. Dalaynee loved it. She doesn't understand the whole darkening of the stage to change the sets part. When they went down the first time, she said, Wow, that was a good show...it's all done. We finally got through to her that it was like a commercial. That she got. When intermission came, she turned around and said to the people behind us, it's just a commercial...it will be back in 5 minutes. So, by the time we left, the child believed in fairy tales...and in commercial time...not a bad accomplishment for a Saturday afternoon.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
So, my father turned 77 the other day...and the celebration went on all day. I guess when you're that old, you deserve that. At lunch time, we lured him down to a local deli for lunch with just Jayne and I. Lo and behold, Danny showed up...so did Jeff...a few cousins...some uncles and aunts...and a host of Dad's cousin who were in town from all over for a funeral. Dad was definetely suprised..and it was good to do that to the old man for a change. At night we all went out for dinner...then the grandkids were there and all. I think Dad had a good time....after 77 birthdays....you should be able to have a good time on that day, right? Yeah, I'm right.
So, we traveled to the petting zoo/pony rides with Miss Dalaynee a few weeks ago. We have taken every one of the kids here. They have all loved it. From watching them plod slowly around on the slow ponies until the day they are finally tall enough to ride the trotters. Smiling the whole time while they whiz by, waving furiously. The petting zoo is full of goats and sheep and I think there was a llama there when Cal was small. Laynee was a little apprehensive her first time, but this time, she rode like she was Dale Evans. During the time that Dale served with the Secret Service that is....the chick does love her shades. It has always been a kick to bring the kids here. Our way of showing them a small part of the way we grew up on the farm, I guess. Suffice to say that this small slice of "country" nestled in Southern Cal on the shore of a riverbed has brought this auntie much joy....and that is a very cool thing.