Hoffman/Ladwig Family (Easter 2008)

Hoffman/Ladwig Family (Easter 2008)
Christopher (14), Jay, Hannah (2 1/2), Linda, Lily (1 1/2), Ian (16), Delaney (8), Renson (11)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hannah's 1st birthday

It doesn't feel like a year since we brought Miss Hannah home. She has changed so much since that first glimpse at her precious little face. The post is mostly photos of Hannah's birthday party. She did have 2 parties, but the pictures from her "playing with friends" birthday party didn't turn out. We celebrated her 1st birthday with family on October 8th. The menu included finger foods (appetizers) and of course, cake and ice cream. Her "playing with friends" party took place the following Thursday with 4 other babies in attendance (including her new baby sister, Lily). Grandma Kjos was there too to help by holding Lily so I could focus on Hannah. Here are some pictures of Hannah's 1st birthday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Welcoming our newest family member!

1 o'clock in the morning on September 15th, I just couldn't get comfortable, my back hurts! What's going on? The cramps are coming so fast I can't even walk more than a room's length without stopping to rest and breath. I go downstairs without any plan really. I am pacing like a caged animal trying to figure out what I can do to stop these cramps. I go back upstairs and sit down on the bed..."Jay?" I try to wake him up..."What!?!" he says as he jolts up in bed. "What's wrong?" "I think I'm in labor." "Are you sure?" "No, but I don't know what else it could be." It was 2 weeks before my due date, but at my last appt. my Dr. had told me she didn't think I was going to make it until then. So we got up and ready, Jay called my Mom and told her he was on his way to get her to come stay with the kids. We got to the hospital and got into our room and found out that I was already dilated to 8 cm. I thought that this would be a quick one like it was with Christopher...no such luck! Our little one decided to wait until 11:20 a.m. to show her beautiful little face! We knew we were having a girl this time so it wasn't such a shock to me. To me, she seemed so tiny. She weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. and was 21 1/2 in. long. She is the smallest of all my babies. We named her Lily Kristine.

Later that day, Jay's Mom brought the four older kids down to see their newest little sister and then the next day Jay brought my Mom (who had been staying with Hannah the day before) and all the kids down to visit. Hannah couldn't get over this little baby. She kissed her and hugged her. The picture on the right is of the girls as Hannah is coming up off Lily after giving her a nice wet one! What a sweetie! Below are a few more of Lily's first moments.

Memories, Family and Friends

In May of 2005 my Dad went to a nursing home. He had been suffering with Parkinson's disease and Dementia with Lewey Bodies for at least a year at that point and the drs. beleived that putting him in a nursing home would be the best course of action for all concerned. That fall, Mom moved into Pelican Rapids to a senior housing apartment building. It was nicer for her so she could get to visit Dad more easily and I didn't worry about her as much being out in the country by herself. In February of 2006 my Mom put their house on the market which made it necessary for our family to go out there and pack, move, and clean out the contents of the house so that prospective buyers could look at the house. My sister Brenda, sister-in-law Kelly and Jay and I met at Mom's for a whirlwind weekend of work. Brenda brought her 11 month old twins and I had Hannah (5 mo.) with me so we required some childcare help. Mom could handle 2, but probably not all 3 little ones at once. Kelly brought her daughter Sarah along to help with the babies while the rest of us went out to the house to get to work. My friend Maija and her son Shane came from Fergus Falls to help and some of the members of Mom and Dad's church in Fergus came to help too. One of their neighbors came later in the day with his truck to help haul things to the storage unit that I had rented previously that week. So, with everyone in place, we got to work. It was a lot of work, but I will treasure many of those hours of work and the time spent with my family and friends. I had the pleasure of boxing up all of Dad's books. I found myself having tears come to my eyes as I found notes in the margins of books and references to other books, etc. inside the books and realized that Dad's mind was so much different than it had been. He had been a scholar and now he would never again be the same (until heaven anyway). At the end of the day after we had emptied the house of it's contents and new that we still had to go back and clean...we felt even more tired! That's when I suggested we hire a cleaning service to go in and do the cleaning. We all then relaxed for what was left of our evening before taking off the next morning for our prospective homes.
After this trip, I started talking to Jay about moving Mom and Dad out here so we could be of more help to them. I wasn't sure Mom would go for it, but when I asked her, she said..."Let's do it!" I was very excited and started making arrangements to move Dad to a nursing home out here and Mom into a senior housing apt. The end of June, Dad was transported by medi-van to the Colonial Village nursing home in Colby, WI and on June 3rd we brought Mom and all her belongings to her apt. in Abbotsford, WI. Once again during her packing and moving, Maija and her son Shane came to help us! They are truly great friends. We also had a wonderful turn out here in Abbotsford to help unload. Jay's Dad came with 3 Amish boys and their Father to help unload the U-Haul. God provides! It's wonderful having Mom and Dad nearby again.

Monday, April 16, 2007


February 4th, 2006...I had been feeling so tired and nauseated for the past month. I didn't know what was going on. The thought that came into my mind couldn't be true. Hannah was only 4 months old...I couldn't be, could I? After 2 positive tests (and throwing up), I finally decided to have a blood test done at the clinic to confirm or deny what I knew in my heart was true. On February 7th, exactly one year after I found out I was expecting Hannah, I received the anticipated phone call from the clinic informing me that, yes...you are pregnant. WHAT???!!! I can't be pregnant already. I have a little newborn at home that needs me! Needless to say, I wasn't completely thrilled with the idea. Jay and I just laughed about it...as did our family and friends when they found out. I think if we hadn't laughed we would have cried! Once again God showed me that He has a sense of humor. As you will see in the subsequent posts...we grew to accept my pregnancy and are very happy that God chose to do it the way He did! His timing is perfect.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Kjos Family Christmas, Hannah's Dedication

I am one for trying to cram as much into one weekend as possible to see if we can come out of it alive! The weekend of January 7th and 8th of 2006 my family gathered at our home to celebrate the birth of our Savior. My sister Brenda and her family came from Plymouth, MN on the 6th for the weekend. She has 5 children ages 11 years to 9 months. We also had 8 other family members come the next day for the actual gathering. Needless to say our house was full! Our gathering took place on Saturday the 7th. We had a great meal, visiting and game playing until late that night.
Since Brenda and her family were going to be here for the whole weekend we decided that having Hannah's dedication would be nice since I would have some of my family there to witness this milestone in Hannah's life. Our church has us give them a photo of our little one to use up on the power point screen so that everyone can see our little one who is being dedicated to the Lord. The photo on the right was taken by Christopher and is the one that we used that day. Everytime I see it I still giggle! She is such a wonderful blessing!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's a girl!

October 7, 2005...I have had enough! I felt like I was the size of a hot air balloon and ready to pop! I had an appt. with my O.B. that day and the first words out of her mouth when she saw me were, "You look like your about done!" (stick a fork in me...) I must have looked terrible. Anyway, we decided that if things looked like they were progressed far enough she would send me over to the hospital to be induced. The results came back and we went over to the hospital around 4:30 p.m. and the Dr. broke my water and it all began shortly thereafter. At 4:20 the next morning, Hannah Joy Hoffman came into the world. I couldn't believe it when I heard the Dr. say, "She's a big baby!" My first thought was, "SHE'S??? You mean I have a girl? I didn't think I knew how to make girls!" The Dr. was absolutely right, she was a big baby...9 lbs. 4 1/2 oz. and 21 1/2 in. long. But she sure is beautiful.

Every time I have a baby I am reminded of what a miracle it is that God has made it possible for us to grow a human life right inside our own bodies. He chooses the right timing for the baby to arrive and what a blessing they bring into our lives. GOD IS SO GOOD! Here are some more pictures of our precious pumpkin.

It's hard being a baby...I'm so tired!" Hannah says.

Another wedding reception!

Whirlwind courtship, midnight marriage, next day reception...all in Minnesota. One day later, move to Wisconsin to start a new life. In August '05 we decided it was time we had a celebration in Wisconsin. What a fun day! The weather was perfect! We had a great turnout (including too many flies). We started out around 1 p.m. and continued on until after dark. Some of our guests hung out until after dark and we had a campfire including s'mores! It's really fun to stretch out celebrating your marriage for 8 months!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Honeymoon, pregnancy, family

You may be asking yourself, honeymoon? How does a newly married couple with 4 "built-in" children make it possible to go on a honeymoon? Well, it happened! We were actually able to fit in 2 honeymoons. Although, the first one was short and sweet (a weekend getaway), I think that aspects of it are some of my favorite memories to date. Maybe part of that was getting to spend hours in the van without hearing "are we there yet!" resounded a hundred times from our beloved children (although I think I remember Jay saying it a few times).

Our first "mini" honeymoon took place near Madison, WI at the Cameo Rose Victorian Country Inn (http://www.wbba.org/inns/CameoRoseVictorianCountryInn_Belleville_WI.html). I would definitely recommend this B&B to anyone wanting to get away from it all! The picture on the left is exactly how it looked when we drove up to it. It's a little bit out of the way, but that made it almost like we were hiding from civilization and everything we knew; very romantic! The owner's were very pleasant and welcoming, and the breakfasts we had were delicious! We enjoyed pleasant conversation with both the owners and the other guests that were staying at the Inn that weekend. Of course, when asked what Jay's occupation was, the conversation shifted to dairy feeds and farming. One of the guests was very interested in that and kept Jay answering questions for some time. It also turned out that the owner's wife had grown up near Stratford, WI and her family was instrumental in starting the Equity Coop. right outside of Stratford. It's a small world! During our visit to Madison, we visited the state capitol. Since it was a Saturday, a lot of the offices were closed so we didn't get to see as much as we would have liked, but Jay promised he'd bring me back there another time to get a better look (I'm still waiting). We then went to the mall (of course) and did some shopping. What did we buy? Maternity clothes, of course! I think it was the first and foremost thing on my mind at the time since I was still in my first trimester and feeling all the joys of that! Of course in the end it was all worth it.

Our "real" honeymoon took place in June '05 after we dropped Linda's boys, Ian and Christopher, off at their dad's for their first full week visit ever! This is part of the blending of a family that was hard for me. They did get through the week just fine and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were happy to see me. Maybe I should send them away more often so they will appreciate me more (hmmm....something to think about)! O.k....back to the honeymoon.

Since we had to take the boys to Minnesota, we thought maybe we should find a nice resort near a lake (since there are 10,000+ in MN) and enjoy some hiking, boating and swimming. We settled on a place up near the Boundary Waters and all my friends laughed and could picture me (5 months pregnant) white water rafting. I, of course, had to inform them that we weren't going to do the traditional Boundary Waters vacation. We chose a resort near Ely, MN called the River Point Resort (http://www.riverpointresort.com/available.htm). The location was absolutely stunning. Our resort was surrounded by water on 3 sides with trees and wildlife everywhere. We were just a few miles from Ely so it was easy to run back into town for meals, siteseeing, whatever! The only downfall of that was that the road that connected the resort to the highway, and the outside world was reminicent of a washboard or cattle crossing. I was sure I was going to go into labor every time we drove on it. Needless to say, it kept us from making too many unneeded trips into town! Despite the fact that the entire week was gray and drizzly, we did have one day that the sun shone so brightly like it was a hiccup in the week. We took that day and rented the pontoon that they had at the resort and took it out for a few hours. It was so beautiful out on the lake. Jay drove a pontoon for the first time and I would have to say that he did a fairly decent job. Check out the smiling captain to the right. The rest of the week we had a great time playing games and watching videos in our chalet. We also took a lot of walks throughout the resort area whenever the weather permitted. One night we did take a trip into town for a nice dinner. I would say that I had the best fish dinner I have ever had that night. The fish tasted so fresh! Another day we went in to go see some local attractions. If you are ever up that way, make sure you take time to look around. It's a beautiful area.

Friday, April 6, 2007


After relocating 350 miles east to a new state, home and school, you would think that that would be enough excitement for everyone. I had settled into my new "career" as wife and mother and I thought things couldn't be any better. I spent my first month reorganizing the house (Jay's home, now mine too) to reflect the fact that it was my house too. I was having a good time doing that until I began feeling so tired all the time and short of breath. Was I allergic to something in the house, on the farm, in the "fresh" Wisconsin air? On February 7th, just one month and 6 days after our vows, I found out that I was pregnant! Surprise!!! Here I am, a 36 year old woman with a teenage son, preteenage son and two new step-children that hadn't had any time to become accustomed to that fact that they had two new step-brothers (not to mention a new step-mother) now living in their home and "invading" their space and I find out that after 11 years with no new children...I am going to have a baby???? Yikes!!! After the shock wore off and the congratulations from family and friends rolled in, I couldn't help but be excited at the prospect of having a little bundle to hold and love. Yes, it had been years, but I knew I could do it again. God was giving us yet one more blessing in our lives.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Just Starting Out

I am just getting started with this site and hope that you will enjoy it. It is at first going to be somewhat historical as I am going to cover a few things from the start of our new family. I will also be using this site to document the not-so-typical life of a "blended or step-family." I would really love to hear what others might have to say on that topic as well...such as...ideas, what's worked for you, or even questions. Keep in mind...we are a newly blended family with lots of work to be done!