Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vote for Maxwell

Maxwell, my oldest son, needs your vote. Please go to and vote for him. He is photograph G and you can view his picture by scrolling down and then vote at the top left-hand corner. We are getting close to first place. Thanks for all your help. Get the word out and vote NOW!!!!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Brian!

Happy Father's Day to the greatest daddy I know. I am honored to be married to a sweet man who truly knows the meaning of loving others unconditionally, especially his family. I have had the pleasure of witnessing the sacred relationship between a father and his sons. Brian is the best daddy a little boy could have. He is fun, quick to laugh and play, loves adventure, and is a great teacher. He is a coach, an advisor, a fixer, an encourager, a buddy, and a hero to four little boys. Brian makes my job as a mother so meaningful because he is there sharing in the little moments in our everyday life. We love him so much and want him to know how very much he means to us.
And if Madeline were here with us, I can only imagine how sweet he would be with her. She stole his heart (and mine) when she was born. I will never forget how Brian loved her with everything that he was when she was here. He loved us both enough to not miss a doctor's appointment when I was expecting Madeline so he could see her on the ultrasound. He valued her life way before she was born and loved me through some pretty tough times after Madeline left this earth. I know she is looking down from Heaven and is proud of the man that her daddy is.

Thank you, Brian for all that you are and all that you give to our family. We love you very much. You are a great man and your greatest accomplishments look up to you each and everyday.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

2 years

Tomorrow is June 7th and it has been two years since Madeline joined our family. As I reflect on the two years since her birth and death, I am amazed that so much time has passed, yet it seems like only yesterday that we were holding her and praying for a miracle. I am reminded that though her life was very short, she is such a precious member of our family.
Last year, we celebrated her first birthday with the Miles for Madeline First Annual 5K. This year we have decided to host the race in the fall in hopes that it will be much cooler. As her second birthday approaches, I can't help but think of all the things I would have done differently had I known what I know now. But I have learned that living with regret is useless and only makes the heart hurt more.
So today, I celebrate the gift that Madeline was and remember all the sweet things about her. She was so tiny and precious and had the best lips for kissing. I will never forget her blowing bubbles and Brian putting his chapstick on her little mouth because they were dry. She looked so much like Harrison and had Brian's long toes and dark hair and eyes. I don't think there was anything about her that looked like me!
I would give just about anything to have her here with me again, if just for a little while. I hold on to the promise that I will get to see her again in Heaven. And that keeps me going on days when I think I might just crumble. Keep our family in your prayers as we celebrate this bittersweet time with our family and friends. We are blessed to have so many people love and support us through our loss and I am blessed to be able to do the same for others who have experienced the loss of their baby. We continue to learn from Madeline's life and try not to take a moment for granted. We will always tell the boys about her and hope that they will always somehow "know" their sister.
Happy Birthday, Madeline! We love you and miss you so much.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Today is our 12th anniversary. I joked to Brian last night that if I had known then what I know now, that I might have changed my mind. But nothing could be further from the truth. It has been a wonderful 12 years full of more blessings that I can count. Never in a million years would I have thought that we would be the parents of five precious children and that one of those would not get to be with us for very long. And even though we have experienced the sadness of losing sweet Madeline, I would not do anything any differently.

Tonight I am missing her. Grayson fell asleep, as he always does when it is past his bedtime, in the living room. I picked him up and held him while he slept and loved every minute of it. He rarely is still long enough for me to hold him otherwise, so this was an extra special time for me. As I was looking at him sleeping in my arms, my heart really longed to be able to hold Madeline again. Sometimes, even nearly two years later, the ache is so overwhelming. I try to make myself not think about all that we lost when we lost her but for just a moment looking at her brother, I remembered and my heart hurts.

We still talk about Madeline alot. As recent as this afternoon, Harrison asked if Madeline could do anything she wanted since she was an angel. I overheard him tell his brothers that he thought she could move our house if she wanted to. I am so thankful that her memory lives on and she is still a very real part of our family. I hope it always stays that way. I know that it will never change for me.

On a more joyous note...we are beginning spring break this week and are so excited to do the things we usually reserve for the weekends. We look forward to staying up late, sleeping in, being totally off schedule, and doing lots of playing. We don't have any definate plans but hope to take a few days to enjoy some family time out of town. The boys can not decide where they want to go so we have not come to an agreement. I am just praying the weather will cooperate with us.

I am so thankful to have all the blessings that God has given me. Brian, if you are reading this, thank you for being the biggest blessing of all. Happy Anniversary.


Monday, February 9, 2009

I often read another blog that does this hilarious post called "Not Me Monday". Basically it is just a funny way to deny things that really happen in your life. I have considered doing it several times and then decided that I would have to go back and do a "Not Me" post to cover all of the Hopkins' mishaps from the past few weeks. You won't believe some of this. Even I have my doubts that people have this bad luck. Life is never dull or boring if you live in our house. So here goes my first ever "Not Me" post.
About 6 weeks ago, Ashton did not get accidentally run over by the neighbor's golf cart and only have a scratch to show for it. I was inside and Harry comes running in and says, "Mama, Ashton got run over by the golf cart but he is not dead!" My heart did not go to my feet and I did not feel a sickness come over me as I ran to see him and find out how bad it is. He was fine, just really scared.
I was not trying to take a nap when Harrison hit his head on the corner of the wall in his bedroom about three weeks ago. He and his brothers were supposed to be having some "quiet time" in their beds while mama and daddy got a much-needed break, just for a few minutes. I was so tired I was asleep within moments of laying down. Then I hear the boys at the door and jump up in time to see all this blood and Harrison standing there looking so pitiful and covered in blood. Brian took one look at Harry's head and said he needed stitches so off to the ER we go. I did not almost get weak when I turned around to check on him on the ride to the hospital and could see how deeply he was cut. He was a brave boy though and got about 15 stitches and never cried at all.
I was not back in the ER four days later after Grayson got hit in the nose with a play gun by Ashton. He comes running in the house screaming and pouring blood. I quickly assessed the situation and loaded everyone in the car. I called my friend Jill and said I was hoping for a fast pass through the ER. Brian met me there and picked up the other kids while Grayson got taken care of. The same lady checked us in and laughed at the trouble triplets can get into. This was not getting embarrassing at all and I am sure DFACS was not called.
Then last week, Ashton did not decide to see how it would feel to hit his head on the spare tire on the back of Brian's Trooper, and he did not split his head open. Brian looked at it and said he would be the ER doctor this time and did all the repairs himself. He "butterflied" Ashton's head and he was back at it again in no time.
Then, this week, when I drove up to pick the boys up from school, the school nurse did not come out and tell me that Harrison did not need stitches but that he did run into the wall and had a pretty bad cut that was swollen and bleeding. I told her to document it and be ready to answer some questions from DFACS should they call.
It is a good thing I have nerves of steel or I would not make it in this house. I now am waiting on all the hospital bills to start coming in....I guess we had better get used to it. Such is the life with four rambunctious little boys.


P.S. Maxwell asked if he was next!!!! I sure hope not! Praying for an uneventful week.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Looking forward to a wonderful 2009!!!! Happy New Year from our family to yours!
Merry Christmas ~ 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

What a busy year 2008 has been for us! Once again, it has passed too quickly. It seems like I was just writing this letter last year a few short months ago. I guess it is really true that time seems to pass quicker as you get older.
On June 7, 2008, the Madeline Grace Foundation sponsored our first annual 5K marathon. This day was special to us because it was Madeline’s first birthday, and we wanted to celebrate her sweet life with others. After much preparation and with many local sponsors, more than 150 runners and walkers showed up to support our cause. God certainly blessed this event and allowed us to use our grief to help others. It was such an emotional and overwhelming experience to see God using our baby’s short life as a testimony to others.
We raised about $6,000 and gave most of it to the Crossroads Pregnancy Center. Brian and I both felt led to support this wonderful ministry because it is a Christian pro-life organization. When I was expecting Madeline, we were advised by many to terminate the pregnancy. We both felt that God was in control and only He gives life. We are excited to be involved in the Pregnancy Center’s mission to end abortions and feel blessed that Madeline’s story continues to be told.
We think about Madeline everyday and miss her still. I guess that will never change. Recently, my sister, Christa and I decorated a little Christmas tree for Madeline and put in at the cemetery, and as we stood there looking at it, I knew Madeline would have a much better holiday celebration than any of us can imagine. She is in Heaven with Jesus, and it is in that truth that we find the greatest comfort. As 1 Thessalonians 4:13 states, “We do not grieve like those who have no hope, for He was born that we might hope.” We are hopeful that we will celebrate with her one day.
As for Madeline’s older brothers…..Maxwell will turn 10 in January and is looking forward to (as he puts it) being in the “double digits” soon! He continues to do well in school and is an honor roll student. He is in the Chess and Drama club and has a role in the upcoming play, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We are constantly laughing at all the funny and profound things Maxwell says. Maxwell is our thoughtful child and was recently named “Student of the Month” in his class. He still thinks he wants to be an author or inventor when he grows up, but we will have to see about that. We know God has some big plans for him and it will be fun to see! I kid with Maxwell sometimes and tell him that he still thinks he is our only child, even though that changed five years ago. He loves to get to do special things without his brothers and get some extra attention. He justifies it by saying he deserves it for putting up with triplet brothers. (I really can’t say I blame him!) Maxwell is a great big brother. He loves to teach Harrison, Grayson and Ashton something new. And although they aggravate him sometimes, I know he would not trade having three little brothers for anything.
Harrison, Grayson, and Ashton all began Kindergarten this year. We decided to separate them and put them in different classes. This has provided a great opportunity for each of them to become more independent of each other, make new friends, and not have an accomplice on hand to cause trouble. We also decided that one teacher might want to retire early if she had all three of them at once. They are wonderful children and keep our family interesting. There is never a dull moment that is for sure.
Harry is his Daddy’s shadow. He can usually be found right behind Brian, working or helping Brian in the yard or shop. He loves to work. Brian’s mom said it best when she said Harrison has a “servant’s heart”. Harrison loves to ride his bike, usually down to play with our little neighbor, Maddie. His least favorite thing is homework, although he is very serious about school. He is beginning to read and is so proud of himself. Harrison is silly and his laugh is one of the best sounds in our house.
Grayson is still our mischievous child and enjoys aggravating his brothers. His smile is just priceless when he knows he is getting the best of one of them. Grayson loves to be home and asks every morning if it is a school day. He has already learned so much this year and is really a great little math student. Grayson is funny with a dry sense of humor. We never know what he is going to say! He is a mama’s boy and loves to snuggle with me when he first gets up. Grayson is quite a character and keeps us guessing all of the time. There are few things cuter than Grayson trying to get out of homework by saying, “I am not responsible to do this!”
Ashton is our sensitive love-bug! He is always the first to hand out hugs and kisses and loves to be loved. Ashton wants to be just like Maxwell. They have really bonded during the last few months. Maxwell has taught him how to play chess, and Ashton thinks he is so grown up when he gets to do all the things “big” boys do. His favorite thing is watching movies, especially Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Ashton is reading beautifully and loves school so much. He is a quick learner and really enjoys music and singing. He is so dramatic when he sings along with the radio. Brian and I just crack-up when we watch him in the rearview mirror. Ashton really “feels” his music!!!
Brian continues to work in Forsyth with his uncle’s CPA firm, Buckley and Hopkins. He is able to be out of the office quite a bit when he is on-site doing audits and enjoys this flexibility. Brian is preparing to take the Becker Review course to take the certification exam in hopes to be able to put those letters, CPA, officially behind his name. This past summer, he began leading the worship and praise team at our church, Evergreen Baptist. He spends lots of time preparing for Sundays and is always strumming his guitar and singing. It is such a blessing to see how God is using Brian’s talent for His good. The boys and I love hearing him sing each Sunday. He also coached Maxwell’s baseball team last spring and once again led them to a second place win in the playoffs. Brian is looking forward to coaching again when baseball season starts and is already “recruiting” some of Maxwell’s friends. Maybe next year they can get over that “hump” to 1st. We’ll just have to wait and see, but he is already planning drills for his practices this coming season. Brian is a wonderful husband and father, always making time for each of us. He is always positive and keeps us all encouraged as we go about our day.
I am still teaching first grade for my 13th year at Midway. I have a great class this year and enjoy all the challenges of working with young children. To my surprise, I was chosen by my peers as Midway’s Teacher of the Year. I am so proud to be a teacher and can think of no greater honor than to have my coworkers believe in me and the job that I do. It is still the hardest profession, I believe, besides being a parent, but one that is so worthwhile.
As you can tell, our lives are full and we are blessed beyond measure. It is with much love that we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year.

Brian, Mandy, and Boys