Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Joe's new toy...the Kindle

The girls' cameras
the boys' toys...playmobil and megabloks!

Favorite Things--Day 25

the Word made flesh.

"In the beginning was thw Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made throiugh him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:1-5 (ESV)


Friday, December 24, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 24

my husband. I married Joseph Horn on June 1, 1996...about 14 1/2 years ago. Aside from accepting Christ's sacrifice for my sins, this was the best and most important decision I've ever made.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 23

Friends. Between college and four moves and living in four states we have friends scattered across the country and the world. We love getting simple cards from them saying Merry Christmas. We love watching their kids grow up through pictures. We love being reminded of sweet memories of people who dearly love us and we dearly love. And we love that these reminders come at a time when we are celebrating the birth of a Savior who makes it possible for us to one day see all these friends again in person and fellowship for eternity.

Favorite Things--Day 22

Christmas lights. We love Christmas lights. Our house is a clear Christmas light house, but we enjoy all kinds. We try to keep the "looking at Christmas lights" tradition within a few days of Christmas. So last night we drove through our first neighborhood of the year. Unfortunately, the kids had been celebrating Christmas pretty hard at school and at a friend's house that we had visited for dinner, so I think by the fourth block most of them were either asleep or in a deeply groggy state. We have it on the schedule tonight to go see the BIG display in a park in a local town. And, after our brief views last night, I'm tempted to buy some colored lights on after-Christmas clearance. I've got my eye on a lighted tree for our front porch.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 21

Nathan! Nathan pretty much embodies the joy of Christmas. He lives life at the fullest and has a policy that if you don't ask big, you won't receive big. Daddy is his favorite person and his goal everyday is to look like Daddy and act like Daddy. He loves vacuuming, cleaning windows and helping out with laundry. I'm really going to miss him next year and not just because he helps me get my housework next year.

Favorite Things--Day 20

Sara. Even though she is almost into double digits, this is how I always see her. I cherish some one on one moments we get when she gets home from school. (She gets out an hour before the other kids). She has such a giving attitude. Art and polly pockets are two of her other favorite pasttimes. I'm excited for her to see her new camera that she is getting on Saturday. I think she will become a great photographer. Her eyes light up when I let her help me out in the kitchen. She is a strong girl who stands her ground on issues that matter and at the same time has a compassionate heart for those around her who struggle. I'm so looking forward to having my eldest home for 2 1/2 weeks this Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 19

white elephant gift exchanges. I think I've done 3 white elephant gift exchanges this year. I've kind of lost track. My favorite white elephant gifts are ones that people put a lot of effort into. They have climbed into the attic or crawled through the junk in the basement or sorted through all that stuff in the laundry room or cleaned out the kitchen cabinets.... Some of the classic gifts that we've gotten in past are: a frog skinned purse, a handmade turtle footstool and a multiply pot (this one is on a rotating basis at an exchange I do annually in Iowa).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 18

movies! We really like movies at our house...especially around Christmas. Yesterday was a "day of rest" at our house. (One of the movies Joe & I watched yesterday was Murder on the Orient Express..Agatha Christie is a master mystery writer!) We try to have at least a half day of one of these once a week. It doesn't always happen and is rarely on Sunday when everyone else takes theirs. This time of year (after the pre-Christmas craziness) we sometime get a couple of these in a row. And we have some favorites that we like to pull out in between playing games and eating junk food. Here are some of them:

White Christmas...we haven't watched this one yet this year, but we will before Saturday. The kids don't know that they like it yet. We'll see if they make it through the whole thing this year.

The Sound of Music...I need to get an actual DVD of this. Right now it is on our DVR and I'm kind of paranoid that it is going to get erased.

All of The Santa Clause movies...the ones with Tim Allen as Santa. We really like these. We own one and three so if anyone is looking for a Christmas gift for us...

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and Twice Upon a Christmas...My kids used to love, love these. They still enjoy them, but, alas, not near us much. It's all a part of that getting older stuff, I guess.

The Lord of the Rings series...I know these technically aren't Christmas movies. I think we've made them Christmas movies because they originally came out around Christmas. I'm sure the Narnia movies will become a similar phenomenon at our house. Yesterday Joe & I watched The Fellowship of the Ring. Some of the greatest movie moments ever...Gandalf telling the Balrog "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" And the white horses in the water overtaking the 9 riders.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 17

school Christmas programs. Watch closely...the Santa is my John-John. If you listen closely you will hear him wish everyone a Merry Christmas at the end. Poor quality is due to a cheap recorder & inexperienced videographer. I've hinted to my hubby about the need for a video camera/camera/phone. He hinted last night that come August I may get my wish.

Okay, so I tried a lot to get it uploaded to my blog and youtube but was very unsuccessful. So in order to see the video you will have to check out facebook. I apologize because I know some of you aren't on facebook. I will try again later to see if I can get it to show up here. At this point, I've spent so much time on it I'm ready to throw my computer out the window, so for the sake of the computer I'll stick with facebook for today.

Favorite Things--Day 16

Santa! We are an odd family when it comes to Santa Clause. We practice Santa Clause traditions, but have told our kids that he's not real. He's kind of like Cinderella and Superman at our house. It creates an interesting dynamic with our kids. On the one hand they know in their heads that he's not real, but on the other hand what if mom & dad are wrong? We probably should be good just in case... I love the way my kids light up with Santa. The innocence of children their joyful approach to life is captured at Christmas. I'm approaching the last years of experiencing this. All my kids still enjoy seeing Santa, but Nathan is the only one who "lights up" at his appearance. Santa showed up at John's Christmas program last night. Nathan got to give him a hug and Santa gave him a candy cane. According to Nathan, this was definitely the real Santa. One of the other little girls asked him, and Santa said "Of course, I'm real." Ashley's letter along with her classmates' letters to Santa this year got published in our local paper. Here's what Ashley decided to talk to Santa about:

Dear Santa,

Can you please get skinnier for me? I've been a good girl this year. I really want a camera and a lava lamp. Anything else you have in your sack for me give to the poor children. I hope you can read my writing. Oh, and for Christmas I also really, really, reallly want to ride on Dancer.

Your Friend,

Favorite Things--Day 15

the Word. AWANA was this past Wednesday. At risk of maybe being too vulnerable, I will admit that I wasn't looking forward to it this week. At the root of my lack of desire was selfishness. We were missing many leaders (I was going to have to be in charge of shuffling the leaders we did have around), I had family in town, my hubby was on vacation, I was tired and it was going to be a very busy night. My thought was also that we certainly wouldn't have many kids. There was a band concert at one of the schools and general holiday reverie occurring. This just wasn't going to be worth the effort. I was wrong on so many levels the first being that we wouldn't have many kids. It was worth the effort. And, at a minimum, this should be one of the times of the year that we focus on the Word and dig into it. It is transformational and once hidden in our hearts (as these kids are doing) it guards us against sin. The Word of God is truly one of my favorite things and I will be eternally grateful for it.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 14

Ashley Rose. She's sitting in my kitchen peeling potatoes right now. We're chatting about the Titantic. She loves to peel potatoes and chatting about what she's read recently. She wants to be a geologist and enjoys Anne of Green Gables. We can't keep enough books in this girl's library. She is truly an intellectual for a third grader. One of her favorite movies right now is The Star of Bethlehem which goes into all the astronomy related to Christ's birth, death and resurrection. I love her glasses and her sense of style. One of her other loves is drama. We went to the Madrigal at the high school the other day and I couldn't help but have visions of her loving life and performing when she is in that school in 6 years. My second born and definitely one of my favorite kids in this world.

Favorite Things--Day 13

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. There are so many Christmas carols to choose from. Next year my favorite one may be different. I tend to change my mind sometimes especially when there are so many. I've been familiar with this one since I was a child. However, it wasn't until Jars of Clay did a version of it a few years ago that I really paid attention to the words. The evil of this world can be so overwhelming at times and these lyrics speak to the hope that Jesus' birth brought and the encouragement that Christmas carols can bring.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet their words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth" I said.
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 12

snow days. We haven't had an official school "snow day" yet. After the blizzard conditions we had today the kids are really hoping for one tomorrow. I love snow days because they give us a natural excuse to have a family day. Today was very similar to a snow day for us. We did venture out to church and made our way warily back the 2 blinding miles. Once we were home, the fire was stoked in the fireplace, good naps were taken, cookies were baked and junk food consumed and movies watched. I'm looking forward to more of these once Christmas break takes place in two weeks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 11

minty hot chocolate. I am typically a coffee only kind of a person. Very rarely will I drink tea (I have to be feeling really wretched and be convinced it will make me feel better if I drink it) and I usually think why drink hot chocolate when you can have a nice, strong cup of coffee. I also am not usually a peppermint lover. It's "okay" but not a preference that I usually go for. However, when I was in college (my pre-coffee days) a friend introduced me to peppermint hot chocolate. It is fairly simple...make the hot chocolate and stick a candy cane in it. I fell in love. It is perfect for this time of year. You can also stick a piece of peppermint candy in it, but it is tons more fun to have the candy cane that you can stir with, suck on, and get sticky with while drinking the hot chocolate. I've introduced it to my kids and they love this sticky treat.

Favorite Things--Day 10

a merry open house! Last night we had our annual Christmas open house for our church family. It is one of our favorite events for the year. This year was especially fun because we had to miss doing it last year. I was ill and getting ready to have surgery so it was one of many things that got crossed off the calendar last year. So it was really great to have our house full and merry again this year. We guesstimate that we had around 50-70 people or quite possibly more. On the menu was mini-tacos, taquitos, chips and salsa, BBQ mini-wieners, cream puffs, eclairs, and pecan pie muffins.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 9

venison. Did you know that technically venison is "the flesh of any game animal used for food"? I thought it was just deer, but my encyclopedia husband informed me the other day of this technicality. For some reason, I'm frequently tempted to verify his vast knowledge. This morning was no exception. As I sat down to type, I pulled up the handy and yes, he was right. I don't ever remember him not being right. You would think I would learn not to waste my time by checking. Here's the interesting thing though. That definition of venison is considered "archaic". Only Joe would know the archaic definition of venison. With all that said, I do love venison. And by venison, I do mean "the flesh of any game animal used for food." I can't really think of anything Joe has killed and prepped that I haven't enjoyed. Oh Yeah, I don't like wild duck. Anyway, I especially love that which is shot by the providing husband and then butchered in my kitchen. It is his way of getting to enjoy his hobby and loving on his family at the same time. It is also his way of bonding with his buddies. Last night he butchered his 6th deer of the year in our kitchen. No, he hasn't shot 6 deer this year. He simply enjoys (and is really good at it) butchering other guys deer...especially when the other guy joins him and it is his first deer. (Congrats Aaron!). So maybe this is a dual favorite thing...venison and the man I love who loves giving me venison.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 8

my eldest son is so very interesting. Only God could have created a child like John. He has the wondrous ability to be completely laid back and oblivious to anything else going on in the world. And he can also be one of the most intense children I've ever met. He has a great appreciation in life for extreme order. His laugh is very infectious. His brain is amazing. He seems to be one of those rare people who is both right brained and left brained. He cherishes alone time in his room and loves snuggles on the couch. I thank God daily (yes, even in those moments when we are trying to get out the door and I've told him 8 times to find his socks and shoes and he can't remember what he is suppose to be doing) for my sweet "John, John".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 7

Pecan Pie Muffins. About 10 years ago Joe and I visited Grandbury, TX. It was a short distance from our home at the time. I only remember a few things about the was cold for Texas, it was one of our last trips before we embarked on parenthood (I was very pregnant), I had one of the most delicious meals I've ever had in my life, and pecan pie muffins. We stayed at a bed and breakfast. The hostess served them for breakfast so we basically had dessert for breakfast. She was so gracious to share the recipe with me and since then they have been a staple in our house around Christmas time. I am currently preparing for our annual Christmas open house and have the recipe out in preparation for that (they are one of the more popular items at our open house). I thought I'd share the recipe:

1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter (do not substitute margarine)
1 egg

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Yield: 12 muffins

That's it. Seems to easy to be so delicious doesn't it? Trust me, they are yummy. I typically make them in mini-muffin form. Joe has been begging me for the last couple of years to make the full size version and serve them over ice cream with caramel. Ahhh, I gain weight just thinking about it which is why I've not attempted it. I'm also afraid I would never go back to the mini version.

Favorite Things--Day 6

My favorite thing for yesterday (yep, I'm already a day behind) is blogging. When I was in high school or was it junior high...I think it was junior high...I toyed with the idea of wanting to write for a living. At that time I was thinking more about fictional writing then non-fiction writing. That is about as far as the idea went. By college I was settled in on Accounting and the rest, as they say, is history. In 2007 (I had to look it up) I was introduced to the world of blogging. My initial thought was that it would be a great way to journal and keep a scrapbook of our four kids and it certainly has been wonderful for that. What I wasn't anticipating was that it would give me a somewhat creative outlet. I'm not really a creative person (what accountant is?) so to say that I now have a "creative" outlet is kind of amazing. At a minimum, I have found a hobby that I love. Before blogging and even occasionally now, I would participate in what I called "the hobby of the month". I would learn how to do something, work on a project for about a month, and then sell all the hobby materials on ebay because that hobby wasn't for me. Blogging has stuck and I so enjoy it. I have even toyed with the idea of some articles getting published somewhere (if anyone would have them). We'll see where that idea goes. Hopefully, it lasts longer than the one in junior high did...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 5

Some of my favorite winter time things are things that make me feel warm. When we lived in Iowa the shotgun season was the second week of December. (It probably still is.) That week was notoriously freezing cold...I mean really, really cold. We'd be sailing along into winter and then as soon as Joe was ready to go hunt, the wicked cold weather would pour in. We are approaching the second week of December and even though we no longer live in Iowa, it still gets really cold that week. And this year is not going to disappoint. We are entering into some major cold (although I've seen colder second weeks of December). So here are some things that warm me up:

  • a fire in my fireplace: it doesn't even have to be giving off a lot of heat. For some reason, just looking at a fire makes me feel warm.
  • my sweater boots: Joe got me an early Christmas present a few weeks ago and they are my new favorite thing to wear now. They're not the most practical foot attire when the weather is crummy (they don't take water too well), but they are wonderful at keeping the feet warm. They are the only pair of shoes that I tend to wear around the house.
  • a good cup of coffee: coffee deserves a whole post to itself so I won't elaborate here.
  • flannel sheets: my sister told me the other day that she got herself her first set of flannel sheets and loves them. There is nothing better on a cold night then to get into bed and have the soft, warm flannel instead of the cold sheets.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Meet Mr. Frost

Introducing Mr. Frost

Favorite Things--Day 4

Snow pants!! How fitting since we got our first snowfall of the season last night. Actually I think it is still snowing. My hubby can tell me when he gets home from sitting in his tree stand. Alas, I had to agree with him early this morning when he said "I'm really kind of crazy, aren't I?" I've digressed...snow pants! When I was growing up...many years ago...when you had to walk 2 miles uphill to school....I didn't have snow pants. I'm sure they were around for skiers or those who lived in snow country. They were probably even around where I lived, but I didn't know anything about them and I don't think my friends did either. When it snowed, we simply layered up. We would put on enough layers that you could barely bend your least 2 or 3 pairs. Then we would head out to build whatever creations we could dream up in the snow. Well, fast forward a few years to my eldest's preparations for kindergarten. On her supply list for school was snow pants. Snow pants?! was my immediate thought. Then I chalked it up to living in Iowa and trudged off to the store to purchase a pair for her. It wasn't until she wore them at home during one of the first snowfalls that season that I realized the marvel of snow pants. They keep you completely dry, you can bend your legs, you stay warm and they dry fairly quickly. Wow! Where have these been all of my life I kept thinking. So, yes, I love snow pants and if I didn't have other priorities for my money I would totally buy myself a pair simply for when I go out to shovel snow. You might see me making a snow angel or two as well.

A hint for all you moms out there who have yet to buy snow black! Then any child can wear them as you pass them down from kid to kid. John wasn't real excited about the powder blue ones I wanted him to wear last year.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 3

Shopping. Yikes--that sounds like I've commercialized Christmas, doesn't it? I'm not talking about the actual payment of goods that gives me a special high. I'm talking about the process of looking and joining in with hundreds at a store at the same time. Thanks to my parents, Joe & I were able to go shopping on Black Friday...just the two of us. And we had the best time. I love going on dates with my husband and this was the most fun that we had had on one in awhile (and we have a lot of fun on our dates!) We left my parent's house at 5am (keep in mind this was 4am our home time) and headed out with the masses. I got to chat it up with the clerk at the local gas station while Joe made sure our tank was full and I made sure I was full of caffeine. Then we hit the stores. We didn't have a specific item that we had to have. We had our list of likes and were able to browse...a lot. There is just something about joining others...including seeking out that perfect gift for someone special. There is such community in it. I saw groups of women who had matching shirts made just for their day. And I saw families enjoying some family time together..interacting and plotting as they planned to surprise someone. It is those carefully chosen gifts that remind me of the most wonderful gift that put this whole holiday in motion.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Favorite Things--Day 2

Christmas music! I love this aspect of Christmas so much that I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up again before Christmas. If you've ever been in my home for any length of time, you are aware that I just love music generally and at all times of the year. Here are some of my favorites to listen to this time of year:

Third Day--Christmas Offerings
George Winston--December
The Three Tenors--The Three Tenors Christmas
The Letterman--For Christmas This Year (ahhh, this brings back so many childhood memories)
Michael Buble--Let It Snow
Chris Rice--The Living Room Sessions--Christmas

It is also not a rare experience for me to have live streaming in my house. This year, in addition to their normal music station, they are live streaming all Christmas music.

Favorite Things--Day 1

In an effort to celebrate this wonderful month, I decided I do my own kind of countdown to that special day. And this will also give me an opportunity to try a little more consistency on this blog that I truly love posting to (when I get disciplined about it). I was going to start on the first so I'm already a little behind. But I was under the weather yesterday so we'll just double post today. I am sure it won't be the first time it happens this month.
So my favorite for today...countdowns to Christmas (fitting, don't you think?). I do love counting down and the experience of Advent. My all time favorite memory of Christmas as a child was lighting the advent candles every evening, sitting in a candlelit room and reading that night's scripture as a family. I am sure we missed nights, but in my memory it happened every night after supper. I loved it and have desperately tried to create similar memories for my own kids. We have an advent wreath and try to daily remember what this crazy month is really about. We also have some additional ways we countdown. We have a calendar that the snowflake moves on everyday. Two of my kids' stocking hooks are countdowns. And one of my kids favorite traditions are the kisses. We string 25 Hershey kisses together and hang them with their stockings. Each night after supper, they trade a kiss on the cheek to their mom or dad for a kiss off their string of kisses. (Yes, there are 25 in each strand. They are each strung a little different though which is what creates the different lengths. This obviously is disturbing to a couple of the ordered children. I'm not sure how many times the kisses got counted yesterday.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pleasures of Life

Today I get to watch three of my kids in the Santa parade (supposedly the oldest Christmas parade in the country) and watch one of them gather candy to his heart's content. I'm going to have to go to "the closet" and dig out those Santa hats. It will definitely be more enjoyable with it being in the 50s instead of the 20s!

Yesterday I experienced some other life pleasures:

  • The joy of watching a lady in front of me in line at Hobby Lobby entertain my bored five year old while we waited for an elderly gentlemen to purchase $150 worth of half priced ornaments (I'm not exaggerating! I heard the lady tell him his total). They were, of course, all fragile and needed to be wrapped. Thank you to the kind stranger who kept Nathan occupied with discussing all things cowboy related.
  • Getting to sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in the car with the kids. Jingle Bells and Frosty were also on the program for our short drive to nearby shopping.
  • Hitting Sam's Club's holiday food fest! Wow...samples galore. And what was even more awesome was that they offered...actually encouraged...the kids to have some of it. I'm always feeling a little guilty when I pass out cheesecake samples to the four kids in my family when I know I have absolutely no intention of buying it and they (the kids) have no money. One sample lady said "Well, someone is going to eat it, it might as well be your kids!" She was referring to the petite peppered fillet which was melt in your mouth delicious and $3.98/lb. (think they'll pay me for advertising??) To quote Ashley "Ahhh, I just want to lick every last drop out of this plastic cup.)
  • I love jokes told by my kids especially when they have no idea why they are funny. They've heard them before, gotten some laughs and so decide to tell them again. They are funny when they know and understand the jokes too. My favorites on the trip home yesterday...knock, knock joke with bananas and oranges. It is an oldy, but a goody and pretty much any age can tell it without messing it up. And a new one I heard yesterday which, according to my kids, can be attributed to Bugs Bunny.....How do you make antifreeze? Take away her pajamas. I had a good laugh over that one. Not funny? Well, maybe you should have Nathan tell it to you sometime. I pretty much guarantee a laugh.

Well, I'm off to search for Santa hats....

Friday, November 5, 2010


We've been having some milestones occur at the Horn house lately:

  • Nathan turned 5. Huge milestone and it will have it's own post in the very near future.
  • Ashley is working on her first ever research project. It is on the koala bear.
  • Joe led his first marriage retreat a few weeks ago. It was really great (and I'm not biased :) ). I'm sure it will be the first of many.
  • I have my first speaking engagement for a ladies retreat at our church next week. I am doing a workshop on maintaining consistent peace in parenting. I love of my favorite ministry things to do so I'm really looking forward to next week.
  • John finished his AWANA book in record time this year. He's now on review and getting ready to start the extra credit.
  • John also got his first ever letter in the mail threatening to send a money dispute to a collection agency. How much did he owe to the library? $2.85 How late was the book? 3 weeks Was it at our house? No. Where was the book? On the shelf at the library. I'll be making my first ever phone call to the management to complain. This is the third time in as many months that there have been books that are "late" that we returned and were sitting on their shelves. I'm not a complainer, but there is definitely something wrong with their system. And I'm a little concerned if they are spending my tax money to send a six year old's name to a collection agency over $2.85 for a book that wasn't even a month late.
  • Sara is approaching the point in math where I can't review her problems in my head.
  • I started filling out my 2011 calendar yesterday. Our calendar has gotten a little insane this year and our kids aren't even involved in that much stuff. It took Joe & I an hour the other day to simply figure out the next two months. And January isn't looking much better...the good thing? We (including the kids) enjoy almost everything that is on the calendar.
  • Oh, and the best one of all...for the first time I got summoned for jury duty. It's the week of Thanksgiving. I guess it will probably give me something to be thankful for. Honestly, I've never done it before so I find it all very intriguing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

I think Halloween is proof that we live in an AWESOME country. Where else in the world can you dress up in costume and travel from house to house to get free candy? I know many Christians oppose Halloween, but I actually really enjoy it. (Don't misunderstand. I am not into the "dark side" of Halloween). In our small town it gives us an opportunity to mingle with all the neighbors. I'm not sure how many people we "ran into" trick or treating last night. The other family we were with probably got tired of us straggling at houses so we could chat it up. I know my children were getting somewhat frustrated. I felt as if they were saying at the end of the night "Focus, parents, focus! Don't forget what this night is all about. Free Candy!"

So here is who we traveled with last night... a ninja, a cowboy/ninja master/Darth Vader (he couldn't decide what he wanted to be), a cowgirl, and Jane Jetson. It was a bittersweet night. This was the last year for Sara to go trick or treating. It's our rule that 4th grade is the final "free candy" grade. (One of my pet peeves is when children who can get a job are trying to get free candy.) Don't worry about her...all our candy goes into one big pot and you can be assured that she will share in the consumption next year.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Going "old school"

John had been requesting Karate Kid for family movie night for awhile. I was confused the first couple of time wondering how he even knew about the classic 1980's movie. Then it finally occurred to me that he was not referring to the great Ralph Macchio Karate Kid...he was referring to the recent Will Smith's son Karate Kid movie. I made an executive decision (since I'm in charge of the Netflix account at our house) that we would go "old school" and watch the 1980's version before we even entertained the idea of watching the 2000 version. It prompted some interesting discussions during family movie night last night:

Yes!, there were gas stations in the 1980's. They are not pushing the car because there is no gas station.

Bonsai trees...I think all my kids want one for Christmas now..and I would like one too! I've wanted one for awhile though.

How we treat others and appropriate responses to how people treat you (how can you not have this conversation when you watch the Karate Kid).

The Japanese camps during WW2. Neither Joe or I remember that part when we originally watched it. That could be because we were in the 5th and 6th grade.

Nathan (without prompting from either of his parents): "You can get hurt doing karate. I don't think you should do it unless someone has taught you how and you need to make sure you have a good teacher." YES!

And, once again, the subject of Joe's memory came up. While Joe didn't remember the WW2 camps being brought up, he remember all the hits (not just the important ones) that Daniel took in the does he do that?!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Thursday...

  • So cute...John lost another tooth and now has that absolutely adorable look where he is missing both front teeth. Pictures will be forthcoming...
  • Music to my ears...Sara asked me last night what the weather was going to be like today because she was laying out her clothes. And, y'all, I hadn't even asked her to do that! Yeah, maturity!!
  • First time ever...I bought an air filter for the mower. And, if I can find some motor oil in the garage, I may actually install it. I know, I don't get why you have to soak it in motor oil either. But according to the expert (Joe) and the packaging that's what you do. I just do what I'm told.
  • The first goal...I've met it! I hit the 20 pounds lost mark today. I don't think that is too bad for 3 months. I'm about 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. We won't mention that Nathan turns 5 soon...
  • What to do....with the jalapenos that are laying on my counter. They are begging to be stuffed with cream cheese and deep fried. But that won't really help me meet my second goal. I'd have to run a lot more and we all know how I feel about running.
  • The never ending to do some of it again. I'm convinced someone fertilized the laundry room.

Monday, September 27, 2010

the ordinary stuff

So Joe asked me the other day if I was ever going to blog again. I said yes, and so here I am, back at it. Joe enjoys reading my blog posts so while you may not have missed me or taken note that it has been almost a month since a post, Joe noticed. What has been going on you may ask. My mom asked me the same question during our weekly phone conversation and I actually said "not much". That is a weird answer coming from me and if you look at my calendar you would say "yeah, right. You've been pretty busy!" I have, but it is one of those things where it is just normal life and so it doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary. And when people ask me what has been going on, I generally tend to think out of the ordinary type of stuff. The only "out of the ordinary" is that our Nathan has been away from us for about a week now. He is coming back in a few days. Boy, we have really missed him. I'm not sure anyone has missed him as much as his mommy! Here is some of the "ordinary stuff" that we've been up to:

  • Scouts have started...actually they are all at their meetings right now. Girl scouts have started up for Sara and Ashley and John began Cub Scouts this year. I actually think he may be a tiger or is it a's all so confusing. Good thing his den leader is his daddy. They've been having a great time with it.

  • AWANA started with a bang this year...107 kids the first night.

  • I started MOPS last week. This will probably be my last year which makes me a little sad, but in going through the introductions last week it became apparent to me that yes, this season of my life is almost over. I'm definitely on the older end of the moms...yikes!

  • I do get to speak at MOPS again this year. I'm looking forward to that. I also get to speak at a workshop for our women's retreat this November. I do love speaking to far my favorite ministry thing to do so it is a treat to me that I'll get to do it twice in the next 6 months.

  • I'm moving along in getting licensed. It will probably be the end of October. I'm so excited...I'm going to have so much fun watching more kids.

  • It's football season. Go Colts!!! It's fun this year because John has started getting into it and I think by the end of the season he may actually understand the basics of the game.

  • I've been running. Yes, you read that correctly, I've been running. I ran 2 1/2 miles this morning. I. hate. running. But I feel really good when I'm done and this morning I actually wasn't miserable for the first mile. I've never run this far before. Joe has his sights set on a half-marathon (he's up to 4 or 5 miles). While I would like to set that as my goal, I'm not sure it is a good idea because of my hating running issue.

  • And now I'm going to curl up with a nice cup of decaf and enjoy this fall's great! My all time favorite time of the year...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A new page is turning

I'm taking the plunge. I'm going back to work. No, wait, what have I been doing the last 9 1/2 years? Let me rephrase...I'm going back to work for pay. I actually started last year, but we are making it a little more official this year. Last year I began to babysit a little girl for a teacher here in town. The job totally fell into my lap...I had not pursued it at all. Joe & I had always planned for me to do some type of part-time work once Nathan started school. So when I started babysitting last year it wasn't necessarily a permanent thing. It was kind of on a take a year at a time kind of a thing. Well, I loved it and as I got to thinking about my ideal part-time job nothing could really top babysitting for a teacher. Last week I kick started the licensing process to become an "official in home daycare center". (If I add anymore kids, I have to be licensed). I can't believe I can actually say "I'm starting my own business."

As a side note, let me just say that had you asked me ten years ago what kind of part-time endeavor I might take on, I never would have mentioned babysitting. It probably wouldn't have even been in the top ten. I was coming out of the corporate world and that is pretty much all I knew. Kids did not enthuse me at all. I was excited about having my own, but everyone else's kids pretty much annoyed me. If you had asked me about it, I would had used the word NEVER. Reminds of another time I said never...I'll never be a pastor's wife. Well, look where that got me. I LOVE being a pastor's wife (well, most of the time ;) ) and I think I'm going to love this new stage of my life. Just a hint to never say never...God usually takes that as an opportunity to show me what He can do in my life and in my heart.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It is misfiring!

My brain has had some serious misfires of late. Here's the proof:

  • On Tuesday I (accidentally!) put body wash in my hair instead of conditioner. I do not recommend using that as a substitute. It has taken me three days to get it out. It was Oil of Olay. Yep, there is definitely some oil in that stuff.
  • I threw away John's homework paper. And, yes, I dug through the trash the. next. day. to find it. The things we will do for our kids...
  • Yesterday I put the ice cream container in the microwave. Fortunately, I realized about five minutes after I did it that I had not put it back in the freezer. (I was going back for more ice cream!) Unfortunately, it took me about 45 minutes to figure out where I had put it since it was not in the freezer.
  • I also woke Nathan up from his nap yesterday, dressed a very grumpy child (who normally doesn't mind getting woke up), and was on my way to wake up the baby when I realized that "oh rats, this isn't my car pool day". Fortunately, Nathan had already crawled back in bed and was asleep when I went to tell him that we didn't have to leave.

I could blame this all on decaf coffee, but that would have been last week. I made decaf in the morning for three days last week. In case you're worried, all my children are currently safe and accounted for and I have completely cleared my schedule for the rest of the week since I obviously can't handle more than one task at a time. Ah, it is a good excuse not to mop the floors today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting settled in...

We have slowly been getting into a routine here at the Horn house. I have a feeling we will kind of find our rhythm and then the September activities will begin and we will have to find it all over again. The kids are settling into school. Ashley and John have been testing to find where they are at so their teachers can move forward. And we were kind of wondering when homework would really start at this house. Evidently, at least in Sara's case, it is the fourth grade. Whoa, homework has definitely arrived. Fortunately, she doesn't seem to mind it much. It has actually really helped that she gets home earlier than the other kids. It gives her time to get started on it so she doesn't feel like she is missing out much later. Nathan has been begging to learn how to read. He got so desperate the other day he convinced his sister to sit down and teach him some stuff. So I've been doing at home preschool with him (minor stuff--about 20 minutes organized work a day) and he loves it! Most of what we do is in an unorganized fashion...rhyming at the grocery store, sounding out words in the car, and counting various things. Well, he loves everything but coloring. Who can really blame him for that though? He kind of fails to see the point of it and views it only as a way to get to work on the next sheet. Joe is starting a new endeavour...Cub Scout Leader. I'm not sure who is more excited Joe or John. They are both really, really pumped about Cub Scouts. And, me, what have I been up to? Well, I am T&T (Truth in Training, I think that is what it stands that is really bad that I don't know that!) director this year for AWANA. It is the 3rd-6th graders. I'm pretty excited because up until know I've usually only taught and dealt with younger kids. I'm also still in charge of Children's ministry at church and I'm starting a new endeavour as well. But that will have to wait for another post. I want to give many details.

I'll close this quick update with a quote from Nathan yesterday: "Can we go to Africa for our next vacation?" It made me chuckle. I asked him about Disneyworld and he said "Well, I want to go to Africa and then Disneyworld." It is these moments that make Joe & I feel good as parents. Don't hear me wrong...I love Disneyworld. It is a ton of fun and I see no problem in kids wanting to go to Disneyworld. But these comments reflect what we've tried to instill in our kids...a broad picture of the world and a love for learning. Well, that, and I think he'd really like to see a lion in the wild.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The tooth fairy

The tooth fairy visited our house again last night. This one made me cry. The top teeth always do. Treasuring these years...

Monday, August 23, 2010

The zoo

This past Saturday we made our annual trek to the St. Louis zoo. This really is one of our all-time favorite family places to hang out. The highlights of this trip were getting to see the hippo open its mouth and the lioness hanging out in the tree. The kids were also pretty excited that the snow leopard (one of their favorite animals) was where they could see it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day wrap up

Yes, summer vacation is over at our house. We started school today. They go half day today and tomorrow in an effort to ease us into it (well, that and I'm sure the teachers appreciate the prep time). Here's our traditional 1st day of school pics and a little bit about every one's mornings.
Ashley's first words when she got to the car were "Well, I really like Mr. Angelo, but we have homework." (It's easy homework in case you're worried). As part of her homework, she decided that one of the things she would take to school tomorrow to describe herself is a stick from our Ash tree in the front yard. I was quick to inform her that she needed to make sure she told her teacher that we did not name her after a tree. Yes, I will admit it, I want the teacher to like me and not think I name my children after trees.
John loves being in first grade, but, WOW, did it make him hungry. I can't even begin to describe everything he ate when he got home from school. It has given me pause about what I pack for that boy in his lunch box. We definitely need to be giving him more to eat at school. (BTW, this may be his last picture with his top front teeth intact. They are both wiggly. We may get to sing the "All I Want for Christmas..." song this year. )

Sara is in the 4th grade this year. Can you believe that?! I can't. The first words that she said to me after school were "Mrs. (blank) was really, really nice even though all my friends on the playground said that she was a monster." Greeeaaattt. I'm glad she is an independent thinking and doesn't assume what everyone else says is true. I've just heard that her teacher is hard which is not necessarily the worst thing in the world. I think Sara is going to do just fine. She has a locker this year (Ashley does too) and is super pumped about decorating it. She also has to get a lock. I hope she can remember the combination. I still have nightmares about forgetting my locker combination in high school!

Nathan didn't want to get left out of pictures. Poor guy really missed his siblings today. He hung out with me at McDonalds and some of his friends who he'll be going to kindergarten with next year. I sat and drank coffee with my friends. None of us could really bear going home with only part of our children. We had all pretty much cried our tears already and were ready for some mom conversation distraction until the kids got out. One thing is for certain, this has jolted me out of my summer schedule. I'm still feeling a bit frazzled from the morning. We are experiencing some change this year. Sara goes to school 45 minutes earlier than the other kids and therefore, gets out 45 minutes earlier than they do. John & Ashley's school has a new addition which is creating new drop off and pick up locations that are going to, understandably, take the school a few days to figure out. I say give it two weeks and I'll be in the swing of things. Until then, if you see me, you may want to ask me if I'm sure I am where I am supposed to be.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a few tidbits

Here are some tidbits of my life lately:

I went a week and a half without conditioner for my hair. I was waiting to get a really good deal on some. I'm thinking now that I was just being lazy and my hair paid the price. I could almost hear it sucking in all the conditioner after I bought it.

I took a shower last week (well, in case you're worried, I took one today too) and got interrupted 5 times by my kids. And I don't take that long in the shower. It takes me a total of 20 minutes to do everything...shower, hair, make-up, clothes. One of the interruptions...Child: "Mom, mom, mom!!" Me: "What?" Child: "Mom, mom, mom!" Me:" What?!" Child: "Oh, um, oh, um, I don't remember." Yeah, I don't think that is classified as an emergency.

I got a notice yesterday in the mail from my electric/gas company informing me that I've spent 7% more on energy this year than last year. Thanks...I just wasn't sure if this hot summer was costing me more money.

I cleaned the house yesterday. Well, I cleaned part of it. Joe had cleaned the boys' rooms while I was in Iowa for a quick visit. This cleaning is worth noting because it just doesn't get done in the summer. Joe even commented...WOW! You even dusted! I mopped too and we all know how I feel about mopping. It was a noteworthy day.

I commented to my children this morning that I would probably be crying next Monday morning. They were curious as to why and I told them because I miss them when they are at school. Sara's sympathy: "Well, we are only going to be gone a half day." She probably gets the tough love approach honestly.

I have watched my children grow up this summer. Not taller or bigger, but grown more mature. It's been good to see the fruit of discipline of the last 9 years with them. And, yes, I am going to dearly miss them starting next week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For all you moms out there...

Summer, well, summer break is drawing to a close at our house. We've got about a week and a half before school begins and my house shrinks from 4 kids to 1 kid...actually 2 kids because I babysit, but only one of my own. The last few days have been a little trying on the nerves. The checkout clerk at Walmart asked me yesterday if I was ready for school to start. I don't know if it was the behavior of my kids or the look on my face that prompted that question. No one napped today despite the fact that we had a friend for a sleepover last night. I headed downstairs to blow off some steam on my elliptical while everyone "rested" in their own rooms. About 10 minutes into the workout at a commercial I glanced around the room, took a big sigh and immediately launched into mental gripes about the cleanliness of the playroom. My gaze rested on a naked barbie. And the thought struck me...someday you are going to miss having naked barbies on your floor. The barbies haven't even been played with that much this summer. My girls are 8 and 9 and their birthday requests this last winter were MP3 players. It goes fast....the summers, the school years, the kids years, etc. It seems I've struggled with contentedness all my adult life. I tend to wish things away so I don't have to deal with the difficulty of the moment. I took pause and realized I could either gripe the next week and a half away or I could enjoy these moments...the squeals of enjoyment of life, the hugs and kisses and the discipleship and training moments. The next time I blink, there will be no more naked barbies on the floor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 10

Day 10 of vacation was spent at Zion National Park. This is one of my favorite National Parks. I love the contrast of the deep green colors with the orange rock formations in the canyon. It became a family favorite on this trip because we were able to do some hiking. Because it was one of our favorites I took a ton of pictures at Zion. I'll only give you a taste here. If you want to see more, call me and we'll have coffee and look at them together. The kids also enjoyed counting the lizards. I think they saw a total of 16. We loved the falls. The first ones we hiked to were the lower emerald pool.
The kids loved the weeping rock trail...mostly because it was hot and the rocks dripped water on us while we hiked. It was also beautiful. On the way there we saw several deer and wild turkeys.
Our last trail was the riverwalk trail. It led to the narrows which is a place in the trail where the canyon is so narrow that you can only hike through the water. Unfortunately, since we were there in what is technically spring the water was too high to walk through the actual narrows. However, we did enjoy a splash in the river.

What a great wore us all out.

This year's garden

Yep, the toe is broke. Well, I've not had x-rays done or anything, but a big purple line developed along the side of it and the whole top of my foot has a sickish purplely color to it. It is actually feeling better this afternoon. I'm not sure if it because of the 3 ibuprofen I took or because Joe finally convinced me I needed to stay off of it today. (It's kind of amazing...I can't walk very well but I can do the eliptical machine. Hurts like the dickens when I get off the machine, but...) Well, it was Joe telling me that I needed to keep off of it and the fact that it was so swollen at the end of the day yesterday that my sandel put a really decent imprint on it. Alright, enough about the lame foot.
I thought you might enjoy some pictures of our garden for this year. Planted were big boy tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, Marconi peppers, ancho peppers, and jalapeno peppers. Not planted, but growing are cherry tomatoes. Not planted, growing and pulled were some zucchini plants. I still have zucchini in the freezer from last summer. The gal with the green thumb at church shared some tomato tips with our MOPS group last spring that really helped with my romas this year. I've been pruning the "sucker" branches off. I love to prune. Just ask Joe...some plants I prune so much that he's convinced they will never see life again. But I have yet to kill anything by pruning. There's just something satisfying about snipping junk off of a plant. Anyway, we have the largest romas we've ever had. They are almost ready to ripen. I just keep hoping they wait until after VBS next week, but with this heat they will probably all be ready for salsa making the middle of the week. Good thing I have next weekend free. I just need to encourage my jalapenos in the same direction.
our jalapenos
maroconi peppers
the beautiful romas--one of about 5 plants

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July at our house

So I'm pretty sure I broke my toe. It is the next to last one on the left foot and I know it would make me feel better if it turned black. Then I would feel a little justified in the amount of pain it is causing me. This really isn't a convenient time for me to have a broken toe. I've just gotten back into my exercise routine (you may have heard that Joe & I are participating in a weight loss challenge with the office staff at church) and I have VBS next week. Not sure at this point how I'm going to jump around on stage like I need to. I've really started praying that by next week the toe is back to normal. Joe (the medical expert in the house) says it is very unlikely. Sigh...

The middle part of July has been pretty active for us. Here's what's been going on....

  • We've been borrowing some videos from the library for our evening entertainment. (There just hasn't been anything child worthy on TV lately.) The other day Nathan talked me into letting him get a nature video Deep Blue. It's not that I'm against nature; I'm just not a fan of some of the videos about nature. Anyway, we settled in to watch it with me warning them that if it got crazy on evolution we would be turning it off. It actually turned out to be pretty good, right up to the point that they started showing the killer whales. After seeing them in a action, I'm kind of wondering who at Sea World thought it would be a good idea to try to tame these mighty beasts. They had a scene where a pack of killer whales attacked a baby gray whale. After 6 hours they wore the mama gray whale out and killed (yikes!) the baby gray whale. It was really horrible. We had major tears going on with Nathan and I'm afraid he will probably never watch a nature video again.
  • On the same theme of nature, a monarch catepillar somehow ended up on my foot outside last week. So we brought it in a put it in Sara's "butterfly pavillion". It ate and ate this last week and we woke up this morning to it hanging upside down in the pavillion. Here's hoping for a butterfly in two weeks.
  • The girls had an Anne of Green Gables marathon while visiting their aunt a few weeks ago. Now I know who Ashley reminds me of...Anne of Green Gables! She is now devouring the books and her dramatic side has come into light even more in the last week. She was in tears when we took the video back to the library yesterday (yes, they had to watch them again when they got home). I think there may have even been utterances of "how shall I now live?"
  • Speaking of Ashley, she lost a tooth this last week. It put me in a panic when she came upstairs one afternoon with blood coming out of her mouth and she announced a tooth fell out. I didn't know she had a loose tooth and you just never know what is going to happen with that child. Fortunately, it was one that was suppose to come out this time.
  • We have VBS here next week and once again I'm in charge of it. I guess that sounded a little like I didn't want to be in charge. I enjoy it. It could be an interesting week. Last year we had 38 kids on our first day and ended the week around 60 or 70. We have 41 preregistered for this year. Here's hoping we have enough of everything!
  • I've been studying Hebrews this summer. I usually end up my Bible study with more questions than answers. But it has been really good to be in the Word.

We are off to the orthodontist and to do a little shopping...that will be fun with a broken toe. Oooo, maybe I can drive one of those little carts at the store....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The herd is back!

Okay, just to start out, I will finish blogging about vacation, but it may have to wait until after VBS is over. Oh, wait, then I'll be in preparation for the beginning of school. Well, I guess I'll just have to finish it before VBS. It will get done. I promise.

So, yep, the herd is back home again. Not to be confused with "Back Home, Again in Indiana". They just came from spending two weeks in Indiana. No, they are back home in good 'ole Illinois. We had gotten several complaints from the neighbors about our children missing. I'm serious. The ones across the street even came over to greet them this evening. Yeah, our street is pretty quiet without our children around. There is only one other house with kids on our block and they only have two girls. Elementary girls tend to be quieter than 4 & 6 year old boys who are outside playing cowboys. Within thirty minutes of being home Nathan had been a cowboy, a superhero, and an army guy.

So I've been transitioning from an eerily quiet house to a somewhat organized chaotic one. How is the patient, you may be wondering? John is doing fine. Our biggest issue right now is trying to balance the activity. It is kind of hard to "play quietly" when you have three other siblings that really have no desire to do that. And it becomes apparent very quickly that he really doesn't yet have the stamina to sustain a day full of imaginary play with the others. They had a superhero/cowgirl club meeting this morning downstairs and that was about all he could handle.

This post wouldn't be complete without a quick comment on what I learned while my kids were gone. I'm convinced that God designed us to have personal interaction in part so that we would recognize our desperate need for him. I was feeling pretty good about myself...rather self-righteous, to be honest...after spending close to two weeks with either no children or one child. My sin nature was downright under control. It literally took about 30 minutes of my children being home for me to recognize that, oh, I guess I'm not has righteous as I thought. I'm thankful for that though. I'm thankful that I have four kids and a husband that help reveal to me (not by their actions, but by relationship to them) the edges that need to be refined by the Lord. I pray that once my kids are gone I will be wise enough to build close enough relationships with others that I can continue to recognize my sin and my need for a Savior.

On the agenda for tomorrow: a free movie at the local movie theater and maybe a stop a the new HyVee. Yes, we have HyVee now. I'm so excited! This one comes equipped with a sushi bar. Now we just need to add a Fareway and a Meijer to make our shopping repertoire complete.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

John's surgery

So for the third time in my experience as a mother I took one of my kids in for surgery yesterday. It never gets to be an easier experience. There are different challenges with each experience and with experience comes ease in knowing what to expect. BUT it is never easy to send your child off with stranger (I don't know that nurse!) and go sit in another room while he/she is put to sleep and surgically messed with. Even a "simple and routine" surgery such as removing the tonsils, adenoids and getting some nose work, isn't "simple and routine" when it is your child that is is down right traumatic. All that to say, I'm glad it is over. I feel so blessed that it was just "simple and routine" and that all my kids that have had surgery have had no problems. Yesterday it all went as planned and he was such a great patient for everyone.

The "before" picture. John was so fascinated by everything going on in the hospital that he forgot to be nervous. He was also stunned that Ashley forgot to tell him that he got to wear special PJs for the event. He loved the slippers so much that he requested to bring them home.

His first picture sans tonsils and adenoids. He immediately chomped down a popsicle that he declared "delicious". The first thing he requested from mom and dad when he saw us was "I want to go home.". We concurred so he quickly met all the requirements to be discharged and was out the door about 2 hours after his surgery. Then we all went home to "sleep it off". We are now in the middle of a Star Wars marathon. What a great way to recover.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

a quick update

So I have obviously taken a break from sharing our vacation story. Not to worry, I will finish some point. We've been taking a another mini-vacation the last couple of weeks. This one was (and is) filled with medical issues, having friends visit and visiting family. We've been swimming, fishing, and hanging out in hospital waiting rooms. The kids spent last week with their Grandpa and Grandma Snow. On the fourth we transitioned and went to the other Grandparents and enjoyed a house filled with aunts, uncles and cousins. As far as the hospital visits go...Joe had his "routine" colonoscopy last week. He hadn't had one in four years so it was time and everything came out normal. Well, normal for him. He still has crohn's disease so obviously his small intestine doesn't look like yours or mine. Anyway, today we head down to the hospital with my John-John. He is getting his tonsils, adenoids, and some nose work done. It may be a rough few days, but I have high hopes for how he will feel once school starts. If you've ever heard John talk you know that this has been coming for awhile. After his surgery it will be interesting to see if he still enjoys onions, olives and tuna salad as much as he does now.

Anyway, just a little update from the heartland that seems to think it is Florida this summer...steamy days with afternoon storms have become the normal here. Hopefully we still have some limbs left in our trees by the end of summer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 9

We said good-bye and headed for Utah on Day 9. John decided his stuffed animal would enjoy listening to my iPod as well.

Our first stop of the day was Hoover Dam. From this angle, Joe couldn't really figure out why it was such a big deal.
So we crossed over the dam and saw the other side. This is not a great picture. It was pretty difficult to get a good picture from a "free" position. (It even cost to just go into the visitor's center). This is probably the last time I'll get to drive (I should say "ride") across the dam. They are in the process of completing a spectacular bridge that will go above the dam. It is for security concerns. They had some pretty serious security checkpoints on the way into the dam.

The kids next to their first palm trees.

We left our quick stop at the dam and drove through the corner of Nevada which included Las Vegas. We drove a little of the strip and the "got out of dodge". We are not real big fans of Nevada. Kind of ugly and you feel like you need to take a shower after you cross over into Utah. Oh, and FYI, southern Nevada Subways don't take Subway gift cards. Seriously.
Just outside Cedar City (our next campsite) we stopped at the north end of Zion National Park and saw Kolob Canyon. Ahhh, beautiful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My two "mishaps" in the last two days

Mishap #1: I've been a little skittish about sickness in my house lately. I'm not usually a "oh no, a low grade fever. I must run my kid to the doctor" kind of a person. But with the amount of strep we've had and a kid that we think is carrying it, I've kind of gotten that way. So yesterday when Nathan started acting a little off and running low grade fever and a reddish throat, I jumped at the chance to make a 1:15 appt to get him checked out. I had called at noonish so I was feeling really blessed that our popular doctor had something available. (The receptionist was even shocked.) As I rushed out the door I seemed to recall that all I'd really eaten for lunch was some watermelon. So I grabbed a banana and went on my way. Once we arrived at the doctor my eyes were having difficulty adjusting to the light in the office. After we got back to the examining room it became very apparent to me that I needed to either find some sugar or a nurse. I did find some candy, but still needed the nurse. Nothing like having to have your child sit in the office chair to be examined because his mom was laying on the examining table sucking down a protein shake. I'm still not completely convinced it was a blood sugar issue (they tested it and it was 105, but that was after the stick of candy), but you can be assured the next time I go to the doctor it will be on a full stomach. It definitely goes up on my most embarrassing moment list...

Mishap #2: So I was outside this morning, barefoot, cutting fresh flowers to beautify my home. I had a couple of lilies in my hand when I stepped on something slimy. My first thought SNAKE!, of course...because we all know that snakes abound in my yard (we haven't seen one since we moved in so it made complete sense to me that this would be a snake). I screamed and then proceeded to throw my flowers in the air. I looked down and no, it wasn't a snake (shocker!). It was dog poop. And to make it worse it wasn't my dog's poop (she only goes in the backyard). It was a neighbor's dog. Somehow it is worse when it isn't your own animal. It is kind of like changing someone else's baby's diaper is much worse then changing your own kid's diaper. Sigh....fortunately I have been having an excellent morning so I'm determined that this will not damper it in anyway. was pretty gross. Oh, and in case you are wondering, it is worse to step on it barefoot. Joe was trying to convince me just last night that it would be better and easier to clean up if you were barefoot. The grossness factor totally makes up for the fact that it is "easier" to clean up.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 8

Day 8 of vacation (which happened to be a Sunday) started somewhat chilly. Nathan decided he needed to make his socks into leg warmers.

Our plan for the day was to see the Canyon early in the morning and then come back for some laundry, swimming and general relaxation before we started packing to leave the next day. Joe was hoping to see some elk so he commented "Kids, look out the window. This would be a good time of day for them to be out." Sara decided to tease her dad a bit with the comeback "Yeah, it is also a good time of day for cows and horses." We'd seen several cows & horses masquerading as elk. Sadly, we didn't see any elk.
All was going as planned until we got about 5 miles from the Canyon and John threw up. So we all prayed that he just got car sick, turned the car around and changed our plans for the day. We did about 4 loads of laundry, Joe cleaned out the car, we took naps, we swam, and then we headed back to the Canyon for the evening. The quote of the day came from John while were at the pool. Joe said "We will be leaving the pool around 2". John replied "So we'll be leaving at either 1:59 or 2:01?"

This little guy is the desert spiny lizard. The shuttle buses that we were riding had pictures of different animals you could see at the Grand Canyon. This lizard was one of the animals pictured so the boys were super excited to spot him. While at the Canyon we also saw many ravens. They also were pictured in the bus so everytime we saw one John would say "There is a common raven". We also saw a gopher snake at one of the overlooks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vacation 2010 Day 7

Our campground and "home base" for two days sat next to the Kaibab forest. In fact. our cabin looked out on the forest. As a side note, you may have heard about Kaibab recently in the news. Part of it has been on fire and it's not too far from our campground. So the timing of our trip was just about perfect. I'm wondering if the campground is even open right now. Most of the trip (when we weren't staying with friends or family) we stayed in KOA kamping kabins. They have two room ones that were perfect for us and most have air conditioning! As you will hear in future days, this Horn family doesn't do well when we get hot. We are rather spoiled I guess. The kabin also makes it easy to relax and not worry about rain or thunderstorms while camping. You will also see why this is important in future days.There was a small trail in the forest and the boys decided to go in search of jack rabbits. They were successful and we also watched one while we ate breakfast. We took it slow on this morning of vacation. We'd been packing up and heading out pretty quickly everyday until now, so we were ready for a relaxing morning to enjoy sausage and eggs in the midst of the pine smell. Mmmm, nothing like that smell combination.
The rest of the day was spent with "oooo's" and "ahhhhh's" as we saw the grand canyon. It was also filled with "hold my hand!" and "no, Ashley, no one is going to fall over the edge". Here are some pictures from that day.

Our first glimpse of the Colorado River.

We stopped at a couple of overlooks and rode the canyon shuttle up to Hermit's Rest. Then it was back to the campground for some swimming in the heated pool, some fun, and some good rest.