Friday, December 30, 2011

Duct Tape? Really? Who knew...

So I headed off to the doctor's office this morning to have some warts removed off my foot. Ashley has an appointment this afternoon to have one taken off her foot as well. But wait, before you judge, this is not due to my housekeeping skills. According to an extensive conversation I had with my doctor this morning (because what else is better to do on a Friday morning than talk to your doctor about warts and I needed a diversion between the freezings) most people are carrying the wart virus in their bodies. The virus actually resides in your spinal column (ahhh?!) and the warts emerge when you are under stress or your immune system is compromised. Then they hang out for awhile and eventually they do go away by themselves (my doctor did say you may have to wait several years...)

Now if you don't want to wait 40 years for them to disappear, you can have them frozen off like I did this morning. Or you can use duct tape. You might be saying "What? Duct tape? Seriously?". Yep...it is what my doctor recommends. You place the duct tape over the wart in the evening, sleep with it on, and then remove it the next morning. If you can tolerate it, put another piece of duct tape on it in the morning and remove it at night. It creates a skin irritation and eventually your body gets the message that there is something up with that area of skin and your immune system goes to work on the work.

So now that you know all about warts....Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend saying goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

my strong will power

So I am sitting here in my PJs at 8:15 this morning enjoying my grapefruit. I don't really need to be anywhere today so I'm thinking about just staying in them. They are comfortable and warm...both a priority for Christmas break. I was thinking through my accomplishments of the last week or so and there is one accomplishment that stands out above and beyond the rest. On Monday I didn't eat one cookie! This was quite an accomplishment since over the last month I have lost track of how many dozens of cookies I have made. We are (well, were...I disposed of them this morning) completely surrounded by cookies. So the fact that I didn't have one on Monday is HUGE. I'm sure it was all will power on my part that kept me from the cookies. I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I wasn't home most of the day. Nope....definitely my strong will power...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sights and Sounds...A Merry Open House

The sound of Christmas music, happy greetings, laughter, children's squeals and the sights of smiles, delicious food, and smiles all around were in my house yesterday. We had our annual open house and it was a great success. As usual, we have no idea exactly how many came through the doors, but we are guessing close to 100. On the menu for this year was fried turkey, pasta salad, bean salad and too many sweet yummies to count. A couple of things distinguished this year's from past years'. First we held it on a Sunday afternoon instead of in the evening. Second, it was 50 degrees outside! No one had to trudge through the snow and the kids were able to play outside. I know my kids certainly appreciated that latter fact. It was so fun to celebrate Christ's birth with our church family and friends.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sights and Sounds...cans, basketballs, and cooking away

Our Saturday began early for most of us. Sara was at her friend's sleepover celebrating a birthday so I don't think her's started as early as our did. The rest of us headed over to the high school and helped sort and fill baskets of food for the community needs agency. The kids collect cans every year through a competition they have a school, but we've never been able to make it over to help out with distribution. We had a great time and it was good for the kids to see where all the cans end up.

The next step to our crazy day, which was made more interesting by being down to one vehicle and it happens to be the one that cannot hold all of us, was for Ashley and I to head over to her last basketball game of this session. We are so proud of her perseverance. This was her first time playing basketball and it took her a bit to be comfortable during the game. But she hit her first basket last week and her confidence soared. She finished out the session today by hitting four baskets and one of them was off of a steal. Her coach said that she was her most improved player on the session. She has another session from January - March.

After Joe ran the errands and pick us up from the ballgame the cooking/baking fest began at our house. Our annual Merry Open House is tomorrow afternoon and we did fried turkey this year. So now the four turkeys are fried, the cookies and candies are ready to go and let the party begin tomorrow afternoon!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sights and Sounds...tears in my eyes...

My beloved John brought home his December journal from school today. A friend of mine who works in his class at school got to read this particular journal entry the day he wrote it and mentioned to me to be looking for a special one. The instructions were "December is the month for giving gifts. Write about a gift that you would like to give to a special person." His entry is very special indeed:

"I have a very special present for my Mom and Dad. This year I will give my parents my love. Love is one of the most special presents. It comes not in paper, but from the heart. I love my parents so much."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sights and Sounds...Santa

Santa, Bass Pro Shop, Christmas lights, Christmas music, ohs & aws...these were the sights and sounds around here last night. We visited Santa Clause at Bass Pro Shop's Santa's Wonderland last night and had an AWESOME time. I highly recommend it to anyone who lives near us or a Bass Pro. So easy and a free picture.... Even Sara, who decided that she was too old to sit on Santa's lap, thought it was cool. I loved the kid in front of us who had to be at least 9. He presented his written list to Santa and the two of them had a very serious discussion. Reminded me of Ralphie from A Christmas Story...wonder if a Red Rider BeeBee Gun was on his list. On my kids' list...a wrist watch, a Colts helmet and Colts pants, a scooter, gum that will fill our house (any guesses on that one??!!). After Santa we headed over to a nearby Christmas light display that amazes me each year. Quote of the night came from one of my boys. In looking at one of the dinosaurs, I commented.."I wonder how they did that." My son responded "Well, I think they take a wire and attach lights to it. Then they plug the wire in." Thanks son...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sights and Sounds of the Season at the Horns

Well, it has been a flurry of activity around our house, but not as much as in the past. I honestly cut out a lot of the "minor" things that we would do each December and have been amazed at how just doing that has calmed me. I thought I would fill you in with the activities in the form of "sights and sounds".

The first sound I will share is the sound of discussions about "going to Pearce". Pearce is our local community center that we absolutely love. Ashley's basketball program that she is currently in takes place at Pearce. (BTW, she made her first two baskets this past Saturday at her game. I knew once I could convince her to shoot it, that she would start making some. Her confidence is slowly building and once it is up she may be a decent basketball player. Ahh, Hoosier blood...) Anyway, Pearce is also where we go work out. Joe is nearing the end of the weight loss competition he has been in the last 6 months or so. He is very close to "being in the money" (the top three). Pearce also has an indoor pool that we will probably dip into over Christmas break. You will also hear groans associated with Pearce....or the lack of getting to go in my life. I am feeling so much better, but can't seem to convince my body that exercise is okay again. Right after Thanksgiving I went for a two mile run after having a break since July. It felt so. good. to run again. I never thought I would miss it the way I do. Unfortunately, I felt worse than I had felt in probably a month for the next couple of days after I ran. So I am trying to take it slow. I hopped on the treadmill again today and attempted to just walk, but it is just so tempting to pick up the speed when it feels good when you do it. It helped that Joe was with me this time to remind me not to overdue it. I walked about 2 miles (ran for about 1/4 of a mile) and felt much better when I got off this time. I am trying to be patient, but patience has never been one of my best attributes...

30 Days of Thankful--Day 30

I am so thankful for my husband Joe Horn. He honors me in all he does. He cares for me so well. And he visibly loves me without words (and with words!) I am truly blessed to have this man as the gift of my husband.

Friday, December 9, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 29

I am thankful that my kids can remember what Christmas is all about in the craziness of this month. I went down to my basement this morning to pick it up a bit. I don't do this very often. It is the kids' domain. And, so, to maintain peace the cleanliness of the basement doesn't come up very much. But, I had some time and knew it needed a mother's touch for a few minutes. They spent much of last weekend in the basement working on a play they wanted to do for Christmas. I was so touched this morning when I found a handmade manger in which they had cut up yellow construction paper for the straw. It was a very realist looking manger. It made me feel good and warm inside...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 28

I am thankful for new life. One of the moms I babysit for had another baby this morning. I got the privilege of taking big sister to the hospital to join the rest of the family after his birth. I got to hold the little boy in my arms when he was only about 3 1/2 - 4 hours old. So. very. precious. I am not sure I will ever cease to be amazed at the miracle of new life...brings tears to my eyes just typing about it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 27

I am thankful for kids who are so curious and creative. I was working on supper last night and Joe had taken the girls out Christmas shopping so it was just me and the boys. This is a rarity. I was soaking up my boys. Nathan spent 20 minutes in a discussion with me about the sink and pipes and such. He got a drink of water, watched the water go down the drain and immediately wanted to know where it goes from there. So he opened up the cabinet and followed the pipes. This led, of course, to the one that comes from the dishwasher. So then we opened up the dishwasher and went exploring. I was faltering a little bit with some of his questions which happens quite frequently. There are so many times I feel so out of my league. Maybe I should be just thankful that we have the internet in those moments. I love watching their eyes and seeing their minds learn about the world they are in.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 26

I am so thankful that I have actually more than 30 days to post my 30 days of thankful! I have obviously fallen behind. Here's what has distracted me:

  • We traveled to Indiana to celebrate Thanksgiving and had a wonderful time with family. This year we were with the Horn side. Joe was simply excited that one of his nieces actually likes him. Little Jane really warmed up to him.
  • After Thanksgiving my parents were able to come out for a visit. It had been awhile since we had seen them so it was really good to catch up with them.
  • I have a new kitchen sink which is so gorgeous and makes it look like my whole kitchen has had a makeover. A big thanks to both sets of parents who were involved in this.
  • I am just about done with my Christmas shopping. I may pick up a few stocking stuffers here and there, but other than that I am done.
  • My house looks like the season. The kids and I had a really great time decorating this year while Joe was out hunting. We did save the "drunken star" for him to put on top of the tree. Now hopefully it will stay on the tree until we are ready to take the tree down.
  • Our little Sophie is a much humbler dog this morning. Occasionally she decides to crawl out under our fence and come around and see if we will let her in the front door. Yesterday on her excursion the neighbor's black lab decide to come over and say hi. Sophie thinks she is as big or bigger than the lab and has gone after him before. He evidently decided that he needed to show her who is boss yesterday and bit her on the back hip. (Please don't blame the lab...he is about as gentle as you can get. We are fairly certain Sophie majorly provoked him.) Thankfully she is going to be okay. She had to have 3 little staples put in on the wounds. I think she is also going to have to wear the "cone of shame" as she has already managed to pull out two of the staples.
  • I got to visit our MOPS group at church last night and speak on one of my favorite Christmas topics...Advent. I had such a great time with those ladies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 25

I am thankful for social media. I know, I know...there is a lot of negatives to things like twitter, facebook, and even blogs. However, there are also a lot of positives. The biggest for me is the ability for me to keep in contact with friends that I have all over the states and the world. I feel so blessed to have these friends and to be able to keep in such great contact with them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 24

I am thankful for Christmas pregnancies. One of the mom's I babysit for is due any day with her second child. I am so excited to meet this kid! It got me thinking about my own pregnancies. I had the privilege of being pregnant with three of my four kids during the Christmas celebration. I found in each of those years that Christmas took on a whole new meaning to me. The helplessness of Mary and my Savior seemed so much more real. Even in those moments, or maybe even more so in those moments, I can't seem to fathom the humble beginnings of my Lord.

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 23

I am thankful for my health. I stepped on the treadmill this morning for the first time since mid-July. I had an entirely new appreciation for being able to get on the treadmill. I've been having some health issues and while the root cause has turned out to be fairly minor, the symptoms have been anything but minor. I'm starting to feel like myself again and it really felt good to be able to run some this morning. I am so thankful that I am in good health and can experience life to its fullest.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 22

I am thankful that I get to share the holidays with family. Several years ago when Joe and I were in Dallas we spent a Thanksgiving without family. I have been so blessed because it has been the only holiday that I have had to spend without family. That one day has given me so much perspective. I will never take my family gatherings at the holidays for granted.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 21

I am thankful to be a pastor's wife. Ten years ago this month Joe started his first pastorate position. It truly is a calling. In those ten years I have experienced some of the most painful moments of my life, but I have also experienced some of the greatest peace and unspeakable joy as I have gotten to sit in the front row of life and watch God work.

30 Days of Thankful--Day 20

Today I am thankful for plastic ornament balls for my Christmas tree. I was able to find some really pretty red tree ornament balls for my tree on clearance at Target last year. We got our tree out last night so that we could be ready for all our Christmas festivities when we get back from Thanksgiving. I was so delighted to discover that they were plastic. With four children and tile floors, plastic ornament balls are priceless!

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 20

I am thankful for grace today. Because I needed some badly...and my God is so faithful.

30 Days of Thankful--Day 19

I am thankful for a husband who shares his toys! I got Joe a Kindle last Christmas. While I have always enjoyed technology and found new technology easy to navigate, I have typically been very resistant to transform some of my paper stuff to computer/phone. Take my calendar for example...for many years I LOVED my paper calendar. I was frequently spurred on to go the computerized variety and attempted it a couple of times, but it was only recently that I truly transitioned to a computerized form. (It took me getting a phone that could contain my calendar for me to be won over and an app like Cozi.) I was the same way with books. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I didn't want to hold a piece of plastic or read a screen. I wanted to have to have a bookmark, feel the paper in my hands, and smell the crisp pages of a new book or the old worn pages of a well-loved book. However, recently my frugalness has won me over to the Kindle. I can't believe how many books you can get for free or borrow from their library. And the screen on a Kindle is not like a computer screen. It really looks uncannily like you are reading a real page of a book. I have enjoyed Joe's so much that we decided to get our book loving daughter one for Christmas (shhhh...it's a surprise!)

Friday, November 18, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 18

I am thankful for a God who knows what I need better than I do. The last 3 or so months I've been struggling with some health issues and it has caused me to pretty much clear my schedule. I babysit and am a wife and mom. I work in the nursery about once every six weeks or so at church and I teach children's church once a month. That is it. For most people, they would say "That is plenty! You have four kids and your husband is a pastor!". But it has only been recently that I have cleared my schedule to include just those things. Prior to mid-July it was filled with a whole lot more. It was a struggle for me to say no and resign from some things. But now, as I have had a whole lot of time to reflect and think, it has been so very good for me. And I have regained some joy that was really missing from my life. I have also rediscovered my love for books and baking. The apple bread has been rolling out the oven this fall and I have come to really appreciate my quiet afternoons where the only thing pressing I have is to listen for the kids I babysit for as they nap and enjoy some really good books. I can truly say Thank You God for forcing me to STOP!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 17

I am so thankful for Sara, Nathan, Ashley, and John. I am so blessed to be able to call myself mom to these four incredible kids.

30 Days of Thankful--Day 16

I completely forgot to post yesterday. I guess that goes to prove that it truly does take 21 days to form a habit. So this is for yesterday...I am thankful for automated washing and drying machines. I sometimes take so many things in my life for granted. And, no they aren't broken; I was just sitting here thinking about the laundry I needed to do today and my mind trailed off to a manual wringer/washer that I saw the other day. It reminded me of my grandmother's wringer washing machine. When we saw it we had to explain how it worked to the kids and they were absolutely astonished that you wouldn't have a clothes dryer. We don't have the top of the line front loader washing/dryer machines. I do, however, have an incredible, heavy duty top loader that keeps on washing and a dryer that enables me to not have to trudge outside in the winter to hang clothes on the line. And for that, I am so very thankful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 15

Today I am thankful that I am simply a branch and not the vine or the vinedresser.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:1, 4-5

Monday, November 14, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 14

I am thankful for toothless smiles. Nathan lost his first tooth today. I shed some tears through the big smile on my face and gazed at the HUGE grin on his face. It was with such mixed emotions that I faced this day. I love seeing the toothless grins on my kids' faces. But the losing of teeth is a clear identifier that my kids are growing up before my eyes. Joe often says "We are raising adults, not kids." And I agree with that. We want them to grow up and become might servants of our Father. But as their mommy I can't help but mourn a little bit of their childhood disappearing. Today my baby grew up a little right before me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 13

I am thankful for an unbelievable, gorgeous day here in November. It was such a blessing to open up the windows and to put flip flops on again!

30 Days of Thankful--Day 12

I am thankful for deer meat in my freezer again. No, Joe hasn't gotten one, but I am so thankful for the generosity of someone who has shared his. And I am looking forward to hopefully more next weekend when shotgun season begins.

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 11

I am so thankful for the men who sacrificed so I could live in a free country. I love reading historical fiction that takes place during WWII. I am currently working my way through The Twilight of Courage by Brock and Bodie Thoene....one of my favorite authors of that genre. (I've read it before, but one of the benefits to a poor memory....) As I read I can't help but be grateful for where I live and those that made it possible for me to live with the freedom that I have.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 10

I am so thankful for the incredible and beautiful creation that God has graciously given us to enjoy. I love, love, love to travel. I was so blessed to grow up in a family that took me to all the lower 48 states. I also had the privilege to go on a mission's trip in 2000 to Mozambique. I like to experience all the different foods and culture, but most of all I really love looking at God's creativity as it is on display across the entire world. I have a list of all the sites that I want to see...my own little bucket list. Today I added another one to it. I don't usually watch much morning TV, but due to my love of travel, I try to catch Matt Lauer's trips in November. The place he is today I would LOVE to go. It definitely makes the top 5 of my list...Jungfrau, Switzerland. It is beyond beautiful on TV. I can't imagine what it would be like in person.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 9

I am so thankful that God gave me the gift of being able to multitask. Right now I am browning meat for supper (I am making an additional dish for the freezer), singing songs with the little girl I babysit, printing out a turkey craft to make with her later, starting dessert for tonight's Lifeworks class, and uploading music to my itunes (I have to reload it all onto my new computer...ugh). I love being able to multitask so I can sit later and read books with my kids without being distracted because I have accomplished my day's work.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 8

I am so thankful that I get to be home when my kids are home. I have been so blessed the last 10 years to be able to stay with my kids. I got to be here with all of them when they were infants and now I get to be here when they get on the bus in the morning and when they get off the bus in the afternoon. And, now that they are all in school, I feel even more blessed that I get to work and bring in a little money and still get to be here with my kids. God is good.

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 7

I am thankful for changing my clocks. Yikes....you have no idea how difficult it is for me to say that. However, I have decided that today is going to be a day of thankfulness instead of complaining and contemplating a letter to my congressman at 4:30am. I am thankful that I was in time this morning to spend some good, quality time in the Word. I was fully awake to kiss my husband good-bye as he headed out for his tree stand. And I was able to actually bake some breakfast for my kids. If I'm really productive this morning, I plan on taking some time to REST this afternoon and hopefully I can stay awake past 8pm tonight!

30 Days of Thankful--Day 6

I am thankful for Sabbaths. We typically have unusual days of sabbath at our house since Sundays are Joe's primary work day. However, at least to me, Sundays still seem like a day of rest. We get to worship together with our blood family and our brothers and sisters in Christ and then we get to nap and rest. I typically try to stay off the computer and not do much housework. Usually our meals consist of something I've made on Saturday I is either in the crockpot or the oven or it is what we call at our house "get your owny" meals. After a good Sunday where I have intentionally taken a break from life, I can usually say good morning (and mean it) on a Monday morning.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 5

I am thankful for wonderful teachers. We have been so blessed with such great teachers for my kids. Just last night we witnessed another example of our teachers going above and beyond the responsibilities of their jobs. All of the fourth graders had a lock-in at the school. Why? Simply because they had been working hard this year and the teachers wanted to reward them. So four very brave teachers hosted the lock-in and from all sounds it seems it was very successful. Of course, right now my fourth grader is "sleeping it off". My hopes is that the teachers were able to get good naps this afternoon too!

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 4

I am so thankful for my house. I LOVE my house. When we moved here four years ago with four kids I never dreamed that I would be able to live in a five bedroom home. I was hoping for 3 bedrooms with a good play area. And when we first looked at this house, I didn't even realize it had five bedrooms. It is just the right size. And it has a fireplace to warm us by on cold, damp evenings like last night. This house is a constant evidence to me that God truly does know the desires of our hearts.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 3

I am thankful for rainy days. Rainy days make me want to stop, sit down with a book and a blanket and a roaring fire in the fireplace. And I have discovered over the last few months that I need good reminders to stop and do such things. So today I thank my Father for a nice rainy day reminding me to stop and rest.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 2

I am thankful for hot running water. I have recently rediscovered my love of a nice, hot bubble bath. I got a bathtub spa set as a white elephant gift in July and when my kids were on vacation at Grandpa and Grandma's a few week's ago I thought I'd try it out. I sat in the bathtub with complete silence (except for the occasional popping of some bubbles) and the dull rumble of the back massager. I enjoyed a good book and breathed in the aroma of my bath bomb from Lush. It was so. so. relaxing. So I have added bubble baths to my weekly routine. Last night as I was escaping in the bathtub my mind wandered to 10 years ago. Joe and I went on a mission's trip to Mozambique. Mozambique was in 2000 and still is the 5th poorest country in the world. While we were there we stayed in one of the nicer houses in Maputo (the capital). Every morning when we went to bath, we would poor cold water into an electric hot pot. We would heat the water up and then attempt to achieve a nice, warm sponge bath. I was there for two short weeks and Joe was there for 5. It was such a pain when we were there and then I think of the people that live there permanently...I am so thankful for my hot running water.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Thankful--Day 1

In honor of November, the month of Thanksgiving, I thought I would do a series on thankfulness. We will start out with one that may seem a little odd to some. I am thankful for Halloween. I always get a feeling of gratefulness and patriotism during Halloween. What other country is so great that you can simply dress up and knock on some doors and get candy. In our small town the streets are filled with families and some neighborhoods take Halloween as an opportunity for a block party. Halloween is a simple reminder to me of the great town and country that I live in. And so, from that perspective, I am thankful for Halloween.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Storyteller

I had conference marathon evening last night. I managed four parent/teacher conferences between 6-8pm. AND I managed to make it to all of them on time and didn't get mixed as to where I was supposed to be. Not bad considering they were spread between two schools. One of many highlights of the evening was getting John's journals for August and September. I love, love, love reading stories that my kids write. They are all so different and creative. John especially seems to have a gift for creating and telling a good story. I thought I would share some of them. Each day his teacher has a question that the students answer and then illustrate their answers. One particular day the question was: "What do you think your teacher keeps in her desk?" John's answer:

"I think my teacher keeps a giant bone in her desk. So if the class is really, really, really bad I am sure she will give everyone a good "thwonk" on the head with it. That is why I try to be super good. So I will never get a bump made by the bone. Boy that teacher is scary."

His stories make me smile.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Love these kids!!

My husband bought me a new computer yesterday and then spent the day getting it all set up for me. Yeah! My old one finally bit the dust and decided not to boot up any longer. It had given me plenty of warning so I fortunately had everything backed up. I spent the afternoon with the kids getting each of them an account set up on this computer. The girls are going to start needed it more for school work and they enjoy having their own settings, pictures, etc. And we FINALLY got the pictures from the girls' cameras downloaded onto the computer. They've only had them since Christmas :) . There were a few really good shots that I thought I would share with you. The one above is of Sara and Nathan.



Nathan on the run. Love this one because this is how I normally see him.










Sara and John...I can't tell you how many pictures of tongues I saw. Crazy...and probably a preview of what I will see on facebook once they turn 13.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pictures....

If my computer was human, it would be in hospice care right now. It is only a matter of time before we say so long to this one I'm afraid. We will see if it will give me another blog post. I finally got the pictures off my phone and thought I'd share what we've been up to. Some is old news, but still worth noting.





Ashley was baptized in August. What a AWESOME day!



We checked out the Illinois state fair this summer. While in Springfield we checked out the new Scheel's sporting good store. They have a ferris wheel. in. the. store. So we went for a ride. Here are girls on their way up.



On Labor Day a WWII navy vessel was visiting a local town nearby. I can't remember the official name of the ship, but it is the last running transport ship for WWII. Very fascinating.


Here we are on the ship.



The boys got to be in their first parade. It was Homecoming and they are football players.


First day of school. Can't remember if I posted this yet this year. If I did, that's okay. It is a good picture and worth a repeat view.


My parents were here for Ashley's baptism so we decided to go for a family shot. I seem to recall my words right before this picture was taken was something like...."Cut it out and everyone pretend we are very happy to be getting our picture taken!" I think we may have pulled it off...


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday tidbits

I have about 10 minutes before my boys emerge from the bus with overflowing news of the day so I thought I'd share some randomness with you.



  • It was a sad day today. I wore my flip flops and my feet got really cold. I love flip flops. Sigh...

  • The truck died on our date last night. But we still had a good time and I still got to enjoy a decaf pumpkin spice latte. I also got reminded of how difficult it is to steer a truck while it was being pushed by my husband and a very helpful stranger. Fortunately, the diagnosis was just a very dead battery.

  • Biaggi's....mmmmm. There is one near me now and I was blessed to enjoy the fettuccine with lobster for lunch. And the bread...the warm, yummy bread with "Biaggi's butter". Joe and I were trying to remember when the last time was that we ate at Biaggi's and I think it was our last dinner with some dear friends (you know who you are ;) ). I actually have a picture reminding me of that dinner hanging above my dresser. Sweet memories...

  • Nathan learned this week that it is okay to "mess up" at school. He made his first mistake on one of his sheets and his teacher assured him that school isn't for being perfect, it is for learning. Definitely a lesson that my little (until now previously undiagnosed) perfectionist needs to learn.

  • I made a DYNAMITE chicken pot pie the other day in my crockpot. Yes, I know, I was very skeptical as well. But with football practice, AWANA, and other various evening distraction I am trying out new crockpot meals. Wow, this one was good. Granted it didn't have the completely flaky crust of traditional pot pie, but it certainly came close...as close as one can come to flaky in a crock pot...

  • I'm seeing some leadership in my kids...at school, at church, on the football field and I like it. I pray mightily that they will grow to be strong, Godly, servant leaders in this world one day.

  • Sara's playing the flute and I just might learn along with her. I've about given up on my dream of one day learning how to play the piano, so why not try the flute. I've always wanted to play the flute, too. And the guitar...would love to play the guitar.

  • Eternal security...aside from the feeling you receive after you are truly saved, I'm not sure there is any better feeling then the moment that you realize that you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and you are saved forever. I got to introduce that to my youngest this week. Loved that moment!

  • And I hear the bus, so long....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My poor egg...

My egg burnt this morning. Joe and I were just talking the other day about how two really do in some ways become one in marriage. An elderly man in our church died and he and his wife were married for 62 years. They were one. You can literally see her heartbreaking as she grieves. The longer Joe and I have been married, the more oneness I see in us. And recently it has been in the form of eggs. Mornings around our house can get a little hectic sometimes. We have to get the daycare kids welcomed, four kids out the door for school and Joe heads out the door for work. I like to have an egg over-hard and a slice of toast for breakfast. (Sometimes I mix in some fresh, chopped, garden peppers and onions for an omlet...yummmm.) I put my egg on to cook and then I sometimes tend to get a little distracted...a question gets asked by a child, a lunch needs helped packing or I convince myself that I can get a load of laundry started before the egg needs flipped. Then one distraction leads to another and I completely forget about the egg. My husband, my other half, flips my egg for me in the morning. I don't ask him to flip it or keep an eye on it. He just knows me and flips the egg and turns off the heat under it. It's little things like that in marriage that make oneness. Joe has had a crazy busy week and was gone for his Wednesday morning discipleship group this morning so my egg burnt this morning. He's gone every Wednesday morning and my egg tends to burn almost every Wednesday. I missed him. It is good to miss my husband in the morning...the one who "completes" me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend wrap up...

and it is only Saturday afternoon. I can do the weekend wrap-up now though because we have crammed enough stuff in the last few days that I know what I am doing tomorrow...football and a nap. And, yes, I am experiencing some bittersweetness at the beginning of football season since it does sound like Manning (Peyton, for the Colts, not his brother) is going to be out for the season. Sigh... Could be a long season or it could be a pleasantly surprising one. One never knows, but I am glad that football season is back and I am going to take a nap tomorrow. Since I've digressed....I will now get back on track and give you the wrap up.

Then boys had their football game this morning that I sadly missed (due to what I mention below). Nathan scored the first touchdown of his life! And he also scored his first football shiner. Yep, it is a pretty good mark on the side of his head where he collided with another kid. Dad was very proud of him though when he "toughed" it out (no tears) and went back in to finish the game. (Maybe it is a good thing I wasn't there). I also hear that John "tore it up" on the field (spoken like a true dad).

The girls and I were released from a torture chamber early this afternoon. AKA...hunter safety class. Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, or maybe it really was because it was pretty bad. We had a 3 1/2 hour class both Thursday and Friday nights. Then today we had class from 8am until 2pm. The information was good (especially since we are a hunting family) and the teachers weren't bad. It was just A LOT of information that was poured out while we were sitting on some very hard metal folding chairs. And, because a couple of teachers tended to get a little sidetracked with some stories, we had to catch up today. "Catch up" meant we got 3 breaks that were 5 minutes or less. Yep, that means no lunch break. The last three hours all I could think was "the brain can only contain what the butt can sustain" and my rear-end and back had officially given out. When I took the test I was almost to the point that I didn't even care if I passed. The reason I say almost is because I really, really, really did not want to have to go through the class again. I am proud to say that we ALL THREE PASSED the class with flying colors. One of us scored a perfect 50 out of 50 and it wasn't me. The other two of us missed one and three. We have our lifetime (yes, they are good for a lifetime...it was one of the questions on the test) green cards to prove it. Joe treated us all to Dairy Queen afterwards and kept telling me over and over again how much I must love him for sitting through the class. And I do love him. And I do love the sport of hunting. On my list of things to do "when our kids get older" is to do a lot more hunting with him and the kids. Goodness knows that our freezer could use the meat....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The end of August

We are in the full swing of what I'll call "school fall" here. I won't call it true fall because, frankly, it feels nothing like fall. If it wasn't for the browning corn and beans, who would know it was fall. And if it was simply up to the browning of the corn and beans then it would have been fall since July. What is up with the heat the next few days?! Okay, off that tangent...

We are in the swing of things. Here are some of the things that have been going on...



  • Ashley got baptized last Sunday. It was such a blessing of a day as a mom. I have pictures. You will see them..I just need to get them downloaded.

  • The girls and I went to a Secret Keeper Girls event on Sunday night. Loved it! If you have a "tween" girl (age 8-12) you gotta check them out! And if you have a chance to go to one of their events, I really encourage you to go. Great bonding time...

  • The boys got to practice football in the rain last night. They LOVED it. And I love. love. love. Oxiclean!

  • We had open house for the girls classes on Monday night. They are both having a really good year and I think their teachers are a really good fit.

  • Sara is going to start band in a week or so. It has been awhile since I have seen her so excited about something. They are trying out instruments this week. Her first choice would be flute and her second choice is clarinet (she will have a proud aunt if she gets either of those).

  • The boys have open house tomorrow night. Nathan is pretty excited about it I think partly because he feels he "owes" his sisters the agony of going to an open house that isn't theirs. He was so bored Monday night... John just wants to hit the book fair.

  • I don't normally mention my daycare kids in my blog posts, but I am going to make an exception to that. One of the moms and I have been working on potty training the last few weeks and we have had some MAJOR accomplishments the last few days. For the sake of privacy that is all I will say, but WOW do I feel like an accomplished woman today (a sign that your a mother...even if it isn't your kids you can get excited about a kid going in a potty!)

  • I have had some moments of brillance as we started this school year in regards to packing school lunches and after school snacks. I am very organized about it and it has made so much difference. My husband may say I'm a little too organized and considering he probably feels like he has to ask before he eats anything...that is probably a sign that it is a little overboard. Or maybe I just need to educate him on the system...

  • And I'm off to deal with the tomatoes from the garden and play with my daycare kids.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My boys of fall

We embarked on a new adventure this fall...we entered into sports with the boys. John really wanted to play football and we decided that we should get him started this year with flag. Next year is tackle. We thought John might appreciate learning the basics while no one was actually hitting him. Since flag is for ages 5-7 we went ahead and signed Nathan as well. It would be really tough for him to sit on the sidelines knowing that he could be part of the action. Today was their first game and they are definitely hooked...well, at least John is for sure. Nathan enjoyed himself, but not to the level that John did.



Before the game


Nathan in the role of quarterback...taking the snap. They rotate the kids around to different positions during the game. The point at this stage is to learn football...not necessarily win the game. Although winning makes learning a little more fun.
John lined up to block (actually I think technically it is a tackle position, but it is flag football)....he is on the left end. This was his stance most of the game no matter what position he played. He has his hands on his knees and looks really intense. Typical John...John doesn't do anything and not look intense.


This is when they were introducing the players at the beginning of the game (I got the pictures out of order.)


These may be the only pictures you see throughout the football season. My parents were able to come to this game and took some good shots. I get too distracted by the game and forget to take pictures. I am definitely hooked and love it that my boys love playing. I've always been a sports fan so this gives me an outlet. I just need to remember that my voice is loud and carries...a long. way.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

School 2011-2012



It was a very big week at the Horn household. All four kids are now officially in school. And everyone is riding the bus this year...another first. It was a great first week for my kindergartner, 2nd grader, 4th grader and 5th grader. We are gradually settling into a routine. Homework hasn't started yet, so I'm sure this week that will also get thrown into the mix. Nathan LOVED kindergarten...until Friday evening when he declared to me in tears that "I missed you so much Mommy." We shared some tears together and then were able to have an honest discussion about kindergarten and what really happened during the week. It can be scary, there are mean kids at school sometimes, and yes, I did pick up and take your brothers and sisters to school, but you get to ride the bus. And we serve an Almighty God who is there with you through all of it.


And my house is quiet. This week I was blessed to have my parents come for a visit. So this next week is when the deafening silence will hit. Right now I'm with one daycare child and I will add another one in a few weeks. I also have a few that are part-time. So I am very thankful for the distractions. It is a new stage of life. We successfully raised our kids through infancy, toddlerhood and preschool. Now come the BIG years and the really hard stuff. But now also comes the GOOD stuff...the fun conversations, the fun activities, the enjoyment of elementaryhood and tweenhood and eventually teenhood and college. I thank the Lord for His grace in parenting and pray that my trust in Him with my children will only continue to grow.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It felt a little like fall today...

and that was wonderful! It is beginning to act a little bit more like fall around here to due to football which both the boys started this week, but more on that in a couple of bullet points. First, I'm feeling much better. I really appreciate all your prayers for me!! I am so tremendously blessed with family and God's family in my life. So here has been what has been going on besides interesting discussions concerning what is wrong with me...



  • School is around the corner and all four kids got officially registered. We know who their teachers are and are looking forward to next Tuesday. Sara and Ashley both have 1st year teachers so we don't know them, but I'm sure they will be filled with energy and creativity. The boys are pretty pumped about it as well. It is such a blessing to have kids who like school.

  • My house has been very, very neglected this summer. It is typical for me to neglect it in the summer because I prefer to be outside doing fun stuff with the kids. But with my health issues it is in an extraordinary condition. So the last couple of days it has been boot camp at our house trying to get stuff organized before next week. I purged...a lot. If you stop by our local Helping Hands I'm sure you will see some of it on hand. I feel like I can actually go into our basement now. Before I always held my breath and closed my eyes as I blindly searched for what I needed. It is pretty much the kids' domain down there, but it was very overcrowded. We should be better equipped to keeping it organized now.

  • I'm officially off caffeinated coffee now. It's sad and we will just leave it at that. (At least the headaches are now gone. I'm sure my family is glad about that!)

  • Couple of quotes from Nathan lately: He had to pick up sticks the other day and Joe bribed him (bribary seems to work around here sometimes). For every stick he picked up, he got a chocolate chip. His statement to me the morning after: "Mom, remember all those chocolate chips I ate because I picked up sticks? I don't think I'm going to do that again. It didn't make me feel so good." And according to Nathan "It wasn't real football practice because we didn't even see a football."

  • Yes, the boys are playing flag football this year. I'm pretty excited about which I realize may be a rare mom reaction to her sons playing football. I'll just need to learn to whisper my cheers from the sidelines. It is flag football and they do a good job of teaching the basics, letting them try all the different positions, etc. Just in case you are concerned, the coaches assured the boys that they will get to see a football on Monday. Additional benefits to football....two boys who enjoy going to bed at night (this is especially a plus for my energizer bunny Nathan). The downside...I need to buy more food.

  • Look for first day of school pics next week....they will be a little different this year as they will include a yellow bus. Yes, the kids are riding the bus this year. Three are very excited and one is pretty much mad at me...well, mad may be an understandment, but I think he/she will adjust.

  • Okay time to sign off it is bedtime here...we've shifted to our school schedule. I think it is harder on me than on them. I really enjoyed not seeing any of them until 7:30 at the earliest in the mornings (not that I don't love my children, but quiet, peaceful mornings are kind of sweet)....hmmm, that still may happen in the morning.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I got to see my heart and....

other amazing things of medical technology! Wow, over the last days I have been amazed at the advances of medical technology and what they can do. I got my event monitor on Friday. The one I have (due to insurance requirements) transmits over a landline phone. So whenever I have a strong palpitation, I record it, call the number, transmit it and viola...the technician on the other end can tell me if it is an emergency or not. He/She also passes the info onto the doctors. They have monitors that actually send everything wirelessly to everyone. That is even cooler, but I am very thankful and amazed with the one I have. I also got the opportunity today to see my heart...on a screen...in color! I had an echocardiogram with my stress test today. It was all a very amazing process. The nurse kept apologizing when she took the electrodes off of me (there were probably 15). I told her that I was just thankful that they could run tests that could check my heart out in the detail that they did.

The doctors have been able to determine what is not wrong with me, but still have no concrete answers as to the problem. We think it is palpitations that have become symptomatic. They consistently see them on all the tests they run on me and I should know more once all the doctors review the tests.

There are so many intricate details to the heart and it has caused me to worship my Creator. Our human bodies are truly amazing. I am in awe of the One who created us. And I am so very thankful that not only did He create me, but He loves me with a love that is deeper than I could ever imagine. So grateful and humbled...

Friday, July 29, 2011

My health...what in the world is going on???

Since the word has been traveling (it got a little help by an announcement by my sweet hubby on facebook) about my health, I thought I should just go ahead and blog about it. I had been thinking about blogging about it anyway, because it has been a fairly significant part of our summer and I like to keep records of such things, but I didn't want to worry anyone. However, in the process of not worrying anyone, I also don't have anyone who knows who can pray for me.

I have been in the ER three times in the past month. The latter two of those were for the same issue...or at least the same symptoms. The first one I was having some stomach issues and some pain that was not going away. We did a CT and an ultrasound for my gall bladder all which came back fine. The stomach pain left, I was feeling great and two days later I was back in the ER again. This time I got to go in an ambulance. Anytime you have tingling in all your extremities and left shoulder pain and feel as though you are going to pass out when you are lying down it is time to all 911. I got to the ER and they found (drumroll please)....absolutely nothing wrong with me. All the tests came back perfectly fine and I was back on my way home in just a few hours. We chalked it up to possible low blood sugar or low blood pressure. The following days I would occassionally have a few fainting spells (a friend & I joked that maybe I need to loosen my corset and start carrying smelling salts) but nothing like what happened the first time. Then this past Monday "it" happened again. I headed to the doctor's office this time where they determined it was either stress/anxiety attacks or heart palpitations or arrhythmia (I am learning how to spell a new word :) ). Since I have no additional new stresses in my life and we like to eliminate the most harmful first they decided to put me on a 30-day heart monitor. I didn't speak to my regular doctor; the guys I saw wanted to speak to my regular doctor who was on vacation before we began the monitor. Soooo, no monitor as of yet have I seen. Aanndd, yesterday I was back in the ER. Same symptoms...chest pain, fainting, nausea...if you look up heart attack, I pretty much had all the symptoms except maybe sweating. I don't think I was sweating. Then again, it was at least 90 degrees outside so maybe it is weird that I wasn't sweating. Anyway, this time they found (drumroll please)...nothing. Well, not absolutely nothing. They did detect a Premature Atrial Complexes (PAC) that was pretty consistent. This could mean nothing or it could be a sign of something more serious.

Today (hopefully today) I go in for a stress test. I have learned much about the heart and detection tests. While I haven't had a heart attack, that doesn't mean there still might not be a blockage. It just means that if there is a blockage there has been no heart damage. The stress test will show if there is a blockage. We are not anticipating a blockage because I have absolutely no risk factors except for family histroy. If there isn't a blockage then we proceed with the monitor to find out what the heck is going on in there.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We have tried to keep it relaxed around here, but as you can imagine, when you are dealing with possible heart issues, it causes some pause.

Monday, July 25, 2011

July in pictures...

We will start at the end of the July and work toward the beginning since I didn't plan out appropriately when I posted the pictures. Last week we took a family trip to Chicago for a few days. It was fun and we made memories...maybe not all the kind of memories you would like (such as vomit and the like). But despite the stomach virus that refused to leave us alone, we had a great time.

We took the kids for their first trip on the train. We rode a couple of different lines so that they could experience an elevated train and a subway. They much preferred the elevated variety. John said the elevated train was like riding on a zip line...not that he has ever experienced a zip line.



This is John's first Chicago dog. He was the only one we could convince to try it and he LOVED it! Ashley tried her first Italian beef sandwich and felt the same way John felt about his hot dog. The other two children...well, they were experiencing the wretched stomach bug so they took it easy in the food department. We were going to try some Chicago pizza, but that will have to be another trip because, again, the bug.

The day we went eating, we also went shopping. We hit the two favorites for our kids...the Lego store and the American Girl store. We also hit up the Disney Store and the Hershey store before it got too hot to walk around downtown anymore. On the way out of town Joe and I hit up our favorites...Bass Pro and IKEA. (Soon we are going to have a Bass Pro only 20 minutes away...guess who wishes it was going to be open in time for his birthday!)



The second day in Chicago (we are working backwards, remember? Shopping and eating were on the third day) we went to the Field Museum. What an incredible museum. We would have loved to spent a little bit more time there, but alas this was the worst day of the aforementioned bug. I will say that they have very nice bathrooms...and I could tell you where they are at on every floor. This was Joe's favorite museum of all time and we are hoping to go back sometime this fall just the two of us. The kids enjoyed it, but not nearly enough to stop and read every sign. This was Nathan's favorite museum. To quote him "The Field Museum was great and my favorite mom! You know, except for the times I wasn't feeling very good."
The first day in Chicago we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. The above picture is in the ship section which was really cool. The kids' favorites at this one were the tour of the Pioneer Zephyr train, the submarine and the fairy castle. The castle was unbelievable, but it was all pretty cool.


In front of the Zephyr waiting on our tour to start. We all felt pretty good on this day, so you would be on your own as far as bathrooms are concerned. Couldn't tell you where they were and kind of like that....


We spent some family time in July. John and Sara spent some time at Grandma and Grandpa Horn's. When we were dropping them off we all got to play with Grandpa's bird dog puppies.


The kids and I spent some time with my mom and dad. We did bike rides and swam at their neighbor's pool. The girls also treated us to a fashion show.


We started out July with a celebration of our country. We had a picnic with friends and headed downtown in our small town to see the fireworks. They were really good this year. Here are the kids enjoying them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So. Frustrated.

I was so. frustrated. this. morning. I had just sat down at our picnic table outside with my Bible (no coffee this morning...sigh) and journal. I love the summer when God and I can start out the day with the bird singing and the sounds of a small town waking up. Only this morning, as soon as I took my seat it began to sprinkle. In my moment of frustration, I looked to the sky and said, "Seriously, Lord? Really?". See, life just hasn't been going my way the last few weeks and this was just another reminder of that. And with our family, when life typically throws us curves, for some reason it involves hospitals and waiting rooms. This summer's curves have been no different. My dad had a heart attack a couple of week's ago. He's Fine! (thanks for asking), but that was a curve and a change to our summer schedule that was unexpected. Then while the kids and I went to visit my family and Joe's last week I develop some mysterious stomach issues. I went for a ct scan yesterday and a I go for an ultrasound today (which is why I'm without coffee this morning :( ). I am actually feeling a lot better than I was over the weekend, so it may just be one of those mysterious things that God uses to bring me back to the truth. The truth that He is in control and I am not. After my minor little fit this morning, the Holy Spirit reminded me...even over the rain "I AM" is the only one in control. As much as I may think that I've got my plans made and life planned, it is all theory. As James reminds us in James 4:15 "Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." (emphasis mine) Several years ago I would have grumbled (and did grumble) to God at that. Even in knowing that He was in control somehow I was convinced my way would have been better. But now, after many reminders, I say PRAISE GOD for that! Praise God that He numbers our days and we don't number our own. Praise God that He is in control over the rain and the sun. And Praise God for His grace and His gentle reminders that perfect peace is found in resting in His control.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Good 'ole USA celebration

We started our 4th of July celebration in USA style...KFC and a hike at a state park. We decided to go to one of our favorite IL parks. It is not an all time favorite park (that would reside in our Hoosier state), but Matthiessen is a great park. It is filled with waterfalls and creekside paths. Unfortunately, our phone cameras don't take the best "in the woods by the creek" pictures, but you can get the idea. I am pretty sure these types of parks were why Crocs were invented.



We will continue our celebration today with a picnic with friends this evening and fireworks. We happen to be really blessed with awesome weather for the partying!








Saturday, July 2, 2011

A couple of milestones

We reached a couple of milestones as a family on Friday. The first one involved Nate, my baby (he would be correcting me right now if he could read..."I'm not a baby mom!"). All he's been able to talk about this summer is being tall enough to go down the big slide at our local pool. Friday was the first opportunity he had to try it out. When we first arrived, he ran up the stairs, got to the top, looked at the slide and promptly walked back down the stairs. He did this a couple of times. Then he jumped into the 4 feet and swam with me. Joe arrived about 15 minutes later and did a little coaxing. They took a couple of trips up and back down...Joe via the slide and Nate via the stairs. Finally, he convinced me to go up (I'm not much of a waterslide fan...the things you do for your kids). His plan was for Joe to go down first, then himself, and then me. His logic was Joe and I would both be available if there was problems. And it worked. I wasn't at the bottom when he arrived, but according to Joe his first words were "That was awesome!" Fortunately, he only required me to go down one more time. After that, except for taking a brief break to go off the diving board twice, he was on the slide...for an hour and a half.

The second milestone was for Joe and I. After we'd been at the pool for over an hour, we were kind of done being in the water. So we found a couple of lounge chairs, took a seat and watched our kids while they swam and took in the thrills of the slide and the diving board. We sat by ourselves and didn't have to worry about any child drowning. For the first time in 10 years, we didn't have to be in the water with our kids. It was kind of like a date by the pool. I love playing with my kids in the water, but the lounge chair is definitely something I can get used to.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Daycamp!



John and Joe set out on Monday morning to their first Cub Scout Daycamp. It rained all. morning. on Monday so I wasn't sure how the first of their three day experience was. But they came home excited, happy (and a little wet) and ready to go the next day. Activities included a daily craft...bird feeder, leather stamping, arrowhead necklace (do scouts call it a necklace??), human foosball, water games, and the favorites for my boys...bow and arrows and BB guns! John earned his sharp shooter patch by the end of the week and scored the highest in his Tiger (oh wait, I think he is a Bear now) group. His dad was pretty proud, but also somewhat perplexed at John's left eye dominance and his left handed shooting. On John's wish list...targets and a bow and arrow to practice in the backyard.


The other highlight of the week was the result of a pretty serious storm that the park experienced on Tuesday night. When the guys arrived Wednesday morning they saw many trees down including part of a honeybee tree. Joe retrieved much of the hive that was on the ground and we are looking forward to harvesting the honey sometime this weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Project Mania

I am a project oriented type of person. I wake up in the morning, get my to-do list going and enjoy my day. In the summer, I tend to become manager of a staff made up of kids...sometimes. There are several reasons for this. First, I have come to learn that if my kids have some structure to their day, they enjoy the unstructured portion much better. Secondly, in our house, if you live here, you must contribute. I also find summers to be the perfect time for teaching some life skills. I tend to run out of time on the life skills front during the school year. So we tackle cooking, laundry, specific cleaning skills, yardwork, etc. Today we cleaned the siding on the house, weeded the gardens, and mowed the grass. John is going to learn how to do his laundry this summer. The windows all need cleaned, closets and cabinets need organized...I have a long list. Now, before you start feeling sorry for my children, we also play hard in the summer. In fact, part of the purpose of this post is to prove to my children in 20 years that their summers weren't completely miserable. I have proof in the form of pictures. Today we worked hard and then went and played hard at the bowling alley. I am embarassed to say that I came in 3rd out of 4...with the bumpers...and I was actually trying...sigh. After the bowling alley, we hit up the DQ on the way home. Tomorrow I think we may hit the movie theater ($1 summer movies) before we go shopping for Dad's Father's Day gift. But not until we have done some mopping :)

I LOVE SUMMER!!!

This is a vacation wrap blog post, but I couldn't help expressing my feelings about this time of year. I'm sure you'll hear details in posts to come about our day to day activities in this blissful time of the year. Our summer started out with vacation. We have kind of fallen into a tradition of starting our summer with vacation. Our VBS has been towards the end of summer and we have found some good deals at the beginning of summer because we can travel before some schools are out. This year we did a "split" vacation. Joe & I traveled for a week and then we are going to do a family thing in July. We had 15 years of marriage to celebrate. The kids headed to Grandpa & Grandma's on the Horn side and also got to hang out with some aunt's an uncle and some cousins. The enjoyed some banana splits, pond swimming, new puppies, outside movies, trips to the library, problem solving riddles (courtesy their math teacher aunt) and lots of being loved on. Ashley got to spend a few extra days there just herself. I'm not sure she even misses us although she is definitely being missed around here. Her sister called her about 3 hours after arriving home. I think absence has made the heart grow founder.



Joe & I headed to south Florida...Ft. Lauderdale area. It is the land of the Porche and million dollar yachts parked next to the multi-million dollar home. I truly had no idea the kind of wealth that was in parts of Ft. Lauderdale (um, not the part we stayed in, in case you were wondering). For some reason I always thought the wealth resided in Miami down there. I've been all over the U.S. so it is always a treat for me to visit somewhere that I've never been. The sunrise...We LOVE sitting on the beach...especially me early in the morning. However, we also find great relaxation in exploring. So this trip we hit the Everglades and the Keys. The everglades are in a drought right now so there was much more wildlife than there typically is. And I saw way more alligators than I had planned or enjoyed to see. Probably shouldn't have watched so much Swamp People before our trip. It was still so fun and so interesting. It looked totally different than what I expected. And I didn't think it looked anything like the Louisana/Mississippi swamps.


A couple of days after visiting the Everglades and getting some more beach time in, we headed down to the Keys. Our primary goal was a glass bottom boat ride out to the reef. I cannot even tell you how excited I was about this. I've never seen a reef before. So we arrived in the Keys first thing in the morning for our trip, dosed up on Dramamine, and after a short wait got on our boat. I feared I may have problems when the captain kept emphasizing the importance of those with motion sickness issues to take medicine, but I was completely fine on the 30 minute ride out to the reef. When we arrived, this is what we saw and were suppose to see...only with more fish, etc. for the 45 minute duration of the time on the reef.

I lasted maybe five minutes with this view. And I spent the remainder of the time with this view.




Staring at the horizon, sucking on mints and praying that I didn't throw up. The waves were 3-4 ft. so not that horrible. But we were definitely rocking and I just can't handle that. I should have known considering I can't even really get on a swing these days without some motion sickness. As gross as I felt, I would still do it again. It is probably something I'll never get to experience again....the blueness of the ocean was unbelievable.


We had planned on driving down further south in to the Keys, but the boat ride kind of did us in. So we will have to experience the furthest point south in the U.S. on another trip.


All in all it was such a great way to kick off our summer. We came back feeling refreshed, completely blessed to be married to each other and ready to face the world again.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sights and Sounds

Summer has officially arrived at our house. Here are some of the sights and sounds that you might see and hear if you stopped by:



  • water splashing

  • barefoot boys with cheeks of tan

  • sun streaked blond girls

  • bicycles

  • devouring of library books

  • a not so clean house (because when it is summer who wants to be inside cleaning!)

  • Sara mowing the lawn...she does a really good job. And while it is good for her, Joe and I aren't sure we like it. We both enjoy mowing...yes, I know we are weird. At least she isn't old enough to use the weed whacker yet.

  • smell of sun lotion and bug spray.

  • band aids and more band aids...ahhh boys. Actually in our case it is Nathan. We've nicknamed John "Mr. Safety". I'm not sure when the last time I needed a band aid for him was.

  • music...you can't have sun streaming in the house without some music to go with it.

  • if your lucky it will be a bonfire night and you can have a s'more

The 5K

On Saturday Joe & I completed our first 5K. We had a great time and are planning on running another one in July. I met my goal and made it across the finish line in under 35 minutes...34:53 (I think...not sure what the official time was). Hopefully by the race in July it will be a little bit more significantly under 35 minutes.



In all our sweaty glory!



My dad sitting with our cheerleaders.





Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May update

It has been a typical May in our house filled with activities. Here is a small summary:



  • Field Trips! Sara got to ride the Spirit of Peoria this year (a paddle boat). John visited Wild Life Prairie Park and Dad got to go along and lead his group. (He would have joined in the others, but after first grade our school doesn't usually need parents to come along.) Ashley visited our downtown area and ended the day with a movie at the local theater.

  • Bicycles...my kids love riding their bikes and we are blessed with having a good driveway and a quiet street (most of the time) that they can ride on. I scored HUGE at garage sales and Goodwill recently and came away with 3 bikes in really, really good condition. (Some of our old ones were looking shabby and getting too small). I look forward to some fun bike rides with the kids this summer.

  • Band Aids....This kind of goes along with the bicycles and it just generally being nicer outside. I may be wrong, but I think I have gone through more band aids in the past week than I ever have before. At one point last week Nathan had scraps and bruises on his face, both elbows and both knees. When he took his shirt off yesterday, I realized he had one on his shoulder too! And he isn't the only banged up one. I just went ahead and bought 100 band aids yesterday. Who thinks they will last through the summer?

  • AWANA...AWANA wrapped up the end of April. I was so very proud of my kids. The older three each received a leader's award for character and Nathan finished his second Cubbie book. They all said a boatload of verses this year.

  • The girls slept over at the zoo this past weekend with their girl scout troupe. They had so. much. fun.

  • We planted two peach trees in the backyard. In three years (hopefully!) we will have juicy peaches to munch on. I'll have to make sure that no child tries to climb them between now and then...

  • We got our garden planted. This year we have beans, peas, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Most of our tomatoes are roma's because I like to freeze and can tomatoes. I'm hoping to can some enchilada sauce and pizza sauce this year.

  • My peonies are blooming and absolutely gorgeous. Joe and I both have sweet memories of peony plants at our grandmothers' homes so we enjoy memories as well as the beauty when they bloom.

  • My daycare is approaching its closing day for this school year. I say goodbye to my little 9 month old guy today. And the sweet and spunky little two year finishes up on Friday. Over and over again I can't believe how blessed I have been to get to know these families and had the privilege of watching their kids. I also can't believe I get to work and not miss moments with my own kids. I think my current two are coming back in the fall and the 2 year old will have a baby brother or sister by the middle of the school year! A new baby...yes!

  • On Thursday (well, I guess officially Friday) I will be the mother of a 5th grader, 4th grader, 2nd grader and a kindergartener! Yikes!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pressing on...

It is kind of amazing how memories can haunt you...both good and bad memories. Good memories can tend to become better than they really were and consequently make the present seem worse than it really is. Bad memories and the pain associated with them can consume your soul and cause your forward momentum in life to completely stop. I've come to realize this in many ways recently. I don't have a horrible childhood of abuse that I am trying to overcome or tragic deaths of family members, but I think we all have pain in our lives at times and we have to figure out how to deal with those memories. Even little heartaches can cause stumbling blocks in our future if we let them. For example, I have been preparing to run in a 5K in a couple of weeks. As I have shared before running is not my favorite thing to do. I have come to appreciate it of late, but I wouldn't say I enjoy it yet. I enjoy how I feel when I am done and the accomplishment it gives me, but I am not quite one of those people who say "I just have to go for a run to clear my head." The 5K has been a good goal for me as it keeps me motivated to run, but, I have to admit, I. do. not. want. to. run. the. 5K. race. The closer it gets, the more I dread it and it is all because of bad memories. See I ran track in junior high. I ran the 400. I was bad. I think I finished last in every race. I'm sure I probably didn't, but the pain and humiliation associated with finishing last the few times that I did are haunting me. I don't want to feel that again. The last time I ran in a junior high race was at least 24 years ago and it is impacting my forward momentum in life. I could easily say..."I've run a 5K while I was practicing; I know I can do it; there is no reason that I should have to risk coming in last in two week; therefore, I am not going to run in the 5K race". I could let it steal the joy of future accomplishment. That is true for many of the bad memories and pain of my past. I can let it consume me and steal my future, or I can take the words of Paul to heart...."But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13b-14.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

life's pleasures

So I am pretty much sick of the cloudy days of April and am completely ready (along with everyone else in this neck of the woods) for the May flowers and hopefully the warmth and sun that will come with them. I've desperately been searching daily for ways to keep my attitude from matching the sky above...gloom and doom. Today the sun came out and I still somehow miserably failed at adjusting my attitude. My excuse? It was cold...burr, light the fire in the fireplace cold. Anyway, in an attempt to adjust it this evening I will share with you a few of life's pleasures that I have enjoyed lately:



  • a good cup of coffee...my sister blessed me last week with some Starbuck's gift cards. Mmmm, that is some good coffee.

  • a new favorite book...The Hiding Place. I "read" this via audiobook on my way to/from my sister's last week. It has been a long time favorite of Kim's but I, for some reason, had never gotten around to reading it. I loved it and the timing of my reading was perfect for some of the stuff that God has been working on in me lately.

  • the smell of a new Bible...I love the leather smell of a new Bible. Joe has blessed me twice in the last few week's with new Bibles. Both are ESV...one very tiny one that will fit in my purse and another one today that is a thinline. LOVE them both and can't wait to see what God will say to me through them.

  • what I learn from my kids...did you know that a flamingo can only eat and digest it's food if it's head is upside down? I didn't know that...learned it today.

  • the look of newly cut grass...I braved the cold and wind today and mowed our backyard. Wow, I love how it looks right after it is mowed. AND it reminded me that it wouldn't look that way if we hadn't had all that rain.

  • online deals on Crocs...Joe has had is eye on a specific pair of Crocs for months (actually probably at least a year). I got an AWESOME deal on them this week and was able to "love on him" by buying them for him.

  • The sweetness of God's word....."My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 1 Corinthians 12:9a

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dinner Time conversations

Okay, before I launch into the latest discussion that occurred at our dinner table I must share that the countdown has begun...38 days and counting until I am soaking up the sun on the beach and sleeping...a lot (not sleeping on the beach...in a bed... in a quiet room..except for the sound of surf.).

So this is what took place at our table tonight:

Dad: Ashley, you need to eat a lot of these strawberries because they are full of vitamin C. (She's been battling a cold on top of her allergies. She's kind of miserable right now.)
John: What is vitamin C?
Joe: (he launched into a Joe description of the origins of vitamin C).
John..in a very dead serious tone: Vitamin H makes you grow horns.
Joe: Really?...who told you that?
John: Ashley
Joe & I turn to our youngest daughter who looked very sheepish: I didn't think he would believe me. It's from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

So evidently for the past several months John has thought there was some mysterious vitamin H out there that would put horns on his head.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Friday

I feel like I've been celebrating Easter for a couple of weeks and it has been a good feeling. I've been reconnecting with my family. My parents came for a visit last week. Now that they are retired I see less of them then I did before they were retired. That makes since, right? It is for a good reason. They now work for a RV missions organization and are traveling a lot...especially in the winter. So my visits with them, especially after their January - March travel period, are sweet. We had a good time with them. For Ashley it really meant a lot since her spring concert at school was last week and she got to have her grandparents present while she did her lines and sang her heart out. She does not shy away from expressing herself!


This week the kids and I traveled about 11 hours to see my sister and her kids. This trip is just the sisters and the kids as the husbands are both working hard to take care of us. Kim is getting ready to move again (the life of a dedicated Air Force family). This time it will take them further west. That combined with the fact that their oldest starts school in the fall (he's exactly one month older than Nathan) means that we have no idea when we will see each other again. So we have been trying to make the most of our visit. With 7 kids ages 2-10, that means parks and coloring. Today we head to the zoo.





Happy Friday...that is what Nathan calls this Holy day. He has started correcting himself the last few days at the insistence of his siblings, but I kind of like the innocence of the mistake. He can't remember its "official name" but has a clear understanding of what today represents...the pain and piercing of Jesus so we can be happy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A couple of pics

One of my all time favorites of Nathan. Yes, Sophie will be pleased when kindergarten starts in August. Ashley's new earrings! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An update from the Horn herd

I would say that it is time for an update from the Horn herd:

  • One of my children was very distressed yesterday morning as they were planning which day they wanted hot lunch this week. Evidently the menu was "wrong". They had messed up the rotation. Evidently they rotate what kind of pizza (cheese, sausage, & pepperoni) they have each Friday. (Who knew this?) This Friday was suppose to be cheese pizza and the menu was "wrong" because it has sausage listed. I had to do a lot of convincing that we didn't need to call the school and make sure they knew that they had made a mistake.

  • Nathan is a morning bird. Here are some of his recent good morning quotes (these are the first words out of his mouth when I go into his room): "Mom, I am so hungry I could eat that door." ; "Do cobras live in the southwest?"; "Kill da rabbit. (he was singing this one)"

  • Ashley got her ears pierced for her birthday and is doing a phenomenol job keeping them clean. I think she is doing better than I would be. I guess almost 3 years of waiting has paid off.

  • The last two weeks I have become very conscious of the fact that there are a lot of lights on in our house that are on a. lot. So I have been diligently reminding the children that we need to make sure that the lights get turned off in rooms we aren't using. One of these children had a presentation at school yesterday on "saving the earth". This child says to me this morning, in a very "mom needs educated" type of a tone, "Mom, we really need to make sure we get the lights turned off when we aren't in a room." Sigh...

  • A congratulations goes out to the church we served at in Iowa for 6 years. They had their 50 year anniversary celebration this past weekend. We were disappointed that we weren't able to make it out for the party.

  • Speaking of church, we are in the middle of doing one of our all time favorite things...running our 5 week new member's class. We typically run this out of our house on Sundays after church, but we outgrew our house this time and moved it to the church. It has been so fun for us to get to know these new families.

  • Yes, Joe & I are still running and losing weight. It is kind of amazing that our bodies haven't fallen apart yet. We've both had a few moments when we realized that we aren't 20 anymore, but we also aren't 80 so we recovered quickly. We went on a 3 mile hike on Sunday in the awesomely warm temperatures. I think our kids got tired of us trying to convince them to run up the hills. Well, all but Nathan. Where in the world does that kid get all his energy?

  • Spring break is very late this year since it goes along with Easter. Wow, I hit the burn out point about two weeks ago and we still have two weeks to go. Good news though...after spring break we only have about a month of school.

  • Aaaaannnndddd that means I am only about 8 weeks from vacation...beach, sand, surf, ahhhh need I say more?