Red Truck Recap

The summer of 2001, we moved into a new home, leaving behind some rather cherished work done on a couple of rooms of our previous house. So we went to work in the new house, starting in the nursery. Now, lest one get the wrong impression, us going “to work” is a pleasant euphemism for a process that often stretches into the months. Perhaps this will change when the children are older, but we have a rather deliberate pace these days. Thus, for instance, the curtain rod I made about 6 months ago is still not installed in my daughter’s room (though I did install and finish the chair rail in a more timely fashion).

trucks_mural_small.jpgBut I digress. In October of 2001, we discovered to our surprise that we (as in, Tricia) were pregnant again. The nursery didn’t get finished out until shortly after the new year (of 2002), and Tricia was rather appalled that Jonathan was going to immediately have to move into an unfinished room. So she went to work around her 5th month of pregnancy on drawing, painting, redrawing, repainting, etc. Jonathan’s big boy room. She was trying for a design that matched the quilt he will use on his big boy bed one day (that red truck design from Pottery Barn, for those of you who know it… have I mentioned Tricia had also discovered around this time that one’s dollar could go a lot farther on eBay than actually in the store?).

She completed the room about a month before Nicolas arrived on the scene this past summer. At the time, I was still blogging on Cogito Ergo Blog, which didn’t have quite as much family related material, so I never made mention of her accomplishment. Well, I’ve decided it is high time I rectify this injustice. I have stitched together photos of the two main walls for your viewing pleasure: wall one and wall two.

Like the photo included with this entry, you’ll see some odd artifacts from the stitching process… this was my first time gluing multiple photos together. But hopefully it doesn’t detract too much from the fantastic job Tricia did with the painting. I suppose I should have included a picture with the quilt, but you’ll just have to take my word for it that the walls match exceedingly well.

Top Ten Technological Treasures

(Ok, Treasures may be a bit overdone, but I was looking for another “T” word!!)

As we are dealing with illness in the family this week it occurs to me just how much easier our lives are in many ways due to the advances in technology over the last century. I am very thankful for tons of little things that I know I take for granted every day but which truly do enhance and simplify our day to day life. Here are a few examples of those common graces for which I am today grateful as we here in the Horne household battle various manifestations of bronchial/upper respiratory infections:

1. A cozy, centrally-heated home despite the 22 degree temps outside
2. Disposable kleenex, diapers, wipes, and dinnerware
3. Tylenol to suit every age and body size
4. Refrigerator/freezer to keep our food fresh for many days
5. Microwave to warm leftovers
6. A wireless connection and laptop so my poor sick husband can work a bit from home
7. Antibacterial soap and Clorox wipes
8. A phone which makes communication with doctors, friends and family feasible
9. TV and computer games to help entertain and comfort sick children
10. The Blog, of course!!

Clipped Wings

How many couples, a year after having their first child, are still reckoning with that feeling of having one’s wings clipped? With our third child now six months old, I can still sort of feel some nubs on my back, but referring to wings seems far fetched in and of itself. This hemming in, however, does not strike me as being unique to becoming a parent. I suggest it is more generally associated with aging and the various passages one passes through over the years.

In youth, many feel some sense of a wide open future. That openness erodes over time as one chooses a college, signs up for a major, enters a particular vocation, gets married, etc. In each of these choices, “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice” (I can’t remember who Rush was quoting, I can only remember the song Free Will). By the time a person is even in his thirties he often looks back at his college or high school days as a time of wide open vistas.

Most people, at some meaningful emotional level, experience a real sense of loss as they realize that they are ever more hemmed in by past decisions, that there are fewer and fewer forks in the road ahead, and that the forks are further and further apart. I’d like to propose, however, that this reaction is misplaced, or at the least needs to be displaced over time.
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Gag Me with a Turkey

I am so nongraceful. A few moments ago as I was preparing to roast the turkey for supper, I (as is my usual practice with raw meat) lifted the bird up toward my nose to do a smell test and see if everything seemed fresh and AOK. Well, I seem to have misjudged the distance and ended up rubbing raw turkey all over my mouth and nose. YUCK!!! It’s amazing we end up with anything edible around here given my apparent clumsiness in the kitchen! I have sanitized my face and the turkey is cooking nicely. Let this be a warning to you to be on your guard next time you have an enounter with a raw turkey.

Puppy Love

IMG_0893_small.jpg Earlier this evening while Jay and I attended to Abigail and Jonathan post-bath, we left Nicolas on his blanket in the play area downstairs. Given Nicolas is such a happy baby, he very much enjoys playtime with his toys and is quite able to amuse himself. Shortly after we left him we were surprised to hear little giggles coming from the playroom. Our faithful dog, Sid, a golden retriever mix of sorts, had evidently taken it upon himself to guard the baby in our absence. He was laying as close to Nicolas as a dog could without sitting on top of him. Sid was alternately licking the baby’s face (which was what made Nicolas so happy) and having his ears, whiskers and nose pulled on by tiny baby fingers. It looked painful to me, but Sid didn’t seem to mind. He even smiled along with Nicolas for a few pictures!!

It reminded me of how thankful I am for Sid, though I know he does not get as much appreciation around here as he deserves. He is so sweet with our kids, even with Nicolas who has no knowledge of how one should treat an animal. Instead of getting up and leaving when poked and pulled on, he patiently stayed alongside the baby and even entertained him. Sid is a big dog and if his behavior were other than gentle, it would be prudent to remain concerned about his level of interaction with the children, but as it is, I feel much more safe with him around than not. What a good dog!

Let’s Hear it For Jay!!

IMG_0843_small.jpgI would like to take a few lines here to unabashedly applaud my wonderfully creative and gifted husband on his latest achievement: the Train Table!! Jay is not what you would call an experienced woodworker, nor does he have access to a fully equipped workshop. But when we talked about getting the kids trains this year for their Christmas gift, he mentioned how much he’d like to build a table for their collection.

Admittedly I was somewhat hesitant. Besides the aforementioned drawbacks, when would he possibly find time for such an undertaking? But Jay was quite certain he wanted to do this and so I encouraged him that I thought it was a great idea.

He did encounter a few frustrations along the way, mostly caused by a lack of proper tools for the job (thanks to David C for the use of his fine router!) but the finished product is proof of his hard work and determination. The table is a beauty. He designed it to be a bit larger than those generally sold so as to allow for more play area. The design is simple and compelling. Corners and edges are soft and rounded, very child-friendly. And it is sturdy enough for Jonathan to climb on top of it (which he’s already done several times!).

Most importantly, Abigail and Jonathan love it. And in this day of factory-made toys, etc, when we use our hands less and less to create, it is wonderful to me to see this table in our play loft, laden with trains and track, and think of Jay’s labor of love.

Jonathan’s Twinkin

Warning: blog content of a questionable nature follows!

Abigail and Jonathan love watching Barney’s Great Adventure. We’ve rented it from Blockbuster a couple times, and they will sit and watch it basically as much as we will allow. For those of you who don’t know, the plot revolves around recovering a magic egg which finally hatches at the end of the movie to introduce a new character, Twinkin. I’ve never actually lasted long enough in my viewings of the movie with the children to see the hatching for myself, but Tricia tells me that a fuzzy little character named Twinkin does indeed come out of the egg.

The other day Jonathan (who just turned two) was sitting down in his towel, having just gotten out of the bath. Tricia and I were in the room getting ready to dress him and Abigail (also just out of the bath). Okay, this next part is, ahem, delicate. He was showing keen interest in a particular part of his body and was apparently pushing and prodding things because he suddenly looked up and said, “My Twinkin! Twinkin out of egg!”

I’ll end this entry here. How can I follow up on such a pronouncement?

Memorable Holiday Quotes

Here are a small collection of quotes by both Abigail and Jonathan which we thought were humorous enough to merit sharing with a larger audience:

Abigail, while helping Mommy put the turkey in the oven for holiday supper:
“But Mommy, I want to see the turkey’s face!!”

Jonathan, exhorting Mommy with words from Romans 12:
“Do not be overcome by evil!”

Abigail, giving us some help with our family planning:
“Daddy, next time you and Mommy get married, I’d like a baby sister!”

Jonathan, greeting Mommy first thing in the morning (keep in mind he’s only just two years old):
“Good morning, Mommy! You sleep well?”

Abigail, after interrogating her Uncle Andy about his ex-girlfriend:
Abigail: “But isn’t Miss Candice ever coming back? And aren’t you and Miss Candice going to make a baby together?”
Andy: “Abigail, understand this, Miss Candice and I will never, never, never, never, never, NEVER make a baby together!”
Abigail: “But why not? Isn’t it fun?”

Okay, we have no idea where that last one came from. Nor are we completely certain how she came to correlate marriage and babies in such a tight, one-to-one relationship.

Thanks a LOT, Andrew!!

During Christmas vacation and into the New Year, we were delighted to have my youngest sibling, Andy (or Andre as I like to call him), stay at our house with us. The kids absolutely love it when Uncle Andy visits; he is young, full of energy and has tremendous capacity for playing, roughhousing and entertaining them with his guitar and singing.

While he was here, Andrew accompanied me on a grocery trip or two and even did the shopping for me one week as I was preparing for the birthday party. Very helpful of him, and we really appreciated it, except for one thing. It seems Andrew has a taste for the finer things in life. No not caviar or champagne; well, maybe he likes those but they are not my primary concern. No, Andy had the audacity to introduce Jay and I to Borden milk.

Ok, Tricia, we know you are tired from the holidays and birthdays immediately following and have now come down with a nasty cold, so you are bound to be a little fuzzy in the head…WHAT are you talking about?
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