Introducing Josiah James Horne

Josiah is here! He was born Friday, September 30, 2005 at 1:33 a.m., weighing in at 8 pounds 8 ounces and a healthy 21 inches long. Though the labor dragged out a bit, Tricia is doing very well. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll just leave it at this for now:


Can we say “NESTING”???

In some of my “spare” time lately, I’ve been cooking and freezing meals, hoping to stash up a nice amount of food for after the baby comes, so that when we are in the midst of wakeful nights, and lots of feedings, and just the exhaustion that comes from having a sweet newborn around the house, I will not feel much need to spend time preparing food. Along the way I’ve logged what I prepared into excel so that I do not lose track of all of it . Today I printed out my inventory spreadsheet and learned I have an amazing 28 meals (and by meal, I mean things like a 9×13 pan of lasanga, which is way more than just one meal for our family!) all set to go! Wow!! Here is what they look like in my garage freezer:


I do not think much more will fit in here, do you?? Some of this food is from a class at Super Suppers a couple weeks ago, which I tried for the first time. I’ll let you know what we think of it AFTER we taste some of the food! But it was definitely a fun time with friends, and I put together twelve meals in just a couple hours. The rest of this is soups, chowders, casseroles, meatloaves, lasagnas, and other meals that have been all prepared, minus the final cooking. To say I feel a sense of accomplishment over the state of my freezer is an understatement. Indeed, I feel rather like a mother squirrel storing up for winter!!

The “Tail” of the Gecko

Those of you who may be in doubt as to my love for “nature”, when nature means bugs or tiny creepy crawly things, should have no trouble understanding my thoughts on such matters after reading this.

The other day, as on most days, I was doing laundry. I had set a group of towels/sheets on the kitchen floor just outside the laundry room to await their turn in the washer. When I went to pick up the linens, I noticed a tiny little worm that must have been hiding underneath them, wiggling about on the floor. I’d never seen a worm like this…it was very thin, and had unfamiliar coloring and markings on it. And then there was the matter of the way in which it was wiggling – such a strange way for a worm, sort of twitching back and forth on the tile. “Odd,” I thought to myself, “I’ve never seen a worm behave that way before.” Still puzzled, I continued picking up the towels until, to my surprise, a tiny gecko darted out from the rest of the pile. When I looked at him closely, I about swallowed my tongue because I knew then that the worm I had seen was in fact no worm. Know why? because (you guessed it): the gecko was TAIL-LESS!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!

My husband, who is almost never home in the middle of the day, had just dropped by quickly on his way to a lunch meeting and heard my screams. When he asked what was wrong I could only point and gape and make sickening faces at him.

The little boys came running to see what all the commotion was about, and of course offered their enthusiastic comments to brighten the situation for mommy:

“Oh, look at the cute lizard!” “Where, Mommy, where’s the lizard?” “What’s wrong, Mommy?” “Can I pick it up?” “Oh, look, he lost his tail – poor lizard!” “Look Mommy, there’s his tail!”

And on, and on, and on.

Before we could do much about the gecko (or his tail for that matter) he darted under a well-placed chest of drawers, where I most certainly was not going to chase after him. I finally stopped having contractions and went back to my laundry.

Fast forward to later that evening: as I was heading back to the bedroom with my snack (Baby likes a snack before bed!) who should appear in my path but my amphibious friend from earlier in the day!?! I just about stepped on him. Again, he managed to flee to safety, this time under the bookcase. I wasn’t about to move the large bookcase to try and extricate him from the premises, so I guess you could say we had a houseguest for the night.

Well, the next day saw the end of the gecko’s tale. It was little Abigail who discovered him, expired, not far from where I’d seen him the night before. “Poor little gecko!” she cried, bemoaning his sad end. “Poor, poor thing,” she echoed, again and again. Sweet girl, she has such a tender heart, even for reptiles.

I admit, I am not so tenderhearted toward geckos, but I am touched and humbled by my children’s fascination and respect for God’s creatures, be they great or small.

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful: the Lord God made them all!”
~Cecil F. Alexander

Back to School

The last week in August (yes, I am a bit late, but we’ve had illnesses around here and my picture guy has been totally under the weather!) was “back to school” week, and part of the fun was that because each of our three children returned to school on a different day, we had the pleasure of focusing on that particular child on their special day. (It should be noted that Jonathan refused to pose on his own on his first day so his only pic is with his brother on Nicolas’ first day of school!)


Jonathan returned to Rainbow Connection Preschool on Monday morning, to attend the Pre-K class. He was very excited to get back to school. His teacher visited us at home the previous week to introduce herself to us and Jonathan and to help him feel more at ease on his big first day. They are doing so many fun things this year in Pre K and his particular teacher does a lot of music along with other activities in her classroom, so this appeals very much to Jonathan. Perhaps his greatest excitement is the fact that he will get to enjoy lunch at school this year for the first time.


Nicolas’ first day at the same preschool was on Tuesday, where he entered the “2 1/2’s” class which meets two days a week. This class is somewhere between the 2’s and 3’s, and designed for “older 2’s and younger 3’s”: they stay with the smaller class size but utilize much of the 3’s curriculum to teach the class. Nicolas’ teacher has won his heart already, and he is thrilled with his little class. Like his big brother, he too is very excited to get to take his new Bob the Builder lunchbox to school and eat with his classmates this year.


Abigail returned to The Covenant School this year as a big 1st grader. Wednesday morning was opening Chapel for the entire school and our whole family trooped down for the big event. We are delighted with her new teacher, a dear lady who put Abigail (and several of her other nervous classmates!) at ease immediately and whom I am really looking forward to working with this year. Here is a great pic we got of Mrs. Beller and Abigail:


The transition from Kindergarden to 1st at Covenant feels like a big deal. Abigail now attends school 5 days a week for the first time (their K program meets M/W/F or T/TR depending on the option you choose), she and her classmates are in desks instead of seated around tables, and there is even homework, in very tiny amounts. But in addition, she will enjoy Choir, Music class, Art class, Nature Study class and a few other activities which she will enjoy having as part of her school week. She (and I!) still get to enjoy early dismissal on Mondays and Fridays and we take advantage of the 12:30pm end time on Mondays to allow her to attend ballet in the early afternoon instead of the late afternoon/early evening, which is a lovely fit for our schedule.

I’ve never said much about Covenant, but after a year there, we are truly in love with it. It’s a classically-based Christian school, with a lot of Charlotte Mason influence thrown in. The balance between outstanding academics and a nurturing environment where these little hearts and minds are cultivated to love learning and all that it entails is wonderful. The faculty is loving and caring, and because the classes are so small (at 13, there is technically one more student than there “should be” in Abigail’s 1st grade classroom!), the teachers get to know their students and their families extremely well, and can work individually with children as needed. The families, which make up the heart of the school, are wonderful, and the whole place feels more like a close-knit community than an educational institution. We learned firsthand last spring after our accident about the amazing compassion the folks at Covenant have for one another as people brought meals to us for weeks and weeks, and Abigail was transported to school and back by different moms and dads for the remainder of the year. We feel very thankful that Abigail has such a school to go to.

It has been a huge blessing to get everyone settled into their school year before our 4th little Horne makes his appearance. Carpool is up and running at both schools, and I have some wonderful help this year which I am so grateful for, esp as we look forward to the birth of our baby and me not driving perhaps so much in the first few weeks after that great event!

I hope everyone else is enjoying their “back to school”, whether your school is far away, right inside your home, or somewhere in between!

Back in the Groove

I did something this past Thursday that I hadn’t done since this happened: I drove carpool down to Abigail’s school on a regular school day.

We were in a different car than back in April (btw, I’m loving the new van but I don’t recommend breaking your sternum to get yourself one!!); I had a new carpooler with me (another little first grade girl from a neighborhood almost next to ours whom we are delighted to have at Covenant this year); and we got to the school without incident, for which we are most thankful.

It’s been a busy week what with getting used to rising early again, enjoying back to school activities, and attending teacher meetings, and in the midst of it all, I have managed to catch quite a nasty chest cough which I cannot seem to shake. Abigail also had an inauspicious and early end to her first week of school when she got sick in the car on the way home Thursday afternoon, but she has recovered nicely from her short-lived tummy bug. Due to her illness, we all had an unexpected day of rest (sort of) yesterday, so that was a blessing.

I’ll try to post more on each of the children’s return to their respective classes, along with some pictures, hopefully in the next few days.

The Curse of the Chocolate Bunny

Perhaps there is a factoid somewhere which validates the idea that pregnant women endure not only physical challenges while gestating, but that somehow their brains are affected as well. If not, I can publicly acknowledge that my brain and capacity for intelligent processing have definitely diminished. There are many evidences for this in my life but the most obvious one occurred this afternoon: I ate a whole chocolate bunny.

Those of you with children who have enjoyed Rack, Shack and Benny would probably be willing now to join in a sympathetic round of the Bunny Song with me. Just recalling the lyrics makes me feel stupid. Here is what happened:

It was innocent enough. I finished a not-too-big lunch. And was still hungry. There is little dessert in the house. But it just so happens that there is a certain dark chocolate bunny which I gave my husband for Easter (that was back in March for anyone keeping track) that he has never eaten. And it has stared at me, day after day. Night after night. Taunting me. I have warned him many times over the past weeks and months: “If you don’t eat that bunny soon, I may have to eat it myself!” Tell me this: if you were married to a hungry pregnant woman threatening to eat your dark chocolate bunny, would you be as cavalier about the poor confection animal as Jay has been? I hardly think so.

So folks, it was bound to happen: this afternoon, after my lunch (which was quite tasty!) I devoured the chocolate bunny. Every last morsel. It was very good. And everything was fine, till about an hour or more later, when I began feeling quite dizzy. And ill. After half an hour of this it occurred to me that perhaps my body was dealing with a significant sugar high, then low, brought on by my bunny consumption. Another half hour later there was no doubt. I was miserable. Shaky, nauseous, awful feeling. In due time Jay came home from work, and I confessed my gluttonous sin, and the fact that I was quite literally feeling rather ill over the whole thing.

“What? My bunny? I was going to take that to work with me!” he exclaimed, stricken, it would seem, over this bunny for whom he’d shown no real concern till now. Whatever. I could hardly take his disappointment seriously. But, he enjoyed poking a bit of fun at me until he realized that I was truly in a bad way over this bunny. And spent the rest of the evening being quite helpful while I tried to cope with a few chores, but mainly felt so sick I wanted to die.

It is now 9:30pm. And I feel terrible. I may never look at another chocolate bunny let alone eat one. Next Easter, please feel no need to present me with any chocolate treats of any variety. A basket of fresh fruit will be just fine, thank you. And now before I creep off to lie miserably in my bed continuing to battle the results of my gluttony, I leave you with this parting thought, dear readers:

Taken From Veggie Tales’ Rack, Shack, and Benny:

“The bunny,
the bunny –
whoa, i ate the bunny.
I didn’t eat my soup or my bread
just the bunny.
The bunny,
the bunny –
oh i love the bunny!
But now i feel real sick in the head from the bunny.”

Tales of my Tummy

I haven’t posted a ton about the pregnancy. This is the first pregnancy during which I’ve had a blog (I started writing shortly after the birth of our third, Nicolas) so I suppose I should spend more time chronicling my experiences, but truthfully, there are many days I am so exhausted that it is enough to take care of my family and survive!!

One of the things I still manage to do despite my fatigue is eat. Eat, eat, and eat some more. I seem to be quite hungry these days. Almost constantly. And yet, in a couple months, when I am ready to give birth, and my scales are tipping at 55 pounds greater than what i regularly weigh in at, I will be shocked. Just as I am always shocked at the end of every nine months (nine months and two weeks with Nicolas!). I am not tall (5’4″, and that’s giving me a 1/2″ of grace!) and that amount of weight on my small frame is um, noticeable, to say the least. I look very prosperous while pregnant. Healthy, well-fed, you get the picture!!

So: what does a hungry pregnant woman eat? Almost everything, it seems. Just about every food known to man tastes so delicious these days. I truly think the pleasure of eating is enhanced while pregnant. Just as smells seem to “sniff” stronger, I believe food tastes more flavorful as well. Fresh fruit tastes like nectar come directly from the door of heaven to me. I consume tons of it every day. Peaches, grapes, watermelon, and cherries are my current favorites. Perhaps in the heat, they are some of the most satisfying and delightful things I have found to eat. But then, meat is high on my list of preferred food lately as well. Steak and grilled chicken, and pork ribs….YUM!!

What does a snack look like these days? Keep in mind that my non-pregnant self doesn’t really snack much, or even feel the need for it. But for me, while gestating, snacks are a must. Pregnant women’s insides start doing strange things when the tummy is empty. So, this afternoon it was (for you, Rita!) a toasted piece of wheat bread spread thickly with gooey, melty peanut butter and a tall glass of icey cold milk. Oooh, delicious. That used to be an entire breakfast for me, now it’s just a midday snack!!

And I actually ate two bowlfuls of ice cream the other night while we watched a movie (Hotel Rwanda, if you’re wondering. Very heart-wrenching, but a good movie and one worth seeing). Jay’s jaw dropped when I came back with the second bowl (it was Bluebell’s Tin Roof, a flavor some friends introduced us to the other night, and I am lovin’ it!). And we wonder why I gain 50+ pounds with each child!! :-O For those who might be curious, Tin Roof is vanilla ice cream with a rich chocolate fudge swirl and roasted peanuts dipped in semi-bittersweet chocolate. Quite delectable. And good for you too: besides the obvious dairy component, did you notice there are peanuts in it??

Other favorite snack items include apple slices with peanut butter on them, wheat thins by the handful, grilled chicken with avocado slices on tortillas, tall glasses of orange juice, and lots of cold, cold milk. I do not often crave “junk” foods, or even sweets, per se, though I do have myself a sweet thing each evening (brownies are a favorite!). But I do not spend time each day stuffing myself with potato chips and cookies. In fact, most of what i eat is actually very nutritious, good food. But eat a lot of anything, and it starts to add up on one’s scale.

Ah well, it is a season of life. One I am really thankful to be able to experience again. And during this time, I am truly grateful for good fresh food and a healthy baby to feed. And for the ability to eat when I am hungry. These are certainly things never to be taken for granted. So, here’s to food!!

Kitchen Helpers

They say you can’t get good help these days. Well, I have found some! Ordinarily, the children all love to help me in the kitchen. One of their favorite jobs is snapping green beans in two after I cut the little ends off. But since all three can snap, the chore usually goes way too fast for their liking. So, today I decided I’d give them more of the job to do themselves.

I gave the 6 and 4 year old a quick lesson in proper bean cutting (didn’t think I should let the 3 year old try cutting yet, although many of you may gasp when you see the other two wielding knives!). While they cut, the 3 year old snapped fast enough to keep up with both of them. In preparation for supper for company tonight, the children cut and snapped all 2 1/2 pounds of beans entirely on their own. And they did a wonderful job. And were finished way before I would have expected. Not only are they great help, they’re cute too!


Irish Ditty

Does anyone remember the lyrics to that Bennigan’s radio commercial that played a few years ago? It was an Irish sounding guy singing something like: “I found 10 bucks in the pocket of my jeans…”. Very catchy tune, but I can’t recall how it goes.

Well, yesterday I put on a pair of jeans shorts that I haven’t worn since my last pregnancy (3 years ago) and I put my hand into one of the pockets only to pull out… guessed it: $10!!! As these jeans were washed before being put away, but likely hung to dry (you don’t want any more shrinkage than is absolutely necessary with maternity wear!), the ten dollar bill was crisp and clean, but a little wrinkled. Still perfectly good, though. Now, what shall I do with my newfound treasure??

Nicolas Moves Upstairs

Last night marked a turning point in our youngest’s life. Nicolas finally moved out of the nursery, after almost 3 years in his crib. Truthfully, he’s been sleeping with the bar down in the crib for many months now, so perhaps it was more like a toddler bed, but nonetheless, he sensed the importance of his transition to a real bed, perhaps even more so because it means he now gets to share a room with his big brother.

IMG_5323_small.JPGJonathan was only too thrilled to make room for Nicolas, and both boys shouted and danced and basically carried on with much craziness last night as Jay assembled the bed frame, moved furniture around, etc.

Here is the result: two happy little boys ensconced on their matching beds, with many an admonition to wake up quietly in the morning, and sit in bed to read their books rather than arouse the other from his sleep.


They did very well for their first night together and it is fun to see them enjoying one another so much! And now our nursery is practically ready for its newest occupant, to hopefully take up residence in another few months.