Reason #267 Why Being the Littlest Brother is So Cool….

Because your very patient big sister will allow you to sit on her lap forever while she plays games. This nets you:

* great cuddle time.

* nice photo-op for Mommy and that busy camera of hers with no extra work or fake posing needed on your part.

* a comfy and entertaining place to sit while you stuff your chubby cheeks with Cheez-its.

* major advantage over the other poor two year-olds who haven’t even heard of let alone begun to learn the finer points of winning at Diego’s Rainforest Adventure Game.


A Day of Rest…

is just what the Dr. ordered, and I am thankful for it. I have a stinker of a cold that I cannot shake, that just seems to get worse each day, and which I guess I have passed not only to Josiah (who is over it already) but now also to Jonathan, who started laying on the couch mid-afternoon, saying all he wanted to do was rest. Anyone with an active seven year old boy knows that a desire to rest is rare among this set, so I am anxiously watching him for signs of the plague.

A day of rest meant I also relaxed my little diet I put myself on at the New Year. Now that my baby is two (and the holidays are safely behind us!), I think it is high time I get a little serious about diet and exercise, and try to shed some of the extra slug that I have carried from ever since my inactivity due to injuries post-accident of 2005 and pregnancy/new baby that same year. I haven’t gotten freakish about what I eat, but have certainly curtailed indulgences such as snacking (especially my generous, beloved late evening snacks which I know are just horrid for me) and sweets, and have tried to watch calories and portion sizes carefully. Interestingly, after just a couple weeks of eating less, my body is pretty happy with the smaller portions, more veggies, fruits, and salads, and less breads and desserts. Of course, at this rate, it’s going to take me an awful long time to get through that delightful box of truffles my Honey gave to me for Christmas!

But not today. Today I relaxed. After a wonderful morning of worship, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Cowboy Chicken, and I even helped polish off birthday cake for the just-turned-twelve year old in our group. I spent over an hour in bed this afternoon, just reading, and I even had a few potato chips this evening before supper – just to make sure I can still enjoy them. Tonight if I get to feeling especially wild…I might even eat one of those truffles!

Plug for the Skirty

Though I am usually not one to shamelessly try to talk people into spending money, I nevertheless want to tell you about the Skirty!! I love this new product and am following the designer and her website Amoretti Designs, with great interest.


The owner of Amoretti Designs, Rebekah Merkle, is a American, a homeschooling mommy to 5 living in England, and daughter of the famous Doug Wilson. She has launched the Skirty as her first clothing item in what she hopes will eventually be a line of fun, ladylike but innovative clothes for young girls. I for one cannot wait to see what she puts out.

The fun news is that for the next five days, Skirtys are 15% off! So…if you have a little lady in your life who could use one of these…hop on over to Amoretti Designs and snag you one or two of ’em!!


At what seems like long last for him, Nicolas has begun to read! He has gotten the knack of blending his sounds together, and has almost (but not entirely) abandoned the practice of looking at a word and trying to guess which one it might be without actually sounding out the various phonemes!

Those of you who remember this post, from a year and a half ago, where he expressed a lack of interest in books altogether, and then this one, from last spring, where he felt the need to run his fingers under every.single.line. in chapter books in his gargantuan effort to try and mimic his big brother’s reading will understand our excitement and happiness at his success.

We are working through the 100 Lessons Book (happily, this time) which I used with my first two children. Well, at least with Abigail. Jonathan happens to have been watching and listening, and pretty much figured it out on his own, precious boy.

Now, Nicolas begs for his reading lessons every day, and has even begun sneaking ahead of me each morning while I am busy with other things, and sounding out the next words on his own so that when I finally sit down with him, he’s already figured many of them out. It is so fun to see his excitement over his new skill, and watch his little brain process new sounds everyday.


Yummy, Gone-in-a-Flash Soup!

Last night a few members of our church Home Group weren’t able to make it for our gathering – and at first everyone was a little disappointed. But there were certainly plenty of people here, and everyone quickly settled in to visiting and eating, and the soup was dished up to rave reviews. By the time supper had ended (and several guests had enjoyed hearty second bowls of the aforementioned, beloved soup), we realized that had each and every person actually come to supper, as we’d originally expected, we certainly would have RUN OUT OF FOOD!! Guess that new, bigger crockpot of mine didn’t make quite as much soup as I thought it should have.

My extended family who frequent my blog will gasp at this admission on my part, because while I have many faults, not preparing enough food for a crowd is not one of them. I usually overdo! But, it is good for my pride to realize I don’t always have it all together!

As it was, we were grateful for Providence and I made a mental note to make at least 50% more soup next time this crowd comes for dinner! Here is the recipe I stole, and modified to my own taste. It was really quite delicious, and very simple to make – no roux or anything to mess with. I tripled the amounts for our group, substituted in pork loin for half the sausage meat, took out the celery (husband can’t stand the stuff) and lowered the ratio of kidney beans significantly. Since our group included a very large amount of children, I did put out that bowl of pasta as was suggested, but it was hardly touched, because, did I forget to mention?? EVERYONE JUST LOVED THIS SOUP (even and especially the children!)! So, today I used the leftover pasta to make a couple meals of Macaroni and Cheese with Ham.

And the very little bit of that soup that was leftover will go to school with Abigail tomorrow, happily ensconced in her silver thermos, to be eaten at lunchtime. For those of you who don’t realize the significance of this, I am happy to report that as of tomorrow, Covenant starts school on their own property for the very first time. For the last five years the school has leased space from a very kind, but very Kosher Synagogue. So meat of any kind on campus was an absolute no-no. But not anymore! My little girl will scoop up her meaty soup tomorrow with great rejoicing!

Inconvenient is….

waking up Saturday morning to put soup in the crockpot for the 23 people you are looking forward to having over for supper this evening. Only to find your trusty crockpot has a ginormous crack all the way up and down one side, rendering it useful only for the trash heap.

Convenient is….your pick of several stores within a four mile radius, any one of which your kind husband is happy and willing to browse through in order to buy you the crockpot that will save supper. Here is what he brought home to me. I am happy to say that now the soup is simmering…and I feel better. Ah, the many blessings of living in a metroplex.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Abigail!

My little girl is nine. Where, oh where has the time gone? Nine feels so big for some reason. In another nine years, our daughter will be an adult by legal standards. She will likely fly from the nest that year, be off to college and other adventures. I know that as their parents, our goal is for our children to grow and learn, and become adults eventually, but sometimes life feels like it flies by so fast.

We conceived Abigail after almost a year and a half of trying, actually during some fertility tests, a round of which my doctor was conducting to see if there were any measurable “reasons” we had not yet gotten pregnant. During those months we asked a lot of “What if?” questions. What if we never got pregnant? What would we do then? And our answer without hesitation was that God willing, we would most certainly pursue adoption. We desperately wanted children, and a family of our own. After what seemed like forever, but wasn’t actually all that long relatively speaking, we got that positive pregnancy test, and to say we were elated is an understatement. How completely surprised, how excited Jay and I were at the thought of a little Horne arriving to join our family.

I still remember the day of my sonogram so vividly, the day we were to learn whether this little Horne was a boy or a girl. Though I honestly did not care too much about gender, so thankful was I that we actually had a little baby on the way, I had pretty much assumed we would only have boys. I had learned the scientific fact that the father is responsible for determining the gender of the child (see here for a little biology lesson on the topic), and I had done a little family research and learned there were no girls for several generations directly back in Jay’s, his Dad’s, or (I think) even his Dad’s Dad’s generation. His only brother was at that time father to two boys himself (neither we nor they knew that was about to change!). Of course, being the highly trained scientist that I am, I extrapolated and came up with my own theory: that we were not likely to bring any daughters into this world. I was actually pretty convinced of this! So, when the nurse performing my sonogram announced to us that there was indeed a baby girl hanging out in my tummy, my very surprised squeals of joy could be heard all the way back to the waiting room (so they told me). I was ecstatic, and could not wait to meet this little lady of ours.

From the time she was born, Abigail, true to her name, has been a joy to us. I feel as if we were given a very special gift the day God placed her into our care. She is a delight, a sweet, kind and mostly very patient big sister to her three crazy little brothers, an encouragement to her Mom and Dad. She cares tenderly for all the little animals and creatures she comes into contact with, is a loyal friend, and has an air about her that is far older than even her big nine years. It is such a blessing to have another girl in the family besides myself!!

Throughout our next pregnancies, I never again remembered my very false assumptions about children’s gender. And secretly, I sort of wished for another girl to join our family, but that has never happened. Even the little baby whom we lost before ever having the chance to meet him is a boy, whom we someday look forward to seeing face to face in Heaven.

Abigail’s special day took place on Saturday, and her treat was going out with Mommy to have her ears pierced. Afterward, we celebrated with some family in town over pizza, cake, and presents, and it was a wonderful evening.

I am so thankful for our precious girl, our only daughter, our Abigail, our joy. I pray she may grow in grace, in her love for Christ and the people around her, and that she may always know just how deeply her family loves her.


Happy Birthday, Jonathan!!

We’ve dragged Jonathan’s birthday out some, since he actually turned 7 last year (well, just back on the 29th)! This morning we celebrated along with two sweet buddies from school at a local roller rink, where we were joined by most of the first grade class at Covenant, along with other friends, family, etc. What a good time it was!! I actually took much more video footage of this event than pictures but I must include one fun shot of the three birthday boys hamming it up! Happy birthday to all of you!!


Christmas Blessings

We have had a whirlwind of activity the last week or so and have not posted much as a result. Now that the festivities are mostly over, we are feeling lazy, slowly taking down the Christmas decorations, and trying to put some 2008 resolutions into action, even as we diligently work on polishing off the still rather large pile of holiday fudge, cookies, chocolate and candy.

But before the new year gets into full swing, it seems fitting to remember some of the highlights of our family’s Christmas holiday. Here are a few of the things that come to mind as we reflect on Christmas 2007, which we are so grateful for:

* Houseguests aplenty to make the days around Christmas that much more festive.

* Major answers to prayer regarding the health of not just members of our immediate family, but also extended family, which made getting together with everyone, and celebrating a LOT more feasible!

* 53 pictures taken of the famous Baby Isaac sitting in his bouncy chair by none other than our own Nicolas, with his new Christmas camera. (They all looked pretty much like this):


* Baking with the children: pies and cookies, and enjoying eating the fruits of our labor!

* Advent devotions as a family.

* Lots and lots of sunshine-y days to help the cold weather seem not quite so cold.

* Jay home from work for two wonderful, long weeks!!

* Josiah’s two year old rendition of “Away in a Manger” – so precious!

* Visits throughout the holiday with TONS of family on both sides: grandparents, uncles, aunts, first and second cousins…and all the fun that went along with this.

* Christmas stockings finally sewn for the three oldest children (though my efforts toward this lasting until past 5am on Christmas Eve were NOT a high point for me!).

* Jay’s and my Christmas present to each other, which consisted of hiring some professional painters to finish out the common areas of the house just in time for the holidays. And the results of which we are enjoying SO MUCH!!

* The blessing of another year to celebrate the wonder that is the birth of Jesus, the Christ-child, our Emmanuel.