The Bliss of Organization

Those of you who know me very well can attest to the fact that I am what might be referred to in politically-correct terms, “highly organizationally challenged”. Don’t get me wrong: I like organization alot. I just never really learned to do it well, and once done, I’ve never worked hard enough at maintaining what was begun. This makes life difficult in some respects, but especially more so as we acquire greater numbers of children, and with them, a plethora of toys, clothing, and books, etc of many sizes and shapes.

Perhaps I have come down with some sort of spring cleaning bug, but for whatever reason, the general clutter of things has gotten to me more of late. So, over the past week I have made some serious efforts at organizing certain areas of the house which are highly used and could benefit from some attention to detail. And I must say, the sense of accomplishment from this work has been monumental.

On Friday after I took apart and redid the pantry I proudly showed the results of my work to Jay (he, by the way, is in general a very well-organized person, thank you Lord,for this grace in my life!). He was immensely pleased, to say the least. And so was I. Subsequently, I redid my system for all of our tupperware and tackled a huge project: the kids’ craft cabinet. Sadly, this storage space had become so bad that things would often come flying out at you when you opened it to get the crayons, for instance. This area took the most time and thought but tonight I am happy to report that games, crayons, stickers, playdough, etc, are neatly stowed in lovely plastic containers of various sizes and shapes. And I feel like a new person!!

There are a few basics I have come away with as I worked on these little projects. For those of you who are highly organized, this will be elementary. For others like me perhaps they will shed new light on the whole concept of becoming organized. I will note that I didn’t take these points from a book or anything; they were the fruit of thinking and working through the process, so take them with a grain of salt, if you are even interested.
Continue reading “The Bliss of Organization”

Shower Devotional

This past weekend I was involved in throwing a baby shower for one of our friends. One of my assignments as hostess was to give the short devotional near the front end of the festivities. As this was my first time to offer a shower devotional, I spent a great deal of time in preparation and thinking through my topic. All of that time period was during our month-long hiatus from the blog; I was basically spending most of my free time (heh-heh!) on this other activity, in addition to trying to keep up with my Bible Study reading and work for our weekly TNPC Ladies Group (Mommy Ruth, my third person name for my MIL, keeps us quite busy!! It should be noted that she is doing an excellent job in leading the study and I am very thankful for her diligent work here and quite proud of her too!) But I digress….

Anyway, since I put a decent amount of thought and effort into this, I thought it might be fun to post the general text of my 14 minute talk. My goal overall was to be helpful to Moms at various stages of parenting, and I hope perhaps it might be of encouragement to some of you readers. Please keep in mind that this is a very brief and general talk, and that the text you read was my attempt to write down the body of my devotional in order to make notes for me to then prepare for the shower. So, it was not originally written to be read as a paper, and it probably won’t flow that way for you. In an attempt to make it easier to read, I have inserted section headings to guide you through the talk. I’ve also added some recommended books at the bottom to go along with some of the points I make. Continue reading “Shower Devotional”

A Belated Welcome

It occurs to me that I have grossly erred in neglecting to officially announce the addition of a wonderful new blog to the offerings in cyberspace. Please allow me to introduce my youngest sibling, Andrew (aka Andy or Uncle Andy around our house). Today happens to be his birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW!

My relationship with Andrew has always been a bit different than my interactions w/my sister and other brother, partly by virtue of the fact that there is quite a large span of years between our ages. He is nine years younger and I honestly cannot remember ever really “fighting” with Andrew in the way that siblings typically do. I clearly remember his arrival in our family and felt, at the ripe and experienced age of nine, that I was sort of a second little mommy to him. I dearly loved helping care for him as a baby and young child and thought he was the sweetest little guy in the world. As we grew older I very much enjoyed the ability to take him on “movie dates” and such since I could drive while he was still in elementary school.

These days we have long talks both in person and via phone which are very precious to me and which keep me in tune with the life of a college student and young single guy, something I don’t have quite as much interaction with as I used to. He puts things in perspective for me sometimes, as he tends to be more laid back than I. And he is a great and very fun uncle to our children, besides being in general just a very likeable, friendly guy. I am very thankful for the blessing Andy is in my life as well as the life of our family.

I anticipate that his blog will be a fun, fresh read for many of us, and I am thrilled he has begun this new venture. So, enjoy, everyone! (I will add that his page is currently down but should be operational again shortly.)

Pop Culture

So there we were, on the couch (Jay and I) having an adult conversation. It was around 5pm and our first opportunity today to really talk together, as I had headed off to help hostess a baby shower almost immediately after church. I had recently returned home and we were enjoying a few minutes of rest before the supper rush began.

Well it seems Abigail got it into her head that she really wanted some of the dainty little cookies I had baked for the shower and so she started begging us for a taste. We told her she would have to wait till after dinner. As soon as she heard this she decided dinner had to happen RIGHT NOW! So she began asking us to get supper ready. Well, we generally don’t dine at 5pm around here and so we asked her to please wait, while we turned our attention back to finishing our conversation. All was quiet for a few moments and we relished the brief interlude. We soon learned the reason for the quiet when our two little redheaded children reappeared in the living room, each bearing a poptart with a few bites taken out.

“See??” Abigail exclaimed, “We got our supper!”

Now normally such behavior would not be overlooked in our household. It is not generally acceptable around here for children to rummage in the pantry for food without first consulting their parents. However, we were both so exhausted that we felt almost unable to protest.

“Ok, go sit at the table to eat your poptarts,” said Jay, smiling broadly. I could see the normal order of things slipping away before my eyes but I was too tired to even comment.

Four little feet skipped happily into the kitchen and two tiny bottoms obediently plopped themselves into their booster seats. When the well balanced meal was finished, Abigail again made her request for cookies. Her desire was granted (yes, I am ashamed to admit the parental units were STILL on the couch, talking!) and being the resourceful girl of 4 years that she is, she helped herself and Jonathan to one cookie each. She also very thoughtfully set their cups of milk on the table for them to drink.

In a few more minutes, Abigail returned to the living room to tell us “We have finished our supper! I’m going to wash my hands now. You’ll need to wash Jonathan’s hands and face before he gets down from the table.”

Pretty nifty, eh? So, how soon do you think she’ll be ready for babysitting? I figure as soon as she can get the diaper-changing thing down, we should be good to go out for an evening and leave her in charge!

As an aside, it should be noted that the lazy parents did drag themselves away from their frivolous conversation to attend to the needs of the household. The first thing we did was to all enjoy another supper together, this time featuring all four food groups!

Long Time No Blog…

…and it’s not as though I’m feeling inspired to write anything new at this moment. I just feel we need to make some sort of explanation for our long absence from Blogdom. Life has seemed extremely busy and I guess we have felt uninspired!! We thank our faithful readers for your patience with us and apologize for the dearth of entries. Hopefully sometime soon, we will return to regular blogging. Take care…

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!!

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.