Santa’s Village

We had a few Christmas type outings on our calendar for the month of December. Given our incredible bout with the flu (maybe we’ll write more about this later – it’s why we haven’t been blogging lately) many of our plans went out the window but early in the month we were able to attend TNPC’s Festival of Lessons and Carols, and the next Sunday night we took the children to our local Santa’s Village.

It’s an entirely free (unless you purchase snacks) Christmas wonderland for kids, put on by various companies and city organizations. There are about 20 small structures: Santa’s firestation, Santa’s Library, Teddy Bear Shop, Post Office, etc which kids and their parents can tour, and enjoy some activity inside pertinent to the building’s theme. There are musical performances and puppet shows to enjoy, and lights and decorations everywhere. While we stood in a long line waiting to take the obligatory picture with Santa, we were delightfully entertained by a juggler who was quite good. The kids loved him perhaps more than Santa! (Nicolas refused to sit with Santa this year!) We also all enjoyed a well-done marionette performance.

Anyway, we would like to share our pictures from our outing with you. Enjoy!

Bunny-Dunking

Our baby, Nicolas, just turned 17 months. And oh, is he ever cute. He is currently in a stage of life where he is developing new skills quickly, and he gets more and more interactive with each week. Even thought he doesn’t talk very much yet, we know from experience that he can follow some simple directions, such as “please take this phone and go give it to Daddy”. Though I have no doubt as to his intelligence, he does do one particularly ridiculous thing fairly regularly. And he doesn’t seem to yet understand the consequence to his action.

Nicolas’ favorite sleepytime friend is a bunny, actually a stuffed version of the famous “Pat the Bunny”. He refuses to go to bed without it. But he also loves to take Bunny on adventures around the house and even out and about town. These adventures usually involve trying to drown Bunny, whether it be in the toilet, bathtub, or Sid’s water dish. There is usually at least one attempted drowning per day. After each successful dunking, Bunny has to get washed, and in general I’d say he makes a trip through the washing machine 3 times a week. Each time this happens I have Nicolas touch the sopping wet Bunny and show him the process as I put Bunny in the machine, you know, just in case his little 17 month old brain might start getting an inkling that after the “dunking”, Bunny disappears for quite a time.

Tonight, upon returning home from TNPC’s Festival of Lessons and Carols (which was wonderful, a hearty congratulations and thanks to the many musicians and participants who worked so hard) Bunny was yet again dunked unceremoniously into Sid’s dish. This before we’d even gotten all the coats and bags out of the car. Nicolas is getting to be too quick for us! Well, of course, into the wash went Bunny, and shortly thereafter into bed went Nicolas. Where he remains, and where he continues to cry because he wants his bedtime Bunny (who is currently spinning through the dryer, trying very hard to get dry and fluffy again). It’s now 11pm and the cries from the Pooh nursery are pitiful and sad. Poor Nicolas!! He really does love that bunny…I’m just waiting for him to put two and two together about what happens when he pulls one of his dunkings.

Thanksgiving in College Station

IMG_2762_small.jpg Deciding we were due for some adventure, we headed down to College Station to spend this Thanksgiving with my little brother Andrew, who attends that obscure little school you’ve probably never heard of. The kids were ecstatic about visiting Uncle Andrew at this place called “college” which they’d never seen, only been told about. Andrew put us up at his college digs, a house he rents with four friends and which, appropriately, looks as though it belongs to 5 young men in their early 20’s. No preschool toys here, but there was a cool drum kit, an awesome Foosball table, 3 televisions, a crazy black lab named Calvin, plenty of room to run, and furniture that couldn’t be injured by little people playing on it. Oh, and did I mention a back yard the size of a small football field? You can see us posing there in our pictures we’ve included.

We spent Thanksgiving Day over at the home of some wonderful people who are like adoptive parents to Andrew, and whom Jay and I know back from my college days there at TAMU: Bo and Peggy Mills, parents to Steph Clemmons, and dear sweet folks who are always opening their home to the many college students they know from Westminster. We enjoyed visiting with a great crowd of family and friends, ate much delectable food and drank much delightful wine! What a great holiday!

All in all it was a really fun trip, if only a little dampened by the football fiasco the day we left. We are thankful to have been able to get away for a bit of a change of pace. Many thanks again to Andrew, Slim and the rest of the guys for your great hospitality!! Go Ags!!

Trip to Israel

On Friday, November 14, I headed off to Israel on behalf of my employer. Now, the last time I had some international travel, both I and Tricia (on the home front) had enormously challenging situations arise (for those who regularly read House of Horne, think “duck foot”), so I was expecting this trip to be rather straight forward in comparison. Oh well.

One hour prior to landing in Tel Aviv after flying from DFW to Chicago to Zurich, I came down with a migraine headache. Thankfully, I had packed my meds in my carry-on. Unfortunately, they didn�t seem to work, and I was pretty much ready to throw up from the pain about two hours into the Israel international customs experience. I eventually made it to the hotel and got to sleep. The next morning, as the group I was with was to begin working, I came down with another migraine that lasted through the morning and into the afternoon. At that point, I was dealing with two major issues: 1) the hit to my body of the travel, migraines, and forced fasting (I couldn�t eat while having the migraines), and 2) utter terror that something had gone terribly wrong and I was going to have one migraine right after another indefinitely.

As it turned out, the second migraine was the last, so on Monday I commenced a day late one of the more challenging work weeks I�ve ever had. We were together working, eating and talking about work, traveling and talking about work, etc. for about 18 hours a day. We did take an afternoon off to tour the old city of Jerusalem (I�ll probably put up a separate post on the tour) and one afternoon to hit the beach (we were staying right on the Mediterranean).

I landed back at DFW Sunday afternoon… it is good to be home.

Mommy Mortification

I should preface this entry by saying I have had so many friends tell me stories similar to what I am about to share with you, so I know this experience is not unique to me. Kids say things so innocently, but they not always understand the effect their words might have on someone.

Today after picking Abigail up from school we all headed down to the large Half Price Bookstore off Northwest Highway. I had a couple books on hold and we spent a bit of time browsing through the children’s section too. After acquiring one tiny Thomas board book for Nicolas, one medium-sized Thomas book for Jonathan and one larger Thomas book for Abigail (aren’t we a literarily diverse family??!!) plus a copy of Madeline, whom I’ve wanted to introduce Abigail to for some time, we headed to checkout where we had to wait for a bit as there was a long line. As I paid for our purchases, several people passed by us. In order to exit the checkout area, one had to navigate a rather narrow passage, much of which we were blocking! A rather large gentleman said “Excuse me” to us as he attempted to pass by. Abigail looked up toward the voice and without missing a beat pointed to him and said very clearly, “Mommy that man is a little fat!”.

Oh dear!! I clapped my hand over her mouth but was not quite quick enough. My first thought was that having the ability to vanish into thin air at that moment would have been helpful. To tell the truth, Abigail was tempered in her description of the man. In actuality he was quite fat, but I am very thankful she did not say so. I was so concerned about how the poor man felt upon hearing my daughter’s comment. On the car ride home we had a chat about how sometimes even when we are stating something that is true, it might hurt someone’s feelings. I have to be careful though with Abigail who so much wants to please and who is quite sensitive to correction. So I carefully told her that she did not do anything wrong per se, but that sometimes instead of saying something about the way someone looks, it is good idea to keep that thought to talk about at a later time with Mommy and Daddy or another close member or friend of the family. Of course that doesn’t sound quite right to me either because in general when she makes a comment toward someone it is very appropriate, such as when she told her Grammy that she really liked her pretty dress, or when she noted how cute little Nicolas was in his Sunday outfit, or when she commented upon how well Jonathan was obeying Mommy one particular day.

So, gentle readers: what have you to say?? Have any of you found a way to verbalize what it is I’m trying to get across to my four-year old in a way which doesn’t discourage her from saying the right things but also helps her understand which things might be best left unsaid??

Trick-R-Treat!!

We’ve had a few requests for Halloween photos from family members far away. So… here they are: Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore. Plus, our own Cinderella, although you would be among the majority if you instead assumed she was dressing up as a beautiful bride…most of the compliments she received today indicated so! I think one my favorite shots is of Jonathan pouting with the pumpkins…he did not want me to take his picture!

The first few photos you will see are from early in the day, both at home and at Abigail and Jonathan’s preschool. They both enjoyed fall parties with their classes. Then later today, all five of us ventured out around our neighborhood, and even made it over to Grammy and Grandy’s neighborhood to finish out our evening with them. I am sorry to say that we’re experiencing very warm weather for this late in the year so our furry friends were rather overheated by the time the trick-r-treating was at an end!! But we had a really fun time nonetheless!

Mantel Decor Through the Eyes of a 4 Year-Old

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One evening last week while preparing supper I noticed Abigail had pulled our kitchen step stool up in front of the fireplace and was piling an motley assortment of toys and personal items up on the mantel. IMG_2485_DCE_small.jpgThere wasn’t a ton of room for her to work with given the collection of spool candleholders and various other candles, a couple pumpkins, and our resident oil painting. Despite this handicap, she managed to add quite a large amount of extras to the already reasonably full mantel.

When Abigail noticed I was watching her she proudly informed me, “Mommy, I’m helping you…I’m decorating for Christmas!!” She was so pleased that she was able to contribute to the family in a way that she had often seen her Mommy work. (My decorating efforts are feeble at best, but then I didn’t have as early a start as Abigail!)

We took a picture of her finished work which we are terming “Preschool Eclectic”. You may or may not be able to see the details, but some of the components of this particular decorating scheme include Bob the Tomato, a “Duckie” washcloth, plastic squeeky doggie toy, and purple Beanie Bear. Please also note that she cleverly added her last year’s school name tag so that everyone would know who was behind this cutting edge decor!! Try it on for size at your own house if you like!

Fighting mad

Here’s Psalm 78:65-66 as found in the NIV:
  Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
    as a man wakes from the stupor of wine.
  He beat back his enemies;
    he put them to everlasting shame.

Here’s the same passage from the ESV:
  Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
    like a strong man shouting because of wine.
  And he put his adversaries to rout;
    he put them to everlasting shame.

And the NASB:
  Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep,
    Like a warrior overcome by wine.
  He drove His adversaries backward;
    He put on them an everlasting reproach.

How about the KJV:
  Then the LORD awaked as one out of sleep,
    and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
  And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts:
    he put them to a perpetual reproach.

Did the NIV really get it that wrong? If so, how? I generally hear very positive feedback on the NIV’s translation of the Psalms. I can’t help but guess that someone didn’t like the Lord being compared to an imbibing warrior.

Gasoline

Driving back from church a little earlier this evening, Abigail and I had the following conversation. Now, admittedly, this is not a word for word transcription. However, I believe every phrase is an accurate representation of what was said… I just can’t remember every single phrase spoken.

Jay: Abigail, who does God save?

Abigail: All who have faith in Jesus.

J: That’s right! And do you know what it means to have faith in Jesus?

A: What.

J: It means to trust Jesus to forgive your sins, and to pay the penalty for your sins. That sort of thing.

A: But Dad… Dad, I think I have a bubble in my tummy, so we probably shouldn’t talk anymore.

J: What???

A: I have a bubble in my tummy and it doesn’t feel good. I think I have gasoline. Gasoline… that’s no fun. Dad do you have gasoline in your tummy sometimes?

J: Uh, well, something like that…

A: Once, when I was three, I had gasoline, but then I made a putt putt and felt better.