Fun With Math

This is a picture of Josiah giving moral support to big brother Jonathan as he takes his placement exam for Singapore Math.

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Nicolas tried to give moral support too, by way of looking over Jonathan’s shoulders and correcting his errors, much to Jonathan’s frustration. So even though it’s completely unnecessary, we gave Nicolas “his own test too” just for fun. (Because hey, math is fun, right Susanne? Well, Nicolas thinks so, too!)

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The kids have used Saxon for the past several years at school, but Covenant is excited about introducing Singapore for the first time this fall, and we are making the switch too. After much work we got through the placement stuff

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and have figured out where to start our own little pupils this year. Abigail loves the word problems and says she is looking forward to doing this new kind of math! Josiah is not so sure:

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“Yeesh Mom! This math stuff sure is hard for a two year old to grasp!”

Home Sweet Home

Two years ago today we were on the way home from the kids’ week of summer swim lessons and as was our practice at the time, I detoured to take a peek at the neighborhood we checked on regularly during our search for a new house. And to my surprise came upon a FSBO sign in front of this:

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It had been vacant for a few months and was in need of lots of TLC but the bones were great, and the price was right. And despite all sorts of trouble and craziness during the purchasing process, we moved in (albeit only partially, and with scarcely any furniture) just a little over three months later.

Two years later the little house has indeed received lots of TLC from the Hornes (though of course we are still working on it!) and I think it shows.  We are grateful for this blessing, this haven with a red door where we watch our family grow, experience the richness that is our life, welcome family and friends, live together, laugh together and love each other. We are thankful for this, our own home, sweet home.

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Eerily Amazing..or perhaps better named: Maybe He Won’t Be Too Hard to Home School

Tonight after I’d tucked Jonathan and Nicolas into bed (they share a room) I went back in to quickly drop off a toy or something and came upon a most interesting scene.

The room was dark as it should be, but Jonathan was sitting up in bed talking; actually as I was soon to learn, he was telling a story, which his little brother (also sitting up in his bed) was listening to with rapt attention. Arranged in front of Jonathan were various Webkins and stuffed animals who normally occupy his bed and he was moving one of the stuffed things while having it say, “I am a Hebrew.  And I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

This made me stop my hasty exit from the room long enough to ask what in the world he was talking about. Surely this was no ordinary “stuffed animal bedtime story”.

“Oh, he’s telling me the story of Jonah, Mom.” Nicolas offered.  Telling the story indeed; it sounded to me like my son was narrating the account verbatim from the text which I knew he had read to himself just the day before while we sat in church during the sermon. Very intrigued by this point I grabbed the nearest Bible I could find and stealthily planted myself just outside the room to listen. Jonathan was only in the first chapter of the Book of Jonah, so I figured this could take a while, and I certainly didn’t want to miss it.

For the next several minutes I skimmed over the story while listening to my little boy go over each part of all four chapters in amazingly accurate detail.  Ok, so he left out most of Jonah’s prayer from inside the belly of the fish, as well as the three verse decree to the people of Ninevah in the third chapter, but he did all of the first and fourth chapters in a verse by verse paraphrase, using much of the original Biblical language. Near the end of the book he did get mixed up, and knowing I was listening nearby called out, “Hey Mom – what is it again God said to Jonah there?”

I read verse 8 of the fourth chapter and he answered, “No, that’s not quite right. Are you reading from the New King James Version? You should be on page 624 in that Bible.”

At which point I almost dropped my teeth out of my mouth. He even knew the page number that verse was on. Oh how very,very freaky. But I calmly opened his red NKJV Bible and turned obediently to page 624 and read verse 8 again. This time with the proper wording apparently, because he thanked me and happily went on and finished his bedtime story for Nicolas.

Which begs the question: how many little boys have a seven year old brother who at bedtime will narrate an entire book of the Bible to them like that after reading it the day before in church? I am overwhelmingly astounded at this. I don’t even have a proper, tidy ending for this blog entry because I am just too astounded. All I can say is “Wow!”

Crazy Picture

It is a brave man who allows four wild children to jump all over him. Despite evidence to the contrary, no Grandpas were injured during the taking of this photo. But what is it with our daughter’s obsession with the bunny ears in every single picture lately?

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She’s Not Going to be Able to Do this…

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once the new fence is up. Poor doggie.

There are advantages

A few days ago, we finished the Recipe View and launched it on Viewzi.

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I think it is a fantastic way to search recipes, and was really excited to show it to Tricia. After about a minute of looking at it, Tricia asks, “Does it have Southern Living recipes?” Well no, as it so happens, it didn’t.

Hmmm… turns out Southern Living hosts their recipes, along with several other magazines, on myrecipes.com. It also turns out myrecipes.com has the sort of data that we need for this particular View (a rich picture contained in a well-labeled div). So now we have Southern Living recipes.

There are advantages to being married to the product manager (that is, the guy who helps decide what gets built next).

Hubbub at House of Horne

Early this morning alley workers arrived to rework some sections of the concrete behind our house which apparently were not soundly constructed during the Alley Rebuild of 2007-2008. They originally showed up this past Saturday, during the Bridal Shower of 2008 (more on that another time) and began the loud and smelly work of cutting through cement whilst 27 fashionably dressed women drinking champagne punch watched them with interest through the windows along the back of our house.  The Bride-to-be of course appreciated the extra drama and excitement which this added to her special day. Thankfully she is my sister, and quite used to the antics and craziness which is life around here!

The timing wasn’t supposed to work out like this, but then you don’t get to plan these things. Three weeks ago we drew up a contract for a fence rebuild around our backyard. Our charming picket, while lovely to look at:

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is pushing the 25 year old mark, and Jay has resorted to holding it together with rubberbands and scotchtape. So, it was time to say goodbye.

Today while the rather moody city workers laid rebar in preparation for pouring cement, who should arrive but our wonderful fence folks for their first day of work, and of course they needed to be in the same exact spot as the alley laborers. And the alley men were none too happy about it. I got grumped at by the foreman (who by the way had assured me on Saturday afternoon during the bridal shower, that all the pouring of cement would be completely finished on Monday and our fence guys could be back there working with no problems by the end of this week) who told me I’d best hold off on constructing my fence (but sir, we already had, they were supposed to begin construction on Monday, remember, but you told me not to?) or else. Huh. I told the fence workers I was sorry for the trouble, especially after I’d already asked them to postpone their work earlier in the week.

Regardless, the fence teardown commenced in the midst of the alley work and no one threw any punches (or bits of picket fence) that I could see. Heheh.  About an hour later, our sprinkler service showed up to repair a line we unfortunately nicked while sodding part of the back yard a few weeks ago. They turned on the various sprinkler zones to verify the source of the leak, and promptly gave the fence workers a bit of a bath, which maybe they appreciated – it is almost 90 degrees out! Even so, I found myself apologizing yet again to the guys from Zarate Fence, as I feel they will be more than tired of this job before it’s even begun at this rate.

But as I write this, things are calming down.  The alley workers are almost done with the cement behind our yard, and have moved just next door, and are making noise and such behind our neighbor’s house now, so the area is clear for fence work. The sprinkler dudes have repaired the nicked line and also informed me that our pipes are not really dug deep enough for sodding/planting purposes, so we’d best be careful when doing any future landscaping. Brilliant, but I regress.

Work continues on the fence, and in another week’s time, if all goes as planned (hah!) maybe we’ll have pictures of a brand spankin’ new fence to share with you. For now, I leave you with an early picture of the teardown:

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Mommy’s Little Helper + Deck Spruce-Up

Just so’s you all know: Josiah has a pretty sweet side to him too. When he’s not making messes and being ornery!! This morning I walked outside and found him doing this:

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He was watering all the new little plants I put in last week!  No one told him to; but he’s seen me go turn on the garden hose and sprinkle all these tender plants each day, so I guess he figured he’d take care of that chore for me today. What a helpful boy!!

For a bit of history, when we bought the house, this was the place the previous owners let their dogs sleep. It was a real mess, full of dirty hay (for dog bedding??) and looked like this:

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Early this year after the deck redo was complete, I finally got down to the business of cleaning out the hay and other debris.

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We pulled brick after brick after brick out from underneath the hay.

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I had lots of good help.

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And some folks who just wanted to play in the dirt, but hey that’s cool too.

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After our hard work, it was at least free of junk, and tidy-looking. But since January, it has sat feeling rather lonely and empty.

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Until last week: I visited a local nursery and got some advice on what to plant here in hopes that we could keep it alive despite mostly shade and no sprinkler system feeding this area. I wanted as many evergreen perennials as would work so as to minimize effort/expense in the future. Among other things I planted a jasmine vine which I am hoping will happily climb and bloom all over this cute little birdy trellis I painted black (I love my trellis!):

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And a Japanese Holly Fern, a Gardenia, Curly Red Coral Bells, and some Purple Shamrock.

I have yet to choose a plant for the corner, where I’d like something that will grow somewhat tall, yet narrow enough that it does not cover the kitchen window and block light from coming in. I definitely want to put something evergreen here. If any of my wonderful, green-thumbed readers have suggestions, please speak up! I need all the gardening help I can get.

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Looks like Josiah knows that, and it’s a good thing he’s jumped in to help with the efforts to keep my little plants alive and thriving. Let’s hear it for Mommy’s Little Gardening Helper!

Viewzi has launched!

Sunday night found most of us viewzers huddled around a table sorting out the final details for our launch until almost midnight. Thankfully, the table was at a nice country club, so it wasn’t all that bad. Monday morning at 7 a.m., TechCrunch posted their exclusive coverage of our launch. For the next 12 hours, Viewzi was live but only accessible via the TechCrunch link. Then at 7 p.m., the wall came down fully and we were live.

It has gone fantastically! All the new platform code, some of which was written just days before launch, worked flawlessly and the site absorbed a massive increase in traffic without so much as flinching. At 8 p.m. last night, a huge group of us (well, huge for a company of 12) met at Kenichi and celebrated the success with wives, husbands, and even a set of parents. What fun! There’s pretty much no better way to enjoy your success than to eat some raw tuna.

Now go use the coolest search on the internet to find something fun.