Addition to the Family

Last Friday, Jay took his first holiday this year from work so we could make a little daytrip to pick up the newest member of the family. Her name is Sadie; she is a fluffy ten-week old Cavapoo, which means she is half Cavalier and half Poodle. They are also known as Cavadoodles and Cavoodles. Either way I think the name is silly, but they are supposed to be great little dogs and after all, it’s not their fault they’ve been dubbed with a goofy name!

After Lucy left us to follow her police dog career, we knew we’d likely be adding a new canine to the family. We’ve loved having the two dogs, and were truly sad that Lucy couldn’t bridge the transition to Jay working again by using the potty outside the house.

Given we’ve learned recently that a couple of our children have dog allergies I (being the mad researcher that I am) checked out some non-shedding, hypoallergenic breeds. We also have come to realize that though we adore big dogs, our home and lifestyle do not necessarily lend themselves to accommodating them as easily.  We are rapidly filling our modest-sized home with children, leaving less space for dogs. We have also loved having the ability to snuggle with our smaller doggie, Sasha on the couch while reading a book or watching a movie, and she sleeps on Abigail’s bed at night, keeping her company which is wonderful. When we run out in the car to do a quick errand, or head out for a short trip, Sasha jumps into the car and goes along. Very transportable.

So…I looked into “Doodles” for starters: Labradoodles and Goldendoodles. They both come in petite sizes, and are supposed to be lovely dogs. Unfortunately, the price tag associated with them is not petite, and we quickly nixed the Doodles.

We thought about another Coton…heck, Jay even joked about cloning Sasha. Again, the Cotons are wonderful dogs, but the puppies come with a pretty hefty price tag.

Sasha is old enough that we were advised if at all possible to try for a younger pup. We consulted with several rescue organizations locally to see what type of pups they might have. In each case, we just couldn’t find the combo of a young, small hypoallergenic dog that seemed happy and lowkey with young children.

A couple of friends own Cavapoos and have shared with us how much they love them.  One friend referred me to a breeder in Oklahoma who came highly recommended. I called and chatted with her on several occasions and learned a lot about the breed. They sounded like the kind of dog we were looking for. We began talking more personally about our families, and were each delighted to learn that we are both pursuing international adoption. She and her family are in process to adopt a sibling group from Haiti. This is a total aside, but was such a neat encouragement to me I just had to share!

While this particular lady’s waiting list was too long to offer us a dog before mid-fall, she was able to help steer me toward a fellow breeder who did have some Cavapoo puppies available to come home early summer as we’d hoped.  I visited this lady’s website and checked out some of the pictures of the pups, but was startled to see that all the black puppies were offered at less than half the price of the other colored dogs. Well I had to find out more about that so I called the breeder and asked her, “Excuse me, but what’s wrong with the black dogs, Ma’am?”

And basically, due to the fact that the black dogs are so much harder to get a good photograph of, they just don’t sell as quickly, especially for today’s puppy buyer, who shops online and often chooses on the basis of looks.  It occurs to me that I have seen whole rescue groups devoted to the cause of black dogs, because they are the hardest to get adopted out of shelters, and sadly, also the color that is most often euthanized. Here is a page that explains the little known but reasonable sounding “Black Dog Syndrome”.

Well, long story a little bit shorter, I spent a couple weeks inquiring about each of her black pups, seeing pictures, and learning about their various personalities, and since the breeder was within driving distance, we decided to just hop in the car and drive all the way to the border of Oklahoma and Kansas!

Of course, Sasha came along for the ride, to help choose her favorite puppy:

We enjoyed meeting the pups…

and chose our sweet little Sadie from the bunch.

Sadie Puppy spent the 5 hour drive home nestled on various children’s laps, content to snuggle.

Snuggling with the Daddy of the family during a stop at Sonic:

We have thoroughly enjoyed our first few days home with her.  She had her first visit to the vet, and received a big thumbs-up! She is currently 4.5 pounds, and is very sweet and playful. In just a few days’ time, she has learned not to fuss in her crate at night, and she is doing really well with her potty training despite being so young.  She has a little basket of toys, and has figured out how to retrieve things from there when she wants to play. Here is one of her pictures we received before we made the trip:

And how is our resident doggie feeling about the new little interloper? Well, let’s say she is tolerating the new addition.  Sadie obviously adores Sasha, and desperately wants to play with her. Sasha hasn’t yet warmed up to the point of playing, but she is doing better each day. Sadie likes to lay down near the bigger dog….this shot is hilarious. It almost looks as if Sasha is thinking, “Really? Is she really going to stay?”

“Ah well, I suppose I’d just as soon make the best of it. SIGH.”

Sasha does seem ok curling up with Sadie, as long as Jay is there as well.

The children are delighted with their new baby, and are all good helpers with Sadie. I have not really tried hard yet to get a great picture of her, but here is what we do have:

My MacGyver of a husband took himself to Home Depot, and within an hour’s time, constructed a wonderful, hinged contraption that allows Sadie access to the back door which is off our den, but which prevents her from having the run of that living area. I’ve said it before, but my hubby is a genius, and I am always so pleased with his innovation!  We think it will look nicer painted white, but here are some pics anyway:

Well, if any of you have experience photographing little black doggies whose eyes blend in with their fur, and whose faces don’t seem to have any depth on camera, maybe due to the solid, darker color…and can weigh in with tips for this novice, I am all ears!! Send any advice you have, pretty please!!

Wazzup Around House of Horne?

It’s Springtime! Flowers, delicious weather, the wrapping up of another school year, and all that goes with that. Here is some of what we’ve been up to….

*Painting many, many shelves to finish up the apparently months-long project to try to clean out and freshen up those bedrooms closets.

*Transforming my dining room from a storage facility into a place for eating once again! From this…

To this is progress, yes?

Alright, well if I’m gonna keep it real, I need to step back a little so my readers can see the edges of the room.

So yes, there are still a few stray suitcases and window treatments for which I have not yet found “hiding places”! But I am so thankful for progress!

*Celebrating the end of volleyball and soccer season, A Chik-Fil-A cow sighting, and the start of baseball! I like how the Cow almost looks as if he is sporting a Covenant Jersey too!

*Working on our yoga – I have never seen Jonathan sit so still for so long in over nine years of living with him. Thinking that Wii Fit was a smart purchase, Honey!

*Enjoying Mother’s Day food, fun, and family at Texas De Brazil.

*Neighborhood fox hunts: a momma and her cubs have taken up residence two doors down under our neighbors’ storage shed. We have been rewarded for our diligence by a terrific front row seat to a show of the two cubs wrestling and playing in the grass at dusk while Momma stands guard nearby. Until my Techie Dude uploads the video in a way I can display here, you will have to take my word for it though. And instead enjoy this rather fuzzy shot of two of our resident foxes.

*Summer buzz cuts. This year is significant, as it is Josiah’s first ever “buzz”. Which, he informs us all, is “so much better than a normal haircut”. In case you didn’t know.

*Soaking up a little Grammy-time before she heads back to Savannah. Her Dad, Jay’s Grandpa, has had a very hard time of it these last months…Grammy Ruth will be spending another three weeks helping her sister care for him. We miss her but are thankful she can be there. If you think of it, Ruth, Judy and Gpa John can all use your prayers.

*Fruit loops in my coffee this morning: again, you’re going to have to trust me, and just visualize this one. For whatever reason, one of my little darlings figured my morning drug, er drink would taste even better with this treat added.

Now that I think of it, “Fruit Loops in My Coffee” sounds like a perfect name for a Mommy Blog…Hmmmm…maybe we should contemplate a name change. Whadya think, Techie Dude?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, especially to my own wonderful mother whom I love dearly, and to the bestest mother-in-law any girl ever had!

I have to share an article that ran in today’s Dallas Morning News about one of our friends, who is not only an incredible mom but an amazing woman of faith that we look up to and are so blessed by. Her story is beautiful and touching and inspiring (think Blindside without the wealth, or the upscale suburbs, and with double the kids! )

It is absolutely irrelevant to this post, but interesting to note that had I moved to Texas my senior year with my family to finish out my twelfth grade year, Melissa and I would have been in the same graduating high school class just a few (and I do mean a very few) short years ago. I didn’t have the privilege of attending high school with her after all, but am so thankful that God saw fit to cross our paths here in Dallas.

Her blog (linked to the right) is one of our absolute faves, and if you have never visited, I invite you to check it out.

Happy Mother’s Day, MaMelissa!


Tricia and I are expecting. We are expecting a child to be part of our family soon, a little girl who is already born, whom we don’t know yet and is living a world away. We are expecting God to provide us the means to wrap our crazy family life around this little girl and surround her with love. We are expecting God to provide us with the finances necessary to make it all happen. We’re expecting a whole lot.

I don’t think we are presuming, in the pejorative sense of making demands of God, that he would align his will with ours. More on that in a moment.

In the fall of 2009, as I soaked up portions of Isaiah over and over, I came to an overwhelming conviction that I was to become a father to someone fatherless. This built up over months, and I did what any normal guy would do who has four children and a hectic life: I kept my mouth shut and hoped the building pressure of conviction would go away. It didn’t.

It turns out Tricia was experiencing her own version of this same conviction. For her, the sense of calling began building several months before I experienced it, but she too kept quiet, rightfully believing I would think she was crazy if she brought it up with me. A few days after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, as we contemplated the carnage and our family prayed nightly for the Haitians, we finally broke our silence.

It was a bizarre conversation. “I feel like I should tell you something.” “Well, I need to tell you something as well.” “Oh, you go first.” “No, you.” “I have this crazy idea that…” “Wait, for real?!? That’s what I was going to say!” “You’re kidding!” (Long, quiet pause.) “Huh. Does that mean we actually have to do it?”

Jesus commands us to seek first his kingdom and leave the minor stuff like food, clothing, and shelter to him. As we came face to face with a call to adopt, we discovered we don’t have a clue what its like to actually trust Jesus and obey him in this way. There is so much wisdom that says we should count the cost, be a good steward, etc. Yet we realized that in the face of a clear calling, all of that stuff was simply applied to how we obeyed, not if we obeyed.

We wanted to make the cost (financial and emotional) the criteria by which we decided if we would adopt. But how can one claim to seek first the kingdom, if concerns about food, clothing, and shelter (and college, and retirement, and comfort, and vacations, and…) are the reason you don’t obey the call of God? We’ve had offers of advice regarding the pros versus the cons of adoption, but we honestly don’t need help in that regard. We can easily make a spreadsheet that has a far larger “cons” column. But none of the items in that overwhelming list are the kingdom of God. It gets hidden behind the noise of our concerns and comfort.

We have decided to try to obey, plain and simple. It has been a staggering effort, yet we are already seeing the fruit of God blessing us. For myself, I have seen my own heart change from simply desiring to have a heart like God’s that cares for orphans in their distress, to feeling like my family has a hole in it, waiting to be filled by my daughter who is not yet with us. I did not expect this… it has blown me away. I’m the guy who was content with three children, who deals with lots of chronic pain and fatigue, and who wasn’t looking for more complexity in life. Somehow the Lord is taking that weak vessel and filling it with love for a child I don’t even know yet.

Some friends from our church home group moved to Ethiopia last year to manage the in-country side of Gladney adoptions, so we have decided to follow where the Lord has provided. We have initiated the process to adopt through Gladney from Ethiopia. We are in the very early stages, so it could be a year or more before we bring home the newest Horne.

So for the time being, we are expecting.

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
~~ Isaiah 58:6-12