2011 | House of Horne

Thankful, Day 4

Today I am thankful for weather so ridiculously gorgeous, it couldn’t be any prettier than if we’d ordered it (how I LOVE fall weather!), for answered prayer that brings hope to my heart, and for a date night out with my dear one.

Thankful, Day 3

Today I am thankful for the incredibly wonderful smell of pinion wood burning in a chiminea, for bedtime snuggles and kisses from my sweet Little Jo, and that despite being terribly in-between girls and women’s sizes, my lovely daughter now once again owns a pair of jeans that actually fit her and that only cost $10.50 and a couple hours of earnest shopping.

Thankful, Day 2

I am thankful for feeling cozy indoors on cold windy autumn evenings, guacamole, Cosby Show reruns with my kiddos, forgiveness, and a sweet Hubby who helps schlep our little darlings around when I have a fever, even though he’s sick as a dog himself.

Thankful Day 1

Today I am thankful for:

The first pomegranates of the season, delicious and easy home made pizzas on naan bread, the grace of modern medicine, and friendly grocery store personnel!!

Ten Months Waiting…..

Hello and WELCOME!! to any blog readers who still stop by House of Horne to peek at what is not going on around here. :-) Summer and the start of school have come and gone while my little neglected blog sits here patiently. It’s not really that there is nothing going on, more like there is too much going on to sneak in any bloggy time. I have started several entries only to leave them unfinished. And thought of many more I’d love to sit down and write, if only I could find the time.

But today is important enough that I have to write. Today marks 10 months since our family was put on the waitlist in Ethiopia for our little girlie.

Back in November of 2010 when we reached this huge milestone in our adoption process, we were told that the longest we’d be waiting for a referral for our daughter was 10 months. The actual window given us was somewhere between 8 and 10 months. So you can imagine that we felt pretty confident (in that naive, never-before-navigated-the-waters-of-international-adoption sort of way) that by today, September 16th, 2011, we’d for sure already know the name and face and history of the little girl whom God in His providence planned to be a part of our family.

In reality, a lot has changed in Ethiopia this year, and these various changes and transitions mean that the wait time for referrals has increased rather substantially. So much so that a more accurate timeline for a referral now is about double that which we originally anticipated. Nowadays when someone asks me “How much longer?” I truly don’t have a concrete answer for them (though I love everyone who checks in with us — thank you!). We hope for a referral sometime in 2012, and pray that we have our daughter in our arms not long after. But we just don’t know…and on some days, like today, that is harder to digest.

In the meantime we remember what we do know: we continue to see God’s goodness to us in so many ways, and we are so grateful to be on this journey. Admittedly, it feels like there is someone missing until she comes home (I actually sometimes count heads and after reaching 4, look around for #5 only to remember that oh yes, she’s not here yet.)  But we know it’s out of our ability to control the timeline of events. And so….we pray for her and for her birth family and whatever they may be going through in these months before our stories and lives intersect. We don’t yet know who our daughter is or what she may be experiencing, but God knows and we trust in His loving care for her, no matter what the circumstances.

And for now…we continue to wait.

 

Day 11 of South Beach

Late in the week, a little fishie swam up to my doorstep.

Actually it was a big fish, a very big King Salmon fish all the way from Alaskan waters to Dallas courtesy of my folks who wanted to share a little early summer seafood with all of their kids and grandkids who live in Dallas. So….my sibbies and I all had a fabulous treat the likes of which we don’t regularly enjoy (turns out King Salmon who swim all the way fresh from Alaska don’t come cheap!)

Thanks, Mom and Dad for the wonderful gift!

With the help of my four little darlings, I managed to chop this headless fish into steaks for everyone to enjoy. My brother Pete introduced me to the beauty of cedar plank cooking, and I am happy to say that for the first time, I managed to grill fish without overcooking it. Overcooking such a nice fish would have been tragic, no?

We used a little bit of EVOO, garlic, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary….slapped the fishie on the cedar planks

and they cooked up beautifully.

For the first time in over 16 years of marriage I attempted to cook artichokes for us to try…I thought they’d go nicely with our salmon.

Despite following directions to the “T”, my chokes were not nearly done when it was time for us to sit down to supper, so we had to put off tasting them till the next night, but no matter. We had some other leftover veggies on hand which subbed in nicely.

Everyone enjoyed their fish. Some of us loved it so much, we had four helpings’ worth! And still managed to clean our plates!

I gotta say, even if the fishie had NOT been “approved” South Beach fare, we’d have happily dug into such a wonderful supper anyway…in actuality, not only did it fit into our diet, it may be the yummiest meal we’ve had so far in Phase 1!

South Beach Goes to the Symphony!

Day 10 of South Beach was my little sis’ birthday…in honor of her special day, I want to do a shout out to Sandra, who has a fun, new blog starring my youngest nephew, Jacob, who is of course, one of the most adorable babies in the world.

Day 10 (also known as Friday) wrapped up a week of swim lessons for the youngest Horne, Acting Camp for our girl, and Wrestling Camp for the three boys. Whew, busy week! Who ever said summer was full of long, lazy relaxing days spent at the pool? Hmmm…maybe next week we’ll try a slower pace.

I got the harebrained idea mid-morning on Friday to take our kiddos over to Fort Worth in the evening to enjoy an outdoor concert put on by the FW Symphony in the Botanical Gardens. Called the hubby to see what he thought, and he loved the idea. We managed to surprise the kids, who had no idea about the evening plans. There were a LOT of questions during the car ride over. They’ve been to the Dallas Symphony several times, but we’ve never gone to hear the Fort Worth Symphony. The program was right up their alley, and part of the reason I chose this concert: all the music was from major motion pictures, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and others. The music was really beautiful, and once the sun went down, there was an amazing laser light show set to the second half of the program, and the final piece of the evening included a fantastic fireworks display. Definitely a fun family night.

Supper was a picnic in the beautiful Botanic Gardens while we waited for the music to begin. I was so tempted to just drive through and grab food somewhere since the outing was a rather last-minute decision on an already-full day, but am thankful that in the end we managed to save money on eating out and stick to our diet.

For our meal, I whipped up two very simple salads which I packed into our cooler for us to enjoy. The first was a variation on an old favorite: Tomato/Basil/Mozzarella Salad with extra greens to stretch it farther:

Those little white things look a lot like marshmallows, but they are actually tiny fresh mozzarella balls! I used my favorite summer tomatoes: Camparis, which have a lovely sweet flavor. To these three wonderful ingredients i added some EVOO, splash of balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper, and a huge bunch of salad greens. All the various flavors melded beautifully together by the time we enjoyed our salad.

Our other salad was a Chicken Caesar which I threw together using a breast from a rotisserie chicken, a bunch of romaine, some gratings of parmesan, and a bottled Caesar dressing.

The salad supper was perfect considering the very hot evening, and neither of us were hungry at all after enjoying such wonderful fare.

What a lovely start to the weekend this was! My handsome hubby and my beautiful girl together:

Sweet boys chomping on supper while they waited for the performance to begin:

This cute little guy actually spent much of the evening in my lap despite the hot and sweaty temps!

He amused himself by trying to take the perfect self-portrait of the two of us…I deleted close to 50 of his “masterpieces” much to his dismay, but here is one that I kept:

along with one more sorta artsy-looking one:

Seven Months on the Wait List

Several folks have asked about adoption updates…thanks to all our family and friends who love us so much, and have shown such kind support to us throughout our adoption journey so far. I apologize for the amazing dearth of posts on our adoption in these last couple of months.

Part of the reason I haven’t posted much about our adoption recently is because things are currently changing in Ethiopia regarding the process and timelines, and there just isn’t much news to share. I wish that was not the case, but it is. At this point, we continue to wait with faith in God’s timing and with hopeful hearts. In reality, we do not know at this point what our timeline for a referral and court dates will look like anymore. Which is admittedly, hard. Really, really hard.

There have been a fair amount of tears, questions, and wonderings about what the future holds, not just for our family but for many other families in various stages of the process to adopt from Ethiopia. Our agency, Gladney is just one of several who work with the Ethiopian government to facilitate adoption and other forms of aid and support to the people of this country. As adoption processes appear to be growing more lengthy and possibly more complex, there is also the question about what is in store for the 5 million plus orphans that currently live in Ethiopia.

Today marks 7 months for our family on the wait list for a referral. I told our children about the date this morning, and Josiah asked excitedly, “Does that mean we get to bring Little Sister home today?” Yeah, so at 5 years of age, he still doesn’t truly comprehend the intricacies of the process, including the two trips we’ll ultimately be making to Ethiopia! But I love, love, love his enthusiasm!

While we continue to wait, there are little encouragements along the way. We enjoyed a very sweet encouragement this past Sunday at church. Every six weeks we serve as teachers in one of New St. Peter’s Worship Training Classes; the highlight for me of our class this past week was welcoming a new student: a beautiful little girl all the way from Ethiopia who was recently adopted by sweet friends. Oh it did my heart good to see her. She was precious: so eager and ready to participate in everything, an enthusiastic singer during worship, an attentive listener to everything that was said, and she has a smile that warms my heart. So glad she is finally home.

But even as I think of her being home with her family, I know that the road that brought her to them was full of hard, hard things. Because the sad truth is that for there to be a need for adoption to take place, it means that huge loss has already occurred. For every adoption, there is first pain, heartbreak, and loss. Loss beyond what many of us can probably fully comprehend. To see God taking such loss, redeeming a little one from a hopeless situation and bringing them into a family where they are loved so deeply is beautiful. It doesn’t remove the loss, but it redeems it, providing a future and a hope. A family.

The following is one of my favorite verses about adoption…I pretty much cannot even read it these days without tears filling my eyes as I think of those who are lonely, and who continue to wait. My heart hopes and prays for a day when there are no more orphans, no more lonely ones. Praise be to God for redemption, seen so beautifully in the miracle of adoption.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.”

– Psalm 68:5-6

 

 

 

Re-Creating the Chipotle Burrito Bowl…on Day 7 of South Beach

Well, I decided that our Burrito Bowls Jay brought home from Chipotle yesterday were so wonderful that I would do my best to create an in-home version for our next supper time meal. I tried out a new recipe which cooked the chicken in the crockpot while we were away in the afternoon.

While not quite as amazing as Chipotle’s burrito bowls, these were really good!!

We had chicken and refried black beans (which are a fun change from both plain old refried beans as well as the simple black beans) topped with sauteed onions and peppers

 

Avocado

 

Lowfat cheese

 

Lettuce

 

 

and a little fresh cilantro to finish it off:

 

We had plenty of our favorite salsa

But sadly, no Tia for Jay or I. Oh Tia, how I have missed you these last 7 days!!

Certain parties might have had a bit of fun with us over our inability to consume copious amounts (or actually, any amount!) of our dearly beloved corn chips.

I gotta say, our improvised burrito bowls were really yummy as South Beach meals have gone, but I miss either some rice to go underneath it all, or a wonderfully carb-filled tortilla to wrap around all of it. Sorry if I sound like a Debbie Downer, I’m just keepin’ it real, folks!!

So….

After a week on South Beach, Phase 1, did we see any results? Or should I clarify, any quantifiable results? The answer is “yes”, definitely, but you will have to wait till the Day 8 Post to hear what they are.  I will be back tomorrow to say hello to our blog, but I will not be writing about South Beach.

So….with that little bit of a teaser, I would like to close out Day 7 by sharing the following recipe which I found and modified to suit us…and which resulted in some nice ‘n’ spicy chicken to use in our burrito bowls:

 

Chipotle Chicken:

1 (7 ounce) can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons oregano
4 cloves garlic
1 red onion, quartered
1/8 cup oil (canola/vegetable/olive)
4 chicken breasts chicken (note: Chipotle actually uses dark meat, I’m pretty sure)

Combine chipotle pepper and remaining ingredients except for chicken in a bowl, and puree with a hand blender.

At this point, the recipe suggested marinating the chicken for several hours or overnight and then grilling or cooking inside on a grill pan…

OR

Throwing all the ingredients into a crockpot, cooking on low for 10-12 hours or high for 4-6. Which is what I did, given I knew I’d be away from home during the last few hours before suppertime.

You will have meat that falls off the bone because it’s so tender and the consistency is similar to a stew! You can add 1 cup of a stock or broth to keep it from drying out.