Adventures in Traveling

After celebrating Christmas at home with just us, we piled in the van the day after to head south to visit Mark’s family. Because of cold symptoms slowing me down, we didn’t get out of St Louis until around 10 am. So the 10 – 12 hour drive seemed even more daunting since we knew we would not arrive until late.

We were driving along, making good time. The kids were occupied by the family Christmas gift (dvd players for the van), and all was going well. Then, at around 5:45 pm, we received a call from a friend who is caring for our dog in our absence. He was at our house, and Simon was not willing to take orders from our friend. He barked and barked, and retreated to our living room sofa, where he promptly peed.

It Takes a Village?

I suggested calling Simon’s former owners, to see if they could calm him down. A little while later, we heard back from our friend. Simon’s former owner’s stopped by and properly introduced Simon to our friend. Since we’ve heard no further reports, we assume the rest of the week has gone alright. Apparently, “it takes a village to raise a dog.”

Next time we leave town, we’ll be sure to introduce Simon to his caretaker. Live and learn.

Thank God for Cell Phones

We continued on our journey, and around 7 pm, we stopped for a greasy meal at Long John Silver/AW Rootbeer in Muskogee, OK. Charis only wanted a milkshake. So we gave her half a small milkshake and forced her to eat a hot dog sans bun. Oh, when will we learn?!

We jumped back on HWY 69, and drove a couple of hours. Shortly before we reached Tushka, OK, Charis said she needed to use the bathroom. We finally came to a Valero gas station after several minutes of driving from the time the request was made. Mark took this opportunity to get gas while I took Charis into one of the most disgusting roadside bathrooms I’ve seen. After a short wait for Charis to perform, she said, “I need to throw up.” I told her to hold on, thinking if I turned her around to throw up in the potty, she would wet herself. Bad choice. Pee is much easier to clean up than pink vomit laced with hot dog chunks. Thank God for cell phones. I promptly called Mark and sent him back and forth for clean clothes, paper towels, a new trash liner for the gas station bathroom, etc.

Upon leaving the Valero Station in Tushka, OK, we witnessed a police bust of what we assumed to be some sort of drug charges. We were happy to leave behind this facility and get back on the road.

We arrived at the grandparents’ home at around 10 pm. Charis had slept most of the way since her throwing up incident, so we were hopeful all was well. Just when we pulled into Mark’s parents’ driveway, Charis said, “I think I’m going to throw up again!” Arrrgghhh! Before I could get her out of the van, more pink vomit was decorating her carseat. With a towel from Grandmommy wrapped around her, I whisked her to the bathtub for another cleansing.

Needed Rest

After a day of much needed rest on Thursday, Charis was back to her normal self. We all needed a day of down-time after after our adventurous day of traveling.

We’ve had an enjoyable visit with Mark’s family, and we’re looking forward to our drive home on New Year’s Day . . . sort 0f.

16 Years Ago Today

Apparently, December 20, 1991 was a slow news day. Here’s what I found:

· Sierra Leone issued fifteen postage stamps marking the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

· Touchstone Pictures released the live-action feature film Father of the Bride to theaters.

· The film Beauty and the Beast was released to theaters in the Philippines.

· Oliver Stone’s film JFK was released

But I wasn’t really paying attention to the news that day. I was busily preparing for this event:

· Mark Horne married Jennifer Burkett on this cold (65 degrees) and windy Friday evening at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Sixteen years, 5 states, 9 moves, 4 kids, and many memories later, it is still the best thing I have done in my life. I am thankful for a godly husband who loves me for me. I am truly blessed.

A Little Political Meandering

Ok.  So I was starting to like Mike Huckabee as a candidate.  Then, he had to make stupid comments about Romney’s Mormanism.  The fact that Romney is a Mormon does impact my decision not to vote for him.  I have a hard time with the idea of a cult-member running the free world. (BTW, since I am not running for office, I can publicly state that I think Mormanism is a cult.)  However, I don’t think Huckabee should have touched the topic with a 10-foot pole.  So after he inserted his foot in his mouth, he had to pry it out by taking back what he said.  As someone who doesn’t want a Morman for president and who respected Huckabee’s Christian values, the retraction/apology makes Huckabee a less suitable candidate.

Update on the Juggling Act

Some of you may remember this post. Later, I posted this.

Well, last Friday was officially my last day of work at my part-time office job. It took 3 months for us to find a replacement for me and to train her. I wish I could say this is because I am so wonderful, I am hard to replace. But it is really because the situation with the company is so tenuous that it is difficult to find just the right person who is willing to give it a go. But we did find such a person. She is a great fit for the office and for the work itself. However, after a little more than 2 weeks, she could sense a lot of the problems, which is not too surprising. So how long she will last is yet to be seen. The great thing is that this is not my problem! Yeah!!!!!

On my first day of “freedom,” I did some work for my part-time at-home job, ran some errands, took Charis to pre-school in the afternoon, ran some more errands, picked up the kids from school, and then went into the evening routine of homework, dinner, chores, etc. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but it was a good day. It was good not to feel pressured to get stuff done just so I could run somewhere else to get more stuff done.

My second day home has been much more low key. I have done some things around the house and hung out with Charis. With Christmas around the corner, I know I’ll be busy every day for a while, so I thought I would try to have at least one slower day.

I am still feeling a bit concerned lowering our income, but we are praying that my being home will allow Mark more opportunities to build up his business. The transition may be a bit rocky, but we’re hopeful God will bless our efforts. If you feel so inclined, pray along with us.

The Joys of Children – Gold, Common Sense, and Fur

I read this in an e-newsletter from my husband’s extended family. It made me laugh, so even if it has been passed around through e-mail a lot, I am posting it here for anyone who would like to enjoy.

My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn’t been blessed with a baby.

I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.

God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son.

The next year God blessed us with another son.

The following year, He blessed us with yet another son.

The year after that we were blessed with a daughter.

My husband thought we’d been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old.

I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, “If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella.”

I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs.

I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn’t want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks.

I tried to be understanding… when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs.

When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.

In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, still thank God daily for my children.

While I couldn’t keep my promise to be a perfect mother – I didn’t even come close… I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.

I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to “wash up” Jesus, too.

Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his “last wife.”

My proudest moment came during the children’s Christmas pageant.

My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds, and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine.

My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, “We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.”

But he was nervous and said, “The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes.”

My four-year-old “Mary” said, “That’s not ‘wrinkled clothes,’ silly. That’s dirty, rotten clothes.”

A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.

I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, “Mama-mama.”

Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.

My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, “We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur.”

The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

“I’ve never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one,” laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes.

“For the rest of my life, I’ll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense, and fur.”

“My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing,” I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

Some Photos from the Late Fall & Early Winter

The trick-or-treaters who live with us.

The four young Hornes posing with a statue of Punxsutawney Phil. We took this on our recent trip to see my mom and family. My mom grew up in Punxsutawney, and I was raised about 15 miles north closer to DuBois, PA.

High drama as the newly 10-year-old Nevin prepares to blow out the candles on his cake. This small cake was the last in a series of cakes for him. So please do not think he was deprived on his birthday!

Mark and me at his surprise 40th birthday party the weekend before Thanksgiving. Wonderful friends agreed to host the party at their beautiful home, and he was completely surprised. His actual birthday is this coming Monday, so if you think of it, stop by his blog to give him your well wishes.

Appliance Month

I dub November 2007 “Appliance Month.”  Now, I wish it were because I got all new appliances in my house, but it was not. 

First, a few weeks back, we had this stove installed in our kitchen.

I bought this stove from an older lady almost a year ago to replace the over 30-year-old brown version we had in our kitchen.  It took us a long time to get it installed because it is built into the cabinetry, and we just weren’t handy enough to do it ourselves.  While it is not new, it is a nice bright white, not ugly brown.  It is very clean, and it came with a white range hood.  It also has a working electrical outlet on the left side that allows me to use small electric appliances on both sides of my kitchen.  Finally, all the burners work.  Ugly old brown stove could boast none of these qualities!

The other appliance event of the last month involves the refrigerator.  We went to visit my mother in PA over the Thanksgiving holiday, and before we left, our refrigerator was making a whirring noise.  I was concerned that we would come home to a non-working refrigerator but not concerned enough to fit in having a repairman to come look at it before we leaving town.  My concerns were proven true.  We arrived home the Sunday after Thanksgiving to find our refrigerator dripping and warm.  Fortunately, the food was still salvageable, and we put all the non-frozen things in coolers and all the frozen things in our big freezer in the garage. 

(Some may remember that the same refrigerator went on the fritz last year just a few days before Christmas.  Hmmmm. . . Can appliances be allergic to holidays?)

We called for a repairman right away, but he wasn’t able to come until Tuesday.  He diagnosed the problem as a non-working fan, but, of course, he didn’t have one in stock.  He put one on order, and we continued to live out of coolers until yesterday afternoon, when our trusty repairman returned to install the new fan.

It wasn’t fun living out of coolers this week, but we managed.  On the upside, I took the opportunity to clean the inside of my refrigerator very thoroughly, and now it looks nearly new inside.  I even scrubbed the dingy gray door handles with some baking soda to get them looking white again.