Category Archives: family

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.

Shaken- Not Stirred

Charis loves the Backyardigans. I really love them, too. The Backyardigans is a show from Nick, Jr., that features different animal friends who obviously live in the suburbs who everyday go to their back yards to play together and find adventure. The show includes lots of singing by the characters and plenty of spoofing of adult movies and book characters to keep the parents interested.

Charis has a few BY books. I was reading them to her this morning, and I found myself laughing as I read Agent Secret. This little story is a spoof of James Bond, and it entertains me as much as it does Charis. For instance, Agent Secret (played by Pablo of the BY gang) likes his juice box . . . shaken. Another place where laughed out loud was when the spy adventure took them to “der Dairy Farm in Switzerland.”

If you like corny jokes and show tunes as I do, you and yours who are 5 and under might appreciate the Backyardigans.

Catching a Chicken

Fall is upon us.  Our pastor took this photo of Evangeline at our church’s harvest party last weekend.  As you might have guessed, this was taken during the Chicken Chase.  Evangeline nobly caught this bird and gave the dollar attached to its leg to her little sister who wanted nothing to do with catching a chicken.  I thought it was sweet of Evangeline from the start, but seeing how hard she had to work to get that dollar, I am especially proud.

The One About the Big Purse

This is my new big purse. I got it for $4.98 on clearance at Target (Originally $19.99).

It all started because I decided I needed to get a better day planner for next year. With 4 kids, work, and a husband with various obligations, I need something a little more comprehensive than my date book from the dollar store (despite the comment I put on my sister-in-law’s blog a month or so ago.) Back in my “career” days in publishing, a great Day Timer was provided for me by my employer. It was the small binder type in which you place new filler pages each year. The one the company purchased for me was real leather and had my initials on it. Since it was pretty nice and personalized, I never threw it away. So I dug it out and decided I would put in new filler pages for next year. I bought the new filler pages at Target on clearance, too. They were on clearance because they are the kind that you have to write in the calendar dates for yourself. (And, yes. I will take the time to do this. I’m already on May.)

I knew if I was going to carry around this big planner, I needed to have a purse big enough to hold it. I felt it was providential when I went to look at the purses at Target, and this giant purse was available at such a good price. So naturally, I bought it.

I brought it home and proudly showed it to Mark. I explained my great plan of carrying the planner in the new big purse. He smiled and said, “You’ll outgrow it.” Now, I admit to vascillating between tiny purses, medium purses, and larger purses all the time. But I haven’t carried a purse of this size with this carrying capacity since the 90s. There’s part of me that hates to carry a giant purse. But I much prefer carrying one big bag to carrying a fairly large purse and another bag of some sort. The new giant purse can handle my new planner, my over-stuffed fat wallet (filled with everything but money), a few cosmetic items, my prescription sunglasses, and it still has room for an extra book to take along places you have to wait. Or, you can stuff a pre-schoolers sweater or jacket in the side pocket when she doesn’t want to wear it anymore. It really is functional.

So here’s the real question: do you, like Mark, think I’ll outgrow it? I really think it will make it through the winter for sure. If it doesn’t fall apart from being over stuffed, it may make it through summer, too, as it would be handy for all those fun outdoor activities of summer. Only time will tell . . . . .

Dog Days & Tuesday Tunes

Last Friday morning, I picked up this little guy from a church friend’s home.  If you read her blog, you will see that they were just ready to have a dog-free home.  We weren’t really looking for a dog, but Mark and I both thought the same thing when we saw his cute little face on our friend’s blog.  So we decided adding Simon to our family was a good move.  After 4 days, we still feel that way.  He is just the right size, about 30 pounds, he’s well-behaved, and he is friendly.  We are enjoying him and look forward to having him around for a long time.  The kids are enjoying him, too. 

As far as Tuesday Tunes go, I haven’t been listening to much adult music lately.  Veggie Tunes 1 & 2 are what Charis requests most in the van.  We occasionally get a dose of other children’s favorites like the “Hokey Pokey” and “A Tisket, A Tasket.”

Seriously though, I have been listening to old Rich Mullens Cds.  I just love the song “Creed” on his Songs cd.  This is nothing new, since Rich Mullens is no longer around to record anything new, but I just love the folk style of his music.  I guess I would call it pensive.

The other cd I have been pulling out lately is Michael Card’s Starkindler.  I love the old hymns set in new arrangements. 

These cds are like the music I enjoyed 15 and 20 years ago.  I am open to checking out new stuff, but I guess sometimes you just want to listen to something familiar that makes you feel comfortable and safe.

Manic Mondays and Tuesday Tunes

As the title suggests, this post will be of the combination variety–meshing my thoughts about yesterday with the words to a song, thus touching on the theme of the semi-regular Tuesday Tunes post. Pretty clever, eh?
Do you remember the Bangles? From the 80s? In 1984, they released the song, “Manic Monday.” I remember being a young college student and singing along with it on the radio and thinking, “Yeah, this is how I feel about Monday.” In retrospect, I now know that my days back then were never really “manic.” They were just a little crazy because I was young and stupid.

Well, the Mondays in our house have officially become “Manic.” Mark works a split shift at a local community college as a tutor on Mondays–from 10 – 2 and then from 5 – 9. He gets up with all of us and helps to get the kids out the door. Then he works on writing projects for a little more than an hour until he heads to the part-time job. During the break between 2 and 5, he goes somewhere with free wi-fi to work on more writing stuff, mostly for the new contract job. So, his day is full.

Well, if Mark’s day is full, it sort of has a chain reaction. If you read my recent posts, you saw that I am working while Charis is at pre-school on MWF afternoons. So yesterday was my first Monday of not working in the morning. Overall, it was productive, but it flew by so fast. Before I knew it, 12:30 hit, and I had to get Charis to school and myself to work for my 2+ hours.

Working short hours anywhere is a challenge. But working where I do is even more so because half their equipment doesn’t work right. So I got about an hour’s worth of work done in the 2+ because I had to keep re-booting the computer and the scanner didn’t work!

Then I got the kids, and the homework-dinner hour began. It went fine, but by the time 9:00 PM rolled around, I was ready to relax.

Mark got home after 9:30, and worked for another 3 hours.

So, now that you’ve heard about our “Manic Monday,” here are the lyrics to the Bangles classic. After I googled to find them and actually read them, I was a bit hesitant to post them. I had no recollection of the suggestive part of the chorus. I guess it was one of those songs that I just sang along to and sort of mumbled over parts I didn’t quite catch in my head.

Here are the lyrics:

The Bangles – Manic Monday

Six o’clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin’ Valentino
By a crystal blue Italian stream
But I can’t be late
‘Cause then I guess I just won’t get paid
These are the days
When you wish your bed was already made

It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
‘Cause that’s my funday
My I don’t have to runday
It’s just another manic Monday

Have to catch an early train
Got to be to work by nine
And if I had an air-o-plane
I still couldn’t make it on time
‘Cause it takes me so long
Just to figure out what I’m gonna wear
Blame it on the train
But the boss is already there

All of the nights
Why did my lover have to pick last night
To get down
Doesn’t it matter
That I have to feed the both of us
Employment’s down
He tells me in his bedroom voice
C’mon honey, let’s go make some noise
Time it goes so fast
When you’re having fun

Happy Tuesday everyone!

No TV Tuesdays and Thursdays

I had a brilliant stroke of genius 2 weeks ago. I instigated “No TV Tuesdays” and “No TV Thursdays” for our older kids. This came to me as a way to reduce their coma-inducing television watching that would be relatively painless because on Thursday nights, all 3 have activities outside the house. So, they get home, do homework, eat dinner, and head off to their various activities. So it really only feels like they aren’t allowed to watch TV on Tuesday nights. But the added bonus has been that they are breaking a habit. Last night (Wednesday) they came in from school and started playing a board game with Charis. They didn’t head to the TV as soon as they were through with their homework. On Tuesdays, they have been jumping on the trampoline more. The heatwave of August really had a negative impact on their veiwing habits, so I am pleased with the results of my experiment. It will continue indefinitely.

I Was Doing So Well for A While

At posting, that is. I was posting about twice a week for a little while there. Then September hit. The new school year is in full swing. Helping with homework. The kids’ activities have picked up. The list could go on and on.

Mark’s new contract job has also added to the “busyness” of my life. He has been working really hard learning and doing his new job. He also started a part-time tutoring job for a local community college just before the contract job started. So he has been squeezing 12 hours a week in there, too. Finally, he had just secured a writing gig for a political group creating their “candidate score card” for college students just before starting the new contract job. Oh, and he has some work for a regular writing client to fit in there too. So while he has not been gone all the time, I have had to hold up more of the work load on the homefront with all of this activity. I am not complaining–just reporting. Truly, I am thankful for the work he has secured. We are now praying it will continue for a long time!

My day job is almost over–sort of. I resigned from my day job 2 weeks ago, but because of the company’s tenuous financial state, they really aren’t in a position to replace me. So I have agreed to work 7 – 8 hours a week when Charis is at pre-school. One of the women who used to work there will also be helping with typing reports on a contract basis. But if this doesn’t work out to suit our family situation, I’ll be out of there.

Life is never stagnate, that’s for sure.

I hope that posts in the future bring reports of all the great projects I am completing around home. However, I have already agreed to 2 play dates for Charis on her free afternoons. Her social life may keep me busier than working! But it will be more fun.

Oh, and somehow in addition to being Charis’s activity director and completing massive home improvement projects and exercising, I am going to market Mark’s business. Hmmm . . . we’ll see.

Oh, yeah, I want to read more, too.

Juggling and Other News

Today we got some good news.  Last week Mark went through an interview/testing process for a new job.  A little more than a week later, the company called to say he didn’t get the job.  But with the bad news came an offer to do some very regular contract work for the company.  Yes.  It would have been great to get the full-time gig, but we think the part-time contract work will be enough with Mark’s other clients and part-time tutoring for me to quit my part-time job outside our house.

That’s where the juggling comes in–we (especially Mark) will have a lot of balls in the air to juggle.  I am really thankful that I will be able to resign tomorrow.  I am anxious to spend more time with my little blonde girl during her last year before Kindergarten.  I am anxious to come up with excuses other than my job for not getting the laundry done.  We are thankful for all the balls to juggle!

Now, on to other news  . . . Charis started 3 half-days a week of pre-school today.  She was so tired when I picked her up.  She fell asleep in the five minutes between her school and the big kids’ school.  She said she had a good time. She was really glad to be with kids her own age.  We were glad that she could have some real people to play with in addition to  her imaginary friends.