Category Archives: family

Tuesday Tunes

So I said I wouldn’t do a weekly music post.  I probably won’t.  But I thought to myself, “Hey, it’s Tuesday.  I could do a music post.” So here it is.

Here’s what I have been listening to today–Fun & Prophets by Jamie Soles.  I am enjoying it, but I am still getting to know it.  I will say that exposing your children to this music may make them more knowledgeable of those little-known prophetic books in the Bible than some preachers!

I highly recommend other music by Jamie Soles, too.   Jamie is a Christian singer/songwriter from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, with several albums to his credit. His latest album, Memorials, released in 2006, celebrates the signs God appointed as memorials between Himself and His people.  I am a big fan of his other adult cd, Ascending, and our whole family enjoys his other popular children’s cds: The Way My Story Goes and Up From Here

Jamie Soles performs music for the whole family–adults and kids alike love his Bible-filled lyrics and singable melodies.  He covers a wide variety of genres that appeals to almost everyone.

I think the thing I most like about Jamie Soles’ music is the firm foundation of biblical knowledge it provides for everyone who listens to it.  Kids will listen to it and learn the lyrics.  Before you know it, they will have a biblical knowledge base, and they might not be able to pinpoint where it came from. 

The First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for the three older children at a new school.  There should be pictures to post, but alas, the digital camera’s batteries were dead and we didn’t realize it until we were at the school.  Aargh . . .

 Did we make a smooth transition into our new schedule of getting everyone up and ready and out the door by 7:45?  NO!  Was I stressed and snippy?  YES!  But after we actually got to school, things went better.  Mark and I attended a meeting for middle school students and parents at the beginning of the day.  We are encouraged by the small size of Calvin’s class and the enthusiasm of the teachers.  We are praying for a better year for all the kids, but especially for Calvin.

The reports after school we mostly good.  Calvin tried to think of as many negatives as he could just so we would know who we were dealing with.  Nevin, in his usual Nevin way, reported that school was “fine.”  He likes not wearing a uniform.  (Middle school, BTW, requires a uniform, so Calvin has to keep donning the khakis and polos.)  Evangeline was pleased with her teacher and classmates, but she is feeling a bit overwhelmed at the challenges third grade brings.  She has some focus issues like her big brother, so she will need to be guided a bit to get with the program.

Mark also started a new part-time job tutoring at a local community college.  On Mondays, he’ll be gone for most of the day and evening.  So after school, we headed to the store to stock up on pants for the ever-growing Horne boys.  By the time we got home after a day at work with Charis by my side and shopping for kids’ clohes, I was pretty much spent for the day.

I am glad today is over.  It wasn’t bad, but it took a lot out of all of us.

Dog Days of Summer

From wikipedia:

The term “Dog Days” was coined by the ancient Romans, who called these days caniculares dies (days of the dogs) after Sirius (the “Dog Star”), the brightest star in the heavens besides the Sun.

Popularly believed to be an evil time “when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies” – Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813.

We are having said “dog days” here in St. Louis and many other parts of the midwest and south.  Today it hit 105 degrees, and it was something like the 6 or 7 day where the temp was over 100.  Languid is the perfect word to describe the feeling around here.

We really can’t complain too much–especially if the heat wave breaks soon.  We had a mild summer up until the recent hot spell.  But after several days of severe heat and the need to be inside most of the time, the kids are going crazy.  Just when you think it might feel ok outside (like at night), you open the door and are greeted by a humid stickiness that makes you run to the car as fast as you can to get the AC going.

Despite the hot weather, we have been busy with a number of things.  The grandparents were here from Texas for the last 5 days.  The kids were happy to have some time with them, and we enjoyed seeing them too.  On Friday, we split up our group and Mark, Granddaddy, and Calvin went to the Science Center while Grandmommy, Evangeline, Nevin, Charis, and I headed to the Magic House.  With the temps this high, our wonderful free zoo was out of the question!

To beat the heat, we took the older kids to the bargain theater on Saturday while Charis stayed with Grandmommy and Granddaddy.  It was nice for me to enjoy a movie with Evangeline without Charis crawling all over me.  We saw Nancy Drew while Mark and the boys saw Spider Man 3

 I know Nancy Drew got some bad reviews, but I really liked it.  I thought it was true to the overall feeling of the books.  The books never claimed to be “high fiction.”  They are just plain fun mysteries geared toward girls 7 – 12 years old.  The movie didn’t have that bratty teeneybopper movie feel that you get from so many of the Teen Disney shows.  It was much more wholesome.  That’s probably why it got bad reviews!

We also went to a “meet & greet” cookout at a local park Monday night for the new 3rd grade teacher at the kids’ new school.  While I didn’t enjoy the aforementioned heat, it was nice to meet a few school families since we are new to the school, too.

As always, we’re in the midst of transition at our house.  The older children are getting ready to head to their new school in a little more than 10 days.  Charis will be returning to her pre-school from last year right after Labor Day.  Mark and I are looking for ways to improve our vocational situation, which involves some swapping around of responsibilities and a certain level of stress.  If you think of it, please pray for us that we would treat each other kindly as we deal with cabin fever from the heat wave and all the transitions of life.

News & Notes

News & Notes is the name of a radio program on NPR, but it seemed like a good blog title to me.  So for anyone who googles News & Notes hoping to find the NPR show, I apologize from the beginning.  I will actually post my notes first, but I am not going to change the blog title.


My week of single-parenting is about to end.  I am thankful.  This is the longest Mark has been away from home in about 2 years.  With the kids being older, it is not as hard as it used to be.  But when you throw in the added factor of my working outside the home now, that raises the stakes a bit.

I had some help with childcare in the afternoons from a teenager at church and another family friend.   So the kids thought that was great fun.  I took off Tuesday and Thursday, and we had a couple family outings.  On Tuesday, before Nevin returned from Webelos mini-camp, the three remaining children and I went to the zoo.  On Thursday morning, the older children took placement tests for the new school they will be attending this fall.  After that “fun” was over, we headed to the library and McDonalds. 

By Friday night, I was pretty tired, but of course Nevin had been invited to a birthday party at the cool new pizza place with games, etc.  All of the kids have been chomping at the bit to go to this place, so I agreed to take the other 3 there to eat and play games while Nevin was at the party.  America’s Incredible Pizza is a pretty great place.  It has a pizza buffet with a decent salad bar, ice cream machine, and several “themed” rooms to choose from where you can eat what you’ve selected from the many choices.  After you eat, you can go use electronically scanned cards to play games.  It really is a great place.  But I was tired.  I had a 4-year-old to manage in a place that didn’t have a great selection of small kid activities while the older kids went their own direction.  It was noisy.  Did I mention, I was tired.  All in all, the factors that came together were not a good mix for a night of family fun.  I turned into “the evil mother in every kid’s nightmares.”  I was crabby and overall upset.  The kids still managed to have fun, but it wasn’t how I had envisioned the evening. 

We managed to get home, relax a while, and get a decent night’s rest.  Things look better in the morning after some good sleep.

I woke up to find the pigeon’s nest that has been on our porch light on the ground in our front yard.  I have actually been wanting to move it myself, but I have felt bad for the pigeon and had been hesitating to be a homewrecker.  However, I believe the nest was knocked down by neighborhood kids who feel free to run through our yard and do whatever they want.  I learned from the neighbor kid who practically lives at our house that while we were gone last night, the above-referenced “neigborhood kids” had been running through all the yards last night having a water baloon fight.  So perhaps that is how our pigeon’s home met its demise.

One more note, Calvin finished Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows on Thursday after getting it last Saturday evening.  It is 700+ pages.  I think that’s pretty good for an 11-year-old.  He loved the book and is anxious for someone else in the house to read it so he can talk about it.


If you have read this far, you probably caught the reference to the new school we plan to send our children to this year.  We have selected a christian day school about 5 minutes from our home.  We’re looking forward to getting to know people there, and we’re happy to have come to a decision since the summer is slipping away quickly.  The good news is that they do not start school there until August 27, nearly 2 weeks later than several schools in the area.  This made our choice very popular among our three older kids.  We still have to figure out what Miss Charis will be doing this fall, but at least one major decision is made. 

Back to School and Summer Fun

Girls at my nephew's weddingCalvin played a hip wise man in a local Lutheran VBSNevin was King Herod in a local Lutheran VBS play

Today when I had the 3 younger children out running errands, we saw a store front with a sign that said, “Back to school sale.”  Evangeline said, “Back to school?  Summer is just starting!”  I explained that school would be starting in a month or so, and stores like to give people plenty of time to plan.  This conversation made me think about all the things we and/or the children have done this summer.

The 3 photos I’ve posted here show a bit of our summer activities.  The shot of the girls was taken at my nephew’s wedding in Ohio in mid-June.  The individual shots of the boys in costume are from a VBS/music camp production held at a local Lutheran church.  All three of the older children had parts, and they really enjoyed being a part of this activity.  They were there for full days for a week, and Charis was able to go for the mornings every day.

In addition to the wedding and the musical VBS, the 3 older children went to Bible camp, and Calvin just returned from Boy Scout camp.  Nevin is set to head off for a 3-day Webelos camp in another 10 days.  We’ve also had sleepovers, and pool time, bowling, and went to a movie.  Nevin and Evangeline have both been working hard at the Library’s summer reading program.  I think Nevin will be an expert on the Hardy Boys soon!  It is fun to see him taking a book with him everywhere he goes!  Calvin has been reading, too, but he hasn’t seemed too interested in the library’s program this year.  Charis just enjoys having everyone at home with her instead of at school.  However, she does keep track of upcoming activites that she is supposed to take part in.  Of all our children, she seems to understand when the days of the week come better than the others did by age 4.  Of course, she asks for a run down of the days of the week every day.

She continues to be young enough to say those really cute things.  We were on our way home from family night at Calvin’s camp the other night, and she said, “Mommy, where is the camp?”  I said, “Missouri.”  She said, “Missouri is our world!”  I think she thought the camp could not be in the same “world” as where we live.  Too funny.

In other news, the painting of the girls’ room as well as the room swap is complete.  I am so glad to be able to check off one planned project for the summer.  It gives me inspiration to move on to others.  The girls are pleased to no longer be bunking and to have their beds solidly planted on the floor.

We’re gearing up for VBS at our church next week.  Mark is teaching Nevin’s class.  I have been teaching his class for summer Sunday school, and Mark has been my “bouncer.”  So he knows most of the kids who will be in his class.  I will be working most of the week, but I hope to get over to the church a couple of times for all the activity.

That’s all for now . . .