Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Amos and his "Pets"

Amos has long been a lover of "pets" (what our kids call stuff animals). He's had a couple different favorites over the years, a blue Easter bunny, a brown pound puppy called "Cutie" and Cutie's baby, a plastic Barbie dog called "Baby." It was not uncommon for me to find Cutie and Baby safely tucked in all over the house:

I've already blogged how Rudolph came to be Amos' through Maggie's selflessness and a trading post deal, but there's more!

Like I mentioned, I bought Rudolph off our town's trading post (like Craigslist) for $3. The seller didn't mention it, and I wasn't smart enough to think about it, but Rudolph's nose used to light up...once upon a time. Of course, the broken nose was the first thing Amos noticed. He problem solved it until he found what felt like a little button in Rudolph's ear, and Eric let him cut the ear open to check it out. It was some sort of battery pack...but the kind never intended to be opened.

Amos didn't stop loving Rudolph, and held out hope that I would eventually sew his ear closed like I promised. He brought Rudolph with us when we went to Eagle for our New Year's trip, and happily showed him to Grammy. Grammy noticed the ear, and promised Amos she'd sew it shut the next day. The next morning I woke up at 6 a.m. to Amos loudly proclaiming "TODAY IS THE DAY RUDOLPH'S EAR GETS FIXED!!!" Luckily, Grammy is a woman of her word and she fixed Rudolph that very day.

I haven't thought a lot about Rudolph since then, but he's often in Amos' arms. I guess we've gotten used to having him around. Yesterday, as we were coming home from the bus stop, I heard Amos say to Maggie:

"Do you want to go check on Rudolph with me?"

Sure enough, they ran right upstairs to check on Rudolph safely tucked in Amos' bed.

I'm often overwhelmed by how careless the kids seem to be (saltines ground into the carpet, anyone?), but when I stop and pay attention, they're doing an awful lot of caring. Especially about each other.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

We had a great Valentine's Day. About two weeks before, I thought, you know, I really like having people over and we never do it anymore because I feel like it's so hard with the kids, but I am not going to use that as an excuse anymore (I thought that exact run-on sentence). One rapidly penned email and I had invited about 5 families over for Valentine's Day. There was no going back. And I am so glad.  We had a great night, and we helped at least a couple other moms to not have to put on some crazy event for their own family. Helping out another mom is about the best I can hope for.

I have to say, the kids did a fantastic job of helping clean and staying out of the way so I could clean. We're definitely reaching a new era of functioning. Ward is obviously still the weak link, but he was nicely distracted by steam cleaning the table.

It's a Horne tradition to fire up the chocolate fountain on Valentine's Day, and that's just what we did. It takes so much chocolate just to make it flow, inviting over so many guests meant way less chocolate wasted at the end of the night. Win.

I found when you have flowing chocolate people don't care a lot about anything else that might be going on. It makes for a very simple gathering. I did pick up some valentine necklaces for the kids to share with their friends that came, and they took it to a whole other level...they made signs and offered color options. It was great.

Them waiting crazy anxious on the stairs for the guests to arrive was pretty great too. I have to point out, all of the kids chose their own party outfits, but Amos in particular put a lot of thought into his:

That's probably all the red he owns ;)

Other than our fun party, making Valentines for the kids at school was a big highlight this year. Maggie's teacher sent home the class list several weeks early, with instructions that the kids could make or buy valentines for all of the kids on the list. Maggie had her heart set on making them. Since it was three weeks in advance, I figured I'd let her have a crack at it and when she burned out we'd buy some at the store. After I took a picture of the list so I had a copy when she lost it, I handed it over to Maggie with zero expectations. I didn't pay one ounce of attention to what she was doing until only one week was left and she said she was finished. I went in, and checked the list (which she hadn't lost) with her and indeed, she had created a personalized invitation for each and every kid in her class. She didn't miss one! It was incredible. Amos, on the other hand, made one handmade one and was ready to go to the store ;) Audrey made a couple, but they accidentally got thrown out, and she couldn't bring herself to try again.

Audrey happily tested out Amos' "How To Train Your Dragon" Valentines for him:

The artist at work:

The final tradition of Valentine's Day is flowers from the boys to the girls. Audrey and Maggie loved their pink roses, and Amos feels super cool giving them:

I got a bouquet from Pike's Place, and my favorite cheesecake, also Pike's Place. We even managed to go out on Friday night, just Eric and I. I couldn't ask for a single thing more...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hillside, here we come again

I know, it's crazy I am talking about Ward and Audrey's preschool for the fall, but they (the preschool) started it.  In January, Hillside held an open house and opened registration for new and returning families.  Eric and the other kids stayed home, so Audrey and I could make a date out of it.

It was a fun night, just Audrey and I, and she was SO excited to see her new school.  I don't know if it's because Ward wasn't with us, or because he's so little, but she's not really open to the idea of it being his school too....which brings me to our dilemma.  Right now, Audrey is enrolled in an afternoon class and Ward is in a morning class. This means, if my prayers aren't answered and Audrey doesn't get off the waitlist for the morning class, Ward will actually go to school first (by a couple hours). I think Audrey might die. I will actually die because the afternoon class means the post-school race to meet the school bus dash which brought me SO much stress last year. And driving to town three times a day. I may have asked my visiting teachers to pray for this. And I'll ask you. Pray Audrey gets into the morning class.

Registration day, I tried to get them to pose normally, they weren't interested:

Even with the current schedule, I am really excited.  Hillside is a great school, and I know both kids are going to love it. Audrey especially is so ready.

Elementary School Happenings

Eric and I are all grown up with kids in grade school these days.

To prove it, I went on my first official field trip-rode the bus and all. The entire kindergarten and second grade went and saw Cinderella at Kirkland's Storybook Theater. It was a cute adaptation of the Cinderella you know and love, with an empowered heroine as is all the rage right now.  Example: she wore "grass" slippers as opposed to glass slippers because they were more her style and more comfortable.  My personal favorite moment was during the q&a after the play...one of the ugly stepsisters was a man, but the other stepsister and stepmother perhaps pulled off unattractive too well because one of the kids asked: "Why are those three boys dressed as girls???" The cast took it pretty well ("Actually, I am a girl, dressed as a girl."), so we all got a good laugh.

Eric did his grade school parent part by taking the kids to "Dads and Donuts" a sweet little before school event put on by the PTSA.  Both Amos and Maggie were so excited they counted down the days.  At one point, I was talking with Maggie about booking her an appointment that might make her miss school, and she said, "BUT NOT ON DADS AND DONUTS!!!" I don't have any anecdotes from the event, since I am not a dad or a donut I wasn't there, but I did get this picture thanks to a great parent volunteer:

Monday, February 9, 2015

That one time we were sports fans

When Eric was interviewing with Amazon, they flew us out to Seattle in January 2013.  While we were in town for the weekend, the air was electric with excitement over a Seahawks game. It's all anyone was talking about, but we went back home to Utah and didn't really think about it again. Until we were back in Seattle a month later and asked someone,

"Whatever happened with that football game, did the Seahawks win?"

They didn't.

Fast forward to January 2014, we're now living in the Greater Seattle area and once again, the air was electric with excitement over the Seahawks.  This time, the kids are in school, having regular spirit days, getting the details from their friends and starting to care.  We decided it was probably part of our parental responsibility to get a little bit involved.  We bought Amos a Russell Wilson t-shirt so he had something to wear on spirit day.  The Super Bowl came, and the Seahawks won.  Now this was something we could get on board with!

This year, we were ready for football season.  We even watched a few regular season games! We learned a few players' names. We got all of the kids Seahawks apparel, and we genuinely enjoyed the time together as a family.

The week before the Super Bowl, I went to Costco with Ward.  Second only to a Christmas display, the Seahawks cupakes, flowers, sweatshirts, dvds, prints, and other swag made my heart go pitter-patter.  If there is one thing I can get on board with, it's an occasion.  And when your team is in the Super Bowl, it's an occasion.

With the Super Bowl being on a Sunday and all, we did our best to worship what matters most, then headed straight home to worship what matters for just a few hours.  The kids thought it was pretty fun to wear Seahawks clothes to church.

A close-up of this guy's suit and his pink gun:

Of course, the game ended in heartbreak for us, but we'll recover.

2014-2015 School Pictures

Amos and Maggie got their school pictures taken in October, but between processing time and my digital copies being delivered via cd (my computer doesn't have a cd drive), I am just now getting to them.  At least it's still the same school year. 

The morning of picture day was my first day volunteering in Maggie's class, and it was a great day to start.  The kids were so jazzed to be in their nice clothes with their hair all done. They were so cute.

I picked out Amos' shirt for him, and just now noticed he had on the same shirt in last year's picture (here).  I guess I really like that shirt. He'd probably be wearing the sweater too, but I shrunk it and it's Wardie's now.

Maggie picked out her own outfit, headband, pearls, and all.  

Some pretty good looking kids if I do say so myself.  And I do.

2015 is here

Even though it's nearly the middle of February, this will be my first official post in the 2015 blog book.  Whoops.  True life, people.  True life. 

There's always a little pressure on this first post, but today, I am just going to get it done. 

Since we moved to Washington, it has felt like our lives are running us.  2013 was spent trying to get a handle on everything new.  In 2014, our motto was "take back our lives."  I think we did pretty good, though the stakes for everything just seem higher now than ever before.  We started 2015 with high hopes, and even though we've already suffered an emotional blow AND our team lost the Super Bowl, we're hopeful for some progress this year.  

This fall will bring preschool for Audrey and Ward, marking a new season for me.  Not long after school starts, Amos will be baptized in October.  How can one not be hopeful with such exciting things on the horizon?

For now, we're alive and well and grateful for all of our many blessings, but most of all, each other.