Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seth's First Day of Preschool!

This has been a big week around the Horvath house. Seth started his first week of preschool! He is in a 5 day per week program, and that has proven to be a big transition for all of us. Who knew the traffic we would sit in to get him to school in the morning by 8am? Or the car pool lines that people start lining up for 3o minutes early when it is time to pick him up?

We went to Meet the Teacher last Friday and met Ms. Carrero in the Arctic neighborhood. Ms. Carrero is from New York and is very cool. We graduated from high school the same year (I thought teacher's were supposed to be old...not the same age as me! :~) She is great...engaging, friendly, warm. Everything you would want in a preschool teacher. I met one of the teacher's aides, turns out we went to school together from elementary through high school! Small world. Seth had a death grip on my hand the whole time we were there, and didn't want me to go anywhere without him. So we knew the first few days might be a little rough!

So over the weekend, we wrapped up the school supplies shopping and made sure his backpack was packed with snack, change of clothes, all papers signed, etc.

Monday alarm goes off and we spring into action. Seth and I are definitely not used to "springing" anywhere at this time of the morning. We decided, after much deliberation, that Steve was going to take him to school and I was going to stay home. Now, don't think that this wasn't hard on this first born's first day of preschool, and I wasn't going to be there?? What if he needed me? What if he had a meltdown? Well, the truth was, he was much more likely to have a meltdown if I WAS there, so I knew it was the best thing for him. He does much better when Steve drops him off places. So we got him dressed and put his backpack on. He wasn't so sure about things at first (it was 7am after all....)

But then we started having a little pep rally and pumping him up about school and how cool Ms. Carrero is and all the fun things he was going to learn. We turned that frown upside down!

So then I put him in the car, had several second thoughts about not going with them, tried to tell Steve maybe I should go (he reminded me that I was the one that made the decision to not go)...oh ya, I forgot. So then I let him drive away with my baby, and I snapped this shot as they left the house.

Steve had strict instructions to call me as soon as he had dropped him off. He called and said it was a good thing I didn't come. He said that it was pretty traumatic in the room...lot's of screaming and crying going on. But not Seth! Steve said he left him with a dazed look on his face while all sorts of craziness was going on around him. I think he was in such shock he didn't have time to cry.

So it was a long 2 hours and 45 minutes before I could go and pick him up. Yes, I know. He is only in school from 8am - 10:45am, but FIVE DAYS PER WEEK people. He is only 3...barely 3! Anyway, the first day (and the first day only!) I could actually go in to his class and pick him up. After that, I have to go through the car pick up line outside and they bring him out to the car. So I went in to his class, and this is what I saw..

Little Seth sitting quietly with his Thomas backpack on listening to story time. He looked so grown-up! Ms. Carrero said he had a great first day, only a little crying off and on, but then she assured me, "He was definitely not in my top 3 crier's today!" Way to go Seth!!

He still cries a little when I drop him off, but he is really doing great considering he is being dropped off at a completely strange place with strange people who do not let him take his shoes off when he wants to. That is the only thing that I have gotten negative feedback on so far...he takes his shoes off and they keep having to tell him to put them back on!

All those who are reading this and thinking I am a crazy person, just wait until YOUR baby goes to their first day of school!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Glorious Colorado!!


Well, I have been meaning to post about our trip to Colorado ever since we returned a week ago. But it has been a busy week! My mom had surgery while we were gone, and she was in the hospital for over a week. She is at home and feeling better finally! We have also been getting ready to send Seth to his first day of preschool on Monday. Buying school supplies, trying to adjust his daily schedule to go to bed earlier and get up much, much earlier than he is used to. I will post about his first day of school this next week so stay tuned....

Oh, glorious Colorado. We had such a wonderful week in the mountains. We were a little hesitant about the drive with the two boys, but they were road trip champs! We drove straight through to Vail, leaving our house on Friday at 5:30pm, and arriving to the condo on Saturday morning at around 8am. There were a few moments of claustrophobia in the car seats during the night, but my sister's portable DVD player really saved our lives. We would turn it on when they got antsy, their little eyes would glaze over, and then they would drift back to sleep when they couldn't hold their heavy eyes open anymore.

So we rolled in and had just a few hours to settle in and rest before our friends Jeff and Lesli Thompson arrived with their kids Ella (2) and Elijah (9 months). They live in Cheyenne, WY and came down to spend the weekend with us.

First....the condo! A big shout out to my cousin, "Aunt" Carol, who so graciously let us stay in her beautiful mountain getaway for an entire week! She lives in Devner, and she drove to the condo before we got there and stocked the refrigerator full of food and bought all kinds of snacks for the kids. So thoughtful! Here are a few pictures of the condo...

....yeah, I know. We were roughing it, huh?

It was so much fun to spend the weekend with Jeff and Les and their kiddos. First we just spent time hanging out at the condo..

Then we went to Big Horn Park, which has to be one of the coolest in the U.S. With the mountains as the backdrop, how can you go wrong??

Elijah was nice enough to share a snack with Caleb.

We attempted a family picture, and you can see how excited Seth was to stop playing and pose...

There is a deck that wraps around the entire condo (which is on the 3rd floor so it has a great view) and we spent the evening grilling steaks and veggies and enjoying good friends. On Sunday, we went to the Vail Farmer's Market, which is a huge street fair with tons of booths of produce, food, clothes and crafts.

We walked around quite a bit that day, and the backpacks were great. Here is Ella with Jeff and Les...

And Caleb found his comfie enough to nap in. We bought this pack a couple weeks before we left for $15 from a girl that had paid $100 for it and only used it a couple of times. What a bargain, and we used it every day of our trip! Caleb was so happy in the backpack, and it was great to use as a seat because it has a kickstand that you can pull out and set it on the ground.

That night, we ate at a Mexican restaurant that was right at the base of the mountain, and we discovered this amazing pirate ship park right behind it. It is hard to see, but Steve and Seth are up in the very top of the ship in the "Crow's Nest".

Seth was in heaven!!

We said goodbye to Jeff and Les and they headed back to Cheyenne. At this point, I have to say that the kids did wonderful sleeping every night which was really a miracle. They haven't had the best track record for sleeping in new environments, but they really adapted so well to being in a new place, especially considering the high altitude of 10,000 feet!

We really did too much in one week to list it all. Here are some highlights:

Took time to explore Vail Village, which is so picturesque and beautiful. All the architecture reminds me of Belgium or Switzerland. The flowers were gorgeous, and they were hanging in window baskets on all the shops and lodges. The village is very kid friendly, too. There were kids running around everywhere!

This picture makes me laugh because I look like I am trying to get away from the paparazzi (aka my husband)...

We went to Breckenridge, which was about 45 minutes from Vail, to ride the Alpine Slides. You ride the chairlift up to the top of mountain, and you ride a sled down a concrete bobsled-like track. I went up once with Seth, and then Steve took a turn and went up with Seth. I will admit, I was terrified when I first got on the chairlift with Seth because you are REALLY high up in the air without the luxury of powdery snow underneath to break your fall. But he was extremely still all the way up because I think he might have been a smidge scared...but he wasn't telling :~)

Steve went on a hike early one morning to Booth Creek Falls. It was a little over 4 miles and a 1,200 ft. gain in elevation. He loved it, and encouraged me to do it the next morning on my own (we had to take turns because we couldn't take the kids with us). I love that we live in a time with cell phones that work on remote mountain trails, because I called him about an hour and a half into it and told him I was going to kill him for suggesting I go by myself. I was a little scared because the trail wasn't really well marked, and I kept thinking I was lost. It is bear season, and Steve informed me that I could just shake a stick at one and they would be scared and run away....hmm. The trail also get's really steep towards the end, and I kept losing traction with my running shoes and sliding back down the trail. Oh, and did I mention that the trail was perched precariously up on the side of a mountain with a steep drop off on one side? But when you know that there is a beautiful waterfall at the end, it is hard to give up and turn back. So I pressed on and made it, and I think I only called him 3 times :~) Here are some pictures from the hike.

No..that is not the waterfall we hiked so far to see! That was just a little teaser along the way :~) Booth Creek Falls is actually made up of two waterfalls and it is 60 feet high...This is the lower portion.

We also hiked some easier trails with the boys, and Seth and Caleb loved every minute of it. They are outdoorsmen all the way! Seth's favorite part of the hikes is when we would come to a river and he could wade in and throw rocks.

This is an attempt at a family picture with a timer on the camera. This is the best we could do! The water was really cold and the rocks were really slippery!

By the end of our hikes, many times everyone looked like this....

Or maybe that was just when they had to stop and pose for one too many pictures!

Our last night, we went on a gondola ride up to the top of Vail mountain. Unfortunately, it was raining so we didn't get out and walk around on top. But it was a great ride up, sort of spooky and foggy, and you could see all the lights down in the village. It takes you about 2000 feet up, and the boys were very quiet and taking it all in.

On our way home, we made a quick stop at Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs at sunset.

Then we drove through the night and made it back to Texas at about 10am the next morning. Whew! A fantastic trip of enjoying God's beautiful creation, but it was good to be home. One of Steve's favorite phrases is "Peace Out", and I will leave you with this photo of Caleb saying "Peace Out Colorado! We'll be back soon!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Today is a great day to celebrate a great of my best friends in the whole wide world! In fact, I am confident that if we had known each other in elementary school, we would have shared one of those heart necklaces, where one friend gets the half that says "best" and the other gets the half that says "friend". We met in college and have had the privilege of many adventures together. Our first was a summer internship at a Children's Home in Chino, CA called Hillview Acres. It was here that I discovered Amy's deep rooted love and compassion for children in need, something that I both respect and dearly love in her. We discovered our shared love for Jesus, shopping, traveling, movies, laughing, the beach, and just being together!

Some of our many adventures together that summer included a weekend in Las Vegas...

and a trip to the Price is Right...

Then we headed back to John Brown for our senior year, and Amy and I were inseparable for a semester. We packed a lot of memories into those 4 months!!

Then, Amy graduated a semester early, and I remember feeling so broken-hearted when she left that December. She moved back to Iowa, and I missed her so much! She came back in the spring to go with us for our senior Spring Break Road Trip to California, and I remember that we got in trouble for giggling too much in the back seat of the suburban and irritating the other passengers.

We tried to move to Denver together that next year after I graduated, but God had other plans and we didn't find jobs there. I moved to California and she stayed in Iowa, but we stayed in close contact. She met her husband in Oklahoma City, and I met mine in Cali. We were in each other's weddings and talked all the time about how we could never seem to find new friends that we could connect with like each other. Friends that you can be completely yourself with, do nothing with or do everything with. Friends that know your history, dumb things you did and love you so much anyway. Friends that you call and you just pick up the conversation like you just finished talking 5 minutes ago even if it has been a month. Friends that you lived in community with and figured out life with back in your early twenties. The same friend that, as you were turning 30 together, you figured out that you had no idea what life was really all about back when you were twenty!

We have shared tears together over life's apparent unfairness only to see and experience God's abundant provision and blessings around the corner. We have seen each other through moves and marriages and job changes and times of loneliness and times of joy.

What a blessing it is to share the gift of your children with a dear friend! This has been one of the sweetest joys I have shared with Amy. To see someone I love so much holding my kids and knowing that she would love them like her own...

And finally, to know the emotion and joy of the journey she has traveled to meet her son, Silas Tesfamariam from Ethiopia, has been indescribable! I am so proud of the way that she has, once again, given up her life to help a child that was in need. She is truly living out the words of Jesus, "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me." Mark 9:37

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERS! I love that we live only 3 hours apart and still share our lives together after 10 years of friendship. I look forward to the next 10 years and all the adventures those years will hold! I love you and am so thankful for who God created you to be!