Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Face of Addiction

A couple Sunday's ago, our pastor Keith was talking about worship. He made the point that when you worship other things besides God, you can actually become like what you worship. And if what you worship isn't God, then you are going to become a cheap imitation of what you were truly destined to be.

There are lot's of things people worship...celebrities, money, stuff, cars, our families, and even addictions. Anything that takes first place in our lives.

On a humorous note, I have been seeing this played out in our home this week. One of our boys has a serious addiction, and I just happened to catch him in the act this morning. So here it is, an addiction documented:

Notice one paci in the mouth is not enough...

For a little guy with a little hand, he can hold a big fist full of paci's!

Psalm 115:1-8 1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. 2 Why do the nations say, "Where is their God?" 3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. 4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. 5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; 6 they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; 7 they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. 8 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Good Things are Happening

Seth is our social butterfly. He says hi to everyone he sees, including every person that we pass in the aisles at the grocery store. He makes people smile all the time. He is developing a fun sense of humor. He anticipates going to school and going to church by talking about the people he will see there.

Seth also has some developmental challenges. He is still young, and we have never had him formally diagnosed. He is making great strides at his preschool, and he loves learning new things. Today Steve and I were able to go and observe a portion of his class (he attends school from 8 - 10:45am) and to see him working with his speech therapist. He was so proud to show us what he has been working on, and it was wonderful to see him interacting with his teachers and classmates. His teachers and teacher's aides adore Seth. They are always hugging him, praising him, encouraging him. It is a truly great environment.

His teacher, Kelly Carrero (who we LOVE and cannot say enough nice things about) pulled us aside and told us that she had some great news for us. There is a program at Seth's school, which is funded by a grant, and all of the funding is used for a group of about 20 kids that stay in two classrooms. There are typically developing learners (code word for average kids with no known developmental difficulties) and also children with varying levels of developmental challenges. There are two teachers, one who is a general education teacher and one who is a special education teacher.

Basically, the premise of this program is that they believe that the kids with challenges are going to excel at a much faster rate if they can pair them up with kids who are not having difficulties.

There are over 500 kids that go to Seth's preschool. The teachers and speech therapists had to write letters of recommendation for the kids that they thought would benefit the most from this type of program that focuses a lot on social interaction and communication. So out of the very few spots, Seth got one! His teacher took us over to look at the classroom for next year, and we are so excited! We really feel like this is an amazing opportunity for Seth, and we are so thankful that his teachers have taken such in interest in his life and his progress.

His teacher then told us that she was at church last Sunday and the preacher was teaching out of Ephesians.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations. Eph 3:20-21

Then she looked at us and said, "and as he was talking, I was thinking about Seth. I just feel like God has amazing things planned for his life and I am so excited to see how that all comes to fruition. I think Seth is going to do things we cannot even imagine right now." Wow.

I definitely had some reservations about putting Seth in the public school system, even though it was just for preschool. Steve and I have often said that if we could afford it, we would put our kids in private school. But this experience has been nothing short of amazing! These have been the most sincere, dedicated and nurturing teachers, and they are not just going through the motions of another school year. They are making a HUGE investment in our son, and no "Teacher Appreciation" gift will be enough to thank them for what their time and energy has meant to us and to Seth.

THEN, to top it all off, we had an appointment to meet with the director of a private program for children with developmental challenges. Seth's preschool ends at the end of May, and we were looking into a month long camp that meets 4 days per week from 8:45am - noon. Our concern was that they would be focusing on academics, which is not an area that Seth needs assistance in right now. We walked in and met the OT (Occupational Therapist) who was a giant of a man with a wonderful, kind way about him. Then we met with the director, and she was so warm and personable. She began explaining the summer programs that they are doing, and she said, "I do just want to start off by saying that we are not focusing on academics at our camps. So if that is what you are looking for help with, this might not be the right program. We focus on social interaction, increasing communication skills, and new experiences during our summer camps."

Another perfect fit.

So in this journey with Seth that has seen its share of bumps in the road, today was a really encouraging day. It is so great to look forward to the summer and to the next school year with excitement and anticipation of all that Seth is going to experience and learn.

(Side Note: Thank you to the people who are making it possible for Seth to attend this summer camp program. You are blessing us and Seth way more than you can know!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Just in case anyone thought I was fibbing...

Remember THIS post?

Here is my proof:

In his spare time, he also enjoys scaling the chair in our living room Spiderman style in order to reach the light switch:

Steve couldn't believe that I took pictures of these misbehaviors before I took him down and disciplined him, but I knew I needed some proof to post on my blog!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Need Your Opinion

So I have mentioned a couple times how depressed I am at the price of gas these days. From everything I hear and read, it is only going to get worse.  Some are even predicting it may hit $8 per gallon within the next 3-5 years!

Here is the question that we have been mulling over in the Horvath household:  Should we sell our Toyota 4Runner and get a smaller car with better gas mileage?

I love my 4Runner, I do. It is safe, extremely reliable, we got a great deal on it. It is paid off, so no car payments to worry about. We can fit groceries and strollers and ice chests and our dogs in the back. When we go on road trips, I don't have to make any decisions about what to take and what to leave at home...it all fits!  Seth and Caleb have plenty of room in the back seat. Steve just bought me 4 new tires and I am smooth sailing.
The only con (and it is a big one!) is the gas mileage. It only gets 17 mpg city driving, and about 20 or 21 mpg highway driving. Almost all of the driving that I do on a daily basis is city driving. I am averaging about $50 to fill up my 15 gallon tank, and that lasts me MAYBE one week. Anytime we go anywhere as a family, we take my car because Steve drives a Honda Civic hatchback and we can barely fit two car seats in the back.  But he does get stellar gas mileage, about 36 mpg.

So our dilemma is this: do we keep the reliable roomy car that is guzzling the gas, or do we sell it and get something more like this:

A Toyota Matrix. Definitely not as roomy, but it does have a hatchback which gives it some additional room in the back. I don't think the kids and the dogs would fit in this car at the same time, so family trips to the park would be out. This is a picture of the Matrix with two large dogs in the back, and they have the back seat completely folded down.

Steve's Dad and step-mom Jacey used to have a Matrix which they really liked, but they eventually traded it in for something a little roomier for carting the grandsons around. The Matrix gets 25 mpg, 30 on the highway.

So what say you? 4Runner vs. Matrix? Is it worth it to give up the extra space and only gain 8 mpg? Does anyone have any other suggestions for a fuel efficient family vehicle that doesn't break the bank?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Caleb's 1st BIG Haircut

Caleb has had a little snip-snip here and a trim-trim there, but he has avoided a full-fledged haircut until now. Steve and I really liked his hair long, but as the weather has gotten warmer, we have realized it just isn't right to leave it long and shaggy. Caleb is a "sweat-er", not to be confused with the thing that you wear, but he is a little person who perspires profusely. And all that hair wasn't helping him. When he would fall asleep in his car seat, I would pick him up and his hair would be all matted to the back of his head. So I whipped out the clippers (and the camera of course!)

He looks pretty happy about his new do!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Seth's Big Debut

(and my first post with video!!)

We have a little musician on our hands!  Seth has always loved music, and he learns new things really well when they are set to music.  He has become our resident djembe (African drum) player at New Hope.  He will be up on stage jamming away on the drum for 30 -40 minutes with the band and not get bored.  On Wednesday night, he was playing with us while we were getting ready for the Youth Gathering.  We finished up with practice and were all doing last minute things to get ready, and I noticed Seth still up on the stage, still standing by his drum, with this sad little look on his face.  I went up and asked him what was wrong and he said, "Play music?".  I pointed out to him that our acoustic guitarist was still on the stage strumming, and his face lit up and he started playing his drum again.  We love that he loves music!

(I know this picture is awful, but Steve's flash batteries died on me. I love how you can see his little hands going to town, though!)

So another one of Seth's' favorite things is the "Brown Bear" book by Eric Carle. His teacher at preschool taught them the whole book in a song. Steve had the brilliant idea of capturing this on his MacBook, which records video. So here is Seth, in his blog-video debut singing, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?" (Side note: the reason he is making so many funny faces is because he was watching himself on the computer screen as this was being recorded. This video is rather long, but if you make it to the end you can see the big finish!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fort Worth Zoo

We took the boys to the Fort Worth Zoo for half-price Wednesday.  Here we are about to embark upon our adventure.  I am reading the map (I love maps!), Seth and Caleb are ready to go, and Steve is taking pictures.  A typical Horvath adventure!

Caleb being serious (and cute) as he observes the animals.

Seth was very excited about all the animals.  Here we are checking out the zebras.

It looks like we are REALLY  close to this amazing white tiger.  However, if you look closely, you can see two faint black vertical stripes on the picture which were the bars that Steve was taking the picture through.  This was a HUGE, beautiful animal.

I love monkeys.  Or is it an ape?  (Anyone seen that Silly Song on Veggie Tales?  If not, that comment will not really make much sense.  Just for the record, I know that this is an Orangutan)

Steve and Seth enjoying the view.
This animal just proves that God has a sense of humor.  
Caleb is over the zoo.  He would rather chew on the stroller.  He was showing serious signs of being the pesky little brother during this outing.  When Seth would ride in the stroller, Caleb would put his feet on the back of Seth's seat and push and kick.  He kept taking Seth's hat off of his head and even pulled his hair a couple of times.

I love this picture!  Flamingos are crazy looking animals for several reasons.  Their legs bend backwards at the knees instead of forwards, they sleep standing up on one leg, and they bury their beaks all the way down under their feathers.

All in all, a great family outing!  Even better because we only stayed about 3 hours, which was enough time to see all the animals but wasn't long enough to wear out the adults to the point of getting grouchy!  

What fun outings have you been on with your friends or family lately?