A Better Mousetrap: The New Trampoline

When we were kids, the trampoline was no place for kids. A toy that was designed for kids or Olympians…  It’s like having a battle-ax for professionals and a kid-safe hatchet that you let them go-to-town with.

Apparently, some parents took notice to the dangers of the original backyard trampolines. And they actually made them safe.

I remember going to the twins house to jump. We played karate and it wasn’t 10 minutes before Jody was kicking Josh clear off the trampoline. Yes, I still laugh at videos of this on YouTube, but it was probably terrifying for their mom.

And fast-forward to me being that mom. Well, you get my drift.

I was pretty resistant to the idea of adding a springing booby trap to our abode. Gymnastics trumps Dad, however. Emerson isn’t the most coordinated 3.5 year old, but put that girl to doing scissor kicks on the trampoline at the gym, she looks like the next Michael Phelps (sorry, Olympians. I don’t know any famous trampsters).

And then comes Prime Day and an 11′ miracle price beams onto my Amazon app just tempting me to get E.K. onto a Wheaties box.  It was time.

Putting that mama bear together was a feat. The title of the post was “easy assembly”, which was just a direct assault on my manhood.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Nothing of that size ever is. Yet these persons have the audacity to call me out.

Jess warned me to get someone else to help. Maybe she didn’t think she was strong enough. Maybe she remembered that putting Christmas tree lights on the trunk of a medium-sized tree proved to be our first real fight in marriage.  Maybe she just didn’t want to watch me throw a metal pipe across the lawn. But, typical me, I didn’t arrange for a helper.

So there we were.  Tools in hand.  Boxes open. Emerson super excited to be jumping. I read a review online that suggested a middle-aged mom and her teenage son got this done in 2 hours.  Mission:  Impossible.  Go.

After 2 hours of cross-looks, under-breath cursing, a throw of a wrench or two, and some “fine, you do it” moments, the trampoline is in place.

And I’ll admit, it’s pretty dang safe.  The only battle-ax in this equation was the one I wanted to throw at Jess when she told me I was holding the extension rods wrong.

Writing Her Name

EK has been focused on writing her name… egged on by her school, I suppose.  It’s fun to watch her grip the crayon or marker and draw line upon line to make various letters.

She’s definitely figured out the “E” and “M” and “O”, though the “O” looks a bit pear-ish at times and the “E” might have an extra line.

One thing we’ve focused on as parents is the old adage of songs make the best memories. We have adopted a little jingle to get her to recognize how to spell her name.

E. M… E.R… S.O.N… My name is Emerson!

It’s a fun jingle that seems to work.  Well, kind of.  She consistently ignores the “E.M.”

Apparently we have a daughter name Erson.

Family Vacation 2018

When you’re working stiffs like us, you get 2 weeks vacation a year. As you grow in your profession, you get 3. Max 4. But in the banking world, you HAVE to take 5 consecutive workdays off in a row. It’s a money-laundering checks-and-balances thing. Antiquated, like most things in banking, but we abide.

So Jess, EK and I all left the Big D to the Farm. Oh, how EK loves the Farm.

Unfortunately, EK’s great grandfather was in the hospital after an apparent stroke, which was only weeks after a carbon monoxide episode, so the visit wasn’t all fun. Lots of tending to family.

But EK still loved her time at the farm. The “bun-bun” is always her favorite. Her newest name for her grandfather is now “Pappy”, and he takes her for rides on his side-by-side all over the 40-acres.

G.G. has been shortened to “Geeg” and it’s the sweetest thing ever. EK loves the Farm. The highlights from the visit might have been the Po Boy Express (author’s opinion) because it’s been too long since I’ve enjoyed Cajun food.

Another highlight is likely the visit with Jess’s longtime childhood friend, Lillie. She and her two kids and husband hosted us for an afternoon catchup. EK enjoyed her time with her two buds, Jameson and Garrison.

The ride back felt short. EK slept the ENTIRE way. So, while her parents were exhausted, she was well rested upon our return to Dallas.

Her First Flight

It started with an episode of Super Wings. The show with, quite literally, the worst opening song of all time. And with 12 minute episodes, those humans monitoring their tinier humans get to hear it 4 times an hour. Worse than any radio station could do to you.

Anyhow. There’s an episode with three children in a foreign land that order a package to fly a box of sorts. The order includes a pilot hat and goggles. Maybe you remember the old-timy brown ear-covers with matching goggles?

So this was months before EK’s first flight. But we (I) decided we should keep it a secret until the big flight.


As we approached the days to LUV to MSY, we started to hint at the fun she’d have. EK is a thrill-seeker in her DNA (not an airport code), but I was nervous about her ears hurting. Keeping her busy was high upon my list. Name all things that go wrong with a child in flight… these are all the things I’ve been worrying that she’d do. Kicking the seat in front of her, screaming about being bored, ears… you name it.

Some fun hat/goggle combination might deter such behavior. So two days before, the big reveal. Wah-wah. Nothing. Not impressed. Waited too late.

Fast forward to the event. First flight. It was a mad-dash to the gate. We’d woken up in time, if 3:45 AM is a time at all. Red eye flight to save some money.

Dad miscalculated the time it’d take to drive and check in. Apparently lots of people enjoy 6:05 AM flights. And checking bags, not being Pre-TSA fancy people, and a stroller all add time to the trip.

Literally sprinting to the gate as we hear the loud speaker announce we were 4 minutes away from missing our flight. Panic and sweat.

EK sat in the middle seat. The excitement of a child’s first experience is nothing short of joy for a parent. And we got that. Joy.

Nothing scared her. Nothing scarred her. We ate some pretzels and enjoyed the fields below. Fun times were just starting.

Snowballs in August

Texas. It’s the greatest state according to all Texans. And, as a Panhandler, I agree.

But we name certain things. Tiny lakes are called “playas”, for example.

And there are two acceptable versions of iced-treats:  Hawaii shaved ice, snow cones.

This whole Louisianan “snowball” name seems silly.  Of course, growing up in Lubbock and treating myself to dill pickle juice snow cones at the ballpark didn’t seem unusual.  And the Hawaii shaved ice place called Bahama Bucks ruled our worlds.

My brain didn’t have enough room to add in “snowball” to the vernacular.  But on the Horn Family Vacation 2018, we learned it quickly.  EK LOVES these things.  Mostly “pink” or “red” flavors (pet peeve – it’s a color not a flavor}, Emerson had one of these at least once a day. Sadly, often twice.

Hey, you’re on vacation.  You break rules.  And as we discussed this rule-breaking trip, we received this image to forever commemorate the snowball greatness…

And we will always remember the snowball original “SnoBall” since 1936.

“No Roots” – Alice Merton

Oh, our little bear. You have found your favorite song and I’m not sure how. But I do love that you are super into a song that isn’t a children’s song or a pop song or the like.

We listened to No Roots by Alice Merton a few times and it just struck a chord with you.  I hope it’s not because you feel like you have “no roots”. We’ve moved many times in your young life and maybe it’s a microcosm of your mind, but anyway you slice it, you’re the cutest when you sing it.

And you know every word. Every word. It’s amazing how your mind can memorize songs. It’s a little like your dad’s mind, actually. I’m thrilled you may have the same memory as me. Then again, it could be a curse.  Time will only tell.

The Summer of Threes

It’s been a summer full of triple digit heat.  As Emerson is now three and a half, life has been pretty fun.  “Threenager” is still a thing, but she’s been a great kid all in all.

This morning, we woke up and measured our little opinionated daughter.  Thirty-nine inches tall – 3′ 3″.  She weighs 33 lbs and demanded some chicken pot pie.  We acquiesced.

During our lunch, Emerson stated another opinion when Jess asked her what she wanted to do with the afternoon.  “The zoo,” Emerson whispered softly.

With the incredible heat and Dad’s ability to soak through a shirt, Jess didn’t think we’d be making that trek. Maybe it was heat exhaustion from the YMCA the day before, but again, we acquiesced.

And it paid off.  I had a very proud Dad-moment.

Kona ice is a requirement when we go to the Zoo.  Not for me.  Not for Jess.  Emerson needs cherry, strawberry or cotton candy flavored shaved ice. Like right now.

We wandered to the Kona Ice truck, which is stationed across from an animal encounter exhibit. There, a monitor lizard was being carried around by a zookeeper spouting off various facts about the lizard. And, as Emerson was devouring the frozen water flavored with red syrup, the zookeeper said, “This lizard is a cousin to the biggest lizard in the world.  Does anyone know what that is?”

My eyes lit up as I patted E.K. on the head. I knew she had her dad’s know-it-all attitude shining through. She volunteered, “the Komodo dragon!” Nailed it.

And, funny enough, the Dallas Zoo actually has a herpetarium. We’ve gone to the Zoo dozens of times this year (probably) and had never been inside it. Sure enough, there is a Komodo dragon there. He was hiding under a rock with his giant head sticking out. Emerson was thrilled. Though, don’t show her snakes. She’s out on snakes.

I think we were at the Zoo for three hours in total.  Two more than normal. But, for the first time in my thirty-seven years of life, I saw a Komodo dragon in person.

Father’s Day 2018

Any idiot can become a father. This mantra has always been my bailiwick. We’re 99.9% granted by God’s given right to reproduce. Most of us are unworthy of reproduction, but we all still do it.

So Father’s Day hasn’t ever really meant a lot to me in the grandeur sense of the term. But my father was special. Loved that man, as I’ve noted many a time here. And he’s taught me a lot.

Funny thing about losing a father and then marrying someone is that you gain another.  Jess’s dad is a gruff, quietly loud man. He’s complicated, in my opinion, however I imagine he says he’s simple. Sounds like a dad I also had. We’re all lucky to have our dad’s, flawed or not. And today is a day we should honor those who deserve it.

So E.K. honored me by waking up in THE WORST MOOD EVER. It was awesome. Jess made a fantastic breakfast and we were so busy with it we missed church. But that meant Dad got to pick what we did instead. Zoo.

We’ll add this zoo experience to the annals of zoology.  The chimpanzees were going ape sh– (yep, that’s right), when the littlest chimp got all the way to the top of the 30 foot tree before its elders.  You should’ve heard them! Amazing. Rivaling the lion’s roar in FW.

Our zoo-ing ended with some splashing in E.K.’s new swimsuit and a drive to Dad’s favorite restaurant.

Got home. Hmmm… Maybe we should replace the 13′ x 3′ x 1′ dead grass driveway with some decomposed granite. Great idea! I always do my best home improvement in the 100 degree heat.

It was my idea and I went with it. And you know what, happy Father’s Day to me. It looks awesome.

The Hunger Strike

I pick Emerson up most weekdays from her school. Oh, remind me to post about the school drama someday. Anyhow, I grab her up one day as she’s sprinting down the hall to the water fountain, and I give chase in my boots, hands full of school papers, projects and glitter (oh, the glitter). Rounding her up, she insists on opening the door with her mighty muscles on her own. Our ritual complete, we get to the Buick where she always inquires, “what do you have for me?”

I’m expected to bring a snack on days that I’m late. No snack on days I’m on time. As you can guess, I’m peanut butter-crackering to appease her often.

This particular Wednesday, E.K. states that she doesn’t want my offering. She “wants to stay this size”.

Okay, I’ll bite. I get this explanation:

Mom says she doesn’t want me to ever grow older because she loves me like this. I told Ms. Tiffany that I want to stay this way forever so I can be a Super Kid. So I don’t want to eat. That way I can stay this size.

I certainly had some concerns about that especially when she lost 1 lb. But she was just being her normal, wonderful self and entertaining everyone.

We went home. Mom made pasta. E.K. gained her 1 lb back easily.

Advice for My Daughter – Rev. Andrew Forests

I fancy myself a wordsmith in oftentimes a egotistical way. In that regard, I feel like I could tell E.K. how to live a wholesome and good life in a crazy world. After all, we  chose to bring her into this world with open eyes. But, I was humbled in my abilities after hearing this sermon. I never want to be too “churchy” in my approach to this blog, my work, my relationships… I just think I’m not worthy – likely a quality Methodist trait…

That being said, I hope every Dad gets to hear this sermon.

Munger Place Church