Sky Ranch Drop Off

The trip from our house to Sky Ranch isn’t too bad. About an hour and a half. But the excitement must’ve felt like ten hours for Emerson. She was so pumped to be going to her first overnight camp.

Probably helped that mom and dad (more mom than dad) decorated the car, like so…

And although she didn’t know anyone in her cabin, she was making quick friends. To the point we got this from her.

“I’m going to miss you.” Followed by a hug. She runs into the cabin and then comes back out and says, “Don’t blame me if I forget about you.”


Yard of the Month

Nailed it. We won Yard of the Month. Not exactly sure what it takes. Painfully long hours “in the weeds”, so to speak. Or just being friendly. But we are the lawn-heroes of the next 4 weeks.

Apparently, we were good enough to accommodate this big guy…

And he’s big.

I feel like I’m very tan, in that farmer’s-tan kind of way, from how much we do. But let me be honest here, Jess does most of the work. Happy to live back in this house after our hiatus and happy to love this neighborhood the way we always have.

Perot Camp: Day 3

Dinosaurs have hatched! Seems like a quick turn from Day 1 to Day 3, but I don’t know much about dinosaur eggs. They seem to be having a great time.

Pick-up was 2:45 PM, and I was lucky enough to get another Daughter Day. We worked at my office. We worked on drawing wings and figuring out which wings were which. Bat versus butterfly. We called other work-folks. Big bosses, as she calls them. Hopefully that was okay.

On the way out, the security guard, Linda, said, “She doesn’t look a thing like you…” in a facetious manner. We’ve always debated about who she looks like. I hope she looks like her mom, and then I hope she doesn’t look as beautiful as her mom.

Dad problems.

Perot Camp: Day 1

As with most children, I have no actual idea what she did at the Perot Museum camp, but she was there at least. We’re thankful for the hours she’s able to be there. What business is it of ours to actually know what she did? She shared something about a dinosaur egg. But, “it wasn’t a real dinosaur”, I’m told. Love that girl.

We’re sans childcare. So it was bring-your-daughter-to-work-day. Yep….

I know we’re lucky parents. Always fun to have these moments. They make it worth it all.

What Happened to the Blog?

Life happened. It feels like 100 years since we’ve put anything on here. Our church home today mentioned a blog journey of a sweet couple that had a horrible diagnosis, but kept faith throughout as they continue along. Can’t imagine something like that. The story of their journey was strong.

It made me think, as a coworker has also made me think last week, that we can’t let life get in the way of something that might mean the world in a few years or be a throw away. But the squeeze is worth the juice, as it’s said.

So, our beautiful, kind little girl is happy and healthy. She looks like this now….

Yep. Long time.

Today, we picked her up in our normal spot from the middle-meeting place from SHV to DAL. One of the memories I’ll never forget is a recent time we did that. She ran to me and as I grabbed her up in my arms and held her tight, she overflowed with emotion and started to cry. She said, “I don’t know why I’m starting to cry…” And that moment was possibly the most proud dad moment of my life. We did this right.

Today, we were basically in the same spot. Same situation. It’d been a week of her with family in LA. We exit the car. She comes running. And Jess totally steps in front and grabs her first. Ugh. Always trying to steal my thunder. Haha.

Always grateful for the family we have; be it they’re far away. Always grateful for EK coming home after these vacations. Today was a wonderful day of having her back, loving our family and being home.

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.