Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

This year, we decided to go digital with our Christmas card.  We wanted to tell all our friends and family how grateful we are for our ties to each other and how much we love and appreciate you guys.  We hope this Christmas season will be filled with love and the New Year will bring you happiness and wonderful new memories, hopefully memories we will be able to be a part of as well.  Since a lot of our family and friends don't live near us, we wanted to update everyone on what we've been up to this past year, especially since 2013 was a big year for our little family with lots of milestones.  Don and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary, we welcomed the newest member of our family and I turned 30.  It's been a great year and we are looking forward to the next year and seeing what new adventures are in store for our little family.  Here is a run down of 2013, starting off in January...


We celebrated Jackson turning 3 years old.  Boy, those 3 years snuck up on us quick!  We did a Mickey Mouse Playhouse themed birthday party and Jackson loved it!  That same weekend, we also found out we were expecting baby #2 and couldn't be happier. :)

 Our big 3 year old


We had our first ultrasound of our baby and found out it was due in early September, but due to me having a c-section, they took him early, towards the end of August.  Of course that was just fine by me!  The week I went into the hospital to deliver him was one of the hottest/most humid weeks of the entire summer.  When I say humid, I don't mean San Diego humid, everyone said it felt like the humidity back east.  It was bad!  I don't think I would have survived that being 9 months pregnant!  I barely survived the mild summer we were having up until that point!

We also announced our good news to our family and friends.  Don created a fun video to announce it to everyone.

Towards the last week in February, we took a little trip to Vegas with Don's family.  We had a few people in our family with big milestone birthdays, so we made a big fun trip out of it.  Don's cousin Kelly turned 21, Don's Uncle Frank turned the big 5-0 and I turned 30.  We went to a prime rib restaurant called Lawry's and had a celebration dinner.  I even got a yummy birthday dessert!

We stayed at the Golden Nugget in Old Vegas.  It was a lot of fun being in that part of Vegas.  I went down Freemont Street and the ceiling was lit up with a video of Bon Jovi playing music.  It was so awesome!  I posted a video of it below.  I loved seeing all the street magicians and artists.  What a fun part of Vegas!  Unfortunately, after so many days of smelling smoke, I was feeling so sick.  Being pregnant just made it worse!  I was happy to be back home in a city that had stricter regulations on cigarettes.


My good friend Mindy invited me to her beautiful wedding in March.  She was getting married in Sacramento, CA and when I found that out, I knew I had to visit San Francisco while we were in Northern California.  Since it was our 10 year anniversary this year and the birth of our 2nd child would be close to our anniversary date, I told Don, let's do this little side trip to celebrate early.  We first flew to Sacramento and rented a car to drive down to San Francisco for the day.  The drive was absolutely gorgeous!  There were so many rolling green hills and farm land every where.  It was a side of California I haven't had the chance to see yet.  We drove across the Bay bridge that connects Oakland to San Francisco and we saw a beautiful view of San Francisco peaking above the morning fog.  It was such a beautiful sight!

As soon as we got there, we headed to Pier 39 and did the touristy stuff.  We took a bus tour of the city, since our time was limited and we wanted to see as much as we could.

Golden Gate Bridge


San Francisco

 Getting some lunch at Pier 39

Riding on the tour bus


We arrived in Sacramento late at night and checked into our hotel.  We were hungry and decided to check out the downtown life of our state capital.  We started walking around and to our surprise, we found the city to be void of life!  Everything was closed.  We finally found a small convenience store that happened to be open and we asked the clerk what was with the dust town.  He said everything in that area closes around 5 or 6pm, since the majority of the people that work in that area are state capital employees.  They all leave for the day and everywhere closes up shop.  Needless to say, it was weird being in a downtown that had no night life.

Downtown view

Don and I all dressed up for my friend's wedding.  

The beautiful bride!

 The wedding and reception was beautiful.  I couldn't be happier for Mindy.  She is such a wonderful person and deserves the best in life.

 The food was absolutely delicious!  I would say it's the best food I have ever had at a reception.  Don was even raving about it and he usually doesn't get excited over food.

We dyed some eggs with all the cousins a few days before Easter, than of course did an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday.


We celebrated my 30th birthday!  I was a bit bummed out about turning 30 at first, but realized, what a wonderful stage of my life this will be.   This next chapter in my life will be amazing and I was blessed with a loving husband and two wonderful boys that I can spend those years with and see them grow.

Everyone at work made me feel so special.  They decorated my desk with balloons and banners!  

We had brunch at Karl Strauss with the whole family and than Don and I went to Benihanna's the night of my birthday to celebrate with some friends.  I really dragged out celebrating my birthday this year.  You only turn 30 once!

Gender Reveal Party

With Jackson, we waited until he was born to find out his gender and with our 2 child, we wanted to do something special, but I didn't want to wait until he was born to find out.  So we decided on doing a gender reveal party.  We had the ultrasound (which Jackson got to join us for) and we asked the Dr. to write the gender on a piece of paper, and seal the envelope.  I than gave that envelope to my baker and she made a bunch of cupcakes with either blue or pink inside, depending on the gender.  We invited our whole family over and tortured everyone by playing games before we could find out the gender.  We also had everyone cast their votes for team pink or team blue, we set up a photobooth with lips and mustache props, and we had gender themed food.  Hot dogs were the main dish of course! :)

Everyone that thought it was going to be a girl...

And everyone who thought it was going to be a boy.

Photo Booth

When it came time to eat the cupcakes and find out the gender, everyone took a bite of their cupcakes at the same time, so we could all find out together.  We also Skyped in my Mom and Dad, so they could be a part of it too.

And the winner is...

 A BOY!!!


We took Jackson to his first Padres baseball game and he LOVED it!  He had so much fun!


We signed Jackson up for Soccer and it was a bit of a disaster at first.  He didn't get the concept of everyone doesn't get a turn kicking the ball so there were a lot of kids crying the first week.  Once he understood how to play, he was fine and had a lot of fun playing.

Here is a fun short video Don made.  It includes footage of the entire season he played.

Towards the end of June, we finally got Jackson potty trained.  He was being so stubborn about it, so we found a book called the 3 day potty training book and it claimed their method could train the most stubborn child.  And boy did it work!  We made a whole weekend of it and made that our #1 priority and focus.  I would also like to note that I would like to forget that weekend, it was pure hell! there were lots of accidents... LOTS of accidents.  Lots of cleaning and I felt like a prisoner.  We stayed home the entire weekend and didn't go anywhere.  It was a lot of work, but we did it and by the 3rd day, Jackson was potty trained!  Might I add, I love having a potty trained child!  I can't wait till our 2nd one is potty trained.  It truly was life changing for me and I enjoyed it... while it lasted.  At least we only have one child in diapers now.

Jackson taking his diapers to the trash, so he understood he no longer had them.  I actually think this process is more for the parents.  It takes away that crutch.  Look, he's even wearing his big boy undies!

The following weekend, my parents came to visit us and we went to the Del Mar Fair.  We were a bit nervous, since Jackson was newly potty trained, but he did great.  We figured out where all the bathrooms were and kept on him to ensure he wasn't holding his pee for too long.  


4th of July!!!  Of course it was filled with swimming, BBQ'ing, popsicles and fireworks!

We also purchased a new, big boy bunk bed for Jackson.  He was so excited!  Once Liam is old enough, he will share a room with Jackson and Liam's room will become their play room.

We also went to the Del Mar Race Tracks for Don's brother Jon's birthday.  The kids loved watching the horses run.  Every race, they would get close to the track, watch the horses take off and cheer them on!


Jackson finally started praying on his own.  It's truly the cutest thing ever!  If we ever forget to pray at meal times or bed time, he always reminds me and he insists on saying the prayer all by himself.  I know that won't always be the case, so I am enjoying it while it lasts.

Liam's Big Entrance to the World!!!

On August 29th at 7:50 am, we welcomed Liam Oliver Horn.  He was 7lbs 13 ounces and 20 inches long.  The delivery went well and so did the recovery.  This was my 2nd c-section and it went so much better than my first one.  Jackson was an emergency c-section, and I had been in labor with him for 18 hours before they decided he was in too much distress and he needed to come out right away.  With Liam, I opted for another c-section, since I didn't want to take the risk with a uterine eruption and we were able to pick the due date.  The best part was, I got to skip labor.  It was oh so very nice.  I was worried about my recovery, since it took forever to recover with Jackson and I was in a lot of pain with him, but the Dr. kept telling me that a scheduled c-section is so much more different.  He was absolutely right!  I bounced back so fast and was without pain within the first few weeks.  I was amazed.  I think being well rested from not having to labor made a huge difference as well.  

Don said it was a different experience for him as well.  He was able to be more involved with the delivery and we got to see Liam right away.  With Jackson, they whisked him away right after he was born because of the complications.  It was so nice to be able to see Liam the whole time and I was able to hold him right away.  It took me a good 2-3 hours before I could even hold Jackson.  It tore me apart to wait that long.  The Dr's and nurses were great as well.  I couldn't have asked for a better experience. 

 Holding Liam for the first time.  It was love at first sight!

Our first family picture (minus Jackson)

Jackson meeting Liam for the first time.

Jackson holding Liam for the first time.

Instant pals!  Jackson calls him his best friend.  We'll see how long that lasts! ;o) 

After Liam was born, we had issues with jaundice and breast feeding that resulted in clipping his tongue.  My parents were in town and when the Dr recommended clipping his tongue, my Dad jumped at the opportunity to assist.  My Dad used to be a labor and delivery nurse years ago and had never seen a frenulotomy performed.  So Liam's pediatrician was able to get special permission to have my Dad in on that.  He was like a kid at Christmas.  Since we couldn't be in there with Liam, it was nice to think my son had his Grandpa there to get him through it.  Granted, Liam didn't know the difference, but it made me feel better.  :o)  


After we got home from the hospital our 10 year anniversary snuck up on us on September 6th.  Since I was still recovering, we kept things pretty low key.  The night of our anniversary, we took the kids out with us to dinner to celebrate.  Then when my parents came back out that weekend to visit and help, they watched the kids for us and we went downtown to a yummy Brazilian Steakhouse called Rei Do Gado.  It was delicious!  They had every kind of meat and the waiter would come around to all the tables with each meat on a stick and slice off a piece for you.  You could eat as much as you wanted.  They also had a buffet full of food.  They had all kinds of seafood, salads, side dishes and appetizers.  It was absolutely delicious.

A collage of pictures of Don and I through our 10 years of our marriage.

With in the first few weeks Liam was home, I was able to do his newborn photoshoot.  I love taking pictures of babies, but it was even better taking pictures of my own!

We also took Jackson and Liam to Disney on Ice - Passport to Adventure.

Towards the end of September, we took the kids to Seaworld.  Jackson had so much fun!

We caught a walrus playing with his food.  It's actually quite disgusting, but I was entertained by it.  He was eating a fish and kept chewing it, spitting it out and chewing it again.


We acquired a new pet... kind of.  Jackson got this egg as a party favor from a birthday party and when we left it in water for 3 days, a toy turtle hatched from it.  Jackson thought it was the coolest thing ever, until he broke one of it's flippers.  He told me we needed to take the turtle to the hospital, so the Dr. could fix him.  Poor turtle...

On Columbus day, Jackson's school was closed, so we spent the day at the San Diego zoo.  Jackson was adamant about seeing the snakes and spiders.  {{Shiver}}  We also took a bus tour and got to see all the animals in the park.

My own little tour guide and his map.

Towards the middle of October, Don went on his last motorcycle ride of 2013.  Here are all the guys taking a little break on the side of the road.  I think they drove up to Idyllwild on this trip.  

Stopping for lunch before heading home

Liam's Blessing

My parents were able to come out the weekend of Liam's blessing.  The day Liam was blessed was also my parents 41st anniversary.  We had a great turn out and I was able to snag a few pictures of Liam in his blessing outfit and some with his big brother.

The day after Liam's blessing, my Mom had a Dr's appointment up in LA.  I asked if I could travel with them since they were going to stop by and see my Tia Maricruz while they were up there  My Tia has had some health problems recently and wasn't doing very well.  The Dr's operated on her heart the previous week and she seems to be recovering nicely.  

So I packed up the kids and we set off to our first destination. My Mom's Dr. happens to be an old buddy of my Dad's from the Air Force and they usually stay with him when she has an appointment up there.  Bill and Cora are some of the finest people you will meet.  They were wonderful hosts and were so patient with my kids.  A few miles before we got to their house, Jackson got car sick and threw up his lunch.  It was pretty nasty!  As soon as we got there, we were all on it, getting Jackson undressed, spraying off the car seat, getting Jackson in their shower and cleaning all his clothes.  Poor kid was not feeling good.  That night, Cora made us a wonderful dinner and the next morning, Bill made us a wonderful breakfast that Jackson is still raving about!  Bill and Cora live in Malibu up on the cliffs over looking the ocean.  I was in heaven listening to the ocean that night. The next morning, we had such a beautiful view at breakfast.  I was so sad to leave it, but excited for our next stop.

My Dad enjoying the view with Liam.

After my Mom's Dr. appointment, we went up to Rialto to see my Aunt and my cousins.  I hadn't seen them in YEARS!!!  I was so glad I got to see them again.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to see all my cousins, but I managed to see a few of them.  

Jackson made fast friends with Jacob, my cousin Belinda's youngest son who is about a year older than him.  They were having fun playing Angry Birds on Jackson's iPad in this picture.  I had to laugh, because I remember as a kid, my Aunt's backyard was such a fun place to be in.  She always had so many interesting things back there.  They had chickens, a garden, all sorts of random exercise equipment and at one point, scaffolding which I thought was the coolest thing ever.  I am sure if she knew we were climbing all over it, she wouldn't have been too thrilled!  At one point Jackson and Jacob were playing outside, and they came in to tell me all about trying to catch birds.  I went outside to see what they were talking about and there was a huge bird cage open and they had placed food on the ground and in the cage trying to lure birds in there.  It made me laugh, because that is something we would have done as kids as well.  She always had the coolest stuff back there and apparently, they thought so as well.


I love Halloween.  It is one of my favorite holidays!  We started it off by going to the pumpkin patch and Jackson got to go on all kinds of different rides.

The night before Halloween, we did our annual pumpkin carving with all the cousins on Don's side of the family.  Jackson carved the pumpkin on the top right hand side (with Dad's help of course) and Don did the bat below.  

Here are all the pumpkins everyone carved.  There were a lot of good ones this year!

 On Halloween, Jackson dressed up as Jake and the Neverland Pirate.

Jackson and his class all dressed up at school

Don, Liam and I dressed up as Popcorn vendors and Liam is the popcorn inside the bag.  He is sitting in a baby carrier and I made a popcorn bag to go around it.  It's hard to see him, but if you see the popcorn at the top, that's his hat and he's under there... somewhere. :)

Jackson and Anthony relaxing and watching Monster's University after trick or treating.  It's tough work trudging through the neighborhood getting candy!

Don made a fun, very short video trailer of our Halloween night


In the beginning of November, I took the boys to Balboa Park a few times to visit some of the museums.  Jackson's favorite part was the Ruben H. Fleet Center and The San Diego Natural History museum, because it had dinosaurs of course! ;o)

While we were in the Ruben H. Fleet Center, we were able to watch a drone demonstration.  It was actually really cool.  They had these little drones choreographed to music.  The best part of this video, is this random kid crying.  I was on the 2nd floor and a clear plastic wall was separating everyone from the demonstration.  Since the wall was see through, this kid went running straight smack into it.  While he was crying, he got back up and ran right back into it again!  It was awesome!  I know, I am horrible for finding it funny, but the kid wasn't hurt, everything was all good.

We went back to Balboa Park the following week and ventured over to the Spanish Village

Liam hamming it up for the camera!  I love these little smiles!

We went to a birthday party at Corvette Diner and George taught Jackson how to do the Charleston.  

And of course, we did a little Black Friday shopping!  Jackson had his hot chocolate and was ready to go...

For only about a few hours and than he started to fall asleep in the baskets. ;o)

The next day, we took the boys to see Frozen, which was an awesome movie!  I highly recommend seeing it.  It was Liam's first movie as well and he did great.  He pretty much slept through the whole thing. ;o)

Aunt Paula came out to visit us the week of Thanksgiving.  Jackson loves his Aunt Paula!  We tell him that Aunt Paula works with Mickey Mouse, since she works for Disneyworld. Hehehe...


Jackson and I did some Christmas crafts together.  This gingerbread house collapsed on me about 3 times before I got it to stand.  I remember these gingerbread houses being much easier to make as a kid!  We also made a snowman, but I can't find the picture of that.  

We found out how ticklish Liam is and I love it.  He started to fall asleep one night and I wanted to keep him awake, so I tickled him.  He kept laughing and laughing, while he was asleep.  It was the funniest thing!

And last, but not least, we had some pictures taken of Jackson and Liam together.  Liam is 3 months old in this picture and Jackson is 3 years old, (almost 4.)  These boys are just growing too fast!  

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

The Horn's