Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Sweet Kiddos.

She picked out this outfit. She is absolutely in love with my lavender heels, which is good, because they do not love my feet. At least someone is using them!

Ellie is now well into the three and a half range, though there are many days where I look at her and cannot believe she's not four already. She's tall for her age, and seems so capable. She can dress herself, she gets incredibly mad if you try to help her with her shoes, she can practically make pancakes by herself these days. As evidenced, she loves singing and dancing to the Nth degree and has the most amazing imagination. Lately, she's gone back to being obsessed with playdoh, and mostly cuts out a bunch of shapes for cookies or pancakes. She's just so fun and smart and spirited - she definitely keeps us on our toes. She is already an expert at Angry Birds, and when she kills some pigs, she goes "boosh! Gotcha!" in a way that shows very much what a daddy's girl she is. I can't wait until she learns to read - then the real fun will begin!

And here we have Adam Howard, who recently passed the fourteen month mark. As predicted, once he started walking, he hasn't stopped. He's sort of hilarious because he still waves his arms around a little to keep himself balanced. I like to call him Muchacho Burracho. As noted, unlike Ellie he doesn't mind wearing shoes. Right now he just has some little slipper type dealies, but we will be getting him his first real pair in the coming days (SOB!) He can say a few words here and there, likes to imitate sneezing, and shakes his head no. He's such a smiley doo, such an easy kiddo, though when the dramatics hit, they hit hard. He'll lay face down on the floor and cry, and his screams could break glass. He is also naughtier than Ellie was at this age - he's into EVERYTHING. Loves to get out kitchen towels and tupperware and throw them around the house. Unrolls the toilet paper. Goes for any electronic device in sight. He likes to use his fork to pick up Cheerios at dinner time. He enjoys putting on the plastic beaded necklaces at Gigi's house, and the other day in the car when a Lady Gaga song came on he immediately started waving his arms. He fits in well with this crazy family.

They're so hilarious together. Watching them in the bath tub splashing, hearing them make each other laugh, watching them learn how to be siblings. We have a lot of discussions about gentle hands with Adam, and a lot of discussions about how little brothers are always going to knock over block towers with Ellie. I feel so lucky to be their mom, and to watch them grow up together.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fresh Start.

What a farty holiday weekend! So many gross body things happening, so much stir craziness! Tim got sick yesterday morning, and Mimi and Pa thankfully stepped in and let us come over to their house and go swimming in their community pools. It was a total life saver! Ellie had been absolutely desperate to go swimming and to see friends, and this fit the bill perfectly. She is really turning into quite the little fish - she can dog paddle a few strokes by herself, and has no problem doing so with her whole face underwater. She did a lot of jumping off the wall of the pool, and she was so excited that she could touch in the shallow end. She would bob a few lengths away, then turn and swim over to where she could grab on to my leg. Her absolute fearlessness impresses me so much, and makes me so happy. It's my job to keep her safe around the pool, and I know that she'll learn to be a real swimmer even more quickly since she doesn't have to overcome any fear of the water. Adam was happy to do a few laps, and mostly enjoyed walking around on the grass with Mimi.

Today things were much more back to normal, except I felt like I wanted to make it up to the little turds that they didn't have a great weekend. Sooooo, OFF TO THE PETTING ZOO! This was the first time that Adam has really gone with the intent to enjoy the place. Usually he's in the ergo, and during his early months, almost always asleep. He enjoyed the corn bin and petted a single binny pig.

I am pretty sure he's going to have some corn poops in the next few days.

Ellie found herself a nice friend too
And she got to ride on the biggest pony there

And adventured a little bit on Los Rios street

They took some nice naps, and then Auntie Sara and Gigi came by for a bit while the kiddos splashed in their wading pool. And Tim was home and well enough to have dinner with us tonight!

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Everyone made it through the night. Ellie got sick once after we put her in bed, and then slept through until 6:30, when she woke up asking for some oatmeal. She ate breakfast and lunch and kept it all down, though she did fall asleep in the stroller on our family walk. Adam has really done the best of all the sickness victims, and I wonder if it's because he's still nursing. I tried to sneak Ellie a smoothie with some breastmilk in it, but she wasn't having it (Adam has eaten it instead.)

So, we're holding it together, and mostly I'm thankful that we didn't plan on having a cook out this weekend, I can barely stomach the thought of most of the bland food in my fridge - certainly glad I don't have to figure out how to choke down hot dogs and cole slaw. Instead, we are focusing on getting all of the laundry done - the mountains of towels and bed linens. Yesterday we took all of Ellie's "friends" out of her bed during nap time, and today she threw them all back in happily.

She is so sweet, even when she doesn't feel well. She's done her best to take care of me. She keeps insisting that she wants to make cookies for our friends for the holiday weekend. Mostly she wants to bring them to Clare, which is especially hilarious because I doubt Cara, who is in her third trimester with Clare's little brother, wants a bunch of germy cookies, especially since she has gestational diabetes. We keep reminding Ellie that no one wants to hang out with barfy friends, and maybe we can do something on Monday. In the mean time, we're basically letting her watch all of the TV she wants to watch, or at least I am, because I want to lay in bed even more than the kids do. Lulu was very excited that we got to have extended sick bed time yesterday. If I wasn't spooning one of my girls, I was spooning the other.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Holiday Weekend.

Well. We certainly know how to have fun. Last night I rented a movie for Tim and I to watch, and after we put the kids to bed we settled down. Shortly thereafter, I got a text from my mom saying that my sister had just thrown up, and I told her I was feeling sort of sour stomached too. Hoping for the best, I went to bed early... and then had to get up and throw up about once an hour until the wee smalls.

So Tim stayed home from work today (that mooch, taking a four day weekend!) and I mostly laid in bed and prayed to die. He took the kids to the park and they came home right before lunch time, and as Ellie was whining about what she wanted to eat, she puked too. NOOOOOOO! I feel like the rule of 24 hour bugs should be that no one can get them at the same time. And of course, Adam then threw up during nap time. My poor little loves. Adam seemed to recover relatively quickly and spent most of the afternoon walking around and chattering, but Ellie and I ended up spooned on the couch through two viewings of Frozen and a watch of Cinderella. I wonder what those two movies are doing to her brain, in terms of messaging.

Now the kiddos are in bed, hopefully to sleep through the night. I feel terrible sending them to bed without supper, but hopefully they'll wake up ready to go, and Tim will avoid this plague. Sara says she's feeling better, but I'm still feeling meh.

And now, a video of Adam walking. He's now walking probably 75% of the time, and unlike Ellie, he loves wearing his shoes (not pictured.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Yeehaw, Y'all!

My weekend in Austin, Texas was amazing, y'all. I felt like I was 25 again, in the best possible way. It makes me feel so happy and grateful that this group of girlfriends makes getting together a priority, and that we're able to pick up where we left off, even though we live all over the country right now, and are all in different places in our lives.

In the 72 hours I was there, I was able to:

-spend lots of time gabbing and gossiping my face off
-eat an amazing meal at Qui, owned by Top Chef winner Paul Qui
-learn how to two step and dance with my girlfriends and also strangers at the Broken Spoke, an old time honky tonk
-go swimming at Barton Springs, and do a couple of back flips off the diving board, like a badass
-perform some fabulous karaoke at the divy-est dive bar I've been in, while also doing shots like I was in college

Tim and the kids had a great weekend together. I was initially worried about the fact that I was leaving before they woke up on Friday and coming home after bed time on Sunday, but it worked out fine. My alarm was set to go off at 4:30 on Friday morning, and Adam woke up to eat at 4:22, giving me enough time to feed him and get ready before Grizz showed up to drive me to John Wayne. And on Sunday I got home, fed Adam and unpacked, and then when I went in to check on Ellie she woke up for a minute and I got to snuggle up with her. They ate meals at Gigi's house, and spent Saturday with Mimi, enjoying the East Lake pools. Then Ellie was able to stay over night to give Tim a break, and he took the crew to Judd's first birthday party (I also missed Lexi's last birthday party because I was with my England girlfriends, funnily enough.) I'm so lucky to have such a great partner, so that I don't have to worry about how the kids will do when I CRUELLY ABANDON THEM TO SAVE MY OWN SANITY (ha.)

It was really nice to feel like just a regular person, who doesn't have to wipe butts or boogers or get whined at all day, but it was wonderful yesterday morning when the kids woke up and we all climbed into bed and snuggled together. They seem to have grown ten times bigger in the days I was gone! Adam is starting to walk more and can cross an entire room on his own. Last night we went to Sara's Mock Rock event for Lighthouse, and Adam happily wandered around on his own two feet, mostly looking for Grizz. Ellie did some great dancing and was so excited when she got to see Sara up on stage (and then cried because she was "tired" when we offered for her to go dance with Auntie Sara.) I was glad that things weren't too crazy upon my return. Got the house cleaned somewhat, and the fridge restocked, and it feels like it's life as usual!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Baby Party.

Our little group of baby friends is not really made up of babies any longer, unless you count all of the little siblings who have joined the group in the past two years. And we were still missing three families and five more kids! It was nuts around here for a couple of hours - the kids dumped out basically every toy that Ellie owns, ate a ton of snacks, ran through the house like crazy people, and when it cooled down enough in the evening, they were all over everything in the back yard. Still, it's so fun, and I'm always glad to host. I love seeing Ellie enjoying her friends, and catching up with my mom friends. Sometimes, it's nice to know that your kid is a normal three year old, and not an overdramatic psycho.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I am taking off for a weekend with MY girlfriends. We are all coming from around the US to reunite in Austin, Texas, where my friend Anne went for her MBA, and where she and her brother still co-own a house. The other three of us have never been to Austin, so I think it'll be a great time. Though I do feel for Anne - she is really tall and slender, and the other two girls are pregnant, so when I get blind drunk on freedom and also, booze drinks, she is going to have a hell of a time dragging me to bed by herself. This is the first time I've left both kids for more than a few hours (the longest was actually the day we buried Grandpa a few weeks ago.) I am sure Tim and Ellie will be fine, but I do worry a little bit about Adam. He's a good eater, and a generally easy going baby, but there are some times that he still just wants me. I hope this weekend is not one of those times. The grandmas are stepping in to help out, and Tim is a fabulous dad, so I guess the only thing I can do is enjoy myself. AND I SHALL.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ehhhh, So Hot.

It continues to be so hot that I want to give up on life. I would say that I want to go lay in a ditch, but it's too hot for ditch time. Thankfully, we have air conditioning, and I have no qualms about running it whenever we're home. And the patio cover helps the house stay cooler than it did last year. Mostly, I wish Adam would start walking reliably, so I don't have him stuck to me at all times.

Today we had music class, and our little buddy the Juddy has started walking in the last week. So while the girls skipped around the room and did their own thing, the boys took some steps together, Judd very confidently, Adam with a lot of staggering. They had their first moment of standing and trying to hug each other, which was cute (the girls hugged a bunch, as always.) I can't believe how quickly they're growing! And our group of friends will have two more little baby boys before the summer is over - last week we went over to meet new baby Jameson and show his mom how to tie him up in the Moby wrap. It made me miss having tiny baby wearing hippie time with Adam (though again, he can start doing all his walking whenever he wants. I get so sweaty that I pit stain my ergo. GROSS.)

I took this today, hoping Adam would do some good walking, but as you can see, he just did some good cat torturing.

We spent the latter part of the afternoon in the water park in my back yard - wading pool AND water table, and all of the toys. I even put on my suit to go and sit with them, because I couldn't take it any more. Ellie spent most of her time making tea, and Adam chewed on things. And then I gave them a bath, made them some sandwiches and tossed them in the stroller for a late evening run. We saw a bunny, we got home before dark and everyone went to bed at a decent hour, right before Tim arrived home from a late night. Not much more that you can ask for!

Here you can see him on Mother's Day, giving some love to Bitty Baby, who he snuggles any time he can get his hands on her. He is such a funny, sweet little boy. He picks up baby dolls and snuggles them up and pats them on the back. He'll do the same thing with his lambies. He's going to be a fine daddy someday. Meanwhile, if Ellie catches him with Bitty, she rips the doll from his hands. She is a prime big sister.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Latest Ellie-isms

On Saturday night was Julia's confirmation. Tim went to the church for the ceremony, but I stayed back with the kids because they were napping when he left, and because I figured they'd be more trouble than they were worth (and I was right - the ceremony was almost two hours, with over 100 confirmants. It was for the best that we skipped.) We had a really nice time at the family dinner afterwards, and the kids were mostly good. When they started hitting the wall, I looked at my watch and realized it was a good half hour past their normal bed time. OOPS. Anyhow - in between her waking up and us leaving for dinner, I had her come in the kitchen with me to do a little baking. I know, so surprised. She's standing on her stool in a tee shirt, undies, and her bunny slippers. When we finished I asked "do you want to go get dressed?" and she looked at me like I was a moron and said "Mommy, I AM dressed." True, I guess a shirt is a piece of clothing.

I don't know if I shared this funny before - so while we were in Wisconsin, we had a lot of discussions about how Grandpa Howie was in heaven, but he was also in our heart. One night Tim was putting her down and they were having the "he's in your heart" talk, and she goes "but he's so big to fit in there!" And then the next morning she was sitting on her stool, having breakfast with Grandma Rosie, and she announced that Grandpa Howie was in her heart. Grandma Rosie agreed, and put her own hand over her heart, in the center of her chest. Ellie looked at her and goes "no, my heart is over here," and put it slightly to the right (where you heart actually is, anatomically.) She is all about the details! My other favorite Ellie moment was during the first hymn at the church, where she looks at me and goes "is this a dancing party?"

Speaking of dancing parties: here you go!

And here is Adam's recent musical contribution:

And fnally, let's take a poll: do we think A Howe needs his hair trimmed?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

It has been a good one! Adam got up at 6:30 (which is a half hour later than when he's been getting up normally, sadly) and even though usually he is my problem in the mornings, this morning I gave him back to Tim and got back in bed until almost 8. Then Ellie and Adam went and got bagels, and Ellie helped me get dinner and dessert prepped. She is my most helpful girl. Then I went to the gym and had some mom time, sweating to my oldies. 

Then it was time for brunch with Gigi (and Grizz, when he got back from golf.) Ellie was so excited to open presents with Gigi (though I think she'd already told Gigi about all of her gifts. Again, she's the most helpful girl) and she did an excellent performance of her favorite numbers from Frozen. We were all laughing hysterically at her dramatic renditions. I also think Gigi and Grizz were impressed with Tim and my duet of "Love is an Open Door" (sometimes Ellie sings it with Tim, and sometimes she gets salty about it because she's ELSA, not ANNA.) And you know, there's nothing more impressive that Ellie singing "Let it Go." 

Then while the kids napped, Gigi and I went to South Coast Plaza and perused consumer goods for sale. Even though we went into many a fancy store, the only things were purchased were sale goods at the Gap (hey, I can't argue with my favorite jeans on sale for twenty bucks!) I feel like I haven't had a day out with my mom, just she and I, in a very long time, and it was really, really nice. If only we'd had more room or time to go and booze it up a little. 

Thankfully, when I got home Mimi and Pa had just arrived... WITH CHAMPAGNE! They know how to treat a young mom right. The kids woke up from their naps and there were a few more performances from Frozen, and then we had dinner and played outside - Ellie got everyone into a good game of soccer, and then used one of her golf clubs as a baseball bat and Tim pitched to her.. just your basic delightful craziness. It was a really nice day with all of our family. 

I am a very, very lucky mom.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Giving and Getting.

Our little Baby Boo is starting to talk more here and there. He's been saying something approximating "kitty" for awhile now, but lately he has taken to calling me mommy. Or, to be more accurate, "mah-MEE! mah-MEE!" It is pretty much the cutest thing ever. I can't wait until he can actually chat with us. Unless he talks as much as Ellie does. Then I will probably need ear plugs.

Those two. They crack me up. They are so good together, so funny. Adam is starting to really give it back to her. The other day we were in the car and she kept asking if she could have his lamby. First, he responded by reaching his hand over to her, and she'd say "ADAM! I don't want to hold your HAND! Can I see your lamby?" He kept offering his hand... and then offered her lamby and pulled it back before she could grab it. The student has become the master!

Monday, May 5, 2014


Big day today! Back to swim lessons at the YMCA! Ellie was so excited that she fought her nap about it (so, so helpful, that kid.) But she got up okay, put on her suit and robe, had a snack and we were on our way... arriving more than twenty minutes early. Yipes.

Thankfully, it gave Ellie a chance to get the lay of the land and see how things were going. It's basically a swim lesson conveyor belt, with a different group of kids every thirty minutes. Each instructor has 3-4 kids in their class, and they work with each kid individually on their big arms, their kicking and bubble blowing. Ellie got to use a kick board and practiced all of her kicking and paddling, and did a good job! No crying, not even when I had to go up to the office to ask a question. The biggest thing was keeping Adam entertained - thankfully I'd brought lots of snacks.

We're signed up to go twice a month through the end of June and then we'll reevaluate. I'd be willing to put her in private lessons if I thought she could be swimming independently by the end of the summer. Mostly, I'm just glad that I didn't have to pull her out of the pool, screaming and sobbing. She may be a ballet school drop out, but she's still my swimmy fish.

This is what pool time looks like in our yard lately. Last week when it was so hot this is how we spent our post-nap hours. Thank goodness for the back yard being in better shape.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Boys versus Girls

(bathroom talk ahead, skip to the bottom for videos if you'd rather.)

So, we are your basic hippies when it comes to nudity and freedom. I mean, everyone wears clothes around the house, but both of us will still shower with the kids when we have to, and they see us changing in the mornings. And, as little kids do, they can't let us go to the bathroom without coming in to keep us company. We figured when it started getting weird, we'd stop. But Ellie seems completely immune to any differences between boys and girls in the diaper area, so we'd just stuck to the general "everyone has privates, and they're private" discussion.

Until a few weeks ago when Ellie told me "mommy, when I'm 53, I'm going to pee standing up like daddy." I figured it was time to jump into a larger discussion, and told her that no, she couldn't pee like daddy, because daddy is a boy and he has a penis, and she is a girl so she has a vagina. She took it pretty well, and just sort of left it at that. Facts are facts. And then later in the week we were on a run when I hear her yelling in the stroller "ADAM! I'M GOING TO TICKLE YOUR PENIS!" Cue a screeching halt and a quick discussion about how no, we do not tickle there, because that's Adam's privates and they're private. Still, she likes to point out as loudly as possible any time he gets near himself. Bathtime? "ADAM'S TOUCHING HIS PENIS!" Diaper changes? "ADAM, DON'T TOUCH YOUR PENIS!" It is her new favorite word. So glad we had this discussion. As a bonus, the other day when I told her to leave her own privates alone, or go into her room, she said "I want to touch my privates with other people!" It's hard to teach kids to have some dang manners. It's also hard to keep a straight face through all of this lesson teaching.

But moving on. It's been a million degrees here this week with the Santa Anas, so yesterday Ellie and I went in the pool to cool off. The pool was not exactly warm, and we only lasted about fifteen minutes, but they were fifteen pretty good minutes. Check out this fearless girl!

She starts swimming lessons again on Monday. Twice a week for the next two months, without having a parent or grandparent in the pool with her. I anticipate tears, but she has already told all of us that this summer, she's going to learn to swim without floaties.

Adam put his legs into the spa and splashed a little, and then pooped, so he got a bath as well, then spend the rest of the night drooling and spilling food all over himself. Good thing we couldn't be bothered to put clothes back on him.
He is such a funny little muffin. He can now push himself up to standing by himself, without holding on to anything, and he'll take a step here and there, but if you ask him to walk to you, he immediately gets down and crawls, no matter how close you are. I can't wait until he just takes off running - probably not too long now!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Family Pictures.

All of these photos are from camera phones, but we still got some good moments:

Check out Ellie and Hailee holding hands. They are the sweetest.


Grandma Rosie has all the best toys, even things that aren't meant to be toys (naughty baby!)

A shot from the Arlington Haus

Grandma Rosie reading, which is what she does best

Adam and his Uncle Greg

Adam and Uncle John, killing time during our seven hour delay

Oh, I stand corrected. 330 minute delay

She pulled that owl like nobody's business

Can you tell that I am grinding my teeth down to nubs? I am a terrible traveler with my children. MORE BOOZE NEEDED.

LJ and I at St Luke's. We are such nice copycats.