September 30, 2017

Dog Show & Reptile Expo

Since we are new to the area, I've been periodically checking the calendar on the Amarillo news sites to see what sort of events are happening around town. We don't want to miss anything fun! In September I noticed that both the Panhandle Kennel Club Dog Show and the Tri-State Reptile Expo were being held at the Civic Center downtown. Perfect for our dog and reptile lovers!!


The dog show was a three day event, and there was no cost for admission. We went on a Friday morning and only caught a small portion of the show, but it was fun to see all the dogs be washed and groomed and Davey was ecstatic when he was given the chance to pet a huge Russian Terrier that resembled a fluffy black mountain. We watched a few "Best in Breed" competitions (Standard Schnauzers, Aussies, and Golden Retrievers), but mostly we just walked around enjoying all the different dogs. I had low expectations, but it turned out to be a pretty fun event!

Basenji dogs! I had one of these growing up (except Baxter was a  black tri-color, and not nearly as well behaved) so it was fun to see a pair of them at the show.

Aussies on display - the peanut butter colored one, second from the left, ended up winning

This Russian terrier was the only dog of it's breed so he won a blue ribbon :) 


This was right up Sophie's alley. There was an entry fee, but I was able to buy tickets during the pre-sale to save a few bucks and it was well worth it. She is convinced that one day we will have a pet lizard or snake so it was fun for her to see so many on display. This event will be back again next year and we will have to remember to mark our calendars. She wouldn't want to miss it!

September 28, 2017

Sophie at 4.5 Years

I wanted to do a quick update for Sophie since I just finished one for Davey. It's convenient having their birthdays two days apart - that way no one will ever be forgotten, or at the very least, they will both be forgotten. 

Sophie isn't changing quite as rapidly now that she's older, but there are still many things that she has done or learned since the last time I wrote about her in March. She is loving school and has really taken off with both recognizing letters and their sounds, and writing them. She puts her name on everything, and will often ask how to spell other words as well. She is so eager to start learning to read and it's been fun seeing her make all these connections. 

She has also developed a love for coloring and art in the past couple months. This girl seriously went through just half of one coloring book during her first four years, and now she fills multiple pages a day. I'm not sure what sparked the sudden change, but it's been so fun to see her drawings and watch her creativity come out on paper. One of her favorite things to do is lay things down on paper to trace them. I have several sheets of paper saved in a drawer of her tracings of bugs, snakes, animals, and other little things. 

Sophie has always been very good at carrying a conversation, but lately she has also been working to develop her negotiation skills. Almost everything seems to be up for debate, and she's actually quite good at it. The days when she is at school are very quiet, although Davey is quickly learning how to fill that void. I love hearing her insights and explanations about how things work, even when they aren't all they way correct. She has a sweet spirit and really tries hard to be kind and a good helper. We sure love her!!

Sophie at 4.5 Years
  • Around 44 inches, and 42 pounds. She is still a chart topper and easily one of the tallest kids in her preschool class. Most people who meet her guess that she is a 1st grader. 
  • Purple is still her favorite color, although it is now rivaled by anything "golden." She loves things that are sparkly or shiny, and was thrilled with the gold shoes her cousin Anne recently passed down to her. 
  • Disney Jr. pretty much rules her life and she has several favorite shows. Anytime a new episode is announced she comes running to tell me something like, "Mommy! Did you know there will be a new Vampirina on Friday at 11:30! I'm so thrilled!"
  • She really loves to play games and lately we having been playing 1 or 2 together every afternoon when Davey goes down for nap. Her current favorites are Spot It! and Memory. She has gotten quite good and I don't even need to go easy on her most times. 
  • We have had her start doing "chores" and some jobs she helps with are emptying trash cans, setting the table, gathering laundry, and making her bed.
  • Most of the time she is really, really good with Davey and pretty tolerant of letting him be part of her games or play with her toys. She is also good at helping him when he gets stuck, or needs a boost, or feels sad. She is still human though, and also knows how to push his buttons like no other and can make him screaming mad if she's in the mood for it. 
  • Potty training was always a bit of a struggle with her and she was still having somewhat regular accidents up through the summer. We were worried about how school would go, because she just didn't seem to care, but luckily things finally clicked right as she started and she's been good to go ever since. Hallelujah!!
She is definitely a ray of sun in our lives!

This fall she tried soccer for the first time. Continuing swim lessons would have been her preferred choice,  but they only offer those in the summer here in Amarillo, and we wanted her to have an energy outlet. Soccer grew on her though, and now she is looking forward to next season and asks Dave to play with her in the backyard when he comes home. 

She is still a lover of all critters. We recently had an invasion of roly poly bugs in our house when the weather got really dry, and she was very diligent for several weeks about transported them back outside every time she found one. This was a butterfly she found on the road during one of walks and she didn't want to move on until it was safely moved to a tree. 

Naps seem to finally be a thing of the past, although we will find her asleep in bed a few times a month. Now she just has quiet time in her room for an hour every afternoon. One day she decided to work on puzzles and finished all of these without any help!

She was very proud of this apple man that she made a lunch one day 

A sample of one of her latest art pieces. This was a birthday card she drew for my brother Derek. He is holding hands with his wife and standing by a very tall, purple cake :)

September 26, 2017

Davey at 18 Months

Davey reached his 18 month mark this September and it's definitely time for another update on him. I went back and read what I wrote for his 1st birthday and we have a completely different kid on our hands now. He was just starting to eat table food, still not sleeping through the night, not walking, and only said "dada." So much can change in just six months...

Davey has grown into a curious, busy boy who keeps us on our toes. He already has a tendency towards trouble and "No-no Davey" has become a common phrase in our house. He definitely has a sweet side as well, though, and loves to give kisses and will often back into your lap in want of a snuggle. We have been impressed with his language skills and how many words he has picked up lately. With Sophie dominating the conversation most of the time, we didn't know if he would just let her her do the talking, but that is not the case. He has learned how to make himself heard (sometimes by banshee screaming) and his vocab is probably up to about 75 words.

Davey at 18 Months
  • Around 31 inches and 25 pounds, which puts him in the shorter, fatter category for his age now, but the pediatrician still thinks he's on an acceptable track. Hopefully he'll start trending the other direction at some point though. 
  • Loves Batman, Minnie Mouse, dogs, dragons and any animal with big teeth that looks like it may be dangerous (he calls them "Rrrrrr!s")
  • He also loves cars and other vehicles, but refers to them all (airplanes, tractors, fire engines, etc...) as "choo-choos."
  • Dropped his morning nap once the summer ended, and now just takes one in the afternoon that lasts around 2 hours. 
  • He has gotten much better with silverware and his favorite foods are fruit, cereal, eggs, mashed potatoes, black beans, noodles, rice, go-gurts, and cookies. He hates anything other than water or milk and will actually spit out juice or soda if he even gets a little taste. 
  • We are still waiting for his fourth bottom tooth to fully emerge. His canines have also poked through, but his teeth literally take months to finish coming in and after several weeks they are still just little points. 
  • He finally has started saying a word for "Sophie." It sounds a lot like "puppy," but it has made her so happy to finally have a name. 
  • He really likes shoes and will go find his when it's time to leave somewhere. He also likes to bring other people their shoes, even guests, and is pretty good at matching the right footwear with the right person. 
  • Anytime he sees anything farm related it turns into some version of "E-I-E-I-O"
  • His first "official" weeks in nursery were a little rough, which surprised us because he actually attended several times over the summer without incident. Something about the new ward's nursery set him off and it took him awhile to settle in. 
A nap with a runny nose led to some epic crazy eyebrows

He has developed a love a swimming and one day found his puddle jumper and insisted that I put it on. He wore it around the house for almost an hour before I had to wrestle it off him because he was getting so sweaty. 

He surprised us one day by putting together a puzzle with hardly any help. We had never really worked on puzzles with him before, so he must just be a natural like his mama :)

This kid is always in to something. He can climb anything, open doors, turn on the tub, plug and unplug electronics and he continues to learn new, troublesome skills each day. Mischief from the last month includes coloring our couch with a ballpoint pen, emptying a huge bottle of baby powder all over his room, tearing all the flaps out of several different books, pulling out all the clothes from the drawers in our closet, and pushing over a box fan, which caused the motor to start burning. Luckily I found it before our carpet caught fire. 

Growing up so fast, but still my little baby boy

Major goofball

He still is super attached to his yellow blanket, but has recently added a few more friends to his inner circle: Ah-Ah (a sloth), Puppy, Batman, and Rrrrr (a dragon). Every night before bed he likes to hand them to us one by one for a kiss. Here a video of Davey telling you about each of them :)

September 25, 2017

Check Up Time

September was a month of appointments. We spent a lot of time in waiting rooms, and then exam rooms, but at least we are all healthy!

The kids had dental visits and well child exams. It was Davey's first visit to the dentist and I was a little worried about taking them both in by myself in case someone reacted badly, but thankfully they both did great. We did learn from the dentist that the water here has too much naturally occurring fluoride and he suggested that we start getting bottled water for the kids, because too much fluoride can damage permanent teeth that haven't erupted yet and permanently stain them brown. I looked up the levels when I got home and our city water is almost twice the recommended level for kids so bottled water it is! We already had purchased a fridge filter because the water here has a funny taste, but those don't remove fluoride, which is normally beneficial. So now we are the proud owner of several jugs that we fill with 15 gallons at the water station. Kind of a pain, but at least it isn't too pricey and the kids will hopefully have good teeth later because of it.

Sadly I couldn't get their doctor appointments on the same day so we had to go in twice. I took Davey in first while Sophi was a school and then we went back all together the next week for her turn. Both kids got shots and unfortunately the nurse here is not quite as speedy as the one we had in Utah and so it was a pretty traumatic experience. Sadly they did not have flu shots in yet at their clinic so we will have to go back in once more when those arrive.

Davey was thrilled about the superhero decorations in his exam room. There were also masks and posters on the wall featuring all his favorite characters. Sophie was allowed to bring Purple to her check up since she was getting shots. It was a bad experience, but at least she's all set for kindergarten next year!

I was also able to finally get in for my first OB visit this month. I wanted to be seen sooner, but the schedule was full so I had to wait until I was almost 14 weeks along for an appointment. Because they couldn't accurately date the pregnancy from my last period (it was over 2 years ago), I went back in for a dating sonogram a few days later. And then I go to go back in once more a week later to meet my doctor and discuss how things were going. A lot of visits, but so far it looks to be a healthy pregnancy!

Our first glimpse of Peppercorn

This was a picture of the baby's foot, but when Sophie saw it she immediately declared, "Our baby is a girl!!" When I asked her how she knew, she said it was because the baby had such beautiful eyelashes :)

September 21, 2017

Announcing Howe Baby #3!!

New state, new job, new house... new baby!! In July we found out we were once again expecting with a tentative due date of March 4th. If this baby decides to go full term we will be three for three with kids and March birthdays - party all month long!!

It was kind of crazy to learn about this on top of everything else we had going on, but also the most wonderful news. We never really know how long it will take us to get pregnant so this was the best kind of surprise. This time around we weren't really trying, and I was still waiting for my cycles to return to normal after I stopped nursing Davey in May, but I guess the timing was right for a new addition to our family. 

I was hoping to escape bad morning sickness this time around, but had no such luck. It was a little bit of a bummer to feel horrible during all of our summer vacations, but well worth it. At this point even that is starting to fade and my energy is slowly coming back as the second trimester begins. So far everything looks good and for now we are referring to this little one as "Peppercorn" until we until we can confirm gender. 

We will soon be the Howes, party of five - hooray!!

The best shot we could get before Davey ran away

September 19, 2017

The Tri-State Fair

The fair came to town in September! I never went to the fair growing up because it was too far away, and too expensive, but here everything is more reasonable and I think it will become an annual family tradition. We went on a Monday night, so the crowds were light and the weather was beautiful. It was actually worked out perfectly because the next week Amarillo was hit with torrential rains that literally went on for days on end.

Monday was also a special school night where elementary age kids could buy a wristband for $20, granting access to unlimited rides. Sophie is technically not in school yet, but she's tall for her age and no questions were asked when we asked to get one for her. Since rides normally cost $3-4/each, it was definitely a money saver!!

It really was fun and Soph had a blast doing all the rides. I think she went on pretty much every thing  she was tall enough to ride. The food was also pretty good and we were able to eat well without too much hurt to our wallet. The only thing we could have done better would be to check the events calendar to see when the shows and rodeo were scheduled. We didn't do anything other than food and rides and, from what I hear, the rodeo is a pretty big deal so next year we'll plan accordingly.

There were only a few rides that Davey was able to go on without an adult, but he loved everything he was allowed to try

Lovin' the roller coasters

The kids adored the giant stuffed animals, but we thankfully made it home without any in tow

Lest you think she likes all rides, the swinging ship did scare her a little

Sophie took a photo of us at dinner. I had a BBQ sandwich with a cherry limeade, Dave had a foot long corndog, and the kids just ate chips. 

The Dragon Wagon was the roller coaster she wanted to do more than anything, but solo riders weren't allowed so she had to find a buddy. It looks like her little friend had the ride of his life - ha!

Davey spent most of his time like this, watching Sophie have fun from behind bars

With her first funnel cake! Sadly it was a bit overcooked and quite crispy, but she still thought it was pretty delicious. 

Still smiling even though it was well past bedtime

The petting zoo was surprisingly fantastic! Animals were roaming everywhere, and there were lots of different ones mixed in with the usual goats and sheep, like a camel, a giant tortoise, and even a zebra!

By the end of the night Sophie was starting to get a little lonely doing all the rides by herself, so I purchased a few tokens to ride the ferris wheel with her. We had nice views of the fair grounds and city in the distance - a perfect way to end the night!