November 30, 2017

November Roundup

I feel like I say this every time, but November was another busy month! We fit in a lot of activities, in addition to our Thanksgiving trip. The weather here in Amarillo has still be really nice, but it's finally starting to look like winter could be around the corner and soon it will be time to put away the shorts. Here are some notes and photos of some things that happened:
  • Davey started climbing in and out of his high chair, learned to locate airplanes and the moon in the sky, and became obsessed with robots and pew-pews (guns). 
  • Sophie was the Letter Detective at preschool and we had to find objects that started with the letter "H" for her to share in class, she discovered "Where's Waldo" books and became quite good at them, and learned how to do Color-by-Numbers. 
  • Dave and I finished the second season of Stranger Things and it was fun to have something new to watch each night. I also got called to serve as the YW secretary in the ward instead of Relief Society instructor. Our group of girls is small, but good and I like the presidency that I am serving with. 
On a walk with my buddy while Sophie is at school. We miss her, but it's nice to have some time together twice a week before baby brother joins us. 

Sophie was super excited to bring home the proofs from her preschool picture day. There were four photos, and this was the best one. I didn't have the heart to tell her I wasn't ordering any, but I did take a picture with my phone for remembrance sake. 

This is how he shows us that he is thirsty and would like a drink. We actually don't even use the fridge dispenser because we have a separate filter instead, but he seemed to know what it was for anyway. 

Davey got the stool and brought it over to the counter all by himself to try and steal some cookies

I thought we were past the age of blowouts, but he had a major one at Walmart and had to finish our shopping trip without pants. 

Trip to the library - the new wagon from grandma has been very handy!

I have no idea where this photo is from. I found it on Dave's phone and thought it was cute though. 

Someone has been waking up too early lately...

Candy Land has been one of Sophie's favorite games lately, especially since Dave introduced the element that the winner gets a real candy at the end. 

I got this cute advent tree of Amazon on Black Friday and the kids have had a great time with it. We started putting the ornaments on in November as a countdown to leaving for Grandma's house instead of counting to Christmas Day. 

Another Black Friday find...We were actually not planning on getting a tree at all this year, but it seemed very Grinch-like to have nothing so I got this little 6 ft tree at Target for $30 and we'll upgrade some other year. Davey quickly started removing ornaments and even broke a couple that I thought were kid proof, so I put most of our good ones straight back into storage where they will probably stay for many years until we're out of the toddler phase. 

November 28, 2017

Sophie & Davey

These two are really something. They go back and forth between best friends or worst enemies several times a day, but I feel like for the most part they get along really well.

Davey trusts her completely and wants to be with her all the time. She is the first one he starts asking for after waking up and his favorite place to hang out is in her room. He will grab her hand and say "Sophie, c'mon. C'mon Sophie!" and lead her away to go play, and most of the time she will oblige. 

Sophie really is an amazing big sister and can tolerate a lot of Davey destruction and interference before resorting to hitting and pushing. We are both going to miss having her around next year when she starts full day kindergarten. She helps me so much by playing with him, reading him books, getting snacks or drinks, helping him through playgrounds, and so much more. We recently discovered that she can even get him out of the crib!

One morning I rolled over in bed and found Davey standing right next to my face. It shocked me and my first thought was "Oh no! He's learned to climb out the crib!," but I later learned that Sophie had heard him next door and gone in to get him out. Phew! I let this go on for a few weeks, but then the wake ups started getting earlier and earlier, until one morning I saw lights on and heard noise at 2 am and went out to find them playing in the family room. We had a discussion about time, put everyone back to bed, and set a new rule that only mommy or daddy would get Davey out now. 

Still, I am glad they are friends and I hope things will stay that way!

Enjoying a donut treat after getting flu shots. Neither of these kiddos were especially brave or cooperative, but we survived and that was reason enough to celebrate

She lets him pick the game or show, and then she will play while he watches. I am wondering how long it will be before he wants in on the action too.

Playing "Mini Mixies" together. We randomly discovered these little sets at Ross one day for $4. When I looked them up on Amazon and saw they usually cost a bunch more, I went back and bought every one I could find. Each set folds up into a small cube and comes with little figures that can swap hair and clothes. Davey loves to take them apart and Sophie likes putting them back together so they make a good team :)

Matching jammies...from last year. Hers still fit fine, but his were a bit snug since they were size 18 months. I was actually surprised they fit at all and was glad we could get a picture like the one from last December. 

A peaceful moment in the tub before she started kicking and splashing water in his face

Entertaining Davey during one of my OB appointments

November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

We have never traveled before for Thanksgiving. The break is normally too short and we always travel for Christmas, so it the past it just wasn't worth the effort. This year, however, we now have family just a 6 hour drive away in Dallas, so across the plains and through the cotton fields to Grandma's house we went. We left on a Wednesday and came back on a Monday - just enough time to have some fun and space out the long drives.

Dave's brother Tim, and his family, were also visiting from Idaho so the whole family was together! We had 12 people staying in the house, and then Greg's family live nearby, so they were over frequently to play. It was a little crazy at times, but also a lot of fun!

On our way out we stopped at the County Tax Office to get our car registered in Texas. Our Utah plates had expired and we didn't want to start a road trip without the proper documents. Luckily there was a war monument next door that had a helicopter and airplane to keep the kids busy while Dave took care of paperwork inside. 

Davey really doesn't love car trips, but he'll have to get used to it because we'll probably make the drive to Dallas at least 2-3 times a year. 

The Howe Cousins - Lincoln (7), Amelia (1), Jack (12), Emma (5), Liam (4), Sophie (4), Ally (15) and Davey (1). It's all tied up at four girls and four boys, until our little guy arrives in a few months. 

I brought one of the puzzles I got for my birthday to work on and we also had a fun afternoon at a park near Greg's house one day. 

Ready for the Thanksgiving feast - it is possible to fit 17 people around one table!

The three "littles" who are not looking so little anymore

One Black Friday the girls went out shopping while the dads, grandma, and grandpa took the kids to the Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. It has some real animals, some animatronic dinosaurs, and other exhibits that the kids enjoyed. It was nice to get them outdoors and we are able to visit for free with our museum pass - win! 

On one of our last nights we went out to dinner and then over to Dallas Cowboy's practice field to see them light up the big tree. The ceremony they put together was pretty underwhelming but Sophie thought the striped lights on the tree were neat. 

Our drive from Amarillo to Dallas takes us through several teeny, tiny towns, but no matter how small, they all seem to have a Dairy Queen. We stopped at one on the way home for lunch.

All the packages waiting for us when we got home. It's a good thing we live in a court and our porch is pretty hidden from the street!

November 24, 2017

Howe Christmas Card 2017

I wasn't planning to have family photos taken this year since we are adding a new family member in a few months, but there was a local girl wanting to expand her business in Amarillo looking for people to participate in a free photo shoot, so we volunteered! I'll share more of the photos in a separate post, but we did get a good family shot that I decided to use for our Christmas card.

This was also the first year that we did a sort of Christmas "letter" to go along with our card. I found a great deal on Groupon for nice quality cards, and then when they arrived, the back was plain white so I put together a little infographic about our family and ran them back through our own printer to add the "letter" to the back.

The whole process was actually much easier than expected, and I found myself in mid-November with everything done. It was awesome! Since we moved I wanted to get our cards with our new address out early, so I went ahead and mailed them just before leaving for our Thanksgiving trip.

It's not obvious at first glance, but Sophie is holding her arm out because she had found a inch worm and it was in her hand for the photo. Luckily it didn't ruin the picture because everyone was smiling really good in this one!

A short update about our family that I printed on the back of the cards

Like last year, Sophie helped me put all the stamps on the envelopes. 

Stamped, labeled, and ready to go!

FYI - The company we used this year was called Photo Affections and I was super happy with the way they turned out. Their website was easy to use, the cards arrived just 2 days after my order was in, and with the Groupon the price was just about the same as the regular photo cards from Costco. I'll be looking for a Groupon to use with them again next year!

November 21, 2017

Turning 32 - Happy Birthday to Me!

Another year, another birthday! This year I turned 32 and I can't say things feel much different :) Our celebrations were pretty low key since we were getting ready to leave town, but Dave did get a little cake from the store and I got a new mop that I had really been wanting for our hardwood floors. Not the most exciting present, but I am so happy every time I use it and how good our floors look afterward.

Opening presents in the morning. Sadly the kids did not give me the gift of sleeping in. 

The birthday card Sophie drew for me. The girls are on the left with green hair standing by a birthday cake, and the boys are on the right. Notice that we all have belly buttons :)

November 18, 2017

Other November Adventures

NATURE CENTER: We found out that the Nature Center near us has a program for little kids on the first Friday of every month. For November the activity was making bird feeders from apples, followed by a walk and then time in the dig pit. Sophie accidentally poured in a little too much bird seed in the bowl when we were making ours so we had enough filling to make, not one, but six bird feeders! We left four there and brought two home to tie on our trees. 

CARDEN SPECTACULAR CIRCUS: We discovered 2-for-1 admission tickets to the circus while picking up our pizza one night, and decided to go! It wasn't all that spectacular, but still a fun night out. We last went to the circus about a year ago when Sophie was three, and this time came prepared with our own popcorn, cotton candy, drinks, and glow wands for the kids, which really helped to lessen the impact of saying "no" to everything the vendors were selling. 

Some of the highlights included elephants, dogs, tigers (Sophie's favorite), a trapeze group, jugglers, and the human cannonball. We were planning to leave at intermission because it was already past bedtime, but the cannon didn't come until the very end and Sophie desperately wanted to see that part and convinced us to stick around. When the big moment finally happened, she was so tired and emotionally fragile that the whole thing scared her and made her cry. 

AMARILLO ZOO: The zoo used to have free admission on Mondays, but they finally decided to start charging so we ended up buying a family pass for only $35, and now we can visit any day we want! We went this last Friday, on what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day. It was cool in the morning when we arrived, but warmed up nicely and we were able to ditch our coats and just play in t-shirts by the end. 

The kids normally spend about half the time looking at animals, and the other half playing in the sand pit. As a bonus, this time they were in the process of setting up "Zoo Lights" while we were there and Sophie loved seeing all the decorations spread out, waiting to be placed. We will have to go back once the event begins to see everything all lit up. 

This lion stands up and roars about once every 30 minutes, but we always seem to miss it. This time we waited and watched for awhile, and then of course we heard him from the other side of the zoo about 3 minutes after we left.