February 28, 2018

February Roundup

February is done! For the shortest month of the year, it sure felt long and we are not sad to see it finished. This month we had sickness, surgery, cold and windy weather, a leaking disposal, and a tired, very pregnant mama with less patience than normal. There were good moments too, though, like our new car, Sophie starting swim lessons again, Davey learning new words and phrases almost daily, and Dave and I even snuck away for a date one afternoon to see the new Black Panther movie. 

Here are some other random snippets from February:

All prepped for broken nose repair. At least we already knew we would hit our deductible this year with the baby, so bring on the procedures!

Another trip to the Discovery Center. There really isn't a ton to do here, especially since the Lego exhibit left last month, but the kids always find something to have fun with. Sophie and I successfully built an arch for the first time on our last visit. Normally we lay the blocks out and it falls over as soon as we try to stand it up, but we kept trying and finally succeeded!

Sophie loves the free Home Depot kid workshops. Dave usually takes her, but I got a turn this month and it was fun to watch her work. The project was a Valentine's Day bean bag toss that luckily wasn't too hard to make because I am a novice when it comes to carpentry.

Sometimes they drive each other nuts, but other times the get along, and I love those moments

Our neighborhood has shared dumpsters in the alley, rather than individual cans. Our dumpster is right behind the back fence and Davey loves watching the garbage pick up a couple times a week. 

Sophie has really been excelling at puzzles. She has mastered all the 24 and 60 piece puzzles we own, and I was talking to Dave about how she needs a challenge. The very next morning I got a promo code for a free puzzle from Shutterfly, so I made this "Howe ABC" puzzle. It's 250 pieces and might be too difficult at first, but I know she'll get there in no time. I'm giving it to her for her birthday and think she'll love it!

I had New Beginnings for Young Women's this month, where we welcome the new girls that will be joining us throughout the year. The program went well and I thought the decorations turned out nice. 

Refreshment table, the most important part of the evening :)

Our group is small, so we are thrilled to be welcoming three new beehives, two sisters who recently moved into our ward boundaries, and an investigator who will be baptized soon. 

One morning I went in to get Davey and found him naked in the crib with his diaper and jammies on the ground. Yikes! Luckily the crib was dry and it hasn't happened again since. I'm not ready to tackle that challenge just yet...

Two of his new phrases this month were "I Davey,"  which he tells to random people all the time now, and "Davey's turn." Sophie has not been thrilled with his realization that he can sometimes be a participant too, instead of just an observer. 

I love how he still sleeps with his feet tucked under him like a newborn. Sweet boy. 

My bubble monster from the deep. She later told me she was actually trying to make herself look like a sheep, because they are white and fluffy. 

Stake Conference Shenanigans - we've had two conferences in the last two months and they really are a test of how far you can stretch entertainment for the kiddos

First time at Braums! We went to get ice cream as a reward for completing all our Saturday chores - go Howe family!

And now that this post is done, the blog is completely up to date and ready to share hundreds of photos of baby boy, who will hopefully be here any day now - we can't wait!!

February 27, 2018

We Found Swimming Lessons!

Swimming has always been one of Sophie's favorite activities, but since moving to Amarillo I have  struggled to find lessons for her. The town club and other private pool options were incredibly expensive, but the city-sponsored classes were only offered during the summer months when we are normally traveling.

While browsing online one day in January, I stumbled across a new Amarillo City Activity Center opening up north that had just started enrolling for swim lessons. It's a 20 minute drive from our house, but they were offering six, 45 minute lessons for just $35 dollars, which was over $100 less than all the other options I had come across! We signed up and since this was the first round, hardly anyone else knew about it and Sophie ended up in a class with just one other girl.

So far she has loved the lessons and has learned so much. After one month she can now swim the width of the pool on her stomach or back and dive underwater like a pro. We're going to take a break during March when the baby comes, but have promised her that she can start going again in April. This girl is going to be swimming like a mermaid once summer comes!

February 25, 2018

38 & 39 Weeks

Reaching the end of each week during the third trimester is cause for celebration, so this post has photos from week 38 and 39! Almost there! We are ready for this boy to arrive, but at the same time, I want him to stay put until his due date on the 4th. Grandmari is arriving on March 5th to help with the kids, and if he can hang on for at least three more days he will have a March birthday, just like his siblings. It will also give us a bit more time to work out a name. Right now the debate is at a standstill...

I am actually feeling pretty good these days, other than being tired and needing the bathroom at least every hour. He dropped about a week ago and it's been nice to have him out of my lungs and breathe easier again. There have been no contractions yet, my heartburn has disappeared, and I can still bend over pretty well to clean up the toys and clothes scattered all around the house. Sometimes I forget he's even in there, until I get a good kick to the ribs. My next doctor appointment is in a few days and hopefully we will get a better idea of how baby is doing and how soon he might make an appearance. My last pregnancy was induced, so I'm having a hard time remembering what the days and hours leading up to labor felt like.

38 Weeks - I am enjoying my final days of privileged parking at our grocery store. Those spots are awesome and I'm going to miss parking there once baby comes and I'm lugging an infant seat and two other kids from the back of the lot every time we go shopping. 

Still able to find a bit of room on my lap 

39 Weeks - with Davey I felt huge at the end and all my clothes stopped fitting, but this time I think I might be just a bit smaller. I certainly wouldn't mind if this boy was closer to the 7 lb mark, instead of the 8-9 lbs range like the other two. 

February 15, 2018

Valentine's Day 2018

As Sophie gets older, our Valentine's Days get more involved. This year for preschool she had a party and a card exchange that were eagerly anticipated for several weeks. She had the Valentine favors for her friends completed mid January, and then since we were done so early, she asked to make them for all of her cousins as well. She also drew this picture for me since she ran out of real Valentines and didn't want me to feel left out - I'm the one with the big tummy :)

Since I didn't go to the school Christmas party (lots of tears were shed) I promised that I would help at the Valentine's party. I really don't mind helping, but the timing is difficult because I have to keep Davey up past nap time, and then bring him along which is a recipe for meltdowns. Luckily the cookies and other treats at the party were able to fuel him until we got back home.

Davey sat right down next to Sophie (at a plate that wasn't his) and started snacking

Sophie with two of her preschool friends - Abigail and Kennedy - and with her bag of goodies

On Valentine's Day their was a special "Toddler Time" deal at AirU, the trampoline park right near our house. Normal admission is $10/kid, which is too pricey for us, but for the holiday it was half price so we decided to meet some friends there and try it out. 

They make you wear special trampoline socks to prevent slipping and Davey instantly HATED them. He cried for a good 10 minutes and refused to even walk while wearing them, so I was a bit worried the outing would be a bust, but after sitting on my lap and watching Sophie run around, he decided to give it a try and ended up having a great time. It was awesome to be there with only little kids so I didn't have to worry about them being plowed over. I hope they have another discount day soon so we can go back!

Another bonus - both kids took 2 hour naps when we got back home after burning all that energy

February 12, 2018

Valentine's Day Photo

Every year I like to take a Valentine's day "portrait" that we can send out to the grandparents to let them know how much we love them. This year's almost didn't happen because we kept getting hit with different sick bugs, but one morning I just stuck the kids in a chair, said "Smile!" and luckily we got a good shot. I'm glad we have it to add to our collection because it's fun to look back through the years to see how they have grown.

2018 - Sophie is 4, Davey is 1

Davey seemed to know what was going on because after I pulled the chair into our room he climbed right up and said "cheese!" even though I wasn't quite ready yet. In fact, he was still wearing sweat pants, but in the end I decided it didn't matter and just left him that way.

A few of the outtakes

I posted the photos from the previous four years below as well, and I can't believe how old Sophie looks in the one from 2016. No wonder people always looked at me weird when I took her places and said she was 2 years old. They probably thought we were just trying to avoid paying admission for her :)

2017 - Sophie is almost 3, Davey is 11 months

2016 - Sophie is 2

2015 - Sophie is 1

2014 - Sophie is 11 months

February 10, 2018

Goodbye Escape, Hello Sedona!!

When we found out a third baby was on the way, we knew it was time to start car shopping. Both our cars were still running fine, but neither could could fit three car seats across without a lot of manhandling, and since our kids are young and we will be in the car seat phase of life for a long time, we knew an upgrade was needed. Our two options were a three-row SUV or a mini van, and after shopping around, we decided that a van would be the best fit for our family.

Our research and dealership visits went really slow, because it was the holidays and we were busy with a lot of stuff. Then one day in February one of the sales reps we had worked with at the Kia dealership offered to bring by a 2017 Sedona van for us to look at. It was super cold that day, so we pulled it right into the garage for inspection. We really liked everything about it, and then took it for a test drive around the neighborhood, which also went well. Costs were discussed, and then after some negotiations, the van was ours!

Here are some stats and things we liked about the van that made us go through with the purchase:
  • 2017 Kia Sedona with 22,000 miles. We looked at new, but with the recent house purchase and upcoming baby bills, we decided pre-owned was a better financial choice. It's two years old and was a rental car in it's previous life. It is certified through the dealership, though, so we still have the rest of the warranty in case things go wrong. 
  • And speaking of the dealership, it's located in our neighborhood! We could theoretically drop the car and walk home if needed, which is super convenient. 
  • We got a really great price. When the manager heard about it, he looked Dave up and saw that he is a business professor with an emphasis on negotiations. He asked Dave to come meet with him later that week for a chat and down the road they might trade negotiations training for car services. We'll see what happens....
  • The second row has a middle seat that can be removed to make a walkway to the back. Right now we have it in, but when the baby comes we'll take it out and have Davey and baby in the second row, and move Sophie to the back. The third row of seats also folds down completely into the trunk, which is nice if we ever need to transport something large, or if we are going on a big camping trip or something where we have a lot of gear. 
  • Since it's pre-owned, there are a couple minor dings and scuffs so no one has to worry about putting the first mark on the car :)
  • The kids love the automatic sliding doors and so do I. Amarillo has crazy winds and I was always afraid once of them would open a door and it would go flying into a car next to us. In fact, Sophie was not allowed to ever open her door unless we were parked on an end spot because I was so nervous about denting another car. 
  • We've never had a back-up camera before and it's been nice. Sophie wished there was an entertainment system, but sadly that was the next trim level up. We'll survive. 

Old car - Dave with our Escape that we traded in towards the purchase of the van. He took it to the dealer for an appraisal, and ended up leaving it there to take the van home. It was a good car, and I wasn't expecting to never see it again so I told Dave to take a photo with it before leaving. 

New car - the kids absolutely love the van, especially Davey. If you even mention the word "van" he will run to get his shoes and go out in the garage. I have also enjoyed driving it more than I though I would. It's comfortable and has everything we wanted in a car!