Monday, May 31, 2010

Mission Backyard Overhaul

If you've been keeping up with our Never Ending House To-Do's here, you'll know that we have been avoiding doing our backyard. It has been SUCH A HUGE undertaking and with the addition of a baby to our household, the task just seemed overwhelming. Well, with the impending Birthday Celebration coming up, we began the task of jackhammering up the concrete for the new patio.

At the Beginning of the Project: Mr. Howard had chiseled up the other concrete with a SLEDGEHAMMER!!! Now he was set to go!

He finished with the jackhammer in under three hours and then my sister and I cleaned up the old concrete (with Mr. Howard's help with the wheelbarrel)!
I am happy to report that we have finished the concrete jackhammering and can now move on one of the ten million other projects we've got to do back there!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

We have a READER!

As a teacher, I had a lot of fears before Connor was born. A few of them were: (1) That I'd have a child who hates school, (2) That I'd have a wild child (have any of you met my husband?), (3) That I wouldn't have the time or energy to do the things I KNOW parents should do, and (4) That my child would HATE to read!

In an effort to address My Number 4 Fear, I spent tons of time and money buying books for Little Man and have celebrated each time someone gives him a book as a gift.
I also have done my best to read to him as much as I think about it. When he was REALLY little and was still sleeping with us, I would read to him constantly in bed. But still, I feared he'd hate to read (again...have you met my husband?).
I am, however, happy to report that as of today, he loves reading. I know that someday that may change, but I'm hoping that he'll love it as much as I do (and BOY do I LOVE it!!).
Here are a few photos as proof. He does open the book and look at all the pictures - page by page!
He loves to turn the books over and over in his hands!
But, right now the majority of his reading time is spent chewing on the side of the book -
and I'm okay with that! A book in a child's hand is a book afterall!
I hope that in a few years I can report his love for reading and even more so, perhaps, someday I'll be able to report that even as an adult he enjoys to read!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Best Investment Ever

We have been provided hours of fun by inviting this ball to join our household. Sometimes Connor just carries it around with him from room to room. Other times he throws it and watches it roll. And other times he just pushes it around the house.

If you do not have one of these, you MUST go out and buy one!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clapping

Connor's Illustrious Applause!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forty-six Weeks Old

What a busy week! Connor went to his first amusement park, learned how to wave, learned how to clap, perfected his walking, decided the vacuum is his enemy, and spent a lot of time playing with the puppies.



Wordless Wednesday

Monday, May 24, 2010

Connor Can Sign

I can't remember if I've ever posted a video of Connor signing milk. I meant to get a video of him waving, but hunger struck him suddenly and he began signing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Show Us Your Life

This week in Kelly's Show Us Your Life, the topic is Show us your Hometown.


I debated and debated about which city I'd consider my hometown. Obviously my home currently resides in a town outside of Sacramento. But, I don't yet consider this my hometown. For me, the city that holds that honor is still Palm Springs, the city that my family and I (minus Connor) resided in for 18 years.

This is one of the most famous streets in Palm Springs: You see these on every corner: golf courses! A typical shop front in Palm SpringsOur tram! You can see the most beautiful views of the entire city! My absolute FAVORITE Mexican restaurant in the world. I am sure there are much better restaurants, but I grew up eating this for special occasions! Probably what we're most famous for...The Windmills! Can I just tell you that whenever we get close now and I see these, my heart beats. There is something to be said about going back to the place that you were born and raised!Just gathering these photos makes me miss it so much!

Six Flags

This weekend we decided to take Connor to Six Flags Marine World. We've actually been planning on going for some time now, but the weather hasn't been right... or one of us hasn't been feeling well...or one of us has had something to do. So we packed up the car and made the long car trip (hey! Long is relative with a walking ten month old). Despite Mr. Howard's protests, we even got in a few photos of the three of us!
(Yes...we were suckers and paid $20 for the photo above)
Connor REALLY enjoyed the underwater tanks where he could watch the sharks and the walrus!
I know this photo is blurry, but I just thought it was so cool!
He particularly liked the times when we let him get out and walk on his own!

The highlight for Mr. Howard and I (Connor didn't get it) was that the tiger decided to nap RIGHT by the window!! We got the most perfect view up close and personal!

Connor really liked the elephants and watched them closely for about 10 minutes!

If it had been a bit warmer, we would have let him have fun walking in the sprinklers that come out of the ground! Instead I spent all my time trying to keep him away from them!

Connor enjoyed the Shouka Show, although Mommy and Daddy had difficulty because the couple in front of us was standing through the majority of the performance, despite being asked to sit down.

Connor thought that the whale jumping out of the water and touching the red ball was pretty neat and clapped his hands wildly when everyone cheered (did I mention he's clapping now?? Well, he is!).

Our prime viewing spot before the couple arrived. Daddy was trying to get the perfect photo with the dolphin jumping and in the meantime, Connor got distracted!

Lessons Learned:

(1) Bring a spare bottle in case you and your husband leave, pretty much, the only bottle he'll drink out of.

(2) Watch child super closely when giving him the bottle he hates because he may try to take the nipple out and dump all the formula on top of himself!

(3) Don't try to take him on a ride without shoes (apparently he must be wearing shoes to be on the ride).

(4) Don't try to demonstrate to the ride operator that he can, in fact, walk after he's been in a stroller and car seat for a combined 4 hours because he may just fall straight on his face and have a ginormous meltdown in front of a lot of people.

(5) If you leave *earlier referenced* bottle at home, search the gift shops immediately upon entrance to see if they have a bottle (some do) and locate the bottle before you've been at the park 5 hours.

This one is for Mr. Howard (6) Don't be shocked when your wife, FYI a TEACHER, gets all snippity with the high schoolers who are cussing and the couple who won't sit down. She may ask adults to "please sit on their bottoms," and children to "stop being rude and discontinue the profanity." It's just a fact of life for you (and for her) now.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Can you believe it??

Can you believe how close we are getting to Connor's First Birthday? Look at all of these! WOW!

Front Yard Landscaping

Do you remember this post last year?Add Video Well, the plants have had a year to establish themselves and they are starting to look great. Those of you who know me well, know I adore hydrangea. So imagine my surprise when I woke up and saw my hot pink and purple hydrangea growing!!!

A few from the street!

If you look at the previous link and then the current post, you'll see that we removed the white picket fence. My dad and Mr. Howard hated that fence from day 1. I have always loved it, but did agree with removing it because the wood was starting to fall apart. It is nice to be able to see my hydrangea when I drive past the house!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our Little Walker

Forty-five Weeks Old

We try to be sooo sneaky with the paper, but he's so big now and can walk so well, that he just gets to it. I didn't even get a single shot before he grabbed hold of it and stuck it RIGHT in his mouth. SO funny!!

Connor has two more teeth, believe it or not! He cut them some time last week and they are, thankfully, his two front top teeth (yayayay no more vampire fangs!). Hehe! He just wanted to be like Twilight and didn't even know it!

Stay tuned for the video of how AMAZING Connor has gotten at walking!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I LOVE it!!

Didn't they do an amazing job?!? I absolutely LOVE it!! But the best part about it is below: a million drawers for DVD's. Of course Mr. Howard is thrilled to be able to get rid of the stupid wire DVD racks we've had polluting our living room! A close up of the cabinets and such! And Storage: Ahhhhhhhh

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our New Entertainment Center...Almost

In anticipation of tomorrow's post showing you the finished photo of our custom entertainment center made by my dad and husband...I thought I should post some photos to whet your appetite
First: How we've had it set up for the last few months: propped up on a little side table! Ick!

Second: All cleaned up and ready for the new entertainment center!

Stay tuned to see the finished result!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Swings

One of the many ways we spent our Sunday!

Spaghetti

I've been trying to introduce more solids to Connor as we leave for Europe in a little over a month and I don't want to have to bring 12 jars of formula with us. I'd love it if he could order off the menu or eat fruit and things we pick up at the grocery story. You can see in the video below how introducing spaghetti went...he thought it was a lot of fun, but not so great to eat. I couldn't have an entire post about spaghetti without including the words to one of my favorite Morning Sing songs!!
On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,
And onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden,
And under a bush,
And then my poor meatball,
Was nothing but mush.

The mush was as tasty
As tasty could be,
And early next summer,
It grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered
With beautiful moss,
It grew lovely meatballs,
All covered with sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatballs,
And don't ever sneeze.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Show Us Your Life: Books/Children's Books

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

This week on Kelly's Show Us Your Life, she's focusing on children's books. How can I not contribute to this as a teacher?!?

I absolutely LOVE the book I Love You, Stinkyface. It is the most wonderful story of unconditional love. An Excerpt:
"But Mama what if I were a swamp creature with slimy,
smelly seaweed hanging from my body?"
**
Then I would live by the swamp and take care of you always
I'd tell you 'I love you, my slimy swamp monster!'"
**
I love A Mama for Owen, which is a wonderful, true story about an African Hippo who is separated from his mama. He finds a tortoise and she becomes his mama. What I love most about this book is that it shows that Mamas come in all shapes, sizes, and genders. We got this book for Connor's daycare teacher for Teacher Appreciation Week with an inscription thanking her for being Connor's other Mama.
I also really love Love You Forever. I know A LOT of people will pick those, however, so I wanted to pick a few fresh ones.


In terms of older children's books, I do read alouds every year with Bridge to Terabithia, Holes, Hoot, and Esperanza Rising. I had the pleasure of meeting the author of Esperanza Rising, who told me how it is loosly based on a true story.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daddy and Baby Day

I am always trying to convince Mr. Howard to take some photos of their day and I finally got a photo and WHAT-AN-ADORABLE photo it was!!!! I also love it because you can see his little fangs on the top!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Forty-four Weeks Old

Wow! I thought that the older Connor got, the easier it would be to take his photo. BOY was I wrong. The crib photo is basically impossible. He just stands at the crib and refuses to sit with the teddy. I literally had about 2 seconds before he pulled himself up to get a shot in.

Connor is already 10 months old! Ahh! We have already begun planning his first birthday party and cannot believe how unbelievably fast the last few months have flown by. It will be so nice this summer for me to be able to spend so much more time with him (although I'm still super nervous about the ridiculous flight to Italy this summer).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Board Meeting

This evening we had a board meeting to determine final layoffs. The board voted 5 to 2 in favor of laying off 200+ teachers (including me). I continue to be very afraid for California and the state of our schools. I continue to worry about Connor's future. I pray that some day we realize that having 30 kindergartners in one classroom is going to take its toll on the very precious things that matter most: our students.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Mom,
Thank you for everything you did for me growing up and continue to do! Happy Mother's Day. I love you!
Mr. Howard
**DUE TO THE NEW LAYOUT, I CAN'T GET RID OF THE MRS. HOWARD SIGNATURE**

Mother's Day

The morning began with a plant & adorable pot decorated by Connor...
And a sentimental card - with words translated by Daddy!
And AMAZING TICKETS TO MICHAEL BUBLE!!!!
And continued into our car to...wait for it...go offroading for the day (was this Mother's Day or Father's Day??)
We stopped to take pictures at the American River!
And had a lot of fun showing Connor what White Water Rapids look like!
And continued on our offroading journey!
And stopped to take some more photos at the beautiful spots!
Including a beautiful waterfall
And saw deer on our way (Connor was sadly asleep at this point)
And realized it must be Mother's Day in their world too because Mama and Baby Deer were out together!
I'm now being given a break, while Daddy and Connor play and hang out and then Mr. Howard has a delicious dinner planned with Filet Mignon and asparagus. Yum! Yum! What a WONDERFUL day!!

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