Thursday, July 29, 2010

So Beyond Frustrated

I have spent cumulatively over 5 hours on the phone with HP Tech Support and Apple Tech Support - all so I can plug in Mr. Howard's new iPhone4 (and of course, now be able to plug in my iPhone which has been working for a year). GRRRRR.

HP says it's apple's problem. Apple says it's HP's problem.

I. Do. Not. Have. Time. For. This.

While I rant and rave, I have posted a photo from our last night on the Amalfi Coast of the Little Man, Itty", and me. My belly is getting big (well, to me, anyway!)!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Itty Debut

Here is our new baby, "Itty."
June 22, 2010 (8 Weeks)
July 27, 2010 (13 Weeks)
So loved already...

Monday, July 26, 2010

We're Pregnant...Again!

June 7, 2010 (5 Weeks 4 Days)
WOW!!!!! WHAT A SHOCKER!!! I don't know what made me take a pregnancy test! But I had been feeling a little under the weather and was also taking a medicine that said ALL OVER THE BOTTLE "Do NOT use if you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant." I had this nagging feeling that I should just take a pregnancy test and to my surprise, it showed a second fuzzy line.

I called Mr. Howard (who was at work - talk about BAD timing) and kinda freaked out. After calming down, I headed to target to get a more official one. And happily it said "Pregnant." Of course I have concerns. It wasn't in our plans for right now. It certainly wasn't how I was dreaming about going to Italy (pregnant with a one year old). But, I am also overjoyed to be adding a brother or sister to our little family. And, of course, he/she is going to be the most loved little baby there is!
June 9, 2010
Holy Moly! I do not remember my brain hurting this much last time when I gave up caffeine. I am sleeping A LOT, but I don't know if it's because I'm tired or because I'm trying to avoid my head hurting from a lack of caffeine. Morning Sickness has kicked in already! Eeeek! I am VERY sensitive to smells. I can't brush my teeth without gagging.

June 16, 2010 (6 Weeks)
Thankfully the nausea went away after a few days (about 3 days). I still have a weird sensitivity to the sounds of foods. When Mr. Howard describes choices for dinner, I gag. It's actually kinda funny because we just talk in codes. The other day I was eating corn and got sick. Something about it just made me think it was disgusting. So strange that something soooo tiny can make you think corn is gross when you've been eating it all your life. We have been remodeling the yard all week and boy-oh-boy has it been exhausting. THANKFULLY our neighbors have stepped in and done some for us to help us along. I can't lift concrete (well, I can...but it makes Mr. Howard nervous) and with only one person doing it, it would have taken hours. Thankfully, again, Filip, Paul, and Denny stepped in and saved the day!!
June 22, 2010 (7 Weeks 5 Days)
Today was our first ultrasound. We got to see our precious baby (which, honestly, looks more like a blob than a baby) and his/her heartbeat. We also found out our due date: February 5, 2011. As we've been telling our closest family and friends, the following question keeps coming up: "Will you find out the gender?" And so I thought it might be easy to answer here...No. One of the most magical things about the process of delivering was being able to have my husband tell me whether it was a boy or a girl. There really are no words to describe that moment. And I want it again. Plus, it's what kept me pushing for 2.5 hours. Talk about motivation. So, sorry, folks. You'll have to wait with the rest of us!

July 8, 2010 (10 Weeks)
This pregnancy seems to be going faster. Of course I've been super, super busy with Connor, planning his first birthday party, accepting a job, getting ready for Europe, and all the normal to-do's. We leave for Europe tomorrow and while (selfishly) I'm embarassed that all my beautiful Europe photos are going to be tainted by my puffy belly, I'm so wonderfully excited that our new baby gets to join us on our adventure. Who knows when we'll be doing a Europe trip again for a while? I'm also thrilled that I'll have an excuse to eat to my heart's content in the world's capital of amazing Italian food!!!! Shockingly I am already slightly showing. I know "they" say that you show much earlier with your second and third...and fourth...because your body just knows what to do. My stomach kinda popped (not popped like people are coming up to me asking me when I'm due, but popped to the point where when I am naked you can definitely see the pooch) around 8 weeks. NO ONE else would know I'm pregnant.

July 22 (12 Weeks)
How amazingly blessed I am not to be experiencing nausea!! I could actually do this 18 times (I always thought, "how can Mrs. Duggar do it?"). I am so enjoying this pregnancy, but I have been much more lax this time around and I need to sometimes remind myself to be a little stricter with my eating and pre-natal vitamins. Being in Europe has made me realize how these trips will not be able to continue with two little babies. It's a good thing we can enjoy it now!
And now the secret is out to the world...

Home at Last

Stay tuned for more information, but after 30 hours of traveling, we are home at last! **The Photo is from our Third Anniversary (kinda celebrated before we left)'s Mr. Howard's present!**

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today we went on a tour of Pompeii. It took us an hour to get there and then we had a three hour tour. It was so much larger than I thought (it is literally an entire preserved town with chuches, houses, stores, brothels, piazzas, streets, eateries, bakeries, and fast food restaurants) and so much further from Vesuvius than I thought. Because we had a private guide, we were able to go to some of the places off the beaten path, including a few private homes. I also didn't know that 1/3rd of the town isn't even excavated and they don't really have any plans to.

We had planned a longer tour and an additional stop, but Connor couldn't handle the 100+ heat with all the humidity. He was a good boy for the amount of time he was touring and driving (5 hours with no nap)!

Connor has been doing much better since we arrived in Positano because he's been able to get his three hour naps and 12 hours of sleeping...but it is still so hard for him. He wants to walk and run and when we're touring ancient ruins in 100 degree heat, which is simply not possible. In Italy they do not eat dinner until 8 (restaurants don't even open until then), which has been really hard on a boy used to going to bed at 6:30. It's been an adjustment and an experience, but I don't think I would do it again. 

Anyone interested in babysitting next trip?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Snorkeling off the Coast of Italy!

Today was our best day yet so far! How amazingly lucky we are. We chartered a private boat to pick us up from Positano and take us around the coast to Capri. Along the way the husband & wife team would stop to show us the grottos (white, red, and green), as well as the Tunnel of Love (which you're supposed to kiss under as a promise to return to Italy with the person you kissed). 

Then afterwards we went to Capri (I wasn't thrilled about the actual island). After returning, we went snorkeling under a grotto while Barbara (our fabulous boat host) graciously watched Connor so Mr. Howard and I could snorkel together (where he got stung by ANOTHER jelly fish -what are the chances?! He was the only one again). The boat met us on the other side and we put Connor in the Tyrrhenian Sea with us in an adorable baby raft. He seemed to like it better than Mr. Howard's beach experience yesterday. He still was very unthrilled with the salty water (as we all were). 

Our fabulous host insisted she keep Connor so we could all snorkel together. I felt like we were on our honeymoon (with a bunch of our family), but we held hands and snorkeled off the coast for a while in our own little world. (We tried snorkeling on our actual honeymoon and couldn't because Mr. Howard got seasick on the canoe ride out.)

We continued on to the city Ravello, were we had THE MOST AMAZING meal EVER at Le Sirene Hotel and Restaurant. We didn't order; instead the chef came out and told us what he was going to bring to us. He brought out about 10 different plates of traditional Napolean food. Just a few included sardines, caprese salad, salmon, croquettes, deep fried sardines, al dente pasta with zuchinni, zuchinni flower puffs (which were my favorite things ever), mussels, mozzerella filled eggplant, brushetta, prosciutto and figs, quiche with spinache and artichoke, marinated red and green peppers fresh from their garden, and doughnuts with cheese and ham (isn't that the technical Italian name? Hehe).

We returned on the boat only to dock the boat off the coast again for more snorkeling (this time with Connor sleeping in Barbara's arms). She watched him again while we snorkeled and swam in the nice, cool waters.

What an absolutely amazing day!!! You can see their boat and read about the company at

Monday, July 19, 2010

Connor's Big Day

Today the big excitement was that Connor went swimming for the very first time! How many people can say they went swimming for the first time in the Tyrrhenian Sea?! He wasn't that thrilled about it in the beginning, but once Mr. Howard sat down with him he seemed to enjoy it a bit better. He even smiled a bit. It was VERY salty and even I make a face when the water gets near my face, so I can't blame him entirely.

In the afternoon while Connor was napping, we went to an Italian pottery shop and bought a few souveniers to add to our world kitchen collection! I could buy Italian pottery every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of it! It's just soo gorgeous. It's hard to buy gifts for people because I'm always tempted to keep them!

Tonight for dinner we decided to try Positano's fish! We headed out, picked out a fish restaurant with a great view, and began ordering. Our appetizer was delicious (shrimp cocktail) and we were excited about our dinner...until it came...It arrived with the head and skin attached! Traditional Positano dinner!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Today we spent the day hanging out in Positano, walking the zillion steps to and from our apartment a couple times. While Connor was napping, Mr. Howard, Colin, Katie, and Denny went swimming in the ocean. When Katie spotted a jelly fish in the water, she pointed it out to Mr. Howard who told her the chances of them actually getting stung were slim to none. Moments later it stung Mr. Howard as if to say, "Ha! Don't challenge me!!" but at least he has a great story. How many people can say they were stung by a jelly fish in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Amalfi Coast?!

We are another dinner at home and spent the evening chatting and looking out at our breathtaking views!

A City Built Into A Cliff

Yesterday we took a train to Florence and then to Naples. A car picked us up from the train station and made the hour drive to Positano!! We arrived in the late afternoon and spent the evening in (making a pasta at home and enjoying the breathtaking views from our apartment balcony).

Our apartment is AMAZING and I can't wait to show you photos, but is muuuch less than ideal for one year olds (with unprotected stairs and no way to block them off and balconies that overlook cliffs)!

In other news, we found our camera!! Happy news!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Firenze, Italy

We woke up early and hopped on a train to Florence. My mom, VERY graciously, offered to watch Little Man so we didn't have to take him on the train two days in a row (tomorrow we leave for Naples). We headed to the Duomo first, then to see The David by Michelangelo, then the Ponte Vecchio, and finally the Basilica Di Santa Croce (where Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo Galilei are all burried).

It was HOT. HOT. HOT. Thank goodness we didn't have Connor with us or surely he would have melted.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Day in Chianti

Today we continued our Tuscan exploration in Chianti (famous for their Chianti wine). We began at Castello di Brolio (a castle built in 1000 AD) where the family STILL lives and has since the early 1200's. Then we went down the hill to the Barone Ricasoli Winery. We stopped for lunch at a little cafe (our worst meal so far) in an itty town, where we finally were able to find baby wipes (hooray...we were dangerously close to being out of them) and baby tylenol (we only had 1-2 more doses left). Afterwards we went to Radda in Chianti and finally the Castellina in Chianti.

We have lost our camera and absolutely cannot figure out where we left it!! :-( I am soo bummed to have lost all those photos, but with a one year old we were bound to lose something...better a camera than a tiny human.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuscan Hillside Adventures

Today we rented a car and drove through Tuscany to the towns of Pienza, Montepulciano (where New Moon was filmed), and San Quirco d'Orcia. It's been a little stressful trying to find cities and parking but the cities are so quaint and have a much more authentically Tustin feel. At one of the restaurants in Pienza, we ate (for lunch) spaghetti with handmade noodles, soup with beans that had been simmering for six hours, crepes that were handpressed, and all sorts of delicious sauces.

While the cities definitely have tourists in them, they are still mostly comprised of locals, which has made them much different than Siena where there are tourist shops on every corner.
 Today is our anniversary and we are celebrating by having Connor sleep in his crib while we order room service: handmade pasta, mozzerella and tomatos, risotto with mushrooms, chocolate cake, and a profiterole. This pregnant lady can't partake in any amazing Italian wine, but the hubby certainly will! I had hoped to go out, but Little Man has not slept 12 straight hours (like he usually does at home) since we left home a week ago and a happy baby makes a happy wife...which I'm sure you know: Happy Wife, Happy Life!!
What an amazing way to spend an anniversary!!
Our family of four: Mama, Baby, Connor, and Daddy

Happy 3rd Anniversary

Three years ago today, we stood before all our friends and family and vowed to love and honor each other, respect each other, and stay by each other for good times and bad and in sickness and health. I love you ten times as much as the day I married you.

With this ring, I thee wed.
Two years ago today we celebrated our very first anniversary in Paris, France and promised to stay best friends and communicate even in times when it was hard.
One year ago today, a couple days after the birth of our first child, we celebrated by taking Connor's very first newborn photos and promised to be loving parents and best friends.
Today, we celebrate in Siena Italy by promising to continue to work at our relationship, remain committed to communicating, being honest, having fun, laughing, taking time to cuddle and laugh, and loving each other even more.
You are my confidante, my best friend, my safe place, my challenger, my supporter, and my lover. I love you times infinity to the infinite power!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

San Gimignano and Tuscan Hillside

Today we went on a 5 hour tour of San Gimignano  (the city of 100 towers) and through the beautiful country-side of Tuscany. We were able to see the Piazza del Duomo, Palazzo del Popoli, the Piazza della Cisterna, and the main shopping streets. Afterwards we had a wine tasting of Vernaccia di San Gimignano (from the Vernaccia grape) and cold cuts in a beautiful winery outside the town of San Gimignano. 

Connor slept much better last night, which made for a more enjoyable day. For anyone thinking of traveling with a one year old in Europe, however, heed this advice: Don't! It has been much harder than we thought, as he will NOT sit or rest in restaurants. We have to take turns walking him around while the other person eats. Of course museums are out of the question too. Some streets and castles, etc. he does okay in as long as Mr. Howard doesn't stop walking (he's in a backpack).

Tomorrow is our anniversary and Aunt Katie and Uncle Denny have volunteered to babysit their nephew. It will be nice  for Mr. Howard and me to eat a dinner at the same time!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Buon Giorno

We've now been here for two and a half days and have seen so much. We've been to the Duomo, the Palazzo Del Campo, the museum del opera, the University of Siena, and a 3 hour private Secrets of Siena Tour. Connor is having trouble adjusting to the time change, which has made Mr. Howard and me sleep deprived. But we're trying to take naps when we put him down and make the best of the situation.

Siena is gorgeous and so rich with history that you find yourself studying every wall, apartment, and coblestone step wondering what royalty has touched them over time. While I had read about the feuding between Siena and Florence, I didn't realize that it is still going on today and it surprises me. We really don't have any rivalry like that in the states.

The food is just as amazing as I remember it and I have such a love for their pastas. We've missed out on a few meals because of Connor's naptimes, but even the "fast food" we've picked up (i.e. delicious prosciutto, mozzarella, and tomato baguettes) have been spectacular.

Tomorrow we have another relaxing day and then Wednesday we are renting cars and traveling around the hills of tuscany.

We must run to do some more walking and then we are off to another delicious Italian dinner. Ciao!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 9th and 10th Travel

Yesterday was the flight from hell (you wouldn't even believe it all if I listed everything out) - complete with every single one of our three flights being delayed, Connor projectile vomitting for four straight hours, forgetting the formula in our suitcase, thereby only having the 2 bottles I had premade, people moving away from us on the plane, and a total of 22 hours flying. I think we might be moving to Italy, because there is no way Im flying home again.

We have access to the Internet via my iPhone, but it's a little hard to use blogger on here. So I will try to keep you as updated as possible. I cannot upload photos on here however. So you'll have to suffer through unpretty posts.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We are heading to Italy for the next couple of weeks (burglars beware: we have someone watching our house plus we have an alarm).

Our First Stop: Siena...Where we will celebrate our 3rd Wedding Anniversary!
Next the Amalfi Coast. We will be staying in Positano - a little town built into this cliff.
From Positano, we will be doing lots of little day trips to places like Vesuvius, Pompeii, Capri, and more!
I do not think I will have the ability to blog while I'm gone, but of course, if I do...I will.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Connor's Birthday

Connor got to take his very first set of birthday treats to school (he'll only get to do this about 4 more times and then his birthday will forever more be in the summer while he's out of school). We picked out delicious mini cupcakes for his friends!
My attempt at getting a photo of Connor with his treats!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July This Year

I would say a year makes a big difference! We had a very low key fourth of July. Mr. Howard had to work, so I hung out with Connor all day. We headed over to my parents' house in the afternoon and were able to have a delicious Paella dinner with Tapas. Mmmmm. Speaking of Paella, anyone have a good rice they use in Paella? We had trouble finding a good one. The photo above was taken on my iPhone because I left mine at home. But when we got home Mr. Howard and I tried (by ourselves) to reinact the one from last year (below).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Last Year

What a difference a year makes! Connor was born 3 days after the Fourth of July last this was the last photo we took before we were at Labor and Delivery giving birth (well, I gave birth. Mr. Howard stood there)!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Howards' Visit

I felt like I took more pictures while they were there, but with the party, I seemed to be a bit distracted. Ooops!
Kathe and Tim arrived on Wednesday and stayed through the weekend until Tuesday. I know Connor appreciated that they were able to come out for his birthday and just enjoyed hanging out with them!!

A Picture of Kathe Taking a Photo of Connor!

Grandma (AKA Paparazzi) & Little Man

Grandma, Grandpa, & Monkey Man Dancing on the New Deck

I know Kathe took some photos of Connor with his grandparents. She'll need to send them to me so that I can post them!

Fifty-One Weeks Old

What a big week - A birthday party...a visit from Connor's grandparents...learning to run...learning what no means...

We've been busy! I reproduced the card for this week because it is ridiculously hard to see in his photo:

And the Bear Photo as Always...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Connor's First Birthday Party

Connor's Birthday party was on the 26th. It was soo much fun to have everyone to our house to celebrate with us. Can you believe it's already been a year since he joined our household? We decided on a monkey theme and had the invitations (above) made and sent out (I've obviously deleted the confidential information). Everything went really well and Connor really liked the cake (except for the part where Daddy gasped when he tried to bite into it, which scared him and sent him into hysterical crying).

We put the drinks in this palm tree and hung monkeys from the branches! Connor's Custom Happy Birthday Banner from Etsy!
Connor's Cupcakes made by Courtney!!
Connor's Smash Cake Made by Courtney!
He got a little scared with everyone watching him and Daddy gasping when he went to bite the cake!
Daddy, Birthday Monkey, & Mama!
Happy Birthday to You...
Mmmm Sugar!!
Daddy, Monkey, & Megan
Filip, Paul, & Megan
Jake, Noah, Taylor, Sophia, & Kate-lynn
Kira, Me, Mr. Howard, & Katie

After all the excitement and sugar, we weren't sure if Connor was going to go to sleep, but he was in bed by 6:45 and slept through the night. All of our guests hadn't even left yet...but that was okay, we partied without him.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

San Francisco Bay Acquarium

Last Sunday (June 27) we took Mr. Howard's parents to the San Francisco Bay Acquarium. My sister and Denny were able to go with us!! Almost all of these photos were taken by Katelyn Taylor Photography and may not be copied.

A Photo of the Bridge:

The Two Mrs. Howards' & Connor:

Aunt Katie & Uncle Denny - What a lucky boy!
The Howards:
Inside The San Francisco Bay Acquarium Hands-on Exhibit:
Denny inside the tank:
The Jelly Fish:
Mama, Daddy, & Connor

We had such a great time!!!

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