Sunday, November 28, 2010
**Thanks Mom for babysitting!**
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I was talking to my sister yesterday who wondered how I felt about everyone writing notes of condolences about Cole on my blog and facebook and wondered if it made me sad every time I went on. And I realized that I have never blogged about how unbelievably thankful I am. I can see how it might make someone sad or remind them of the loss, but the benefits for me FAR OUTWEIGH the negatives. I can genuinely say that there wasn't a single facebook message, email, or blog message that I didn't genuinely smile about. I was soooooo overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and prayers for us and continue to be in awe. Every single time I got a notification on my phone that someone had posted on my wall or sent me a message, I read every word, lingering on the overarching message: that we were being thought of, prayed for, and most of all, loved!!!! What a wonderful world we live in!
I am soooooo thankful for every single teeny tiny message, email, text, and phone call we got. There truly are no words.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I have been on a cooking kick lately. I mean I always cook, but I've been excited to try new things lately. (I've linked the recipes I found online...the others are recipes I found and modified. I can send them to you if you want, but I don't have the ability to include a word document on here).
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Howards have had our fair share (plus some) of car accidents. Those of you who know us, know that we have had horrible luck when it comes to car accidents. I included the photo below of my head on collision with a suspected drunk driver who hit me and RAN AWAY (ditched their car and RAN...like on foot)! So it shouldn't be terribly shocking that Mr. Howard was in a car accident recently.
A few weeks ago he was driving from one store to another while working and was actually the third car in an accident. A woman hit a man and pushed his car into Mr. Howard's minicooper. The woman was a bit crazy. She was yelling at everyone: telling Mr. Howard and the other guy that they knew each other and they were trying to pull one over on her. She admitted to causing one accident, but she swore that the other guy randomly ran into Mr. Howard. They even had to call a police officer to respond because they were worried she would deny it. When the police officer arrived, she yelled at him and told him that Mr. Howard and the other man were in cahoots.
It has been such a pain because the insurance company took a long time to find the woman at fault (obviously they had to investigate since their client was denying fault)! Then, on Monday, Mr. Howard dropped his car off at 8am at the dealership to have a claims agent take photos, etc. When Mr. Howard was getting off work at 2pm, he called, only to hear that they STILL hadn't even shown up. They didn't show up until 4:30pm. So...why did he drop it off at 8am?
It still isn't fixed. Now the claims agent and the dealership have to agree on a bid, then order the parts, THEN have him bring his car back in, give him a rental car, and send him on his way. Ick! WHAT A PAIN!! This has been a three week process! (Good thing it isn't serious damage...what would we have done for three weeks?)
Moms, this one is for you!
Really. How does a 16 month old child have more strength than me?
I have really beefed up in the upper arm department. Yes, there is one plus of carrying around a car seat with a baby, then carrying a 26 pound one year old, then a 30 pound 16 month old...you get the point. Needless to say, my arms have really toned up since pregnancy (good thing...because everything else has done the opposite).
So, how is it then that when it comes time to put him in the carseat and he doesn't want to go, that it takes ALLLLL my strength to wrestle him in? Really? Someone PLEASE explain this to me.
I enjoy watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta (if I'm being honest...I enjoy them all). But I was SHOCKED to see the scene where one of the characters, Phaedra, gives birth. The cameras capture that beautiful moment when she sees her baby for the very first time and says, “Gross!”
Really? That's her reaction? Do you know how many people in the world pray and pray that they'll get that moment...where they get to see their beautiful child for the very first time? Do you know what I would give to have that moment with Cole? And then she says "Gross." Shocking! Then, once she sees him all cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket, she says to the cameras “he just looked Chinese to me. But it was my baby because nobody else was in the operating room!”
Wow. No words. Really none.
Posted by J Howard at 6:02 AM
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Mr. Howard LOVES it...I mean, love, love, LOVES it and I don't...BUT I love any excuse to cook and try new things. We found Ruth's Chris famous recipe (if you like marshmallows in yours, you probably won't like this one...it isn't that kind of sweet potato casserole) and recreated it tonight as a test run for Thanksgiving. I think we found the perfect dish!! Mom, if you're reading this...we'll be bringing this dish on Thursday (a fresh batch, don't worry). We found the recipe HERE. I HIGHLY recommend trying this. Mr. Howard said it tastes EXACTLY like the restaurant version.
- Make the topping. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, pecans and 1/4 cup melted butter. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and the remaining 1/4 cup melted butter. Use a hand mixer to combine thoroughly; continue beating until smooth and fluffy.
- Pour sweet potato mixture into a buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with topping.
- Bake 30 minutes, until topping is lightly browned and crunchy. Let cool 15 to 30 minutes before serving. (Topping remains very hot.)
We have literally done our Christmas cards through Shutterfly since 2004. And we have honestly never even searched for another place, because we are always thrilled with their selection. I already have the card picked out that I'll be ordering in a week or so for this year and I can't wait.
Right now Shutterfly is having a promotion where if you share a project on your webpage, you get a $25 gift card. I had so many projects to share, but I chose the one below because I can't believe how much Connor has grown since February. Weren't these cute?
Check out Shutterfly!!
We've come so far since THIS post. My mommy and daddy have finally taught me the difference between loving touches and frantic hitting and waving. I continue to work on being nice to my brothers, but hope you can see the video proof below of my transformed behavior.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I continue to be impressed!! Let's go, baby...Get school done!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Back in October when we were at the pumpkin patch, I began thinking about how I could include Cole in our Christmas photo this year. Obviously I can't hold him in the photo, but he's still our family member and I wanted to think of a creative way to honor him in a happy way. I thought about including one of the photos of Mr. Howard or I holding him on the card or even putting his footprints in the card. I settled on my favorite few ideas, but I wasn't sure how it would all come together.
Today we took the photos and I have to say that I came up with something I love. It's the perfect way to include him in our Christmas card this year in a way that is happy and loving. I can't wait for you all to see it! Thank you Katie Taylor Photography!!
**Several months ago, I was dreading taking these photos because I thought I was going to be fat and ugly (I seriously puffed up when I was pregnant with Connor in my last couple months). Now, what I would give to be fat and ugly and still PREGNANT. I have seriously learned my lesson.**
Thursday, November 11, 2010
If I could update my facebook status with how I'm really feeling, instead of the cute little snippets of life we all include, it'd be "Mrs. Howard is grieving, terribly."
Each day seems so different.
Such is grief.
There are days when I wake up and think about dishes and cleaning and how I'm going to explain essential and non-essential modifiers to my 7th graders. But today I woke up and felt empty. My belly is empty. How did that happen? My baby came too soon. How did that happen? My pregnant friends are feeling kicks, getting ultrasound photos, finding out the gender of their babies, and having their baby showers. And I held my dead baby in my arms and planned his funeral. How did that happen?
"I am lost inside a broken heart."
Such is grief.
Everyone has moved on. And I haven't. How did that happen?
I act strong. I talk about him constantly. I think about him 50 times a day. I cry in the shower. I pray and pray and pray and pray that I'll wake up. I pray even harder that I won't. I want him back. I don't want to be told that this was meant to be. I don't want to be told that he's in a better place.
Such is grief.
On Monday I would have been in my third trimester. Instead I'm empty and sad.
**I had a great cry and feel a lot better! I guess I just need you to know that while I act strong, I am human.**
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The Good News: Mr. Howard has no cysts in his kidneys! While I do have some cysts (two small ones), they are not consistent with Polycystic Kidney Disease. Generally by 30, if I had PKD, I would have at least two cysts filling both kidneys. Two tiny cysts in one kidney are not reflective of someone my age with PKD. This clears us from Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.
The Bad News: While they were there doing ultrasounds, they found an angiomyolipoma (a benign tumor) in one of my kidneys. People with these generally have tuberous sclerosis (a disease that can affect a lot of areas), but they do not think I have that disease based on a lack of any other symptoms. So, they have scheduled me an MRI to check on it and then they will monitor me every year to see if the angiomyolipoma is growing or getting worse. There are some concerns because my paternal grandmother had kidney cancer, so of course they'd like to monitor me and make sure that this tumor is static and isn't affecting anything else. In the event that it is growing or it causes hemorrhaging, I will have to have it surgically removed.
The Indifferent News: The lack of cysts in the kidneys still does not clear us from being carriers of PKD. It is still possible that we have the Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease. HOWEVER, the doctor's feel comfortable calling what Cole had Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney Disease (and not PKD). We have a 25% chance of conceiving a baby with kidney disease.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
- My mom asked him for a kiss and he made the kiss noise and leaned forward towards her. He then went around and "gave us all kisses!"
- I asked Connor to "touch Mama's nose" and he did!!
- He repeats EVERYTHING you say. But in terms of the words he uses on his own, without any prompting, he added three new words this month.
- We're still working on "Please"
- Molar on his upper right
- He loves shoes. He'll put on anybody's shoes he can find, including Mommy's high heels. He also loves purses. In Europe we'd give him a purse because he loves pulling everything out of it. He loves putting objects in the purse and then dumping it over and throwing the contents of everything on the ground. The funny thing is when he combines his love of putting on Mommy's heels and wearing Mommy's purse. =)
- He was afraid of the pumpkin. Literally afraid. He was shaking when we started carving it. Who's afraid of a pumpkin?
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I think my facebook update says it all:
Mrs. Howard met the love of her life 10 years ago. A wedding, a cross-state move, lots of different schools, several jobs, loss, happiness, lots of kisses, a million "I Love You's," and two babies later we're still together. Here's to the next 10 years! Thank you Rafael for introducing us!
**I had to include a little Harry Potter humor**
This year the whole experience seemed a little more close to home, as Cole passed away from Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney Disease. Only one in 10,000 are affected with MCDK in both kidneys (like Cole), but 1 in 4300 are affected with MCDK in one kidney. Usually people with MCDK must have their infected kidney removed and sometimes need a kidney transplant (one of the National Kidney Foundation's missions is to help with transplantation).
On November 3rd, while everyone else was taking down their Halloween decorations, our family was carving pumpkins (see this post). Here are a few videos: