Thursday, October 30, 2008

Made by real hippies

Some who know us would wonder if the title means the shirts or the kids.

Matt's parents recently visited his sister Marci and her family out in Eugene, Oregon, where her husband Brandon is going to school. They brought back these awesome shirts for our kids.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ethan's Birthday Bash

Ethan had his first friends birthday party this past Saturday. I think it went just about as well as I could have hoped. My friend Sue generously lent us her yard and we started out with pumpkin bowling.

That was followed by a game of pop the balloon where everyone had a balloon tied to their ankle and tried to pop everyone else's balloons.

Then Ethan opened presents. I had talked with him three or four times before the party, pounding into him that he needed to say thank you and be so polite when he opened presents. I was cutting cake while he opened them so I'm not sure if he remembered to say thank you, but he did remember exactly what each person gave him. I discovered this later as he was trying to keep his toys out of Joanna's grasp. "No! Sydney gave me these pens! This is my monster truck from Jakey! Carson picked this planet hero just for me!"

He got a light saber from his friend Aubrey and later that day he took it outside to play. When I went outside a little while after him I saw him up on a neighbors front lawn all by himself, playing the lone Jedi defending the world from legions of bad guys. I waved and he looked at me for a second, but he didn't have time to acknowledge his mom, not when the future of millions rested on his shoulders.

My friend Heidi made the monster cake. So awesome. So delicious. She does weddings.

Of course no Howard party is complete without the smashing of a pinata.

Followed by the mad dash for candy and toys.

Thanks for all your help Karen, Sue, Heidi and Allie!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crazy Hair Day

For red ribbon week at Ethan's school they got to dress in fun ways all week. I asked if we should do his hair spiky. He said "no, Tag has spiky hair every day. I want poofy." I think we got somewhere in between. Joannas reaction: "oh, cool hair E-tun."
I think what I love most about the pictures from that day is that he came up with the pose on his own. What a cool kid.

Friday, October 24, 2008

And we're back!

I'd like everyone to say hello to the new member of the Howard family:

Thanks to those of you who helped out getting a monitor for our old laptop, but things worked out so that we were able to get a new computer all together. Our old one was older than Ethan and had lived a good life but was barely functional.
And so, with our trusty new Macbook ready to go, the crazy tales of our lovable bear, bug and pig can continue.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'll be going radio silent for a little while. Our poor little old laptop's monitor died a little while back, so we've been using a computer Matt was able to bring home from work. The borrowed one has to go back tomorrow so until we either get a monitor to plug into or a new computer all together there will be no internet in the Howard home. This tragically comes only a few weeks after we got high speed internet strung over from our land lord's. Oh well. We'll see ya when we see ya.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cute Kids

With Matt gone I've been keeping better track of the cute things the kids do so I can share with him anything he missed. Here's some of them for you to enjoy along with some extra pictures:
Ethan found the pile of clothes that are too small for him that I had set aside until I could get his "grown out of" box down. He found a pair of jeans in there with a big hole in the knee and got excited. "My jeans where I can see my knee!" This story will be funnier for those who knew Ethan when he was obsessed with "PJs where I don't see my feet." He wore them for the day and I'm sure they made everyone wonder where the flood was.

Joanna has really missed her daddy. She's had conversations with her stuffed animals: "Where's daddy? Daddy working? Yeah (dramatically sad voice) Daddy working". We went to visit my parents and my dad asked her for a hug. "No hug Punka, hug daddy."

Ginny Slept in the bed with me while we were at my folks. She's only five months old and she's already mastered the little kid art of digging her feet into my back in her sleep.

We read a book before bed that mentioned ear infections and Ethan burst forth with this story: "A for two minutes before he finally got to the point) A kid in my class had an ear convection, and he sat down and fell and that gave him an ear convection and then he pushed my friend and said a mean name and he got another ear convection."

Ethan on the way to Grandmas: "Rebby (his stuffed snake) had a nightmare that his cousins were at Grandmas but he was too far away and he couldn't get to Grandmas because he was too far away. Actually, it was me. I had the nightmare."

I was trying to get Joanna to put on her new pair of adorable shoes but she kept saying "No, Ah-yee's shoes," Ally being her little neighbor friend up the street. I asked why they were Ally's shoes and she said they're cute. "Oh, Ally wears cute shoes?" "sure!" "Doesn't Joanna wear cute shoes?" "No, Joanna wears crocs."

Thursday morning I was trying to get Ethan to go play outside. I told him he should go find some friends to play with. His response: "I'm a little too tired for friends. Max just likes to play video games inside or pretend video games outside. Jakey is fun but he's still learning how to share good, and Carson...Carson wears me out."

Joanna's absolute favorite toy right now is a green stuffed frog Greg and Erica gave her for her birthday. She has 'Fwoggy' act out everything. Sitting in chairs, snuggling in bed, eating pretzles. Pretty much anything Joanna does, Froggy does too. Froggy went to story time with us this week. I was sitting to the side taking care of Ginny while Joanna sat with the group of kids in front of Miss Karen the librarian. Suddenly Joanna was sitting right next to me with a huge grin on her face. She looked at me and whispered "look at Fwoggy." I looked and there, sitting in Joanna's space in the line of kids, is Froggy, wearing Joanna's name tag and looking like he is thoroughly enjoying the story. No one else seemed to notice the switch from little girl to frog.
The storytime theme was Fall so the activity was gluing colored fall leaves on to a bare tree. Joanna grasped how Fall works really well because after gluing all her leaves on she pulled them all off again because "leaves fall down."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gone Daddy Gone

We've been without Matt for a couple days now. His company sent him to San Diego to live the good life and get some training on the side.
It's funny the changes that occur in our home when he's away. Dinner's are no longer a battle for one. This is because I make whatever is the most quick and easy, which of course are the meals that are rather lacking in nutrition but the kids polish off and ask for more (dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets anyone?) Bedtime is also pretty easy because I let the kids stay up way past their bedtime just to keep me company in the evenings. By the time I actually make them get in bed they're passing out from exhaustion.
One phenomenon I can't figure out is that the house stays a lot cleaner when he's gone. Now he is no where near the messiest person in the house (Joanna holds that honor). So why is it that his absence leads to less mess? Am I a better housekeeper when he's gone? How sad if that's the case.
For the first little bit everyone deals with Matt's absence in their own way. Ethan becomes more clingy and whiny, Joanna more of a bawl baby, Ginny doesn't nap as well, and I play way too many video games until way too late at night because I can't stand going to bed by myself. The house is so quiet without him that I can't go to sleep. I'm so used to either his breathing if he's asleep or the clicking of computer keys or the turning of book pages or the sudden exclamations of anger at video games. His presence is very noticeably missing at night.
He comes home tomorrow. There will be an initial burst of excitement followed by everyone falling to pieces as the pent up anxiousness that built while he was gone is released. Once we've all had a good fit or two we'll settle back into routine, feeling good for having had the reminder of how much more happy we are when we're all together.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gathering of the Fryer Clan

Sunday night my entire family got together to celebrate my brothers' birthdays. They were both born on October 2, 15 years apart. It was great to have everyone there but hoo boy, we can certainly fill up my parents upstairs.
Since it had been a while since we'd last had our entire family together, my mom asked for pictures.

My parents are in the middle. Kerri is sitting on the left with her family behind her: her husband CJ and kids, oldest to youngest, Cecil, Lindsay, Kent and Morgon. In the middle back are my brother Greg and his wife Erica. I'm sitting to the right with Ginny and Ethan and Matt's behind me holding Joanna. My brother Doug is on the right with his wife Terresa and their kids, oldest to youngest, Alexis, Andrew, Ben and Annabelle. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Praise of Dirty Feet

It feels like we're in limbo. But in a good way. Is it summer or fall? The days sure feel like summer still, beautifully 80 degrees with puffy clouds and pleasant breezes. The evenings feel like fall, cool enough to need a jacket or a blanket to snuggle under but not frigid. I'm in love with right now. The kids are healthy and happy with no major issues to be dealing with. Matt's working full time but it still feels like we get to see a lot of him. There's oodles of fresh food pouring from gardens. At the end of every day it feels like we accomplished something great, although it's hard to label exactly what that something great is.
I think the closest I come to putting my finger on it is that my kids feet are dirty. Of course part of it is that Joanna has declared shoes unnecessary, and I can't bring myself to force the issue. Because all that grime means she was outside. My kids have spent there day running and laughing. Watching caterpillars and rolling down grass hills. Riding their bikes and drawing on the sidewalk with berries. Jumping on the trampoline, looking for bb-balls, digging in the sand, climbing rocks, playing tag, playing catch, playing make believe. They've spent the day doing exactly what kids are supposed to do, and as a result, to quote my favorite blogger, "my kids have kid feet!"
Of course there is the shadow of a long cold winter out there somewhere on the horizon. It puts a slight taint on this time of perfectness, reminding me it won't last. I know this time of year will roll around again, but it won't be the same. Ginny won't be a little compact body of pure joy, laying on a blanket and laughing at the tree above her. Joanna won't be bursting with new words every day yet still singing nonsense sounds to herself as she rides her tricycle around the driveway. Ethan won't be an excited little kindergartner who has no objections to holding my hand. Seasons change and kids grow up. Their bodies are stronger. their minds know more about the world and they've grown a little older every time I scrub the dirt off their toes. I just wouldn't be sad if this season of perfection lasted a little bit longer.