Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey, Cereal and Snow...

This year our Thanksgiving was smaller than usual. Since my sister and her family moved to Spokane last spring, plus she JUST had a baby a few weeks ago, they could not be with us. And my older brother decided to be with his other terminally bachelor friend, Matt. Lots of beer and football. So it was just the four of us, my Mom, Dad, Grandma and brother Dave and his wife Kristen. I thought it was going to be kind of sad since we were missing a few, but it turned out to be a really relaxing day!

We started the day having "Nate the Great" chocolate chip pancakes. If you haven't heard of "Nate the Great", he is the main character in a book series Connor and I have started reading. Nate is a detective and he always has to have pancakes while solving a case. So in one of his books they printed the recipe he uses, we added the chocolate chips ourselves. They were GOOD!

We headed up to my Mom and Dad's at about 2pm and we had a really great time talking and eating. I think I ate for two, I figured I was making up for last Thanksgiving since I was just newly pregnant and was throwing up and had to sit near an open window since the smell of any meat made me sick! So I ate last year's meal plus this year's- I was FULL! But since we had fewer people, we could all fit at one table!

We also played Monopoly Jr and had a chance to catch up with each other. It was a wonderful day and I have SO much to be thankful for! My family, my friends, my dogs, a new job and safe and warm home with a kitchen full of food! Plus this year we finally have the family we have dreamed of, Punky is here and now our home is full!

Punky slept right through the good food!
Dave & Kristen

Connor and his favorite part of TG- PIE!

Billy, Connor and Gus playing Monopoly and Connor WON!

Here's Sam

and little Nola

Regan was four months old Friday and her checkup was the previous Wednesday. She is now 13 lbs 2 oz and 24 1/2 inches long, she is dead even, in the 50 percentile for both height and weight. She is reaching her milestones and talking up a storm! It is so great to hear, but a little bittersweet, since I now know that since Connor didn't do any of that, it should have been a MAJOR sign something was going on. I am reading an awesome book my good friend Amy, whose son also has ASD, recommended to me. It is so full of great information about ASD, ADHD, asthma & allergies. The doc who wrote the book is not at all anti-vaccine, but just believes they should be given on a safer schedule, so this time she only had to have one shot, which was much better!!
That evening we thought we'd try out a little cereal. Now I must explain that having two children 7 years apart is like having your first baby all over again- except that your stomach doesn't snap back quite the way it did the first time! ;-) All the rules have changed since starting solids with Connor. Now they really aren't supposed to be on a regular schedule of cereal until 5 months, but our doc told us we could just begin slowly with a little each day. I am using oatmeal, instead of the typical rice cereal, we ran into some problems with rice cereal with Connor and his sister seems to have a bit of that same "problem", so I am not even going to try rice cereal! So we gave her about 6-7 tiny spoonfuls, which she did pretty well with. She has the most expressive face I have ever seen on a baby! She furrows her brow when she is unsure of something or is just checking things out. A look that comes straight from my Dad, she is like his mini-me!

I gave her the cereal and she gave her "Jack face", but seemed to like it! But that only lasted a bit before she got frustrated because it was coming fast enough for her, so we switched back to her bottle. It was a good try for the first time!

Here comes the first bite!

Faster Mom, faster!

Hmm, not bad...

Ok I've had enough, give me the old standby.

See what a happy girl I am?

So it finally snowed here in Denver, we had gotten one morning earlier in November where we had some flurries and then it was melted by the time we left to take Connor to school. I cannot remember it EVER snowing this late or having such weird temps- it got up to almost 80 on one day this month! The week of Thanksgiving I saw a guy putting the top down on his car! Global warming much?

Here are some pretty shots during and the morning after.

Chase always loves the snow.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now let the shopping commence!

See ya, Melinda

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This year has had so many changes in it, I am surprised we have all kept up so well! And this past two weeks have meant more changes for us. But I feel we are and ready for the challenge!

I have accepted a position at our church on the Children's Ministry team. I will be working with Sunday school, but also Vacation Bible School and really all programs that are related to that. I am very excited, because after almost 10 years of not working outside the home, I am getting a chance to be with other people and do something I am good at! It contains a lot of detail work and organization and those are things I am very good at it! I really love it! It is semi-part time and I can still do my other insurance CSR work around that schedule. Connor is in school from 9-4 everyday, so he's settled....but Punky, ah my sweet Irish Princess.

I am having a hard time finding daycare, so right now my Dad (or 'Da' as Connor calls him) takes care of her when she can't be in the childcare at the church. I actually wasn't going to take the job when the first person I had lined up to care for her fell through, but my Dad stepped up and so "no you are not going to quit, I will take care of her until you find something permanent!" Which is a HUGE relief off of me, since I am feeling a LOT of maternal guilt! I waited FOUR years for this baby girl to come along and I feel like I am just shipping her off! And the thing is, yes we could use the extra income, but also I LIKE the job! And I really like the people I am working with! So now I feel guilty for liking working again! Ugh! How does a Mother reconcile those feelings?

And we have all had some adjustments. I am not home to the normal housework, grocery shopping, etc., but Bill has really stepped up to help me. And I have also had to learn to curb my potty mouth! I am working at church for crying out loud! Can't be cursing at the computer!

So in this year of changes, we have had one more. But we Howards are a strong bunch and we will keep rolling with it!

I wish everyone a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving! We are all so very grateful for all the great family and friends in our loves- that means YOU!

See ya, Melinda

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Regan's Baptism...

Our family has had some great things happen over this past week. This past Sunday our beautiful little girl, Regan Jamie Marie was baptized at our church. It was really wonderful and special for all of us. We have decided to become members of St. Andrew's and have gotten to know a few people there, it just feels great to have finally found a church home for our family.

Punky was wearing the same gown my sister and I had both worn. The Pastor who baptized her, Jerry, used to be a stand-up comedian in LA, before he felt called to become a minister. He is so sweet and funny and was so kind with our little one. My older brother, Christopher is her Godfather and my best friend, Tami, is her Godmother. Tami couldn't be there, she lives in the UK, so my Mom was her "stand-in" at the baptism. And most of our family and good friends were there to help us celebrate.

After the baptism we had a reception at my parent's home. My Dad is quite the chef and everyone loves when he gets in the kitchen and does his "thing"! So there were a lot of happy people! We changed Regan from her baptismal gown to a beautiful dress her Aunt Tami sent from England, it is GORGEOUS! And she got to wear little tights and black patent leather shoes, too sweet.

We ended the party with an Irish toast to Bill's brother and Connor and Regan's Uncle Jimmy, who passed away this past March. It has left a hole in the life of all who knew him and since part of Regan's middle name came from him, we wanted to honor his memory and his place in our hearts.

Pastor Jerry, Chris, Mel, Punky, Billy and my Mom

Regan being baptized (the red ribbon Bill is wearing is for Veterans Day)

Punky and Mommy at the party

Punky is partied out!!

Connor with his baby sister and his Gus!

Regan and her Great-Grandmother Cudney
Our second wonderful family event happened on Election Day (no not just that Obama was elected, although that was GREAT!). My sister, Emily and her husband welcomed their second son, Wyatt Jackson into the world. He weighed in at 8lbs 4oz and 20 1/2 inches long. Now as many of you know, we Cudneys tend to grow them BIG- Em's oldest, Declan was 9lbs 14oz and Connor was almost 9lbs. So we feel like we had preemies with our second two!
Wyatt is doing well and home with his family now. He looks like his big brother, except that he has a full head of white blonde hair! Em is recovering from this c-section better than the first and my Mom is in Spokane now to help her for the week. I know my sister is thrilled to have this long awaited miracle! And we are happy our family just grew one bigger!!

D and Wyatt
Hope your families have as many blessings as ours has this week!
See ya, Melinda
PS I have to give credit to Tami for this song, she introduced me to it this last week. It has become one of her standards with all that she is dealing with. And I think we should all listen hard to it no matter what we are dealing with. So here's your shout out Tam!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloweenie!

We had a great Halloween, considering how the week started out for us! Monday Regan began having trouble breathing so I called our dr office and they recommended I take her straight to the urgent care center. So we went and the doc there took one look at her slightly graying face and said she would most likely need to be hospitalized! Ok scary thought. They put her on a nebulizer treatment, which is miserable for anyone who hasn't tried to hold a mask over a three month old's face and watch her scream and cry. Then they did a chest x-ray, which was clear. The neb treatment brought her O2 stats up to 93, then they dropped down to 87, then back up. By this time Bill had met me at the urgent care and the doc had made arrangements to take Punk over to the hospital and have her admitted.

She had to be taken by ambulance, which was scary and funny at the same time. They took her in her carrier and strapped it to a gurney and it was sitting almost upright. She has pretty good head control now and she was wearing the nasal O2 and I swear she looked like a pissed off little old man! So I rode with her and Bill followed. The admitted her for the night and had her on a 1/4 liter of O2 and brought it down to an 1/8 by 1am and then she was on room air by 3am. And her O2 stats were holding in the upper 90's. By 11am she was ready to be discharged, she just had a upper respiratory infection and we had to watch her little nose and suck it out a few times a day. And since her immune system has taken a hit, everyone in close contact with her had to get a flu shot. Bill, Connor and I already have had ours (Connor had the influenza virus twice at 2 and 3 and was in the ER- don't want to repeat that again!) and my Mom who never gets one, bravely went and got it. So by now she is doing well, the time change has screwed her up a bit, but otherwise she is fine.

Now onto Halloween! I am one of the Mom's that plans the holiday partied for Connor's first grade class and my "co-Mom" Kelly and I had it all planned out. But since Punk got sick, I could not go, not even to see the parade! Which was very disappointing, but Kelly took lots of pictures and said all of the kids had a great time.
Thursday night we carved our two pumpkins, one was Billy & Connor's. Connor wanted it to look like the guy had lost his body and Regan and I took the more traditional approach! I was very surprised my very sensory sensitive son got in there and tried to scoop most of the goop out! We had a good time and I think they turned out great!
Connor decided to change things up in costume department (a little anyway). He was Optimus Prime, a transformer and leader of the autobots (the good guys). He loved it so much. He and Bill went trick or treating with our neighbors, Larry and his son Josh- Josh was "Thing Two", which was very cute. Bill went as a disgruntled Cubs fan, he wanted to carry a six-pack of Bud with him in honor of Harry Caray, but we decided it might not be wise to carry around alcohol while trying to watch your hyper 7 year old! Connor was very good at teaching Josh how to trick or treat, since he is only 3 and by the end Josh was no longer shy and walked right up to the doors with Connor.
My Mom and Dad came over for dinner and to help me watch Punky and control my wild dogs with all of the door bell ringing. It was VERY warm here, around 80 earlier in the day. Since Connor was born there has NEVER been a Halloween that was not at least below freezing or snowing- or both. So it was a little weird, but kind of nice not to have to bundle him up. All in all, it was a great night!

Connor scooping out the goop!

The carvers and helpers

Quite spooky!

Mr. Cub, the pumpkin girl and Optimus Prime

Punky's little pumpkin butt!

Optimus Prime and Thing Two

Last bit of news. This coming Sunday is Regan's Baptism. We are so excited to have her baptized in our new church! She is going to wear the same gown that both my sister and I wore when were baptized. And we are having a little reception afterwards at my Mom and Dad's house. Her Aunt Tami bought her a beautiful dress to wear for the party. We will take lots of pictures and post them next week.

Hope you all had a great Halloween!
See ya, Melinda

Ok I have NO IDEA why blogger hates me. My posts look like one long paragraph and I swear I indent! I have spent 15 minutes going back and forth trying to fix this so it looks right, but I can't and it won't, so it is how it is....