Sunday, June 28, 2009

Miniture Tiger Woods

We went to Play It Again Sports to kill some time last week and Tyler and Quincy had lots of fun playing with the golf clubs

He even found a little kids' set of clubs that were just about his size, however, they were left handed clubs.

It didn't matter.... no left handed clubs could stop our little Tiger. :o)

Summer Fun

At last summer is here and my son apparently thinks, as does Tyler, that it is acceptable for him to run around outside in nothing but a diaper.This particular morning Quincy went outside early in the morning and was running around with his dump truck.

He recently has learned how to open the front door, this is something that I'm not so excited about. I guess we will have to start locking the dead bolt. It makes me nervous that he'll open the door and run outside when we're in a different room and we won't hear him and that he'll get hit by a car or kidnapped. I know... it probably sounds like I'm a mom with an over active imagination, but we don't exactly live in the nicest neighborhood.

He has also taken to putting things on the couch, such as this dump truck. In addition to putting things on the couch, he has learned to climb behind the couch. It's like his *secret* hiding place.

I love this last picture because I asked him to say 'cheese' and this was his reaction.

Aren't we over-doing it a bit Quincy?

The passionate Bookworm

It seems rare lately, but every now and then Quincy actually lets me snuggle with him. It felt extra special reading with him because I've been working so much lately. We don't always get the time to do much together.

It was a moment I will treasure for quite some time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A celebration of Life

My last semester at school I had to take an English class.... I was required to write a couple of large papers, one of them being a narrative essay. I know this is lengthy and you don't have to read it, but I am choosing to post it because this month is when it happened 4 years ago. Although it was a difficult period in my life, and because of it I will be forever changed, I am a stronger person now than I was before.

I believe one of the biggest challenges when faced with trials, tribulation, heart ache, and sadness is to ask yourself "What can I learn from this?" instead of questioning "Why me?".

The Day my Life Began

“Thanks Bree,” I hollered as I dashed hastily down the spiral of stairs. I could scarcely contain my happiness as I looked at Bree’s car which sat parked in front of me. Reluctantly I let out an almost silent giggle. Tyler and I had been dating for 6 months now and I was ecstatic to finally be able to see him again. It took weeks of careful preparation and the moment had finally arrived. Fortunately I was lucky to know a friend like Bree who would lend me her car for the weekend. Although it was nothing more than a small forest green geo metro I could have cared less. I released the driver’s side door and heaved my suitcase into the back seat. After doing a quick run through on my mental checklist I was sure I hadn’t forgot anything and settled myself behind the wheel. I took one last look at Rexburg and headed for the highway

The sky was the perfect shade of blue and the sun shone brightly through the dirty car windshield. I reached over for my sunglasses and turned up the sound system which was playing one of Bree’s mixed CD’s that I hadn’t heard before. As I listened to the music I found myself becoming more anxious to get there. I decided to call my mom because I knew that chatting with her would help pass the time on my trip to Boise. We talked for some time, but regrettably the phone conversation seemed to only last long enough to get me through Pocatello. I was in disbelief when I looked at the clock which only read 10:30AM. Remarkably, I was making good time. I gazed out the window to the thirsty countryside which seemed to echo a longing for better days of moisture. It always amazed me when people proudly proclaimed that Eastern Idaho was ‘God’s country’. How could anyone declare a landscape so lifeless to be awe-inspiring, breathtaking, or even beautiful? As I reflected on this predicament, my thoughts were turned else-where and I decided to call Tyler.

“Hello?” he answered. I smiled because I had by now memorized the sound of his voice. Usually I could detect a smile over the phone while we talked, but today his voice sounded a bit raspy and rather exhausted. This didn’t concern me much since I knew he was working outside mowing lawns for his boss Evan. “Hey babe,” I said in a sweet flirtatious voice, “How’s work going?” I knew I was just making small talk, but it didn’t matter because I had no reason to rush through a phone conversation. “Pretty good,” he said. Now I could hear that playful smile. “It’s been really hot today. I’ve been cruising through each job so I could be done by the time you get here. Where are you?” I found myself engrossed by his words and almost didn’t hear the question. “Oh, I’m just outside Twin Falls. I’ll probably be to Boise in about two hours or so.” “Gee!” he exclaimed, “you’ll be to my house even before I get there. You must be speeding. You better watch out, I wouldn’t want you to get a ticket or anything.” I laughed. “I’m not speeding, just making good time that’s all. Besides the last thing I want to do is a get a ticket in someone else’s car.” “Good,” he replied “I’ve got to go back to work, but be sure and call when you’re close.” “I will,” I assured him and with that I closed my phone.

Refreshed from my phone conversation with Tyler I redirected my attention to the entirely boring scene of the familiar flat interstate. While I sang to the radio and consciously checked the speedometer to make sure I wasn’t speeding I noticed a semi truck that for some reason had swerved in front of me. I tried to peer into the right-hand lane to see why he felt so inclined to cut me off, but there was nothing in my view which gave him reason for this irrational lane change. Impatiently I attempted to remain calm as I waited for him to signal that he was going to move back to his right-hand lane, but no such signal appeared. “This is ridiculous,” I thought to myself, “He’s going ten miles under the suggested speed limit and I don’t want to waste any more time!” A bit agitated, I turned on my right blinker and moved over into the slow lane. I was half way past him when I noticed that he suddenly had on his right blinker as if to move into my lane. I rapidly began to panic as questions raced through my mind. “Does he see me? Is he planning on waiting until I pass him? Do I have enough time to slow down so he can get over or should I speed up? What is he doing?”

Suddenly, it was as if I were watching a horror film in slow motion. The weight of the enormous semi truck seemed to crush my car like a teenage boy crushing a can on his forehead. It smashed against my side slicing through the body of the car like butter and then propelled it 180 degrees around where it shattered the right passenger’s side. My neck flung frontward because of the blow and my eyes were squeezed tightly shut as the thought of death wandered through my head. When I thought it was over I managed to pry my eyelids apart only to witness the car spinning violently around like a Frisbee thrown at full-speed. I could hear the tires from the car screeching on the pavement and prayed silently that no one was behind me…

After what seemed an eternity the car came to a halt on the right side of the interstate. Smoke poured out from under the hood of the car and I sat in pure shock with my hands still firmly gripped to the steering wheel. My knuckles were white and realized that I had been holding my breath. I let out a trembling exhale and tried to comprehend what had just happened. I somehow managed to pull my hands away from the steering wheel to open the door. I stepped out to survey the damage to Bree’s car and instantly knew it was beyond help. I reached for my cell phone and slowly dialed Tyler’s number. He answered casually saying, “So, I guess this means you got a ticket?” I tried to hold back tears. Searching for the words I finally whimpered, “Tyler, I wish that was it. A semi truck just hit me and totaled the car.” All of a sudden I began to sob uncontrollably as the events took impact on me. “Are you okay?” he asked. Between the tears and short inhales I somehow answered, “I think so. I have to call my parents though and let them know what happened. I’ll be sure and call you back. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet…. I love you.” “I love you too,” he responded.

I glanced up trying to blink the tears from my eyes and saw a man walking towards me. He was wearing a red T-shirt and some khaki shorts. His hair was grey and when he came closer he asked, “Are you alright?” I nodded yes a couple of times, but clearly I wasn’t. He pulled out his cell phone to call the police and after doing so introduced himself as George. He was a truck driver coming the opposite direction, Eastbound on Interstate 84, and had witnessed my accident. George was kind and his voice was tender. I was still in shock and crying hysterically. George tried to calm me down by asking my name and where I was from. When I informed him that I was a student at BYU-I, he told me that he had a daughter my age. He looked at me with sympathy and quietly asked in a gentle voice, like that of a father, “I know you’re quite upset. I would give you a hug, but I don’t want you to be any more scared than you already are.” I shook my head and replied, “No, you don’t scare me. I could really use a hug.” Then George reached his arm around my shoulder and gave me a quick squeeze. I knew his intentions were pure and the hug provided great relief. It was then that I was able to control my breathing and slow down my tears. By now the police had arrived.

I gave my statement to police officer, who was clearly certain I wasn’t at fault. He arranged for me to ride with a close friend of his to Boise, seeing as how Bree’s car wasn’t going anywhere soon. As I climbed up into the silver Ford 350 truck with two complete strangers I pondered on what had happened. I sat quietly in the truck as thoughts floated through my head… “Why had I survived that accident? Why did it happen to me, I hadn’t done anything wrong? What will I do now? I don’t deserve this. ” I was reminded of one of my Book of Mormon professors who challenged us to read each chapter with personal application in mind.

Suddenly I remembered a scripture in Mosiah 23: 21 which read: “Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.” I recalled my professor explaining that bad things happen to good people. The reason the Lord lets ‘bad’ things happen to the righteous is because he is providing them with opportunities for personal growth. “Was this the Lord’s way of making me stronger?” I highly doubted it, but a nagging feeling reprimanded me to consider otherwise. Perhaps I was looking at all this in the wrong way. My Heavenly Father didn’t let me die; I wasn’t seriously injured or even paralyzed. This was an opportunity for growth. Somehow I was going to learn something new, accomplish something incredible or become someone I couldn’t have been without this experience. The only problem was I didn’t know how. I lifted my eyes upward and realized that the truck was slowly coming to a stop.

When we pulled into the parking lot where we were meeting Tyler, I felt a sense of relief. My body was aching, my eyes were puffy and swollen, and my hair was tussled, but it didn’t matter. Tyler’s arms were outstretched as I clang my shaking body close to his. He stroked my head and held me tight, as if to keep me from ever leaving him. My lower lip quivered and I tried to swallow the large lump in my throat. After a silent moment had passed I looked into his striking blue eyes and understood how incredibly blessed I was. I was alive and loved.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

I think that I'm really loosing a grasp of reality. With how much I've been working I sometimes forget what day it is... and unfortunately for Tyler today I forgot until just before church that today is Father's Day. Tyler's such a good sport though. He got some treats at church and I let him watch golf all afternoon, which was torture for me, and in itself showed just how much I love him. :o) Tyler is amazing, I'm so glad that he is the father of our son and future children. He is a wonderful dad and such a loving husband.

Happy Father's Day Tyler, I love you so much!

Also, I wanted to tell my Dad Happy Father's day.... he has been a great example of what a father should be. I was very lucky to have a dad who was so involved in our lives and righteously presided with the priesthood in our home. I love you Dad.

Free Rootbeer Floats

Friday evening we went to A&W for some free root beer floats. Since the closest A&W is in the mall and every six months I get my ring inspected there we figured it was a worth while trip. I thought there might be a long line when we got to A&W, but surprisingly there wasn't. All three of us we able to get a root beer float... then we walked around for a little bit doing some window shopping. After we finished our floats and were done getting my ring inspected we headed out to the car to go home.

When we walked up to our car we noticed the rear passenger tire was flat. Just our luck.... and it was starting to rain. Fortunately for Tyler, he was wearing a baseball hat and sweat shirt, but really who wants to change a tire in the rain? After trying for a little bit he decided it wasn't worth the effort and called our roadside assistance. I mean, we pay 50 bucks a month for it, why not use it? 25 minutes later the tow truck guy had changed our tire in 5 minutes flat and we were on our way home. Tyler took the car to Les Schwab Saturday and found out there was some kind of metal stuck in it. It seems we have the sort of luck with tires. It could be worse though.

The life of a working mother

I hate it, but this how my boys look when I leave home.

I sssssooo bad wish I could just stay home with them.

Living Large

Well, a couple of months back we bought some new bedding. I held off on buying some sheets until I found a better deal. I had in my mind a picture of what I wanted in a set of sheets.... something a dark chocolate brown, soft, and good quality.

That's what we bought last week. I found some beautiful chocolate brown striped sheets that are Egyptian Cotton for $23.99 at ROSS. They feel nice and I think they really tie together our over all picture for our master bedroom.

It's really too bad nobody sees our room... it's the nicest looking one in the house. I told Tyler a while ago that I was willing to compromise on hand me down furniture throughout the house, including the living room, but that I wanted our room to be something of a retreat.

Not everything in it is brand new or brand name, but I feel it reflects what we want in a master bedroom. Someday it will be even nicer. Ahhh, *sigh* for now it's Just Right!

Mary, Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?

Our little garden is flourishing... especially with all the rain we've had the last few weeks.

(Our garden view from the front yard)
My tomato plants are as tall as Quincy, in fact they have outgrown the bamboo stakes I've been tying them to. I have noticed little green tomatoes popping out here and there which are the size of little walnuts. I have also noted that our pepper plants are growing some tasty peppers on them. They are about 3 inches long now.

(The tomatoes in the right back corner, and the peppers are in front of them)

(The lettuce and herbs are all along the front bottom right hand corner of the garden)
Our onions, and shallots are coming along nicely, as well as our potatoes. We have already harvested 4 heads of lettuce and are eagerly awaiting the next ones to fill out.

I just recently planted some lemon cucumbers and am anxious to eat them. Okay, don't mind the lame burntlooking grass in the above picture... I just wanted to note that we have cleaned out the garden spot under the stairs..... to the right we have planted the lemon cucumbers. I don't know why we didnt' think to plant this area sooner.

(I just wanted to show how much our moss has filled in nicely) I think it looks pretty between the stepping stones.)

I am so happy with how our little garden has filled out and I'm very thankful for all the rain Heavenly Father has sent that is making our garden grow.

Growing boy....

It never ceases to amaze me how much my little baby is growing up to be quite the 'big boy'. He is constantly surprising us by the things he says. For instance, he notices the littlest things... like when we're in the car he tells us every time he sees a truck, the mail man, a garbage truck, or airplane. He also tells us when the light at the intersection turns green... and he even knows that it means we can go. He loves to tell us when we're home... anytime we've taken a little car trip he loudly announces when we pull into our driveway "I'm home". I'm glad to know what it means to be home.
I suppose that growing up is stressful because the other day he woke up with this huge zit on his face. Quincy also loves to build things with his mega blocks and recently told me he was building Grammie's house with them. He is imaginative, comprehensive, loving, and most of all funny.

He will do anything for a good laugh. We went to a ward Luau yesterday and we soon realized that our son was constantly making his way to the stage for a great performance.

Quincy loves to sit in this camping chair from his grandma and grandpa Howard.

It's *his* little chair.

Although I have noticed that every once in a while Tyler tries to sit in it. :o)

Even though Quincy has his moments, we are thoroughly enjoying watching him grow up.....

Olympic Event

My calling in our ward is Activity Days Leader over the 10-11 year old girls. Last week we had a joint Activity. The theme had to do with the Olympics. Since I was in charge of refreshments I was able to buy some patriotic American Flag plates and napkins to go with these cakes :

What do you think? I think they didn't turn out half bad. My hand was totally cramping up making those dumb Olympic colored rings. I guess it was worth it though.

Way to Go Scotty!

Sorry this post is long over due.....

My brother Scott graduated from Columbia River High School, my former high school, this last Monday. We are very proud of him for accomplishing one of the first important steps in becoming an adult.

Not only did Scotty graduate from River, he ALSO graduated from Clark College. CRHS offers a program for juniors and seniors called Running Start, which allows students in high school to take college courses and get college credit.

(The picture above is of some of his closest friends)

Scott was able to receive his Associates Degree from Clark College. What an accomplishment... and did I mention he graduated at 17? With an August birthday he is one of the youngest in his class. Scotty has done very well in school so far and plans on continuing his education by attending Central Washington State University this fall.

(This picture is of Scott and his long time friend Erika, since kindergarten)

(My Dad, Scott, youngest brother Karter, and my Mom)
We are so excited that he made the decision to pursue his education further and we wish him the best of luck. We love you Scotty, sorry we couldn't be there in person to support you!

Congratulations Scotty!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Monumental Day in the Howard Home

For the past few months Quincy has taken a real interest in the toilet. He likes to be involved when anyone is going to the bathroom. He even has a certain fascination about how it works and what goes in the toilet. This has been promising for us that there will be days of HIM actually USING the toilet.

(Oh the days when we won't have to pay for diapers anymore!)

Last year before Christmas my parents gave us a potty chair; they knew Quincy was still too little for potty training, but figured that the following year it would be more age appropriate. After some failed attempts in trying to get Quincy "excited" about the potty we gave up. It was apparent that he was too young to appreciate it.

However, for the past few months he has been really good about telling us when he needs to go poop, and even initiates telling us when he needs his diaper changed. We thought that this transition from diapers to potty chair would be easy and happen earlier than we anticipated. We were wrong. Although his concept of the potty was becoming better, he still refused to go anywhere near it.

He would scream if we tried to coax him into actually sitting on it. You would think we were trying to get him to sit on the top of an alligator's mouth by his reaction. Again, we decided that he would eventually warm up to. Weeks went by, months went by.... no warming up to the potty. He was practically terrified of it.

Then one day we got the bright idea to let him "decorate" his potty.... so that it might be more user friendly. Perhaps he would feel more comfortable using the potty if it was more inviting.

Yesterday we went to Walmart as a family and let Quincy pick out his very own stickers. He picked some fish ones. Then when we got home we let him decorate his potty. I was thinking we'd put maybe a couple of stickers on it and call it good. Quincy had other plans; he saw that I had a whole bag FULL of stickers and decided that it was his duty to use every last single one of them.

And he did.

I let him put the stickers wherever he waned, though it was secretly killing me that they weren't spaced evenly and he kept grouping 'like' things together.... close together.

At any rate, I wanted him to feel special and know that he had a big part in making the potty his VERY own.

And do you know what happened?

He loved it.

He was so happy admiring his potty.

He pointed to every one of the stickers he put on it.

He even........dare I write this..... sat on the potty. BY HIMSELF.

No crying, no screaming, no running away with a terrified look on his face.

He sat down on his potty chair like it was no big deal and he'd been doing it his entire life.
It was a big deal in our home.... and if things slowly progress how we would like them to..... it was the best $1.96 ever spent at Walmart.


And to add upon yesterday's miricle, Quincy was talking about his potty when he woke up first thing this morning.

It would seem this is going to be quite the fun adventure for our family.... thanks to the fish stickers!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baby You can drive my car...

One of Quincy's favorite things to do in the car is be in the driver's seat. Go figure, he's a guy. Every now and then when we have to pull the car into the car port we let him sit on our lap. He loves it. It's so funny because he likes to pretend like he's actually the one driving it, he puts his hands on either side of the wheel and moves it back and forth. He has yet to learn how to honk the horn, since it requires a little more pressure than he can give it, but it's a good thing.

Beep Beep Beep Beep...... Yeah!

Honking lessons again.

My Boys.

On a weird side note... Quincy sat on the floor with my flip flop and played with it for 20 minutes straight. He would push the part of the shoe that goes between your toes in and out of the sole. I thought it was funny that he was so fixated on it. He was the same way with tags on any of his toys.

Weird, I know.

The Boys just being happy... his teeth are finally through... the ones on the bottom anyway. They have yet to get all the way through, but have at least cut through his gums. It's about time.... he will be 2 in August!

Oh and as another side note... Quincy has really taken to pooping under his crib. Luckily he's still wearing diapers, but still I feel like it's quite the bad habit he's starting. We know every time he needs to poop because he hides under there to do his business. He still refuses the potty, though he understands what it's for; he wants nothing to do with it. For now he's content pooping under the crib. I guess I don't blame him for the need of privacy.

Ahhh... I have to keep reassuring myself that he's still young... and "they" say that boys take longer, but can't my little boy do it now? He's so smart. He knows all his ABC's and has learned to count from 1-4 without any coaxing. Seems like where he's lacking the enthusiasm for pooping in the potty he's making up for in the education department.

I'm proud of him regaurdless.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lovin' on the Ladies

Tyler's sister Kelly and cousin Mandy came to visit for the day on Thursday. I unfortunately was working and only managed to see them for a little bit before they had to leave. Before they left though I was able to capture some cute pictures of Mandy's daughter Eliza and Quincy.

I was quite impressed with how gentle Quincy was with Eliza. We told him to give her and hug and kiss because she was crying. He did and the hug was so powerful that he gently knocked her down. After we helped them both up he held her hand and surprisingly she stopped crying.

It was very cute to see him being so sweet with her.