Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 Christmas Card

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I'm waiting for Aaron to get out of the bath, so I thought I'd type up some of the things running through my head. lol
Jayme and I went to wal mart the other night, and out of curiosity I tried on a pair of size 16 jeans, and they fit like a glove! I was so excited I started jumping up and down right there! I wasn't sure if they would fit or not- my 18's are big, but I wasn't sure HOW big- but yeah! I didn't buy them yet, but as soon as I have the extra money- I have my eyes set on the jeans, and a really cute top I also spied.
We took the kids to the galleria today. It was supposed to be a big deal- they've been advertising on the radio all these special holiday things. Well apparently the biggest thing, the famous figure skaters, were only there on Saturdays and yesterday was the last day. We still had a good time walking around, but it was a bummer that we missed that. The highlight of the day was going to the American Girl store. The girls were in heaven- I have to admit I even enjoyed it considering I grew up reading the books too. Grace will be getting her Bitty Baby on her birthday. Sadie got hers when she turned 5 so we decided to do the same for Grace. She's been asking for one for about a year now, and we've told her she had to wait until she was 5. She hasn't forgotten either. lol While we were there we decided that on Sadie's birthday she'll get one of the "Just like Me" dolls.
Tonight I ran over to Jayme's to pick up some Butter Braids that I had ordered from a friend's child's fundraiser and forgot to get at the Christmas party last night. As I was walking back to the car, I slipped on some leaves and fell flat on my back hitting the back of my head on the sidewalk in the process. No blood, but boy am I in pain. :( I think I scared poor Jayme to death. She was asking about my back, but all I could think about was my head. I got home and Aaron gave me some meds and sent me to the tub- when I soaped up I realized I have several cuts and scrapes on my arms that I didn't know about. OW!
Anyway, the kids are all fast asleep, and I think we're going to relax with some hot chocolate and a movie.
Oh, one last thing- I got all the paperwork for Connor's GT testing filled out- and he will go through the tests after Christmas break. I think as long as he stays relaxed he's going to do fine. He tends to freeze up around new people, and this is one of the things his teacher and I have discussed, so the GT counselor has actually been meeting with him and getting to know him for a few weeks so he'll be comfortable with her by the time testing rolls around.

If I don't get another post in before then- I hope you all have a very blessed Christmas!

Need some advice...

I have one child that is revolting against the seat belt. Seat belts are a #1 safety issue when they are in the car, but this one child has done everything from leave it off, to sitting on the waist belt and only using the shoulder belt. I have tried doing the firm brake press (not with anyone behind me of course), firm talks, and pulling over to the side of the road until they get their seat belt on correctly. Nothing seems to be working. So I need advice- how in the world do I get them to leave their seat belt on the right way so they are safe, 100% of the time?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Precious Pictures

Matthew putting his ornaments on the tree. See the dirty face from our traditional oreo cookies and eggnog?
Aside from my baby's first Christmas ornaments this is one of my most cherished ornaments. I know someone out there will recognize it ;)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pictures from Thanksgiving

Aunt Carly was so glad to see her kiddos!
His "tough" face
Matthew and the turky leg
You can see Connor's tooth in this picture if you look closely. Its a top tooth.
We celebrated our 9 year anniversary on Thanksgiving day!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Chaos , Chaos everywhere!

So I'll try to make this as short as possible.
The Monday before Thanksgiving, Connor wasn't feeling well, he climbed into my bed around ten that morning and fell back asleep. I went about doing my housework, and went into my room around 12:30 looking for something. I noticed his breathing was funny. So I went to check on him, he was breathing very quickly, and would stop breathing every once and a while and then gasp. I got my phone so I could use the stopwatch to count how many breaths he took. He took 60 breaths in a minute, all while stopping every few seconds and gasping. I got on the phone with the nurse line for our insurance company and explained what was going on and she told me to call 911. So I called Jayme in a panic, not knowing what I would do with the other kids, she didn't have her car, but she ran down here to keep them. I called 911 and off we went. I could tell then how sick he was because he didn't think this was cool at all when the ambulance and fire truck pulled up in front of our house. We arrive at the hospital, and they are just amazing. They put me at ease, put him at ease. They do a breathing treatment within minutes and dosed him with motrin since he had spiked a fever. They did a chest X-ray which looked fine, so they wrote up scripts for steroids and albuterol for the nebulizer at home and sent us on our way. Aaron showed up just as I was signing discharge papers.
We left Wednesday night to head back to East Texas for Thanksgiving, he did ok all day Thursday, but Friday after his afternoon treatment he started coughing and throwing up blood- so back to the ER we go where they give him three back to back treatments, start an iv line for iv steroids and again, run another chest X-ray where this time- shows he's developed pneumonia. Saturday I did a photo shoot and we headed to Longview. By this time Aaron isn't feeling well at all, he goes to urgent care and learns he has strep throat. So Sunday it was just the girls and I at church. It was great to see everyone again.
We headed home Sunday evening and went back into our routine. Tuesday a tooth of Connor's started bothering him. What had happened was his top adult tooth started growing in before his baby tooth fell out and they were essentially fighting against each other. The adult tooth had pushed the baby one straight forward, while the baby one was pushing the adult tooth backwards. I spent all morning looking for a dentist to take him, and finally found one. I checked him out of school and headed to Arlington. The office was amazing. The dr and staff were efficient and just downright awesome. The girls go for cleanings next week. lol
Anyway, the dr looked at the tooth, and said it needed to come out asap, and it would have to be done surgically because it wasn't budging at all. They got us scheduled for the next day. Soooo, anyway, that all went well. He did great, with everything, the sedation etc. He had very minimal pain after it was all said and done, and is much more comfortable now than he was with a tooth sticking into his upper lip.
Last night we had some friends over for dinner, and the girls and I snuck out to go dancing for a couple hours. Tonight we have a Christmas party, and tomorrow we get to breathe---maybe? lol
Everyone is healthy right now- and hopefully it will stay that way through the rest of the holiday season.
So that wasn't as short as I wanted- but thats life lately. :) Hopefully my next update will be better.
I'm going to try to upload pictures soon- but blogger hasn't been cooperating.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weight Loss Progress Pictures

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've been Tagged

I was tagged by Josie, and apparently what I am supposed to do is post the fourth picture in the fourth album on our computer. So drum roll please...........................

This is Connor at 4. We had gone to the park with the Rinehart family and he was being his goofy self. :)
So there ya go. I tag....Jaime, Lisa Dawn, Annissa, Melody and Nancy

Monday, November 17, 2008

Race for the Cure Photos

Waiting for TGIFriday's to open

Look at all those people!

I know, a month late- but here they are. :)

We only brought Jayme's camera with us- so I had to wait for them to be loaded.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My thoughts....

Other than my recent kid speak, I haven't mentioned the election here. I have my reasons too, mostly being I was so conflicted about the whole thing. I did not like either one of the candidates, I felt there was certainly someone better qualified and better for America. I've been cynical and apathetic and then passionate. So rather than post my craziness for the world to see, I just kept it to myself. However, now the election is over, the country has spoken and history has been made.

How do I feel about our new president-elect? Honestly, the jury is still out. There are several of his policies I do not agree with, and others that I think might not be so bad. Do I believe every negative thing that has been written about him? No, I don't. Do I believe that as a result of the election we are facing darker than dark days? I don't think so. This country's days are already dark. We made them that ourselves. We've had democratic presidents before, and we survived. We've had Republican presidents before, and we survived. I could be wrong, but there is no sense in spending my days and nights fretting over what may or may not happen. I'm secure in who I am in my Creator and who I am as a person I don't have to fear.

Our job now is to respect and pray for the man who has a very tough job ahead of him. In light of the economic issues, the war as well as everything else, the president-elect's job is less than enviable.

As a side/finishing note, there was a small part of me that was proud that I could tell my children this morning that the country elected its first black president. Yes, I know there are people who voted for him simply based on that fact alone, but when I think back to how things used to be and I see the world my kids are growing up in, where it doesn't matter to them that they have friends from every walk of life, every skin color, every ethnic background. I have tried to create a world for my kids where a person is just a person. Not a white person, not a black person, just a person. All men, created equal.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Impending Election....

So with the upcoming election, the kids school had a mock election last week. We were discussing it tonight, and I thought I would share our conversation with you. :)

Connor: "I voted for John McCain"
Mom: "Oh really? Well why did you vote for him?"
Connor: "Because he likes Mexican food, and so do I, so he must be cool"
Mom: "Uh-huh" insert stifled laughter here "Sadie, who did you vote for"
Sadie: "Barack Obama"
Mom: "Ok, why did you vote for him?:
Sadie: "Because we were running late, and I was running out of time, so I just picked on"

Ahhhh, the future of our country. ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008


I just had to post a brag. Sadie got a speaking part in the little program her grade is doing next month at school. She's just bubbling over with excitement about it. I'm so proud of her!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christmas is coming...

And I find myself browsing etsy drooling over items, I could never break down and buy myself.
Items such as these fancy aprons. I adore the vintage charm, the sweetheart neckline, the little pocket. Or what about these rubber gloves? I love these!

Or something a little more practical like this camera strap. The soft fabric would be much kinder on my neck than the stock strap I'm currently using. Especially on a long shoot, or while toting my telephoto. On the subject of camera equipment, there's always a new cover for my shootsac. I've been drooling over the lavish and splendid covers for some time.

Last year during the Holiday season, we were haunted by toy recall after toy recall. After Christmas was over, I realized I enjoyed the challenge of finding truly unique gifts for the kids. So I'm on the hunt this year. I've already started buying a few things and putting them up.
A book and new sno globe for Sadie, a computer game for Connor. Things that may end up in their stockings. Not sure yet.
We know we want to get Sadie an art set like this one, with a couple sketch pads or canvases. She is constantly drawing, and actually amazes me with her talent. I'm not sure where she got it from, certainly not me. lol
Connor is proving to be a challenge to bring in the "unique" quality. I'm really not sure.
But for Grace I found this adorable play food on etsy. I'm just not sure how much it would actually get played with. I have to keep in mind she's 4, and would probably prefer another pony over something I combed the internet in the wee hours of the morning for ;)

Matthew is posing a pickle as well. I haven't found anything yet that just jumps out at me for him.
As of today Christmas is officially less than two months away, so I guess I better get on the ball.

Doing it again...

I had so much fun on the last 5K, I decided I wanted to do it again. I didn't realize it would be so soon though! Next Saturday (November 1st) I'm giving it another shot.
Only this time- we're doing it as a family. :D
We are participating in the American Diabetes Association 5k walk. We're doing it in honor of my Grandmother, who struggles with Type 2 diabetes.
So , we're "Steppin for Nerva"
The kids are pumped up and excited, and I'm ready to go.

If you wish to sponsor our family team, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I'll get that info to you. Every little bit counts!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Very Excited

The other day, I was looking for something to wear. I came across a skirt that I love, but have never been able to wear. I bought it at a garage sale three years ago, it was to small at the time, but I was working hard at losing weight, so I figured I'd fit in it soon. Well, I ended up pregnant.
After Matthew was born, I tried fruitlessly to lose weight, I just kept gaining. I ended up giving away or selling all my "skinny" clothes, but I held on to that one skirt.

When I came across it a few days ago, I decided to try it on and see how close it was to fitting. Well, its not close to fitting- it fits perfectly! Its a size 18 and not a 18W! For reference, when we moved up here I was size 24W! I cannot express how great this feels! I hit a small plateau weight wise for a couple weeks, but when I stepped on this morning, down another pound. :D

The only bad thing about this is I'm quickly running out of clothes to wear! The jeans I bought a month or so ago are to big now, and I really hate to run out and spend money on more clothes when I'm going to (hopefully) shrink even more over the next few months.
My first big goal is to be below 200 pounds. I'm only 28 pounds away from that 199 number. :)
I haven't been below 200 since Connor was born. His last prenatal appt I weighed in at 201.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update on Us

So things are going pretty good up here in the big D.
Aaron is still loving his job, and the kids are still loving school.
I'm pretty much completely recovered from surgery, I notice when I stress out my jaw aches some, but other than that I'm pain free. I'm even eating normally again, which is a welcome relief. I got very tired of soft foods!
Connor is getting extra work sent home with him from school, trying to keep him challenged. His grades are awesome, and he hasn't had to many behavior problems at school.
He went on his second field trip of the year yesterday to Safe Side City (similar to Longview's Safety City)
Sadie is on her first field trip of the year today.
The little ones are doing well at home. I'm working with some Pre-K stuff with Grace at home. Matthew is just as happy as ever. He is picking up new words every day. He's still not talking like the older two did at this age, but I'm not to worried about it. Grace talked a little slower as well, and I think its just because they have so many people to talk for them. :)
Thats us in a nutshell!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Early this morning (4:20am to be exact) my alarm sounded, and I peeled myself out of bed.
Why did I choose to awaken on a gloriously beautiful Saturday before the sun had even appeared?
My friends, Jayme, Katrina and I participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k walk today.
I have never participated in anything like this before- it really was an incredible experience.
From the cheerleaders on the sidelines encouraging us on, to the rush I felt when we crossed the finish line and I realized that not only had I succeeded, I felt GREAT! A few months ago, I know I would have struggled almost the entire way. I feel awesome- and will be doing another one in April.
My goal for next year is to be a competitive RUNNER in the 5K!! I think I can do it. :)

Pictures from our day to follow soon! :) I'm tired, and satisfied, and off to the comforts of my bed that I left way to early this morning. But, it was for a good cause, and YEAH ME! I did it. :D

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How are you feeling?

I've been asked this several times. So here goes- I'm ok. If I take my pain pills on time, I'm not in a horrible amount of pain. I did wake up this morning very nauseated and got sick at my stomach. So I've spent most of the day doped up on not only pain pills, but phenagren as well.

All in all, today has been a pretty rough day. I'm hoping things will just improve from here. I really hope I'm back to semi normal, at the least, by Monday. The kids are out of school, and Aaron goes back to work. So I'm really praying for a good day.

Report Cards

Connor and Sadie got their first report cards yesterday.
They both did really well- I'm very proud of them. :)


Language Composition-85
Social Studies- 94

She made the Principal's Honor Roll, and Maverick Club


Language Comp. - 98
Social Studies-92

He got three coupons for free kids meals at different restaurants. :)
He was very excited.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Race for the Cure

Dear Friends and Family,

I recently accepted the challenge to raise funds to support the Dallas County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® in its efforts to provide breast cancer research, education, screenings, and treatments for the underserved in Dallas County. Did you know that it is estimated that over 12,000 new breast cancer diagnosis are expected in Texas in 2008? I will also take part in the Komen Dallas Race for the Cure event on Saturday, October 18th as part of this program to raise money.

Please help support me in this important project by contributing generously to Komen Dallas Race for the Cure. Your tax-deductible contribution will help so many. It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause - you can make your donation online by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of this message. However, if you would prefer, you can send your tax-deductible contribution written out to Komen Dallas Race for the Cure to me at my address listed below. If you would like, you can find more information on Susan G. Komen for the Cure and its programs at

Whatever you can give will help; it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.


Mandy Howe

To donate online, click here or search for my personal page at:

To send a donation:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

New Family Picture

My mother in law snapped this of us with our new additions right before we left to take her back to the train station on Sunday. Connor is holding Cass- Sadie is holding Hally. :)

New Layout

I have a new layout and header for the month of October. :) So if you read through bloglines, you might want to open the actual blog and take a looksy.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Oral Surgery Update

I'll be having all four wisdom teeth out on Oct. 10th. The bottom two are attached to the bone which is why they feel I've been in so much pain. Top two shouldn't be to much trouble. Keep me in your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


We are all pretty much doing well. I am having problems with my wisdom teeth for the first time in about a year. This time I've decided to just have it taken care of and not wait it out again. I go tomorrow to have a consult with the oral surgeon.
Yesterday, Connor was reading to me, and I noticed he kept blinking his eyes, and rubbing them. I handed him my reading glasses and had him try them, asking if he could see better. He said he could see everything better, and the blinking and rubbing stopped. So I made him an appt to see the eye doctor on Monday.
I'll update when I know anything.

This weekend we're having a visitor. My mother in law is coming to visit. Its a surprise for the kids. :)

Next weekend we're going to west Texas to see the G family. I'm VERY excited about that. :D Its been more than a year- way to long!

Thats us in a nutshell.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I know you were just dying to know...

What I would have looked like in 1984. ;) So wonder no more. :) Curious as to what you might have looked like in the past? Go to

Lots of fun!

Does anyone besides me think that might actually be a picture of my mom? :P Guess we really do look a like. ;) Not a bad thing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Alert the tooth fairy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Little Guy...

Got his first haircut the other night. His hair was getting so long, most people thought he was a girl. So I decided it was time. Yes, I saved his curls! They are safe in a ziplock baggie.
Isn't he getting so big?? Its hard to believe he's 18months old already. Such a handsome lil man. :)
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today is the long awaited debut of my home! Come on in, take a look around. Please, no pushing or shoving. I have enough of that in the afternoons. ;)
Posted by Picasa

First Stop...

this is what you see when you first walk in. Walk forward and you hit the office, turn right to go down the hall.
To the left is our living room- small and cozy.
My picture wall.
To the right is the dining area, my cross wall and bookshelf- OH and look! A Matthew! Very rare, and happy creature. ;) This is worth the price of admission right here.
Posted by Picasa

Turning to the Right.....

Here is the view from the dining room into the kitchen. Look! My cabinets aren't white! I'm so happy. :)
See my cute little chalkboard I picked up at a garage sale? And my stand mixer! I have counter space and cabinets tall enough that I can put it on my counter. :) I love it. Thanks again Mom!
My cute little green desk. I got that from my grandma because I loved it so much. It makes the perfect microwave stand. Goes with the vintage feel I'm going for in this room. It also is handy for storing my dish towels, and cords for griddle etc.
Through this door is the back door, pantry and very large laundry room!
Posted by Picasa

Moving forward...

Our bedroom. I love my french doors! I have gorgeous fabric to make curtains for them. Its on my to -do list. Promise. For now we tack a sheet up. lol
My beautiful bed.
The view from my side of the bed.
My gorgeous armoir. My wonderful husband, and good friend David worked so hard to get this into the house. I am forever in their debt. (it took an hour just to get it from the truck into the house) It hides our tv, and dvd player, along with some of our clothes.
Posted by Picasa

The end of the tour

In here, you will find the office. The main hub for my business, and where all my scrapbook stuff is.
Nothing overly exciting. But its nice to have a place for all this stuff that isn't in a living area.
And the end of the road for now- to the left are the kids' rooms. You'll see them one day, just not today- they are closed to the public until I get a chance to get in there. On the right wall I have two closets, a linen closet, and a coat/game closet. Then at the end of the hall is the bathroom. I figure, if you've seen one you've seen them all. :)
Hope you enjoyed this tour of my home! Now come visit me soon!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 12, 2008

Long Overdue...

I finally had a chance last night to sit and start editing some of the pictures I took at Steven and Megan's wedding. I know its months over due- but if you want to see, hop over to my photography blog.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Oh By The Way

I don't usually reveal this type of information- but I'm very excited about it- so here goes.
Before we moved I weighed in at 254.
I weighed Saturday morning at...drumroll please..................................

YEAH! I guess walking 10 miles a week helps ;)
In addition to lower stress levels- cutting out most sodas, etc. Haven't made any huge changes, but the small ones I've made have obviously made a difference. :D

Home Sweet Home

We are moved- halfway settled- as I sit in our office surrounded by boxes. lol
Internet was turned on today. YAY!
Here is the breakdown of the house.
Our room- Done
Kitchen- Done
Living room/Dining area- Done
Bathroom- Unpacked- but not organized the way I'd like
Boys Room- Done
Girls room- not done
Office- Not even close to done.

We seem to be coming down with something- Sadie started it- scratchy throat, headache etc. I'm hoping its just allergies. I'm not 100% today, so I'm not sure how much I'll get done- I'm doing a crockpot dinner- so at least that won't be time consuming. I'll get pics posted once everything is settled and unpacked. :)

Miss me?

Friday, August 29, 2008


Just a note- internet will not be hooked up at the new house until the 8th. We move in tomorrow. I'll come post pics and check email on occassion here at J's house. But I will not have constant access for about a week. See you then!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What a shocker! Not! :P

You're 80% Irish

Congratulations, you're a shining example of an Irish lass (or lad).

There's hardly anyone more Irish than you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School

The first day of school went great! Both kids did exceptionally well- as did I. I expected a little sadness when I dropped them off, but there was none. I'm very excited for them. They both loved their teachers, and made new friends. Connor had a purple day- which he explained is a very good day. Lets hope it continues.
Grace loved being in charge of the tv/xbox. Matthew enjoyed napping in a quiet house. :)
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Its the most wonderful time of the year!

Tomorrow is the first day of school! Yay! I've been looking forward to this!
The backpacks are packed, the first day of school clothes are set to the side- but where is that other shoe???
Why is it that one shoe constantly goes missing- and as soon as you find it- the one you had in the first place is gone! I hate shoe hunting.
So as I hunt for Connor's missing shoe- and hope that Sadie's shoes are in the same place I put them last week- I try to avoid the thought that I have a first and third grader! Next year this time I'll be packing Grace up for her first day of Kindergarten, sending Connor to Second grade and Sadie to Fourth! Where has the time gone???

Saturday, August 23, 2008



What a difference almost a year makes! I didn't realize how much we had changed until I saw this picture from our anniversary. We've both lost weight, and made changes! WOW is all I can say. What do you think?