My life (*roll-eyes face*)

So… yesterday. Thank goodness it’s over.

I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off until 2:00 (did you see the recent article about the chicken with it’s head cut off that’s still “thriving” after a week?!). That’s when my son, Adrian (A3), and I went and rented a 90-lb jackhammer and air compressor and we (A3) demolished our front porch down past the first step. This was a last minute demolition so we could get our new porch and ramp today… so it had to be done. And it couldn’t be done until I met with the contractor at 2:00. So anyway… A3 (who miraculously had the day off from the Fire Station, just an evening class to attend) jackhammered like a madman while I moved rubble from 3:00-5:15. It was at that time that I was down to 15 minutes to get J’onn, Cory, Eva, Israel, Benjamin and my sweaty self ready for church. After a whirlwind readiness campaign, we stopped for some McD’s near church, eventually arriving on time and heading to our respective classes.

Now, I love my class Wednesday nights. I am the teacher in the Pre-K room (4 year olds) and do their craft with them, then trade kids with the three-year-olds and do their craft while my kids are having lesson time, then we trade back again. Oh, and Benjamin stays with me because he is far happier watching a bunch of big kids play and soaking up the sounds rather than screaming his head off in the otherwise quiet, calm baby’s room. Anyway…. Usually I have about 10 kids (Madeline wasn’t there because there was no front porch to connect to her ramp so she was trapped inside) so I only had 7 kids last night. I mean- I take more kids than that to Target on a regular basis. So I don’t know how the 2 hours was so crazy it seemed like 30 minutes.

Anyway, when all was said and done, I was exhausted. After rounding up all the kids, and finding Clara and Presley (who had gone to church early for other activities), I just wanted to go home and go to bed. I did know that since it was a late night for Adrian, I would have to iron the same uniform he had worn that day for the next day and pack his (pre-made) lunch up once I got home, but that would be quick, then I was going to melt into my memory foam mattress and play dead for 8 hours.

On the way home I was telling the kids that I just wanted their help and for everyone to do what they know they need to do to get themselves and the little kids ready for bed. That’s when the State Patrol turned his lights on and pulled me over.

Now, there have been plenty of times I have deliberately broken the speed limit and deserved a ticket. There have been plenty of times my stomach did a little flip-flop and I said to myself, “Please don’t pull me over!” But not last night. Once I saw him pull into traffic I knew I must have been speeding, but since I had no idea how fast I had been going before my foot had instinctively stepped on the brake, (Doesn’t everyone automatically do that when we see law enforcement?) my stomach never even flipped let alone flopped. I wasn’t surprised when he told me I was going 68 in a 55, I was just thankful it wasn’t 78… because I really wasn’t paying attention.

Oh, and my friend, Christi, passed me right after I handed the Trooper my license and registration, so I was texting her. She actually pulled over about a half mile ahead to text me back and wait… maybe to see if she needed to rescue my kids after I was arrested on several out of state felony warrants. Good thinking, Christi! So glad the Trooper didn’t see those on his computer!

Anyway… after getting home, Adrian told me his clothes from that day were too dirty and they would be having inspection the next day, so I would need a different uniform. This was 12 hours after he told me the trick of getting the awful stains out of his uniform pants from grass and oily tractor tires (deposited during training exercises) was to soak them in Oxyclean for 24 hours. (exasperated face here) So Clara put the still-soaking pants on a speed wash for me… and she even dried them and had them to me in 2 hours. Unfortunately, this was an hour after Adrian told me I could iron them in the morning because he had a late day the next day. (crying face here- for me AND Clara)

Now it is after 11:00 and I just want to go to bed. But at some point during my crazy day someone- some kid- had spilled water ALL OVER my side of the bed. Not a little spot. ALL OVER. THROUGH ALL THE LAYERS AND INTO THE MATTRESS. (sobbing face here) So Benjamin and I slept on the sofa. Slept may be pushing it. Intermittently napped is more like it.

Now we are at today. A3 and I woke up early- he had to return the air compressor and jack hammer while I continued to move rubble. But before I got outside, Benjamin rolled off the sofa onto pillows and was crying (in his sleep it seemed). Cory, who had joined us on the sofa earlier, was, while still sleeping, trying to pull Benjamin up by 1 arm back onto the sofa. But you see, we just got a new, awesome, rotatable glass table. I had rotated it toward the sofa the night before and while Cory was puling on Benjamin’s arm, his face was pinned under the glass. That’s when the “real” crying started. I grabbed Benjamin, just in time to keep his arm in the socket, and Cory stayed asleep.

Clara did get even with him for Benjamin’s sake. She sacrificed him to the neighbor’s dog- twice- as she moved a fence board and squeezed him through to retrieve her ball. His high pitched squeal probably terrified the dog more than the dog terrified him.

Oh, and my husband, Officer Howell. Love him! His comments this morning… “Now I’m the one who enforces the law and you break it.” “You have no proof I have ever had a speeding ticket, but I have a ticket here to prove you are a speeder.” Says the man with a lead foot. So then he sends this text to his buddy at State Patrol and asked him to forward it to the Trooper who pulled me over:

Thank you for ticketing my wife last night. We have been married for 24 years but she’s been speeding for 28 years and this was her first speeding ticket, so it’s well deserved. Thank you.

No worries here, with his new job we get LegalShield at a low rate, so my attorney has already seen my ticket and we’ve talked. Not a problem.

It all just makes me glad I don’t have to try to finagle my way out of my many sins like I am doing with my speeding ticket. “Redeemed” is stamped in red letters on the front cover of the book of my life. Open it up and there’s a bunch of redacted lines- and paragraphs- things I’ve done that no longer count against me because Jesus is my defending attorney and Judge. I gladly and ever so thankfully accept His payment in full for my sins (the wages of which are death and eternal separation from God). In light of this, nothing else matters. I just want to magnify him forever in gratitude and awe of His mercy and grace. I eagerly await the day I can lay my crowns at his feet in worship. I can’t even think about it without crying.

In light of this, I hope you all have a very blessed Resurrection Sunday as you consider the price Jesus willingly paid for you, and as you worship the Risen King!



What about me?

I have been told this blog has become about Eva. Let’s see…

“Mom, look at my special pocket.” I turn to see:


“Eva, go brush your teeth.”

“I can’t! There’s a wrinkle in my toothbrush!”

I should just leave it there, but you should know I discovered that there was dried toothpaste on her toothbrush so it was “wrinkled.” I told her to run it under hot water for a minute and it would be fine. Ten minutes later I told her to turn off the water and I had to scrub toothpaste off of places in the bathroom that should never have toothpaste near them.


And then there’s this:


And this:


So I guess if you want to run around “nervously” wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt (that I MADE her wear shorts under and was in trouble every time she saw them sticking out) and had a light up fidget spinner in your “special pocket,” you’d get some “air-time” as well.

But at this point, maybe you should be thankful I’m NOT taking video of you.

Situationally Aware

I was in Other Mother’s a few days ago with J’onn, Cory, Eva and Benjamin. After a while I asked J’onn to hold Benjamin for a couple of minutes. I was only about 8 feet from him so I could hear him talking to a girl. He was explaining that this baby was his brother and that he is, in fact, Benjamin’s favorite person in the whole family. After a minute of listening I looked over at the play house they were in and saw a girl- maybe 10- holding Benjamin while J’onn talked. Not wanting to embarrass him, but also not wanting her to be holding Benjamin, I said it was time to go. So he took Benjamin back and walked to the front with me- with two girls in tow. And, on the way out the door I heard them say, “Bye, J’onn.”

You know those movies where the guy uses a puppy or a baby to pick up girls in the park? That is exactly what it felt like. He was, in fact, situationally aware.

I was going to Walmart today and explained to the kids that the world will continue to get worse as we get closer to the return of Jesus. I told them they need to be aware of what was going on around them, where exits were, if the same person kept showing up near them, etc… I believe that is what sparked Cory’s comment to me as I went out this evening.

On my way out the door he called, “Let us know if you get murdered, Mom!” I turned to him and said, “Cory, you’re a dork.” J’onn added his two cents: “Yeah, Cory. Mom can’t call us if she’s murdered.” Thanks, J’onn. In the end, I made it home.

Presley is having a skating party Sunday. She worked hard on extra school in order to move up early, and we changed our minds about that transition, so we are letting her take people roller skating as a reward for all her diligent, hard work. I got a text today- and RSVP for her BIRTHDAY party. I explained it was not her birthday- but now I’m wondering is anyone is going to show up with a gift. I think we’ll need Presley to clarify at church Wednesday night that her guests should not bring gifts. It does make sense though- who has a skating party just for the heck of it? Just us crazy Howells.

Meanwhile, Benjamin just turned 7 months. He’s an expert crawler… and much of his crawling is done hands and feet rather than hands and knees. And this crazy baby squats with 1 hand on the floor and tries to stand. And he’s so little! (He’s 25th percentile, so having a runt crawl around and trying to stand is… like having Clara all over again…. Lord come quickly!) But he’s so cute and full of kisses. Mostly for his favorite person- which happens to be me, not J’onn,- but J’onn is a close second, and maybe Little Adrian is third.

Anyway, Adrian had a uniform inspection today and they liked his pleats in his pants and the shine on his boots (Yay, A3!) Lord knows I had supernatural help pressing those- I am terrible at ironing! Which is why I need to get started on it for tomorrow.

Blessings, friends!

Eva Pfening???

Alright, Colin, this one’s for you!

So Eva was talking about being a grown-up today. She was asking me if she would still have to share a bed with Presley when she was grown up. I told her, “No, you will live in your own place with your husband.” That got her wheels turning. For the first time she realized she’d have to marry a grown-up, so her mind shifted to grown-up boys she knows. First she said, “Mike?” “Nope,” I replied, “Mike already has a wife.”

She then realized, “I don’t know who it will be.” “That’s right,” I said. “I didn’t know who my husband would be, either. You should pray that Jesus takes care of whoever He chooses to be your husband. That Jesus would save him just for you and that he would love Jesus and be ready to be a good husband.”

Her wheels were still spinning amid the unusual silence – even if it was only 7 seconds.

And then you could see the revelation on her face before she even spoke. Enlightenment in the highest form. “Colin. It’s Colin. Colin will be my husband!”

“Really? Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see!”

I don’t even know what to say at this point. Umm… I guess if you really want to wait 14 more years, Colin….

I didn’t want to stifle her “out-of-the-box” thinking, or the conversation about praying for her future husband, but I’m hoping the raptue happens long before Eva is ready to get married! Or a teenager for that matter! Come, Lord Jesus-PLEASE!!!

P.S. Heads up, Colin…. I hear there are several three and four-year-old girls at church who consider you their boyfriend, Mr. Popular! Oh the eventual disappointment….


Speech Therapy

So if any of you know Cory, you know that you have to pay very close attention to understand ANYTHING he says.  He did go to Speech therapy for about 6 months…and graduated out of it. Yup. Multiple times a day I have to tell him to slow down and pronounce his words carefully. Which usually comes out as “I have no idea what just came out of your mouth.” Or, as his dad says, “Speak the King’s english, Boy!”

If he wants to tell you his favorite part in the movie, Justice League, it will probably sound like, “YouknowthepartwhereAquamansaysallthatstuff (laugh) becausehe’ssittingonWonderWoman’slasso?!” Add a slight lisp and a missing front tooth with that slurred, spittle speed round and you might feel my constant pain. I thought he’d grow out of it..but no.  I have a feeling he might not be the only one.

Eva likes Lucky Charms. I’ve been buying them lately (thanks to Tim Hawkins and his set about parents hiding in the corner of the laundry room scarfing down their favorite childhood cereals before their kids find them), and she shares her mom’s love of them. Except that she calls them Lucky Germs.

Sometimes when we go to Target I’ll get the kids popcorn and a drink. Every so often that drink is a Slushy. Now when we go- EVERY TIME- Eva asks if she can get a Flushy. To which I have to laugh and ask her if she’s really sure she wants a flushy, because I’m willing to get her a slushy and her hair can stay dry.

And then there’s my precious Eber. Israel is 23 months and is a good talker, if you speak Eber-ese. He says Madawin, Cwara, J’onn, Cory, Baby, HeHe and Mike, Adwian… but Presley and Eva are difficult. So he named them. The same name. Hanah (rhymes with Shauna- which he says with the S). He pronounces it very clearly and he knows exactly who he’s talking about- although we are left to guess which one he is referring to. I’m left wondering if, in Eber-ese, hanah is the base word for servant. The prefix S could mean favorite… just wondering.

Last Thanksgiving J’onn and Cory continually referred to that holiday as Valentine’s Day- which drove me crazy! They did it so often that by the time Thanksgiving arrived, I had called it Valentine’s Day at least two or three times. So what do you think happened two weeks ago when Valentine’s Day was approaching? They didn’t have one problem calling it by it’s correct name. I only got it right about 30% of the time. Yup, it was Thanksgiving. *eye roll*

Ok, well, it’s past my bedtime. Goodnighteveryone,I’lltalktoyoulater!

Fruit Socks

So we, along with millions of other Americans, finally got it. “It” creates a lot of quality mom and child time- although that time has to often be shared because there is an abundance of “it” in our home. It has given us days free from any other plans where we can just relax at home. We have even had 7 nights of campouts! Soooo fun!!!

What is “it,” you ask? Well, that would be the flu. At first I thought it was a bad cold, but with the fevers and some kids puking… definitely the flu.

This started around January 25th when little Benjamin became sick with a “cold.” That grew progressively worse. Then, at 2 am on January 31st, 8 hours before we had to leave to watch my husband’s swearing in as a Spokane Police Officer, he was so sick that I was trying to decide if I could get to the ER to have him 1) treated and sent home in time to go to Adrian’s event, or 2) get him admitted and call a friend to sit with him while I went to Adrian’s event. Because he fell back asleep, I ironed everyone’s clothes and got ready for the day. By 3 am I had everything packed up. I went to the pantry to get a granola bar and could hear Israel SCREAMING for me from downstairs. I quietly waited to see if his sister would be able to calm him down. I breathed a sigh of relief as he quieted, only to groan- he quieted down because Presley was bringing him to see Mommy. I got him set up on the sofa with Clara and loaded up the car. When I came back, he was screaming again. I had to quiet him down quickly as Adrian’s first day of work started in a few hours and I didn’t want to wake him. So I decided to wait it out, knowing that I couldn’t get to the Doctor for 10 hours once making that decision.

(That was night 1 on the sofa. Last night was night 7 with no end in sight. *SIGH*)

After the swearing in (which was great- SO proud of Adrian, and so thankful the Lord moved mountains to bring us here), I took Benjamin to the doctor who diagnosed him with RSV. Because he was dehydrated and puking tons every time I tried to give him medicine for his fever and ear infections, we decided on 2 antibiotic shots that day and acetaminophen suppositories. (Which, by the way, sound great because they can’t puke it up… but it doesn’t mean they can’t shoot it out at you- with diarrhea- with amazing force!) She wanted to see him the following morning- and if he was any worse she may admit him.

Well, he wasn’t better, but he wasn’t worse. Thankfully, she gave him another 2 antibiotic shots and we went home. By the time we got there, other kids were getting sick. And it has basically been spiraling downward- no- swirling around the bowl- since then. Oh yes- quality mom and child time. Cancelling of all plans. Campouts on the sofa (with up to 5 kids) so dad can sleep and be able to go to work, and mom can give meds, monitor fevers, give nebulizer treatments, change diarrhea diapers, give fluids, and sleep. Oh no, wait, not that last one. What was I thinking, I must be tired.

My kitchen table looks like a pharmacy- loaded with OTC and prescription drugs and vitamins. Last night I had to go to Walmart at 3 am for more medicine and popsicles. Eva and Israel were getting no other fluids but popsicles. Israel is now on antibiotics for an ear infection, and so the Table Pharmacy keeps growing. I even had a friend bring me some more Albuterol for our nebulizer- I wasn’t expecting Cory and Eva to need it- and I was down to rationing it out!

So that is the background for the conversation Becca heard today.

Presley and J’onn were sitting at the table, and J’onn was about to take some medicine and vitamins. She told him to “take the orange pill, I love it, it’s yummy!” (A Vitamin C chewable.) Eva, barely coherent on the sofa, chimed in with a completely monotone voice, “No it isn’t – it’s disgusting.” Presley again, “It’s good, it tastes like fruit!” Monotone Eva, “No it doesn’t, it tastes like fruit socks.”

So chew up those fruit socks, J’onny. Stop puking when I give you Elderberry juice, Cory. Stop fighting me on EVERY SINGLE PILL OR LIQUID I come at you with, Eva. Stop pushing those suppositories out like a bullet, Benjamin.

I know the Lord will see us through this. And I need to feign competence here, as I don’t want my husband to think his wife can’t handle this now that he has a job he has to be there for at scheduled times! (It’s been years!) I’m just thankful my flu has been minimal, so I have just enough energy left to clean the kitchen chairs Cory just puked all over. Every single leg, really?


On a more positive note, Benjamin took his first crawls yesterday, and today has been crawling all over. Just one more thing to keep an eye on….