The Howerton Family’s
Fabulous, Fabulous Lives 2006

Ah, Christmas. As I write this letter, Mark and I are sitting in front of a fire in our matching flannel pajamas, sipping hot cider mulled from spices in our garden[1]. The kids are asleep for the night, tuckered out from singing carols by the piano after a large home-cooked meal,[2] and Mark and I are doing our evening affirmations.
But let’s start from the beginning. This time last year, we were adjusting to being new parents. In February, we got a huge surprise – that we were expecting number two! It was a little disappointing to realize I wouldn’t be able to make the Boston Marathon just weeks before my due date[3], but I just set my sights on some smaller runs in the OC area.[4] It was fun experiencing pregnancy and witnessing the amazing process of growing a child.[5]
Because we love flying with a toddler[6], we did a fair share of traveling before our little bundle arrived. We visited my family in Florida in March, and then spent a week in West Palm Beach. In June, we went to Austin, Texas to do some upkeep on our vacation home[7] there. We spent a week in Acapulco with Mark’s parents, and did quite a few weekend getaways to Palm Springs over the summer. In July, we celebrated on tenth wedding anniversary with a ceremony at a quaint castle in a picturesque village in Italy, attended by Will Smith, Brooke Shields, and J-Lo.[8]
On October 7th, we welcomed little India Jasmine into the world. I had an amazing natural childbirth[9] at a hospital in Laguna Beach with an ocean view. India had a little bout with jaundice and had to be in the hospital a few extra days, but we kept this in perspective and were just happy to have her home whenever she came.[10] Mark had his sabbatical in the month of November, so we had some great family time together.
Life with two has been quite an adjustment, but Jafta is pretty pleased with his new little sister[11]. Jafta has grown up so much since last year. He has a bright, silly personality and loves to entertain us with singing, playing the piano, and jumping off the coffee table. He is talking up a storm.[12] It’s hard to believe he will be turning two just after Christmas.[13] We love watching India’s emerging personality, and thankfully she has a mellow, easygoing temperament just like her mommy.[14] It’s hard work, but when the crying stops[15], there are many moments where we look at these two blessings and thank God they are in our lives.
We hope you had a great holiday season and wish you all the best in the coming year!
Love, Mark and Kristen Howerton

[1] Okay, we’re in front of the tv, wearing spit-up covered sweats, and drinking . . . well, let’s just say it ain’t cider.
[2] Is it bad to feed a toddler Lean Cuisine?
[3] Why are you laughing? I could have done that. You don’t know me.
[4] Like, ice-cream runs, pizza runs, pretzel runs, etc.
[5] I’ve always wanted cankles, stretch marks, and weird cravings for Horchata
[6] If you turn the ipod up loud enough, you can’t hear the screaming. Or the complaining from the people sitting in front of you getting kicked in the back and patted on the head by a squirmy toddler.
[7] ghetto fourplex on the wrong side of town
[8] Alright, TomKat totally stole our idea. So we just did a little backyard thing.
[9] And naturally, I begged for an epidural after spending 40 minutes in the birthing tub and realizing this “pain-free childbirth” business was a load of crock. Shout out to my homeboy Steve the Anesthesiologist!
[10] Or completely freaked out. But hey, she got a nice glow from the tanning bed in the NICU.
[11] And I find evidence of this daily when I wipe off the remains of a slobbery, cracker-crusted kiss from her hair.
[12] Sometimes we can even understand what he’s saying! Unfortunately, he can pronounce “cookie” just fine.
[13] Actually, it’s not hard to believe at all. I think he’s been auditioning for the terrible two’s for a few months now.
[14] Okay, okay. She gets that from her daddy. Thank the Lord!!
[15] It’s nice when the kids stop crying, too.