A few years ago, Emily and Tim Howard were high-profile Lodi residents, with Emily serving on the Lodi City Council and Tim on the San Joaquin County Planning Commission.
Though they're not high-profile figures in Lodi anymore, they seem to be busier than they ever were. It's hard to figure out how they get it all done.
Emily, who served on the City Council for four years beginning in 2000, is a stay-at-home mom for their three small children. If that isn't enough to keep her busy, she also participates in a number of activities, volunteering at one of her children's schools and at Bear Creek Community Church, where they worship.
She's also a member of MOPS, also known as Mothers of Preschoolers, and chaired the Greater Lodi Area Prayer Breakfast the past four years. This year's event drew more than 200 people.
Emily, 38, actually cut down her schedule a bit because her husband is even busier than she is. Tim Howard, 40, puts in 40 hours a week as a co-administrator of Valley MRI/Lodi MRI, teaches four public relations classes at California State University, Sacramento, and takes classes for his doctorate in education at University of the Pacific.
"I'm lucky to get three or four hours of sleep a night, Monday through Thursday," he said.
Despite his busy schedule, Tim Howard credits his wife for keeping the household intact.
"Emily's really the pillar of the family," he said. "Emily's the rock star."
The Howards still keep up with what's going on at City Hall and in the county.
The city of Lodi faces immense fiscal challenges due to financial problems facing the state and federal government, Tim Howard said. Locally, the spending priorities must be public safety, clean water and efficient energy and sewer systems.
"I just pray that they are fiscally responsible and live within their means," he said.
His wife says the Council needs to simply make up its mind on a number of topics.
"The Council needs to be more timely in gathering information and making decisions so they can move the community forward," Emily Howard said. "It hurts the community when the same subject doesn't get a final vote. If you continue to hover in the discussion phase, you never move forward."
Emily Howard served only one term, but it was intentional.
"I knew going into it, it was one term," she said.
Both see the benefits of serving only one term so that the council can get some fresh ideas.
Tim Howard served a bit longer on the county Planning Commission. He was appointed in 1996 by the Board of Supervisors and served until 2002, when the board voted to reduce the Planning Commission from seven members to five. Howard was one of two at-large selections to be axed from the commission.
Tim Howard said he was disappointed that the Board of Supervisors reduced the number of county Planning Commissioners because seven members constitute a healthy dialogue on issues.
He was president of the California Planning Commission Association in 2001 and was named state planning commissioner of the year two years later.
Tim Howard changed his course in life after leaving the Planning Commission, returning to Pacific in 2003 and getting his master's degree.
In 2005, he taught public relations writing for one semester, and writing and mass media the next semester at California State University, Long Beach. He flew every Monday to Long Beach, spent the night with Emily's parents in Long Beach, taught each Tuesday and flew home to Lodi on Tuesday nights.
It was through his experience at Long Beach that Tim Howard was offered a teaching position at CSUS. He teaches four classes per semester and has 140 students.
Through a paper he wrote at CSUS, Tim Howard was able to arrange a family vacation to Holland last year when he presented his essay on global public relations.
Tim Howard's emphases are on "emotional intelligence," getting students to grow in self-regulation, self-awareness, motivation, empathy and social skills.
"My hands are on the pulse of the future," he said. "It's a very rewarding job. I love it."
The Howards met as undergraduates at Pacific in the late 1980s. Emily grew up in Long Beach and enrolled at Pacific, hoping to become a physical therapist. She was a physical therapist assistant at Lodi Memorial Hospital from 1996 to 2001, when their first daughter, Jillian, was born. Tim Howard was an intern for former Vice President Dan Quayle.
What little free time the Howards have is spent going to Disneyland and to Arnold. Because of their children, their TV is set mostly on The Disney Channel, although they often watch sporting events in person and on TV with their kids.
The Howards' three children are Jillian, 6, a first-grader at Century Christian School; Madison, 4, who attends Vinewood Preschool; and Dutch, 1 1/2.