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the best of both worlds!!!

A little over 24 hours until the "big event"!

This (above) was the inside of the invitations (minus the exact address just in case any weird-o's wander onto this blog). I freakin love photoshop. I can personalize photos to make invitations, thank you cards, gifts, AND I can take 20 lbs off of myself in every picture I'm in! Love it.

I'm so excited for this party, I feel silly! It's times like these though when I'm especially grateful that God blessed me w/ girls instead of boys....because I don't know if I'd be as excited if I were planning a Spiderman party (or whatever boys like)! :o)


Decorations ... CHECK
Complete stage set-up ... CHECK
Party favor cds ... CHECK
Mock "Backstage Passes" ... CHECK
Ice Cream Sundae fixings ... CHECK
Cupcakes ... CHECK
Unbearably hot weather ... CHECK :o(
Lots of friends ... CHECK

So everything is pretty much ready. Jesse is in charge of the stage (and the one little boy guest will be his assistant)....we're using his equipment (microphone, amplifier, guitars). I hand-sewed some banners to hang, and a stage "skirt". Last night I finished all the backstage passes (which are in actual ID badge covers and attached to a beaded necklace) and covers for the cd party favors (which are a mix of all the kareoke songs the kids will be singing). Arissa can't wait.

These are more pics from her "photo-shoot" we did, to get a shot to use on the invitations:

They look pretty cool, minus that electric wire, huh? She's standing on my car, hence the cool sky shots. :O)

Our weekend & Arissa's big day!!!

edited: Bella went for a one-way ride w/ Jesse to someplace over by Arissa's school. The girls all hope that she'll end up at my Grandma's since it's near there. My Grandma certainly hopes that WON'T be the case! She doesn't like cats. But Bella will be happier and better off I'm sure. There's a huge field nearby and being the predator that she is, she'll probably be in heaven there.

Our father's day started out nice but kind of hectic, and ended with near tagedy! (Not really, read on...)

Arissa went to a slumber party saturday night, it was her first official one at someone else's house. She had a blast, but came home very very tired Sunday morning. We picked her up at 9am, the girls gave Jesse their father's day presents, then we got the girls all ready and hit the road. All 3 girls were to perform at the Del Mar Fair at 2:30. We got to the fair around 11:30, because we were told if we left any later than we did, we'd hit traffic and miss the showtime. So we were there early, which was fine, but we couldn't go on rides, we couldn't eat, because the girls were in full costume and hair & makeup. so we walked around, looked at the exhibits, the animals, etc. Poor Arissa was tired, and it showed. That girl hardly ever whines and complains, but at the fair there was just no pleasing her. On top of that, Mallory & Mariah can only be pushed in the stroller for so long before they get antsy. But finally they performed, and they did wonderful...of course. Arissa got 2nd place in the drill down. Here's some of the pictures:

I love this one because if you notice...the other girls are looking in different directions, but Mallory & Mariah are looking at eachother and smiling. :o)

This is why the girls don't ride on Jesse's shoulders very often....because this is how they hold on:

The girls were asleep before we got on the freeway to go home. By the time we did get home, Jesse and I were exhausted too....not that we'd done that much, but just being out in the sun for 4 hours zapped our energy. So we turned on the A/C when we got home, and all took a nap in the living room. We all slept from 5pm-7pm. It felt so good! Then we had dinner and then went out to get icecream....and that's when the near tragedy occured.

No one apparently noticed that Bella was in the house when we left.

We came home and I saw something move towards the door, then Bella came towards the door, put something in her mouth and walked away. Usually I tend to scream in situations like this, but I sensed that something very bad had happened so I calmly asked Jesse to come here, and he went in to see what had happened. He went to the girls' room where the mice/hamster are kept. I heard him say "oh God..." then he went into the kitchen, where I heard him say "OH GOD!!!". My immediate thought: there's bloody mouse/hamster carcus all over the place. Then there was a lot of thrashing and crashing while we wrestled the mouse out of Bella's mouth. The mouse, unbelievably, was fine.

Then we went into the girls' room to check on the other mouse and hamster. The cages were completely overturned, the bedding was absolutely everywhere. It was a big mess. We saw the other mouse run into the closet, and breathed a sigh of relief that he was ok.
I took this picture of everyone loving Bella and saying goodbye before Jesse took her for her little one-way trip:
Then, 2 days later was Arissa's birthday!!! When I had asked what she wanted, she had told me "a day". A day alone w/ me and Jesse. So that's what she got (among other things). We dropped the girls off at preschool, then headed to SeaWorld to check out the new Bay of Play & rides. It was so much fun. Jesse nearly made us all sick on the "teacup" ride (although at SeaWorld they aren't teacups of course):

This is Arissa looking in one of the fun-house mirrors:After SeaWorld, we stopped by Girl Scout Headquarters to pick up the handbook so that Arissa can earn lots of badges over the summer. And we got her some fun badges, that you don't have to earn, to add to her little vest. From there we went to the Ceramicafe where she chose a piece and painted it, then we had lunch at Casa de Pico, then we stopped at the library, then we went home and played video games until it was time to pick up the girls. Once we picked them up, we did gifts. Her sisters gave Arissa a Hannah Montana singing doll, and Jesse & I got her a Hannah Montana backstage closet. She loved them:We had such a fun day. Arissa is so funny and sweet. She deserved her "day". :o) And I'm hoping her upcoming party will be just as fun for her. And I'm praying it won't be too hot!!

Dance Recital & Graduation

Here's some pictures from our recent dance recital. The pictures speak for themselves, all I have to add is: It's impossible not to warm your heart, looking at the ones of the girls and their grandma & nana. ;o)

These are 2 of the "end of year" gifts I made for Mallory, Mariah, & Arissa's teacher. They're very very simple because I had to make a total of 5 (Mallory & Mariah each have a teacher and an "assistant"), and of course I procrastinated, so I ended up making 3 on the very last day.

in case you can't read it, this one says "2 teach is + 2 touch a life = 4 ever":

And this is graduation.....

Our friends Courtney & Gary w/ Mariah:



My sweet little Mariah Grace Howard graduated from preschool last night. These are most of the rest of the pictures I had mentioned before, that we took before she actually graduated so that I could make announcement cards. I need to upload the pictures from the actual graduation last night, and then I will post.

Mariah is so happy. All day yesterday she kept saying "it's my graduation day!". And this morning when I told her she was going to preschool (she and Mallory will continue there throughout the summer), she was QUITE upset: "BUT I GRADUATED!!!". :O) She is such a big girl. And, I must say, one of the best behaved in her class. It was hard for the other kids to sit still so long, but Mariah just watched the ceremony and was content....with her finger in her mouth. :O)
We are so so so lucky that we are able to send all 3 girls to that preschool. We can't afford it at all, but I would gladly go into debt so that the girls could stay there. We have been BLESSED (and i don't use that word lightly) that since neither Jesse or I can stay home with the girls, we haven't had to send them to "daycare". Before this wonderful preschool, they were with Cula & Maxine where i didn't even consider it "daycare", i considered it a home away from home. And then when they weren't there or at the preschool, they've always been with my grandma....who is among countless other things, the ultimate example of patience and love. We have been so so lucky.

new pets!

bemused hamster
Originally uploaded by kapkara
We have 3 new pets at our house!

(No this is not a picture of one of them, but it's super cute and it does resemble them!)

Arissa spent her birthday money and her hard earned tooth money (not from the tooth fairy, but a dollar from Jesse each time he had to "adjust" the retainer in her mouth which expands her jaw....everyday twice a day for 2 weeks) and decided she wanted a mouse. So we went to every petco/petsmart in La Mesa, Santee, Rancho San Diego, until we found the little guys we wanted. Arissa got two mice, the feeder kind that people give to their snakes. They're small and white, and she named them Freddie and Sam....I think. She was going to name them "Hannah" & "Miley", but they turned out to be males. I got a hamster, which I named "Mama", and Mariah gave her the last name of "I love you" her full name is "Mama I love you". :o)

Jesse went out a got another cage because we realized even though they're small, one caged was still kind of cramped. I later learned from my animal biolgy major friend that putting hamsters and mice together will only end in bloodshed, but so far so good. Mama is very mild and calm and still most of the time...although she does totally rock it on the exercise wheel! They sleep all cuddled up together. It's too cute. I'm not a big fan of the smell, or of all the pieces of bedding they kick out of their cage, but I like them.

This baby girl...

...turned 5 years old today!

She is super excited. We're going to pull out her scrapbook tonight and look at all the super cute things she's done and said since June 6, 2003.

I remember that it was cloudy and cool the WHOLE month of June that year.

I was induced so pretty much I had an "appointment" to give birth and it was pretty cool, not having to wait and wonder day after day.

The same dr who delivered Arissa also delivered Mariah (and Mallory too).

I remember that when Mariah was a few months old, I thought she was going to be the "difficult" one...just because she wasn't quiet and calm like Arissa had been. Little did I know that Mariah would turn out to be the peacemaker, the "mother" of the 3 sisters, a super listener and helper.

She is also my little "cuddle bug", she sneaks into my bed everynight and we cuddle the whole night.

She still sucks her pointer finger.

She could NOT be more excited to start kindergarten.

She has a tendancy to pee her pants when she laughs too hard. And she laughs A LOT! She's very sensitive, one harsh word and her lip comes out and tears start to flow.

When she was a baby, Jesse & I said she looked like James Lipton (from "the actors studio"), or more specifically, Will Ferrell's impression of James Lipton. Because Mariah would turn her head slightly to the side and just stare, with her little mouth open, and of course she was 1/2 bald at the time so she and James Lipton had the same hair pattern. We had lots of laughs over that.

Mariah's the only one of the 5 of us who can say she's ridden in an ambulance....when I put her bottles on the stove to sterilize them and went to bed and woke up because of a horrible smell and found the house filled w/ smoke, and the bottles were just a pile of plastic and rubber melting and cooking (but not on fire), and an ambulance came and took her to the hospital just to check for smoke inhalation. But she was fine.

I love my baby girl so much and I'm excited to celebrate her day and make her feel special!

Side note: Mallory is quite upset that it's Mariah's birthday and not HER birthday today. :O) Poor girl.

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