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'Tis (almost!) the season:

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Weekend of Birthdays!!!

This weekend was so was jam packed full of birthday parties! Mallory had a party friday evening, while Arissa had drill team pratice, then arissa had a birthday party saturday at noon, while Mallory had another one at 12:30 and ANOTHER at 2pm! We didn't know how we were going to do it all, but we couldn't find a fair way to pick and choose which to attend and which not to. So we did it all! Jesse played chauffeur and drove everyone around, while I prepared the gifts and looked after Mariah...who's schedule was empty. :O( But we took advantage of the time alone to do some special stuff. Friday night I took her to build-a-bear, which gave her the thrill of her life! I made it a surprise and didn't tell her until we got there where we were going, and she flipped when she saw the store. I SO wish I had the camera with us, but Jesse had taken it to the party he took Mallory to. But we had fun nonetheless. Then Saturday she and I browsed at Barnes & Noble, and then had lunch together. It was nice and quiet and fun. And Mariah loved being the "only child". :O)

Mallory @ party # 1:
presents in hand for parties # 2 & 3:

Mariah w/ her new special bear: "Cinder Ella Howard"

Arissa, all ready for her big was a 50's dress up theme. So we pulled out this OLD hallween costume of mine, Nana did some alterations, et voila:

i give up!

Next year, our family Christmas photo is just going to be a handrawn rendition of the 5 of us or something.....cause I just can't handle the stress of putting together a nice family shot!

I had put it off long enough, so yesterday we headed out to take the family christmas photo. I don't know why I thought it would be quick and easy. I know it's not the girls' fault, I know they have short attention spans, but I just wanted ONE good picture I could use, and it was nearly impossible to get them all looking in the same direction (AT THE CAMERA) and smiling. And they each have a version of a forced smile that I had to try to avoid. You know, where their face is frowning but their lips are smiling. And then inevitably, they started to annoy eachother, they had to sit next to eachother for 2 seconds too long and it erupted into near bloodshed.

I realize these pictures are still cute in their own way, but they are also very FRUSTRATING for a mama who just wants to get a nice picture where everyone looks natural and happy and christmas-y:

I don't have a Border Terrier, or any dog for that matter, but you can bet that if I did I would totally buy this:

or maybe:how cute is that! :O)

I love this one too:


These cheap little costumes I got at walmart that caused me so much guilt (over not buying or making really super NICE costumes like I should have) turned out pretty cute after all. I guess it all depends on the kids that are wearing them! :O)

The bunny:

The kitty:

The devil:

It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get all 4 of these people to look at the camera and do something close to a smile at the same time! And Nana is just as bad as the girls! I took like 6 shots and I got this one right before they all got frustrated with me and ran off:

starting our walk:

We made our rounds w/ one of the girls from Arissa's Sunday School class, so M&M stuck together as well:

The girls had a great time. We got several compliments on how polite they were, which made me happy. :O) I told them: "there's two parts to trick-or-treating....saying trick-or-treat, and then saying thank you!". They did great.
The house adjacent to ours offered a free haunted house from 7-9pm, at first all 3 girls wanted to go through, then Arissa & her friend changed their minds and I changed Mallory & Mariah's minds for them when we heard grown adults running out of it screaming. But fortunately, we could still hear all the sounds of it from our house, and Arissa & Jesse spent awhile in the backyard peering over the fence and watching our neighbors scare OTHER people to death. :O)

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