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christmas came early

This is what our house looks like from the front (plus we've added one of those lit-up reindeer that moves its head from side to side):

Jesse did it all himself. I LOVE it, I honestly wish we could keep up at least some of the lights all year long. One year we did do that, but we got made fun of (mostly by our neighbors!) :O).
Mallory had a Christmas recital at preschool. Was I able to capture a single non-blurry shot? of course not. But at least I don't have to blur out the other kids lovely camera did that for me:
She sang "Mary did you know?". It was very cute. At different points in the song, she seemed to not be concerned with 'performing', and was just lost in the song, singing and swaying and just feelin' it in general! I don't know if the teacher instructed her to keep her hands folded like that, but that's how she was most of the time. :O)
Jesse brought the girls to his work for a Christmas party:
(Mallory doesn't like Santa! Thus, no picture of her.)
Arissa had 2 back-to-back performances Sunday. A parade (for which the team won FIRST PLACE!!!), and a show at Viejas. It was freezing cold, but the girls did great. Arissa was second place in the drill down, she always makes me so proud!!!
Jesse & Mallory watching the performance:

Me & Mallory:
(no picutres of the actual performance because once you've seen one picture of Arissa performing, you've seen them all....they all look the same in photos. But if you'd been there in person, you would have been very impressed, I'm sure!)

And here's how Christmas came early at our house:

His name is Jackson Russo Howard, and he's about 6 weeks old. We bought him from some people in front of the grocery store. We set up an area in the bathroom for him, with some food and water and stuff, and he ate a wee bit. But Sunday night he was especially whiny and yippy....and just plain obnoxious. I researched on the internet Monday, and found lots of information but one site summed it up best with "Only an idiot would buy a puppy under 8 weeks old!". Apparently they're not supposed to be seperated from their mom until at least 8 weeks old. And also apparently if they are seperated from mom, they have to be BOTTLE FED. So he was being a stinker because he was starving....he hadn't eaten more than a bite since Saturday. So last night Jesse got some puppy milk formula, we put it in a baby bottle, and I sat for an hour and fed the sweet little guy. It was so satisfying to see him go from a squirmy, starving, crazy a sweet little angel fast asleep in my arms.

And lastly, yesterday was my birthday. Saturday night my dad took me to The Brigantine, where I had THE MOST DELICIOUS clam chowder & ceasar salad that I've ever had. He said the sky was the limit, I could order as much as I wanted, including wine or such, but I was quite happy w/ my Dr. Pepper. :o) I felt like such a little kid at this nice, fancy restaurant, $25 a plate, wine reccomendations with every dish on the menu, and when the waitress asks me what I'd like, I go "what kind of soft drinks do you have?". Anyway, we had a really nice time.
Sunday night Jesse gave me his gift:

the DVD of Mariah Carey's last tour, which attended when she came here to San Diego! Love it!! Except I realized I can't really watch it when the girls are around, because Mariah Carey performs like half of the concert in a certain "costume" that, to 3 sweet little girls, looks like she's basically just singing her underwear. :o) Jesse, on the other hand, has no problem with it. Go figure.
The girls each drew me a sweet little picture, and sang to me, and got me a cheesecake which we ate for dessert.
My Nana gave me a card & some money to buy clothes, and she also made us Chicken Noodle Soup so that I didn't have to cook dinner. It was hot and ready to go as soon as I picked up the girls. That's service!
My mother-in-law stopped by and brought me a cute handmade card and the most beautiful Christmas's so christmas-y.....the blooms are white, the plant itself is green of course, and the pot is red. It's really gorgeous.
And a couple of my friends from my old office sent me cards, which I thought was sweet of them to even remember. Especially around this time of year, there's so much going on, half the time I don't really remember my birthday until it creeps up on me!
And lastly, it rained and was cloudy ALL day, which I consider my birthday gift from Heavenly Father. :o) And I did thank him very much for it, cause it made for a really perfect day (especially since I got to stay indoors most the day and I didn't have to drive around in it!).


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