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We had a busy one, once again!

I had friday off, cause I was on baby-sitting duty since Nana is out of town. Arissa spent the day at SeaWorld with her friend from Drill Team, Olivia. They were there ALL day and had so much fun:

Oh and we spent a good part of the weekend watching this (2...maybe 3 times):

Any movie w/ talking animals is sure to be a hit with my girls. Add in a Mexican accent, and you just can't go wrong!

We also went to the library...except 4 out of the 5 of us owe fines so we had to put all the books we checked out on Mariah's tab...the only one who doesn't owe!

Friday morning while Arissa was away, M&M and I went up to Cabrillo National Monument. We saw the Rosecrans cemetary (where Mariah declared: "No wonder there's not very much people in America. They're all buried here!"). :o)

We checked out the Point Loma lighthouse, which the girls thought was the coolest thing ever! Then we drove around and enjoyed the scenery.

When Jesse picked up Arissa from Olivia's after work, we invited Olivia to spend the night. We were already planning on going to check out the IB Sand Castle competition, so she came along.

Except we found out when we got there that the competition didn't start till Saturday. So we drove down Silver Strand and ended up at Coronado where we got out and played in the water for a bit. The girls were so hyped up to get out and be on the sand and feel the water that I was scared they might revolt if I didn't let them!

("Mariah's Vacation" is what this says)

We spent the night @ Nana's, since it was empty anyways and it's a much easier place to house 6 people than our place. Unfortunately, it was also blazing hot since it's been closed up for a week since Nana's been gone! So we slept in the floor, no blankets, all the windows wide open. It was that hot.

Then Saturday morning we got in the car and headed out again to the SandCastle comp.

Except we found out when we got there that Saturday is just for kids and didn't start till noon...the adult competition is on Sunday from 2-4.


So instead:

This was actually really fun. All 4 of the girls were amazed and mesmerized by even the smallest fish that people were catching on the pier. We watched the surfers paddling and catching waves.

We even saw several dolphins! That was the coolest part.

And then we came across this:

Someone had caught a shark. Mariah was the only one (including me) brave enough to get close enough for a picture:

I love all the blood on the wall behind makes such a nice photo. :o)

And then over the weekend I made this:

It's my 2nd quilt, and it's about 80% smaller than my first one. But I like was so much more manageable to quilt! I figure from now on, if the total amount of fabric doesn't fit on my kitchen table, I can't quilt it.

This one was also so much easier cause I didn't do any designs, I didn't follow a pattern, I didn't have to cut and sew any pieces. I just took the fabric, put the batting in between, pinned it, and went to town. Here's the front/back:

And Friday afternoon I made this:

The first time I've used a button closure. Nevermind my messy stitching (I hadn't snipped the thread yet either):

I ended up giving it to Olivia, but Mariah modeled it for me:

Et c'est tout!

Only exactly 7 days till I meet Francoise & her family!

I'm so excited but nervous too.

I have a hard enough time meeting people for the first time who speak the SAME language as will I do it when there's a language barrier? Hopefully her english and my french are good enough that we can actually carry on a conversation.

But I will have my french/english dictionary on-hand at all times, just in case. :o)

The girls have gotten their introductions down though....a bought them a dvd that teaches children french. So I say "what are you going to say to Francoise?" and they reply "Bonjour, les amies!". :o) Too cute!

Poor sweet Mariah was sick all weekend....she didn't eat or drink a thing, and anything she tried to put down came right back up. I was really worried because usually when she does this, it's a 24-hour thing, but this lasted 48 hours and she looked really weak and pale.

But her choice of reading material (while she was quarantined to the living-room couch) made me smile:

:o) She actually picked my Vogue magazine when I asked her what she wanted to read.

While we're talking about Mariah, here's the thing I mentioned in the last post, that I made for her but it's so tight she refuses to put it on:

It's so cute & summery! But she's not havin' it. Oh well!

That's one of Mallory I snapped over the weekend...just thought it was so cute, I had to post it. :o)
Last night despite the fact the girls had dance, drill team, AND soccer, we managed to sit down to a home-made meal (an actual homemade one, no microwave-warming required):

This was quick & easy to make, which was surprising consdering I made the alfredo sauce from scratch. Now it's probably worth noting that Arissa threw a major fit at the sight of it, and that M&M only ate as much was required for them to be able to get garlic bread, but Jesse and I (the ones who actually tried it) thought it was delish.

And this I have w/ every meal:

Okay so since last weekend was payday weekend, we got our first summer/water toy:

no, that is not a Howard child on the's our friend from down the street, Alana. :o)
A 3-person slip-n-slide...complete w/ inflatable body boards! The girls freakin' loved it of course. We have a single-person slipp-n-slide, but the girls just run and then jump right on it and land on their knees. It makes me cringe every time. But w/ the body boards, they can actually SLIP and, more importantly, SLIDE and it's a lot more fun. Can't have any more kids anytime soon though...I don't think they make a 4-person one!

And then over the weekend, I also made this ensemble for Mariah:
Seeing her diva pose called to mind her reading my Vogue magazine......

Speaking of which, have you gotten your latest issue in the mail yet?


More clothes:

I came home early from work for a dr. appt, and made this before I went:

The hem of the skirt (which matches the collar of the tank top):

And then I set to working on a shirt for Mariah. But I kept getting it too small around the bust, and it got to the point where she wouldn't even come near me to let me try it on her anymore. I made one that was so tight, it was ridiculous, and I didn't like the fabric that much so I threw it away.

Then I tried again, and ended up with this:

But it was still too small! I like the fabric of that one though, so I just have to find a little girl that I can give it to who will fit into it.

On my third try, I finally got it right. But my camera battery died so I couldn't take a picture tonight.

But the perplexing part is that I DID measure her before I started, and I used the same seam allowance I always do, so I don't know why it kept turning out wrong! I guess maybe I'll have to use actual patterns from now on instead of free-handing it.

Our Holiday Weekend

Our weekend was lovely & relaxing...yet when Jesse and I reflected on it this morning, we realized we actually packed a lot into our 3 days of freedom:

~ went to Torrey Pines state beach and walked along the shore
~ went back to the beach in our actual beach attire so we could play in the water
~ Jesse took the girls to the park
~ started (and finished!) several projects
~ had family bbq at Nana's to celebrate the 4th
~ dropped by Graham & Leslie's 4th of July get-together
~ watched fireworks from Grandma Nina's
~ went out to breakfast with my Dad (all of us)
~ went for 3 two-mile walks (just me)
~ got assaulted & made 911 call (just wouldn't have been a complete holiday weekend without SOME law enforcement contact!)

So here's the highlights from our weekend:

(Minus photos of our 2 beach trips, which I chose to enjoy instead of play photgrapher)

Our party was smaller than usual (The 5 Howards, Nana, Uncle Ron, Grandma Mariann, Uncle Victor, Aunt Roxanne) but we had just as much fun as usual.

For a special dessert, we had "wamp-ums" (demonstrated here by Grandma):

It's a wooden stick w/ a round wooden piece at the tip. You take a pillsbury dinner roll from the frozen pack, and mold it onto the tip of the wamp-um stick thingy. Then you cook it over the fire:

When it's done, it's puffed up and cooked just like a regular biscuit, but there's a space in the center. So then you put some pudding in the space, top it off w/ whipped cream, and voila:

It was really delicious! It tasted almost like an eclair.
Mallory gave it the stuffed-mouth approval:

We played a sentence-scrabble-type game:

I don't know if all of our sentences were grammatically correct (in fact, I'm sure most of them were not), but that made it even more fun:

After the game, we had the East Family 4th of July Tradition:
Homemade vanilla ice cream:

Also delicious!

For the fireworks, we had been debating for a few days over where to go to watch them. Then Victor & Roxanne suggested we go over to their place because they have a perfect view....just a few blocks from the spot where they set off the Spring Valley fireworks.
So we drove over there and sat in their driveway. It was a great show...I love fireworks!
And it was as if my camera preferred watching from Victor & Roxanne's as well, cause it took some pretty nice pictures (as opposed to the blurry blobs it usually takes):

And on another note:
I'm hooked.
On sewing.
For the past few nights, I don't even know what my kids have eaten for dinner. Or if they've brushed their teeth. Jesse handled all that stuff because I was busy making & creating.
Thursday night I made this:

It was a dress that I had bought, which when Mallory tried to wear it to church last week we discovered it was much too small (didn't even cover her bum!). So I cut it up and added some Michael Miller fabric that I've been saving; I didn't know what to do with it because it wasn't enough for a total project, but I loved it so much I didn't want to throw out the scraps. So now it's still a wee bit tight thru the chest, but at least it's long enough to be worn several more times. Then I plan on giving it to some other little girl who might enjoy it (and fit in it!).

Then Friday night I made this:

And Saturday I made this:
Here's a close-up of the pleats on the shirt:

And the decorative stitching on the hem of the shirt:

And my model whom I only had to bribe w/ a popsicle to pose for these:

I love it. It's so soft and nice...although it is 100% cotton, so the wrinkles are going to be a b!@# but that's ok.

And then this I made through-out June, and had finished a week or two ago. But I go so frustrated with it, that I folded it up, stuck it in our hall closet as high as I could, intending never to bring it out again. I didn't want to look at it anymore because everytime I did, it was just a reminder of something I started and couldn't finish.
My first quilt:

And guess who fixed it, and saved it for me.
Who else?
She took it and evened up the edges, fixed my half-assed attempt at sandwiching the batting correctly and smoothing it out, and then...
...when I told her I'd stuffed it in the closet because I was frustrated that I couldn't finish it....
....she made me bring it over and (while she was watching my 3 kids, mind you), she did the binding.
When I looked at it, folded neatly in her garage yesterday, ready for me to take home, I almost cried. With the binding done, it looked like an actual quilt! I was amazed.

The back:

The binding (thank you, Nana):

The girls cuddled together without fighting long enough for me to capture this:

If you notice that Mariah is absent from my look-what-I-sewed photo-shoot, here's what she was doing instead:

I know when you see this picture, it kind of breaks your heart and it seems cruel that she was stuck inside like Cinderella while the step-sisters and step-mother were outside smiling it up and taking pictures.
But if you knew what she did to deserve going to bed early (8:00), you'd understand!


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