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Arts & Crafts

A few weekends ago we stopped by Michael's to get supplies for the girls dance recital costumes.
While we were there, Arissa noticed a sign advertising a free craft they would be doing in the store the following weekend.
So the next Saturday, we took the girls straight from swim class over to Michaels so they could create:

I realized halway thru the craft that the instruction page says it's for ages 8+. But with help from me & Jesse, M&M did just fine.

(Be Adivsed: the following pictures were taken directly after swim class so my otherwise sweet & pretty girls each have've been warned!):

Back to school

Just a few pics of Back to School Night...

Arissa didn't get into any of the pictures, because 4th grade is apparently more serious and work-oriented...I felt out of place even having a camera with me. But kinder & 1st grade, I fit right in w/ the rest of the parent paparazzi!

I like going to school functions. I love elementary school. Kids at that age are so cute. None of them think they're "too cool" yet, so they're all just happy and smiling. They all still like school and are friendly are excited. Totally makes me want to be a teacher.

Mallory's self-portrait:

Mariah's classroom:

Typical Mallory....all up in my face. :o) I was probably trying to take a picture of something else but she wanted to be the main she made it happen.

Mariah, standing at her desk. You can tell by the look on her face that I had taken about 5 pictures before this. Mariah has the weirdest habit of looking off to the side when I take a picture. Without fail, I always have to take several shots when she's in a photo, because her little eyes are looking at something over in the corner behind me!

Another reason to celebrate!

We went out to dinner again this past week for another celebration!
The girls' school had their first Student of the Month assembly. Jesse and I were hoping one of our girls would win...the first one of the school year is kind of a special honor. But imagine our shock and pride when we received a letter notifying us that:
Not one....

Not two....

But ALL THREE of our sweet girls were getting the award!

So that was really something special.
It was funny how aware each of the girls were aware about it differently.
Arissa knew as soon as she woke up and found out I was taking her to school instead of Nana. She goes (with a big smile): "hm. There's a student of the month assembly today. Guess I'm gettin' that!"
But Mariah didn't think anything of it until I dropped her off at her class and she learned the assembly was that day. As she waved by to us she said "Mommy! Daddy! There's a student of the month assembly today! I hope I get it!"
And Mallory, being a first-timer, had no idea. She was truly surprised when they called her name. It was fun to watch.
I wanted to give the girls something, so I scoured the mall during my lunch and got them each cards & little necklaces:




Arissa & Nana:

"Okay girls, make a silly face":

"Okay girls, make a sweet face. Act like you like each other!":

boom boom POW

Recital time again!

This time, I stayed backstage the whole time. Like all the other moms. It was a lot of work!! Arissa was in SO many dance numbers, and several were back-to-back. It's hard enough to keep all the costumes organized, and it's even harder to get them on and off Arissa frantically in a dark, confined space and then pushing her out onto the stage. I was sweaty and exhausted when it was over. I guess Arissa probably was too!

Mallory, waiting her turn:

My two little stars, ready to shine!:

One of Arissa's TWELVE dances:

My view from backstage:

The people have spoken.......

.........and chose Arissa Ronell Howard for Vice President!
It was a grueling, week-long campaign...and the competition was fierce.
BUT, Arissa fought hard & fair, and so in the end she was declared the winner.
I wanted to make some kind of comparison to the Obama/Biden campaign but my mind is blank.
Seriously though, it was a fun week! She turned in her application awhile ago, and a week later had to give a speech to all 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade classes.
So that was her first public speaking engagement, and she was really nervous. I was so nervous for her. We helped her write the speech, and we practiced over and over.
The day after the speeches, there was a preliminary vote to narrow it down and Arissa made it to the final four candidates for VP.
Three days later, the candidates could start putting up their posters. They could only have 3 large posters, and they couldn't do any hand-outs other than "vote 4 so-and-so" stickers. So we worked our butts off to get the posters done, we did 3 large ones and then several smaller ones. Arissa wrote "vote 4 Arissa" on several packs of cute-shaped post-it notes and stickers.
Then one of the girls left a wet bathing suit laying by the group of posters, and they sucked up all the water like a sponge. The washable crayola marker ink didn't stand a chance. The posters all looked like impressionist paintings, and they were ruined.
So we made them over again, and put them up around the school on Monday. The final vote was Wednesday. The results were to be revealed on Friday, but Arissa called me on her way to the dentist yesterday after school to tell me they had announced the winners over the loudspeaker just before school let out, and she was one of them! She was so excited. She said the whole class had cheered for her. Two other little girls in her class had been campaigning too, and she hugged them & they congratulated her. Mallory & Mariah sang her "happy vice president, to you!", to the tune of "happy birthday". :o)
Here's the hopeful canditate w/ the campaign posters that cinched the election:

I outlined all the words, and Arissa colored it all in. This was the one she did 100% by herself (I think it looks pretty dang good!):

At first I wanted to go all-out using photo-shopped graphics and huge poster-sized professional prints....
But being that we only had a few days, and that the other kids might not have those resources, we decided to go completely hand-made:

I wonder if any of the students understood my pun in this one (Jesse didn't till a day later):

Get it? "Pick"? "Pick" Arissa? And there's a hand "picking" a flower??? I thought it was clever. :o) Better than "don't pick your nose, pick ----- for President!" like some other kid's. Just kidding.
So last night we went out to celebrate!
To celebrate Arissa's democratic victory of course, but also to celebrate the wonderful job that all 3 girls did at their recital the night before. They were stars!
Then Mallory felt bad for me & Jesse, that we weren't celebrating anything we did. So she decided "and we're celebrating your love for us too". :o) Sounds good.
Arissa chose Casa de Pico.
Not sure why....she only eats the free chips. I think she likes the atmosphere more than the food, but she picked it and I LOVE it, so that's where we went.

Jesse had enough Margarita's to not be pinching pennies, so we even ordered dessert!
I wanted Flan, and Jesse wanted Sopapillas, but the girls all wanted Churros w/ Ice Cream so that's what we got:

Mariah & Arissa ate the churros, Mallory ate the ice cream. But whatever, it was a fun night. It's nice to have reasons to celebrate every now and then!

Water Babies

The girls have been taking swimming lessons again...they did one session over the summer, and now they're signed up for two more sessions thru the fall.

It's a different place, a new pool & new teachers, but the girls love it.

Arissa, of course, is an old pro:

Mariah....a little more aprehensive:

She cried & screamed thru the entire first two lessons, and begged to be put in the baby class. I wanted to switch her so the crying & screaming would stop, but I didn't want her to be scared forever and never learn....and be 15 years old and still in the 1-2-&-you class!

So we went over to Audie's house, where there's a pool which is pretty much private because apparently no one uses it. So we went there and Jesse watched Arissa & Mallory jump in & swim, while I spent 2 hours showing Mariah that she will not die just because her feet don't touch the bottom of the pool. We practiced holding her breath over and over, and at the end of the 2 hours, she was able (with the help of a floaty toy) to float on her own without grasping onto me for dear life. She eventually could push off from the side of the pool and glide to me. She was very brave and I think she almost believes me now that she won't die. :o) And at her next swimming lesson, although she was still aprehensive, there were no tears or screams. Success!

Mallory, because she's a year younger, is in the lower level class. She, like with everything else in life, is pretty much fearless!

First day of school....part deux

So the crisis was over, and our 2nd day of school was smooth sailing.
Here's my happy girl:

Still bearing the scars from the day before:

Happy 4th grade girly:
I can't believe how old she is. Every parent says that, I know. "It goes by so fast....". But when I look at this face, I can still see bits of the baby/toddler face, I see glimpses of my own 4th grade face, and I see some of her teenage/adult face to come. It's a weird feeling.

And little Miss Independant:

Arissa will kill me, but I had to post this too. Look at those shins! Maybe I should make her some fancy tights or knee-socks w/ built-in shinguards!

And so, in the end, I got the picture I had expected to take the day before:
All my girls, off to school.
I hate working full-time. I wish I could volunteer in their classes every day. Well except for on hot days like the past few have been. On those 90+ degree days, I am thankful for my job and air-conditioned office.
Sweet Mariah: an old pro now, having survived kindergarten and made it to the first grade, telling us how it goes:
and giving the "rookie" a hug and sending her off to class:
Arissa's 2nd day hair-do. I like this one:

Arissa was so over the photoshoot...but she let me get one more in:

And finally, Miss Kindergartner-At-Last:

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