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Howard Family, Party of 5, BEST OF 2009!

2010 doesn't seem to be waiting until I'm ready for it, so I'm trying to embrace the New Year anyways!

With New Years on the brain, I keep hearing this line from one of my favorite Christmas songs in my head:

So this is Christmas...
and what have you done?
Another year over...
And a new one just begun.



Well as I scroll back over the past 12 months of posts on my blog, it turns out we've done quite a bit! For as lazy as I sometimes feel I am, my family and I have sure gone a lot of places, done a lot of fun stuff, made a lot of crafts, and seen a lot of action.

And so, I present to you:


The Howard Family, Party of 5 Blog's
BEST & MOST AWESOME OF 2009!

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Here we go.


Best good intention:
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I was going to try and give up soda. I'm cute. :o)
(It didn't work)



Best moment of pride for me & Jesse:
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(all 3 girls, student of the month, same month, first month of school)
Best reason to get off our bums:
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The Cancer walk we did as a family and for which we raised over $300.



Best political campaign by a cute little blonde:
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Best 1st-day-of-school (on the second day of school):
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Most Awesome rainbow captured by my camera:
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Best international, instant best buddies:
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Most Awesome weekend, speaking french and sight-seeing the best parts of San Diego:
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Best day at the dentist (never mind the look of torture on Arissa's face):
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the day Arissa got her palatial expander taken off.


Best action shot:
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Worst way to spend Halloween ever:
(there was no nice way to put a spin on this one and make it a "best" or "awesome")
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having the swine flu.


Most Awesome sight to see when you step out of your house in the morning:
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Best unexpected guest:
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Mama skunk (and the babies that followed)



Most Awesome save by a Mama:
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Mariah's birthday cake that I dropped, then picked up & fixed & it ended up good as new.



Best new dramatic (long to super short) haircut:
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Most Awesome tv appearances:
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Best gathering of pumpkins on a kitchen table:
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Best football game:
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Best magazine cover:
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And that's it!


The winners will receive a big hug & kiss...from me.


Except the skunk.


And here's a look back at the crafts I've made and posted here since January of this year (not counting anything I posted in December):

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So now, with 3 girls and their busy schedules, a binder full of new craft patterns & ideas, I guess I'm ready for 2010!

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in pictures...


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Arissa w/ her gift from Santa....a cell phone:
(if you know her and she has your number, you will be getting calls & texts from her...she's so excited she can't help herself!)

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It's hard waiting your turn while the other's open their gifts:

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But oh it's worth it!
Santa brought Mariah the Dora the Explorer Kitchen she's been asking for repeatedly for at least 3 Christmases now:

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The adoption papers for Arissa's new Cabbage Patch doll:
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We went over to Grandma's for Christmas brunch, as we have every year since Arissa was born:

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Mariah, tellin' it like it is:

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Grandma, opening her Babushkas:

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After brunch we made a stop on our way home. And this was almost my favorite part of the day.

We stopped at a rest home to visit Mr. Mendoza. He is our elderly neighbor across the street, who I've posted about before. We don't really speak with him or know him, but the girls (and all of us) have come to love & care for him in the 8 years we've lived across from him. As I've posted about before, there's been several times when he's fallen and firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars filled our street while they helped him. One of those recent times, we made a sign when he came back from the hospital that said "Welcome Home, Mr. Mendoza! Love, the Howard Family" and the girls each drew on it and we hung it on his frontdoor screen.

It stayed there for months. After awhile I wasn't sure if he was keeping it there because he loved it, or because I had tied it on the screen too tight and he couldn't take it off. We still never really spoke to him or visited him, but one day he gave Jesse some donuts for us and told him "God bless you and your family".

In Early November, I thought it would be nice to bring him a piece of the pumpkin pie our family had enjoyed for dessert. Jesse and David (our neighbor) told me he wasn't the sweet old man I was assuming he was, and that and wouldn't appreciate help or a handout or a visit or my concern. But I went anyways and he invited me in and I helped him bring in mail from a week ago that he hadn't been able to bend down and pick up. I had felt uncomfortable at first, talking to someone I don't know, but he was very nice and sweet and I felt good about our visit for days.

Then a few days later he fell and was in the hospital and never came home. On Christmas Eve I did some detective work and was able to contact a family member of his, who told me which rest-home he was at.

So on Christmas day on our way home from Grandma's, we stopped by. We brought him a Christmas card w/ a picture of the girls, and some cookies. He didn't look very lively, but you could tell he was surprised and delighted to see us. It wasn't a long visit, but I hope it made him happy and we all felt good afterwards.

He told us: "I have 4 things to say.

1, God Bless Howard.

2, God bless Howard's wife.

3, God Bless Howard's little girls.

And 4, God Bless Howard's whole family.".

:O) How sweet is that.

Well after that we rushed home and Nana & Grandpa came over to give/receive their gifts and see what the girls had gotten for Christmas:

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After a nice visit with them, Uncle Jim, Nicole, and Grandma came over to deliver yet another gift!

And after that, exhausted and hungry, we went to the only place open on Christmas that you don't have to drive-thru: Denny's. :o)

Mallory and I fell asleep early....Jesse, Arissa, & Mariah stayed up till about 11pm playing with the gift that Santa had accidentally left outside and we didn't find until mid-afternoon: a wii. :o)

Christmas Eve


Every year we spend Christmas Eve at Nana's:

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My girls with cousin Audrey:

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Arissa, trying to hide from the Paparazzi:

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Now she's ready for 'em (the paparazzi):

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Mallory, taking a picture of me, taking a picture of her:

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Mallory with cousin Kristi:

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My girls, cousin Audrey, and baby Kassadi w/ Nana:

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Grandpa (my Dad) w/ my girls (and a super red-eyed Mariah!)

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Grandma (Jesse's Mom) and Mallory:
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After Nana's, we rushed home to get things in order for Santa.

We set out the cookies and milk, we organized the living room, then we had hot cocoa w/ marshmellows in new Christmas glasses I had bought the girls that day, and we read a few stories.

First, to remind us all of the best gift ever that even Santa couldn't deliver (Jesus), we read "What is Christmas?".

Then, we read "Twas the night before Christmas".

Then the girls went to bed. 8:30! They were so concerned that Santa would be coming by and they wouldn't be asleep and he would skip our house.

The house really was so quiet that "nothing was stirring, not even a mouse". It was nice. :o)


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