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Arissa's big night!

We received a letter in the mail the other day,
notifying us that a super sweet little blondie had been "selected to receive special recognition by the Governing Board of the Lemon Grove School District for academic excellency".



That's an awesome thing to get in the mail. :o)


And even more awesome: it's Arissa's 2nd time getting this award! (She got it when she was in 1st grade too)


The award is given to one student in each grade from each school, and it's presented to her by the board members of the district, which makes it a really special honor.




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The night of the award presentation happened to fall on our busiest week of the whole year.


Immediately after school, Arissa had rehersal for the school talent show. She isn't in the show, but she was one of the emcees since she's in the Student Council. We had to cut out of there 15 minutes early so we could rush home and throw on dance clothes and then rush over to dance practice. She squeezed in one and a half of the 5 classes she's in & helps with, and then we had to rush home to get dressed to go get her fancy award!
That's a lot of rushing.



Once we were there (5 minutes late) and in our seats, we could relax finally....and enjoy the special night!



Eagerly (& nervously) waiting for her name to be called:


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The actual presenting of the award I chose to video-tape instead of photograph (cause I couldn't do both at once).



But here's my little "academically excellent" baby girl, after receiving her award & medal:

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Fun, fast, very very proud night. :o)



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dancing, slides, and face paint

Arissa & friends performed at a church fair last weekend:

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They were cute & awesome as ever. :o)



Mallory was at an extended playdate...she had gone home from school Friday with her BFF, spent the night, and then went with the little girl's family to LegoLand on saturday. She had been thrilled and looking forward to it for weeks! I felt a little "off" the whole time she was gone though...only having to count to 2 instead of 3 every so often to make sure everyone was accounted for!


But of course little Mariah tagged along and enjoyed the show:



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After the performance, we walked around the fair a little bit.

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There was just no getting out of there without buying some tickets and going on some of the rides!



Mariah and Arissa both went on the inflatable jumpy things about 3 or 4 consecutive times:


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Then I tried to convince Arissa to give the giant slide a try. She was real hesitant until her friend Andrew walked up and persuaded her to go for it. They both grabbed some potato sacks and climbed to the top, and slid down together:


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Then they went again, 3 more times. :o)


The girls were done after that......well, our supply of tickets were done, so we headed home. I worked on stuff for Mariah's birthday party, Jesse got his brakes fixed.


Mallory came home with a whole new face:

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She was so happy with it: "look, Mama! Do you see my face?? I'm a garden princess!". She kept gingerly touching her face every so often to make sure it was still there. :o)




It would really be much more convenient if we lived right on the beach, preferrably in La Jolla, because we end up going there so often. It would really save me a lot of gas and time.
How to make it happen.... I wonder if it's too late for Jesse to become a pediatric surgeon, and me to become a lawyer? Hm.





Last Friday, before I spent 2 hours putting Arissa's hair in curlers for a parade the next day, we went to the beach. Most normal people like to be at the beach when it's warm and dry, blue skies and all that. Me (being abnormal), my favorite time to be there is when it's like it was on Friday evening....cloudy and cool. So when those clouds rolled in on Friday afternoon, we hit the road (in Nana's car cause she's out of town...but she doesn't need to know about that).




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We didn't do a whole lot, or even spend a large amount of time, but it was such perfect weather it was just nice to be there, taking it all in.




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We walked, we explored the tide pools and found crabs & fish & the usual inhabitants, we tried to find good spots to pose for & take pictures...





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(Look at Arissa's face...she totally doesn't trust me to not put them in a spot where a wave won't crash on them!)




Once she was away from the cliff and safe from the waves, she could smile normally:

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We walked north to the Children's Pool and watched the sea lions do their thing.



"Their thing" is that they lay there.


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Then occasionally, one will take off running ("scooting", really...but I call it running) and make us all laugh.


Or they make funny faces and scratch themselves,
or they twitch and shudder while their dreaming and Jesse surmises what they could be dreaming of and makes us all laugh.
We 'oo and ah' over the baby ones, Jesse makes up deep voices for the older, fatter ones and imagines what they might say if they could speak, and makes us laugh.
Mallory wants to go give them hugs; Arissa makes a face and covers her nose cause they stink.


The waves get bigger and closer by the minute, and each time they crash I think about how ironic it would be to be standing in this most perfect picture-taking spot, and then have my camera get ruined by a wave.


Soooo we quickly walked off the little pier and back up to the road. There was a wedding about to start, in the spot I've always wanted to have my wedding if I was a little bit wealthier and better at life-planning:



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and so we took a few moments to watch the wedding party as they took their pre-wedding photos.
(And I took the opportunity to muse outloud to the girls about how if you go to college and plan things wisely, you too can have a beaufitul wedding in the fanciest white dress ever made, in La Jolla where all your guests are shuttled in, complete with a string quartet and on-site flourist! They kinda just rolled their eyes but that's ok.)


Then, because the girls were turning purple and shivering, we hiked back to our (Nana's) car and drove home.

Perfect "day at the beach" to me....way better than any hot, blue-skied August day when all the other "normal" people are crowding the sand and parking spots!



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When Mallory opened the gift from her friend Franny at her birthday party, I had to catch by breath cause it was so beautiful.


It's a netted, hanging, flowery, little hideout.


I couldn't wait to hang it....but didn't know where it should go.


I loved the idea of it being outside, hung from a tree, the girls having tea parties under it, with it blowing in the breeze.


But we don't have a tree in our yard. Plus it would either end up dirty & dusty, rained on and trashed, or peed on by neighborhood cats.


So it seemed like indoors was the way to go.


Leslie, Franny's mom, had suggested Mallory could hang it over her bed. That sounded perfect!
Except Mallory sleeps on the bottom bunk. Strike two.


So saturday morning, much to the displeasure of M&M, we completely cleaned & re-organized their room, and it turns out there was miraculously just enough space in the corner of their room (right by the window & the bookshelf) for this hanging piece of lovelyness.
I told the girls it's a testament to the wondrous things that can happen when you clean your room. :o)


I hung it up with a little tiny brad nail.


It promptly fell right down.


Jesse went to the man store (Home Depot) and got one of those heavy duty hooks, and now it's up to stay:



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It's a tight squeeze (Jesse & I won't be hanging out in there any time soon), but the girls love it because that makes it feel secret and even more special.


And even though it's not outside, flowing in the breeze, the envy of the neighboorhood children.....the girls have had tea parties in it and even spent the better part of the weekend inside of it.



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Besides the teaparties,


Mallory declared it a dressing room, and ran in there every time she changed her clothes.


Mariah started a book club and held her meeting in there.


Arissa ran inside it when she had a meltdown and needed some alone time.


It's perfect and I love it and when the girls aren't home, I might just curl up in there myself with a good book. :o)




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get well soon

I hate it when people I know & love get sick.


But I do appreciate it when their sickness happens on or around a Thursday, cause that's when the Farmer's Market is open downtown and I can pick up some pretty flowers to brighten their day!


Last week, Mariah had a 24-hour virus, and because she's so sweet, she caught it on Wednesday so I brought her these home from work on Thursday:



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She was really honored....I guess because as a little girl, she doesn't get bouquets of flowers all that often. I remember when Arissa turned 4 or 5, and my dad had a pretty bouquet delivered to our house....Arissa nearly flipped her lid, she was so thrilled.

And even now that Mariah is all better, the flowers are making me feel good every time I walk in and see them. $3 well spent. :o)





We were all set to hike Torrey Pines again, but we got a late start getting out of bed so we had to switch to Plan B.

Plan B ended up being a trip to Presidio Park and the spanish mission up on the hill. We followed one of the paths leading down the mountain, through lots of greenery and pretty flowers and trees.





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(Sidenote: I wuv those cheeks! More and more I'm noticing them thinning out, and it saddens me to think that one day they might be gone. I'll miss those big old cheeks, on all 3 girls....a perfect spot to land a kiss!)



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(Mallory is big on maps. So are Arissa & Mariah actually. Everywhere we go, even if it's Sea World and we've been there 20 million times in the last month alone, they want a new map. Just to see if the whole place has been rearranged since the last time we were there, I guess!)





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Once we had gotten back UP the mountain, and reached the actual park, the girls spent some time rolling down the big grassy hill:

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Arissa did about 50 billion of these:





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M&M played hide and seek with us behind these big old trees. Jesse said they were like the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz when they make their first appearance to Dorothy. :o) We could hear them hiding there, giggling, then they'd run and switch sides and hide and giggle some more.



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Then later that evening we took Nana out to eat:


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The pizza and garlic cheese bread were delicious, but the real part worth writing home about was the desert:





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The girls each had mugs of ice cream, and us adults shared this:





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Empanadas รก la mode, with caramel dipping sauce.



So so SO good!




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After we ate, we dropped Nana off and said goodbye. She's gone to Utah for at least 2 weeks to be with her sister who's sick. We're gonna miss her. I think the girls (and I) missed her before she was even gone!


Mothers Day fell on the day after Mallory's birthday this year (as it did the year she was born, if I remember right), which made the weekend kind of hectic! Then Teacher Appreciation Week got thrown in there too, just to mess with me and make things even more busy.


So I took some pictures, got out my die-cutter, glued it all together and made a couple of these for our Mothers Day gifts this year:


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Then for Teacher Appreciation gifts, I did the exact same thing but with just the one single picture of each girl for their teacher. And of course I wrapped it up fancy and tied it with a bow. :o)


I made myself an extra of the tri-photo one to hang up at work, to add to my shrine of pictures and artwork at my desk. Gotta have something to get me through the day!


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(love that little arm flinging the door open as I'm taking the picture!)

Miss M. Turns 6

My sweet little tiny baby turned 6 last weekend!





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So for the next couple of weeks, I get to say I have "twins". Because Mariah and Mallory are both six years old, until Mariah turns 7 in June! M&M get a kick out of being the same age for a few weeks.



I sure hope Mallory & her guests had a good time at the party. It's kind of hard to tell until you look back on it all, whether the party was a success or not. Mostly cause when I'm directing the games & snapping photos like paparazzi, it's hard to be in the present moment and just take it all in!



But when I looked back on the pictures, and I saw little smiles on the faces of Mallory & her friends, I felt pretty good about it.




We played games with a "Princess and the Frog" twist....




Hot potato became "Hot Tiana" (the princess & main character):


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"Pin the tail on the donkey" was turned into "Pin the kiss on the frog":




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The kids got together and added another game, although they didn't add a Princess/Frog twist to it.




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"Duck, Duck, Goose".


When picking the party games, Jesse and I had considered that one----although we were going to make it "Prince, Prince, Frog". :o) We didn't use it in the planned party games though, because I was tried very hard to find games that wouldn't have a "loser" or someone who ends up being "out". But it was okay and the kids had fun.




"Musical Chairs" became "Musical Lily Pads", and ended up with everyone sitting on ONE lilypad, which looked something like this:
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I assumed that spray painting the "lilypads" (pieces of posterboard) on our lawn would be wise, and wouldn't leave a trace. Green on green. I was wrong. :o)

Fishing for prizes was "Bayou Fishing", which we had a parade to get to and marched to Mallory's favorite song on the Princess & the Frog soundtrack.

The kids "fished" for little things to put in their goody bags (Vanesa assisted):

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Fun times!




Mallory was so happy to see each guest show up. Family, friends, and friends from school, she was exctied to see them all.





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I had made the decorations a month in advance, and these pretty little things were hanging in my kitchen the whole time. At first they were a little obtrusive, but then I got to used to them and the airy feel they gave the room. Now that they're gone, I miss them!


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I also nearly died hanging them all up, standing on my grandma's rickety step-ladder, staring straight up above my head into the sun, and trying to tie little knots out of the sewing thread I used to string them. Just looking up made me dizzy, and I was hoping if I fell I would land softly so I could wait to go to the ER till after the party. :)

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After our guests left, Mallory opened her gifts from us.

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Jesse and I got her a reversible (two-in-one!) Princess & the Frog bathing suit and cover-up:



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As soon as I walked into the Disney store to look for a gift, I knew I wanted this thing. It's so pretty, and really good quality.

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Her sisters got her:




* some cute little Princess & the Frog sandals

* a set of 4 Princess & the Frog books

and:

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...which one of her little friends at the party gave her too, so we let Mariah keep them. So now they match, and it's even harder to tell them apart when they're both wearing them!





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It's so cute to see Mallory sleeping and the frog's little head poking out from under the covers. :o)




I spent a good chunk of mothers day helping Mallory write her thank you notes.


If I don't get them out the very next day, I feel really uneasy. We got all but a few (which needed a photo reprinted or a complete address so we can mail it) in the hands of each of her guests.

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I had so much fun planning the party, and buying her gifts, and decorating for the party, and cleaning up after the party, and making the thank you notes, and sending them out. But I admit: I was mentally & physically pooped! But out of the blue Mallory said "Mama, I liked my party. I will remember it forever." And that made me smile and feel glad, and gave me the inspiration to get off my bum and start planning the next one (for Mariah)!






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